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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Newcastle, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    238

    Default Problems Getting ACP to Connect to Mathis Mount w/AP GTO CP3 Controller

    I'm evaluating ACP, and I'm having trouble setting it up..

    MY setup:
    - XP SP3
    - ASCOM 5.0
    - Mathis fork mount w/AP GTO CP3 controller
    - Astro-Physics V2 GTO driver 5.0.3

    I have been able to successfully control the scope from MaximDL and planetarium software using ASCOM components, and all serial connections check out as OK.

    Note: In the Getting started docs and the ACP Preferences > Telescope tab, things seem to want to select German Equatorial for my mount, when in fact I have a fork mount with AP.


    At Step 4 - Basic ACP Checkout, item 5 links to . . .

    "Using Astro Physics Mounts". Under Initial Set up, item 3 of initial setup procedure is a link to show the AP setup window. Clicking this link gives an error messge that "The ASCOM Platform NOT installed Return to Getting Started step 1." However, that step has a test that gives a message the "The ASCOM Platform 5 or later is installed". Hmmm.

    When I try to connect to the telescope from ACP, Merlin reports "Scope is connected", and the correct status info for LST, RA, DEC, AZ, Alt, time and date are shown in the ACP window, but I get an error message:

    "Automation error
    The system cannot find the file specified"

    I don't know what file this is referring to.

    After clicking OK, Merlin reports "Disconnecting scope" and the status info clears (goes blank).

    To verify, from the ACP control panel menu, I select Telescope > setup, and am presented with the ASCOM Telscope Chooser where the AstroPhysics GTO V2 Mount is selected. Clicking properties does bring up the correct ASCOM driver setup window. After clicking OK in the ASCOM Telescope Chooser, ACP presents an information box saying:

    " Make sure your scope is connected and turned on. We'll now try to connect to it. If there's a problem, there may be a long dealy. Please wait."

    Nothing ever happens after I click OK.

    Michael


    2010-09-06 UPDATE: I tried using the ASCOM telescope simulator, but I get exactly the same error. So then I installed the ASCOM 5.5 Platform update (I was running 5.0a), and still no go. And I checked and I have .NET 3.5 w/SP1 installed.
    Last edited by Michael Cook; Sep 6, 2010 at 18:58.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,437

    Default

    Michael --

    Thanks for the very detailed and informative report, and thanks even more for using the documentation that comes with ACP. This is a huge help.

    Now to reproduce the problem here so I can tell why it's happening: Just to be sure, you are getting the "The system cannot find the file specified" when you have selected "Simulator" for the telescope in the ASCOM Chooser, then try to connect with ACP. And if you connect to the AP/Mathis or the Simulator from MaxIm, it connects fine and operates normally, right?

    Please don't do any uninstall/reinstall cycles with the ASCOM Platform or the driver. That will virtually never change anything and rarely it can create additional problems.

    I want to connect to your system via remote login. Night skies are not needed, the work can be done during the day and/or in bad weather as long as your scope can move with your roof/dome closed. Or if the problem occurs with the Simulator as I believe you said, we don't even need to use your Mathis. Grab a copy of the DC-3 Dreams Remote Assistance Tool and put the exe on your desktop. No installation is needed. Just be ready to start it up. Then send me an email to rdenny@dc3.com and let me know when I can call. Watch for the SpamArrest response from my personal email box and reply to it. You'll only have to do it once.
    -- Bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Newcastle, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    238

    Default

    Yes Bob that is correct. Connections through ASCOM to AP/Mathis or the simulator work, but not through ASCOM from ACP.

    Yes I saw your advice in the docs, and I didn't (and I won't) re-install anything. But I did upgrade ASCOM from 5.0a to 5.5.

    Thanks for doing the remote check in. I sent a separate e-mail arranging such.

    Michael

  4. #4
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    Oct 2005
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    Mesa, AZ
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    Default

    I got your mail message, and will call in a bit.
    -- Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Newcastle, Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    Thanks for the remote session to my system. I'm sorry you had such difficulty with the ASCOM installer/uninstaller. I had no idea how bad off Microsoft has left this, and I realize that you are busy providing technical support for your products, and not ASCOM or Microsoft.

    After getting a previous XP restore point, I backed up my Windows registry and then deleted all references to ASCOM that I could find. I then deleted the ASCOM platform folders, rebooted, and re-installed ASCOM 5.0a and Tim Long's DDW dome drivers.

    There seems to be two ASCOM DDW dome drivers that show up in the ASCOM dome chooser; one included in ASCOM 5.0a (TI Digital DomeWorks), and Tim Long's (ASCOM Dome Control). I must admit I don't understand why both are needed; I don't choose ASCOM Dome Control in my set-up. And I don't see the advantage of using one over the other. Anyway, I'm not sure how all of this is working, but I'll try to explain how IT IS working. In a nutshell, this is how it looks:

    Client > ASCOM driver > hardware
    -------------------------------------------
    ACP > AP GTO V2 Mount (ASCOM) > telescope
    ACP > TI Digital DomeWorks > dome
    MDL > ACP Telescope Hub > telescope
    MDL > FocusMax Focuser Hub > focuser
    FocusMax > RoboFocus > focuser
    Earth Centered Universe > ACP Telescope Hub > telescope

    Is it best to connect directly through a hardware driver rather than through a hub (such as the ACP telescope hub)? When is it appropriate to choose the ACP Telescope Hub (ASCOM)?

    Here are some other observations / questions:

    If I disconnect any other non-ACP client (e.g. MDL) from the telescope than ACP disconnects as well. Is this normal behaviour? Also, if I disconnect, I cannot reconnect using the client, but *sometimes* I can.

    The other minor thing ( and you noticed during the remote session) is that the LST, RA, DEC, etc. data in ACP is italicized. I did another install of ACP on another PC (using simulators) and the font is normal. Any idea of what is causing this?

    I find that if I want to activate the dome/scope animation in MaxIm DL (MDL) (Observatory > Dome tab), then it seems that I need to set up a hub such as POTH (or Generic Hub), and I have to select POTH in the ASCOM Dome Chooser from MDL. Obviously, TI Digital Dome Works hogs the serial port, and prevents anything else from connecting to the dome. Is it best to use POTH or the Generic Hub or leave these hubs out of the system? POTH has a window, but the Generic Hub does not. Strange.

    Much of this is obvious after reading the docs at ascom-standards, as well as the installed ASCOM help files. But I thought it worth repeating.

    Michael
    Newcastle Observatory
    Meade 0.4m ACF
    Mathis MI-600 Fork Mount
    Van Slyke OMG5 focuser in SuperStack
    Optec NextGEN 0.7x (f/7.1)

    QSI 516ws
    Astrodon BVRI & LRGB
    Affiliations:
    -Gamma Ray Burst Coordinates Network (GCN)
    -MPC Observatory Code: H61
    -GTN Partner GTN-33
    -AAVSO Observer Code: CMJA
    -DRAA
    -RASC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
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    Default

    ACP > AP GTO V2 Mount (ASCOM) > telescope
    ACP > TI Digital DomeWorks > dome
    MDL > ACP Telescope Hub > telescope
    MDL > FocusMax Focuser Hub > focuser
    FocusMax > RoboFocus > focuser
    Earth Centered Universe > ACP Telescope Hub > telescope
    Looks good, you're using the right TI driver. But there is no reason to have MaxIm connected to any of that for ACP. MaxIm is just a camera controller to ACP. Also, ECU is just placing an extra load on ACP while it's observing, so I'd disconnect that also. You'll learn to believe that ACP is doing the right things without seeing it on the planetarium :-)

    For manual observing with MaxIm and ECU, you can still use ACP as a scope/dome slaving system, no need for POTH and all that reconfiguration. Hook it all up like you described above, this time with MaxIm connecte dto ACP's telescope hub. Unless you really need to move the focuser from MaxIm you can skip that connecton and use the focuser move tools in FocusMax, or just autofocus with FocusMax. That would eliminate the need for the connection from MaxIm to FocusMax Focuser Hub.

    With MaxIm and ECU connected to ACP's Telescope hub, you get full dome/scope slaving via ACP's internal slaving logic.
    -- Bob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Newcastle, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
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    Default

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for confirming my system set-up and setting me straight on what I don't need. I guess the principles of KISS apply here as well ;-)

    I ran a couple of simple observing plans over the past few nights, and things worked pretty well. The plate solving and adaptive focusing were a a sight to see as the scope took images across the sky (photometry of HMXBs, polars, and blazars). Very cool!

    Ya, I don't need ECU and POTH connected when an automated Plan is running, but there is a coolness factor in the visuals (telescope pointing in the planetarium program, scope/dome animation in MaxIm DL). But you're right, if those things aren't needed, then why run the overhead. Besides, I'll have this set-up while I'm sleeping!

    Getting ready to purchase ACP real soon.

    Clear Skies!

    Michael
    Newcastle Observatory
    Meade 0.4m ACF
    Mathis MI-600 Fork Mount
    Van Slyke OMG5 focuser in SuperStack
    Optec NextGEN 0.7x (f/7.1)

    QSI 516ws
    Astrodon BVRI & LRGB
    Affiliations:
    -Gamma Ray Burst Coordinates Network (GCN)
    -MPC Observatory Code: H61
    -GTN Partner GTN-33
    -AAVSO Observer Code: CMJA
    -DRAA
    -RASC

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    26,437

    Default

    Michael --

    Good news... and you're starting to make the shift in perspective toward automation. Once you get there you probably won't go back :-)
    -- Bob

 

 

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