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SteveNickolls

PrimaLuceLab’s Eagle Core

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Thanks noah4x4 for this advice and information. As part of this hobby I keep an astronomy log and this includes plans and ideas for the future. While I need to actually enjoy using tbe Eagle Core and get to understand its uses more there are plans for the future. One will be to make the leap to an astro camera and the means to operate it with as few wires as possible; your advice will be most useful then. 😁 

I do hope soon, weather permitting to post on using the Eagle Core for guiding both my CG-5 and Star Adventurer mounts.

Cheers,

Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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It’s been quite a while since I purchased my Eagle Core and accessories back in the end of July last year but last night conditions and finally having got rid of a persistent cold was finally able to try out the device to control guiding on my Celestron CG-5 mount.

After polar alignment using my iPolar device, star alignment, pointing towards the target to be imaged (M45) and connecting to the Eagle Core’s wi-fi hot spot the Eagle App identified my ASI120MM-S guide camera automatically and I then entered the diameter and focal length of the guide scope (an ZWO Mini guide scope) in the Advanced section of the App. I adjusted the gain to around 22 and had the App automatically detect a guide star which it did and then proceeded to perform the calibration steps. This was achieved without any issue and I then started the guiding process and watched the progress of the guiding instructions on the graph in the App for a few minutes. Then I repeated the process of selecting a guide star, calibration and actual guiding several times and felt confident that the process was robust and working. I then proceeded to take a series of 41 images each of 180 seconds duration at ISO 400 with my 500 mm focal length SkyWatcher Startravel achromat refractor while guiding for a little over the following two hours. The final image was stacked with x50 flat and bias frames and x10 dark frames in Deep Sky Stacker and processed using StarTools.

27_2_20_M45_Save3_SGL.thumb.jpg.9bbe38ae5d165f3a6e375435bcb99fd8.jpg

In between tranches of 10 exposures I rechecked the guiding graph and was very pleased at the small amount of guiding changes taking place. Unfortunately the App does not seem to retain a record of the session for reference. I did earlier today enquire with PLL over the units on the guiding graph and was informed they are in arc seconds.

Despite my mount having an issue with DEC backlash I was very happy with the Eagle Core guiding performance and look forward to many more imaging sessions.

Cheers,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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I think Eagle Core v2.7 firmware is out.

However,  I doubt that there are significant new features.  Probably just support for their focusers and more cameras .

 

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10 hours ago, kunene said:

I think Eagle Core v2.7 firmware is out.

Thanks for the heads up on this kunene, I'll take a look later and see what the firmware update includes. 👍

Cheers,
Steve

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Posted (edited)

Here's the content of the notes accompanying the update, it lists all the various firmware changes back to May 2017, I see there's a pdf manual too, wonder if it is updated in any meaningful way?

The manual which I've dated 3.3.2020, bit of a beast at over 65MB-

EAGLE-CORE-user-manual_3_3_2020.pdf

I'll have a look today at what changes are in there and post up.  The pdf manual with the v2.7 release looks the same as that with v2.6. 🤔

And the firmware revisions-

Last version 2.7 02/03/2020
1) Added support of SESTO SENSO 2 and ESATTO focusers

Version 2.6 12/07/2019
1) Added support of Celestron equatorial mounts with NexStar+ handpad
2) Added support to Canon EOS 450D and Nikon D90 cameras

 

Version 2.5 26/03/2019
1) Added support of computerized mounts
2) Added support to Canon EOS R and Nikon Z6/Z7 mirrorless cameras

 

Version 2.4 01/02/2019
1) Added Auto Dithering feature
2) Added support to Canon EOS 1100D
3) Improved sequences control

 

Last version 2.2 06/09/2018
1) Added support to guide cameras ASI120MM-S, ASI120MC-S, ASI178MM, ASI290MM, ASI290MC
2) Added support to Canon EOS 500D, 650D, 800D, 80D and 5D Mark IV

 

Version 2.1 15/05/2018
1) Added support to Canon EOS 5D Mark II

 

Update version 2.0 17/04/2018
1) Added support to SESTO SENSO robotic focusing motor
2) Added support to Nikon D5300 camera

 

Update version 1.0.20 01/12/2017:
1) Added support to Canon EOS 450D, 1300D, 750D, 70D and Nikon D800E cameras

 

Update version 1.0.15 24/07/2017:
1) Added support to Canon EOS 60D and 60Da
2) Added support to Canon EOS 5D Mark III
3) Added + and - button to decrease/increase Y scale of guide graph
4) ÒguidingÓ button is now disabled during Calibration

 

Update version 1.0.10 31/05/2017:
1) Fixed an even that could pause autoguide
2) Fixed guide star selection with a tap on the screen
3) Increased system speed

 

Update version 1.0.9 24/05/2017:
1) Fixed the exposition times for the QHY5L-II camera
2) Now the image resolution of the QHY5L-II camera is correctly set
3) Added option black/white for the guide camera
4) "matrix width" and "matrix height" values are now correctly visualized
5) Added the parameter "Guiding rate" in "Advanced settings"
6) Added support to Nikon D750 camera

Edited by SteveNickolls

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Hi Steve,

Glad to hear you are feeling better and got a chance to test out the Eagle Core Guiding.  Its nice to see it is working out for you.  With your guide camera the Eagle Core is probably able to utilize the full camera sensor.  I am surprised that you didn't have any calibration problems if there is significant DEC backlash in your mount.  I get error messages when trying to calibrate with my AVX mount and using PHD2.  That is why I turn off DEC guiding.  As long as I have good polar alignment I can still get good images with 12 minute exposures.  Haven't tried anything longer.

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Hi JEM_svca, yes thanks it was great to get outside once more and try out the guiding. It was a leap of faith moment in how the Eagle app would perform controlling guiding but I have to be led by the results. Now it does lack most of the nuances of PHD2 but there's enough under the bonnet to actually guide by. Unfortunately there's no means of recording the guiding graph as a record to review the session as with PHD2. I do sometimes wonder if as a species imagers are inclined to being too fastidious and capable of drifting into OCD. 🤔

Even when I have used PHD2 I got an error after calibration but that didn't subsequently affect performance as far as I could tell. I understand that while PHD2 calibrates the RA and DEC axes provided the outward movement in each direction is ok during calibration it doesn't matter if the return leg is poor, it will still guide. Using quite short FL optics (500 mm) and relatively lightweight set up helps in not putting pressure on the mount mechanics that would be the case with longer FL optics or a heavy payload.

It's good to know that you can get 12 minutes of guiding with guiding in RA alone, that's the benefit a dark location bestows. As I image in a light polluted area my usual set up is tailored around fast optics (f/2) and fairly short FL's (50-135mm) and employ a 12nm Ha filter which while cutting out most extraneous light pollution does increase the exposure times required. However this can be trimmed to around 5 minutes as explained in the video below without discernibly affecting overall quality-

There is a tool here that can be used to determine the skyfog of your imaging location to then calculate the optimum sensor exposure level-https://tools.sharpcap.co.uk/

I'm exploring guiding with slower optics such as my StarTravel refractor 500 mm FL and f/4.9 which will be of value when wanting to capture smaller targets such as galaxies with my unmodified Canon 600D.

Hope you get some clear, dark skies to image under.

Cheers,
Steve

 

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Hi Steve,

Thanks for this link to Dr. Glover's lecture.  It was very interesting.  Do you know if the author has a publication that covers the same material?

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Hi JEM_svca, pleased you liked the video it does open up a whole perspective on imaging time, of course the darker the location the longer you can exposure for but there is a diminishing return even at a dark site. The advent of higher QE% CMOS sensors has quite shook up the orthodoxy but in a good way. I don't know of any publication that goes with the video but there are more videos-

Now on the matter of calculating the optimum sub exposure length if you have SharpCap Pro the sensor analysis ability will do all this for your sensor and imaging location. There is also this online tool-http://tools.sharpcap.co.uk/ which at present is the way I calculate my optimum sub exposure levels. This tool is synonymous with what is discussed in the original video.

It is a subject I've looked quite into and Craig Stark made comment on this and other related matters on cloudy nights forum http://www.stark-labs.com/craig/articles/articles.html and I copied them-

Signal to Noise Craig Stark CN Forum.docx

I hope you find them useful. In practice I've found the real world results from following the various methods lead to the same end, which is reassuring and gives confidence on the subject.

His present Internet site has this page-

https://www.stark-labs.com/downloads/index.html from which there's this video (I've not watched it)-

I hope at least some of this is helpful to you, I'll certainly look forward to watching the last video.

Enjoy watching and reading!

Cheers,
Steve

 

 

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Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for the other links.  I would like to have a further discussion on the rationale behind stacking but since this thread is about Eagle Core its probably not the right place to do it.

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4 hours ago, JEM_svca said:

I would like to have a further discussion on the rationale behind stacking

Hi JEM_svca, thanks for your post> Is this something you want to PM me about or maybe post elsewhere on SGL as there will be a lot of wiser heads able to discuss the matter with?

Cheers,
Steve

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Hi Steve,

Sorry for the delayed response.  Things have been pretty hectic here with all the government restriction causes by the corona virus.  Is there a way to PM you through SGL?  I am relatively new to this website.  

 

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Users of the Eagle Core might be interested in recent developments at PLL HQ-they have moved to a new, larger location 😊 -

Cheers,
Steve

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Fillipo at PLL has today issued this short video about forthcoming v2.8 Eagle Core firmware which will contain support for more DSLR models and some mirrorless cameras plus the ability to set a delay time between exposures permitting the cool down of the camera sensor. 

Cheers,
Steve

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48 minutes ago, SteveNickolls said:

Fillipo at PLL has today issued this short video about forthcoming v2.8 Eagle Core firmware which will contain support for more DSLR models and some mirrorless cameras plus the ability to set a delay time between exposures permitting the cool down of the camera sensor. 

Thanks, Steve.  He noted to me this was upcoming when I had the firmware issue you helped me with.  It should also fix a couple of bugs I noted.

Do you have issues with yours whereby if you turn off via the GUI, it more often than not reboots rather than shuts down?

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Hi RayD, thanks for your post. It will be interesting to see what is included in the v2.8 firmware update. I'm sorry to hear you have some bugs that need fixing so here's hoping the update will fix them. PLL do seem to take onboard development ideas. I did email them in late August last year with some suggestions one being adding a pause function between exposures to help keep sensor temperature down during an imaging session. To work alongside that was the idea of including an exif temperature indication on screen similar to that which BYEOS uses. At present you only know the temperature after the session having put them through Exiflog. Luckily I have a work around using a library of dark frames to help better match the temperatures of light frames taken the previous night. Having a means of knowing the sensor temperature at the time of imaging would be very helpful. I'm aware the Eagle Core has a limited memory size and not having any knowledge in programming really don't know how much such extra code would eat into the available onboard memory.

Hmm, I haven't encountered a problem such as you describe on shut down Ray. The only issue I've had when first using my Eagle Core was actually an intermittent problem caused by worn connections between a second hand Canon 85 mm lens and my DSLR's. It would intermittently cause hanging when imaging and meant I had to spend quite a lot of time troubleshooting the fault. The Eagle Core itself has continued to work fine since that lens connection trouble was diagnosed.

Cheers,
Steve

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Posted (edited)

FWIW I have checked through the accompanying pdf manual for the Eagle Core bundled with the latest downloadable v2.8 update and there are no changes written down that I can find. TBH the pdf manual could do with a complete re-write as the pdf version refers to certain information only available in a paper manual accompanying the purchase of an Eagle Core.

The changes introduced in v2.8 are-

Version 2.8 25/06/2020

1) Added the possibility to set a delay time between images

2) Added support for the Canon EOS 4000D

3) Added support for Nikon Z50 and D850

Incidentally does anyone know what the changes incorporated in v2.7 mean when referring to 'SIXTH SENSE 2' and 'EXACT'?-

Version 2.7 02/03/2020

1) Added support for SIXTH SENSE 2 and EXACT

Cheers,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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18 hours ago, SteveNickolls said:

FWIW I have checked through the accompanying pdf manual for the Eagle Core bundled with the latest downloadable v2.8 update and there are no changes written down that I can find. TBH the pdf manual could do with a complete re-write as the pdf version refers to certain information only available in a paper manual accompanying the purchase of an Eagle Core.

The changes introduced in v2.8 are-

Version 2.8 25/06/2020

1) Added the possibility to set a delay time between images

2) Added support for the Canon EOS 4000D

3) Added support for Nikon Z50 and D850

Incidentally does anyone know what the changes incorporated in v2.7 mean when referring to 'SIXTH SENSE 2' and 'EXACT'?-

Version 2.7 02/03/2020

1) Added support for SIXTH SENSE 2 and EXACT

Cheers,
Steve

They translated the focusers to English from the Italian products names.  Sixth Sense 2 is the Sesto Sensor 2 electronic auto focuser while Exact is the Exacto precision focuser.   

It doesn't make sense that they felt the need to translate it to English. A product name is a product name. 

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Eagle Core needs a major update.  I don't know what makes it impossible. 

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5 hours ago, kunene said:

They translated the focusers to English from the Italian products names.  Sixth Sense 2 is the Sesto Sensor 2 electronic auto focuser while Exact is the Exacto precision focuser. 

Thanks for that clarification kunene it all makes sense (no pun intended).

5 hours ago, kunene said:

Eagle Core needs a major update.  I don't know what makes it impossible. 

Well we can talk on here to our hearts content about what features etc. we would like to see on the Eagle app as some good ideas can come out from the user base. We can let PLL know of what users would like to see on the product to help them direct the development the product in the future . I did send off three ideas last year and while I can't say if one of the ideas did bear fruit the latest update has included a delay capability between sub frames which I'm happy to see.

I am conscious that the Eagle Core is a basic product in the Eagle range of mini-pc's and is constrained in terms of overall processing power, on board RAM and SSD space. However I'm not a programmer having any understanding of what is physically possible to fit into a small pot such as the Eagle Core.

Two things I feel would add to the usefulness of the device would be firstly change the percentage elapsed time on the Eagle app to either seconds elapsed or seconds remaining. A percentage means little in absolute terms when waiting to see the latest image acquired. I would also like to see a temperature indicator in the Eagle app similar to what is present in BYEOS which takes the exif temperature information from the image taken. While not being a true sensor temperature it is an indicator and allows me in BYEOS to stabilise temperatures more effectively by altering the delay between images. This makes matching light and dark frames easier.

I know that last November kunene you considered that adding a plate solving feature as well as a polar alignment routine would be very helpful. I'm not well up on the ASiair PRO as a competitor to the Eagle range but think it performs plate solving (not sure about polar alignment). I'm only thinking aloud that the hardware limitations of the Eagle Core would likely come into play here but it would be good for PLL to commit their view on the matter. 

JEM_svca earlier this year would like to have seen the Eagle working when his DSLR was operating with the long exposure noise reduction feature enabled, I realise this is one of the things that cannot be turned on if you want to use the Eagle Core.

I would add that it's is well overdue for the manual to be re-written and really the paper manual should be updated and integrated to reflect current capability as some of the advice in the paper manual on mount control has long been superceeded by firmware.

I'm pleased we have a place to discuss matters to the benefit of users as I haven't seen much other discussion on the Eagle Core and which deserves to be promoted as it has unique design features that make it stand out from competitors.

Cheers,
Steve

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, SteveNickolls said:

Thanks for that clarification kunene .

There may be hardware limitations but I think there are features that can fly. Maybe, they just want to keep the development cost low. For instance, what processing power is "time elapsed" feature going to eat up.

You don't see a lot of discussions about it becuase the features are almost too basic to the point of being outdated and it shouldn't be so.  The competitors  are way ahead. People prefer ASIair pro , Lacerta Mgen and AtikBase.

They can still keep it simple and basic but give users more options.  There is no doubt that people like simple solutions and that's why they prefer Asiair and Lacerta Mgen to Stellarmate but both of those gadgets still gives users various options. 

I don't know what the processing powers and RAM of Eagle Core are and I don't know why Primalucelab doesn't include this in the specifications but I doubt that the Larceta Mgen will have more processing power but look at what you can do with that. Basic but very useful. 

So, I think it is really development cost that is keeping Eagle Core from getting a major update. They don't want to spend money. They forget that it will enable them sell more devices. An update can even turn one of the USB ports to an external storage port. 

Also, Primalucelab should tell us what processor is used and the size of RAM.

I hate to say these but the Eagle Core doesn't really have unique features anymore. The competition is doing better. 

Edited by kunene

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2 hours ago, kunene said:

I don't know what the processing powers and RAM of Eagle Core are

I was able to find out the specification for the Eagle Core back in February, this is what I posted on 20.2.2020-

"My understanding on the Eagle Core spec

image.png.a0378761ed9b8f134f594efef2518104.png

(taken from the technical data tab on https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p9959_PrimaLuceLab-EAGLE-CORE---Control-Unit-for-astrophotography-with-a-DSLR-camera.html  ) is that the ARM cpu is very efficient and runs a proprietory Eagle App, I think Linux based. I understand ARM cpu's are used very widely to run bespoke systems using little power. "

2 hours ago, kunene said:

An update can even turn one of the USB ports to an external storage port. 

That indeed would be very interesting.

At some point I will contact PLL and put forward again the benefit of incorporating the two ideas I would like to see integrated into the Eagle app in a future update particularly wrt the addition of an exif temperature value which would go hand in hand with the 'delay' ability provided in v2.8.

Cheers,
Steve

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5 hours ago, SteveNickolls said:

I was able to find out the specification for the Eagle Core back in February, this is what I posted on 20.2.2020-

"My understanding on the Eagle Core spec

image.png.a0378761ed9b8f134f594efef2518104.png

(taken from the technical data tab on https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p9959_PrimaLuceLab-EAGLE-CORE---Control-Unit-for-astrophotography-with-a-DSLR-camera.html  ) is that the ARM cpu is very efficient and runs a proprietory Eagle App, I think Linux based. I understand ARM cpu's are used very widely to run bespoke systems using little power. "

That indeed would be very interesting.

At some point I will contact PLL and put forward again the benefit of incorporating the two ideas I would like to see integrated into the Eagle app in a future update particularly wrt the addition of an exif temperature value which would go hand in hand with the 'delay' ability provided in v2.8.

Cheers,
Steve

I think the RAM is indeed limiting.  The SSD is generous enough for a basic gadget. If only the RAM is user replaceable. 

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