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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:

Astrotrac 360 support

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Astrotrac 360 support was created by Peter

Hi all,

I recently purchased the new Astrotrac 360 mount. Being so new there is no support for it yet except a new software was just released to connect it to the SkyX software and control the mount through it. As I do not own the Sky and cannot justify its cost, I was hoping this mount could be supported by Indi soon. Is there any development going on? Would be very nice to have an available driver and be able to control it through StellarMate. I am new here and I do not know what is needed to develop a driver, but if I can supply any information, I’d be happy to do so. Thanks for looking.

Peter
7 months 1 week ago #70447

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Replied by Peter on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Hi, so there is an experimental driver now, which is great. However now I do not know how to get a connection to the mount. I can only connect to it via WiFi. When I run Kstars on a windows laptop and run the equipment wizard, the driver is available but I have no idea on how to connect to it. Does anybody have any ideas. I am assuming that I need the laptop to connect to the mount’s WiFi, but from that poin on I am lost. Any help would be appreciated.

thanks,

Peter
4 months 2 weeks ago #73767

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Replied by Peter on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Allright, here is what I tried. I used StellarMate with the latest 1.5.9 on it. I had it connect to the WiFi station of my Astrotrac. It connected fine. I the connected my IPad to Astrotrac and started the StellarMate app. It showed the StellarMate with an IP address given to it by Astrotrac. In the equipment wizard I selected Astrotrac as a mount. When I started the profile however, it did not find the mount. There are no other settings I can change as far as I know, any help would be appreciated.

thanks,

Peter
4 months 2 weeks ago #73771

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Replied by Peter on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Allright, bit further now. I was able to connect my mount now, via StellarMate and an IPad. I had to change the mount’s setting to the proper IP address and port number. I was able to slew the mount and even use a goto. The on screen controls for parking the mount etc. Did not work, but so far so good. I have to figure out how to use all the settings and how to sync on an object. But I’ll have to try that under the stars.
4 months 2 weeks ago #73775

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Replied by Jasem Mutlaq on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Thanks, in the next version of KStars we'll have "Port Selector" that would make this a bit easier to use as it will ask you *before* connection how you want to connect to it.
Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
Add your observatory info
The following user(s) said Thank You: Peter
4 months 2 weeks ago #73791

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Replied by Peter on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Perfect Jasem, thanks! This mount becomes even better now that you have goto capability.
I noticed by the way, wit StellarMate, when you go to the mount tab, those settings do not work, like parking and unpacking, turning on tracking etc. Is that something that is still to come, or amI doing something wrong?
Also what is the proposed way to align the mount?

Cheers,

Peter
4 months 1 week ago #73858

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Replied by Jasem Mutlaq on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Alignment is using INDI::Alignment Subsystem, so you can plate solve and it would improve the GOTOs. Parking/unparking should work fine now. I'll have to check tracking later on.
Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
Add your observatory info
The following user(s) said Thank You: Peter
4 months 1 week ago #73870

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Replied by Peter on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Hi Jason,
Forgive my ignorance, but does that mean you have updated the driver. Then I’ll have to figure out how to get it on my StellarMate.

Thanks,

Peter
4 months 1 week ago #73871

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Replied by Abdi on topic Astrotrac 360 support

How interesting to come along to this thread.

I too have an Astrotrac 360, and have been recently experimenting with trying to get it to work with a Raspberry Pi 4b 8GB. Basically have failed.

Mind you I have been able to get it to work after much trouble with the Sky X professional on windows. Basically the wifi on the Astrotrac doesn't form a solid connection because it is too slow. Despite being b/g/n and 2.4 ghz it must have some interference from the metal body and usb 3. Basically I had to buy another usb wifi dongle and stick that right under the mount to have a reliable connection that wouldn't disconnect or have errors in the SkyX. Not sure if the wifi is defective or just bad by design.

Basically I connected to Mini PC running windows and the Sky X via Remote Desktop on windows. This was via the wifi of a  portable router that is permanently connected to the nuclear and is much more robust than intel wifi chip. I then bought the usb wifi dongle and used that to connect to the astrotrac wifi hotspot. Then I could use it.

I emailed the person who wrote the drivers for the Sky X for the mount and he too said during the testing he had to move around his laptop frequently to be able to stay connected to the mount.

Anyways to move on. 

I bought Stellarmate and downloaded the img file and use Rasberry Pi Imager to burn it to an Sandisk USB 3 SSD thumb drive.

I then booted the Pi off the the USB 3 successfully.

I connected to the hotspot.

My issues began with trying to connect to my home wifi so I could access the internet to get some update files and ASTAP etc.

Disconnecting the hotspot and connecting to home wifi happened ok. I was trying to then connect back to my the stellar mate hotspot for field use. And that's when the connection essentially was refused and kept coming in and out of visibility in available networks.

Basically once you attempt to connect between Hotspot and the home router the device behaves oddly. It didn't matter If I tried my phone/iPad/MacBook/windows pc/MacBook with bootcamp/android phone.

I flashed the stellar mate OS again and this time I managed to just use the hotspot to at least see if I could connect some stuff. I could connect camera and focuser and that's about it. I had significant issues with trying to get images with QHY 168c but that could be either the Hub one the PPBA or the cables. I replaced with a startech Hub and continue to use 3.0 and at least I could take a picture. Attempting to change between Hotspot and home wifi caused the same instability, basically could not connect either to home wifi nor hotspot.

Out of frustration I downloaded Astroberry and used that. It also demonstrates unusual behaviour when swapping between Hotspot and home wifi but at least if you turn off home wifi and disconnect everything from the Pi and reboot the power then connect at least you can then connect to the Hotspot.

I have been unable to connect to the mount in any of this.

Much frustration.

I just do not understand how one can be able to reliably connect to the mount via its wifi and at same time connect to Astroberry and Stellarmate. I was able to connect Astroberry to the hotspot of the mount and then connect my laptop also to same hotspot from mount. And then using vnc viewer able to go to Astroberry page but connection was so slow as to be unusable.

Any ideas on how to set this up?



 
4 months 1 week ago #73886

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Replied by Abdi on topic Astrotrac 360 support

I also would be interested to see how to get it connected.

I own the mount  and am trying to use it with a QHY 168c, Pegasus PPB advanced , ZWO EAF focuser and Rasberry Pi 4b with 8Gb ram.

I bought Stellarmate OS and was able to get it running via USB 3 port on a sandisk ssd thumb drive.

However had issues when trying to switch between the Hotspot and home wifi, basically becomes unusable and if I can connect to home wifi almost impossible to get back to Hotspot. May something wrong in the way it tries to connect to these.

Out of frustration I installed the Astroberry image and it seems at least the wifi is more stable however not as user friendly.

I don't understand how one can connect to both the mount which is only via wifi and also be able to remote into the pi to control it from phone laptop etc.

 I managed to get it to run on Windows via the sky X and TCP protocol but the wifi is bad, I had to resort to external wifi dongle with higher gain to maintain any reasonable connection to the mount.

I tried connecting both the Astroberry and the Laptop to hotspot of the mount which I managed but connection so slow basically unusable.

Any ideas
4 months 1 week ago #73887

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Happy to talk to you about this. You are talking about many issues, some related and some not.

I have been working through many aspects of using the Astrotrac 360 controlled by a RPi4 both using the The Sky X and using just Ekos from a computer inside the house (Jasem has been kind enough to develop the INDI driver using my set up for development). 

Please email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I can give you my phone number. Once sorted out, we can post the solution here for everyone’s benefit.

Bottom line - use a long Ethernet cable to connect your home router to the Pi while you are still trying to iron out issues. The Pi WiFi connects reliably to the Astrotrac WiFi if there are no external interferences (which I experienced when tested in the house with a lot of other electronics around). I also got a Pi WiFi dongle but don’t need to use it since the interference problem went away outdoors. Saving it for when I want to connect to the Pi wirelessly via the home network in the future. In any case, I may never go back from the long Ethernet cable as the download times are 2 seconds vs 40 seconds which is unbeatable.

The Sky X on the Pi works but is slow. Turn hardware acceleration off and it helps a bit. The Stellarmate OS is fantastic. I have been able to use it in 2 ways:

1) The Sky X on the Pi for telescope control and pointing (including t-point) PLUS Kstars/Ekos on my Mac inside the house or on the Pi itself for everything else. I have been able to make everything work (camera, guide camera, guiding, EFW, Focuser, even plate solving with some quirks). Ekos talks to the Sky X using the Sky TCP server and the Paramount INDI driver. Use differential offset instead of sync for plate solving and it works. Ignore the error figures (working with Jasem to resolve this).

2) Completely abandon the Sky X and use only Kstars/Ekos running on the Pi or on the Mac inside. Am close to getting all of this to work thanks to Jasem’s relentless pursuit of getting the driver right. I also connect Ekos to SkySafari at times for a planetarium interface I am more used to although Kstars is very powerful as well. The only issue to be resolved is the plate solving in this configuration. Also, I need to build the alignment model in Ekos (analogous to T-point). Haven’t had a chance to do that yet. 

Regards,

SSB
4 months 1 week ago #73890

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Replied by Abdi on topic Astrotrac 360 support

Thank you that is very useful.

I will email you.

Many issues indeed, only good news is I somehow connected it all together including to the mount.

I am almost attempting something very similar to yourself.

Astrotrac 360
QHY 168c/QHy 268m camera
Rasberry Pi
Stellarmate OS
(Tried Astroberry)
The Sky X predominantly for its pointing.

I suspect I am having issues with USB Hub on board the PPBA, I changed to some other hub and things are better.

But lets talk and figure it out.

Much appreciated.
4 months 1 week ago #73891

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