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Skipper Billy

First night out with NINA ;-)

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I was livid to see how SGP had handled the change in their business model - someone suggested trying NINA - I had heard of it but never used it.

Prompted by my disappointment with SGP I downloaded NINA and spent an afternoon setting it up and generally playing about with it in the daylight.

All seemed very impressive - well thought out and everything I needed it to do was relatively easily found.

Last night was an unexpected relatively clear night so I gave NINA a whirl under real imaging conditions.

I had to spend a small amount of time setting up the step size and number of steps in the autofocus routine to get nice shaped V curves but once done it worked flawlessly and refocussed as requested on every filter change and every 1º temp change and a nice addition is the ability to request a refocus if the HFR value changes by more than x% - very clever. 

The big revelation was ASTAP plate solving - it was so fast I didn't notice that it had done it. I really hammered it requesting blind solves and solves from miles away from where it thought it was pointing and on every occasion it was almost instant.

The framing section was a delight to use and very easy to figure out. I don't do mosaics but did set one up and its very easy to do.

In short everything worked first time and whilst it took a little longer to use as am not familiar with the layout I am seriously impressed with it.

I haven't hit the 'uninstall' button on SGP just yet but its certainly on the cards,

The Help files are really well written and make complete sense.

The main screens are easily to customise and you can get rid of things that don't interest you and add things that do as well as resize the windows and alter their position just by dragging and dropping - you can also nest them for a less cluttered screen. There is also a reset screen layout button if you make a mess of it.

It doesn't feel 'geeky' it feels like a slick, polished and professional product that I would have happily paid for.

The support is also first class. I asked a question about which driver to use for my camera and  a helpful answer was forthcoming in under 4 mins.

Things I still need to do - alter the file naming convention - the default results in a really long file name - easy to adjust by dragging and dropping items between two lines. Also need to set up filter offsets for narrowband filters but no big deal as I always use autofocus before starting a sequence.

The only niggle I have so far is that once a sequence is running it doesn't seem possible to add, remove, alter anything in the sequence without stopping it whereas in SGP you can. May be my mistake but I was getting very tired by that time!

Very impressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice write-up. I use APT myself and have recently added ASTAP to it's plate solving and agree it is very quick!

I did look at N.I.N.A. when I upgraded to a new capture laptop with Win 10 Pro 64 bit on it, but didn't like the layout/setup. Perhaps I should give it another go as I didn't really give it a chance.

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Thats great billy after reading a post yesterday i also installed nina but couldnt test for clouds but must admit it looked very impressive,also going to try astap for the first time ,be prepared🤔,where did you post your questions billy as i finished up on a forum i didnt know how to use?discord??

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Great summary, did all your kit in your signature connect OK with no issues?
 

The reason I ask is I just couldn’t make my Atik EFW2 connect to NINA back in 2019, but I’m certainly going to give it another go.

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6 hours ago, iwols said:

Thats great billy after reading a post yesterday i also installed nina but couldnt test for clouds but must admit it looked very impressive,also going to try astap for the first time ,be prepared🤔,where did you post your questions billy as i finished up on a forum i didnt know how to use?discord??

I installed the 'Discord' prog and posted in the beginners section - it was answered very rapidly and followed up this morning with a request from the developer for the log of my session so he could fix the issue!

 

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5 minutes ago, tomato said:

Great summary, did all your kit in your signature connect OK with no issues?
 

The reason I ask is I just couldn’t make my Atik EFW2 connect to NINA back in 2019, but I’m certainly going to give it another go.

Yes - everything. The only issue I had was that my camera was slow to connect and download using the ASCOM camera driver but installing the native driver sorted that out.

I installed the latest Atik Core software and everything hooked up virtually instantly.

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7 hours ago, iwols said:

didnt know how to use?discord??

Discord is like a real-time thread you can’t really search forum questions the usual way basically you post a question and hope someone answers it , personally I don’t like this discord type forum .

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3 minutes ago, bottletopburly said:

Discord is like a real-time thread you can’t really search forum questions the usual way basically you post a question and hope someone answers it , personally I don’t like this discord type forum .

Same as. Ive had some questions answered on there but I don't like the format. Reminds me of the old Internet chat rooms. I'm on the FB page and ive seen a few questions on there with answers to "go use the Discord forum, this is for fans of NINA" which I found odd.

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I'm going to give it a go too. I have used SGP for the past few years (since early version 2) and although it is good, there are aspects of it that bug me.

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I also installed it yesterday and set it up and connected to my gear and performed dummy plate solves etc and all good so far.  Glad to hear it's working well for you Billy.

For me it seems a lot more stable than SGP which I have found annoying and buggy.  I also noted the support seems very quick with NINA, unlike the almost none-existent support for SGP

Edited by kirkster501
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The main problem with SGP, is it's mainly a 2 person outfit.

2 of the biggest issues I have with it are the graphical layout, windows not being embedded properly, over filling the screen when on a laptop, it doesn't appear to scale properly etc., and the non-cancellable delays when connecting to a piece of equipment which leads to lost time and added frustration.

It is good, and one of a kind (or at least was), but with there being other options, this can only be a good thing.

Maybe they'll learn from one another?

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36 minutes ago, Jonk said:

The main problem with SGP, is it's mainly a 2 person outfit.

2 of the biggest issues I have with it are the graphical layout, windows not being embedded properly, over filling the screen when on a laptop, it doesn't appear to scale properly etc., and the non-cancellable delays when connecting to a piece of equipment which leads to lost time and added frustration.

Agreed.  I give them credit for what they have done with SGP but it will never scale with just Ken and Jared on their own.  NINA is a community piece of software i.e. hundreds of folks can contribute to it (I will myself since I am useful at Python and want to write an ISS tracker application) and it will overtake SGP soon rendering it obsolete.  With this in mind the recent SGP change in license model, tipping more people over to NINA/Kstars/A.N.Other seems all the more bizarre to me.

Yes indeed, the GUI layout and the inability to cancel a connect/error connecting request is very annoying in SGP.  SGP's fault/error handling is pants.  It still has some useful features though but NINA will catch up.  A sad day, but I am drawing a line under SGP after my existing project is done and moving to NINA.

Edited by kirkster501

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On 24/09/2020 at 10:17, Skipper Billy said:

In short everything worked first time and whilst it took a little longer to use as am not familiar with the layout I am seriously impressed with it.

I am about to start looking at using NINA myself and I wondered what driver you were using with your Mesu 200 - I assume that it is 64 bit so any chance of you looking up its version number for me, please?

Thanks in advance.

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I am using 95H.

I was testing it out last night.  It works well.  I have to get my head around a few things.  I found I was not being prompted to rotate the camera last night, no matter how I rotated the image orientation that I wanted.    I had to manually prompt autofocus as well, rather than it doing it like I told it to do in the sequence.  I am 100% sure these are user error.

This is my first 300s sub with NINA - and has it happens, my first ever sub with my new QHY268C.  It moved the mount, platesolved and took the sub and started the guiding.  So far so good.

NAN_1st_300s_1x1.thumb.jpg.a84e291805588ea80b7bfd255973dfe4.jpg

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1 hour ago, steppenwolf said:

I am about to start looking at using NINA myself and I wondered what driver you were using with your Mesu 200 - I assume that it is 64 bit so any chance of you looking up its version number for me, please?

Is this the info you need ??

 

Capture.JPG

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Interesting write up. First I’ve heard of NINA.   Two questions:
Is NINA Windows only?   Does the world really need another control app for AP? 

 

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1 hour ago, steppenwolf said:

I am about to start looking at using NINA myself and I wondered what driver you were using with your Mesu 200 - I assume that it is 64 bit so any chance of you looking up its version number for me, please?

Bit more info once connected.....

 

Capture.JPG

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5 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Is NINA Windows only?   Does the world really need another control app for AP? 

Yes

Don't know but if something comes along that is better, free and well supported then I would say yes! 😉 

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45 minutes ago, Skipper Billy said:

Is this the info you need ??

Yes, thank you - does this mean that you are using the 32 bit version of NINA as I notice that the Sitech driver is located in the 32 bit folder and my understanding is that NINA 64 bit requires all ASCOM drivers to also be 64 bit as well?

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31 minutes ago, steppenwolf said:

Yes, thank you - does this mean that you are using the 32 bit version of NINA as I notice that the Sitech driver is located in the 32 bit folder and my understanding is that NINA 64 bit requires all ASCOM drivers to also be 64 bit as well?

I am using the 64 bit version of Nina - after installing it I just pointed the scope module at SiTech and it worked. I have just checked and you are quite right SiTech is installed in the 32 bit folder.

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2 minutes ago, Skipper Billy said:

I am using the 64 bit version of Nina - after installing it I just pointed the scope module at SiTech and it worked. I have just checked and you are quite right SiTech is installed in the 32 bit folder.

Thanks again, I appreciate you taking the time to give me this information. 👍

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4 minutes ago, Skipper Billy said:

I am using the 64 bit version of Nina - after installing it I just pointed the scope module at SiTech and it worked. I have just checked and you are quite right SiTech is installed in the 32 bit folder.

That is exactly what I did and all I did.  Connected NINA to Sitech and the little scope window popped up.

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56 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Interesting write up. First I’ve heard of NINA.   Two questions:
Is NINA Windows only?   Does the world really need another control app for AP? 

 

Yes windows only.  

Yes clearly the world does need another one and that's why several of us are switching over to it and putting it through its paces.   I'm on a learning curve with it and as soon as I have it sorted, SGP is on the backburner.  Problem is there are no clear nights on the horizon......

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