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Rolling Back ASIAir Firmware/software?


The Admiral

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The recent debacle over the latest ASIAir firmware with the introduction of the very buggy v2.0 and v2.1, which have, by all accounts, seriously disrupted the smooth and simple operation of earlier versions, leaving a number unable to image, or at the very least, wasting a lot of time trying to get the device to work properly. Indeed, the last time I used mine, which had been automatically updated to v2.0, odd things were occurring. Has v2.1 corrected all the ills? Personally I haven't had the opportunity to test, but postings would suggest not. Other than issuing v2.1, ZWO don't really seem to be addressing individuals' problems. There also seems to be some sort of concern over the adequacy of Android's Play Store offering, some finding these not working properly whereas files downloaded from the ZWO site do. A very confusing situation indeed. Unfortunately, ZWO have not made available v1.9.1, the last stable version, so as to allow easy roll-back. Incidentally, you need to be aware that the minimum system requirements from October 1, 2022 have been raised, for iOS from v11 to v12, and for Android, from v7 to v8.

I have found the APKPure site which lists a whole range of earlier versions.

APK.thumb.jpg.00d6fd15b9f294a4fa27d9948ce0bfb1.jpg

Is anyone familiar with this site? Is it trustworthy? Has anyone used the site? There are two versions of v1.9.1, one with OBB, and the other without. I assume one would need the version with OBB.

As a complete noob on Android, I need the method involved for rolling back. I've found this on the ASIAir Forum (https://bbs.astronomy-imaging-camera.com/d/15898-asiair-v21-has-been-released/39)

"But you gotta have the 1.9.1 apk firmware which unfortunatelly ZWO doesn't display on it's site. I don't know why are they doing this...but I always download the apk package every time they release a new version...and store it on my pc. Version 1.9.1 apk is the one you need. I think someone on this forum gave a link to download it. After you get the apk, you're copying it to your phone/tablet.Then you start asiair plus and the actual app(v2.1), connect to asiair device and reset firmware to version 8. Then you turn off the asiair plus device. After that you go on your phone and remove the asiair app. After you do that go where you copied the 1.9.1 apk firmware on the phone and install it from there. If everything goes well you'll get the message that Asiair has been installed. You don't open the app yet. Turn on the Asiair plus device, wait untill the beep. Then start the newly installed app and you follow the steps and it will update the firmware from version 8 (factory version) to version 1.9.1 of the app that you have installed."

Anyone got any thoughts? Has anyone tried it? I know some have got their own copies of the v1.9.1 APK from when that version was released, but anyone sourced it from elsewhere?

Ian

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I've been reading around the subject of APKs on t'internet, and a few things have caught my eye which I think might be worth sharing. Note that when it comes to Android, I know nothing!

There are two versions of the v1.9.1 residing on APKPure, APK file, 79.2MB, and XAPK OBB file, 643.2MB. I gather that XAPK is a compressed file containing both the app and supporting data (such as the sky chart data). Android doesn't recognise this type of file, so getting it to load isn't straight forward. If you download the APK, then once installed, the device will be directed to download the supporting data separately. So the APK file would be the one to go for.

Another interesting fact is that Google have capped the APK files on its Play Store to 100MB. So, v1.9.1, at 79.2MB, should be OK. Looking at the APKs for v2 and v2.1 on the APKPure site, they are in the region of 160MB, above the Google limit. Hmm! I have read on the ZWO discussion forum that the Android version was delayed, and I've also seen it written that using the Play Store version wasnt't working properly, whereas downloading directly from ZWO the app performed as it should. Unfortunately, unless you stop the updating of the app on the Play Store site, you will automatically receive the Google version of the latest updates.

Now I don't know whether the imposed Google limit has been the cause of the issue, and I can't vouch for any claims made on the discussion forum, but I thought that this information might be of use to those folk who are having difficulty with the latest updates. It would interesting to hear if anyone has downloaded the latest updates from the ZWO site, and whether that experience has been better. Worth a try though.

Ian

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Generally when zwo publish a new version I now download it direct from their pygar site, at least that way I know I'm getting the full version and also the apk in case I need to revert.

Regarding apkpure, I wouldn't download from there as I read the xapk requires loading to your phone via a system of theirs (login or something), so wouldn't trust it, an apk is an apk, no reason to repackage it.

Personally I haven't felt the need to update to app version 2.1 and any asiair firmware contained within, after v2.0 caused so many issues I'm sticking to v1.9.

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Yes, the XAPK contains all the additional data as well as the APK, and as I noted it is not recognised by Google. I gather that the file type has to be changed and then decompressed to give the APK and the subsidiary data file. I imagine most APK hosts have their own app for making this easy. But APKPure does also provide just the APK. Of course, until, and if, ZWO decides to make available the v1.9.1 version on their site, I think APKPure is as good as any other APK service. It appears to be reasonably well regarded. Not only that, it actually has the ZWO file listed!

Incidentally, when you copy the APK to the mobile device, where do you put it?

Ian

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I just leave it in the downloaded location, then use a file manager to locate it and open it (you'll need to enable "install from untrusted sources" for the file manager app within android settings, it should already have file/phone storage access permissions) so when you click on the apk it will install. You can then turn that setting back off once it's installed.

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Oh dear. Trubble at mill? The ASIair has been so reliable hitherto.

I’ve just acquired an AM5 mount and am testing out controlling it with my ASIair.

One odd thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t seem able to switch off autocentre in the event that I want to use the mount for visual only i.e without a camera. The sky atlas won’t GoTO the mount without a camera attached. It keeps telling me I’ve set Autocentre to ON.  I keep switching Autocentre to OFF, but the app immediately switches it back on again. I’m pretty sure this used not to be a problem. Maybe I’m missing a trick here. Any ideas?

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9 hours ago, Ouroboros said:

Oh dear. Trubble at mill? The ASIair has been so reliable hitherto.

Indeed it has been a joy to use, but the updating of the app from v1.9.1 to v2 seems to have broken a lot of things, as a read of the ZWO forum will reveal. v2.1 has been released but I gather that there are still issues. I've been absent from imaging for a while so personal experience is lacking, though the last time (January) things didn't seem right. PA was a nightmare and I had to give up with alignment well out, when the mount went to home at the end of the session it ploughed straight past and fortunately I was there to prevent it causing damage, the mount wouldn't stay in tracking mode, and images seemed to take longer to appear on the screen.

I suggest that you download from the ZWO site rather than the Play Store, and if that fails, roll back to v1.9.1. 

Ian

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10 hours ago, Ouroboros said:

Oh dear. Trubble at mill? The ASIair has been so reliable hitherto.

I’ve just acquired an AM5 mount and am testing out controlling it with my ASIair.

One odd thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t seem able to switch off autocentre in the event that I want to use the mount for visual only i.e without a camera. The sky atlas won’t GoTO the mount without a camera attached. It keeps telling me I’ve set Autocentre to ON.  I keep switching Autocentre to OFF, but the app immediately switches it back on again. I’m pretty sure this used not to be a problem. Maybe I’m missing a trick here. Any ideas?

There is another app to control the AM5 called ASIMount, though I have not used it yet. It looks like it's for using the mount for observing?

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3 hours ago, The Admiral said:

Indeed it has been a joy to use, but the updating of the app from v1.9.1 to v2 seems to have broken a lot of things, as a read of the ZWO forum will reveal. v2.1 has been released but I gather that there are still issues. I've been absent from imaging for a while so personal experience is lacking, though the last time (January) things didn't seem right. PA was a nightmare and I had to give up with alignment well out, when the mount went to home at the end of the session it ploughed straight past and fortunately I was there to prevent it causing damage, the mount wouldn't stay in tracking mode, and images seemed to take longer to appear on the screen.

I suggest that you download from the ZWO site rather than the Play Store, and if that fails, roll back to v1.9.1. 

Ian

Is that the forum on ZWO’s site? I have posted the question there and got a reply to the effect that I should use the AM5 app for visual. That’s fine as far as it goes, but doesn’t really answer the question. Also what happens now when the ASIair  is connected to a different type of mount i.e my AZ-EQ6 which I occasionally use for visual, and have controlled in the past with the ASIair. 

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2 hours ago, david_taurus83 said:

There is another app to control the AM5 called ASIMount, though I have not used it yet. It looks like it's for using the mount for observing?

Yes, that would work wouldn’t it?  I assume the star atlases in the AM5 app and ASIapp are identical. They appear so on my initial inspection. 

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4 hours ago, The Admiral said:

Indeed it has been a joy to use, but the updating of the app from v1.9.1 to v2 seems to have broken a lot of things, as a read of the ZWO forum will reveal. v2.1 has been released but I gather that there are still issues. I've been absent from imaging for a while so personal experience is lacking, though the last time (January) things didn't seem right. PA was a nightmare and I had to give up with alignment well out, when the mount went to home at the end of the session it ploughed straight past and fortunately I was there to prevent it causing damage, the mount wouldn't stay in tracking mode, and images seemed to take longer to appear on the screen.

I suggest that you download from the ZWO site rather than the Play Store, and if that fails, roll back to v1.9.1. 

Ian

Oh … and … when you say the play store do you mean the Apple Store?  That’s where I update all my apps from. In fact I thought it was the only way to update an iPad/phone …. officially anyway. 

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56 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Yes, that would work wouldn’t it?

I don't use it but I can't see why not. 

1 hour ago, Ouroboros said:

do you mean the Apple Store?

For Apple products yes. I don't know if the product available from the Play Store is quite the same as from Apple. From what I've read I get the impression that the two have different issues. Difficult to get to the bottom of.

Ian

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20 minutes ago, The Admiral said:

I don't use it but I can't see why not. 

For Apple products yes. I don't know if the product available from the Play Store is quite the same as from Apple. From what I've read I get the impression that the two have different issues. Difficult to get to the bottom of.

Ian

Well so far my new AM5 app passes the “living room tests”.  I can point it at different objects in the sky  atlas, and sync it etc. It hasn’t yet seen its first light though. 

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I'm concerned about trusting all my setup with zwo by adding an am5, considering they can't get the asiair controller right (it was actually near perfect on app v1.9). I suspect they might be using an external company to do the software, so issues are not being debugged properly.

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I'm in at the deep end 😉. For simplicity, and other reasons, I'm all ZWO, as I have the AM5 too. It was just fine.

I think the real culprit here is the ASIAir, they just need to get that right, though I agree that ZWO have got themselves in an unnecessary mess with it right now. If they don't get it running well soon they'll have customers abandoning the device. I wonder if it's all because they've introduced the Mini and they're trying to to make the app a jack of all trades (I'm assuming that the Mini device shares the same app).

Ian

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I use a mini, it's fine. Just a slight pause when it's doing stuff due to the hardware. It fixed my WiFi range issue I was having with the pro and an external extender. The pro still works fine otherwise (on an older firmware, not 10.whatever it's on now).

My suspicion was they rushed some adjustments to the app to coincide with the am5 launch, with v2.1 they rushed compatibility with Sony alpha cameras and many people are having jarring issues.

The idea of an am5 appeals, also its easier adjustment knobs and alt az mode, but I may go down the ioptron hem27 or hem15 route as they're ever so slightly lighter and smaller so I can pack them with my scope. As the decs are also belt driven, any power loss and the Dec won't move, there's no Dec brake on the am5, it's a potential issue for me as sometimes I use batteries.

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1 hour ago, Elp said:

I'm concerned about trusting all my setup with zwo by adding an am5, considering they can't get the asiair controller right (it was actually near perfect on app v1.9). I suspect they might be using an external company to do the software, so issues are not being debugged properly.

Yes. I wonder. Or someone critical in the software team who understood the coding through and through and who has now left the company.

Or would it be too cynical to suggest that ZWO have saturated the market and decided there’s not enough profit left in new sales to make it worth investing as much effort and money into technical support?  All technology companies run into this problem at some point. Innovate or die. Once a product is near perfect and the market is near saturation where do they go with it? 

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Software is probably more difficult than hardware due to the near infinite combination of setups out there possible. The company had to diversify at some point from just selling cameras. Another reason I suspect the software was altered for the am5 release, PA used to be so easy and quick to get into one digit arc seconds error on a number of different setups I've got, it's very finicky now, it didn't need to be altered, like at all. But they've done something to it, not to mention a number of other random issues which were working fine before.

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  • 4 months later...
On 25/03/2023 at 15:58, Elp said:

Another reason I suspect the software was altered for the am5 release

I had the AM5 when the ASIAir was running v1.9, and it was fine. It's when they started to embellish the features offered that things went to pot. But you find that the mini works OK on the latest firmware? It's just such a pity that they didn't stick with v1.9 for the RP powered devices, and at least provide that  official version on their website for future download.

Do the new ASIAir pros still use the RP I wonder?

Ian

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They're likely loosely based on the RPI but now modified with custom boards especially as now they're emmc memory types.

The app I'm using is 1.9, and I'm using the factory firmware on the mini and plus, any errors (usually unresponsive app, I just restart it, air continues operating regardless) I put down to using the 1.9 beta app version I'm using. By using this app version it won't auto update the firmware on the airs. I'll wait to see if they fix anything with v2.2 whenever that gets released.

I ended up getting a hem15, it's not on the mount list but I just use hem27. Been working okay, due to cloud have only used it twice.

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I'm moving away from ASI Air. Far too many issues and the difficulty in getting technical support or being able to roll back to a previous working version has had me pulling my hair out at times. Recently I've been having random disconnects during tracking/guiding. May be related to the on board USB sockets. 

I have a refurb x1 Yoga inbound,  I'm going to NINA and PHD2

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am hugely disappointed with the way ZWO have allowed the ASI to become such an unstable system. When I first started using tge Air it was a joy compared with the frustrations of the methods I’d used previously. It just worked.

I’m now on my second ASIair Plus, this one for use with my new AM5.  It’s been plagued with difficulties. I have reported this elsewhere. The difficulty is in changing settings on my iPad’s screen. I swipe a voltage output on and it immediately returns to the off position. Same for turning on dither. Similarly with turning on the camera’s dew heater. It appears to be on, but on leaving and then returning to the main camera’s menu I discover it’s off again. FLO has suggested there’s an issue with touch screen sensitivity on certain tablets. Though it seems odd that it’s suddenly started happening. It’s certainly true that if I persist then I can eventually change the setting. It’s slightly but not much better when using my iPhone. Frankly it’s annoying and time wasting.

I have also had more disconnects than I used to.

Frankly I could no longer recommend the ASIair to someone thinking of buying one. Whereas in the past I’d have had no hesitation in doing so.

What’s happened? Have ZWO over reached themselves? Or some key coding people left? 
 

 

 

What happened?  

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Unfortunately software compatibility with a lot of devices is difficult to do 100pc, but I do get the frustration. When I first got my Pro years ago it was a revelation and worked with minimal to no issue until v2.0 of the app. Now it's a bit of a mess. I assume your iPad is running the latest iOS version? Have you tried your setup with another device, even an old android phone would work as a test bed.

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2 hours ago, Elp said:

Unfortunately software compatibility with a lot of devices is difficult to do 100pc, but I do get the frustration. When I first got my Pro years ago it was a revelation and worked with minimal to no issue until v2.0 of the app. Now it's a bit of a mess. I assume your iPad is running the latest iOS version? Have you tried your setup with another device, even an old android phone would work as a test bed.

Well, my iPad says it’s up to date. Version 16.6.  Now, whether that’s the latest ‘latest’ I don’t know. I think it depends on the age of the device. I’ve tried it with my iPhone, which isn’t ideal because of the smaller screen, but I can usually change settings slightly more easily on the phone. So, if I can’t change settings on the iPad I go in with the iPhone.  Same age device, same version operating system I believe. Silly init?

As for drop outs …. does anyone know if running the ASIair in station mode and using home internet is more stable? 

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