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INDI Library v1.9.6 Released (21 May 2022)

Bi-monthly INDI Library released with new drivers and bug fixes.

Problem connecting to PlaneWave EFA - Handshake fails

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I am trying to connect to the PlaneWave EFA (focuser) unit, which connects via a labyrinthine USB-to-serial connection using a product called "DIGITUS USB 2.0 serial adapter," which PlaneWave supplied.

The connection itself seems to be working based on output from "lsusb" and "dmesg" as well as the kstars log reporting a successful connection to the port.

The handshake, however, fails. What INDI sends to the EFA for the Handshake (getting the Version) appears to me to match what the protocol requires as documented here:
     www.planewave.eu/fileadmin/Daten/produkt...cation_protocols.pdf

I set the baud rate to 19200 as the above document suggests.

I am running under Ubuntu 21.04 on a NUC. The Digitus product says it works with Linux.

I am at a loss to know how to proceed. Has anyone out there had success? Any suggestions for things to try?

The attached files have what I think are all the relevant lines from the KStars log, lsusb and dmesg.


Additional info: I tried a different serial-to-USB connector I had laying around and obtained the same result (handshake fails). So the Digitus unit is not the culprit.

 
Last edit: 9 months 5 days ago by John Mocenigo. Reason: clarity
9 months 5 days ago #75947
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Does it work with their official software using the same baud rate?
Jasem Mutlaq
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9 months 4 days ago #75968

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Getting into a Windows environment is non-trivial for me so I want to exhaust other avenues before climbing that mountain. I did try all baud rates on INDI. Their documentation suggests 19200, though.

I did notice that the checksum calculation in INDI's planewave_efa.cpp does not match the PlaneWave documentation, but that in itself did not solve my issue as I am not getting two-way communication with the EFA unit at all. I am experimenting in the code to try and establish some communication with the EFA for starters. I am not ready to give up on that yet, but when I do, I will be forced to give Windows a try (the PlaneWave help desk advised the same thing - naturally - since they don't support non-Windows environments).

Anyhow, the calculateCheckSum() function was not calculating the 2's complement, so I added two lines before the return statement to do that:
uint8_t EFA::calculateCheckSum(const uint8_t *cmd, uint32_t len)
{
    int32_t sum = 0;
    for (uint32_t i = 1; i < len - 1; i++)
        sum += cmd[i];
    sum ^= 0xFFFFFFFF;
    sum++;
    return (sum & 0xFF);
}
9 months 4 days ago #75978

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To follow on to my last reply. I can now communicate with the EFA, but the communication protocol is confusing and not documented beyond the sort of summary that is provided by this document . Do you happen to have something more in-depth on the protocol?

I receive back the echo of the command I send, but when I try to read the real information then I get a timeout error (-4) from that second tty_read.

If I accept the echo as a sufficient handshake, then as the loading proceeds, some requests go through, but others hit the timeout. I expect none of that can be trusted until the Handshake works properly (i.e., the version number is returned).

I will keep at it, but the mysteriousness of the protocol is annoying. Any suggestions appreciated.

P.S. As you probably realized immediately, just changing the current return statement on the calculateCheckSum function to:
return ((-sum) & 0xFF);

Namely just adding the minus sign, fixes it more succinctly.

 
9 months 4 days ago #75995

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So the EFA was previously tested already on a couple of real devices and it works OK. Is there some sort of firmware update available for your unit?
Jasem Mutlaq
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9 months 4 days ago #76002

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     I am attaching a python2 (2.7) script from PlaneWave. When I run that on my equipment, it interacts with the EFA properly, so I would say that indicates that there is not a problem with the connection between my NUC and the EFA nor with the EFA itself.

     I then modified planewave_efa.cpp and planewave_efa.h in an attempt to mimic the protocol used in the python script. I am also attaching those two modified files, which do compile and run. I can successfully write the handshake (get-version request) and I receive back the echo (EFA echoes everything sent to it), but when I then try to read the packet with the real response in it that should be the next thing on the connection, I get a timeout. Yet if I again run the python script, it has no problem requesting and returning the version information.

     I am stumped.

    Note: the three files are contained in the attached zip file.
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9 months 3 days ago #76036
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Can you debug the driver and step-in in sendCommand function to see what's going on? I see a bunch of RTS/CTS actions, could they be related?
Jasem Mutlaq
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9 months 3 days ago #76040

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I just made some progress and got version information back (in one of my many attempts to try different things I changed the baud rate and forgot to put it back).

Things are not entirely working so I will play with it some more and report back in the next 24 hours or so.
Last edit: 9 months 2 days ago by John Mocenigo. Reason: Corrected entry to remove outdated information made irrelevant.
9 months 2 days ago #76060

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I have a working version now, finally.

It may be clear skies tomorrow night, so I can see if it will actually auto-focus.

I will let you know here.
 
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9 months 2 days ago #76076

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So what was it? not just baud rate?
Jasem Mutlaq
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9 months 2 days ago #76102

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Definitely not just baud rate.

I was planning to give a complete report once I know that it is truly working in the field, which will be tonight, hopefully.

However, since you ask, there were definitely at least two bugs:
  1. The missing minus sign in the checksum calculation that I mentioned earlier
  2. The GET_MTR_POS request was missing a byte.
  3. I added code to rigorously clear RTS since if it is left laying around, the focuser hand controller is locked out (that definitely happened to me).
In addition, I believe (and I guess PlaneWave does, too, per their python script) that the better, safer, approach to reading packets is to go byte at a time so as to get the embedded data length, which also allows a check that there is enough buffer space, and then read that many bytes. Also byte at a time allows gibberish, should it appear (as it does when baud rate is wrong), to be discarded safely.

Finally, I added some sanity checks per the python script to confirm that the packet to be used is indeed the response to the request sent.

The vast majority of the driver code is bug-free and correct, and I certainly am extremely thankful for it - all of which is to say it is not a criticism when I say that in its current state I cannot see that anyone ever used this driver on a PlaneWave EFA unit. FYI: DeltaT Dew Heater code works fine.

I will provide you the changes I made via the git process once I confirm that this version works.

Again - extremely heartfelt thanks for INDI, KStars and EKOS... what a joy to use this software.
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9 months 1 day ago #76116

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Thank you for your detailed and through investigation of this issue, it's greatly appreciated! Looking forward to the PR whenever you feel it is ready!
Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
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9 months 1 day ago #76154

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