#501  
Old 12-01-2019, 12:40 PM
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OK, I have a candidate, sometimes dithering is working, sometimes not. Will increasing the dither settle time make a difference here? If you look at PHD2, you see the dither noted in the guiding graph and it is off and guiding again.


When it works:


2019/01/12 00:41:20 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:20) DBG Call Dither
2019/01/12 00:41:20 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:20) DBG Dither delay started.
2019/01/12 00:41:20 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:20) DBG CCD Image Ready 2
2019/01/12 00:41:20 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:20) DBG CCD Image Ready3
2019/01/12 00:41:21 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:21) Op Dithering started.
2019/01/12 00:41:21 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:21) DBG Dithering accepted
2019/01/12 00:41:23 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:23) DBG Dithering limit reached. D:52, L:70
2019/01/12 00:41:24 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:24) DBG File saved: U:\APT\CameraCCD_1\2019-01-11\Lights\Plan_M42\L_2019-01-12_00-41-21_10s__-10C_G0.fit
2019/01/12 00:41:25 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:25) DBG Image Saved
2019/01/12 00:41:25 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:25) DBG CCD Image Ready4
2019/01/12 00:41:25 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:25) DBG ResumeAfterTransferCCD
2019/01/12 00:41:25 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:25) DBG Make a pause
2019/01/12 00:41:33 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:33) Op Dithering finished.
2019/01/12 00:41:33 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:33) DBG Exposure is starting


When it fails:


2019/01/12 00:41:45 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:45) DBG Call Dither
2019/01/12 00:41:45 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:45) DBG Dither delay started.
2019/01/12 00:41:45 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:45) DBG CCD Image Ready 2
2019/01/12 00:41:45 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:45) DBG CCD Image Ready3
2019/01/12 00:41:46 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:46) Op Dithering started.
2019/01/12 00:41:46 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:46) DBG Dithering accepted
2019/01/12 00:41:48 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:48) DBG Dithering limit reached. D:0, L:70
2019/01/12 00:41:49 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:49) DBG File saved: U:\APT\CameraCCD_1\2019-01-11\Lights\Plan_M42\L_2019-01-12_00-41-46_10s__-10C_G0.fit
2019/01/12 00:41:50 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:50) DBG Image Saved
2019/01/12 00:41:50 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:50) DBG CCD Image Ready4
2019/01/12 00:41:50 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:50) DBG ResumeAfterTransferCCD
2019/01/12 00:41:50 (UT 2019/01/11 13:41:50) DBG Make a pause
2019/01/12 00:42:02 (UT 2019/01/11 13:42:02) OpErr Dithering timed-out. Continue with the next step.
2019/01/12 00:42:02 (UT 2019/01/11 13:42:02) DBG Dithering timed-out. Error: timed-out waiting for guider to settle
2019/01/12 00:42:02 (UT 2019/01/11 13:42:02) DBG Exposure is starting
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  #502  
Old 12-01-2019, 08:25 PM
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Hi Paul,

You can increase the Settle Distance also Settle Time and TimeOut. But usually the first one is enough
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  #503  
Old 12-01-2019, 08:30 PM
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OK, I will give it a try tonight, too much moon to do any meaningful imaging so I might as well try to sort technical stuff.
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  #504  
Old 13-01-2019, 10:56 AM
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Still ran in to a few issues last night, not aided at all by the wind which was so bad it made it tough to even use it as a testing night to work out what issues I have to work on.

First up, I have not got settings sorted yet (Which I am sure is all it is) to get APT reliably recognising a successful dither and continuing, PHD2 has dithered and resumed guiding but APT times out on the dither before continuing with the next sub, probably just more experimentation for me there.

The second one is related, I left it running in the hope I might get some data to play with today by aiming at a target it could point at without a flip for as many hours of dark I had left, hoping if the wind settled down I would get a few usable subs to practice processing on. The wind was so bad that PHD sometimes lost the guide star due to movement between guide images. If PHD had lost the star, instead of dithering and continuing after a timeout (Or success, I did get a couple that PAT recognised as successful) APT hangs instead, waiting for the dither and all that was reported for the next number of hours was PHD star lost. Typically, it did that about 20 minutes after I went to bed or I could have restarted the plan without dithering and taken pot luck on guiding.

I guess that comes down to two suggestions, both related. If PHD (Or whatever guide software) is reporting the guide star lost, can APT be set to periodically attempt to stop and restart guiding as it does after a Goto? That way if a big gust of wind or a clumsy oaf (Me) bumps it far enough to loose the guide star after a short period APT will try a restart on the guiding and hopefully PHD will pick a star and continue.


The second one would be for a hard timeout on dithering if PHD is reporting the star being lost or similar problem? I assume that one is related to requesting a dither when guiding is not actually active.
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  #505  
Old 13-01-2019, 05:15 PM
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I have been giving the user guide a hiding (Loads of good stuff in APT that I am not using yet) and if the dithering behaves per the guide I might have the root of both my issues there.

I am just trying to wrap my head around what the stability distance setting actually is, is that a maximum deviation between guider images accepted as dithering completed and guiding settling? I am imaging at 1400mm and it was pretty windy so the guide star was really hopping about. Would that distance not being great enough potentially cause APT to wait then time out on the dither before continuing with the next image?

Will a dither command when there is no guide star result in a hang waiting for the star to move? I know the images I took with dithering disabled it would continue shooting subs even when the guider had no star, but it seems that when the guider has lost the star and a dither is commanded is when it hangs.
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  #506  
Old 13-01-2019, 09:21 PM
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Sorry to be spamming the thread, I have been trying to replicate the behaviour on my desktop using simulated gear in PHD2 and APT. I think increasing the dithering stability distance will help, but windy nights might be a bust and timeout after dithers as the guide star will be moving around a lot and even at the max stability distance may not "Finish" I should abandon nights like that anyway but I really only get to test a coupe of nights a week.

I can't replicate the other issue I have seen where imaging stops when the guider looses the star, if I force that in the simulated modes, APT reports a dither error and continues.

I am using a pretty underpowered box to test this at the moment, Windows 10 on an Intel Nuc Celeron 2820 with I think 8 gig of RAM. Is there any chance lack of machine resources is causing me the issues? I could test by taking my desktop machine out and using that, still modest as far as modern machines go but a lot better than the Nuc.
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Old 15-01-2019, 01:06 AM
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Hi Paul,

There was a bug in the PHD2 integration (PHD1 is not suffering from this problem) which was making the dithering to hang if star is lost during the process. We have fixed it and will release a version as soon as possible, most likely as beta/preview.
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  #508  
Old 15-01-2019, 07:10 AM
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Per my post on your own forum, awesome. I am just glad it was not PEBKAC trouble on my part. (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair)
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  #509  
Old 15-01-2019, 08:58 AM
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It was PEBKAC trouble but on my part
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  #510  
Old 15-01-2019, 09:27 AM
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While I am no developer, my sister was and I understand the complexity involved! So I won’t be pointing any fingers blame wise.

Am I the first one to actually have this issue or was it already being worked on?
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Old 15-01-2019, 09:38 AM
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There were other reports too and the fix is already made, just waiting to gather few more things for a beta
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Old 15-01-2019, 10:17 AM
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Ah well, good to know I am not unique. I have another expensive hobby (Race cars) and the maker of my ECU recently commented "You never do anything the easy way do you"
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Old 18-01-2019, 12:07 AM
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If you are using dithering and PHD2, please upgrade to APT 3.63 in order to avoid the possibility for imaging hanging in case of temporary guide star loss! The update is needed even if you are using 3.57…

We are using the release to include some improvement and fixes in AMF (Automated Median Flip), DARV fix for Nikon cameras and also the “automatic settings restore after crash” feature we just finished.

The Moon will soon start getting smaller so update your APT and be ready for the next imaging session!

https://www.astrophotography.app/downloads
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  #514  
Old 18-01-2019, 06:48 AM
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Awesome, hopefully I get a break in cloud to test over the coming weekend, downloading it now.


The stuff I want to image now requires a flip too, I will have to tick the box and hold my breath to see how it all goes with my gear.
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Old 18-01-2019, 09:42 AM
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Did a quick test using the giude cam simuator and simulated cam in APT, looking much better. I can see a difference in how it behaves between a lost star and if you clcik in PHD to change it from guiding to looping exposures (If you go back to looping exposure and no star selected during a dither it hangs like before) I don't know how you would solve that one, the only difference I can see is APT reporting PHD as connected instead of a distance to a guide star if you set it back to looping exposures, unless you can make it time out in progress dithers if the status goes back to connected as well as lost star.

Probably not important given the user has to actually go in and do something manually to make that happen when they should really be leaving it alone to get on with the imaging plan.
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Old 19-01-2019, 12:09 AM
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Hi Paul,

Till we finish the feature "Remove clouds" there are no much options. If PHD2 loose the star during the dithering APT will consider that dithering is finished and will continue with the next step of what it is doing.

If the exposure has its own pause 10-15s and the star disappears on the 5th second of the dithering, APT will wait up to the end of the pause, so if the cloud is not huge, but just causing slight brightness change, PHD2 will be guiding when the next exposure is started
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Old 19-01-2019, 08:38 AM
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I will certainly be keen on that remove clouds feature when you get it working, but I am not sure where you will store the atmosphere while we don’t want it there producing cloud.

Looking like a clear night tonight so I will have a test night.
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Old 19-01-2019, 09:45 AM
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Have fun! Clouds and fogs here...
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Old 20-01-2019, 11:53 AM
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Well, gave it a test run last night and it behaved much better, as it was really windy the guider obligingly lost the star a few times.

I did run in to two issues but it will be a while before I get a chance to try to replicate them. I sent it after the Tarantula nebula which needed to have the scope to the east, pointing west as it was past the meridian but it tried to point with the scope to the west, pointed east. EQMod captured that and stopped the slew before anything crashed into the tripod as I have meridian limits switched on. Aside from that I pointed elsewhere and I let it do an auto flip which was successful but on completion of the flip APT crashed out to the Windows desktop. It did not release the camera driver when it crashed as the cooling stayed on, but when I restarted APT and reconnected the cam it turned off the cooler. Next time I set it up I will see if I can replicate the crash on flip but I will keep the cam cooling turned off so it is nicer to the chip if it crashes out again and I have to reconnect. That is connecting via the ASCOM driver for my cam (ZWO ASI294 Pro)

Is that a possible feature request? Have APT poll the camera driver on connection and if the cooler is turned on already, pick it up at the same temperature target and cooling power to match what the driver is doing? That would save wild temperature swings if the cam has to be reconnected with the cooler already running.
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:19 AM
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Hi Paul,

I have similar problem with my camera (QHY22) the cooling is running, but making a new connection to it resets the state which is very awkward. You can try to enable the option Settings->CCD->Stop Initial Cooling. When it is enabled on camera connection it takes the current camera temperature and sets it as target temperature. It is interesting if it will work better for ZWO than for QHY...
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