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Found 15 results

  1. Imaging season is still a few weeks away up here, but I've started dusting of my gear and upgrading some parts. One step closer to automation is a motor focuser, and I opted for a budget solution. I bought a SkyWatcher DC focuser and built a computer control for it. Since I use INDI for my automation, I had to find a way to connect the focuser to indiserver. A first thought was to use the INDIduino code, but after some coding and testing I found out that this code is very limited and not really supported by indi clients. The Ekos/Kstars focus module can't be used for focus control if you use INDIduino, apparently. But then I stumbled upon an Arduino solution that emulates the MoonLite focuser (http://www.indilib.org/forum/general/283-moonlite-focuser-protocol.html). Unfortunately, this protocol is for a focuser with a stepper motor, whereas the SkyWatcher has a geared DC motor. I had already rewritten some code from stepper to (geared) DC motor, so it was easy to adapt this to the MoonLite based code. My solution consists of the following: hardware: - SkyWatcher DC focuser (only the motor is used, the handbox is replaced by the Arduino) - Arduino UNO - Velleman motor controller shield for Arduino - 9 V power adapter to power the shield - Raspberry Pi software: - Arduino sketch with Geared Motor library (see below for link) - INDI server on RPi, and client (Ekos/Kstars) on Windows I've tested this setup on my SkyWatcher Explorer 150PDS and it runs fine. Unfortunately I haven't been able to test the autofocus, due to absence of astrodarkness and clear skies. Since a DC focuser has no knowledge about the position of the actual focuser, the software assumes that position '0' is all the way in. Maximum position is 25000 for my setup. By default, focus is increased by 100 steps, which is supposed to be 100 ms of motor drive. BTW, the code is in my GitHub repository: https://github.com/wberlo/Arduino_Moonlite_Focuser
  2. For quite some time now I've been working on a small weather station. The idea is to add automation to an obsy I'm building. The weather station as is measures temperature, humidity, pressure and presence of cloud. I also have the components to build a rain detector, but haven't implemented that yet. First the box: Made from vent covers and pieces of aluminium All put together With sensors. The IR sensor is in the far back (top of the housing) and the BME280 sensor is the free hanging red pcb. The other pcb holds a few pull-up resistors and a capacitor for the I2C wires. Insulation added to keep critters out. First I thought of using an Arduino to control and collect the data, but recently I started tinkering with ESP32 wifi boards. These are a lot faster and have more memory than Arduinos, and I wanted to use microPython. The ESP32 board is also smaller than an Arduino UNO (about the size of an Arduino nano) and has built in wifi, which means I just need power to the device. I uploaded the code to GitHub https://github.com/wberlo/indi_meteostation Output is as a HTML file (index.html) which presents data in a simple way. The INDI driver 'Weather Watcher' can read this file. For now, temperature is mapped to temperature (of course), and 'clouds' is mapped to 'forecast/Weather' in INDI. 'Clouds' is a parameter that varies from 0 to 1. I used the same criteria as the AAG Cloud Watcher device: if sky temperature is less than -8 degrees, the sky is assumed cloud free. For a sky temperature between -8 and 0 degrees, there is partial cloud, and for a sky temperature higher than 0 degrees, the sky is overcast. This seems very arbitrary, and I expect to have to adjust this piece of code later. Major update: The weather station now also reads and reports the SQM values from my wifi-SQM. See further down this thread for details.
  3. This blog describes Installing 3rd Party Drivers into a Raspberry Pi having installed Ubuntu MATE and followed the instructions to run the AstroPi3 script to install INDI and other astro related software. SSH has been enabled so that now the RPi can be accessed remotely from Terminal. eg. ssh gina@rpi where gina is my user name and rpi is the computer name as set up during the Ubuntu MATE installation. This set up process is detailed in my blog :- Setting up a Raspberry Pi for Astro Imaging and Control - Updated Feb 2020 for RPi 3B & RPi 3B+
  4. INTRODUCTION This is a tutorial explaining how to install an operating system and software into a micro SD card to use in a Raspberry Pi 3B or Raspberry Pi 3B+ for astro imaging and control of the relevant hardware. The software to capture images, control camera cooling and other things such as the mount etc. is called INDI and provides a set of drivers to control all the hardware. The Raspberry Pi will run in what is called "headless" mode - meaning that no human interfaces are directly connected to the RPi - instead the RPi is connected to the local area network (LAN) using either Ethernet (preferred for speed and reliability) or WiFi. Everything is then controlled from indoors on a computer also connected to the LAN. This computer is called a "client" and the Raspberry Pi a "server". This tutorial will detail all the steps involved in installing the operating system and software - there are rather a lot of them, hence the need for a tutorial but there is a script that is downloaded that does all the difficult stuff. I believe that anyone with some knowledge of computers should be capable of following these steps and setting up a working Linux based astro imaging system. The Raspberry Pi can be put on the pier (or tripod) or even directly on the telescope mounting and would replace a laptop for instance, reducing the use of long cables etc. The operating system used is Ubuntu Mate and involves using a monitor, keyboard and mouse (or trackball) in order to set up the operating system and enable remote control before the RPi can be used headless in the observatory or on a tripod. The Raspberry Pi is a "proper" computer though a bit slower and with less storage space that a desktop or laptop (called a Single Board Computer). When powered up the operating system goes into a setup routine and you just have to answer the questions, same as when setting up any computer. Near the beginning there's an opportunity to set up WiFi so you'll need your WiFi password if you want to use WiFi. This section can be skipped if using Ethernet cable rather than WiFi.
  5. This is an open project "Ubuntu Astronomy" for amateurs. Free Live DVD distributive designed for astronomy amateurs. This DVD contains different astronomical programs, for example: planetariums, image processing, astro-hardware control, INDI drivers, etc. Based on Ubuntu 16.04. You can download *.iso from its page https://sourceforge.net/projects/ubuntu-astronomy-16-04/
  6. Inspired, as usual by Gina's exploits with a Raspberry Pi and Indi I decided to have a go myself. I have ordered an RPi 3 and await arrival. In the meantime I decided to modify a cheap 28BYJ-48 stepper motor for bipolar operation following Gina's instructions. Then I tested the motor with a Pololu A4988 stepper driver I had left over from my 3D printer build using details I found here and it worked first time. I needed a 12V supply to drive the 5V motor as now the windings are being used in series. Once the Pi arrives I will be installing Raspbian, Indi and connecting up to my Nexstar 127 SLT and then building a new focuser using my existing sketch and the motor I modded today.
  7. Hey guys, I recently found out about INDI and Ekos and was curious to see how well it worked (check it out here). I had a raspberry Pi collecting dust and after a couple minor setup steps, my equipment was recognized and connected. My mount, DSLR, shutter release serial cable, and guide camera all connect directly to the Raspberry Pi. I then connect to the Pi from my mac laptop using SSH and the Virtual Machine provided by http://www.indilib.org/. The nice thing about the PI is that it uses little power (about 0.5 amps at 5v), has 4 usb ports, and has built in wifi. I picked up a usb battery bank for the Pi and threw the two into a project box. I'm fairly sure the Pi would run 20 - 40 hours on this small battery alone. Anyways, I've seen a couple posts touching on this subject and thought I should share my efforts as I'm quite excited about it. It seems like it will perform better than my previous setup. My previous setup consisted of an intel compute stick, small usb hub, 12v battery with a 5v converter, and an additional windows laptop to control it all. I would connect all my gear to the stick through the usb hub. In order to get everything going, I'd remote desktop into the compute stick through my windows laptop. This worked ok, but the compute stick (running windows) was unreliable, there were a number of imaging sessions where it decided it would be best to install an update for half an hour. Other times, it refused to auto connect to the wifi hotspot without logging in, meaning I could not remote desktop into it and would need to connect a screen. Eventually, I tried using a LattePanda board as well but had similar experiences due to Windows 10. Regardless, I do recommend the LattePanda for windows applications, it is a slightly stronger board than the Pi and has an Arduino built in but unfortunately is not too great at running linux yet. (old setup below)
  8. Hi all, The 10Micron mounts extend the LX200 protocol which means that their basics can be controlled by anything that speaks LX200. The Mount Command Protocol as 10Micron calls it is fully documented (I would not have bought this mount otherwise). I've started a 10Micron INDI device driver to support the extensions, based off of LX200Generic so that it inherits basic LX200 functionality. First thing that was added was TCP/IP support so that the mounts' ethernet port can be used for control and free up the mounts' serial port for a GPS unit at the same time. This support was later moved up into the main INDI::Telescope class so that all INDI mounts that support it now can use ethernet  On connect the driver sets Ultra Precision Mode (needed for model building later on and helpful with pointing). It also retrieves basic properties like product name/control box type/firmware version. Next Park and Unpark are supported. Last pull request : https://github.com/indilib/indi/pull/167 Known TODO's - find out where J2000 needs translation to Jnow - support pointing model building. Maybe by porting MountWizzard (python with ties to ASCOM and SGpro) ? Who is interested in helping and/or has ideas on what needs to be implemented next ? -- Hans
  9. Hi. In preperation for a remote box-observatory i have been setting up a pc for telescope controll and more. I now have Kubuntu working with a ssh tunnel and headless vnc setup. KStars is installed with all necesarry drivers for my celestron avx, eos 550d and orion autoguider. Everything starts up in KStars and i have controll over all the exuiptment, except! The issue. 1. When slewing to an object using the nextstar hc on the mount: Recticle in KStars moves in the same path as the telescope, and ends up at desired target. 2. When slewing to a RA/DEC coordinate in INDI control panel -> Eq.Coordinates: Recticle moves as excpected and ends up on target. 3. When selecting a target in KStars gui, right clicking and selecting slew or track in mounts context menu: All kinds of craisyness.... The recticle moves erratic. Sometimes to high in the sky, and sometimes down in the ground. At one point i ended with the counterweight bar straight up and the scope pointing more or less at polaris, when telling it to slew to the zenith. The strange thing is that the recticle in KStars is pointing where the teleskope is pointing. So KStars "knows" that it's not pointing the scope at the target i selected, but it keeps on going. I was thinking it could be some time-site issue, but the t-s is set up in INDI control panel. Using INDI to slew manually, everything works as expected. Not 100% sure how the sync option works in KStars. Could i have synced to some random place in the sky and "un"calibrated KStars? Don't know how to undo it if that's the case. New to KStars and INDI. Hope someone can help with this issue. Magnus.
  10. I recently posted my design for a weather station in this section. https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/345153-indi-weather-station/ As I had bought several pressure/humidity sensors, as well as ir temperature sensors and ESP32 development boards, I wondered how small a weather monitor could get. The sensors are quite small, and so is the micro controller. Such a weather monitor wouldn't incorporate wind speed measurement nor a rain detector, since these take up more space. But otoh, there is seldom rain without clouds, so if you detect clouds, you should be safe. Here it is, a miniature (9.8 x 5.9 x 2.7 cm) weather monitor. The device has built in wifi, is powered from a micro usb contact and is compatible with the INDI Weather Watcher driver. The parts: (the mat underneath has a 1 inch grid pattern) BOM: plastic box 9.8 x 5.8 x 2.7 cm a piece of V-board, in my case with copper islands rather than strips ESP32 development board with male headers MLX90614 ir temperature sensor with I2C interface BME280 environmental sensor with I2C interface micro usb cable and power adapter, or a powerbank for wireless operation Assembly is really easy and involves drilling a hole in the box, soldering the components in place and wiring to the ESP. The finished monitor in place. As this is a box with a click lid, I used silicone to seal it. The holes on the sides and bottom are drilled at an angle to keep rain out. As I built it, the electronics will heat the BME slightly, and because it is mounted inside the casing, it will be slow to reach ambient temperature should this change abruptly. Adding more holes near the ESP would take the inside temperature down. Otoh, temperature readings don't have to be that accurate, and you could use the MLX ambient reading for more accuracy. Here's the INDI control panel for the weather monitor (Wind and rain are simulated, because I was testing the driver when I took the screen shot) Here is how it looks in Ekos scheduler. The red marker indicates that weather conditions are bad. In this case clouds = 100 %. If the tickbox next to "Weather" is checked, Ekos will allow weather conditions to control an imaging sequence. And in the ROR driver (I know it says Dome, but the ROR driver is derived from the dome driver, and it's still under development. Besides, this is the simulator driver.) The code for the esp is on my github page: https://github.com/wberlo/indi_meteostation You need the files: bme280.py mlx90614.py boot.py (replace the ssid and password with your own, or comment/uncomment lines to create an access point) main_mini.py (which you will have to rename to main.py before uploading to the esp board)
  11. Hi guys Can anyone identify which control box this is? Is it focusmaster? And does it run off robofocus driver in Indi lib as I cannot get a successful connection (in indi within ekos) I bought a robofocus motor with this control box second hand. I have faith with seller that hardware works as should. I've tried other cables and USB ports too. The software (k stars) I use does do port search when connecting equipment.. Any help appreciated Wayne
  12. Hi, So, I have a minor setup issue for my automation setup. Here is a brief overview of my setup: Raspberrypi on the scope connected to a powered usb hub. Connected to the hub are a external wifi card (raspberry pi3 wifi is weak), an astromodified Canon 550D, a QHY5L-II for guiding and an EQ6 pro mount. The camera and QHY are connected to an OAG. The QHY5 is also connected to the mounts ST4 port. On the Rasperry Pi 3 I am running xubuntu with INDI server and PHD2 installed. Using realvnc to view phd2. indi server + webserver starts on boot, static ip on external wifi card starts on boot. On my laptop I have EKOS to connect to indi server and phd2 for guiding. I am running phd2 on the raspberrypi to hopefully this will let PHD2 have a more direct (faster) connection to the guide camera. My issue: Their appears to be a disabled install of ufw which has some groups under iptables. I enabled the ufw and enbled the ports 4400, 7642 (PHD2), 8624 (indiweb), 7624(indi) however the guiding suite of Ekos would not connect to PHD2. I disabled ufw and flushed the iptables and tried again with the above ports however the same result. In the end I have opened all the ports to allow the connection to proceed, which is ok for short term but ideally I would want some security. Does anyone know which ports I should open to get indi, indiweb and phd2 to talk nicely to my laptop EKOS version? Anyone else running a similar setup successfully? Can you give me any indications of what pitfalls to avoid? Thanks
  13. Procedures for installing Raspbian and INDI library etc. on a new Raspberry Pi 3 B and micro SD card. I shall insert links where appropriate to places where various pieces of hardware and software may be obtained. In most cases there are other sources of hardware which might be cheaper (but not necessarily better). I shall describe the procedures as I do them with suggestions I think appropriate. I shall post in fairly small steps to make things as clear as I can as I hope this will be useful to others. The operating system is Raspbian Jessie Lite (Release date: 2016-09-23) which is a minimal installation with no GUI and hence called "headless". This will be installed on a new 8GB micro SD card using a USB card adapter and Win32DiskImager software to install using Windows (I'm using Win7).
  14. In the development of my rotating astro imaging rig using camera lenses, I have the requirement to control the camera rotation plus focussing and possibly zoom if I go for zoom lenses, in addition to image capture and mount control which is already covered in the INDI server and drivers for the Raspberry Pi. ATM I'm doing this in the Arduino Nano and controlling it with Windows and control software written in Visual Basic. This uses a Win 7 laptop in the observatory controlled remotely via TeamViewer. I want to replace this with a Raspberry Pi and Linux. I already have an all sky camera running INDI Server and controlled by KStars/Ekos on Linux Mint box indoors. I'm using a standard INDI driver to control an RPi HAT and thence dew heaters. The driver works but doesn't have a dedicated user interface so I would like to change this too. I'm hoping I can get my head round modifying INDI drivers to suit my purposes and maybe write new drivers to extend control further. I have experience of various programming languages including C++ and Python etc. though I may need to revise my Python as it's been a few years since I last used it. I also have some knowledge of Linux. I would appreciate help in pointing me in the right direction. Thanks in advance
  15. What a journey it has been I started down the dark path of DIY because of this forum. So many inspiring projects and so many people ready to help along the way that it gave me the confidence to start a second hobby, building stuff for my first hobby 1st project : Rowan Belt mode 2nd project: a power panel to power my scope and other devices so I only have 2 leads coming down the mount (power and data) 3rd project : build a bench power supply for the power panel when I have access to an electrical outlet 4th project : move away from Windows and use only open source softwares. I chose INDI and Kstars/Ekos and have no regrets 5th project : Use a Raspberry PI 3 at the mount to control everything (INDI) and a laptop to manage my session (Kstars/Ekos) Here is a short video showing all the pieces of the puzzle in action:
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