Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 3 months ago

I didn't start Ekos. I just started KStars. But I have to admit I am completely confused of how it is configured. Does it always start its own instance of INDI server by default? Where can I turn it off? I always just use the device manager to manually connect to the running INDI server at localhost - I wonder whether that cannot just happen automatically on start? The documentation just describes how to connect and change the modes manually, but I cannot see any setting for automatic connection/setup.

I had a closer look at my DIY thumb joystick and not only its resolution is very poor, but it has terrible dead zones at the edges of its range. Maybe it is rather problem of the Arduino controller and its A/D converter. Anyway, the only plausible solution to use the range of values would probably be to divide it into three zones. The outer would incrementally increase the slew rate (let's say in 0.5s intervals?), the medial would just keep the movement and the inner one would incrementally decrease the speed until it stops completely. The Arduino could emulate the speed change commands as button presses. However, it does not seem to be of any use with the current speed limits and the automatic go-to system is the only way to control large scale slews at the moment.

I found no closer description of the "ramp up" process of slew speed in the documentation. May be one could find inspiration in the ASCOM source code? At the first look it seems to define 5 speeds: 0 (stop), 0.6x (guide), 5x (center), 50x (move) and 600x (slew 2.5deg/s). (The base being the sidereal rate.) Does anyone have any experience with the ASCOM implementation and how it actually behaves?

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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 3 months ago

So, I have not found anything useful using logs, so I just wrote a simple python script that turns on the "USEJOYSTICK" switch and put it into /etc/rc.local. Stupid workaround, but it works (with a slight delay after bootup).

I have tried testing my thumb joystick, fighting with its random deviations, which make everything more complicated. I am thinking of several methods how to control the speed without additional buttons. But for casual visual observations, it seems I would be happy enough just using the highest speed currently available. Higher speeds are not supported (and I do not dare to implement them now) and lower speeds do not currently seem to be necessary (the iExos-100 is not that much robust and stable for such delicate fine-tuning anyway, and for astrophotography a remote control by a computer seems more useful than manual joystick).

I was just a bit surprised yesterday: after slewing to some position in the sky using SkySafari, I started KStars at the Astroberry desktop and at that moment the mount driver got reset, thinking it is pointing to the NCP. Any idea why?

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Pavel replied to the topic 'Astroberry Server 2.0.1 is available now!' in the forum. 3 months ago

Oh, it looks like the problematic update was indi-astroberry-diy 2.5. The indi web manager wasn't able to change the profile, but after I manually removed the "Astroberry Board" driver from .indi/profiles.db, everything seems to work again.

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Pavel replied to the topic 'Astroberry Server 2.0.1 is available now!' in the forum. 3 months ago

I just did apt update now and after reboot INDI won't start. The syslog is full of the following failures:

systemd[1]: Started INDI Web Manager.
indi-web[2689]: Traceback (most recent call last):
indi-web[2689]:   File "/usr/local/bin/indi-web", line 10, in <module>
indi-web[2689]:     sys.exit(main())
indi-web[2689]:   File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/dist-packages/indiweb/main.py", line 315, in main
indi-web[2689]:     start_profile(profile['name'])
indi-web[2689]:   File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/dist-packages/indiweb/main.py", line 99, in start_profile
indi-web[2689]:     indi_server.start(info['port'], all_drivers)
indi-web[2689]:   File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/dist-packages/indiweb/indi_server.py", line 74, in start
indi-web[2689]:     self.start_driver(driver)
indi-web[2689]:   File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/dist-packages/indiweb/indi_server.py", line 37, in start_driver
indi-web[2689]:     cmd = 'start %s' % driver.binary
indi-web[2689]: AttributeError: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'binary'
systemd[1]: indiwebmanager.service: Main process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
systemd[1]: indiwebmanager.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
indiwebmanager.log contains repeated failures
WARNING: terminating indiserver failed code 1


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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 5 months ago

Setting the SlewRate according to the magnitude of the joystick inTelescope::processNSWE() e.g.:

ceil(mag*nSlewRate)-1
It would probably be useful to put some minimal threshold there, so it would become:
ceil((mag-minThreshold)*nSlewRate/(1-minThreshold))-1
Or maybe a logarithmic scale would be more adequate than linear?
Of course, the condition "if (mag < 0.5)" at the beginning would probably change into "if (mag < minThreshold)" and later "if (mag > 0.9)" into "if (mag > minThreshold)". Is it a bad idea? I hope it could work well for nSlewRate=4, as currently provided by the PMC8 driver. I am not sure about all the 9 speeds available in ExploreStars, if ever implemented by the PMC8 driver. It would need testing in practice and it would probably depend on the particular joystick. My DIY thumb-joystick would probably not offer really exact control of too many speeds, but maybe I would not mind. So, maybe it would raise desire for even more configurability of the joystick settings - such as a toggle between the current "digital" control with a preset speed, and this kind of "analog" control with variable speed.

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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 5 months ago

After a long search for the code where the driver integrates the joystick controller, I found (surprise! surprise!) that it's all just inherited from the default INDI::Telescope implementation. Finally, a lot of the undocumented settings make some sense to me, as well as the terms "angle" and "magnitude". On the other hand, most of the limitations seem to be based here. Since it is the work of Mutlaq personally, the reason is definitely NOT any lack of competence in this case... ;-) The "magnitude" plays no role - it just starts movement when above 90% (and stops when below 50%?). So, trying to program the joystick to work around the INDI system seems as crazy as just playing with the code of the method Telescope::processNSWE() myself. Or maybe is the whole idea of mine to control the speed by the magnitude of the joystick just for some reason bad?

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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 5 months ago

The problem might have been that I misunderstood the documentation and turned into the debugging mode where there are completely different commands with low-level effects on basic settings. But that is just another reason not to trust myself. Nobody really told me what happened, they just sent me a new mount.

I only tried the mount twice since I bought it and I have had problems with a proper polar alignment and with keeping it. I still need to learn. But I wished to be able to move the mount freely manually even without the goto, just to be on the safe side if I give up fighting in the fields and forests. I have read the higher speeds need to be turned on gradually (and I do not suppose the mount does it automatically, so I expect it to be the reason it is not implemented in the driver yet).

The ability to move both axes at once should not be a problem, though. Currently the driver denies the second movement, because the mount "is currently slewing". I suppose it is not desirable to start movements when the mount is slewing automatically to some target position. So, if it is possible to differentiate between the goto-slewing movement and the manual one, it could be enabled easily. I will have a look.

However, those are all just minor details one can live well without. I guess the most serious limitation of the driver is currently the lack of support for the INDI alignment subsystem...?

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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 5 months ago

Maybe the joystick is not available at the moment the INDI drivers start and turns off again? I noticed that happens with the mount as well. It is not a plug and play system, it only tries once...?

Yes, I would like to contribute, I just do not trust myself. My first experiments ended with a damaged mount and I had to return it. I only tried to telnet and query the firmware version and still the mount stopped working. A discouraging experience. So, when I see something is not implemented by a more competent person, I am afraid there might be some good reason for that. I will try to get deeper into the INDI system, if I can, but I will surely always try to raise questions before trying to actually "fix" something that should not be played with for some good reason.

I really like the whole INDI system architecture, but I still wonder about some details of the implementation, such as the array-like implementation of switches and the reason for such implementation decisions (what happens if I try to switch on more then one option? etc.). I should probably get some time to study the documentation closer before trying to hack something (and break it).

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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 5 months ago

Another limitation: when using the joystick, I actually cannot move the other axis while one is moving, only one axis movement at a time is possible. Is this a purpose as well?

Also, the joystick gets never connected to the PMC8 driver automatically - I always have to trigger connect manually after start. Saving the settings does not help. The worst thing is reconnecting the joystick, then I have to go to the joystick driver settings (not PMC8) and manually disconnect and connect again. Well, I know, nothing is perfect and I can make some scripts, I am just not sure whether to report such minor issues to someone.

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Pavel replied to the topic 'Changing or turning off password on the web UI' in the forum. 5 months ago

Finally SOLVED! I still have no idea where the configurations is stored, but it can actually be changed very easily by the VNC control panel accessible on the desktop, via the small VNC applet on the right top of the screen. When the "VNC Server" window opens, click the menu button in the right top corner of the window and select "Options" from the menu. It will ask for your user's password and then open the Options dialog. Select "Expert" panel on the left and then find "Authentication" in the list of parameters on the right. Set the value manually to "None" and confirm that you are sure you really want to disable the authentication. Click "Apply" or "OK" and you are done.

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Pavel replied to the topic 'USB GPS NO FIX Rpi4 Astroberry' in the forum. 5 months ago

That's right. GPSD autodetects USB connected GPS automatically and adjusts to its parameters, without any configuration. However, I had a problem with a Prolific PL2303 USB-to -serial adapter - it always stopped working with GPSB after some 8-15 seconds of successful communication. Still don't know if it is a specific problem of the combination of GPSd and PL drivers or whether my PL adapter is just defect, but it seems to work well under other circumstances, e.g. when just dumping the serial messages to the console.

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Pavel replied to the topic 'USB GPS NO FIX Rpi4 Astroberry' in the forum. 5 months ago

Edit the file as super user (root) with "sudo" :-)

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Pavel replied to the topic 'Using GPS with Astroberry 2.0.0' in the forum. 5 months ago

On my system it is /dev/ttyS0, and the GPS is connected to the RaspberryPi UART on the header. Actually, I am not sure the time is really updated from the GPSD at all, how can I tell? I see that it gets updated from the custom RTC on start, since the time is up-to-date even without internet connection. How should I make crony synchronize system time, RTC (possibly also NTP if connection ever available?) and GPSD (if signal available) by their logical priority?

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Pavel replied to the topic 'Changing or turning off password on the web UI' in the forum. 5 months ago

RealVNC should use the option "Authentication=None" in some of its config files ( help.realvnc.com/hc/en-us/articles/36000...efore-they-start-0-0 ), but it does seem to have any effect wherever I try to place it. :-(

I have created a profile in the web manager UI provided by the Astroberry sliding menu, but it only offers the choice of the drivers, not the configuration or even control of the drivers. Well, so I understand the rest is only provided by the KStars UI (or the config files). So, I will just try to add real physical buttons to the Raspi or my custom joystick to control the poweroff and telecope parking - that is what I care of at the moment. Poweroff does not seem to be possible to trigger by the joystick (couldn't the AstroberryBoard driver also be controlled by the joystick buttons? it provides a shutdown trigger already), but a GPIO button and a script should solve it.

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Pavel replied to the topic 'iEXOS100 Mount Tested With PMC8 Driver' in the forum. 5 months ago

As I can see in the code, the current speed of 256x is also set as the maximal speed limit for the driver. Higher speeds are "currently unsupported". I suppose the reason is the need to increase and decrease the speed in gradual steps in order to protect the motors? That is at least something I have seen the documentation from ES.

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