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Astrophotography without a PC or laptop! 

The new ZWO ASiair is going to make astrophotography, especially portable astrophotography, a whole lot easier 🙂 

ETA early August. Price to be confirmed. 

 

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The promo video I saw though said it wasn’t compatible with video imagery, which kind of narrows it’s appeal?

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Looks interesting. Also looks a bit like a raspberry pi in a case. What's the expected retail?

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10 minutes ago, JimothyC said:

Looks interesting. Also looks a bit like a raspberry pi in a case. What's the expected retail?

UK price hasn't been confirmed but we are predicting around £170-180. 

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We have received a number of emails already from people wanting to pre-order. Considering it's relatively low price we are accepting pre-orders without a deposit 🙂 

You need only email us saying you want one. We will add you to the list then contact you when price has been confirmed, and again when we receive our first delivery. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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26 minutes ago, JimothyC said:

.. looks a bit like a raspberry pi in a case. 

It is built around Raspberry Pi hardware. That is how they have achieved such a low price. Very clever. Very 'astro' 😎

Steve 

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Just now, FLO said:

It is built it around Raspberry Pi hardware. That is how they have achieved such a low price. Very clever. Very 'astro' 😎

Steve 

Thought i recognised those port outs. I expect most of the development money has gone into the software. Some of the guiding stuff looks a lot like Open PHD. 

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Great idea but a bit frustrating...

(not compatible with the ASI120MM/MC camera)  that's a big shame, especially as someone who might stretch to an aASI183 or even an ASI1600 one day but will be put off by not being able to use my existing guide cam 😞

Works with USB 3 cameras but only has USB2 ports. Hmm

 

 

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ZWO certainly seem to be very good at creating great products at (relatively) affordable prices.  Watch out Skywatcher!

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We have a new video introduction to the ZWO ASiair 🙂 

 

 

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Hmmm, the ZWO product for $179 versus the Stellarmate for $155 or a total roll-your-own (Pi3 & case etc) for approx. $60.....

The IndiLib\Kstars software is all free and supports a greater range of hardware than the ASIair, whose only advantage appears to be a phone app ???

And if you want to make the most of your lovely new USB3 cameras \ focusers \ filter wheels etc. then the Pi3 is really underpowered.

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2 hours ago, Dr_Ju_ju said:

Hmmm, the ZWO product for $179 versus the Stellarmate for $155 or a total roll-your-own (Pi3 & case etc) for approx. $60.....

The IndiLib\Kstars software is all free and supports a greater range of hardware than the ASIair, whose only advantage appears to be a phone app ???

And if you want to make the most of your lovely new USB3 cameras \ focusers \ filter wheels etc. then the Pi3 is really underpowered.

I use the StellarMate currently and it’s great but the biggest missing piece is the front end app on tablets to control everything, focus guide etc... it doesn’t exist! So you have to use kstars either logged in through VNC or on a laptop 🙁

I am really looking forward to the ASIair precisely for the iPad app - it looks great! I think it will solve the issues I’ve had with StellarMate it’s just a shame it’s not more open but I’m sure that will change.

As for USB3 I don’t see how that helps focusers and filters which only transfer tiny amounts of data and for deep sky stuff USB2 will be just fine. It does make it weaker for planetary work though which is a shame.

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Interesting product. I do wonder how good the app will be in winter though... I was initially wowed by the SW WiFi controller, but then found that in very cold or damp/dewy conditions touchscreens don't seem to work so well. Was wondering if this might have the same problem.

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I have used Atik's Atikair for some time and like it a lot. And its been trouble free since I replaced my router. I use it with a 314L colour camera. Live stacking suits my style and I can later play with the recorded images.

All my scopes are equipped with a Pi so setup time is minimal. Cost is about £37 per scope (Pi, card and case). I build my own 12 to 5 volt supply using the mounting as a heat sink. I am told that the Atik Horizon will not work with the current Air software but this ZWOair seems to suggest that it would work with ZWO's equivalent. Best wait and see what folks think before I approach the financial director.

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23 hours ago, Grant said:

I am really looking forward to the ASIair precisely for the iPad app - it looks great! I think it will solve the issues I’ve had with StellarMate it’s just a shame it’s not more open but I’m sure that will change.

Since the ASIAir and Stellarmate are both based on INDI, I wouldn't be surprised if you can control the Stellarmate from the ASIAir app. In that case you can still use the Stellarmate for a second rig or as backup.

I hope that with this new product, ZWO will eventually fix the problem with the original ASI120 Linux drivers.

I also wonder what this means for the amp glow on USB3 non-Pro cameras, since the ASIAir only has USB2.

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Posted (edited)

Ohhh, nice! 
@FLOI have a couple of Raspberry Pi's knocking around as I like to tinker with them and see what daft idea I can come up with next! (I even have the official 7" touchscreen :)

Anyway, my question is; Will ASI be releasing the OS as a standalone? if so, any ideas when that will be?

Edited by Redscouse
typo

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Posted (edited)

Looks like a great product for those people who don't know computers or don't want to spend their precious time building their own.

It's great that ZWO offer these products. If nothing else, I'm sure it will help keep prices down :)

 

 

Edited by Star101

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A quick update.

We are expecting a demo unit here within a week and our first stock order later this month.

HTH 🙂

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It's a shame other camera makes aren't supported. I'd have been very interested in using it for dark site trips, but have a qhy guide camera.

Andy. 

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21 minutes ago, Andyb90 said:

It's a shame other camera makes aren't supported. I'd have been very interested in using it for dark site trips, but have a qhy guide camera.

Andy. 

I wonder if that might actually be possible given some fiddling with the system.  Depends a fair bit on the details of how it's been implemented.

James

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On 28/07/2018 at 15:40, wimvb said:

I hope that with this new product, ZWO will eventually fix the problem with the original ASI120 Linux drivers.

You mean the number of broken/dropped frames, or something else?

James

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1 hour ago, JamesF said:

You mean the number of broken/dropped frames, or something else?

James

Yes. AfaIk, zwo never really solved this problem. This is what it says on their website (mac os mentioned, but also for linux)

  • Mac OSX may not compatible well. Neither Windows though virtual machine. Windows though Bootcamp is recommended. Or use our ASI120S USB3.0 Cameras which runs well under Mac OSX.

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1 hour ago, wimvb said:

Yes. AfaIk, zwo never really solved this problem. This is what it says on their website (mac os mentioned, but also for linux)

  • Mac OSX may not compatible well. Neither Windows though virtual machine. Windows though Bootcamp is recommended. Or use our ASI120S USB3.0 Cameras which runs well under Mac OSX.

I believe that the camera works much more reliably if you install the alternative firmware.

To the best of my knowledge though there's a certain amount of supposition and reading between the lines involved, the fundamental problem is that images are intended to be transferred from the camera to the host PC in USB bulk transfer mode, but whilst the packet size for bulk transfer mode is negotiable the camera (with the standard firmware) claims to use a packet size that is larger than the maximum size permitted by the USB2 specification.  I suspect this was to try to reduce the number of packets required to transfer an image, thereby reducing the overheads associated with each packet transfer and allowing a faster frame rate.  Windows just carries on regardless whereas both MacOS and Linux actually expect devices to comply with the specification, quite fairly, really, as it's not reasonable to expect all code that handles data supposedly complying with a given specification to "just work" when the spec is not followed.  It's probably also possible to write faster and more memory-efficient code when you know that the data you're getting complies with given rules.

In fact, it might be arguable that because the non-USB3 ASI120 cameras don't comply with the USB specification then they are not actually USB devices at all and to describe them as such is wrong.

This all happens at the kernel level, so there's nothing a user application can really do about it.  It's not the first time this has happened either as far as I'm aware.  I think the original QHY5 may do something similar.  In fact as ZWO and QHY used the same manufacturer's (Cypress) chipset for their USB interfaces, I have wondered if the problem didn't originate there rather than with either ZWO or QHY.

The alternative (so-called "compatible") firmware forces the camera to stick to the spec., but at the cost of reducing the frame rate a little as far as I recall.

In theory it might be possible to modify the kernel in the ASIair to handle bulk data packets larger than allowed by the USB2 spec., but it would probably be opening a catering-size can of worms.

James

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