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Presale questions

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marv Posted: 06-23-2018 2:09 PM

I currently use Celestron CGEM mount with an edge HD 11 scope, Before I purchase , I need to verify that the following will work with The Sky Pro software or addons.

Nexdome observatory, FocusMax, autoguider and the mount.  I am currently using Maxim DL and cannot get it to recognize the dome rotation unit.  I also use Atik 490EX color camera with starizona Hyperstar.

Thank you

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Posts 3,287
Software Bisque Employee

Thank you for considering TheSkyX Professional Edition Astronomy Software!

I'll also point out that you may freely trial the TPoint Add On, Camera Add On and Dome Add On during the first 90 days from the installation of TheSkyX Pro. For more information, see our knowledge base article How to Obtain, Activate and Update TheSkyX Add Ons.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Brian, the auto guider is a starlight express Lodestar X2, and I am trying to set this all up to run remotely.  I am planning on using team viewer to run from another computer,

Thank you, Marv

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Software Bisque Employee

The Camera Add On to TheSkyX Pro offers support of Starlight Xpress guiders, including the Lodestar X2, on all OSes (Windows, Mac, Linux and Raspbian).

marv:
I am planning on using team viewer to run from another computer

TeamViewer is one of several remote desktop applications used by many of our customers for facilitating remote control of their observatory.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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I am getting ready to order and wanted your advice as to which OS would you choose, I have both Mac and PC.

thank you

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Posts 122

I use both systems.  If you don't particularly care which OS to use, and just need to make a purchase choice, then I would say it should be Windows.

SB have done a great job gathering Mac drivers for the various cameras, mounts and other kit, but Mac does seem inevitably to play catch up sometimes.

Some kit will still only run on Windows.  For example the older generation SBIG ST/STL cameras will only work on a newer Mac OS by disabling its security system, something you may or may not be willing to do.  Some control and processing software only works in Windows (for example Maxim DL or CCDStack) and it can be a nuisance to swap files across systems.  Others (such as PixInsight) are cross-platform.  And some automation software will also only work in Windows, such as CCDAP.  You can be pretty sure that Windows software/drivers will be available for virtually any kit, but Mac drivers may or may not be available or may not be available immediately.  Ascom is a great astro resource but is Windows only.

Rodolphe (who posts regularly on the SB Support Forum) is generously compiling dome (and other) drivers for Mac which he willingly shares, and I think has one for NexDome, but you should check its status with him.  Other than through Rodolphe's efforts, dome controllers are (as far as I know) Windows only, and so I am stuck with Windows for my observatory, as my dome software is not open source.  I say stuck, because Windows does certainly have its issues, but I think for the moment has its nose in front for astro work generally, unless you are sure that all your present and near future kit is fully supported.  Others are bound to disagree with this view!

Mark

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Posts 15

I am going to order the sky-x pro and add-ons today. A question I have concerns software downloads.  I have a dome from Nexdome and not being a computer whiz was wondering how difficult  it will be to setup the software to use sky-x to run the dome rotation.  I assume the sky-x plugin will take care of that?  Or is this a question for the dome manufacturer?

Marv

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Software Bisque Employee

mwt2311:
and I think has one for NexDome, but you should check its status with him.
See this page for details about the Dome Add On's NexDome Rotation Kit's X2 Plug In that is available from RTI-Zone.

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

Posting Etiquette

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 26,762
Software Bisque Employee

marv:
I am going to order the sky-x pro and add-ons today.
Thank you!

marv:
I have a dome from Nexdome and not being a computer whiz was wondering how difficult  it will be to setup the software to use sky-x to run the dome rotation.

  • The optional Dome Add On is required for dome control.
  • See the links in this post for details how to download the NexDome X2 Plug In.
  • See this page for details how to configure the dome's geometry from the Dome Add On.

Once configured, the dome will rotate to follow the telescope while tracking and/or slewing.

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

Posting Etiquette

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Posts 122

Marv,

I do not use NexDome, but do use Dome Add-on with a driver suitable for my dome particular rotation mechanics.  It works well.  Now, my hardware, that's a different story....

A few points to add to Daniel's:

1.  The NexDome driver will also need to be set up.  Fundamentally, this is to ensure that if a command is given in SkyX (either manually or, say, as part of a slew) to move the dome slit 30 degrees clockwise (e.g. from 30 degrees to 60 degrees) (i) it goes clockwise and (ii) it moves 30 degrees (or very close to it), not some other distance.  This parameter is set up typically in the dome driver, in your case, I imagine, the NexDome driver, not in the SkyX.  In my case I had to determine the driver settings by trial and (lots of) error, but some software will now carry out the set up routine automatically using a home (or similar) sensor for the dome rotation.  I don't know if NexDome does this.  This was the hardest part of my set up, the geometry settings in the dome add-on are logical and relatively straightforwards, particularly if the mount centre has been carefully centered horizontally and vertically in the dome hemisphere.  But note that it is worth setting all the measurements and driver parameters as accurately as possible otherwise errors creep in and cause problems, particularly, in my experience, as the scope reaches the zenith, where I guess the effect of errors in the settings can be magnified.  A functioning home sensor on the dome can help reset any accumulated errors periodically.

2.  The dome add-on does not move the dome continuously.  Instead, it monitors the dome position and bumps the dome periodically.  This isn't obvious from the dome add-on set up instructions and can result in thinking that it isn't working.  Assuming that the boxes to couple the dome position to slews and tracking are checked, the question is what parameter controls the timing of the bumps?  A number of us puzzled the purpose of the "max angle from slit edge" setting and realised that it defines how far the scope position can change versus the slit width before the dome moves to recenter the slit.  If you use the default setting of 0 degrees, it is tempting to think, as I did at first, that the dome will track continuously with the scope.  However, that setting works the opposite way.  The default setting of 0 degrees actually means that the scope reaches the slit edge (i.e. 0 degrees from the edge, as the parameter states) before the slit is recentered.  This can take 15 minutes or more, depending on your slit width.  In my experience, it can also result in image vignetting at the slit edge point before correction, though others report no practical problems.  I guess it may depend on focal length being used and other settings, to an extent.  You will find several threads on this subject, for example:

http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/p/30585/153672.aspx#153672

So calculate the angular width of your dome slit and enter about one third of that value in this box, instead of zero.  Full details are in the thread referenced above.  Seems to work well for most people.

3.  The representation of the respective telescope position and the slit position graphic on the SkyX screen won't always precisely match.  See this thread for an explanation:

http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/p/12691/47977.aspx#47977

Personally, I don't find this to be much of an issue.  I use the graphic as a sanity check (i.e. that the dome is still connected and operating and broadly reflects telescope position) rather than to evaluate absolute relative positions.  If the software and hardware are set up properly, it should just work and the slit and telescope will be properly centered even if the graphic is slightly wayward.

Generally, the dome add-on works really well.  The challenge for me is more to do with the amateur standard of implementation of rotation mechanics for some domes, which makes truly remote (as in from a significant distance away) operation still an ambition for the future.

Good luck!

Mark 

 

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