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Old 09-01-2019, 05:11 PM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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Kstars/Ekos for MacOS - does it do everything?

Hi again,
Not having much success with Cloudmakers apps for mac with my Tak NJP mount, it gets about halfway into setup, drives the mount but doesn't properly slew/goto.
Instead, I'm trying to get KStars/Ekos working.

Apparently it will plate-solve, auto meridian flip, autofocus, sequence the camera/filters etc the whole shebang! And on a mac too

Has anyone got any successful mac experience with this suite?

Cheers
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:26 PM
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lazjen (Chris)
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Can't help you with the Mac side of things, but I've had good experiences with it under Linux.

A good feature of the system is that it uses INDI - which is well setup for multiple machine setup. You could run kstars/ekos on your Mac and connect to say, a raspberry Pi or Intel Nuc controlling the astro gear. (or even split the gear control between multiple machines)

Or run it all on one system.

I hope to look into it more this year to completely automate my setup.
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:14 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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I do sometimes think it would be nice to be able to use my mount without the PC control software but I could do wide field stuff with some good Mac software.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:05 AM
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Hi Andy,
Just noticed your post.
I am running KStars/EKOS on an Odroid (a bit like a souped up Raspberry Pi). This runs Ubuntu locally at the scope and controls motor focus, guide camera, main camera and mount. Plate solving is achieved by running astrometry.net as a offline solver. I either use the Odroid in headless mode by connecting from a windows 10 laptop using team viewer (this is using Ubuntu remotely) or (and I prefer this as the screen resolution is much better) I connect remotely through my home network (the odroid is connected to a wifi extender by local ethernet). Once you have connected via team viewer to start Kstars and EKOS/INDI on the Odroid/Pi then you can go inside and do everything through Windows. INDI needs to be running on the computer at the scope before you can connect through Windows or iOS. The scheduling is great and allows complete automation of an evenings astrophotography. I have never used a Mac but I can't see it being any different as its the local single board computer (usually a Pi) doing all the work. The Mac just tells the Pi what to do. Just download Kstars and configure your equipment profile and name it the same on your Mac as you have used in the Pi.
I have spent quite a bit of time getting it all to work. Some of the documentation is not as detailed as it could be and often makes assumptions that we all know what they are talking about (not always the case). It is a work in progress.
Look at all the videos and documentation that Jasem has provided about EKOS as it will give you an idea of the level of knowledge you will need to get to to set this up and troubleshoot.
The help forums are pretty good and helping with other people's problems aids in the development of the software.
I suppose you should also check that all your astro gear is supported on this platform before you get too involved. We had issues with getting an Astrophysics mount to work although eventually got there in the end but an EQMOD mount works pretty seemlessly.
An alternative is to purchase the Stellarmate which will come already configured and connect wirelessly with your Mac running Kstars.
Good Luck
Mike
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:56 PM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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Hi Mike,
^^^ That's fascinating! Might just be the answer I need thankyou
Does it do meridian flips as well as autofocus & scheduling etc...
Cheers
Andy
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:33 PM
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Yep, the whole shebang.
Start here https://indilib.org/about/ekos/requirements.html
Remember that these open source projects are always a work in progress. However the journey is what matters eh?
I have had a sometimes frustrating , sometimes rewarding time getting to my current point which is. I set up. Polar align with Sharp cap as it is quicker. Turn on the local Ubuntu version of Kstars with EKOS/INDI using team viewer. Once that is started everything connects automatically. I then Shut down my laptop leaving the local version of EKOS/INDI running then go inside. Connect remotely through my home network and run the show from inside. I plan the night in advance using scheduler (a bit like SGP) and this will follow the pre-programmed instructions to go to the target, plate solve, focus, switch on guiding all automatically then once all this is in place starts taking the images as programmed. It can do automated meridian flips then plate solve, focus and guide and continue its sequence of imaging.
It is important that you really read and understand the instructions of how to set this all up. Use the simulators too and you can use logging to troubleshoot.
If you are not at all technically minded and do not relish a challenge don't even start. However if you do give it a go there are many people out there who can help on the INDI support forums.

Mike
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Old 24-02-2019, 08:30 PM
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I enjoy a bit of an adventure with software but trying to get KStars/Ekos up and running on my Mac has proved too much for me! Where the software was telling me where the scope was pointing was one big issue that I struggled to resolve (despite checking dates and locations in every conceivable location), and then the real killer was getting my guide cam to work reliably. The Prostar LP-guide camera connects in the Windows version of PHD2 as an Altair camera just fine and although I could get an image from it in the Mac version it then rather quickly failed. I got the feeling it ‘could’ all work but using virtualbox and a Windows virtual machine is so much easier - ironically much more Mac like!
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Old 25-02-2019, 03:57 PM
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Hi Ben,

I can understand the frustration. Sometimes it's just that the documentation does not cover a particular thing. I did find the help forums pretty good. I am sure that many give up due to the frustration of wasting valuable AP time. However I do relish a challenge and finally managed to get it all to work. I can't help much with Mac OS issues but I think that I have managed to accrue a fair amount of knowledge of the pitfalls and how to get around them in Windows and Ubuntu Mate. Happy to help if anyone gets stuck.
One thing that I am learning is that if everything is working, resist the urge to update. The nightly builds are always a temptation but although worthwhile trying if there are faults they can introduce a whole world of pain if everything is working well.
Currently my set is working as expected and will fully automate an evenings session. Now all we need are some consistently clear skies!!

Mike
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Old 25-02-2019, 05:17 PM
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Sounds great Mike. I have a feeling my hardware is just not making it easy and eqMac hasn’t been updated in a while so hard to say where my problems come from, which ultimately is the frustrating bit. Well, that, and no clear skies to try anything!

Last edited by Benjamin; 25-02-2019 at 05:55 PM.
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:36 AM
Capt_buscemi (Mark)
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Hey mate, I feel your pain. I doggedly tried with KStars/EKOS on my Mac for a couple of months, using a StellarMate - it was a costly and extremely frustrating enterprise, and ultimately I gave it away.


I've met a few people who have KStars working, but invariably they are (a) using Linux and (b) people with IT backgrounds who have no hesitation in writing code and pulling nightly builds off the developers' forum. They are happy to tinker away at what is a very ambitious but still highly unstable, Open-Source project.


Have managed to source a 12-year-old Windows laptop, and though it kills me to use Windows after nearly a decade blissfully using MacOS, I've got to say it works, and I'm getting my rig running using ASCOM/EQMOD, Sequence Generator Pro and Stellarium. It's still a steep learning curve, and I wish it was easier, but it's a damn sight better than KStars. If nothing else, there are vast resources out there on YouTube and forums, you can solve most problems very quickly and easily, whereas anything Mac can be days before anyone replies.


I'm watching ASIAir with keen interest, my hunch is it will be the dominant imaging solution a year from now, especially for beginners like me who want simple DSO functionality, and most of us will leave our laptops behind. But I don't think it's there yet, so in the meantime I'll use my ancient Craptop and SGP, try to make up on the lost time.

Last edited by Capt_buscemi; 13-03-2019 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 14-03-2019, 09:26 PM
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Have to say Virtualbox 6 is working like a charm on my MacBook Pro, running a Windows 10 virtual machine. I’m about to get into using Voyager (Starkeeper) to sequence my next imaging run. All connects (as with SGP) and am looking forward to what seems like a very efficient autofocus routine.
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