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Dome Controller Software

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Michigan Tech Posted: 10-17-2016 9:17 AM

We recently update our software to the TheSkyX Professional Edition for Windows (Box+Download). Previously we had SkyX installed on a older outdated windows machine. This was purchased in 2014. We are now realizing we need to dome controller software as well. Can you tell me what my options are at this point?

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,761
Software Bisque Employee

Chris,

Do you presently have a dome controller? If so, which controller? If not, is yours a commercially-made dome, and if so, which one?

When enhanced with the optional Dome Add On, TheSkyX Professional supports a number of compatible dome controllers. A free trial of this Add On is provided during the first 90 days' use of TheSkyX Professional. After this period, the Add On must be purchased to remain, or be, activated.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Brian,

I recently purchased the dome controller and shutter boards from diffraction limited.

http://diffractionlimited.com/product/maxdome-ii-observatory-dome-control-system/

Can you tell me what my options are for software upgrades for our platform in order to have at least the ad on dome controller? I would be interested if the Suite package would work for our mount.

 

I have an expired version that we are running of "TheSkyX Professional Edition for Windows (Box+Download)"

 

Thanks,

Chris

 

 

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,761
Software Bisque Employee

Better late, than never!

As previously mentioned, in order for TheSkyX Professional Edition to incorporate control of a dome, you would need to obtain the Dome Add On. This, in turn, would require an appropriate (and freely available) driver for your dome controller, which could either be ASCOM (Windows only) or the TheSkyX-native X2 plug-in for MaxDome II (Windows, macOS, Linux and Raspbian). We'd recommend the latter.

What version and build of TheSkyX Pro are you presently using? While not a requirement for the above, we would recommend updating to the TheSkyX Professional Edition for Windows - Daily Build. Access to this installer will require a current subscription (sign-in required; the link is generic, reflecting only registrations of the viewing member's account).

Note that add-ons do not have subscriptions, nor does purchasing an add-on extend a subscription to TheSkyX itself. See our knowledge base article How to Obtain, Activate and Update TheSkyX Add Ons.

Chris Middlebrook:
I would be interested if the Suite package would work for our mount.

Based on what you've mentioned so far, I suspect purchasing one of our software suites would not be the best (most cost effective) option for you. What mount, or mount controller? Would you also like to use TheSkyX Pro to operate a digital imager and/or guider? Do you need to install TheSkyX Pro on more than two computers, or on any non-Windows computers? Will all installations be used for your own, personal use, or do you require a site license (such as for an educational institution)?

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Brian,

 

I have Version 10.3.0 Build 8461. I do not have the Dome Add On.

We only have one computer that is used at the observatory to control the mount. The long term idea is to just remote into the computer from Campus and control the mount remotely. I don't see the need for a site license, but we are at a University (Mich Tech). We are using the Paramount ME mount. I would be interested to hear the option of using a digital imager or other possibilities.

 

Thanks,

Chris

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Posts 3,761
Software Bisque Employee

Chris Middlebrook:
I have Version 10.3.0 Build 8461.

Okay. That's over four years old, and would have been the latest Full Installer offered at the time your subscription expired. Did you never download any Daily Builds? We'd highly encourage you to update your installation. I will mention, however, that TheSkyX for Windows version 10.3.0 is the last that supported Windows XP; if you update, you'll need to be using Windows 7, or later.

Chris Middlebrook:
We are using the Paramount ME mount.

This mount would have been supplied with TheSkyX Professional Edition, the Camera Add On, TPoint Add On, and Multi-OS and Six-License Add On. I'll need to check about the Dome Add On (it is included with the newer Paramount ME II mounts). Do you not have the original software suite? Has it been registered, and if so, do you know to which Software Bisque member account?

Since you're posting to a moderated forum, if you'll provide the serial numbers for any of these (I already know the one registered to your Chris Middlebrook account), we can check if, and to whom, they are registered. I've just checked all nine member accounts associated with an email address @mtu.edu; none has any of these registered.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Brian,

 

The serial number I have is {redacted}. When we had the mount we were using a older computer with an older version of sky x software (might have been under the name of the students back in the day or my colleague Mike {redacted}. We decided to upgrade the computer and when I did that was told I needed to update the software to run on the computer. We are currently running Windows 7. I don't recall every updating/downloading any builds. The observatory has been a constant battle when ever we upgrade one thing another item breaks down and requires more work across the spectrum. 

If the mount came (ordered in 2008) with the software that would be news to me maybe it was available and never downloaded but the students who put in the mount. 

I think what I am hearing is that I would need  a whole new version of SkyX for Windows along with the dome add on to complete what I want to accomplish?

you can also email me at {redacted} if you would like to take this off the forum route.

Thanks,

Chris

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,761
Software Bisque Employee

Chris,

The software would have been provided on some form of media—I think it would have been DVD-ROM back in 2008. Presently, we provide a USB flash ("thumb") drive with our mounts. But then, as now, you would also have the option to download the software from our server, though that privilege expires a year after the software is registered, and can subsequently be renewed annually, as desired.

Chris Middlebrook:
I think what I am hearing is that I would need  a whole new version of SkyX for Windows along with the dome add on…

Well, you already have TheSkyX Pro, even if you can't locate your original software and, most importantly, serial numbers. So you should be able to use TheSkyX that you have, though you'd need to renew its subscription (USD $100/yr.) in order to regain download access to the latest installers. As for the Dome Add On, that depends upon if this was included with your Paramount ME, and if it was, whether you are able to locate its serial number.

If you can't find any of this, then it would probably be best to work with our Front Desk staff to establish proof of your (or Michigan Tech's) ownership of the mount. Then, we can probably work with you to get new serial numbers issued, if we aren't able to determine the originals.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Brian,

 

OK I feel like we are going around circles.

 

First how do I purchase the renewal for my SKY X software subscription as I can't seem to find a link to purchase.

Second - I will just purchase the DOME-ADD on software rather than keep chasing around documentation for the mount. Do I need to specify anything when I purchase this?

 

Regards,

CTM

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Posts 3,761
Software Bisque Employee

Michigan Tech:
OK I feel like we are going around circles.

I'm sorry you feel that way; I think I've been directing you in a straight line.

Michigan Tech:
First how do I purchase the renewal for my SKY X software subscription as I can't seem to find a link to purchase.

I still think the best thing for you to do is:

Brian Rickard:
…work with our Front Desk staff to establish proof of your (or Michigan Tech's) ownership of the mount. Then, we can probably work with you to get new serial numbers issued, if we aren't able to determine the originals.

But, you can renew your subscription by clicking the "Renew" action link on your Subscriptions page (sign-in required; the link is generic, reflecting only registrations of the viewing member's account). Except that you don't presently have a "Renew" option because your subscription to TheSkyX Professional Edition for Windows was just extended by two years(!). I'm guessing you did finally talk with our Front Desk staff?

Michigan Tech:
Second - I will just purchase the DOME-ADD on software rather than keep chasing around documentation for the mount. Do I need to specify anything when I purchase this?

You may order the Dome Add On (no need to specify anything). But what about the TPoint Add On and Camera Add On? You really should use the former to get the most out of your Paramount, and it would be pretty common to use the latter, as well. You could buy one, two or all three of these separately, but, again, I'd recommend that you talk with our Front Desk staff about your situation to see what they can do to get you set up with a Paramount ME II Software Suite (this is appropriate to both the ME and the ME II). Or, if the cost is no concern, then just order one of those outright.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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