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Install of FocusAPI Re: [ASCOM] ASCOM Focus API fails after disk imaging

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  • drgert1
    Hi Tim, Thank you very much for the feedback. So that indicates that the sequence to install would be: Ascom CCDSoft Optec driver (plus check that the right
    Message 1 of 85 , Apr 26 8:52 PM
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      Hi Tim,

      Thank you very much for the feedback. So that indicates that the sequence to install would be:
      Ascom
      CCDSoft
      Optec driver (plus check that the right focusapi.dll is where it's supportsed to be)


      It amazes me that whatever small deviation from the above has caused me so much wasted effort. And none of the error messages and failures along my experiments gave any indication what to do or fix.

      Sidenote. I have TheSky installed on the laptop. Does that cause any new grief?

      Thanks and Clear Skies,
      Gert


      --- In ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Long" <Tim@...> wrote:
      >
      > Gert, it looks like the new installer puts the DLL directly into the
      > system folder - so you no longer have to do the manual installation
      > step. That also explains why the readme file is gone.
      > --T.
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com] On
      > Behalf Of drgert1
      > Sent: 27 April 2012 01:57
      > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Install of FocusAPI Re: [ASCOM] ASCOM Focus API fails after
      > disk imaging
      >
      > Hi Tim,
      >
      > You mentioned something very interesting, which I don't remember doing
      > in all my prev. wasted work.
      >
      >
      > ...
      > Don't forget that FocusAPI has manual post-installation steps, you must
      > manually copy the DLL, if I remember correctly, overwriting the default
      > DLL provided by CCDSoft.
      > ...
      >
      >
      >
      > Can you give some more detail about this?
      >
      > Which file to copy from ... to ... ?
      >
      > Thanks and Clear Skies,
      > Gert
      >
      >
      > --- In ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Long" <Tim@> wrote:
      > >
      > > In general, install software in order of least dependant to most
      > > dependant and, all else being equal, use the latest version. I say
      > > 'all else being equal' because sometimes there are compatibility
      > > issues that mean the latest version can't be used. As far as I'm
      > > aware, that's not the case in this scenario so use ASCOM 6.0SP1 and
      > > whatever is the latest version of CCDSoft.
      > >
      > > ASCOM is a Platform so doesn't depend on anything else mentioned, so
      > > that gets done first. The Optec driver depends on ASCOM and will
      > > refuse to install unless the platform is present. The FocusAPI plugin
      > > depends on CCDSoft because it must be installed in CCDSoft's plugin
      > directory.
      > > So the order I'd assume would be ASCOM, CCDSoft, FocusAPI. Don't
      > > forget that FocusAPI has manual post-installation steps, you must
      > > manually copy the DLL, if I remember correctly, overwriting the
      > > default DLL provided by CCDSoft.
      > >
      > > Once you get to that stage, if you can't get things working, then we
      > > need to start digging into log files and trying to work out what's
      > > wrong.
      > >
      > > --Tim
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com]
      > > On Behalf Of drgert1
      > > Sent: 26 April 2012 21:40
      > > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: Install of FocusAPI Re: [ASCOM] ASCOM Focus API fails after
      > > disk imaging
      > >
      > > Hi Tim,
      > >
      > > Thank you for your comments. Let's take the disk imaging out of the
      > > equation. I'm still interested in using the larger disk. After all the
      >
      > > messing around with it lets assume for the moment that all astro stuff
      >
      > > has been removed from it. (step 1 use WinXP remove program screen to
      > > delete all of it. Ascom, Optec driver, CCDSoft. step 2 delete all the
      > > files & directories that step 1 missed manually)
      > >
      > > Now what?
      > >
      > > What to install in what sequence?
      > > (Ascom / CCDSoft / Optec driver)
      > > Using ascom 5.5 or 6?
      > > Using CCDSoft latest version or the one before?
      > >
      > > It would be a great success for me to get this up and going.
      > > As needed I can provide further debug feedback like screen copies &
      > > messages.
      > >
      > > Thanks & Clear Skies,
      > > Gert
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Long" <Tim@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Interesting. Presumably your disk imaging software did a
      > > > sector-by-sector copy, it would not 'crack open' any files or the
      > > > registry, and so in theory it is quite impossible for it to have any
      >
      > > > effect on any installed software. I say 'in theory' because I have
      > > > no way of knowing what the program actually did. Chances are though,
      >
      > > > something else must be in play. There must have been some other
      > > change.
      > > > The only requirements for the FocusAPI software to work are that the
      >
      > > > DLL must be in the correct location. If all you did was
      > > > transparently move the partition onto a new drive, I don't see how
      > > > that could be
      > > disrupted.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > The FocusAPI dll itself is loaded into TheSky and makes an outgoing
      > > > connection via COM to an ASCOM driver. It does not in itself make
      > > > any connection to a serial port. When you say the connection could
      > > > not be established, are we talking about the serial connection or
      > > > what? What was the exact message? What program did it come from? -
      > > > preferably attach a screen shot.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > As you have discovered, uninstalling and reinstalling is usually
      > > futile.
      > > > We'd need to understand the problem and uncover the root cause. I
      > > > know
      > >
      > > > this is no consolation to you but I say this for other users reading
      > > > this: if you have a problem, don't uninstall/reinstall. First,
      > > > understand the problem (if necessary with help from the developer).
      > > > Only then will you know how to fix it.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > The fact that it works again after you put the 60Gb drive back in is
      >
      > > > interesting though. Unfortunately XP doesn't have the System
      > > > Reliability screen that Windows 7 has - That would have told us if
      > > > anything else has been installed/uninstalled after you transplanted
      > > > the drive. This is an interesting problem that I can't explain, I
      > > > think it unlikely that the disk imaging process is at fault and I
      > > > suspect there is some subtle thing going on, but I don't have enough
      >
      > > > diagnostic information to see beyond that.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --Tim Long
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > From: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com]
      > > > On Behalf Of drgert1
      > > > Sent: 26 April 2012 08:12
      > > > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
      > > > Subject: [ASCOM] ASCOM Focus API fails after disk imaging
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Hello All,
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Using a disk imaging tool from 'Acronis' I mirrored an old 60GB disk
      >
      > > > onto a new(er) 120GB disk for my IBM T42 Win XP laptop. All OS and
      > > > application programs survived the event nicely. Only ASCOM Focus API
      >
      > > > (connecting to Optec TCF-S) inside CCDSoft failed. Connection to the
      >
      > > > focuser could not be established.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Even worse, subsequent multiple de-install / install permutations of
      >
      > > > ASCOM CCDSoft and Optec driver failed to ever again produce a
      > > > working combination. Final symptom is that CCDSoft Focus API
      > > > 'Settings' does not get me to the ASCOM focuser 'Choser' but to the
      > > > bare Bisque API which then of course does not handle the Optec.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > In the end I tossed the 120GB disk out of the laptop and put the
      > > > 60GB back in (have to make due with less free space for large image
      > > > sets) and now things are working perfectly again.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Any idea what was going on?
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Cheers,
      > > >
      > > > Gert
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ------------------------------------
      > > >
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    • Tim Long
      Tom, to add to Hristo’s reply, people often get excited about the features of a particular device when discussing ASCOM interfaces. “But if it is designed
      Message 85 of 85 , May 21, 2012
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        Tom, to add to Hristo’s reply, people often get excited about the features of a particular device when discussing ASCOM interfaces. “But if it is designed like that, my XXX device won’t be able to use its ZZZ feature”. It would be a mistake to let an interface design be driven by the capabilities of any one device. In truth, you WILL be able to use the features of your device, but that will be a part of your specific driver and not necessarily part of the interface. Often, with a bit of imagination, a device’s bells and whistles can be used to great effect within its specific driver, without having to include those features in the interface design.

         

        It is a difficult line between including enough features to be useful while keeping the interface device agnostic and lightweight. What is important is that the interface must be usable by any application _without knowledge of what device is actually connected_. In some cases, this means that some features of some devices will not be represented in the interface, this is especially true for devices with many features. This is a necessary part of the ASCOM philosophy, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use those features.

                                                                                         

        ASCOM has the specific goal of making it possible for applications to treat all devices the same (or as similarly as reasonably possible). Sometimes that goal is at odds with users who want to use all the bells and whistles of their kit interactively. Sometimes, an ASCOM driver isn’t the solution to your problem. If you need a highly specific application, then perhaps what you need is an app dedicated to your particular device. Again, this is a judgement call but most device vendors end up providing some sort of control application. A smart driver writer would produce a driver that can expose the generic ASCOM interface while also exposing a more device-specific API that app developers can talk to directly if they need more fine-grained control. The ASCOM architecture is very flexible and with a bit of imagination it is possible to come up with very full-featured solutions, the Gemini telescope driver is a great example of that.

         

        I believe that Hristo is taking a balanced approach, he has a clear set of goals in mind, he has correctly understood the purpose of ASCOM, he has designed a well-considered interface and is being steadfast in resisting ‘creeping featurism’, but he is not closed to amendments where they are clearly justified. Please bear in mind that the justification “because my device has that feature” is insufficient justification for adding that feature to an ASCOM interface definition. An interface must represent all possible devices in a very general way. The balance to be struck is between keeping the interface generic and lightweight vs. including enough functionality to make the interface useful to observing applications. This compromise usually results in the inclusion of a number of Can* properties, but the further down that route one goes, the harder it becomes for an application to be developed to actually use the interface – the presumption must always be in favour of easy app development. In my view, it is better to start small, produce a few ‘real world’ implementations, discover what is actually needed based on the experience gained and then expand as needed. This design cycle is probably best done at least once before an interface is formally adopted.

         

        I have no axe to grind here, because I don’t use video in my observing, I will not be writing any of the software and I have no vested interest in any application or technology, so in a sense the outcome has no bearing on me. But I do care about ASCOM and I know something about software engineering, so I offer the above opinions from a neutral architectural perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

        Regards,                                                                                                                                                                

        Tim Long

         

        From: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of tom@...
        Sent: 20 May 2012 19:32
        To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [ASCOM] New IVideoCamera (Draft V1) - Request for Comments

         



        Hristo
        I wish you would either borrow a Mallincam, of find someone close to you that has one, and go observe with them before defining specifications that will effect all Mallincam users.  We are all different, and each and every one of us use our Mallincams for different purposes.  I know you joined the Mallincam group.  While over there why not ask if anyone lives close to you.  Seeing is be-leaving,   I really wish you could see one or two in action.  I know you are trying to help but I am beginning to think that the Mallincam is so complex, that it might have to have it's own ASCOM driver.  You are really mixing Apples and Oranges, as Rock Mallincam always say.  Have you joined any of the nightskiesnetwork sessions I suggested? This will be my last message on this subject. 

        Tom Hilton
         
        On 5/20/2012 3:20 AM, Hristo Pavlov wrote:

         

        Hi Andy,

         

        I think that this will work but I am not convinced how benefitial it may be. Also in the case where the camera doesn't support any variable exposure - we will need to define what MinVariableExposure and MaxVariableExposure values are going to be. If they are the same value what would that mean. May be we need another property to indicate whether the camera supports variable exposures. Finally I am not sure that "Variable Exposure" is the right name for this. But I don't have a better one.

         

        Taking a step back, when thinking of defining an interface I always prefer to look from the users' point of view and what they want to do, rather than what the technology permits. Based on this I really don't see why a user will ever want to adjust the exposure of a video camera with a great precision rather than use a fixed set of exposures. Can you give me any reasons why someone may want to do that?

         

        Regards,

        Hristo Pavlov

        Sydney, Australia

         

        From: Andy Galasso <andy.galasso@...>
        To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2012 12:09 PM
        Subject: Re: [ASCOM] New IVideoCamera (Draft V1) - Request for Comments

         

         

        Hristo,

        Regarding mixing fixed and variable exposure rates, one idea would be to add a pair of attributes like MinVariableExposure and MaxVariableExposure. Then the app could send any of the fixed SupportedExposureRates, or an arbitrary value between MinVariableExposure and MaxVariableExposure. That would cover MallinCams which would provide a set of fixed rates plus a variable exposure range. Other cameras would just provide the set of fixed rates.

        Andy

         






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