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Old 06-06-2021, 06:25 PM
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NINA (from a long time SGP user)

Peter4059 inspired me to check out the latest options in automated imaging some time ago. SGP has been a workhorse for years, but no harm in checking out what else is available.

Didn't want to go Linux. Have tried Voyager before and realized I've have to kunckle down for quite a few nights to get the basics in place.

NINA has some long threads on Cloudy Nights and looked promising. Recent iterations include native QHY9 drivers which also appealed, so last night installed and tried it out.

First decision is whether to install 32bit or 64bit. All my gear is plugged into an older Mount Hub Pro, so was expecting to have to go 32 bit. Eventually managed to get QHY9, FW, QHY5IIM, EQMOD and MHP driven Robofocus motor talking. Still some tricky behaviour with my old 1st version QHY filterwheel, but otherwise quite impressed at how intuitive it all has been to set up so far.

Only managed a few test subs and test meridian flip last night. Will try some basic sequence imaging tonight.

Anyone else regularly using NINA?

Last edited by RobF; 07-06-2021 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:13 PM
AnakChan (Sean)
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There are quite a few NINA users here I believe. It has come a long way just even within the past 12-18 months. I've got the 64-bit version running and I do run the nightlies on my GMK NUCBox (J4125/8GB RAM/512GB SSD) with a PegasusAstro PPBA.

My setup's somewhat newer with the ASI6200MM/EFW/ASI174MM Mini, etc. so I don't have any issues with drivers. I did read getting the older QHY CCD-based drivers running with NINA was a little tricky.

[Edit for transparency: I have not used SGPro myself personally but I'm familiar with it being exposed to it over the past 3-4 yrs with my colleagues' rigs]

To -my mind- at least, the reasons of using SGPro are diminishing. That's not to say that NINA excels over SGPro in every area as it seems SGPro still has a few tricks up its sleeves (e.g. Sequence Recovery) that NINA doesn't have.

However overall for me, NINA does enough of what I need and I don't see myself using SGPro anytime soon.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:46 PM
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Thanks Sean. Glad to hear its humming for you. Its doing its thing nicely on a HaLRGB sequence on M16 currently and seems to be getting on with the job very efficiently. Really doesn't muck about settling and collecting subs. Download times very nice, focusing, plate solving (ASTAP is damned fast), pointing and meridian flip seem to be holding up nicely.

Fascinating digging through the Discord site and seeing how often those new "Nightly" versions pop out. Had the guy that wrote the native QHY driver support into NINA answer a filterwheel query within an hour today which was pretty amazing.

Stumbled upon the advanced sequencing dialogue in the latest 1.11 version and my eyes almost popped out at all the logic options in there, e.g.
- Pause until object reaches altitude,
- Trigger refocus if average HFR drifts,
- Logic loops
That part reminds me a little of CCD Autopilot - without the price tag.

Think I'll continue using it for next few outings and see how it goes.....
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Old 06-06-2021, 11:48 PM
AnakChan (Sean)
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I definitely don’t use the Advanced Sequencer to it’s max but it is a very powerful tool - but that also means that if you’re not using it properly you could get yourself into a twist.

So far I’ve been using the loops & triggers mainly (start when target rises above xx deg until dawn, or sets below yy deg whichever comes first, recenter on drift, and all the usual AF triggers on temp, HFR change, etc.).

I also use their FlatWizard but that requires a slight learning curve as it’s not so intuitive initially - I kept getting “too bright”, “too dim”, etc. but now I’ve gotten the hang of it, I use it to do flat darks too.

Yes the Discord support has been good. They’ve been prompt in identifying and fixing bugs. But on the other side of the coin, I’m updating nightlies really frequently .
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2021, 11:58 PM
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Yes, thought I better stay away from the advanced sequencing dialogue until fluent with the basics. Likewise with the flats wizard. Nice to hear someone happy with the logic smarts.

One step at a time always seems to work best in this hobby

Curious - why do you keep needing the latest "nightly" version - and how often do you encounter probs?

Last edited by RobF; 07-06-2021 at 09:03 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-06-2021, 09:55 AM
AnakChan (Sean)
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You actually don’t need to update everytime. I just have the habit of updating to the latest. In terms of actual bugs encountered, I’ve only experienced an issue only once or twice in the past 6 months which the devs fixed within the hr of reporting it in Discord.

If one were to go through the changelog, most of the changes are minor or cosmetic, or upgrade of native libraries from 3rd parties.
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  #7  
Old 07-06-2021, 10:05 AM
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NINA user here. I'm on their Discord regularly as well.

It's really a fantastic bit of software. I haven't touched the advanced sequencer because I think it's beyond me, but the rest of it is fantastic. It's also got one of the best user-interfaces around.
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  #8  
Old 07-06-2021, 05:54 PM
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I've been using NINA for some time now. I think it's brilliant. I like the interface, its plate solving with ASTAP is good. Not much to criticize at all, and the developers are always on the Discord site to answer questions.
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  #9  
Old 07-06-2021, 09:06 PM
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Thanks Sean, Adam, Neil. Sounds like nothing but praise. Good to know there are others here happy with performance and development path.

Last night went well for me again. You get a feel for the style of complex software pretty quickly (while finding your way around - without reading the manual ) and these guys seem pretty switched on.
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2021, 11:04 AM
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I get confused by all the bells and whistle has anyone got a tutorial on basic setup to get this up and running without being too technical
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2021, 03:43 PM
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At a high level, it's actually not too difficult. One can probably start with this :-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCf3frKrBc

There's some few basic workflows for the Framing, etc. and thereafter pawn the details off to the Basic Sequencer. The Basic Sequencer is reasonably intuitive (more so than the Framing Wizard).

It's the Advanced Sequencer that starts to look daunting as it looks more like programming a schedule rather than planning a schedule. However I usually just "cheat" by starting with Basic Sequencer first, then have that converted into the Advanced Sequencer. Then within the Advanced Sequencer I start moving tasks about, adding new triggers/loops, splitting some tasks, etc.

I don't have a permanent setup, which means I have to carry my rig out for the evening & PA manually. But once that's done, I can head inside and just hit go on my plan. I check every now and then in between TV commercials before heading to bed.

In the morning if my scope is parked, it means the plan's gone well and all I do is to save the HFR history and other details of the night.

If I've got a few clear nights, I leave the scope out, tweak the routines a little, and hit play when evening comes. I don't even have to go out to check on the scope. It's pretty automated at this point.
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  #12  
Old 08-06-2021, 06:38 PM
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Thanks
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  #13  
Old 08-06-2021, 07:49 PM
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Yep, how you getting it singing Trevor. Coming from SGP or other software helps, but as Sean says plenty of guides out there. You can do a lot worse than just working logically through each config page initially ensure your camera, focuser, mount, etc are all talking and operating correctly before worring about sequences and meridian flips.

(Disclaimer: I only know enough to be dangerous)
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Old 08-06-2021, 10:24 PM
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Talking about dangerous, be careful of the virtual keypad of the mount in the Telescope Tab in NINA (at least for my mount, Vixen AXD). The Up/Down, Left/Right, tap doesn't just send a single pulse for a single tap. It actually sends a continuous pulse on one tap and need another tap to stop it.

I was doing a little PHD2 calibration, and I use an OAG. So I thought I'd do a short tap to move the mount a little to have the guide star in the centre of the OAG. That made my RA rotate 360 (luckily the scope was set to Dec 0 so no camera/OTA crash on the tripod) and got my controller cable twisted around the mount.

Luckily I had a bad feeling after hitting that short tap, and thought I'd better tap again (which was prob only like < 45 sec apart). That was probably the only time I bolted out of the comfort of my living room chair to the backyard. The DC power and the controller cable almost got ripped out of their sockets .
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Old 09-06-2021, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post
Talking about dangerous, be careful of the virtual keypad of the mount in the Telescope Tab in NINA (at least for my mount, Vixen AXD). The Up/Down, Left/Right, tap doesn't just send a single pulse for a single tap. It actually sends a continuous pulse on one tap and need another tap to stop it.

I was doing a little PHD2 calibration, and I use an OAG. So I thought I'd do a short tap to move the mount a little to have the guide star in the centre of the OAG. That made my RA rotate 360 (luckily the scope was set to Dec 0 so no camera/OTA crash on the tripod) and got my controller cable twisted around the mount.

Luckily I had a bad feeling after hitting that short tap, and thought I'd better tap again (which was prob only like < 45 sec apart). That was probably the only time I bolted out of the comfort of my living room chair to the backyard. The DC power and the controller cable almost got ripped out of their sockets .
That's.... unusual. Mine works just as I'd expected it to. A single press sends a single pulse command. I use it all the time when polar aligning. Have you set your ASCOM driver up correctly?
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Old 09-06-2021, 11:34 PM
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Ouch. I'm using EQMOD ascom driver and would normally dial in the desired rate and tap the E/W/N/S buttons if need to do any manual position tweaking. Always bring up the Dec and RA displays just to make sure not getting near any extremes.

Will have to double check the NINA keyboard and make sure it behaves.
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  #17  
Old 10-06-2021, 12:22 AM
AnakChan (Sean)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJL View Post
That's.... unusual. Mine works just as I'd expected it to. A single press sends a single pulse command. I use it all the time when polar aligning. Have you set your ASCOM driver up correctly?
The Vixen ASCOM driver's pretty basic actually. Not much to tweak. But maybe in the current rainy week, I may setup indoors and play with it a little more. Since then I've been very cautious on tapping virtual keypads.
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  #18  
Old 19-06-2021, 03:50 PM
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Hey guys, I went pyscho and updated my imaging laptop from Win 7 to Win 10 during the week. Currently putting everything back together.

Curious- do people run NINA and other astro programs with Administrator rights? With SGP things seemed to work best with SGP, PHD2, Astroplanner all working with Admin rights.

Wondering if I should leave everything at default settings on this new Win10 install?
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Old 20-06-2021, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RobF View Post
Hey guys, I went pyscho and updated my imaging laptop from Win 7 to Win 10 during the week. Currently putting everything back together.

Curious- do people run NINA and other astro programs with Administrator rights? With SGP things seemed to work best with SGP, PHD2, Astroplanner all working with Admin rights.

Wondering if I should leave everything at default settings on this new Win10 install?
Hi Rob. I run an admin account on all of my PCs.. Some people argue against that, but it is what it is.
I don't get any UAC windows so no issues there. Only Polemaster software triggers the UAC pop-up.

p.s. nice work on upgrading to 10... Windows 11 is about to be announced on June 24th
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  #20  
Old 21-06-2021, 10:34 PM
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Thanks Adam - seems ok without putting everything on Admin but yet to run it again properly for a few nights. Good to know the Admin option works if need be.

Yep, I could never muster the courage to update the imaging laptop, but is a bit ironic now Win11 around the corner
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