Bob --

You can use the new AP driver since, as far as ACP, MaxIm, etc. are concerned, it is "just another ASCOM Telescope driver". It's nice!

Here are the things that changed in the last bunch of hot fixes. Hopefully it will give you an idea of what's been going on. This was copied from the real release notes, the links will not work.

Hot Fix 11

This hot-fix is cumulative (it contains all previous 5.1 hot fixes). Note the changes to the auto-flat processing under HotFix 3 and 5!
  1. A new AutoflatConfig option, CompressFlats, causes flat frames to be zip-compressed. The original files are left intact.
  2. A new Start Menu item has been added which will pop up a bix showing the HotFix level which is installed.
  3. Fix test for #NOTIMECOMPRESS, which was failing if there are no targets in the plan.
  4. An obscure bug with rotating simulated images has been fixed. If the rotator just happened to be at the requested PA at the start of a plan, the simulated image would have a PA of zero, causing a false PA error which would mushroom during the plan.
  5. If ACP's non-AcquireStar auto-focus is selected, do not do the pointing update to center the focus star if ACP is configured with pointing updates disabled.
  6. For Scheduler, make unguided dithering independent of previous slew.
  7. If the cooler is off when ACP does its shut-down, the cooler temperature is reported by MaxIm as a huge number. The warming logic is now skipped if the cooler is off at shutdown.
  8. On 64 bit systems, a new Plan Checker (64 bit) shortcut is added to the desktop. This uses the 32-bit shell as needed.
  9. The camera connect/disconnect control in the web System Status display has been fixed to allow disconnecting a camera with no cooler control.
  10. ACP plans with no targets now complete successfully. Typically used as plan to close dome or just shut down.
  11. ACP plans with no beginning comments are no longer rejected.
  12. In an ACP plan, it is no longer necessary to precede a bias frame target (#bias) with #interval.
  13. The GEM flip documentation has been edited to say that ACP needs to know the flip points even if the mount reports its pointing state.
  14. The Office Debugger documentation has been updated for Office 2007. Office 2000 info has been removed.
  15. Added some words of wisdom contributed by Jim McMillan to the German Mount Flipping page of ACP Help.
  16. The GEM flip documentation now has the correct default values as shipped in FlipConfig.txt as well as new info on the expected autofocus time parameter.
Hot Fix 10

This hot-fix is cumulative (it contains all previous 5.1 hot fixes). Note the changes to the auto-flat processing under HotFix 3 and 5!
  1. The Rotator Controller has been fixed so it starts up without crashing when used with older versions of the ASCOM Platform.
  2. AutoFlip logic has been made more precise, and is now able to handle sub-polar flipping. A timing hole where the correction slew after a pointing update could flip the mount has been closed.
  3. The filter setup logic now detects a mismatch between the number of focus offset entries in FilterInfo.txt and the number of filters actually installed in the camera.
  4. The FocusOffsets.vbs script now detects bogus "Filter n" filter names in MaxIm's filterwheel setup and fails if one is found.
  5. ACP Help now has a note advising to remove the "Filter n" entries from MaxIm's filterwheel setup.
  6. Web UI Standard Sky Flats now works if run from the local observatory (http://localhost/). It wasn't finding the standard flat plan(s).
  7. The cross-hatch avoidance scaling for one-shot color cameras applied to thumbnail and preview images has been made optional and defaults to off. This was done because it was causing the images to be scaled smaller than they could be, and one-shot color systems are in the minority. It can be turned on in AcquireSupport.
  8. On the web UI, thumbnails and popup previews are PNG format now.
  9. The lightbox preview in the web UI now appears if the option "release observatory when script ends" is enabled.
  10. Browser caching sometimes caused an old preview image to be displayed in the web interface. This has been fixed.
  11. The web browser popup preview image no longer is forced to be 512x512. It now self-fits to the scaled size, avoiding distorting the image.
  12. The thumbnail preview now hyperlinks to the lightbox view of the bigger PNG image instead of a separate browser popup window.
  13. Sometimes the web acquire forms displayed an error "target is not visible", when it was actually something else like the tilt-up limit. The reported error is now the actual reason for the slew limits being exceeded.
  14. AutoFlatConfig custom folder and file templates now work with spaces in the paths.
  15. A new engineering/test script AutoGuideTest.js is now included. It makes it quick and easy to test your guider with ACP's "smart autoguiding" feature. See Standard ACP Scripts.
  16. The test for "Impossibly low noise" guider image has been removed. It was reading the wrong statistic and would cause guiding failures if the pedestal in the image is zero. This can happen with fully calibrated guider images. Fully calibrated guiding should now be more reliable.
  17. Fix pointing updates for 64-bit systems. Moved the PointingExps folder to MyDocs\ACP\Images to avoid quirk in PinPoint (CFITSIO library) which causes paths with marentheses to fail. On 64-bit, the path to ACP has '(x86)' in it.
  18. The ACP Help documentation for the #waituntil directive has been corrected to reflect the true +/-12 hour range of times given in re-usable plans (no date given).
  19. AutoFlip configuration (FlipConfig.txt) has a new parameter with which you can specify the average time needed for a pointing update.
  20. Fix "out of memory" error when observing via the browser logged in to localhost. Path substitution engine was infinitely recursing.
  21. If you put #NOTIMECOMPRESS in an observing plan anywhere in the comments before the first target, the 10x time compresson when simulating will be disabled. The plan will tun in normal time. I needed this for AutoFlip testing, and it seemed a good idea to leave it there.
  22. A bug in script cleanup which would cause some logic to be skipped if the telescope is not connected has been fixed.
  23. Several places were fixed where local topo coordinates were being used even when the telescope uses J2000 as input/output.
  24. The Rotator Controller has been made more forgiving of older RCOS TCC rotators which spontaneously disconnect after being connected while already connected.
  25. Fix unguided dither for case where no pointing update is done (tgt too close to prev). Was slewing back to prev target!
  26. Correct guider angle range to -180 to 180 and range the angle for non-OAG (was missing).
  27. Release notes "Known Issues" #1 (IE7) is no longer a problem. A Microsoft update cured it.
  28. An HTML error in the preview image popup window has been fixed.
Hot Fix 9

This hot-fix is cumulative (it contains all previous 5.1 hot fixes). Note the changes to the auto-flat processing under HotFix 3 and 5!
  1. AO bumping logic has been extensively changed to reflect a better understanding of operation with both internal guide sensors as well as external sensors used with off-axis guiders. ACP Help, Using a Rotator, has been updated for this new simplified setup and operation, as well as covering the off-axis guider with external guide head.
  2. The Rotated Guiding engineering paper has been updated to reflect the lessons learned with AO and off-axis guiding, as well as to correct a few errors in terminology. It is now included with ACP Help in the AutoGuiding section.
  3. Non-AO guiding with an off-axis guider now handles arbitrary rotations of the external guide head with respect to the main imaging sensor.
  4. The Rotator Controller user interface has been changed to reflect the new guiding logic.
  5. Compensation has been added for a subtle bug in MaxIm's AO bumping logic in versions 5.06 and earlier. The result is much smoother bumping for certain ranges of PA. The compensation is skipped for MaxIm versions 5.07 and later, in which the bug has been fixed.
  6. The AutoFlat.vbs script (which implements the automatic sky flat logic) now supports customizing of flat frame file and folder names similar to that supported for other images acquired by ACP. See ACP Help for a complete description of this new logic.
  7. The AutoFlat.vbs script (which implements the automatic sky flat logic) has been corrected for the case of a German Equatorial mount and dawn flats. The East-West sets of flats were incorrectly labeled and their mechanical angles were reversed.
  8. It is now possible to start a run with a potentially hazardous shutter/roof that does not clear the scope in any position. Once started, any slew with the shutter/roof closed will be refused with an immediate script error. This allows runs with #domeopen to be started with the shutter/roof closed.
  9. The Boltwood-II weather server will now wait for 10 minutes (configurable) of uninterrupted safe weather before reporting weather safe to ACP.
  10. The console log area in the web interface no longer shows red-underlines on "misspelled" words.
  11. A new file path/name substitution token $PLNNAME has been added. It is the name of the plan file (without the extension).
  12. The file path/name substitution logic has been fixed so that it supports multiple occurrences of a token in a template.
  13. A check is now made for dome slave slewing before any slew, and if is it slewing, the logic waits until it is complete.
  14. CCD camera warm up logic was fixed for the case where the camera starts warming "slowly" and thus looks warmed to the warming-rate logic.
  15. The web interface was fixed for a JPEG scaling boundary condition that caused too-low resolution, and the JPEG quality was increased to 95%.
  16. Fix FocusOffsets.vbs for use from the web interface with the browser running in the observatory ('localweb' user).
  17. Reporting of "Within max error tolerance" has been fixed so it really doesn't show at the last image.
  18. The TrainCorrector script has been fixed so it does not generate points at declinations at or above/below 70/ -70, where syncs are refused by ACP.
  19. AutoFlat has been fixed to prevent waiting forever at dawn for "too dark" if dome/roof closes. It quits with an error at the high sun angle.
  20. If the pointing corrector is not in use, all targets above 70 Dec will have pointing updates, regardless of the Minimum Slew setting.
  21. The AcquireImages and AutoFlat scripts, as well as the web Single Image and Color Series forms, have been fixed for high latitude sites (both north and south). The #DATENITE file/folder token now uses latitude +/- 65 deg if the latitude is more polar than that. AutoFlat catches extreme polar regions where it is never light or dark enough. The web form catches the case where it will never be dark enough to observe.
  22. Documentation on FlipConfig has been corrected for signs on numbers.
  23. The Making Observing Plans help in the web interface now has the correct link to ACP Help zipfiles.
  24. ACP Help, Getting Started, FocusMax check has been fixed, and now refers to the current version 3.4.25.
  25. ACP Help, Making Observing Plans, #subframe directive: The note about subframed cal frames has been removed.
Hot Fix 8a

This hot-fix is cumulative (it contains all previous 5.1 hot fixes). Note the changes to the auto-flat processing under HotFix 3 and 5!
  1. Correct sequencing for dusk and dawn flats.
Hot Fix 8

This hot-fix is cumulative (it contains all previous 5.1 hot fixes). Note the changes to the auto-flat processing under HotFix 3 and 5!
  1. Added new "Dome Flat" mode to autoflat system. Flat plans are the same as for sky flats except they must start with #Domeflats directive. See Automatic Flat Frames for details.
  2. The Plan compiler will now check for the existence of the target files for #chain and #chainscript. This check can only be done when the plan is actually run, not via the offline plan checker or the web plan checker form.
  3. The Plan compiler has a new property that passes back "automation" dates, needed by Scheduler for Plan importing.
  4. The AcquireImages/~plan-acquire script now properly deals wit the strange "object containing string" chain parameters used by Scheduler's new autoflat logic.
  5. During shutdown, the camera warming will now finish if the camera warms at a rate less then 3 degrees per minute. This takes care of the case where the ambient temperature is low.
  6. The check for an "impossibly clean" guider image has been fixed to accommodate 8-bit guiding sensors.
  7. If a final-image recentering slew would flip the mount, it is now handled properly with a post-flip pointing update.
  8. The web interface has been fixed for a Firefox 3 display problem.
  9. The web interface System Status display has been fixed for domes that do not have computer shutter control. The dome status and control options were wrong in that case.
  10. A new weather server, BoltwoodFile, is now included. Rather than talking directly to Clarity, it gets its weather info from Clarity by reading the Clarity logging file. This was developed to support a user who had Clarity running on a different computer in his network. The logging file is accessible via a network "share" and allows using Clarity's weather in ACP. This works with both the Boltwood I and II. Do not use this unles you need to, use one of the other "direct connect" Boltwood servers.
  11. The engineering script FilterOffsets.vbs has been fixed for a bug introduced in the new filter selection logic of Hot Fix 7. It was not changing filters.
  12. The online documentation (Help menu) has been extensively updated, and now includes a link to Dick Berg's ACP Reference Guide.
  13. All references to AutoFlatPlanGen script have been removed from the documentation. This script was too hard to understand and use.
  14. The AutoFlatConfig sample file has been edited to remove the filter list for the old AutoFlatPlanGen script. The presence of these filter names was confusing users, it is not used by the AutoFlat process itself.
  15. The script chaining system has been enhanced so that any arbitrary script running in the ACP console can chain out to run an observing plan via AcquireImages, and at the end, the initial script will be run again and can detect that it has been chained-back to.
  16. The AcquireImages and AutoFlat scripts have been enhanced to allow passing in a plan file coming from a .NET program (Scheduler). The Util.ChainParameter property gets set to some weird sort of object instead of a string when set by a .NET program. Code has been added to convert these to strings so that these scripts can run the specified plan.
  17. A new ASP page has been included that permits remote administrator users and programs (via POSTed formdata) to create, delete, modify, enable, and disable user accounts on the ACP server. For details, contact DC-3 Dreams.
Hot Fix 7:
  1. The rotator controller/driver applet has been changed so that it now uses ASCOM Rotator drives. The internal Optec and Simulator features have been removed. This makes ACP compatible with any rotator which has an ASCOM driver. If you are using an Optec Pyxis, you must download and install the Optec Pyxis driver and set it up via the Chooser's Properties... button. If you are using the RCOS PIR rotator, you'll need to select it in Chooser. The TCC already includes a driver for the PIR.
  2. Automatic startup with SBIG AO guiders has been improved, particularly when dithering. The changes allolow weaker guide stars and longer AO exposures to be used.
  3. Previous "guider running" detection using the AO track box counts has been removed. This was not reliable enough, and malfunctioned on some AO units.
  4. Startup monitoring of AO RMS wander now accepts 0 for one of the wander values, improving startup reliability on weak guide stars.
  5. ACP Help has been updated for AO usage.
  6. Auto-dither values have been changed to +/- 1 guider pixel for guided dithering and +/- 5 main imager pizels for unguided dithering. The dither abounts are uniform random numbers within these ranges. The original values were too small; they were a hangover from when dithering was done using a Gaussian random generator which turned out to be a bad idea. Docs were updated to reflect these changes.
  7. Transient shutter errors (as produced by TI Digital Domeworks) are ignored. This is a kludge, and may be removed in the future if DDW behaves better.
  8. In #waitfor and #waituntil, if the wait would stop telescope tracking, the guider is now also stopped.
  9. #domeopen now checks to see if the dome is at home or park, and if so, it unhomes/unparks it, enabling slaving. If the dome is unslaved as a result of a rotation abort, it is also re-slaved in response to a #domeopen.
  10. #domeopen and #domeclose failures no longer result in uncaught exceptions. They print a message and the run ends.
  11. If the guider is an AO, it is restarted between each image, allowing the pickoff to start in the center of its range. This may cause slight wandering of the image centerpoint on long series.
  12. An error trap has been added for impossibly clean guider images. The error message advises turning off guider image calibration.
  13. Unguided dithering has been fixed for scopes that cannot be synced. Dither destination is now an offset from the initial scope coordinates instead of the target coordinates.
  14. If a plan-start autofocus is requested, the initial pointing update will now be done to precisely center the focus star, for optimum focus, instead of at the target location.
  15. Non-AcquireStar focusing logic has an increased anti-flip margin, now 5 degrees instead of 2.5.
  16. Filter selection logic has been substantially refactored. It now avoids changing filters in MaxIm unless a real filter switch is needed.
  17. Several corrections to the ACP Help documents have been made. The main ACP Help file, as well as the Programmer's Reference are included in this hot fix, hence it's much larger size.
Hot Fix 6:
  1. Pointing images now target 4 (instead of 6) arcseconds per pixel plate scale, and will once again bin up to 6 if needed to get there.
  2. Tracking is now always turned off when waiting for a GEM flip.
  3. Camera warming now targets a temperature several degrees above the "warming-completed" temperature, avoiding a long (possibly infinite) wait for the cooler to warm.
  4. A new symbol ALWAYSSOLVEFINAL in AcquireImages/!plan-acquire can be set to 'true' to cause plate solving of all final images even if the first one of a given target fails. Defaults to false, preserving previous behavior. If you change this, you should do so in BOTH Scripts\acquireimages.js AND WebDocs\scripts\~plan-acquire.js.
  5. A new symbol RESUMEPLAN in AcquireImages/!plan-acquire can be set to 'false' to prevent plans from being resumed after interruption. If 'false', plans will always start at the beginning, even if interrupted during a previous run. Defaults to 'true', preserving the 'auto-resume interrupted plan' feature. If you change this, you should do so in BOTH Scripts\acquireimages.js AND WebDocs\scripts\~plan-acquire.js.
  6. The web UI System Status display now shows three decimal places for air mass and two decimal places for altitude and azimuth.
  7. The web UI will now show guider errors, even if Autoguiding is disabled in ACP, if an #autoguide directive appears in a plan.
  8. An additional authoring tool, deli.js, has been added. It deletes items from web content. It is described in the updated Import and Exporting Items topic in the authoring system. It is also used by the installer to remove obsolete items.
  9. The Hot-Fix installer now honors an alternate web root for installing ALL incremental updates. Several were targeted at the ACP install folder + WebDocs and thus failed to install if the web content was elsewhere.
  10. The RSS feed ASP script now works when the web root is at other than the standard location.
  11. An almost-impossible error condition in the new 2-phase guider startup is now properly caught and handled.
Hot Fix 5:
  1. The interface to sky flats in the browser has been changed substantially. There are now separate items for running flats using the standard flat plans, creating the standard flat plan(s), and doing a i-off flat run with custom specifications.
  2. Plate solving no longer applies a 1-pixel gaussian blur before solving. This was causing problems on newer larger cameras which have many warm pixels (blurring the warm pixels into detectable star profiles). This problem overshadowed the gain in SNR from the filtering.
  3. Tracking is now turned off for waits only if the off time is over 10 minutes, and it is never turned off for #waitfor. The assumption is that #waitfor is used for spacing between images of a varying target, and that the plan takes telescope position into account. Yes, this allows a malicious user to crash the scope, but the benefits outweigh the risks.
  4. The guider is now stopped before doing dark/bias frames.
  5. The message "FWHM suspect, plate scale too high" during pointing updates has been removed; it is not a failure. It is normal for pointing update plate solutions.
  6. The AutoFlat script now waits only 15 sec. between test exposures instead of 1 minute.
  7. The CloudSensor II weather server now waits for valid data before returning from a Connect call. This prevents false weather unsafe alerts during Clarity startup.
  8. SBIG AO adaptive guiding now better detects whether the AO is actually tracking a usable star before starting each image of a repeat series over which the guider runs continuously.
  9. Adaptive autoguiding now iterates twice in measuring the SNR and calculating the tracking exposure interval.
  10. The browser System Status display now reports guiding as BinX:BinY instead of BinX:1
  11. The browser display now opens with the (right hand) side-bar hidden by default.
  12. The browser System Status display now reports the observatory "Ready" even if the dome is closed or unslaved. If either of these conditions exist the "Ready" display has appropriate additional information to alert the observer.
  13. The PostForm Plugin in the web interface has been fixed for more than one form in an item.
  14. The browser based file management's folder creation has been fixed to include the server-side fle management scripts in newly created folders.
  15. The browser based file management no linger displays "CamelCased" words with bogus links to non-existent microcontent items.
  16. The web content authoring system has a new item StartupItems that controls which items are initially displayed when a user logs in.
  17. The web content Authoring Roadmap has been updated to reflect that the sidebar is initially hidden, and now includes info on the new StartupItems item (see previous).
  18. A FilterInfo.txt with one or more lines consisting only of space characters no longer causes a script failure.
  19. Includes a refresh of the OEM web/FTP server engine DLLs used by ACP. The new DLLs should eliminate crashes a few people have reported, particularly with heavy FTP usage.