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I'm over-thinking this.

I have been working with a 60s sub containing as much information as I could get. But I will only be using this function at the start of a session, putting my scope in position. Looking at Sharpcap with each of my cameras connected, it offers the option to save a jpg image. I suspect that, with a shorter sub, saved directly to jpg, these problems to which I am trying to find a solution will simply disappear. To test this, of course, I need to get out there and start "doing" rather than "planning" and that is something over which I do not have full control, but Clear Outside is offering me pretty good prospects for Wednesday night.

So. on the basis of the above, together with the fact that my version of Sharpcap clearly does solve when given a "suitable" image (however SC defines that) I think issue 3 can be put on hold until further testing at least.

Thanks.

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I just want to say thanks to @Demonperformerfor the useful feedback on SharpCap plate solving. As far as I can work out the plate solving engine used by Astrotortilla/AnSvr/ASPS etc - which SharpCap uses too - struggles to solve very high resolution images even when the star detection (sigma value) is set up correctly. Feed the engine an image at 4600x3500 and it takes several minutes to think about it and then fails to solve at the end of it all. Reduce the size of that image by 2x2 or 3x3 binning the image and it solves correctly in a few seconds. The same slower solving is observed uploading the image to astrometry.net, although the web site does solve the image in the end after several minutes.

I have just put up a new build of SharpCap 3.1 that tries to workaround this problem by automatically asking the plate solving engine to apply binning if the image width is >2000 pixels. So far this seems to give excellent results in my testing, but I added an option to turn this behaviour off in case it causes someone problems (Settings->Plate Solving).

I don't know for sure why the plate solving engine has difficulty with high resolutions, although I'm speculating that maybe it has some sort of internal thresold of how far out of position a star can be and still count as a match - if that threshold defaults to perhaps 1 pixel then it would be a smaller threshold for the high resolution image than for the reduced size version, which would make the plate solving harder. In particular, any optical distortion of the image might make this effect even worse if it is throwing star positions off slightly from the true position without any distortion.

Anyway, further feedback welcome.

cheers,

Robin

 

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2 hours ago, rwg said:

I have just put up a new build of SharpCap 3.1 that tries to workaround this problem by automatically asking the plate solving engine to apply binning if the image width is >2000 pixels. So far this seems to give excellent results in my testing, but I added an option to turn this behaviour off in case it causes someone problems (Settings->Plate Solving).

Robin, thanks for this.

I have downloaded and installed it. I can confirm that my fits file now solves in just under 2 seconds (using the restricted index file list). I will look out some other files to give it a more extensive test, but I see no reason why they should cause problems. After your initial PM response this morning, I did wonder if binning the 1600 4x4 would be a good idea for "platesolving" shots to get them down to about the same size as the jpg, which would also enable a reduction in exposure time. But I prefer this option as there is less danger of forgetting to reset things before I start to image properly.

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Issue #4: Getting the mount and laptop to talk to one another.

Following the instructions given on this page.

Status:
* ASCOM (only platform 6) & EQMOD installed on laptop
* Cable plugged in and mount powered
* EQASCOM toolbox running

Pressing 'register' produces the message "unexpected error; quitting" over the "success" message. Clicking OK causes them to disappear. I'm guessing this is probably why 'Ports' does not appear in Device Manager.

The thing that changes when I plug/unplug the mount cable is "USB-Serial Controller" in "Other devices", which tells me "The drivers for this device are not installed (Code 28)". That can't be good as ASCOM & EQMOD are both installed.

After Wednesday (clear, but otherwise occupied) and yesterday (DEC clutch failed working after repairint it - solved), somehow, I don't think I will be imaging tonight (due to be brilliantly clear) either [booo! hisss!] ...

Thanks

ascom+eqmod.png

register.png

dm.png

Edited by Demonperformer

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Hi. Go into the EQMOD folder in the C:/Program Files/x86, and right click EQMOD_toolbox. Select properties, go to the compatibility tab and select run as administrator, click apply.

While you're at it any software (PHD guiding, CDC etc) that is accessing ascom/EQMOD should also be set to Run As Administrator. Just right click on the shortcut to the software, select properties, go to the compatibilty tab and select run as administrator, click apply.

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Windows should auto install the drivers for your EQDIR cable device when you plug it in. If not tell us what cable/device you're using to connect to the mount.

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Thanks. All my astro applications (CdC, EQMOD, PHD2, SXFilterwheel & Sharpcap) now running as adminstrator.

"Register" now works correctly, but "ASCOM Connect" does not find the device on any comport (1-16) & Device Manager still as before (pic 3 above).

The cable is the one I purchased from FLO and was using when on my windoze 7 machine.

Don't know how much should be in ASCOM, but on the basis of problems with other software, I wonder if there should be other things there. Inside ASCOM\Platform6 it has \Docs & \Tools. Docs has quite a few (presumably!) docs. \Tools has \DriverConnect32 & \DriverConnect64, each of which contains only an application called ASCOM.DriverConnect & another file called ASCOM.DriverConnect.pdb.

Thanks.

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Do not load any software just start the laptop. Open Device Manager . Take note of what is shown. Then plug in Serial to Usb cable - doesn't need to be plugged into a mount. Now look at device manager has any thing appeared under "Ports" - should show up as "COM" device - if it doesn't and no window is popping up asking for a driver check under "Other devices". If the device is shown here as before its becuase it hasn't a default driver ( and if I remember you wont connect to the Internet) and cannot load one via updates. You will have to find out what Manu it is - plug it into your old Win 7 machine and check Device Manager. I suspect its an old Prolific chipped EQDIR in which case download the driver from Hitec https://www.hitecastro.co.uk/index.php/support/item/prolific-usb-driver - not sure if it works with Win 10 in which case you will have to go to Prolific main site and search for the Win 10 driver there http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowProduct.aspx?p_ HitecAsro seems to suggest its the PL-2303H .   Until this device is working Ascom etc wont work.  Hence Hitecastro now use FDTI devices !!!!!!

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Of course ... I had forgotten that the cable itself needs a driver - and usb prolific definitely rings bells. Will go looking.

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That made a big difference. Ports has now appeared and the cable is identified. Will get the mount out and continue setting it up later. Currently doing the darks from last night's session. Thanks, @stash_old.

Edited by Demonperformer

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I have just made my first exception to my "astro capture only" software rule for this laptop and installed DSS4. Thinking about how long it would take me to transfer all the files to the desktop and then process them on a slower machine, I decided it was worth the space. The SSD means that the program is grabbing files at an incredible rate - just right for sessions of enormous numbers of short exposures (over 1000 lights last night). So, while that is happening, further testing of laptop/mount communications is on hold.

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If you have a DVD or CD drive in the Laptops you can fit another SSD (or HD) in a caddy so that you can transfer files from one machine to the other. No drivers needed as the DVD/CD driver is a SAT device(even PAT) in older machines. You can even do a backup (that dirty word). The caddy is about £10 - e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Proster-Compatible-Adapter-MacBook-SuperDrive/dp/B00EXPJADG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524328771&sr=8-1&keywords=dvd+ssd+caddy and a simple screw in for most "standard" SSD or HD drives.

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On 4/6/2018 at 21:16, Sunshine said:

God do i detest PC's, Apple convert since i literally ran my PC tower over with my car and you tubed it years ago.

Did that fix it?

 

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That was issue #1, which was solved by adding the ASCOM driver for the zwo camera as well (I had been using just the proper zwo driver). However, things have moved on and, with platesolving working well on sharpcap (through the use of ansvr) apt became a bit redundant, so has been removed from the system.

Thanks.

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