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SteveNickolls

PrimaLuceLab’s Eagle Core

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Maybe 1 GB of RAM Is not that limiting after all.  I just checked Lacerta MGEN 3 and it has only 64 MB of RAM and 4 GB SD. Yet, it packs a lot of features and has inbuilt colour screen. 

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Look at what they said at about further upgrade 

Development:
With firmware version 1.00 the MGEN-3 has about the same functionality as the MGEN-2, but has 
some important improvements. Numerous other features are in planning, such as platesolving and 
related features (micro GoTo via ST4, polar alignment, etc). There is an onboard WiFi module that 
will allow wireless connection to PCs or mobile phones and apps, adaptive optics, measuring of 
field rotation and derotator, and more. Please send us your ideas. Suggestions are always welcome.

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9 hours ago, kunene said:

I just checked Lacerta MGEN 3 and it has only 64 MB of RAM and 4 GB SD. Yet, it packs a lot of features and has inbuilt colour screen. 

Hi, this is all good to know kuneme and thanks indeed for finding the information out.

I'm intending to contact PLL and suggest the developments I'd like to see for the Eagle Core. I already use an iPolar device for polar alignment so such capability on the Eagle Core would not be on my list though I appreciate a one fix all approach would attract many other users the the PLL product in this competitive market sector.

I'd suggest all Eagle Core users to suggest development ideas to PLL in a kind, positive way and see where future firmware releases take the product.

Cheers,
Steve

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Posted (edited)

I thought it helpful to add a link to a recent video out of Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes about PrimaLuceLabs. Quite a long video but a good insight into the company, their motivation, new facility and product line for general interest. One aspect coming out of the video that users of the Eagle Core, baby of their Eagle range of mini-pc's will be aware of is the benefit arising from fixed cable management and reduced set up time. There is a sizeable portion of time given over in the latter half to the Eagle Core.

I do not have any affiliation with either Woodland Hills or PrimaLuceLabs but do own an Eagle Core device and think it a product line that deserves to be known and heard throughout the hobby.

Enjoy.

Cheers,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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Hi all,

Just found this thread.  It’s felt pretty lonely as an Eagle Core user!

Been using mine for a couple of years now and it’s worked pretty reliably. I agree that some additional features would be a good value-add. Plate solving for sure !

I just updated to 2.8 having thought a few weeks ago how nice a delay feature would be 😀and there it was !

Thinking about it, could one add a delay that was the same as the exposure time, thus allowing us to use long exposure noise reduction? (LENR doubles the exposure time doesn’t it?)

Nick

EXplore Scientific ED127 CF fcd100, Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, Canon 600d (unmoded), Eagle Core, Primaluce Lab 60mm Guidescope with QHY 5L-II mono

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Hi Nicks952, thanks for your post. 

Really that's the purpose of this thread, to act as an online presence and resource for this very useful device. I'm really pleased the Eagle Core has been of value to you over the last two years, you must have been an early risk taker/adopter. 👍

I'd encourage all owners to write to PLL with their suggestions for developments. I did contact Fillipo after the v2.8 update suggesting they consider altering the 'percentage time elapsed' for either 'seconds elapsed' or 'seconds remaining'. Another idea, to add the camera sensor temperature on screen can't work as the Raw CR2 file is stored on the DSLR's memory card not the Eagle Core which only shows the last .jpeg.

As regards the work around for LENR I think one of the pre-requisites for the Eagle Core to operate is having that function turned off. 🙄

Thanks again for posting Nick, would you be willing to post some detail on your set up with tbe Eagle Core to share with others?

Cheers,

Steve

 

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Hi Steve,

Sorry if this goes on a bit!

I hadn't realised at the time that I was being a bit of an early adopter. I was upgrading from a Skywatcher 150 newtonion on a manual eq3-2 mount and after much research ended up talking with the guys at The Widescreen Centre and they recommended a full-fat Eagle to go with the setup we were putting together. When I looked at pricing I realized that the Eagle Core would do the job for significantly less cash, as I was carrying on with my 600d. 

I have found it to be very easy to use once I had the right cables.  The first camera power cable I was sent was too short, but was quickly replaced. Like others I was somewhat taken aback by the cost of the cables, but what are you going to do!  It was nice to see the links earlier in this discussion to 365Astronomy's range of cables and especially the standalone connectors.

To begin with, I did have some problems with the acquisition module. But they were related to the LENR and Mirror Lock-Up settings in the camera. At that time they were not documented in the manual. They might have been in the pdf version, but since I hadn't done a firmware upgrade, I hadn't looked at that.  I did contact technical support and they were pretty good at responding, but they didn't solve the imaging issue, I experimented and found these for myself.  I also had trouble with dithering which fails every now and then, at which point the whole imaging run is terminated - which is rather irritating. Tech support also stopped responding to queries on this. I can see now there are some advanced settings that may help with that.

This all sounds very negative but I love the Eagle Core. When working, which is now most of the time, it is a simple delight to use. I have it mounted on the handle that is on the top of the main scope o-rings, with the guidescope atop that. Feels very solid and makes for a quick and easy setup.

I find the guiding to be excellent - this hardly ever gives me any trouble and is usually sub-1 arc second.

 

Explore Scientific ED127 CF fcd100, Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, Canon 600d (unmodded), Primaluce Lab Eagle Core & 60mm Guidescope with QHY 5L-II mono

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Hi Nicks952, thanks for your message. I share your liking of the Eagle core device. Yes you can get hold of the various cable connectors at 365 Astronomy and make up your own cables if you have the skill and that way reduce overall costs. I have found all the cable connectors to be very sturdy in use, no chance of any coming loose accidentally.

Yes you need to religiously do all the pre-requisities with your DSLR before using the Eagle Core as mentioned in the manual-that is setting the camera to Manual mode or BULB mode if you have it; having the USB cable connected between the DSLR and one of the Eagle's USB ports; having a charged battery or ideally power the DSLR from the Eagle Core; having a memory card installed in the DSLR (and formatted before first using it with the Eagle Core) and having manually set your camera's focus. The times I have forgotten to connect the USB cable-urgh! I've written a little list of the procedure to follow, very handy after a lengthy lay off between sessions. 

I haven't yet attempted to allow the Eagle App to control dithering mostly due to my mount, a CG-5 having known DEC backlash issues after previous guiding calibration in PHD2. Having said this the guiding routine in the Eagle App simply works for me, I had expected problems at the calibration stage. It would be good if the Eagle App allowed the use of dark frame or bad pixel map )as PHD2 does) to avoid the accidental selection of a stuck pixel for a guiding star. I have recently swapped from using my ASI120MM-S with a 30 mm ZWO mini-guider for a 50 mm SkyWatcher guide scope to give more stars to choose to guide from. Can I ask what guide scope you use with your QHY 5L-II mono camera? Good luck trying out the advanced settings when guiding. Unlike when imaging when we tend to stick to certain settings when guiding you have to allow for the conditions on the night which may mean adjusting the gain and exposure time so as not try to chase the seeing.

I actually think PLL don't shout out the value of their Eagle range enough considering how much easier it makes set up/take down; many cables don't need to be touched each time and the risk of snagging or lose cables is very unlikely. The Eagle unit also becomes part of the physical set up with the  holed design of the unit being very useful for ensuring no part can move or sag or needing to resort to Velcro to attach the device to the rest of the rig. The Eagle range isn't cheap but it is well put together and puts connectivity, cable management and power distribution in one unit.

Can I ask which of the Eagle power adapters you have? Mine is the 5Amp model as I only power my mount and DSLR from the Eagle Core. I had previously purchased my dew heater equipment so am happy to power that from the same power reel (4 outlets) as the Eagle uses.

Good luck this season imaging using your Eagle Core, do post any images and your experiences here.

Cheers,
Steve

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Hi Steve,

Thanks for that.

I use the PLL 60mm CompactGuide scope.

For power I use a 12v 5A supply that I picked up from Maplin.  I also have a Tracer 12v 10Ah lithium polymer battery pack for travelling.

The Canon is powered directly from the Eagle Core.

Clear skies

Nick

Explore Scientific ED127 CF fcd100, Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, Canon 600d (unmodded), Primaluce Lab Eagle Core & 60mm Guidescope with QHY 5L-II mono

IMG_0024.jpg

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13 hours ago, Nicks952 said:

I use the PLL 60mm CompactGuide scope.

For power I use a 12v 5A supply that I picked up from Maplin.  I also have a Tracer 12v 10Ah lithium polymer battery pack for travelling.

The Canon is powered directly from the Eagle Core.

Thanks for your post describing your cable choices and details of your equipment, you have a fine looking set up. 🙂 It's very helpful to see how folks employ their Eagle Core's as part of the structural side of their imaging rigs.

I take it the Eagle App has worked out the box with the AZEQ6 mount apart from some glitches with dithering?

One of the things for me to explore this season is using the Eagle Core with my Star Adventurer and see what is produces.

Good luck for imaging this season with your set up.

Cheers,
Steve

 

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Thanks Steve - I'm very pleased with it.

Yup - The Eagle Core "just worked".  I love it on the rare occasions when that actually happens with something techy !

Just like you, I have a Star Adventurer, but the the Mini version. I think in retrospect that the non-mini was the one that I should have purchased as I think that one has a guide port ?

Look forward to hearing how it goes.

All the best

Nick

Explore Scientific ED127 CF fcd100, Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, Canon 600d (unmodded), PLL Eagle Core & PLL 60mm CompactGuide scope with QHY 5L-II mono

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5 hours ago, Nicks952 said:

I think that one has a guide port ?

Hi Nick, yes the standard Star Adventurer has an auto-guider port. I just took this image off the FLO site-

image.png.672324df30263200e9258435253b5052.png

I will let you know how I get on using it.

Cheers,
Steve

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Just noticed that we also use the same post processing!

Nick

Explore Scientific ED127 CF fcd100, Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, Canon 600d (unmodded), Primaluce Lab Eagle Core & 60mm Guidescope with QHY 5L-II mono

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Apologies if this isn't quite the right thread to use, but it is related to Eagle Core use. Do let me know if there is a better slot for it.

 

Platesolving - (I have written to PLL to request it as a future development.) At my home location I have a lot of trees and therefore can usually only manage a 1 star alignment using the Skywatcher WiFi App on my iPhone. This limits my goto accuracy. I can get around it sometimes by re-aligning to a main star nearer to my chosen target. But I seem to spend, I feel, too long refining and framing the target. Thus I have a feeling that  plate solving might be the way forward.

I'd like to try it, but as I use the Eagle Core for guiding and acquisition I want to minimise the duplication of software functionality. So I was thinking that I could try and use my existing guidecam and guidescope combo to plate solve target correct the initial slew to target. 

So I'm just wondering if anyone has a little advice on implementing plate solving simply to correct for goto inaccuracy, after which I would revert to the simple Eagle Core guiding and acquisition routines. As I mentioned earlier, I use the WiFi module to connect to the mount and can get Stellarium to slew via the Skywatcher WiFi ASCOM driver. (I have a decent HP Envy Ryzen 5 laptop). I don't have any cables to make that connection. I'm also trying to do this with a zero spend if possible 😀.

Any ideas?   Thanks!

Nick

Explore Scientific ED127 CF fcd100, Skywatcher AZ-EQ6, Canon 600d (unmodded), Primaluce Lab Eagle Core & 60mm Guidescope with QHY 5L-II mono

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Reply from PLL:

Filippo@PrimaLuceLab Aug 27, 10:35

Good morning Nick, thank you!
We always develop the EAGLE CORE to be the most simple way for astrophotography (and not the most powerful). This is the reason why we haven’t added the Plate Solving but we focused on the usability.
Being this said, we always work to develop new things and we’ll see in the future if it will be possible to add also this feature.
Best regards.

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Thanks for both your recent posts Nick. I can understand your situation with limited star alignment capability. I can't personally help over plate solving but I can see the time coming when plate solving becomes a tool inbuilt into many mount firmware. Hopefully other SGL users with practical experience and knowledge on the subject will be able to chip in and help you here.

The reply you received from PLL on the subject is very interesting and will wait to see what comes of it in the future.

Cheers,

Steve

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Posted (edited)

Hi Steve

I just ran a little experiment with the delay feature. Thought you might be interested.

I set LENR to "on" on the Canon

Timed a 15s exposure and noted how long it took for the camera to process it - around 35s - alhough it seemed a lot quicker when running the sequence.

Setup the Eagle to use a 35s delay and take 3 x 15s exposures   .....But of course I only needed a delay of just over 15 seconds.....

My observations were that all exposures were taken but the image shown in the preview screen were one behind the shot just taken

So it must be that the Eagle Core is posting the JPEG preview before the processing is complete

It does mean that if you were sure you were on target and wanted to use LENR instead of darks and maybe go to bed, at least you'd know the sequence would run

Obviously, overall run time is about the same as when taking darks.

I also noticed that the exposure progress bar was unreliable (blanked out) if you set the delay to a value equal to or higher than the exposure time (reported to PLL). This happened with LENR off too. (iPhone 7, iOS 13, Safari and Chrome)

All the best

Nick

 

Edited by Nicks952
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24 minutes ago, Nicks952 said:

I just ran a little experiment with the delay feature. Thought you might be interested.

I set LENR to "on" on the Canon

Thanks for posting your recent experience and observations Nick with the LENR workaround I'm sure it will be helpful for others who want to try that approach and indeed if they in turn can post that it also works for them. 🙂 We really could do with some clear night skies right now to use the Eagle Core in earnest; I keep records of sessions and this August has been by far the worst year for getting out since my records began in 2012.

Interesting that you found the progress bar greyed out but 👍 for informing PLL.

Cheers,
Steve

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Posted (edited)
On 22/08/2020 at 17:12, SteveNickolls said:

 

I communicated with Primalucelab about the need for polar alignment feature. They said well, I could use a laptop to polar align with PHD, then guide and capture with Eagle Core.

I found this very ridiculous. It defeats the whole purpose of not wanting to have a computer on the field in the first place . That was almost three years ago. 

Since then, there have been no major improvements  in the device, apart from adding the delay which should have been there in the first place and compatibility with more cameras and Primalucelab focusers. 

I have to admit that the Eagle Core works very well for what it is being marketed for, but the hardware is being grossly underutilized . Hence, there are better options out there.  

The hardware is well capable of a polar alignment feature, platesolving and even capturing with CMOS/CCD cameras but it requires a major overhaul of the operating system.  Primalucelab doesn't want to do this , despite the fact that market forces are not on their side. There is Lacerta MGEN,  AsiAir Pro, Atik Base and even Pegasus Power Power Box which could be coupled with a mini PC. All these do much more at lower prices. Lacerta MGEN almost twice more expensive but comes with its own guide camera a handheld  device with an inbuilt screen. 

I understand their business model of trying to keep it less complex and less complicated to attract newbies but it does not  amount to a lot more sales. You can still keep it simple but give users more options for them to ignore if they don't need It. 

With the form factor and aesthetics of Eagle Core, the device should have been very common in the market now but only a few people use it because the company has refused to invest in software development. You can count the number of threads where Eagle Core has been discussed. There is only one independent review on YouTube and on the internet. And those guys admitted that it was a complimentary copy for review from Primalucelab. People were even asking of polar alignment and platesolving in that comment section of that review .  And that was more than three years ago.

Another problem is that they prize themselves out of the market. Their cables and accessories are the most expensive in the industry. Who sales a simple cable for $50 or a DSLR coupler for $80?  Pegasus Astro sells its own DSLR coupler for $18 .I have been making my own cables for under $10. I made DSLR coupler for under $20. I just couldn't bring myself to buying those expensive accessories. That alone discourages prospective users.

I have suggested features to them for almost three years and I don't didn't there is anything anyone will suggest to them today that has been suggested before. Perhaps they are fearful that they may not get a return on investment if they pay software developers because for them to integrate polar alignment and platesolving, they will need partnership from PHD and the astrometry people. This means licenses.  You get the idea? The only features that you may suggest are minor ones like that delay timer . 

Atleast It does deliver on its promises but to be honest, the gadget is lagging behind and almost outdated. Go to a star party and you are the only one using it . They look at it like something inferior. 

I can bet you that if Primalucelab adds polar alignment and platesolving, the Eagle Core will start selling like hot cake and beat the competition as it has such a beautiful form factor and design,  as well as its cable management abilities . 

However , like I noted, it is not a disappointing device as it delivers on promises.  It can only get better as it has futuristic capabilities. That's if the manufacturer allows it to reach its potential. 

 

 

 

Edited by kunene
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Posted (edited)

Hi Kunene, thanks for your recent post.

I can understand your frustrations not being able to have a polar alignment capability in the Eagle App but you have let PLL know your ideas as a customer. It seems PLL didn’t explain to you why the Eagle Core wouldn’t or couldn’t have a polar alignment built in. When I last contacted them with some ideas Fillipo was able to explain why the Eagle App couldn’t include a temperature indication of the sensor (it’s all explained in an earlier post of mine). Maybe if more users wanted polar alignment included then it would add weight to get it incorporated in the future?

I agree the Eagle Core works very well at what it does and may actually be under selling itself against competitors as it’s a solution that includes a tidy cable management system and its structural design incorporates it into the imaging rig in many useful ways. I do like its red livery too which fits in well with my WO RedCat set up. Certainly no need to Velcro tie an alternative mini-pc somewhere on the mount or OTA.

I’ve done a check of basic prices of the options you mention-

Eagle Core £277 (FLO)

Lacerta MGEN 3 £609 (365 Astronomy)

ASIair Pro £313 (FLO)

Atik Base (£269 (FLO)

Pegasus Power Box V1 £340 (eBay)

Before deciding on a solution that meets an individual’s requirements all these current competitors would require quite a lot of comparison work to be done before choosing. When I purchased my Eagle Core the main option was the original ASIair.

The range of PLUS accessories is extensive but costly-in the last video I posted it was pointed out that PLL are not a far eastern manufacturer churning out thousands of units where economies of scale become possible but PLL’s products are of much higher quality getting the individual attention of a small team of committed staff.

Yes, the number of threads where the Eagle Core or even Eagle range are mentioned are few and was a driving reason to having this thread where users could share views etc. Looking at the number of views the thread has had (currently 4,570) it is helping to get the product thought about so individuals can make their informed decisions before parting with their hard earnt.

I agree that it would be great for the Eagle Core to reach its potential.

Cheers,
Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls

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Hi all

I may post this elsewhere as well.

I use the EagleCore and that's great.  But I have noticed that when dithering is turned on, imaging can sometimes be interrupted due to errors in guiding exceeding a particular level. You can adjust the sensitivity to this in the advanced settings.

But this means that if you have started a sequence and you leave it, you can come back and find that a dithering failure has stopped the sequence at some point. It doesn't tell you when it stopped.

What I wanted to do was to be able to boost the Eagle Core wifi signal so that it would reach my sitting room and allow me to continue monitoring the run . But my booster and the Eagle didn't play nicely together.

As my laptop is Win10 home, it can't remote into the main office PC (that is within range of the Eagle). The I remembered that the Steam client (I do gaming too) allows you to stream a game to another machine on the same network........so here's what I did.....

Fire up steam on both machines

Ensure that laptop is on main house wifi

Connect the Desktop via wifi dongle to the Eagle Core

Start any game as a stream from the laptop (I use the Elder Scrolls Online game launcher. No need to start the game)

The office desktop PC is now mirrored on the laptop.

Voila !  I can now watch a movie while the Eagle does it's thing, knowing that I'll be able spot any errors.

Hope this helps someone at some point.

Clear skies

Nick

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Hi Nick, I do like what you have discovered, very resourceful indeed. 👍 I'm sure that work around will prove very helpful to others facing a similar dilemma.

Cheers,

Steve

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Also was attracted by its housing and design.  Their device can act as a nice mounting bar for guidecams etc. But all went very quickly away when the interior and capabilities were compared to asiair pro.  Im not a salesman at all but if you have quite a good looking device, and read all these disappointing reviews, you have to step up your game and meet the required options the majority is looking for. Offer more functionality that users can decide to use, instead of less functions.    Otherwise you will become the blackberry of astrogear.  I think

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Thanks for your assessment on the Eagle Core Robindonne and take the points about comparing to the later ASiair Pro and limited functionality of the Eagle Core. It's exciting to wonder what developments we will get to use in these coming years to help in our hobby.

I'd hope that the Eagle Core will be a useful system for many in the future having the structural design element, power provision and tidy cable management features. I'm intending this season trying out the Eagle Core on my Star Adventurer mount.

Cheers,

Steve

Edited by SteveNickolls
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On 27/08/2020 at 10:53, Nicks952 said:

So I'm just wondering if anyone has a little advice on implementing plate solving simply to correct for goto inaccuracy,

Dont have or know Eagle box other than it runs Wins 10. But if it supports Ascom you can do platesolving (assuming that the eagle allows software installs!) using Astrotortilla as this has an inbuilt ASCOM mount interface and even if it cannot interface with your camera(s) (it needs a supported ascom camera) you can use the manual "load image" part of Astrotortilla to use an image to solve and this will inform all ASCOM mount software the solved Ra/Dec - again assuming Eagle uses or makes available the mount driver via ASCOM. So the workflow would be take image,load image into Astrotortilla,Platesolve abd if ok sync mount - the latter should then show you where your mount is pointing (via your Planeltarium software)

the requirement would be

1. Able to install Astrotortilla onto Eagle

2. Load correct index's for your camera's FOV - have you enough disc space

3. Set the correct paramters for Astrotortilla (google SGL Astrotortilla) so get max solving speed

4. Celeron CPU will be slower for Platesolving so faster version the better.

Note depending on your FOV and how close your mount is to the object selected the platesolving times will differ. Also your CPU type ,  using SSD and memory also effect the platesolving speed.

There are other options such as ASTAP (very fast and very simple to install as it comes with its own Index's of about 700mb),ASPS (will auto sync mount) ,platesolve2 and even local Astrometry.net but you would have to pass the cords manual unless you can do command line scripts under Windows

IMO I do not see that Eagle manufactures have a valid reason for not implementing Platesolving as you will not be taking images while platesolving and the rest of the software will be dormant or using little CPU time.

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