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Slaving LX600 to PD10 Dome

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IanPalmer Posted: 01-11-2019 1:26 PM

I could use some help to determine if TheSkyX pro edition would be a good choice to operate my meade 16in LX600 along with a Technical Innovations PD10 dome, and how it would work.

Up to this point I have been using Meade Autostar remote hbx feature that connects to the computer via com port.  Via the remote hbx, I can operate autofocus, Starlock etc so enjoy the simplicity of this.

The PD10 uses DDW software that controls the dome operations and connects to the telescope via the Ascom platform and DDW driver and Meade Universal Driver.

My problem is that I am not able to have both connected via the com port at the same time.  I am not sure if Autostar software has a configuration whereby it can both write the data out to the ASCOM platform along with directing the scope.

Would the SkyX be a good solution, and if so what are the basics of how it would work?

thank you

Ian

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Both TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition and TheSkyX Professional Edition offer the ability to control Meade LX200-compatible mounts, including the LX600 series.

As for the dome, you might glean something useful from this Connecting Sky X professional to Astrophysics GTO Mount and Digital Domeworks thread.

Also, this thread, though a bit aged now, discussed at least the beginnings of an attempt to write a TheSkyX-native X2 plug-in to support Digital Dome Works, eliminating the dependency on ASCOM. I don't know if that's progressed any further, but perhaps you could express your interest and/or offer some assistance to Rodolphe, a fellow customer who started that thread, and has generously developed a number of X2 plug-ins for a variety of astronomical equipment, including a few dome-controller models.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that dome/roll-off-roof control from TheSkyX requires the Dome Add On to TheSkyX Professional Edition.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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IanPalmer:
My problem is that I am not able to have both connected via the com port at the same time.  I am not sure if Autostar software has a configuration whereby it can both write the data out to the ASCOM platform along with directing the scope.

If you mean that you would like to connect both the mount and dome to the same COM port on the computer, I'd ask why? Does your computer have only one serial port? If so, and your computer has a USB port, then you might consider using a serial-to-USB converter for at least one of the devices.

But if you're instead trying to simultaneously use more than one software application with the same COM port, that's a real limitation. The solution is to use a virtual hub that shares the physical port with other applications through a virtual serial, or COM, port (VSP or VCP). Such a solution for ASCOM use is the POTH Hub (included with,the ASCOM platform). TheSkyX can also share its connected devices with other, compatible, applications via scripting.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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I haven't make any progress on the DDW X2 plugin but if there is some interest I can restart development.

The main problem is to have access to a system to test (locally or remotely via serialtcp / ser2net /... ).

 

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Yes, I have 2 software applications needing the same physical com port:  the telescope controls (Autostar remote handbox), and the data write from the scope to DDW (via ascom slaviing config) for RA and DEC positions.

Because my testing with virtual ports indicates some conflicts  - the data is not stable - I am considering whether the SKYX to control the telescope may be an option.

I have not yet tried POTH.  Is there a link that explains setup for a newbie?

Many thanks for your advice

Ian

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You should not try to "share" the serial port.. this is usually not a good idea.

USB to serial adapter are cheap enough that adding an extra serial port is always the best option.

( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QUZY4L0/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ).

Then you "wire" your system this way : 

 

TheSkyX will keep the mount and dome in sync (you need to set the dome geometry to match your installation) and you don't have any port conflict when doing this.

On the dome add-on I put a "X2 dome plugin" but this can be an ASCOM dome.

Same for the mount control.

This would be a more robust system than trying to talk to 2 devices through one port.

Rodolphe

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Posts 1,608

Short version of POTH:

TSX->Mount set to ASCOM->ASCOM mount selected as POTH->POTH connected to ASCOM LX600 driver

Application 2->mount set to ASCOM->ASCOM mount selected as POTH

 

The LX200 hsa actually got 2 serial ports broght out on the 6 pin connector; I wonder if its the same on the LX600 - I don't have pinouts for that scope.

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Quick update on the DDW X2 plugin .. it now works.

Still a little bit of testing to do to make sure everything works as expected but we were able to test homing, GoTo, Open and Close shutter.

If you want to test it let me know.

More info there : http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/p/30458/186234.aspx#186234

Rodolphe

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