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INDI Library v1.9.3 Released (11 Nov 2021)

Bimonthly Stable INDI Library release introduces new drivers and fixes for existing ones. Some highlights:

Newbie question: What is the best (stable/reliable) platform for running ekos/kstars?

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Hi

Doing visual for some time I want to test some photography,
Currently, I have a canon 60d with a 24-105 L (1st edition). Also a skywatcher 50PDS.
For guiding, I bought a zwo clone 120MM, the T7m. The mount will be an NEQ6.

I'm setting up a laptop for controlling all this, I also have a PI4b around if it's needed.
Installed ununto 20.04.3 LTS on a Dell i5, 16GB ram, 256gb ssd disk.
I installed KStars Version 3.5.5 Stable using apt, from  ppa:mutlaqja/ppa. Also the gpphoto driver from there.
Bare with me.. problems...:
- The ZWO clone does not work, even after the firmware upgrade. Im getting hw resets of somekind.  It seems to work just fine on my MacBook pro (intel) with the same kstars version
- Is there any way to have the autofocus working with my canon and lenses? 
- Sometimes it seems the canon camera hangs, stays on / no response to commands, I need to restart everything

Is ubuntu a good platform for running this? Is there a better distribution? Should I use the 20.04 ou a previous one?
Or, should I use Osx or windows for better stability and performance?

If these questions are already addressed somewhere please point me there.

Thanks




 
1 month 2 weeks ago #76672

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I’m not sure anyone can answer your question without sounding biased! However, you could (possibly) do worse than to run the Astroberry server package on your RPi4 and remote into it by browser or, as I do, VNC Viewer from my pc laptop and iPad. Plenty of forum posts on the Astroberry implementation. The latest revision 2.0.4 features KStars 3.5.5 and Indi 1.9.2 and is running well on my two AP kits.
Currently running KStars/Ekos/Indi on two Raspberry Pi 4Bs 4GByte under Raspberry Pi OS thanks to Astroberry
Two mounts, two Fracs, a Newt and a Mak and a couple of OSC cameras.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Pedro Miguel Nunes do Reis
1 month 1 week ago #76779

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I know that others have had success running the Ekos focus module with other Canons (e.g. the 650D). There is apparently a camera-menu setting to select the button on the rear of the camera to do AF instead of the shutter button, it won't work without that. Other than that, sorry, can't be much help.

The way this works is to give INDI control of the focus in/out, and then the Ekos focus module runs it. That module is of course purpose-built to focus stars on a dark background via the half-flux radius (HFR) metric; the camera's built-in focus software isn't intended for astro and is hopelessly incapable.

Sorry that I don't know much more about it than that.

As for platforms, I have run on Mac OS a bit and extensively on a Pi 3B and 4B with StellarMate OS; offhand I don't recall what distro Jasem bases SM on, it used to be Ubuntu but it's one of the Debian ones now (much better overall). StellarMate OS will cost you $50 but is usually quite stable and well-maintained, along with direct support from the vendor. It also offers a mobile-device app in the same vein as ASIAir's. I have had the occasional hang or crash on all platforms, as with just about any software that talks to hardware. But on the Pi 4B running StellarMate OS, that happens only occasionally, and usually when I'm doing something like repeatedly pausing, stopping, and restarting a running sequence.

I really like running it on the Pi because:
* There isn't a cable from my computer to the scope
* The Pi sips power, so can easily run all night off the same battery powering my mount and camera
* I can mount the Pi on either the scope or the tripod
* I can use a laptop, tablet, or phone to run the interface, and if one runs out of battery I can just pick up the next one without interrupting the session
* Connecting is very flexible -- the Pi will connect to my home wifi, an Ethernet cable, or put up a hotspot when I'm in the field

This pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. I found StellarMate OS to be much simpler to set up and get running right out of the box, so the $50 was well worth it to me, especially given the regular updates and new features that appear on the platform promptly when they're put into Ekos.

Setting up to boot the Pi off a USB 3.0 SSD drive (StellarMate has a utility for this) significantly improved performance, well worth doing IMO.
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1 month 1 week ago #76781

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Thanks for the tip on the EOS, I'll look for it.

I'm setting up the PI. I'm missing a heatsink (does it get too hot during sessions?) for it, otherwise, it's an 8G, 4b so it seems it fits the bill. Also, I think I have an RTC for it somewhere, not sure if it's plug-and-play or I need to do any config., if you know plz point me to it.

I've considered the StellarMate, yes. I need to understand if the kstars route works for me...

Thanks
1 month 1 week ago #76782

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The heat is well controlled by enclosing the RPi in a ‘Flirc’ metal case which has plenty of heat dispersing effect especially outdoors. I then mount it with its plastic bottom outwards to optimise the WiFi performance. There are people who fit an RTC, but this will require a higher clearance case, and a different approach to heat sinks. I used to attempt to use a GPS dongle to set the location and the clock time. I had problems with poor GPS reception and interference into the very low level satellite signals from the RPi’s own ‘digital noise’. These days I simply turn on the RPi, use VNC Viewer from my laptop, and set the date and time to match the laptop clock using the terminal command <sudo date -s ‘2021-10-21 21:10:50’>. I don’t need to change the geographical location very often but when I do go travelling I set the location from the data on my iPhone app ‘ScopeTools’. 

If you do want to use your RTC and GPS then here is a YT video about this: 

 
Currently running KStars/Ekos/Indi on two Raspberry Pi 4Bs 4GByte under Raspberry Pi OS thanks to Astroberry
Two mounts, two Fracs, a Newt and a Mak and a couple of OSC cameras.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Pedro Miguel Nunes do Reis
Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Avocette.
1 month 1 week ago #76785

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Found the settings... nothing changed on the behavior... back to bathinov masks... Thanks!
 
1 month 1 week ago #76787

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I am using a Rpi4 with Stellarmate. It took a while to get it all dialed in but now it is a great setup. I use it with a Ultimate Power Box from Pegasus to provide power and a reliable powered USB hub. This is then all mounted on top of the scope. I run all the software on the Rpi, so Kstars runs on the Rpi and I just remote desktop into it. I have an outdoor WiFi access point so the Rpi is internet connected so I always have the right time and I can update easily.

As for focusing I have never got the autofocusing to work reliably. I have motor focusers on all my scopes and I focus in Ekos but I use a Bahtinov mask to achieve focus.
WO ZS 61
Esprit 100
Skyliner 200p
Edgehd 8 with Celestron OAG
Stellarmate on RPi 4
iOptron GEM45
294 mc pro
224 planetary cam
174 guide cam
Powerbox Ultimate
Sesto Senso focusser
Arduino focusser
QHY5II-Mono guide camera
EOS6D - not modified

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1 month 1 week ago #76809

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I fitted an RTC module into a Flirc case without any problem. 
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Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Richard Wesson.
1 month 1 week ago #76817

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Hi

- We use old Dells too. Mainly i3s. Unless you're going to do processing, the amount of memory doesn't seem to make much difference.
- Not sure about the 24-105 for AP, but there are some excellent old fixed focal length lenses from Takumar and Zeiss available on Ebay for under €100 and adapters eos to m42 abundant on AliExpress for next to nothing. Focus once at the start of the session and forget.
- The t7m needs this firmware:
drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eXBCN06U...5QRw9zSO?usp=sharing
Be sure to start the driver in 8-bit.

Cheers and HTH
kubuntu 20.04
700d, eq6, t7m
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1 month 1 week ago #76819

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I used a RPI 4 with 8gb and both Astroberry and StellarMate for awhile. I now use a Mac Mini 2018 model. It has 4 TB ports and 2 USB and HDMI if you wish but I use RealVNC. It has great WiFi and I use a 4TB M2 pcie drive for images. I have run Ubuntu under Parallels on it too but running native on the Mini is easier. It is much faster than the RPI but cost $499 new when I got it in July.

Kurt
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1 month 1 week ago #76820

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Do you use the t7m with a Dell and Linux? And it works?\
I've put that 120mm-compatible on it, but still get the resets. Not sure about starting it in 8-bit... will check that later.
Thanks
1 month 6 days ago #76841

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How can I start the zwo in 8bit? Cannot find any info on it.
1 month 6 days ago #76844

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