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Padraic M

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About Padraic M

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    Dublin and Kerry Dark Sky Reserve, Ireland
  1. Very nice! I got the shivers when I saw where you left your eyepieces though... I know what would happen to me! I finally took delivery of the field flattener for my new Esprit 80. Apparently supply chains are still in chaos.
  2. Hi Guy, I'm still a relative beginner to this game too, and I also use a HEQ5. I was very confused at the start with all of the various procedures to get set up properly but I'm getting the hang of them well over time with practice. I would recommend getting the hang of PA with the HEQ5 polar scope before you look for other methods. It sounds like you have your Dec axis rotated through 90 degrees and you have a clear light path. I second the advice above about trying this out during the day so that you have focus at 'very far' if not infinity. Anything that is more than a little out of focus whether it's through the polar scope, guide scope or main scope can mean that you see nothing..... coming closer to focus will give you the famous donut and from there on it's easy. Then on the next clear night, twist your neck so that you're looking through the polar scope with one eye, and keep the other eye open, looking at Polaris. You'll have a good gut feel about how to bring Polaris into view in the polar scope, and once you see it in the scope, you can align it to the 'Polaris position in polar scope' time value. One last suggestion - adjust the polar scope LED brightness using the handset so that you can just see it clearly but it's not outshining any stars in the field of view. I now use SharpCap and a guide camera to do PA, and it works very well, but it's not necessarily any easier than using the polar scope. I'm happy that I know how to use the polar scope as a fall-back position if needed.
  3. Nice new power supply to power the whole setup. FLO wouldn't ship to Ireland for some reason, so bought direct from Nevada Radio. Works a treat!
  4. This chap arrived today. 10A through the cigarette socket, up to 30A out the back. With all equipment connected, mount slewing in both axes, three dew straps on, camera cooling to -20c, I'm drawing around 4A. Voltage output stays solid at 13.8V. The handset on the mount shows 12.8V at rest, down to 12.5V when slewing. No more flashing leds, and a nice bright orange handset backlight!
  5. Hi Gina, We really don't like nested interrupts, so even if your do3sjobs() routine may work from within the ISR, it is bad practice to do much other than set a flag (or exit low-power mode if you were doing that kind of thing) in the ISR, and then get out of there before the next interrupt arrives. I'd recommend your 3sjobs, 1mjobs and 3mjobs should all be called from loop(). Bearing in mind that you'll get an ISR 'ping' once every second, I'd add three incrementing counters to count to 3, 60 and 180 isr pings respectively - or you could use one counter and some fancy modulo code if you prefer. Or even use your old code where you calculate the duration since last doxjob was done, which will remove any potential lag or jitter in the ISR timing. Then, you can loop within loop() waiting for the ISR flag to set, which frees you up to do your jobs. Something along these lines, using the 'interrupts' var as a flag rather than a counter: void loop() { if (!client.connected()) {reconnect();} client.loop(); while( interrupts == 0 ){} // will spin here until the ISR sets the flag // ISR has triggered - proceed and perform the jobs long now = millis(); if(now - lastP > Ptest) {++PulseCount; lastP = now;} if(now - last3s > P3s) {do3sJobs(); last3s = now;} if(now - last1m > P1m) {do1mJobs(); last1m = now;} if(now - last3m > P3m) {do3mJobs(); last3m = now;} interrupts = 0; // Reset the flag } I'm mulling clearing the flag at the end or decrementing it. If there's any possibility that your jobs could take more than 1 second to complete, you will have multiple timer ISRs triggered in the interim. Do you want to process each interrupt without fail, or just process the latest one?
  6. Aha @newbie alert. Definitely worth a try.
  7. @spillage camera name can be changed in the APT settings, but only one camera name per APT instance. This name seems to be applied to whatever CCD camera is connected. So, regardless of whether I connect to CCD #1 or #2, it will call it whatever is set in APT settings. I believe that's why the APT log says 'Connected to camera ZWO ASI1600MM' and then shows the sensor dimensions for the ASI290. Funny that when you disconnect, it uses the actual camera model name e.g. ZWO ASI290MC, not the name from settings. @newbie alert using ZWO drivers for the cameras. ASCOM for everything else.
  8. Hi Frank @Atreta, yes I've tried that. Once you select the correct camera, there's no issue. It will connect and work correctly. However, there's no indication which camera is #1 and which is #2, and the numbers are not consistently assigned. You can tell APT to connect to #1 or #2 automatically, but there's no indication which physical camera is connected except for the sensor dimensions. If I had two identical cameras, there would be no way to know other than to shine a lamp down the OTA and see if the camera sees it!
  9. Huge Nevada 13.8V power supply on the way! 10A through the cigarette socket, can supply up to 20A in total. That should be enough!
  10. @bottletopburly and @Merlin66 thanks guys, yeah I thought so, time to beef up. I suspect my ebay power brick isn't quite as advertised. Difficult to source 15V 10A converters.
  11. I had a very frustrating time last night trying to set up for imaging. Nothing worked for me! Hard to know where to even start to resolve the various issues. Here's a summary. I will open separate threads on each of these issues as and when I get the time. The purpose of setting up last night, even though the forecast was only so-so, was to test out guiding on my HEQ5 Pro, having just astrobaby-tuned it, and before I install the Rowan belt mod. Problems: 1. The weather. Nothing any of us can do about this I suppose, but the actual weather was a harsh interpretation of the CO forecast to say the least. I found myself at 2am trying to decide which was better - rain damage or mechanical trauma - as the night was getting very blustery with a few drops of rain. Eventually got sense and decided to risk neither, and had a realtively early night with no results to show. @Gina is currently working on a read-only weather station. I've no doubt that when she has that done she will do a version with full update functionality so we can actually change the weather conditions at will. 2. The HEQ5 Pro mount, post astrobaby strip-down and tune-up. Certainly no quieter than it was before; a noticeable ~2mm of play in the RA axis once loaded with scopes and cameras. All obviously not well from the start. Sharpcap polar alignment worked fine, with Excellent PA result. However, Phd2 considered PA to be 13.2 arcmins. Seriously? But then, phd2 errored 'Unable to move mount in RA....' so guiding was not possible. Worth adding that manually the RA axis moves very smoothly with the clutches off, or with the Synscan handset. I can also control it fine using the scope controls in APT, so mechanically it's working, and the connection to mount is working. Could the excess play in RA be preventing guiding? Testing today in daylight suggests that the worm gear alignment was at fault; the RA worm shaft float adjuster was loose. 3. Had some head-scratching minutes trying to sort out my camera until I noticed that APT had automatically connected to the guidecam (290mc) instead of the imaging camera (1600mm). Used the name of the imaging camera alright, but the sensor dimensions were obviously from the guidecam. Resolved this by reconnecting until the imaging camera was selected. No problem cooling to -20C. It looks like APT's CCD 1 and 2 slots are being allocated 'randomly' to the two cameras; so while I can set APT to always connect to camera 1 or 2, is there a way to consistently allocate the camera numbers to specific cameras? Otherwise, it's hit and miss every time. 4. Focus. I installed the Celestron electronic focus motor on the C8 SCT recently. Didn't realise at the time that you lose all manual focus capability with this focuser unless you have a Celestron mount handset. I couldn't find any out-of-focus star to start the autofocus routine, no matter how hard I searched. Pure black image with each capture, with the odd completely white image. Spent ages focusing with small steps to try to find a donut somewhere, but failed except for one short period. I now think that the camera connection was not working for some reason, and I was not getting an image at all. No errors reported from any part of the imaging chain. I didn't manage to get focused before the clouds rolled back in, so had to finish up for the night. I wish I'd gone for a PLL ESATTO, although they're very pricey, but at least I would have coarse focus under manual control. Has anyone made a focus hand controller for the Celestron SCT focus motor? I can't reproduce this today. I'm working on the assumption that there is USB contention somewhere along the line; my hub is USB2.0, but the ASI1600mm imaging camera is USB3.0. Always worked before, but with imaging cam, guide cam, focuser, mount and efw all on the hub, maybe there's too much traffic. 5. Mount LED flashes when the mount is slewing. I noticed this previously but hadn't paid much attention to it, although it didn't seem right. I did some experimentation with it today and unfortunately I think I have a power issue. I have a 10A 12V power brick with a cigarette socket output. I also have a 4-way cigarette splitter, so that I can power the mount, camera cooler and dew heater. 10A should be plenty of juice for that combination. If I connect the mount only, directly to the power brick output, the input voltage as measured by the handset is 11.4V. When slewing both motors, it drops to around 11.2V, and the LED stays on constantly. If I connect the mount through the 4-way adapter into the power brick, the voltage drops below 11V, and the LED sometimes drops out. Lastly, if I also connect the dew heater to the 4-way, the voltage drops down to 10.5V and the LED flashes like a Christmas tree. This isn't a mobile setup, so the power brick is plugged directly into the mains. Any suggestions on how to power such a setup? I'm assuming that I will need to power the mount directly from mains with a separate 12V converter. Apologies for the long rant. Any or all suggestions on these topics greatly appreciated!
  12. Thanks @bottletopburly I may well do that. Gathered the necessary evidence today - it's definitely happening intermittently but more often than not; and it doesn't depend on which camera is attached first. I thought that perhaps camera 1 is the first connected but not so. I wonder where the camera numbers are applied? See the screenshot - latest APT version; 1600MM was attached when APT was started; 290MC attached afterwards. APT connected to the 290MC and correctly detected the sensor size, but incorrectly identified it as the 1600MM. The biggest hint that something is wrong is that the cooling aid isn't available, but otherwise it will happily let me use the 290mc. Causes lots of head-scratching especially if it's also connected to phd2.
  13. How can I set up APT so that it always connects by default to my imaging camera? I have an irritating problem that APT will regularly connect to my guide camera, even though that camera is already connected in Phd2. I have created two APT shortcuts on the desktop, one specifying camera 2 (which usually is the guidecam) and the other specifying camera 1 (which is usually the imaging camera), but it looks like cameras 1 and 2 are not absolutely assigned to the ASI1600mm (imaging) and ASI290MC (guiding). At APT startup, in the log it will say 'Connected to ASI1600mm' and then imediately say 'sensor size 5.6mmx3.2mm'. Then I know I have a problem as it's obviously not the 1600! I can usually sort it out by disconnecting, Shift-Connecting (to get the camera selection dialog), and selecting cameras 1 and 2 until I get the correct sensor size. There must be a better way?
  14. Top corner menu - select "Configuration Nodes" Double-click your mqtt broker node and update the IP address in the configuration menu. You'll need to redeploy your flow.
  15. Influx is ideal for sensor data. It's optimised for storing time series data on the basis that most of the data will be written but rarely read. Grafana is the generally the dashboard of choice. Great memo here https://www.influxdata.com/blog/running-the-tick-stack-on-a-raspberry-pi/ on running it on Pi.
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