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I had a go at getting an astroberry setup working, but the few times I tried it, it was horribly unstable and I had very little success connecting the Pi to my AZ-GTI or getting a sequence of images captured without crashing.

The new AsiAir Mini is in my price range. Assuming it is similar to other AsiAir versions, is it really plug and play and idiot proof?

Shame it doesn't support USB 3.1 though...

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@AgsI really like my ASIair plus. I’d say it’s plug-n-play. Over a ten year period I went through EQMOD on Windows laptop then KStars on a MacBook. I was forever faffing with dropouts and dodgy connections. ASIair just works really. Limited to ZWO kit of course, except for  certain DSLRs.  So, this idiot is very pleased with it. Could you not  stretch to an ASIair Plus?  Or try and pick up one 2nd hand or an ASIair Pro.  The latter is good, but the range is limited.  

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I agree with @Ouroboros it is one of those rare pieces of astro kit that just works and makes life so much easier. I wonder why they have brought out the mini?  I mean it is ideally placed for a portable setup (amazing space saving) but I wonder if they (ZWO) were concerned that the ASiAir Pro variants where missing a price point or something;  it is yet another expensive bit of kit! My only dislike about ASi Air is that it ties you to their cameras/focuser.  I'm trying to wean myself off ZWO :) 

Jim 

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Sorry @Ags I didn't really answer your question :)  If the mini is like the other versions (I suspect it will be) then yes it is basically plug and play. Everything from polar alignment, target selection, framing, auto focusing, guiding is simple. The plate solving function is quick and a joy to use.  I think the mini would be a good investment, you won't be disappointed; I'm keeping my eye on one for a future addition to my portable setup. 

Do you use a ZWO camera for imaging and guiding?

Jim 

Edited by saac
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+1 for idiot proof. You connect to the unit and open the app, activate it, put in your imaging and guide scope parameters and that's about it! It detects your cameras automatically, so with your focal lengths inputted plate solving is a doddle, and very reliable in my short experience with the Plus. The rest is just fiddling with autorun settings to set them to your needs. Guiding rate, pulse lengths, dithering, meridian flips, power outputs etc all adjustable but works well enough out of the box. Must say I've been very impressed so far - money well spent. 

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The main reason the Asiair is seemingly more stable is that it restricts the user choice and simplifies the choices the user has.

Astroberry, Stellarmate & Asiair are all using the INDILIB core.  With the first two you can select any of the multiple choices for cameras, focusers etc but ZWO have either omitted the non-ZWO drivers or the app does not allow them to be selected.  Being based on open source software it's a bit poor that ZWO don't add back to the INDILIB - the driver for the Asiair power ports was recreated by individuals rather than ZWO so you can now use Astroberry or Stellarmate in the Asiair Pro and control the power ports (indi-asi-power) it's included in both.

Original Asiair is a Raspberry Pi board

Asiair Pro is a Raspberry Pi board with a ZWO plug in board for power ports, switches etc

Asiair Plus is a ZWO board built to use the plugin Raspberry Pi Compute plugin boards

Asiair Mini is all ZWO board based.

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All tech companies have to keep putting out “new” products because they saturate the market.  If they don’t do this they would simply wither.  As with Apple or other tech companies it becomes less and less apparent that the so-called new offerings are actually new, or indeed that we need them.  It’s a dilemma for tech companies. The other feature is programmed redundancy.  Presumably we can expect that in time  the current ASIairs will no longer be compatible with updates in software or cameras. 

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I think the Asiair Mini is a reaction to the increased costs of the Raspberry Pi boards/modules.  With my limited knowledge of the hardware I looked up the processor (Rockchip RV1126) on the ZWO mini board and it appeared to have more usage in cameras (perhaps as ZWO do them as well I am presuming too much).

 

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13 hours ago, Ags said:

I had a go at getting an astroberry setup working, but the few times I tried it, it was horribly unstable and I had very little success connecting the Pi to my AZ-GTI or getting a sequence of images captured without crashing.

Thats a shame 😞 I started down the Astroberry route a little over a year ago using an RPi4 and I find that it works quite reliably for my needs, managing the mount, camera, platesolving and guiding. Ekos does have its quirks but its quite suitable for me.

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I think the main functional differences - other than size - related to prior model:

  • PRO - adds 4x12V outputs, 12v power management, replaces 2 x USB2 with 2 x USB3
  • PLUS - real time 12v power output monitoring, integrated WiFi extender, USB-C connector for data transfer, integrated EMS storage, increased IO rates.
  • Mini - 12V power monitoring reduced (excludes output power monitoring), back to 4x USB2*, removes ethernet port.

Current software supports image stacking - but not for all large sensor cameras.

Not idiot proof, I’ve manage a few errors (RTFM) and the setup for Celestron mounts appears initially confusing - not model related - follow the steps accurately and it’s fine.

I don’t have any other manufacturer’s mounts so can’t comment on the relevant steps for those.

Otherwise, focusing, plate solving, polar alignment,  session planning, calibration frames all taken care of.

Support for cameras, focus wheels and focussed is restricted to ZWO products.

Nikon and Canon DSLRs supported, otherwise cameras need to be ZWO.

I have an original model and 3 * ASIAIR Pro.

* USB3 speeds not really necessary for imaging.

 

Edited by iapa
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