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Problem establishing link to ME II

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Sir,

As my long and trusted ME mount had failed, I purchased, a new ME II mount, two weeks ago, to keep me going whilst diagnosing the problem with the old mount.

The new ME II mount and Polar Alignment Scope arrived and was installed in the observatory, along with telescope and software and applied all settings incl correct comport etc. The mount appeared to perform correctly. However after polar alignment, which was difficult due to an issue that (CEO Steve is looking into) and the fact that the temperature was about 48F and the internal cables were very stiff. I managed to get decent alignment.

On powering up after the above, and running Sky X When I tried to connect to the mount, it would say mount not homed, do want to home it. On clicking yes, I would then receive, two error messages Comm-TimeOut = 21002,  followed by Connection Auto Terminated = 213. It's as though the computer is talking to the mount, but the mount is NOT talking to the computer.

Steps I have taken to resolve the issue. Observed RA Led and DEC Led flash on start up, and then Dec Led is constant on, and RA Led continues to flash. Purple Led on constantly. Along with one or two beeps.

Tried re-installing all software and drivers, exactly the same problem.

Tried a different computer same problem.

Tried a brand new USB cable,  same problem.

Due to the stiffness of the cables on polar alignment, I thought  a cable plug may have come off the circuit board, I very carefully after powering down the mount, removed the back plate to inspect the electronics board, I found one on the USB cables had become unplugged. I then refitted the plug, re-installed the back plate, sadly the fault still remained.

I have also noticed that in this state of (Not Connected) the mount is driving backwards i.e. west to east?

I don't understand this.

I would be very grateful for Software Bisque's help in solving this problem, and a swift response would be greatly appreciated. My new mount Yours sincerely

Richard T. Jones I. Eng

 

 

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Richard T. Jones I.Eng:
It's as though the computer is talking to the mount, but the mount is NOT talking to the computer.
These errors mean that TheSkyX cannot reliably send commands to the mount and/or receive commands from the mount (which is not normal or expected behavior that is generally caused by a hardware issue). 

  1. What operating system, specifically?
  2. What is the exact version and build of TheSkyX?  The latest daily build is here: http://www.bisque.com/sc/media/g/theskyxprowin/default.aspx.
  3. What is the exact mount firmware version?  See page 97 of Paramount User Guide.
  4. Double-check that Window's Hardware Manager recognizes and displays the Software Bisque MKS 5000 device (as described in Appendix A starting on page 140 of the Paramount User Guide.)
  5. Unplug all cables from the Electronics Box and the Instrument Panel (except for power), then plug the USB cable directly into the PC and directly into the mount's mini USB port (no hubs or other hardware in the chain) and make sure the mount is powered.  Any difference? 

Richard T. Jones I.Eng:
I then refitted the plug, re-installed the back plate, sadly the fault still remained.
Please refer to this document: http://www.bisque.com/sc/media/p/63292.aspx to double check that the USB cables, and all other cables, have been plugged in properly.

Richard T. Jones I.Eng:
the mount is driving backwards i.e. west to east
Provided all the internal cables are plugged in properly, the only way the Paramount's drive system might track west to east is if the control system is configured for southern hemisphere (the default configuration is northern hemisphere tracking).  See Hemisphere Setup on page 122 for details how to configure the mount for northern hemisphere operation.

Daniel R. Bisque

Software Bisque, Inc.

862 Brickyard Circle

Golden, Colorado 80403-8058

Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday GMT-7:00

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Posts 14

Hello Daniel, 

It appears that we are experiencing a similar issue with one of ME II Mounts. We are receiving a COMM Timeout error when attempting to home and we also noticed that we cannot home via the hand device.

  1. What operating system, specifically? --> Windows 7
  2. What is the exact version and build of TheSkyX? --> 10.5.0 (Build 10305)
  3. What is the exact mount firmware version? --> Motor firmware version: 5.22.27, I/O version: 5.20.7, Paramount ME II
  4. Double-check that Window's Hardware Manager recognizes and displays the Software Bisque MKS 5000 device. --> As of right now the Windows 7 machine recognizes the Software Bisque MKS 5000 device driver in Device Manager. 
  5. Unplug all cables from the Electronics Box and the Instrument Panel (except for power), then plug the USB cable directly into the PC and directly into the mount's mini USB port (no hubs or other hardware in the chain) and make sure the mount is powered.  Any difference? -- > Currently, running this remotely and have not had an opportunity to work with on-site POC to remove extra hardware in the USB chain. Will followup next week to get POC to attempt this.


I stumbled upon the solution that might help the cause (

http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/p/22529/102306.aspx#102306). I 

also saw this mentioned in the Paramount User Guide (pg 172) as a potential solution. I am curious if I should attempt this while waiting for on-site POC.

Regards, 

Casey Christy
Research Project Specialist 
USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

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Software Bisque Employee

Casey Schuetz-Christy:
What is the exact version and build of TheSkyX? --> 10.5.0 (Build 10305)
Please consider installing the latest daily build.

Casey Schuetz-Christy:
We are receiving a COMM Timeout error when attempting to home
For starters, remove all hubs and/or USB extenders, and connect a 15-foot USB cable from the Paramount's USB port directly to a USB port on the computer that is running TheSkyX.  Also, remove all remote desktop applications and VMs that might be in this mix.  Many common USB communication failures are described here.  

Casey Schuetz-Christy:
we also noticed that we cannot home via the hand device.

  1. Recalibrate the hand paddle as described in the Paramount User Guide.
  2. Thoroughly clean the outside of the hand paddle and joystick controller (dust and grime can influence the position of the joystick, and moving the joystick from the center position always stops the Find Home process).

Casey Schuetz-Christy:
As of right now the Windows 7 machine recognizes the Software Bisque MKS 5000 device driver in Device Manager. 
That means the MKS 5000 controller is operational, and something else is causing the communication failures.

Casey Schuetz-Christy:

I stumbled upon the solution that might help the cause ( http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/p/22529/102306.aspx#102306). I also saw this mentioned in the Paramount User Guide (pg 172) as a potential solution. I am curious if I should attempt this while waiting for on-site POC.

If Windows shuts down power to the USB ports, then all USB-related communication via that port fails.  Please see this article for updated and more extensive USB troubleshooting.

Daniel R. Bisque

Software Bisque, Inc.

862 Brickyard Circle

Golden, Colorado 80403-8058

Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday GMT-7:00

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So we've removed the USB hub, connecting the 15ft USB cable directly to the Windows 7 machine. I have also followed the instructions to adjust the Windows and USB Port Power Settings. Flipped the Hemisphere settings from Nothern to Southern then back to Northern, but still no luck in homing the telescope. 

One thing I have noticed is that I can slew the mount manually using the Exercise Mount utility in Bisque TCS Window, but only on the RA axis. Dec Axis does not respond to commands to slew via this method.

I'm not sure but I think I am seeing the same behavior when I try to home the mount. The RA axis stops and when the Dec axis attempts to move the connection times out. The only way to reconnect the mount via SkyX is after I have power cycled the mount.

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Casey Schuetz-Christy:
but still no luck in homing the telescope. 
If the mount cannot home, there's a mechanical issue with the mount that has nothing to do with USB communication.  Stepping back, what are the results of Step 5 here?

Daniel R. Bisque

Software Bisque, Inc.

862 Brickyard Circle

Golden, Colorado 80403-8058

Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday GMT-7:00

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As of right now, there are no cables connected to the Electronics Box and the Instrument Panel, except the power, mini-USB and RJ45 Hand Controller connections. The results were mentioned in my previous reply.

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Casey Schuetz-Christy:
As of right now, there are no cables connected to the Electronics Box and the Instrument Panel, except the power, mini-USB and RJ45 Hand Controller connections. The results were mentioned in my previous reply.
Thanks and sorry I missed that.

  1. Turn off the mount.
  2. Place both axes in the Balance position.
  3. Plug in the hand paddle.
  4. Turn on the mount.  Do both motors initialize successfully (as described in the Paramount User Guide)?
  5. If so, double-tab the joystick on the hand paddle to issue a Find Home command.  Do both motors rotate continuously now? (Move the joystick from the center position to stop the Find Home process.)

Casey Schuetz-Christy:
but still no luck in homing the telescope. 
If both motors rotate when the Find Home command is issued, then homing failure is a mechanical issue, not an electronic or cabling issue.

  1. Follow the advice in this post to ensure the mount is operated in a "basic" configuration (the mount is apparently already in this state).
  2. Lower the maximum slew rate to 50-60 percent.  Does the behavior persist?
  3. If so, the next step is to check the adjustment of the worm block as described in this document.  The first item to check is the tightness of the spring plungers.  For each axis, loosen the spring plungers by 1/8 turn at a time until the mount successfully finds home.

Daniel R. Bisque

Software Bisque, Inc.

862 Brickyard Circle

Golden, Colorado 80403-8058

Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday GMT-7:00

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Hello Daniel, 

After following the steps provided and referring to the Paramount Guide, I believe the DEC Servomotor is not initializing. DEC LED light is flashing while the RA LED light shines steadily. Auditory cues are the short whistle and only a single beep.

Casey.

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Posts 14

Would the next logical step now be to remove the Electronic board and ensure all the cables are properly seated?

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Posts 27,640
Software Bisque Employee

If the Dec motor is not initializing on power up, as the first isolation measure:

  1. Turn off the mount.
  2. Rotate the Dec axis mechanical switch to the Balance position.  (This separates the worm and main gear and helps isolate where the issue resides.)
  3. Turn on the mount.

If the Dec axis motor fails initialization when the axis is in balance mode, either:

  • The Dec axis motor cable is unplugged on the MKS 5000.  See this document for details about accessing the PCB inside the Electronics Box.  This video can be helpful.
  • The Dec motor cabling between the MKS 5000 PCB and the physical motor is damaged or compromised.  Check the entire length of the cable for breaks, etc.
  • The encoder on the motor has failed (rare) and the motor needs replaced.
  • The Dec motor has failed (very rare) and the motor needs replaced.

An advanced troubleshooting and isolation step is to swap the RA and Dec motor cables on the MKS 5000 PCB, then re-configure the motor index angles for both motors, and see if the "RA" axis exhibits the same behavior.  (If so, it means the cable or motor or encoder has failed).

 If further troubleshooting points to either of the last two bullets, start here to proceed with the replacement: Warranty Replacement

Daniel R. Bisque

Software Bisque, Inc.

862 Brickyard Circle

Golden, Colorado 80403-8058

Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday GMT-7:00

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