Included with libindi v1.7+. For Ubuntu it is recommended to install the latest development version:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mutlaqja/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libindi
This driver supports Astro-Physics mounts over a serial connection with a firmware version of 'V' or newer.
Current features of the driver:
- Sidereal, lunar, solar and custom track rates
- PEM control (ON/OFF)
- Custom parking positions
- ST4 Guiding
- Full joystick support
- Meridian Delay (Experimental).
The experimental driver adds new capabilities only available using the latest mount firmware. Since it is under development care must be taken when using it (not recommended to use the mount unattended, for example) but if you are interested in helping test this new code it would be a great help.
The experimental driver adds these features:
- Use predefined park positions (PARK1/PARK2/PARK3/PARK4) for unpark and park operation.
- Ability to unpark from 'Last park position'.
- Improved mount initialization without user intervention.
This driver is under development and as such should be considered in a BETA state. This means you are testing the driver as much as using it.
That said it has been used for imaging and appears to operate correctly. Use common sense when testing this driver - be near the mount whenever slewing or parking just in case!
Any feedback on this driver is greatly desired and will help it progress more quickly from the developmental state.
When using the driver for the first time, ensure to set the telescope's aperture and focal length in the Options tab.
It is also necessary to set the geographic location and park position in the Site Management tab.
Do not try parking the mount until this position is defined!
It is best to use one of the predefined park positions of PARK1/PARK2/PARK3/PARk4.
These are defined in this document from Astro-Physics: PARK POSITIONS
Also make sure the "Unpark From" option on the Main is set to "Last Parked". This is the safest option since it will let the mount determine its position based on where it was last parked. The only reason to use a different setting is if the mount seems to have lost sense of where it is and you want to start from a predefined position.
Be sure to save these options using the "Save" button on the Options tab or else the changes will be loss when the driver is closed.
The mount will automatically be initialized by the driver - the user is not required to do anything extra.
The main control tab is where the primary control takes place.
You will need to verify the Unpark From? property before connecting to the mount for the first time. Normally the default of "Last Parked" will work and should usually not be changed. If for some reason the mount seems to not slew properly it can help to put the mount in a known park position (PARK1/PARK2/PARK3/PARK4) and set the Unpark From? property to the corresponding park position and connect to the mount. This will properly initialize the mount position. Then you can set it back to "Last Parked". Be sure to save the options!
WARNING - Leave this option at "Last Parked" unless you know what you are doing. If you start the driver up and it is set to something besides "Last Parked" and the mount is not actually in the configured PARK position it will be very confused about where it is really pointing and lead to improper slews that may cause a pier strike!
To track an object, enter the equatorial of date (JNow) coordinates and press Set. The mount shall then slew to an object and once it arrives at the target location, it should engage tracking at the selected tracking rate which default to Sidereal tracking. Slew mode is different from track mode in that it does not engage tracking when slew is complete. To sync, the mount must be already tracking. First change mode to Sync, then enter the desired coordinates then press Set. Users will seldom use this interface directly since many clients (e.g. KStars) can slew and sync the mount directly from the sky map without having to enter any coordinates manually.
The Abort Motion button can be used to stop the mount at any time.
Four tracking modes are supported: Sidereal, Solar, Lunar, and Custom. When using Custom mode, the rates defined in Track Rates shall be used.
Tracking can be enganged and disenganged by toggling the Tracking property.
Mount parking and unparking is controlled by the Parking property.
The Use Pulse Cmd property can be enabled to guide the mount through the communications interface and eliminates the requirement of using an ST-4 cable to guide the mount.
The Firmware property shows the detected firmware version of the mount controller.
The Options tab is used to set debugging and other configuration options, as well as being able to load and save configurations.
- Debug: Enable debug logging where verbose messaged can be logged either directly in the client or a file. If Debug is enabled, advanced properties are created to select how to direct debug output. Watch a video on how to submit logs.
- Simulation: Enable to disable simulation mode for testing purposes.
- Configuration: Load or Save the driver settings to a file. Click default to restore default settings that were shipped with the driver.
- Snoop Devices: Indicate which devices the driver should communicate with:
- GPS: If using a GPS driver (e.g. INDI GPSD) then enter its name here. EQMod shall sync its time and location settings from the GPS driver.
- Dome: If using a Dome driver, put its name here so that Dome Parking Policy can be applied.
Dome Parking Policy
If a dome is used in conjunction with the mount, a policy can be set if parking the mount or dome can interfere with the safety of either. For example, you might want to always park the mount before parking the dome, or vice versa. The default policy is to ignore the dome.
- Ignore dome: Take no action when dome parks or unparks.
- Dome locks: Prevent the mount from unparking when dome is parked.
- Dome parks: Park the mount if dome starts parking. This will disable the locking for dome parking, EVEN IF MOUNT PARKING FAILS.
- Both: Dome locks & Dome parks policies are applied.
- Scope Properties: Enter the Primary and Seconday scope information. Up to six different configurations for Primary and Secondary Guider telescopes can be saved separately, each with an optional unique label in Scope Name property.
- Scope Config: Select the active scope configuration.
- Joystick: Enable or Disable joystick support. An INDI Joystick driver must be running for this function to work. For more details, check the INDI Telescope Joystick tutorial.
Under motion control, manual motion controls along with speed and guide controls are configured.
- Motion N/S/W/E: Directional manual motion control. Press the button to start the movement and release the button to stop.
- Slew Rate: Rate of manual motion control above when 1x equals sidereal rate.
- PEC Playback: Controls whether PEC correction are enabled.
- GOTO Rate: Rate of motion for GOTO operations.
- Swap Buttons: Reverse direction mount moves.
- Sync: Controls whether SYNC or RECAL is used for syncs. The recommended setting is :CMR# to use RECAL!
Time, Location, and Park settings are configured in the Site Management tab.
- UTC: UTC time and offsets must be set for proper operation of the driver upon connection. The UTC offset is in hours. East is positive and west is negative.
- Location: Latitude and Longitude must be set for proper operation of the driver upon connection. The longitude range is 0 to 360 degrees increasing eastward from Greenwich.
- Parking: By default, the parking position is when the OTA to be looking directly at the celestial pole. To restore parking position to the default value, please Default under Park option. You can set a custom parking position using two methods. The mount must be unparked before you can set a new position:
- Enter the desired AZ & ALT values for the custom parking position, then press Set and then press Write Data to save the new parking position.
- Slew the mount to the desired parking position, then press Current to sync the encoders position to this value, and then Write Data to save.
- Park To?: Choose one of the predefined parking locations with the Park To? property.
You can park the telescope by clicking on Park on the Main Control tab. If the telescope is already parked, click the park button to unpark it. You cannot perform any motion unless the telescope is first unparked!
Guide related option:
- Guide N/S/W/E: Guiding pulses durations in milliseconds. This property is meant for guider application (e.g. PHD2) and not intended to be used directly.
- Guide Rate: Guiding Rate for RA & DE. Example: 0.25 means the mount shall move at 25% of the sidereal rate when the pulse is active. The sideral rate is ~15.04 arcseconds per second. So at 0.25x, the mount shall move 0.25*15.04 = 3.76 arcsecond per second. When receving a pulse for 1000ms, the total theoritical motion 3.76 arcseconds. The recommended value is 1.0x.
- The lx200ap_experimental driver is under development and needs testing - please be aware and always be observant of the mount when doing slews and parking.
- When you park the mount it is recommended to disconnect the driver from the mount and power the mount down as well before connecting again.
If you find a bug, please report it at INDI's bug tracking system at GitHub.