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The EKOS thread - Including KStars and INDI.


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3 hours ago, TerryMcK said:

You don’t actually need a computer at all if you get a Raspberry PI and load Astroberry onto it. I only use an external remote computer for convenience and to have captured images indoors on another computer as well as on the PI the instant they are shot.


The Astroberry system can be accessed externally by anything that has a web browser such as a PC, tablet, mobile phone etc. The web browser interface negates the requirement to have a screen, mouse and keyboard attached to the PI although you can do that if you wish. 
Stellarmate is similarly accessed, being based upon a PI, and both systems use EKOS as the observatory control.

 

Everything you need is on Astroberry including plate solving, PHD2 guiding, Firecapture when you want to capture planets or the sun, many different planetarium programs and much more. 
 

I bought a backup PI4 last week with a Flirc case for £56 + £19.

I already had a 128GB memory card and a PI power supply but these are also reasonably cheap.

 

Thanks Terry. So connecting the Pi to my home network allows me to access everything, over a web browser on any machine?

 

I've sourced everything I need, although the Pi is slightly more expensive here, they have to be imported. The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB is 99 euro, Power souce is 11 euro, flirc case 20 euro and 128GB SD ia about 25 Euro depending on the brand. Approx 150 euro for a system is cheaper than a Stellarmate, and more powerful.

 

Brian

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19 minutes ago, AstronomyUkraine said:

So connecting the Pi to my home network allows me to access everything, over a web browser on any machine?

Hi Brian. Yes that is correct.

Any subs collected will remain on the PI. You have to transfer them over to your processing PC manually. Some people take the SD card out and transfer the subs with a SD card reader. That used to be called SneakerNet or SlipperNet in the floppy disk days 🙂

I use another way of doing it over the network. When you get to that stage I can run you through it.

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I've been using the RPi together with KStars/Ekos/INDI for several years and love it!  Astroberry has made the setup even simpler.  Just copy and paste from the website!  Esy- peasy - monkey see, monkey do!!

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4 hours ago, TerryMcK said:

Any subs collected will remain on the PI. You have to transfer them over to your processing PC manually. Some people take the SD card out and transfer the subs with a SD card reader. That used to be called SneakerNet or SlipperNet in the floppy disk days 🙂

I use another way of doing it over the network. When you get to that stage I can run you through it.

I would prefer to transfer them over to my PC, it would be more convenient. My internet speed is 500Mbps, so I have quite a good wifi connection.

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3 hours ago, Gina said:

I've been using the RPi together with KStars/Ekos/INDI for several years and love it!  Astroberry has made the setup even simpler.  Just copy and paste from the website!  Esy- peasy - monkey see, monkey do!!

Unfortunately, I don't have a Linux machine, will have to flash the card on my PC, and connect to my WiFi.

 

Brian

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19 minutes ago, Gina said:

KStars/Ekos has a Windows version.  INDI is installed on the RPi which is Linux.  As for writing to the micro SD card, Windows does this fine.

I will be using etcher to flash the card. The commands on the Wiki website to flash the card are for use in the teminal.

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Just found this thread - duh!!

I am using Astroberry Kstars/EKOs and I find it very easy to use and with VNC I can sit inside when its really cold.

 

Anyway - I have a question - I bought a USB GPS module ,G-Mouse,  but the system doesnt seem to update and when I look at the INDI dashboard for GPS its always waiting for 'fix'

 

I have tried many of not all of the commands on the Astroberry website that relate to using GPS - like disable of virtual GPS and some others relating to gpsd.sock - but I cant ever get it to work - when I run xgps or cgps -s in command mode it never returns any data - but the system all still operates despite not getting a GPS fix.

 

Anyone got any nuggets of wisdom around GPS and Astroberry

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1 minute ago, Astrobdlbug said:

Just found this thread - duh!!

I am using Astroberry Kstars/EKOs and I find it very easy to use and with VNC I can sit inside when its really cold.

 

Anyway - I have a question - I bought a USB GPS module ,G-Mouse,  but the system doesnt seem to update and when I look at the INDI dashboard for GPS its always waiting for 'fix'

 

I have tried many of not all of the commands on the Astroberry website that relate to using GPS - like disable of virtual GPS and some others relating to gpsd.sock - but I cant ever get it to work - when I run xgps or cgps -s in command mode it never returns any data - but the system all still operates despite not getting a GPS fix.

 

Anyone got any nuggets of wisdom around GPS and Astroberry

I bought a GPS USB module a couple of weeks ago made by U-Blox and did the disable Virtual GPS. There were also a few more changes to the /etc/default/gpsd file. 

I did get it working of a fashion but it is not very good as it rarely goes into 3D mode where it can work out your altitude. I have had it outside in the open but it is very hit and miss. It works ok in Windoze BTW.

 

I have ordered another GPS module and will report back on whether I can get that working.

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thanks Terry - its not just me then - it obviously has some deeper level issues to get GPS operational

Have not tried it with windoz - only in observatory and being a pod there shoul dnot be any issue with RF through the polythene stuff its made of

Edited by Astrobdlbug
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Had an interesting day today, installing Astroberry on my RPi. Flashing the drive was no problem. Connecting to the hotspot was no problem. The problems started after I connected to my home network, I kept getting an error message, can't find this address. After faffing about for an hour or so, I realised I was using the ip address for the hotspot,  instead of the ip address the router had allocated to my RPi. 🤦‍♂️

 

Everything seems fine. The system is very quick to boot up, and access to Astroberry is lightning quick over my browser.

 

Is there any advantage for using Kstars and Ekos on the RPi, over using the Kstars windows application, or vice versa?

 

Brian

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Kstars/EKOS on Windows cannot connect directly to your gear. It uses INDI as a protocol. As you know Windows uses ASCOM.

I DO use, or did, use the Windows version of Kstars/EKOS but in remote mode. So it connects to the INDI server running on the PI. Essentially the EKOS running on Windows controls INDI on the PI.

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14 hours ago, TerryMcK said:

Kstars/EKOS on Windows cannot connect directly to your gear. It uses INDI as a protocol. As you know Windows uses ASCOM.

I DO use, or did, use the Windows version of Kstars/EKOS but in remote mode. So it connects to the INDI server running on the PI. Essentially the EKOS running on Windows controls INDI on the PI.

Basically, I need to start the INDI Webmanager on my RPi, then use the Ekos profile wizard to fill in the connection details, so I can then control the mount from my PC through EKOS? This is all new to me, but I'm getting there. Tried both wired and wireless connections, both work great.

Edited by AstronomyUkraine
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On 2/18/2021 at 7:56 PM, Astrobdlbug said:

thanks Terry - its not just me then - it obviously has some deeper level issues to get GPS operational

Have not tried it with windoz - only in observatory and being a pod there shoul dnot be any issue with RF through the polythene stuff its made of

I got another GPS module this weekend and tested it out. I can confirm it works and works very well with the PI and Astroberry. Essentially it is a U-BLOX 7. The good news was it is plug and play on the PI so I didn't have to alter anything.

 

You still have to disable the virtual gps.

sudo systemctl stop virtualgps

sudo systemctl disable virtualgps

 

The /etc/default/gpsd file is set like this

# Default settings for the gpsd init script and the hotplug wrapper.

# Start the gpsd daemon automatically at boot time
START_DAEMON="true"

# Use USB hotplugging to add new USB devices automatically to the daemon
USBAUTO="true"

# Devices gpsd should collect to at boot time.
# They need to be read/writeable, either by user gpsd or the group dialout.
#DEVICES="/dev/ttyACM0"
DEVICES=""

# Other options you want to pass to gpsd
GPSD_OPTIONS="-n -D9"

 

Note I have remmed out #DEVICES="/dev/ttyACM0"

 

Once plugged in either reboot or enter 

 

sudo systemctl restart gpsd

 

Then gpsmon from a terminal prompt will populate

 

image.png.51b2cb3205a637293b043669ac410282.png

 

Note the device is still picked up as /dev/ttyACM0 as above.

 

The pop out GPS will also populate and show you your location and if enough satellites have been acquired will work in 3D mode at which point your altitude will show. It works indoors near a non metallic window and outside is obviously even better.

 

Other monitoring programs are xgps, in GUI mode only, but you need to install cairo to  render the screen properly

sudo apt-get install python-gi-cairo

 

The Amazon link for the good GPS module that works is https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07FKRXXSM

 

image.thumb.png.3ab96b12d17f55f6ce5153dde5d93e4e.png

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6 minutes ago, AstronomyUkraine said:

Basically, I need to start the INDI Webmanager on my RPi, then use the Ekos profile wizard to fill in the connection details, so I can then control the mount from my PC through EKOS? This is all new to me, but I'm getting there. Tried both wired and wireless connections, both work great.

Yes Brian that is correct. Once you have ascertained that using EKOS profile wizard via Kstars on the PI has worked ok and you can control your gear straight from the PI itself. You can then just use the INDI Webmanager to set up the same equipment profile clicking checkboxes next to the equipment you have. There isn't a profile wizard in that you just have to click stuff

 

image.png.3d9a19b463d79506521e0c44756f3e5c.png

 

After you have saved the Equipment Profile you simply click start and it shows something similar to below.

 

image.png.656f688b7de2264722cc3b552f733244.png

 

Then Kstars/EKOS doesn't have to run on the PI - you have it running on the Windows PC instead.

 

This time when firing up Kstars on the Windows PC start up EKOS and create a new profile.

Select Remote Mode and click Scan. The INDI Server will show up there as an ipaddress 

If you have PHD2 running on the PI you can also select the PHD2  from the guiding pulldown. The host ipaddress will be the same.

 

image.thumb.png.46aaa2e5d749438b2bed8bea6be70c18.png

 

There is one thing I forget to say and that was you need to enter your gear into KStars. This is just the telescopes you have along with their focal lengths. That way you can choose them from the Select Telescopes pulldowns. 

 

To enter those you have to goto Tools>Devices>List Your Equipment

 

image.png.bdc0e0274e5dc899955e969f7719abce.png

 

OK so now you have saved your profile in the EKOS box click Connect and it should connect to the INDI Server on your PI.

From then on in you can experiment with the CCD tab taking a few snapshots, taking some darks, slewing the mount etc. Obviously you can also choose simulators from the INDI Server and have a play during the day or cloudy nights to have a look at the capabilities on the system. There are many options and its best to have a play around with the interface at your leisure rather than panicking in the middle of clear starry night trying to get things to work - I know, I've been there!

 

If you want to do platesolving on the Windows PC then you can install ASTAP and one of its star databases first. After installing ASTAP then in the Align tab of EKOS after connecting to INDI there is an options button. Make sure it is set for Local ASTAP and apply it

 

image.png.0c8b28918bc3c25a14840a0577efb817.png

 

You are free to use any other platesolving of course but I've found that ASTAP is very quick and efficient.

 

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