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INDI Library v1.8.6 Released (21 Aug 2020)

August 2020 release of INDI Library v1.8.6 introduces new drivers while providing fixes and improvements to existing devices and core framework.

Alt-Az mode for EQmod

1 month 2 weeks ago
Dirk Tetzlaff
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59745
did the update. AltAzSimple still handshake failing; skywatcherAltAz does not connect due to other reasons. Log attached. First attempt is with AltAzSimple (because there the connection at least was initiated), second with skywatcher_AltAZ
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1 month 1 week ago
federicoparrasilva
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59844
Dear Jasem, sorry to be communicating about the same subject on many fronts (Stellarmate support ticket HAYB-000932, Github enhancement demand github.com/indilib/indi/issues/1232 , and now here).
As I mentioned in both other places, the version of the indi_skywatcherAltAzMount driver you are using with the alias AZ-GTI AltAz is the one that still contains the bug that doesn't allow UDP connection with Az-GTI, as explained -and then solved- in this GitHub bug github.com/indilib/indi/issues/1158 ).
So that's the first problem. The second problem for is that when using AZ-GTI in AltAz with indi_skywatcherAltAzMount driver (not your version), it does not track. The driver connects through WiFi (UDP), and then it is parked. If I unpark, it goes somewhere, but when it gets there it doesn't track. I can slew somewhere else (sometimes, sometimes it stops) but again when it gets to destination it does not track.
As the original post demanded, I also think the best would be to have an AltAz "translation layer" between Ekos and AZ-GTI eqmod-based driver, translating from AltAz to EQ and back in every interaction with said driver, would that be possible? Since that driver works seamlessly with AZ-GTI whereas the indi_skywatcherAltAzMount driver does not.

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1 month 1 week ago
knro
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59855
It's alright! Ok, let's move all the discussions here :D

I am using this driver with my AZ-GTi Alt-Az driver over UDP.



I just tested this and issued GOTO to Phecda. It slewed there and it was tracking. RA/DE are constant while AZ/AL change to keep the object centered.



I'm not sure I follow the last point though.. you want to help explicit Az/Alt input in the driver? This can be added, but it's not strictly necessary. If this is required for a very good reason, then I'll add it. Otherwise usually clients simply send the RA/DE and the driver internally converts that to Al/Az and command the mount.

Jasem Mutlaq
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1 month 1 week ago
federicoparrasilva
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59871
Ok, I see that you are making it work.
In my case, after switching to the beta channel, only one driver works (AZ-GTI AltAz), all other drivers (including Nikon, etc) give me the "driver xxxx was not found on the system" error (and then Kstars closes). So that's bad, I think I'll have to download the image and start all over again. It's frustrating because I had downloaded the 4+ gb plate solving data files and my connection is slow.

In any case, the AZ-GTI AltAz driver (which does work) does not connect via UDP. I don't know why. The indi-SkyWatcher-AltAzMount driver did connect fine via UDP, but did not track correctly.

My last point was about what I mentioned in github.com/indilib/indi/issues/1232 enhancement: the point is that AZ-GTI driver is a superior driver compared to indi_Skywatcher_AltAzMount in many ways, it has more features and is more stable I think. If I am correct, then my point is that it would be better to make an AltAz version of that driver, an altAz version of the Eqmod driver beneath it. I know that sounds difficult, but that way altaz users would inherit all the advantages of the AZ-GTI driver and you would have a unified driver for altaz/EQ use, I think.

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1 month 1 week ago
knro
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59877
No need to reflash again. Make sure to update_indi_core and update_indi_drivers then remove the Ekos profile and recreate it again. Hopefully that should help you run all the devices. If not, we can try Teamviewer method again.

Jasem Mutlaq
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1 month 1 week ago
federicoparrasilva
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59909
Dear Jasem, yesterday night I switched back to the Stable Stellarmate channel and after the switch all works, including UDP with AZ-GTI AltAz driver you made.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned, the driver it is based on (indi_skywatcher_altazmount) has bugs.
The first one is that, when tracking, in the Mount section the tracking button is not set to ON (both ON and OFF are greyed out).
The second, more important problem is that when tracking an object, Jupiter for instance, the mount will, every few seconds, slew on its own randomly, for example slew up a little bit, or slew left a little bit, then begin tracking again, then slew again...
When using the Alignment module, plate solving will be interrupted very often with the message "slewing detected aborting solving".
I tried by disabling the SoftPEC option, but crazy slewing continued.
I'm sure this can be solved. I'm also still inclined to think having two different AZ-GTI drivers, one based on indi_skywatcher_altazmount and the other on eqmod might not be the best road, and that it might be better to modify the eqmod based driver to work with altaz instead.
"
The following user(s) said Thank You knro

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1 month 1 week ago
knro
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59923
I hope Jean-Luc's driver would work with AZ-GTi so it's a win-win on all fronts. I just attempted to use an existing driver that was tailored to Alt-Az mounts but it wasn't tested good enough I suppose. Let's wait to see when EQMod Alt/Az modifications take place.

Jasem Mutlaq
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1 month 1 week ago
federicoparrasilva
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59962
Can you invite Jean-Luc into this conversation?

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1 month 1 week ago
knro
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59964
He's already in this discussion (@geehalel).

Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
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1 month 1 week ago
federicoparrasilva
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59976
Dear Jean-Luc, as I mentioned in my recent exchange with Jasem, both skywatcherAltAzSimple and indi_Skywatcher_AltAzMount drivers are buggy on many front; particularly, with the AZ-GTI mount, the mount keeps slewing randomly for no reason, these are small slews but enough to slip from your target. When you try to do platesolve-alignment, alignment is continuously stopped by an error that says "slewing detected, aborting solving". Also, it's difficult to provide any stable piture of stars for plate solving because tracking is significantly bad. These two drivers, at least when connected through UDP with the AZ-GTI mount, give very bad results in my experience. Compare that with your driver, based on eqmod: I've been using it (in EQ) for months, never a bug, tracking is perfect, etc etc. So I believe strongly that the best would be to have an option in your driver for alt-az mounts. That would also alt-az users to profit from all future features added to your driver. For instance, recently a version of your driver added a feature to use the SNAP port of the AZ-GTI mount to take pictures longer than 30s with DSLRs ( github.com/indilib/indi/issues/1181 ) - although pictures longer than 30s are not probably a good idea for altaz operation, it would be nice to have the feature to try. Thank you so much for your work on this driver!!!

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1 month 1 week ago
geehalel
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59979
The slews you see in AltAzSimple/AltAzMount drivers come from the way Roger (who wrote those drivers) implemented tracking: every second, perform a goto to the foreseen position. It was mainly aimed at visual observing. It explains why plate_solving alignment aborts as it detects these gotos.
Now the question is what usage for an altaz skywatcher driver (driving AZGti, AZEQ, virtusoso and all other altaz mounts I don't know of) ?
- visual: should be ok, but never heard a report here from users if any;
- planetary imaging: did not test myself, @Dirk tried to do so, but it seems he has serial port communication issues and I can't help him here. I'm not sure you need plate solving for planetary imaging, even 'tracking' is usually performed when you stack the images, but I am not used to planetary imaging;
- deep sky imaging: there you need everything, as you state in your post.
As I already said, I won't add a button in indi-eqmod for alt-az mode: first it's risky for users, and it will actually add a bunch of if/then/else in the code. It is not as simple as adding a layer between alt/az and ra/dec. Tracking would use variable speed adjustments, and you have to compute period values and make timer callbacks at a rate which depends on the stepper resolution of your mount. And you may have zero period sometimes (infiinite speed at zenith or pole, I don't remember), hence what to do there ? In Equatorial mode, tracking is just starting the RA motor... Concerning guiding I don't know if guiding programs may use Alt/Az axes, hopefully they do.
In other words, this represents a huge amount of work, refactoring indi-eqmod code first to split it into eq and altaz mode, refactoring alignment too, and then testing all that new stuff, which is at least half of the work. I still have a pair of pull requests waiting for users to confirm. AzGTi snap port is one of them, on my side I only use simulator mode, put A5 as mount code, see the snap button appear in the control panel and toggle it, but I still don't know if that actually works in real. What I mean is that I need testers, merging a 3 or 6 month branch may be time consuming (or not). And sometimes users simply vanish (that was the case for snap ports in indi-eqmod, I made the work twice).
Thus my point of view is that I don't plan to invest time to develop an altaz driver as there may be other solutions (which may need tweaking, but without testers...). And why not using an equatorial wedge if you want to plate solve? I don't know when does field rotation appear in altaz mode, but plate solving may also fail in altaz mode for that reason, even with a perfect smooth tracking. Or am I wrong ?

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1 month 1 week ago
Dirk Tetzlaff
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Alt-Az mode for EQmod #59982
@geehalel: first off, many thanks for your help, which I appreciate very much. Regarding the communication problems with my AZEQ-6: I guess something went wrong on my system with the compilation of your branch of the libindi. After com problems with other devices I reverted to the current official libindi by just following the compilation instruction on the github page. After that I could connect again with the eqmod and other drivers (not with the alt-az driver, though). Any ideas what might have caused the problems ? I have I relatively clean install with all recent updates of astroberry running on a pi4. The only amendments done to the astroberry is an installation of a wifi dongle. The compilation process did finish without any errors in both cases, i.e. installing your branch and the official one.
Regarding the alt-az drivers: I have not been aware, that these drivers implement kind of leapfrog tracking. Probably for the planetary imaging I would be better of to revert to the factory driver running off the handcontroller. Once this is initialised and aligned I can connect with the synscan driver. The only thing which put me off here, is that I first have to do the manual align according to the synscan manual as the driver will not accept any input before conclusion of the initial alignment routine. I would have to install and use the visual guide scope, which I retired already and every time punch in the current date, time & stuff. It sounded so promisingly easy to do all the alignment with with ekos alignment module.
So if there currently is no decent alternative to the factory drivers I would also pitch again for having some form of an alternative for alt-az control. As much as I understand the benefits of GEM mounts, the recent advancements with EAA made many things possible, e.g. live stacking of relatively short exposures, which makes DSO much simpler as one does not necessarely need guiding and even field rotation is not a problem as the image is being de-rotated by software. I happily volunteer for testing !
The big advantage of the alt-az mounts is the time you save when setting things up. You just have to level the base of the mount and are ready to go. Setting up my stuff in GEM config takes considerably more time: in my case I have to go to my backyard as the view of Polaris is obstructed from my terrace. The tripod for my alt-az mount has rollers attached, so I can just roll the entire rig out, level it and start. I am only a casual observer. So when i have lets say three hours for observing during evening hours, I loose 1 hour for mounting and dismounting my equipment and probably 20 min. for proper alignment of the scope. Something always goes wrong, so in the end I have max. 50% of the time for actual observing. With the alt-az I would just roll in and out in 10 minutes and have the scope aligned in 5 min. So effectively the time for observation is doubled. At least in theory...
Anyway, I would very much appreciate to have a system as good as eqmod for the alt-az mount. With the advancments in EAA I would guess that more and more people will use alt-az mounts as they are simpler to use and can bring more people to this fascinating hobby.

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