I have found a relationship between this issue and LOGGING, hence my working theory is there is a contention in the I/O processes for image writing to the disk vs logging:

same setup as above, but this time I have logging on verbose to try and capture more information
Auto run starts but cannot even finish focus routine before kstars crashes - in the morning I attempt to take test images with same setup - downloads are not working or extremely slow: test with OTHER SW connected to indi -> same result - Next I turn OFF logging (disable setting)
Image now download as expected - no problem with speed or delay
So I suspect that the start of the problems above is nothing more than the increased activity during focus and schedule = more logging = delay = more logging = feedback loop = crash
Is there perhaps a common writer object that is being used for both image to disk and log to disk?
or are they perhaps on the same thread? and blocking?

FYI I have and SSD with gigs of free space and raspbian confirms the health and speed are good