Sequence Generator Pro 2.5 is Released for General Use


#1

Hi folks,

SGPro 2.5.0.23 is an official release. This release contains new features and a bunch of bug fixes. This is a long post… you don’t need to read it all, but we ask that you take a look through the release highlights and the two release notes below them. The rest of the post is more of a chronology detailing bug fixes and features too small to make the release highlights list.

This release officially marks the end of support for versions of SGPro that predate 2.5.0.23.

All help files have been updated to reflect changes in this release (CHM file distributed with SGPro, Web Help and the PDF Downloadable Version)

If you use PHD2, this release requires the use of a of PHD2 2.6 or better. You can find the required PHD2 version here:

This release requires the use of a of ASCOM 6.2 or better. You can find the required ASCOM version here:

http://ascom-standards.org/Downloads/Index.htm

As always, you can download the official SGPro 2.5 release here:

http://www.mainsequencesoftware.com/Releases


Release Highlights


  • Introduction of the SGPro “Environment Device”. Use this device (like a BlueAstro Stick Station) to provide data about your imaging environment:
  • A new docking module displaying environmental data and trends
  • Warning when the temperature is approaching the dew point (requires notification add-on)
  • Warning when the temperature is approaching freezing (requires notification add-on)
  • Use thie environment device’s temperature as input to the temperature based auto focus trigger
  • Integrates cleanly with the new ASCOM 6.2 “Observing Conditions” interface
  • Help docs here: http://mainsequencesoftware.com/Content/SGPHelp/EnvironmentDevices.html
  • Major refactor of the SGPro settings system. Mostly transparent to the user, but you will notice that all equipment settings are part of the equipment profile now. This change is intended to ehhance the user experience by clarifying which settings belong to a sequence (or profile) and which are global (apply to all sequences). There should no longer be any ambiguity between global and profile settings. If you can set it in the sequencing window or in the control panel, it’s not a global setting. The only global settings found in SGPro are through the Tools->Options menu. The rest belong to the sequence or equipment profile. For existing profiles and sequences, you will need to reset some things (***Use the provided migration tool to make this transition easier (see note below for more information)***):
  • All SBIG, FLI, Canon and Nikon camera settings
  • Some QSI camera settings
  • All SBIG CFW settings
  • All Alnitak Flat Box Settings
  • All Pinpoint and Astrometry.NET Plate Solver settings (catalogs, URLS, etc).
  • Small change to the guider interface that uses a check box to toggle the option to wait for the guider to settle over a period of time. PLEASE READ: This has proven to be a “gotcha” change for several user switching over to 2.5. You used to have to type in 0 seconds to turn this off. If your guider supports distance reporting, providing a minimum settle value is still required for dithering operations. This should be a more intuitive way to enable or disable the option when SGPro yells at you after trying to start a sequence. If you keep a non-zero value in this field, make sure to turn it on in your profiles!!!
  • Easier setup for Astrometry.NET / ANSVR URL setup. You can now choose human friendly locations like “Astrometry.NET (Remote)” or “ANSVR (Local Astrometry.NET) -> Assumes port 8080” and SGPro will figure out what you mean. The field will also continue to accept actual URLs also (this is good if you are not running ANSVR on port 8080 or for any other reason really…)
  • SGPro’s recovery mode will no longer attempt to re-calibrate your auto-guider under any circumstance. This may not always be good for folks that guide using ST-4 and should be fairly substantial motivation to guide in PHD2 via an ASCOM Telescope connection (there are options here… even if your mount only supports a single connection). Note that if PHD2 is asked to guide and has no calibration, PHD2 will start the calibration routine for you (this is not a command from SGPro… just the way PHD2 works).
  • Sequence level notifications: SGPro has many notification messages that take place outside the context of an “event”. These notifications (located in the target list box) are similar to event level notifications, but they are representative of all sequence notifications. This notification area will collect and aggregate messages from all events and, in addition to this, show messages for actions that are outside the context of an event (like issues with auto focus, centering or meridian flips). When the icon is “gray” it means that there are either no sequence notifications or that there are no new sequence notifications (since the last time you looked). If the icon is “solid” it means you have new notifications to look at. More here: http://mainsequencesoftware.com/Content/SGPHelp/TargetListandSettings.html
  • Observatory slaving is now saved as part of profiles and sequences and will happen automatically on sequence start.
  • Fairly major refactor of the Target Settings Dialog (complete removal of the solve tools portion on the right hand side. Having the plate solve tool set coupled with the target settings seemed to cause a fair amount of confusion. More information here: http://mainsequencesoftware.com/Content/SGPHelp/TargetListandSettings.html
  • SGPro plate solve API is now available; Solve, Check Status, Abort (start SGPro and see http://127.0.0.1:59590/metadata for details)
  • Dozens of smaller user experience features (details below)
  • Dozens of important bug fixes (details below)

Important Notes


  • SGPro 2.5 contains a refactored settings storage system. While most of it will be transparent to you, there are some key settings that will appear to be “unset” (list is above) when opening sequences or equipment profiles created with SGPro 2.4 or earlier. In order to ease the transition into SGPro 2.5 and avoid invalidation of your current sequences we have provided an optional data migration tool. You can alter your sequences and equipment profiles by hand (to repair them and prep them for use in SGPro 2.5) or you can have the provided Data Migration tool do it for you (Tools->Sequence & Profile Migration). This tool will take previously global settings and apply them to your older sequences and equipment profiles. After running this tool, your old equipment profiles and sequences should work seamlessly in SGPro 2.5. More information here: http://mainsequencesoftware.com/Content/SGPHelp/SGPro25SequenceMigration.html

  • For QHY10 Users: The QHY 10 presents its data from the CCD such that the resultant image is in natively in “portrait” mode. In order to be consistent with all other cameras and make the best use of your display area, SGPro 2.5 betas rotated these images 90 degrees clockwise (to “landscape” mode) prior to saving and rendering the preview. This meant that you had to rotate all of your SGPro captured calibration data (for the QHY10 only) in the same manner. The actual release of SGPro will no longer rotate the QHY10 data. While we would like to do this, the number of cascading “special case scenarios” was too high to justify this change. If you would like to have your QHY10 images in landscape mode (and not reflected), you will need to address this with QHY.


Change Log


2.5.0.23 Changes:

  • Reverting changes that rotate ASCOM data presented in portrait mode (should only affect QHY10 users).
  • Added shortcut to flat box control panel and equipment profile manager that will allow users to set intensity level per filter. Also reworked the help file for this section.

2.5.0.22 Changes:

  • More stabilization for issues pertaining to rare crashes in SGPro while the application is rendering image previews.
  • When the Astrometry.NET plate solver is in use, the text in the main window’s status bar will now indicate which endpoint (remote, local, custom) it is using to solve the image.
  • Fixed an issue that could affect the QHY 10’s ability to use the “click to center here” feature properly (not 100% sure if this is the answer, but at least there is better logging around the math in the release).

2.5.0.21 Changes:

  • Added code (that I’m not super thrilled with), that we hope will prevent SGPro crashes for some people (this seems pretty rare thankfully and is isolated to a small percentage of users). Essentially, it can can toggle (no user settings) between the new display pattern (which we think we will stick with) and the display pattern used in 2.5.0.17.

2.5.0.20 Changes:

  • Fixed a bug with the “right click to center here” feature where, if you clicked on an image that was flipped about the Y-axis (mirror and camera dependent), the derived location would be inaccurate. There has been some debate about what to call flipped images… I don’t really care much about the terms… just the functionality. To be clear, (since the plate solvers we use refer to this attribute differently), these images are “flipped” about the Y-axis, reflected or have an inverse parity.
  • Overhaul of the image display system to try and address stability issues some folks see (and some folks never see). It should be faster too.
  • Added a new constraint for auto focus regression line intersection: If you are using smart focus and the left and right regression lines have an asymmetry ratio greater than 40%, the line intersection will not be used as the new focus point and will instead default to weighted average calculation method.
  • Added GET for focuser temperature to the API.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause recovery mode to hang the sequence if the camera failed during the centering process (very rare… requires camera failure during centering, during recovery).
  • Fixed a bug that would reset event progress when using the “column double click to copy” on exposure (when a sequence is running).
  • Fixed a bug where moving a target to the “top” or “bottom” while a sequence is running would start that target on the next frame.

2.5.0.19 Changes:

  • No significant changes. Removed debug logging that created very large logs files.

2.5.0.18 Changes:

  • SGPro plate solve API is now available; Solve, Check Status, Abort (start SGPro and see http://127.0.0.1:59590/metadata for details)
  • Introduction of the SGPro version 2.5 sequence and equipment profile migrator tool (Help has been written and is available in the Helpers / Wizards section). Feedback here appreciated.
  • Fixed a bug that when “Waiting for meridian” and using a mount that cannot execute a standard flip, could attempt to start the flip process prior to actually crossing the meridian.
  • Fixed a bug where Pinpoint FWHM AF frames would not display
  • Fixed several issues in the AF engine where using FWHM would still refer to the HFR metric.
  • Small changes for telescope logging to specify if some type of failure was due to mount being parked or not tracking.
  • Querying and logging maxIncrement for focuser. No action at the moment.
  • The QHY 10 camera stores its image data in a portrait mode orientation. In order to be consistent with all other cameras (and all other QHY cameras) and make use of screen real-estate (most monitors display landscape more effectively), its images are rotated clockwise by 90 degrees prior to display and disk save. If you have captured calibration data with SGPro in the past, be sure to rotate them in the same manner. The impact of this change should be limited (meaning you only need to alter your calibration data once and calibration data across applications is not valid… meaning you cannot expect to capture calibration data in one application and have it be valid in another application… ever)
  • Help files updated for upcoming 2.5.0 release.

2.5.0.17 Changes:

  • Fixed a bug where using the “Wait for meridian” option could attempt to force a meridian flip just a tiny bit early (rounding errors) for scopes that do not support early flips.
  • Meridian flip failure no longer produces a blocking dialog. A timed dialog message is now displayed for 30 seconds and notification sent with the error message. This will allow for proper end of sequence actions to run.
  • Attempt to fix an issue where dome slews might not properly follow telescope pointing (in some conditions)
  • UI Change: Moved “Blind Solver Settings” button up to the top of the control panel since they apply to more than just blind solve fail over.
  • UI Change: Sequence and event notification display is now wider
  • Help files updated prepping for first 2.5 release.

2.5.0.16 Changes:

  • Fixed a bug where FF frames did not record X/YPIXSZ when saved to disk
  • Fixed a bug where FF frames did not record filter name when saved to disk
  • Fix for ASCOM images being presented in portrait mode (SGPro will now force landscape orientation).
  • Reverted image preview render code to the method used in 2.5.0.14 (seemed more stable than 2.5.0.15)

2.5.0.15 Changes:

  • Return focus to the PHD2 settings dialog (the one in SGPro) after PHD2 is opened. When PHD2 settings is clicked and PHD2 is not running, SGPro will start it. This code attempts to return focus to the settings dialog after PHD2 steals it away (may take a second or two).
  • Additional trace logging for dome and scope slaving (a lot more logging… be warned that this will make pretty big logs). It is temporary and will hopefully help point to a few edge case issues.
  • White bordering on red centering reticle to make it more visible across all DSOs
  • Fairly massive refactor of the methods SGPro uses to render preview images. There are a small number of users that have problems with SGPro rendering previews for very fast, back-to-back images, like darks, bias, etc (this beta has changes in addition to the 2.5.0.14 closed beta).
  • End of sequence actions to stop tracking and park are now mutually exclusive (since stopping of tracking might interfere with the ability to park apparently?). Anyhow, if you had both selected (in a sequence or profile), stop tracking will be deselected and park will remain selected.
  • Fixed an issue where the notification system could erroneously report that the image failed to download in a timely manner.
  • Fixed an issue where the solver used for “blind failover” might not pick up the correct settings (local, remote, etc).

2.5.0.12 Changes:

  • Fairly major refactor of the settings dialog box (removal of reference solve tools)
  • Fixed a couple of bugs associated with using the environment device’s temperature to control auto focus triggers.
  • Instrumenting the Canon download and save path to troubleshoot spontaneous crashing.
  • Fixed a bug that would “unset” the default profile if another non-default profile was modified and saved.
  • Fix for Canon 6D mirror lock. Also tested with 60D but none others…
  • Adding special copy / paste handling for target location fields (copy and paste from CdC or other locations).
  • Attempt to fix an issue where Rigel nStep focusers would not halt properly.
  • Fixing issue with Nikon Liveview taking multiple single images.
  • Slaved dome shutter operations are now synchronous (mostly meaning that shutter commands will complete prior to sending other commands to the dome).
  • Fixed a Nikon issue that would not honor the selected camera type when the sequence was loaded.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause AF to hang if you tried to abort it at an inopportune time (pretty rare bug)
  • Fixed a bug that could allow reordering of events in the active target (while the sequence is running… this is currently not supported)
  • Possible fix for sequence failure when using mounts that do not support park and are not currently tracking.

2.5.0.11 Changes:

  • Implementation of the “sequence level” notifications system (the “i” icon in the target box… click it if bad stuff happened in order to get more details)
  • Observatory slaving is now saved as part of profiles and sequences and will happen automatically on sequence start.
  • Selecting a filter for an event no longer auto populates the “suffix” field with the filter abbreviation.
  • Application wide fix-up of tab-order (still not perfect, but should be much better now)

2.5.0.10 Changes:

  • New settings system is stabilizing
  • Fixed a bug where older profiles marked as “default” would show an error when creating a new sequence.
  • Better handling of manual aborts in the auto focus routine.
  • Fixed several bugs where the blind solve action would not honor the user defined location and default to the remote Astrometry.NET location.
  • Fixed a minor bug where a blind solve (explicit or failover) would display the logo ad for the wrong (primary) solver.

2.5.0.9 Changes:

  • Fixed many bugs and crashy things associated with the new settings system. Nobody should have re-create profiles or sequences because of this change. If you are having issues with old data, please tell us about it (and please make the offending file… sgf or sgp available for inspection).
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the UI to hang during end of sequence actions (it was a hang that could appear, to the user, as related to parking the mount as it was the last thing reported before the hang).
  • Added blind solve failover settings button to the control panel and equipment profile manager to provide easier access to the Astrometry.NET setttings (without having to de-select your primary solver, select Astrometry.NET, configure it and then switch back to your primary solver)
  • Instrumenting areas that might be causing SGPro to (occasionally) hang when an image is saved to disk and its preview is displayed in the main window.

2.5.0.8 Changes:

  • Major refactor of the SGPro settings system. Mostly transparent to the user, but you will notice that all equipment settings are part of the equipment profile now. There is no longer any ambiguity between global and profile settings. If you can set it in the sequencing window or in the control panel, it is not a global setting. The only global settings found in SGPro are through the Tools->Options menu. Keep an eye out for any weirdness with profile, profile application, saving profiles or sequences. This was a pretty major code change… For existing profiles and sequences, you will need to reset some things (one time thing):
  • All SBIG, FLI, Canon and Nikon camera settings
  • Some QSI camera settings
  • All SBIG CFW settings
  • All Alnitak Flat Box Settings
  • All Pinpoint and Astrometry.NET Plate Solver settings (catalogs, URLS, etc).
  • The “Other” button in the “Plate Solve” tab (in the control panel) has been removed. It was confusing and didn’t serve much purpose (it’s original purpose was to provide settings for Astrometry.NET when that solver was not included in the solver drop down). Astrometry.NET settings can now be found by selecting that solver from the drop down and clicking “Settings”.
  • The Equipment Profile Manager now contains “Settings” buttons for all gear types. This will allow you to adjust all settings pertaining to gear as part of the profile (and not need to worry about picking some settings in the profile and the rest as part of the sequence later).
  • SGPro’s recovery mode will no longer attempt to recalibrate your auto-guider under any circumstance. This may not always be good for folks that guide using ST-4 and should be fairly substantial motivation to guide in PHD2 via an ASCOM Telescope connection (there are options here… even if your mount only supports a single connection). Note that if PHD2 is asked to guide and has no calibration, PHD2 will start the calibration routine for you (this is not a command from SGPro… just the way PHD2 works).

2.5.0.7 Changes:

  • Fixed an issue where PHD2 profile gear would nor reconnect after resetting and re-running the sequence.
  • Better detection of external disconnect in focuser and telescope
  • Instrumenting some problematic end of sequence code
  • Fixing a potential issue where failure to determine flat box shutter state could cause the sequence to hang.
  • Failure to change the filter during a solve and sync action will now properly abort the sequence.
  • More trace logging to analyze issue where SGPro UI can hang at sequence end.
  • More trace logging to ASCOM mount park.
  • Possible automatic registration of comdlg32.ocx on install (for PlateSolve2). This is a blind attempt at fixing the issue.
  • MFW now understands how to find stars (HIP catalog) from SIMBAD
  • Fixed the issue where SGPro would clobber old sequences
  • More trace logging to find mysterious crash / hang that can happen for certain folks at random times.
  • Easier setup for Astrometry.NET / ANSVR URL setup. You can now choose human friendly points like “Astrometry.NET (Remote)” or “ANSVR (Local Astrometry.NET) -> Assumes port 8080” and SGPro will figure out what you mean. The field will also continue to accept actual URLs also (this is good if you are not running ANSVR on port 8080 or for any other reason really…)
  • More logging for successful Astrometry.NET solves.
  • Forcing FLI camera settle time for transition from normal to high speed.

2.5.0.3 Changes:

  • Added “Fast Event Entry” feature
  • Removing debug code that broke Nikon cameras when “Auto Connect” was not used.
  • Better logging for an image save failure that can occur (not a fix).
  • Fixed a bug that could cause a profile application to an existing sequence to fail if the user marked a filter as inactive.
  • Updating the SGPro API in support of possible PemPro integration (general bug fixes)
  • Moving back to the “zip” download format so Firefox users won’t be so confused.

2.5.0.2 Changes:

  • Fixed a possible lockup on abort condition for the camera.
  • Fixed an issue where the camera might be left in an invalid state after abort.
  • Sequence and target end times are now checked during the settle process
  • Sequence end time now properly considers the length of the exposure it is about to begin
  • Updating minimum usable version of PHD2 to 2.6.0
  • Adding support for the Nikon 7200
  • Increasing the max event repeat count to 999
  • Moved between frame delay to be after the dither event (again)

2.5.0.1 Changes:

  • Small change to the guider interface that uses a check box to toggle the option to wait for the guider to settle over a period of time. You used to have to type in 0 seconds to turn this off. If your guider supports distance reporting, providing a minimum settle value is still required for dithering operations. This should be a more intuitive way to enable or disable the option when SGPro yells at you after trying to start a sequence. If you keep a non-zero value in this field, make sure to turn it on in your profiles!!!
  • The default time to wait for the guider to settle over a period of time is now 10 seconds.
  • Started work on “Smart Dithering”. Moved dithering event to the beginning of the current frame instead of the end of the last frame. Here is has a whole host of information with which to make smart choices about whether or not to dither. Dither is no longer performed after flips or target centering. Code for smarter dither on event rotation sequences is not yet available.
  • Blocking calls to move the focuser now have a watch dog timer (5 minutes). This will prevent situations where the focuser can bite it so badly that it never returns control to SGPro (and thus never runs any end of sequence options). The need for this protection is very rare.
  • Did some work on better handling ASCOM cameras that do not support aborting an exposure. Exposure will finish normally, data from the camera will not be provided (like a normal abort).
  • Reducing environment device data poll to 30 sec from 10 sec.
  • Removed all pressure based warnings.
  • Temperature based warnings will only be issued when a downward trend can be confirmed.
  • SGPro will only attempt to calculate trends after ~20 minutes of data has been collected.
  • SGPro no longer issues any type of dialog based warning from environment based conditions.
  • SGPro no longer issues any warnings from environment based conditions outside of a running sequence.
  • Failure to initialize the monitoring system will no longer allow the sequence to start.
  • Fixed a timing error that could very rarely cause auto focus to fail
  • Fixed an issue where the Environment Device “Pressure” label could be set to NA

2.5.0.0 Changes:

  • The new “Environment Device” has its first usable implementation (and also the ASCOM 6.2 Observing Conditions Interface). See here for more details: Initial Implementation of ASCOM ObservingConditions
  • Removed TEMPerHUM graphs
  • Added TEMPerHUM as an Environment device (just so there is no confusion… it is still our stance that support for TEMPerHUM devices is discontinued, but if it works for you… feel free to use it)
  • Fixed a bug with Canon Mirror Lock.
  • Fixed a bug that would not allow Atik cameras to cool down on connect.
  • Fixed a bug that could prompt for manual flat box placement at the end of a sequence.
  • Added code that attempts to block the sequence from continuing while the scope parks (no guarantees here)… just more likely that your scope will be fully parked before any further actions are taken.
  • Fixed a bug where the Target Settings dialog could no longer blind solve without RA and DEC hints

#4

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#5

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