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Paramount ME Joysticking Issue

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Top 500 Contributor
Posts 35

I recently replaced the ME MKS 4000 Printed Control Board.  The mount started up correctly after the installation and I connected to the mount, homed it and slewed to a couple of objects.

I plugged in the joystick and it did not function.  I tried to switch on the LED switch on the joystick and it had no power.  I looked at the connection on the adapter panel and realized that I had plugged the joystick into the guider port.  I unplugged the joystick from the guider port and plugged it into the joystick port.  The mount then responded to joystick control.  

With the joystick connected to the proper port, I tried another slew.  I got an error message that the joystick was still active.  I looked at the status of the mount on the SkyX and it said joysticking.  I unplugged the joystick and the mount responded again to slews.

I opened the Bisque TCS window under Tools and clicked on the status tab.  The guider relays look like they're active along with the joystick relays.  I noticed that when I plug in the joystick, the current position values in RA and Dec begin to change.  With the joystick unplugged, they stay unchanged.  I have attached a screen shot.

Kirk Carbo


Top 10 Contributor
Posts 2,350
Software Bisque Employee

What kind of joystick do you have (see this related post)? Have you calibrated the joystick, especially since replacing the MKS 4000? Below is a quote from the Paramount user guide:

To calibrate the joystick: [MKS 4000]

  1. Plug the hand paddle cable into the Joystick port on the Adaptor Panel.
  2. Launch TheSkyX.
  3. Click the Connect command from the Telescope menu to connect to the Paramount.
  4. Choose the Bisque TCS command from the Tools pop-up menu on the Telescope window.
  5. Highlight Hand Controller in the list on the left side of the Utilities tab on the Bisque TCS window.
  6. Click the Calibrate Joystick button.
  7. Important! Choose the Save All Parameters To Mount command from the Commands pop-up menu on the Parameters tab of the Bisque TCS window.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 35

Brian,

Thanks for the response.   I should have described my joystick.  It is the old type, not the new version with the 4 set speeds.  My type cannot be calibrated.  I replaced this control board several years ago and had no issues with the joystick.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 2,350
Software Bisque Employee

Well, an adjustment to the joystick may yet be required. If you're also getting uncommanded guider input, then I'd suggest that you check the guider jack on the Instrument Panel for any problems, such as corrosion or pins out of alignment.

I will ask one of our engineers if they think any of your symptoms could be the result of initially plugging the joystick into the guider port.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 2,350
Software Bisque Employee

I just realized that I may have misunderstood your OP. Does your mount now have an MKS 4000, or MKS 5000 board installed?

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 35

MKS 4000.  I have looked at the pins in the guider and joystick ports and they look clean and they are not touching one another.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 35

I have the MKS 4000 board installed.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 2,350
Software Bisque Employee

It might help to have a little more background on your system. Why did you replace the MKS 4000? That is, what symptoms did the previous board exhibit? Did you also replace the Adaptor Panel or Instrument Panel? Do you have any more of any of these three boards available for testing? Do you have another joystick?

With the joystick disconnected, and nothing plugged into the Guider port, what is the status of the Guider relays as indicated on the Show Status tab of the Bisque TCS window?

Not that it is related to your issue, but I'm curious whether you connect to the mount's serial, or USB port?

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 35

The mount was housed in a remote observatory.  There was a storm in the area and the mount wouldn't start up with the characteristic beeps.  We found a burned component on the MKS 4000 control board.  So we think a lightning strike nearby may have caused the damage to the board.  We did not find any evidence of a strike on the observatory or nearby building.  The camera attached to the telescope had a damaged USB hub.  The instrument rotator had a damaged circuit board, and the filter wheel had a damaged circuit board and motor.

I did not replace the Adaptor Panel or the Instrument Panel.

I sent the damaged MKS 4000 Board back to Bisque in exchange for the new MKS 4000 board.  The Adapter Panel and Instrument Panel were not replaced and are still in the mount.  I do not have another joystick.

The Show Status tab in the Bisque TCS window, with nothing plugged into the Joystick or Guider ports, is shown in the screen shot of my original post.

I connect to the mount's USB port.  I have never used the mount via connection to the serial port.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 2,350
Software Bisque Employee

kjcphoto:
The Show Status tab in the Bisque TCS window, with nothing plugged into the Joystick or Guider ports, is shown in the screen shot of my original post.

Sorry, it was unclear to me under what circumstances that shot had been taken. In this case, I'd be curious to know what the Show Status tab shows when the joystick is plugged in. You mentioned that it previously showed "Joysticking"; does it still show this, and in any case, what is shown in the Guider relay and Joystick graphics?

To be sure we're on the same page, am I right that you've inspected both Guider jacks—the one on the Adaptor Panel (into which the joystick was inadvertently plugged), as well as the one on the Instrument Panel—as well as verified that nothing is plugged into either of these?

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 35

The status of the guider relay graphic and the Joystick graphic remain as shown in the screen shot, whether the joystick is plugged in or not.   The only thing that changes when I unplug the joystick is the mount goes from Joysticking to Tracking at Sidereal rate.  It seems that when the joystick is plugged in, the mount sees me inputting movement with the joystick, so it will not respond to slew commands.  The mount will not start up with the characteristic beeps for RA and DEC when the joystick is plugged in for the same reason.

Nothing is plugged into any of the guider jacks or the joystick jack.  The only connections to the mount are the power supply cable and the USB cable.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 2,350
Software Bisque Employee

Kirk,

Based on what you've reported, the best course of action would be to replace the MKS 4000 board. To initiate this, please request an RMA per our Warranty Product Replacement Procedure.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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