Meridian Flip Fail


#1

I’m still having trouble with meridian flips. I think the biggest problem is the difference between the flip points… Gemini 2 calculates one point, SGP calculates another, and the difference doesn’t always allow the scope to perform the flip. From what I can tell, the value changes from object to object. Of course, I did recently upgrade my HC firmware and I’m working on the new ASCOM driver. The details available in the SGP log aren’t very useful either:

[4/6/2014 12:37:25 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Sending Telescope command to execute meridian flip
[4/6/2014 12:37:25 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ASCOM Telescope: Pier side is West
[4/6/2014 12:37:25 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ASCOM Telescope: attempting pier flip using sideOfPier
[4/6/2014 12:37:25 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Setting Pier East
[4/6/2014 12:37:55 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ASCOM Telescope: Pier side is West
[4/6/2014 12:37:59 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Telescope command to meridian flip has completed
[4/6/2014 12:37:59 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Telescope failed to perform meridian flip
[4/6/2014 12:38:28 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Procedure complete
[4/6/2014 12:39:30 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Blocking Pier Flip: Failed to meridian flip, aborting sequence (True)

I get that it failed, I’d just like to know ‘why’ Gemini decided to ignore the command to flip as it should’ve been within the realm of flipping. I did notice that the setting for ‘nudging’ after a limit had been disabled.

Either way, the inability of Gemini-2 to flip is really frustrating. I’ve lost 8 hours over the last 2 nights because it’s temperamental. ARGH :smile:

First pop-up rain storm last night, I wish there was some way to monitor the ‘unsafe’ ASCOM command in SGP. Thankfully, my mount failed and the roof was closed :).


#2

How far from the meridian were you when the flip was commanded? The distances should be pretty close. SGP gets the sidereal time and your location from your mount. Those are used to calculate your position and when the flip should happen. So if those are off then it’s likely your lat and long or sidereal time are off in your mount.

Is your weather station not hardwired to your roof? Seems like there are multiple situations where your PC could fail either due to power or other badness. Even when SGP has weather station support I would still recommend a backup. Things happen!

Thanks,
Jared


#3

I also have a Gemini (I level 4) and I have yet to get a meridian flip to work (and even a park) with SGPro. I don’t think it is an SGPro problem though and it would great to hear form others using a Gemini if their flips and parks are successful and how they are configured.

I always get a meridian flip fail when I try one with SGPro, but I can then go out to the scope and do a successful one with the hand controller, so it’s not a problem with the limits. I’m at a loss myself on this and may try one of the LX200 drivers to see if that behaves with the Gemini in this regard.

Also, a park command doesn’t. The scope just keeping on tracking as if nothing happened. I have to go out to the scope and park it in CWD position at the end of the run. If I’m looking at an all nighter with SGPro, I’ll keep everything on one side of the meridian and for the last target pick “junk” region near the pole so the scope will near the CWD position when I get up to close things up.

This may be an ASCOM driver issue, but it would be nice to hear form those where it does work.

Frank Z…


#4

Frank,
I have a Gemini 1 lvl 4. I can confirm that meridian flips and parking both work well with SGP.

For the Gemini 1 you need to be using the 1.0.18 version of the Gemini ASCOM driver. The newer version, 1.0.54.0, breaks some functionality of the Gemini 1 (most notably meridian flips!).

You should check your ASCOM settings to verify what the park behavior of the Gemini is set to. I have mine park at CWD but you can choose where you want your park position.

Thanks,
Jared


#5

Does Paul K know about that yet? He is very responsive to fixing Gemini ASCOM driver problems.

Andy


#6

Yes, he is aware of the issue. He was going to supply a new driver to test
but I haven’t seen anything yet.

Thanks,

Jared Wellman
Co-Owner and Developer
Main Sequence Software
www.mainsequencesoftware.com


#7

Parking works for me I have a nearly 100% success rate with meridian flips with my G11, Gemini2, Gemini ASCOM 1.0.54.0 (knock on wood). Meridian flip failures tend to be when I set my guider exposure too short and PHD2 fails to find a guide star after the flip. So nothing to blame on Gemini-2, the ASCOM driver, or SGP.

You may want to post your problem on the Gemini_ASCOM_Driver yahoo group and include the ASCOM log files for people to look at.

Andy


#8

I was about 4 degrees from meridian when it occurred. I’m using a Gemini-2 (so the driver issue that you’re talking about isn’t a player for me). The park command was a result of my upgrading… thankfully when I hit the limit on the west side of my mount it puts my telescope in it’s park position so that was definitely ‘my fault’ and is corrected.

However, back to the pier flip. I was 4 degrees to the west side of the meridian when it should’ve flipped. My location and sidereal time is set correctly/doubled checked as of now. After looking through the log, it appears that I was outside my limits to conduct the flip. So, I think I get why I can do the flip in CCDCC/CCDAP but I can’t in SGP. When SGP ‘waits’ until Meridian, it does just that and tracking continues. With the other programs, they turn tracking off and wait until the mount reports it can conduct the flip!

So I guess I can’t use automatic meridian flips with SGP and my mount. Is there a way to add in a ‘stop’, monitor for the flip being successful, and then continuing?

@Jared,

As for your question about my weather station being tied directly to my roof controller, the answer is no. I must park my mount prior to the roof being allowed to move and the roof controller can't issue that command for me.  Your other concerns are dealt with via a variety of means. Mind you, there are two automation programs that do exactly this. If you're not going to work on it any time soon, just let me know and I'll spend my time on making them work.  I like SGP and you guys gave me a lot of hope last summer that you'd be moving towards integrating some type of weather station support.  But if you're not interested in doing that, I have other solutions such as CCDAP/ACP/CCDCC/MaximDL.  I just need to know so I stop wasting my time. I have too much equipment to risk another rain storm dumping on my shed again.

Thanks,
Chris


#9

I have been using a G11 Gemini 2 for many months without a problem regarding meridian flips and parking, with ascom geminitelescope.net 1.0.53.0 However the last time I was able to image the mount failed to do the meridian flip. The hand controller said “pier flip successful” but the mount hadn’t moved. This was after I updated the ascom to 1.0.54.0 and also after I updated the Gemini 2 hand controller firmware. I reverted to 1.0.53.0 and conducted a test pier flip during the day which was successful, but I haven’t had a chance to try it under the stars yet.

I still need to check my mount limits, but that shouldn’t have changed between successful meridian flips and the failed flip. I’ll be very interested to hear how to resolve this, but I’m pretty positive the issue is with the ascom driver or the hand controller firmware.


#10

Joel,

My limits are slightly different than yours since I'm using an Mi-250.  I can't track very far past the meridian unfortunately.  My limits as is are 95 and 92 respectively, not a ton of room for error.

#11

Alrighty, so I went to the Gemini-2 Group, and Tom told me about the GOTO Limit possibly being my issue. The problem is, My limits are 92 and 95 respectively with a western go to limit of 2.5… This means the object has to be within 2.5 degrees of the meridian in order to command a flip. I’m still trying to figure out what I need to set it to in order to cause the flip.

Chris


#12

You probably need to set your “Degrees Past Meridian to Flip” to be 0 and with such a narrow window you also will want to use the “Wait for meridian” option so that SGP won’t start another frame if it detects that the meridian flip would happen within the next frame.

http://www.mainsequencesoftware.com/Content/SGPHelp/TelescopesMounts.html#MeridianFlipOptions

Or if you’re feeling adventurous you could set the “Degrees Past Meridian to Flip” to be a -2 and not use the “Wait for Meridian” option. However depending on the length of your frame this could cause a flip to fail. The most conservative option is to use the wait option.

Thanks,
Jared


#13

Some controllers have the availability to park the mount for you prior to closing the roof. Generally your mount requires a hardware park switch of some sort though. If you’re technologically savvy enough you could create an interface box that is connected to the relay switch on your weather station. Then when the weather station says it’s unsafe this box could send the park command to the Gemini.

Will we have weather station support? Yes.
When will we have it? Likely in 2.4
So like can I have a date? Unfortunately not at this time

When we were discussing previously we never put a timeline around it. We still need to figure out the best implementation for it. That could be using the ASCOM Safety Device. But now there’s the switch protocol and we’re not sure if that will get picked up for something similar to this as well.

Thanks,
Jared


#14

We implemented the SafetyMonitor in ASCOM because we could never get any agreement over a weather interface. “Is it Safe?” seemed to be the only question that we could get agreement on.

My feeling is that the switch interface would be used in a safety controller - maybe written by someone else - and it decodes the switches or other devices and provides the safe/unsafe information that you need.

Maybe two safes - safe to open the observatory and safe to operate.


#15

I’m the same as Andy here. My meridian flips always work and on time. Guide star re-acquired and sequence continues after a center here. I use a Losmandy with Gemini 1v4 and v18 of the Losmandy driver. Due to my equipment arrangement I flip at -2 setting ie 8 minutes before the meridian cross and it always works.


#16

I managed to get the park to work (found some configuration in the Gemini telescope program, not the ASCOM setup for the mount),but Im’ still having problems with the meridian flips.

Last night I had my Gemini I level 4 ver 1.05 mount set to rather tight limits of 92 and 95 degrees and the GOTO default of 2.5 degrees. I am using the ASCOM driver 1.0.18.0.
SGPro was configure to mount flip at 0 degrees past the meridian and wait for Meridian.

The countdown dialog came up before the flip and when it was time to flip, I got the following ASCOM Exception: “SystemArgumentsException: Wrong number of Arguments or invalid”.

I went outside and did a manual flip with the controller and it was successful, so my limits we fine.

So is there a problem with my ASCOM drive/mount setup? Nothing seems to work.

Thanks,
Frank Z…


#17

Can you post you sgp log?

Thanks,

Jared Wellman
Co-Owner and Developer
Main Sequence Software
www.mainsequencesoftware.com


#18

Jared,

Here is the part of the log file around the flip time.

[4/9/2014 3:51:35 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Meridian Flip needed, Hour Angle >= Degrees Past To Flip: -0.00416666666666288 >= 0
[4/9/2014 3:51:35 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Running blocking meridian flip…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Starting Meridian Flip Procedure
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Calling SGM_TELESCOPE_SOLVE
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian flip:  Waiting for scope solve to complete…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SGM_TELESCOPE_SOLVE message received…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Telescope solve with plate solver Pinpoint…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate solving scope frame…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Created full file name: C:\Users\Fix\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\Temp\plate_solve_image.fit
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Camera Thread] SGM_CAMERA_PLATE_SOLVER_CAPTURE message received…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Camera Thread] Collecting FITs headers for plate solve frame…
[4/9/2014 3:51:36 AM] [DEBUG] [Camera Thread] Collecting FITs headers for plate solve frame…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Camera Thread] Created full file name: C:\Users\Fix\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\Temp\plate_solve_image.fit
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Resuming auto guiding (settling)…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PHDA resuming…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PHDA: Sent command (PHD_GETSTATUS)…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PHDA: Received (3)…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] PHDA pause state is same as request, returning…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Camera Thread] =========== Save file took 374 ms
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Camera Thread] SGM_CAMERA_PLATE_SOLVER_CAPTURE complete…
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate Solve Hint RA: 9.93027777777778
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate Solve Hint DEC: 69.6863888888889
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate Solve Hint Scale: 1.32524240595022
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate Solve Hint Angle: 184.988540820492
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate Solve Search: Use up to magnitude 20 stars
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate solve binning: 4x4
[4/9/2014 3:51:47 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate solve exp len: 10
[4/9/2014 3:51:48 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate solving scope frame failed!  Invoking blind solver…
[4/9/2014 3:51:48 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Astrometry.NET convertedAstrometry.fits path: C:\Users\Fix\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\Temp\convertedAstometry.fits
[4/9/2014 3:51:48 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Astrometry.NET - Saving file
[4/9/2014 3:51:48 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Astrometry.NET using endpoint: http://nova.astrometry.net/api/
[4/9/2014 3:51:48 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Astrometry.NET - Calling Async Solve
[4/9/2014 3:51:48 AM] [DEBUG] [Unknown] Astrometry.NET uploading file: C:\Users\Fix\AppData\Local\SequenceGenerator\Temp\convertedAstometry.fits
[4/9/2014 3:52:02 AM] [DEBUG] [Unknown] Caught exception while Checking Astrometry.NET solve - CheckSubmission: Error converting value {null} to type ‘System.Int32’. Path ‘jobs[0]’, line 1, position 90.
[4/9/2014 3:52:03 AM] [DEBUG] [Unknown] Astrometry.NET - Upload complete
[4/9/2014 3:52:03 AM] [DEBUG] [Unknown] Astrometry.NET - Waiting for solve to complete
[4/9/2014 3:52:08 AM] [DEBUG] [Unknown] Astrometry.NET - Job successfully solved
[4/9/2014 3:52:08 AM] [DEBUG] [Unknown] Astrometry.NET solve done in 10 seconds.
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Astrometry.NET - Solve Completed
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Astrometry.NET - Solve Successful
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Plate solving scope frame successful, scope is synced, writing FITs header info…
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Telescope: Syncing to RA: 9.9322564571197 Dec: 69.6648799020205
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Attempting to write fits header info for
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Scope solve complete…
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] SGM_TELESCOPE_SOLVE message complete…
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian flip:  Scope solve complete…
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Solve and Sync was Successful
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Stopping the Auto Guider
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] PHD Advanced: Stop
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] PHDA: Sent command (PHD_STOP)…
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] PHDA: Received (0)…
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Sending Telescope command to execute meridian flip
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ASCOM Telescope: Pier side is West
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] ASCOM Telescope: attempting pier flip using sideOfPier
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Setting Pier East
[4/9/2014 3:52:09 AM] [DEBUG] [Telescope Thread] Pier Flip failed when using side of pier: System.ArgumentException: Wrong number of arguments or invalid property assignment
[4/9/2014 3:52:22 AM] [DEBUG] [Main Thread] PopulateDataModel:  Transferring view to the data model…
[4/9/2014 3:52:22 AM] [DEBUG] [MF Update Thread] Performing serialize…
[4/9/2014 3:52:40 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Telescope command to meridian flip has completed
[4/9/2014 3:52:40 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Telescope failed to perform meridian flip
[4/9/2014 3:52:49 AM] [DEBUG] [Pier Flip Thread] Meridian Flip: Procedure complete
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Blocking Pier Flip: Failed to meridian flip, aborting sequence (False)
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] ASCOM Camera: Attempting to abort exposure…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] ASCOM Camera: Exposure aborted…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Run event requested sequence abort…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Resuming auto guiding (settling)…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] PHDA resuming…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] PHDA: Sent command (PHD_GETSTATUS)…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] PHDA: Received (0)…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] PHDA pause state is same as request, returning…
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Checking RunEndOfSequenceEquipmentOptions, force = False
[4/9/2014 3:52:52 AM] [DEBUG] [Sequence Thread] Sequence was aborted, skipping end of sequence options…

Frank Z…


#19

Frank,
Was your profile or sequence created with an older version of SGP by chance?

If you manually run a meridian flip from inside of SGP does it duplicate the issue?

Thanks,
Jared


#20

Chris,

The solution to that question is really to look at what CCDAP and CCDCC do.  They both provide you with sufficient control of your weather station data and provide you with the safe use of your observatory.  

I wish I was a programmer, but I’m not. Everyone with an observatory just says to use CCDAP/CCDCC/ACP.


www.mainsequencesoftware.com