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RE: [ASCOM] USB support?

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  • Alex
    All, I have to disagree. What we are doing is perpetuating the myth that simplicity is no driver for innovation. We have been able to make our lives much
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 1, 2004
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      All,

      I have to disagree. What we are doing is perpetuating the myth that
      simplicity is no driver for innovation.

      We have been able to make our lives much simpler by implementing USB as a
      standard. Most of the peripherals that we regularly use at home have an OS
      provided driver for it; the ones that do not, are provided by the
      manufacturer of the device.

      In the world of Astro, we may be faced with connecting "several" devices at
      one time, from one system, that means that now, if you own a fairly recent
      laptop model, you get USB and that's it. So, you get to also buy a
      self-powered USB-Hub and several USB-Serial converters (the ones that seem
      to work best are not cheap)

      I think we are letting them get away with it, IMHO, I mean, what we pay for
      a solid mount alone would buy me a car that has built in navigation,
      multi-disc CD audio, electronic everything, cruise control and OnStar plus
      an industry standard diagnostics port.

      Astronomy is a lot older that cars folks ... We deserve better, no?

      Thanks !

      Alex.



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Chris Peterson [mailto:cpeterson@...]
      Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 9:42 PM
      To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [ASCOM] USB support?


      But basic, three wire serial is so inexpensive, and really a nearly ideal
      communications solution for so many devices (like telescope mounts!)

      I'd love to see everything with an Ethernet port, but barring that, serial
      remains the next best solution in many cases.

      Chris

      *****************************************
      Chris L Peterson
      Cloudbait Observatory
      http://www.cloudbait.com


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Bob Denny" <rdenny@...>
      To: <ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 7:06 PM
      Subject: Re: [ASCOM] USB support?


      > We (astronomers) have (at least) 3 problems:
      >
      > (1) People are still designing astronomy equipment with serial and
      parallel
      > ports, cheap, simple but so retro



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    • Bob Denny
      ... YES! I m all for USB too, but... with a caveat. I know I sound like a broken record, but the camera manufacturers just MUST buffer their cameras. Same
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 3, 2004
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        > I think we are letting them get away with it, IMHO, I mean, what we pay for
        > a solid mount alone would buy me a car that has built in navigation,
        > multi-disc CD audio, electronic everything, cruise control and OnStar plus
        > an industry standard diagnostics port.
        >
        > Astronomy is a lot older that cars folks ... We deserve better, no?

        YES! I'm all for USB too, but... with a caveat. I know I sound like a
        broken record, but the camera manufacturers just MUST buffer their cameras.
        Same logic, we pay thousands of dollars for a camera which, for lack of a
        $25 buffer chip, violates Windows device interfacing and sucks 100% CPU for
        many seconds. The problems with USB-connected cameras are many (poorly
        written USB drivers, poorly implemented USB interfaces), but the worst part
        of all is the CPU hogging needed to download images without noise and
        banding. This is unforgivable in 2004.

        Heck, I have a USB bus with a mouse, Palm cradle, wireless remote receiver
        (my video board is also a TV), a flatbed scanner, -two- USB to serial
        converters (for UPS power controller and a telescope hookup), and even a
        CD/DVD burner! Plus I can plug in my cell phone at any time for transfers
        of data and I can plug in my snap-drive whenever I want too. The point is
        that all of this USB stuff is plug-and-pray and works 100% of the time. No
        USB lockups, ever.

        But I would still vote for ethernet!

        -- Bob

        --
        Bob Denny
        rdenny@...

        DC-3 Dreams, SP
        Makers of ACP and PinPoint
        http://dc3.com/
      • Chris Peterson
        Although I ve had major problems with USB devices, in principle that sort of interface is suitable for many devices- mice, keyboards, PDAs, digital cameras.
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 3, 2004
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          Although I've had major problems with USB devices, in principle that sort of
          interface is suitable for many devices- mice, keyboards, PDAs, digital
          cameras. All of these are what I would all "local" devices- by their very
          nature you physically use them at a PC. Astronomical cameras are most
          definitely NOT in this category. By their nature they are "shared" devices,
          that in many cases need to be accessible from one or more PCs that may very
          likely not be located at the same physical location as the camera, or in
          many cases will be located beyond the physical distance supported by USB
          (requiring extenders). Because of this, USB is one of the worst possible
          interfaces for astronomical cameras.

          I agree with you that low-level control of an observatory over a WAN is
          generally a poor idea, but low level control over a LAN makes good sense in
          many cases. There are many observatory designs where the controlling PC may
          be a fair physical distance from the telescope, or where there may be more
          than one control room. There is no reason in that kind of setup to require a
          PC physically located within 15 feet of the pier!

          You're not the only one that can sound like a broken record <g>.

          Chris

          *****************************************
          Chris L Peterson
          Cloudbait Observatory
          http://www.cloudbait.com


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Bob Denny" <rdenny@...>
          To: <ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2004 7:46 AM
          Subject: Re: [ASCOM] USB support?


          > YES! I'm all for USB too, but... with a caveat. I know I sound like a
          > broken record, but the camera manufacturers just MUST buffer their
          cameras.
          > Same logic, we pay thousands of dollars for a camera which, for lack of a
          > $25 buffer chip, violates Windows device interfacing and sucks 100% CPU
          for
          > many seconds. The problems with USB-connected cameras are many (poorly
          > written USB drivers, poorly implemented USB interfaces), but the worst
          part
          > of all is the CPU hogging needed to download images without noise and
          > banding. This is unforgivable in 2004.
          >
          > Heck, I have a USB bus with a mouse, Palm cradle, wireless remote receiver
          > (my video board is also a TV), a flatbed scanner, -two- USB to serial
          > converters (for UPS power controller and a telescope hookup), and even a
          > CD/DVD burner! Plus I can plug in my cell phone at any time for transfers
          > of data and I can plug in my snap-drive whenever I want too. The point is
          > that all of this USB stuff is plug-and-pray and works 100% of the time. No
          > USB lockups, ever.
          >
          > But I would still vote for ethernet!
          >
          > -- Bob
        • Bob Denny
          ... Yeah, and truly bad if the camera needs to completely tie up the USB bus and CPU for 30+ sec!!!!!!! Way way outside device design guidelines. -- Bob -- Bob
          Message 4 of 12 , Nov 3, 2004
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            > Because of this, USB is one of the worst possible
            > interfaces for astronomical cameras.

            Yeah, and truly bad if the camera needs to completely tie up the USB bus
            and CPU for 30+ sec!!!!!!! Way way outside device design guidelines.

            -- Bob

            --
            Bob Denny
            rdenny@...

            DC-3 Dreams, SP
            Makers of ACP and PinPoint
            http://dc3.com/
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