Sequence Generator Pro Beta is released for Testing


Hi folks,

This beta release does require the use of a “beta version” of PHD2 (Specifically PHD2 2.5.0dev5). We have been using this version of a while now (and for all of our pre-release testing) and it is quite stable. You can find the required PHD2 version here: Changes:

  • Cleaning up several states that could cause SGPro to think PHD2 is still waiting to settle.
  • Added a proper error if AF will attempt to move the focuser past its maximum range.
  • Several minor UI fixes / enhancements Changes:

  • More compatibility fixes for Nikon cameras. Hopefully this build will allow both the D810A and D3 to function (without any special settings required by the user) (hopefully @donghun and @hxpi can validate this new method…)
  • Removing “Use bulb mode only” option for Nikon cameras. We don’t believe this is required any longer…
  • Draft 1 for EQMOD help is in the help file under Telescopes / Mounts. Changes:

  • Hopefully permanent solution for folks having difficulty connecting the Nikon D3 (and similar models probably). Of course, this build could also mean that the D3 now works and we have broken all the other Nikons. I think if we have a single build where both the D810A and the D3 connect and image properly, we are probably OK. Maybe @donghun and @hxpi can help to validate this.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the rotator time out safety to not trigger properly.
  • Fixed a bug that would not properly check the rotator position for correctness.
  • Fixed a bug that would allow you to navigate away from an equipment profile without saving the note.
  • If the safety monitor is not able to determine the status if IsSafe (disconnect, device failure, etc), SGPro will automatically infer that it is not safe to image. Changes:

  • The allowed delta between actual and requested rotator PA is now more precise (uses minimum step size data reported from the device now… or defaults to ± 0.25 deg).
  • Increased the rotator movement timeout to 7 minutes before the movement command fails (this assumes that your rotator can move around 1 degree per second or faster).
  • Fixed a bug that could cause SGPro to crash if an Equipment Profile Dome update frequency value was previously set to a value below 10 seconds.
  • Changes to the guider settling routine: SGPro still uses the same settling system, but once its criteria are met (settle under x pixels for y seconds) it will check with the guider to make sure it is done with the settle process (from its perspective) prior to continuing the sequence. If not, it will wait up to 3 minutes before timing out and continuing…
  • Experimental special handling of the Nikon D3 to see if we can get it to connect to SGPro
  • A quick note for Pinpoint users. was tested against the upcoming release of Pinpoint 6.1 (Bob Denny indicates it has some bug fixes and can, in some cases, solve twice as fast). Changes:

  • Correcting a display issue with expected HFR decimal placement.
  • Moving warning about not using rotator validation to the creation of a MFW sequence (was in sequence start). Of all the requests and conversations in SGPro this one warning dialog has evoked, by far, the most emotional response from our users, ever… This proves I know nothing.
  • Fixed a bug where calibration frame mode could start if you abort during TEC cooldown.
  • Fixed a bug where SGPro did not check if the last target (sticky target) had become inactive (and could select an inactive target on sequence start). Changes:

  • The auto focus validation frame will now tell you its own HFR (already did this) and also the HFR that SGPro expects that validation frame to be below (Expected AF HFR + 10% error).
  • Long running plate solves that are started by right clicking the image and choosing “Plate Solve” can now be canceled by clicking the “Cancel Solve” button in the image’s tool bar.
  • Increasing the telescope connect timeout to 2 minutes (to account for mounts that need initialization / calibration time on connect). Changes:

  • Refactor of target and sequence start and end times. The inferred date is now determined by a “sequence day” that runs from 0900 of one day to 0900 of the next. All of your start and end times will fall within this time period. The dates attached to the “sequence day” are dependent on when you click “Run Sequence”. Target and sequence start end times now have a “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” indicator so you can validate how the time of day entry is interpreted.
  • Auto focus now takes a validation frame at the end of the run and then does some loose validation on the final HFR (must be within 10% of the expected HFR). Failure to be within this tolerance will send a warning message (logs, notification system, timed message box), but the sequence will continue.
  • The HFR of the AF validation frame is logged for reference
  • Plate solve validation is now allowed to be up to 10 degrees off from the hint value (up from 5 degrees), but there is also a scale validation to pass now (solved scale must be within 25% of hint scale) or the solve is considered bad. This check is not performed if the hint scale is 0 (true blind solve).
  • The safety monitor is no longer active in the period between clicking “Run Sequence” and the first target starting.
  • If a sequence was derived from an equipment profile, the name of the profile will be in the title bar of the sequencing window.
  • SGPro now has a 0.5 degree tolerance for rotator position (meaning if you ask for a PA change to 180, but the rotator reports, 179.9 and not moving, that is now acceptable)
  • Non-PHD2 guiders no longer complain that they do not support connection of gear from within SGPro
  • Better logging for failure to convert JNow coordinates to J2000
  • Changes that should allow SGPro to address more memory on 64-bit operating systems Changes:

  • Nikon D810A is now working! These fixes probably address issues found in other Nikon cameras experiencing problems. If you have something that is not a D810A, but was still broken in SGPro, I highly recommend trying this build. Also… if you are currently using the “Always use Bulb Mode” option, I recommend you disable that and try this build. Shutter exposures should be behaving better now… Using the shutter (instead of bulb mode) means that you will be able to get better bias frames. A huge thanks to @donghun for his research and testing in this matter.
  • Sequence and Target End Time refactor: End times are no longer always in the future (remember end times have no date). The logic is as follows: If the time of day has occurred in the last 12 hours, the end time will be considered as in the past. If the time of day will occur in the next 12 hours, then the end time will be in the future.
  • Fixed a very minor bug that would sometimes not update the target status icon in a timely manner.
  • Better logging if the focuser fails to get the temperature
  • Better logging for rotator sync
  • SGPro will now temporarily disable focuser based temperature compensation during the AF routine (so they don’t fight). Changes:

  • Updated documentation to support the formal release of 2.4.3
  • Fixed a bug where detection of “runaway focus” in the auto focus routine would sometimes not work.
  • Direct mount guider should no longer fail to “flip calibration data” during an automated meridian flip.
  • The warning that location data is set for a target, but not used should no longer show if only “slew on start” is selected.
  • Added a warning that checks to see of the user can actually validate the camera angle for targets created by the MFW. If they cannot, a warning is issued at sequence start. Changes:

  • Fixed a bug where you could not turn off guider based frame restart during a frame (it would only be turned off during the next frame). This said, when turning it on, it will not be active until the next frame.
  • Added option to reset the sequence state while maintaining progress. This essentially returns the sequence to the state it was in when you opened it.
  • Fixed a bug where event based scripts would no longer allow the selection of EXE files
  • Fixed a bug where the event notification system would not properly alert you when it paused prior to meridian flip. Changes:

Releasing this hot on the heels of because I am afraid the bug with target camera angle will create too many issues with mosaics and general framing…

  • Target angles have, once again, been refactored (life with the beta). Now a target angle can mean two different things. The default is “± 180 degrees”. This means that if you enter 15 degrees for the target, either 15 or 195 degrees is OK. Switching sides of the meridian will also experience no change in camera rotation. This is just fine for most folks as processing software will take of the stacking and, even better, you will only need one set of flats. The other option is “Always”. This means that the sequence will keep the camera angle at the angle you entered no matter what. So, if you flip, the camera will actually rotate 180 degrees to maintain that exact angle. This can be useful to keep the same guide star (OAG), but will require 2 sets of flats. If you don’t understand or care about this, just use “± 180 degrees” and SGPro will function like you are used to.
  • Updated the Canon SDK to version Changes:

  • The MFW now contains a “Profiles” menu at the top. You can select from this menu to populate MFW properties for scale and CCD pixel dimensions.
  • Target settings camera angle has been refactored slightly. Now, you can use this setting to force your camera to rotate 180 degrees when the mount is on the east (after the flip). To keep your camera only at the entered rotation, choose “Always”, from the drop down. To enforce 180 degrees rotation of the camera on different sides of the pier / mount, choose “On West”. If you don’t know or don’t care what this means, but use camera angle, just choose “Always” to use angle like it was used before this change.
  • Removed the option to rotate the camera 180 degrees on flip (from flip settings).
  • Stabilized startup of GNS by SGPro (no more errors if multiple instance are open)
  • Fixed an issue that would cause older sequences (targets) to arbitrarily select the maximum amount of nebulosity rejection for the auto focus routine (causing AF failure).
  • Fixed a bug where checking sequence and target end times after recovery is complete would sometimes fail.
  • Fixed a bug that would not show sequence images (like the MFW working canvas) for older sequences.
  • Manual flatbox and flatboxes without automatic shutters will no longer prompt to be placed for bias and darks.
  • Fixed a bug where email and file notifications could not be toggled on while a sequence was running.
  • Attempt to fix an issue where using PlasteSolve2 would complain about an missing OCX file
  • Minor stabilization changes for connecting PHD2 gear via SGPro Changes:

  • Added the ability to optionally capture calibration frames even if the sequence fails to complete. The calibration frame run follows all of the same rules as normal sequences (start times, end times, etc.). Prior to running in this mode all end of sequence options (except camera warm up) will run (so you can depend on your mount parking or pointing at flat field light sources, etc). When the calibration frame sequence is complete, the camera warm up will run. This option can be turned on and off in the sequence options window (you can also set it as on or off for new sequences in the general options dialog).
  • Auto Focus settings for nebulosity rejection and sample size now belong to each target (used to be only one set for the whole sequence).
  • Meridian flip options now specify flip time before or after meridian in (real) minutes instead of degrees.
  • Fixed the PHD2 version checker.
  • Fixed a bug where focus position in file names might not reflect the actual position used to integrate the exposure.
  • Recovery mode now honors sequence end time as well as target end times.
  • The “Plate Solve” option is now disabled in MFW images (the canvas you draw on… not images produced from MFW created sequences).
  • Fixed an issue where sometimes a crash could occur when transferring plate solve data from the solver to a specific target.
  • Fixed a bug that would warn the user that a target does not have the centering feature checked despite entering a valid location even when the target was inactive.
  • Fixed an issue that stopped certain SBIG filter wheel from functioning properly after upgrading to SBIG driver 4.88 Build 9. Changes:

  • By popular demand, the feature to force absolute positioning of the first filter placement (use) has been demoted to an option (now available in the Focuser Options dialog). This is only of concern to you if you use the “Set focus position per filter” option. If you do not check this option, SGPro will function as normal. If you do check it, you need to expect your first filter change to move the focuser the absolute position defined in the filter table (for whatever filter that is). After this movement, all focus changes die to filter usage will be relative. Changes:

  • Small tweak for the initial focus position feature introduced in (below).

To try and distill this feature, it will work like this (assuming you are using “Adjust focus position per filter”):

  • Prior to running a sequence, if you fiddle around and plate solve or auto focus or even just change the CFW position manually, you will find that, during your manual operations, the first change of filter wheel will set the focuser to the absolute position for the first CFW change requested (as defined in the filter table). This is OK, you are at your rig and can make sure your operations complete successfully. When you start the sequence, the first filter wheel change will cause a relative change in focuser position (like you are used to now).
  • Optionally, you can also, just open the sequence and run it. This assumes that your initial focuser position for the first filter (might be Plate Solve, might be AF, might be the event filter, etc…) is precise enough to satisfy the first sequence operation (AF, Plate Solving, etc). This will set the focuser position to the absolute position specified for that filter in the filter table. From then on, only relative focuser movements will be made. Changes:

  • Initial implementation of pause guider during backlash compensation. This was a bit invasive to the sequence… if you are testing this feature (found in the Auto Guider tab), please watch your sequence for a bit to ensure this is working as expected.
  • SGPro will now attempt to set the initial focuser position of the first required filter in an absolute manner (as defined in the filter table). After this, filter movements that adjust the focuser will be made relative to one another’s position. If your absolute position of the first filter is close enough to derive a plate solve or get a good focus (from AF), this means you should literally be able to open a sequence and click “Run” with no prep work. This is only applicable if you are using the “Adjust focus per filter option”.
  • The interval and duration of recovery mode are now user definable.
  • Fixing a bug that would sometimes not populate the filter list when applying a profile to an existing sequence.
  • The MFW text angle box no longer requires you to click enter for the typed angle to apply to the mosaic canvas
  • The initial angle of the MFW is no longer restricted to between 0 and 180 degrees
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes the first event on a target with the “rotate through events” option selected would be temporarily skipped.
  • Small tweak for %am file name token (hardening)
  • Non-functional option to force non-light frames to finish even after sequence failure (please do not attempt to use this yet) Changes:

  • Fixed a bug which can sometimes (conditions unknown) cause the event to increment before it is supposed to.
  • Added an option for Nikon cameras that will facilitate better compatibility. If your camera exhibits behavior where exposures less than 30 seconds appear to hang and those greater than 30 seconds work fine, open the Nikon setting dialog and check the “Always use Bulb mode” option. This should fix your short length exposures. Reminder that your camera needs to be in M(anual) mode. Thanks to @rofus for his help on this. Changes:

  • Implementing “Slew Here” option on the context menu. This will use data about a previous solve to provide rapid, low overhead movements (without the need for a full centering process)
  • Fixed a bug that prevented temp compensation from functioning properly.
  • Adding file naming tokens for focuser position (%fp) and ambient temp (%am)
  • Can no longer attempt to center the scope or automatically rotate the camera while the camera is occupied with another task (like plate solving or frame and focus).
  • Auto Focus crop now applies (crop % / 2) to each edge of the image. A crop of 25% will now not consider 12.5% of each edge (previously, it would not consider 25% of each edge).
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the sequence to hang if the camera times out during image download Changes:

  • Stabilized communication between SGPro and PHD2 (for profile management). Not perfect yet, but way better than This beta requires the use of PHD2 2.5.0dev3. If you are not comfortable with using PHD2 dev builds, you might want to stick with the SGPro 2.4.2 release. You can find it here:
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the dome to move in the wrong direction when imaging targets near the pole.
  • Known Issue: If you open PHD2 by clicking its “settings” button on the control panel, do not close this instance of PHD2 prior to starting your sequence. SGPro will get confused about which version of PHD2 it is supposed to talk to and error out. This will be fixed in the next beta. Changes:

  • Some stabilization between the new SGPro and PHD2 interactions (more to come probably… or if it doesn’t work out might just be removed)
  • Initial implementation of MetaGuide start / stop for use in target changing and meridian flips (No real way I have to test this that I know of… just going off of guidance from @freestar8n )
  • Fixed an issue where OBJCTRA and OBJCTDEC could not be read properly in non-English regions.
  • Fix for sometimes misidentifying certain FITS headers for dates (non-functional issue)
  • Fixed an issue where the sequence might continue well past the target end time if recovery mode was invoked just prior to it
  • Fixed an issue where sequence images may not open with the sequence Changes:

  • Adding the notion of auto-guider “properties”. While they may apply to any guider, PHD2 is the only guider that uses them right now. Currently, via SGPro, you can select a PHD2 equipment profile, then select sequence options that will allow you to automatically connect and disconnect PHD2 gear when the sequence begins. You actually don’t even need to have PHD2 open when you run the sequence any longer… SGPro will start it, connect your gear and start guiding on its own.
  • Re-introduced “pause guider on main camera image download”. While this option appears in the control panel, it is actually only available for SBIG cameras right now (this is to help with PHD2 issues when using the on-board guide chip). We will likely implement this for FLI, QSI and DSLRs in the near future. We cannot implement this feature for ASCOM cameras. Note: There is a known issue where SBIG cameras will attempt to pause the guider for non-light frames (this will be addressed shortly)
  • These guider settings belong to SGPro equipment profiles (they are not global SGPro settings).
  • Can now connect or disconnect PHD2 gear from the PHD2 docking module
  • Fixed an issue that would cause the AIRMASS FITS header to fail sporadically.
  • Fixed a bug where moving successful plate solve parameters to a target’s settings would ignore the image angle for the camera rotator.
  • Fixed a bug where duplicating a target would ignore camera rotator options.
  • Plate solvers now give better feedback to users for obviously bad hints.
  • The FITS header display window now opens significantly faster.

As always, you can download it here:



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