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  1. #1

    Default File naming inconsistencies, file sync question


    I'm evaluating ACP Expert for use at my setup at New Mexico Skies... currently working on setting up where files go and how they are named. A few problems I've encountered...

    The substitution fields in the example files (e.g., Sample-ImageFileConfig.txt) don't seem to match those listed in the help file. For example, the example file says binning can be added to the file name using $IMGBIN, but the help file says $BINNING. The latter seems to work. Not a biggie, but it took me some time with trial-and-error to figure it out. Maybe the example config files are out of date?

    Second thing is the temperature field, $TEMP. It seems to do a floor() operation to truncate the temperature instead of round(). So if I have the cooler set at 0, for example, about half of the files will have "0" and the other ~half will have "-1" as the CCD temperature varies infinitesimally around 0.

    Third thing is I'm trying to figure out how the project/plan/observation names in scheduler correlate to file naming fields. There is a $TGTNAME field, for example, but I can't tell if that will drop in the observation name, the plan name, or what. I can of course figure this out by trial-and-error as well, but I'd like to get it right the first time and not have to futz with it.

    Last is a question (sorry for piling so many things in one thread). I'm running remotely and intend to use a file syncing facility to reflect the images to my local machine. NMSkies has a limited-bandwidth connection, and I want to be a good citizen and not hog it by syncing continuously as exposures are taken. My manual procedure is to store the files only locally at first, wait until morning, then log in and zip up all of the data from the previous night and move it to a folder that is synced. Is there a convenient way to get ACP or scheduler to call a script file that I write that will automate this at the end of the night?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Virgil, NY


    Hi Russ,

    Welcome to the Comm Center! I have enjoyed your website and your imagery for many years. I'm glad you're considering ACP Expert as a tool for your image acquisition. I'll give you some help here - Bob or others will chime in, I'm sure.

    The substitution fields in the example files... Maybe you haven't noticed there are TWO sets of substitution tokens - one set for use with ACP (by itself) and another set used for ACP Expert (Scheduler). The two sets are not interchangeable, with a few exceptions (like $DATENITE). The ACP Help file shows the tokens for ACP. The Sample-ImageFileConfig.txt file is commented with the full array of tokens to use with Expert. For Expert, the right config file is here: C:\Users\Public\Documents\ACP Config\Scheduler\Sample-ImageFileConfig.txt. There is no Sample-ImageFileConfig for ACP, but there is a Template Generator Tool for ACP (only) explained in the ACP Help file (image below). So you have to be careful to use the right tokens in either ImageFileConfig.txt file. When you have it set up correctly for Scheduler, save it as ImageFileConfig.txt, in the same folder as the Sample. Incidentally, variants of this file are what are used also to control saving offsite/offline to, for example, Dropbox.


    Second thing is the temperature field, $TEMP... Yes, the line of code in AcquireScheduler.vbs and AcquireImages.js use the "floor" function to truncate the camera's reported temperature. When the temperature meanders just below zero and becomes negative, "floor" will make it -1. This probably can be changed easily by adding a half degree to the reported temperature before truncating.

    Third thing is I'm trying to figure out how the project/plan/observation names... Well, specific to your question, $TGTNAME is a token used in ACP only, and it correlates with the target name you have associated with a particular "targetname<tab>RA<tab>Dec" in a plan you created by hand or using ACP Planner. For Scheduler, $TGTNAME won't be recognized - $OBSNAME is the right token, and it's the name of the current Observation. You'll notice there is also $PLNNAME and $PRJNAME. When you build your ImageFileConfig.txt files for ACP and Scheduler, you find that, with all the available tokens, this is quite flexible.

    Last is a question... I have no experience with this other than to say I store my images on the observatory computer (500 feet from the house), and in the morning I LAN them over to my home computer for long-term storage and further processing. I have Dropbox and could set that up, but for me as the sole user it's just as easy collecting everything in the morning. Bob will be the best person to answer the details of your question. He usually takes the weekends off.

    For an example, here's how I've set up my ImageFileConfig.txt files (a separate one each for ACP and for Scheduler). These result in the same (close enough) file labeling. You'll see the token names are different.

    For ACP (goes in folder C:\Users\Public\Documents\ACP Config:

    For Scheduler (goes in folder C:\Users\Public\Documents\ACP Config\Scheduler:
    Pier-mounted Meade 12-inch SCT "classic"
    w. focal reducer to f/5.3 ~ FL 1630mm
    Optec TCF-S focuser
    SBIG CFW-8A and ST7-XME
    FOV ~ 15' x 10'
    H-alpha, BVRI, RGB & Clear filters
    MaxIm and, of course, ACP!
    AAVSO Code: BRIC

  3. #3


    Thanks, Dick... very helpful!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Mesa, AZ


    Dick, thanks very much! And Russ, welcome!!
    -- Bob

  5. #5


    Thanks, Bob.




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