Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #49407
I put together an arduino uno with an arduino stepper driver shield connected to a NEMA 17 to do remote focusing when I use a CCD. My mount and CCD both connect to a Raspberry Pi4 that runs indiserver.
My goal is to connect the focuser to the indiserver Pi4 as well and hopefully control it via KStars as I do with the mount and camera. Initially, I am not "focused" (pun intended) on auto-focus or astrophotography as much as I am on not having to run inside and out to try and get an object in focus to see on my screen. I should probably mention that I run Linux Ubuntu everywhere I can, including the Pi, laptop and desktops.
The question then, is what combination of software is the present "path of least resistance" for and indi driver and the appropriate arduino sketch? I have looked at the Moonlight driver for indi and myFocuserPro for the arduino. Is there something more current or is that the path? I have to ask, because if there is a more simple and up-to-date way of doing things, I am sure to miss it if I don't.
I believe my needs are fairly simple presently and I could probably get by writing a Java program running on the Pi that would talk to the USB port feeding forward/backward/fast/slow tokens to a simple arduino stepper controller, but I recognize that the indi drivers have a lot of things I might easily grow into if they were available to me from the outset.
Thank you in advance for you suggestions and opinions!
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #49532
Ok, for lack of input, I went with plan B and wrote a Java panel that gives me the ability to control the NEMA 17 with the Arduino and stepper motor shield from a remote terminal on the Pi. I should mention the connection from the NEMA 17 is a geared reduction to the focus knob. My manual focuser has no fine focus gearing.
I have created the following functions:
HOME (position 0, focuser fully extended)
END (position 8230)
GOTO # (spin until reaching position #)
PRESET1 (GOTO the rough focus position of my 10mm eyepiece)
PRESET2 (GOTO the rough focus position of my CCD)
IN (fine-focus in 1 motor bump)
OUT (fine-focus out 1 motor bump)
Basically, the Java program opens a serial port and communicates to the Arduino to an Arduino sketch. The Java program keeps track of the focus position and sends alpha-numeric codes to the Arduino sketch that are parsed and call appropriate subroutines to move the motor. Pretty straight-forward with all stock libraries. It will get me by for a while, but I still want to go the INDI route eventually.
Now that I have this mess working, I have found a nice add-on waveshare board that has INDI support, connects directly to the Pi and even powers the Pi. This will greatly reduce the hardware to get the same job done and include INDI in the mix. Live and learn.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #49738
MyFocuserPro has an INDI driver so it should be possible to control the whole thing with Ekos or CCDciel.
The simplest hardware option for myfocuserpro is Uno with motor shield. No soldering, just plug in.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #49771
Yes, I looked at MyFocuserPro, but it seemed to be a Windows-only solution. I did see that the old, original version of MyFocuser would run on Linux with more limited functionality. I do not run Windows and run only Unix variants on all of my servers, desktops and laptops. I did buy the Arduino with stepper driver shield with the thought that I might consider MyFocuser, but found the Raspberry Pi/WaveShare stepper driver option with existing INDI drivers a cleaner solution.
That said, I am presently running a "Frankenstein" setup with the Pi running the indiserver for CCD and GOTO as well as a little Java program I wrote for focusing that controls the Arduino with stepper motor shield. Both the Pi and Arduino are mounted to the telescope Dobsonian mount with the connection from the Pi to the SynScan GOTO and Arduino via USB cables. I connect via my regular network WiFi from my desktop or laptop to the Pi and export the Java control screen to my screen. Not as clean as doing everything in an INDI control panel, but it does work.
When the WaveShare board arrives, I'll lose the Arduino rig and everything will run on the Pi, controlled by INDI via the KStars/INDI control panel.
This is the screen from that Java Program. I have trimmed its features down from the original version, as it won't be around for long.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #49773
I'm very happy with the Moonlite focuser hardware and software. I've made sure that the INDI software works, it needed a minor tweak a few weeks ago but that was it. The hardware is a work of art and runs really nicely.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #49774
Yes, Moonlite is another really good option. It isn't as pricey as some other options and probably far less pricey in the long run over a DIY approach once you figure in time and cost plus postage for all the fiddly bits needed to get a project up and running.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #50998
Sorry to butt-in but, it seems there are some Moonlite users in this thread... What exactly have you bought from Moonlite to get autofocus working with indi? Just the motor or also one of their controllers? Does the motor replace the fine-focus knob? (I have a an old CR2 with fine-focus knob, but the fine focus knob seems to be broken....)
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #51000
I have a CR2 with a motor and the controller with buttons and a display. The simple controller should be OK as well but AFAIK that's computer control only. Don't know about how it connects as an add on but control is only through the motor and the controller with it's buttons. Ron Newman is very helpful and wil suppot you.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #51187
Yes, you can just get the motor and hook it up to INDI without a Moonlite controller. That's what I do. The Waveshare Stepper Motor HAT (about $20 I think) will drive the Moonlite from INDI. You just need to wire up the HAT with four wires to a DB9 connector, that the Moonlite will plug into, and build and install the driver.
If you do go this route, shoot me a message and I'll dig up the proper wiring of the HAT to the DB9 connector.
This assumes you're using a Raspberry Pi. I sometimes assume everyone around here is using a Pi, but I forget that not everyone is.
And if you're using the StellarMate gadget, that will work, but you'll need to put it in a bigger case.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #51207
Are you using the Moonlite motor? That is unipolar while most stepper controllers are bipolar. Bipolar motors have 4 wires while unipolar motors have 5 or 6 wires. If you have a non Moonlite motor then this may be irelevant.
Current Selection Wisdom on INDI Focuser Software? #51244
Yes, I have the Moonlite CR2 on my Newtonian. The coil windings on the unipolar motors are basically the same as on bipolar, just with a center tap. Ignore the center taps, and treat it like a bipolar, only wiring the ends of the coils, and not the center taps.