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Messages - Jonesdee

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1
AstroEQ Support / Re: Forgetful configuration issue?
« on: June 04, 2018, 17:55:11 »
For some time I have been trying to setup 0.9 degree stepper motors using TC2100 drivers and a DIY AstroEQ controller (genuine Arduino Mega 2560).  I also get blank fields when I read the config also very low values for IVal, which appears to lead to very slow slewing.  I have long suspected that it is an issue with the 0.9 resolution setting in the config.

I have given up trying to get these running properly and reverted to my original controller with 8825 drivers and Diode arrays running 1.8 degree resolution motors. Not quite so state-of-the-art, but at least it works.

2
AstroEQ Support / Re: Read failed
« on: May 06, 2018, 09:38:53 »
I have been having issues with TMC2100 drivers also.  My first ones from BigtreeTech behaved inconsistently, so I purchased some Watterot versions.  I followed the recommendation not to solder the pins to the 3 config sockets, which puts the motor in 16 microstep, 256 interpolation stealth chop mode. The motors are 0.4 A, 0.9 degree step angle.

The motors run very smoothly and quietly, but slew extremely slowly.  The mount also only moves a fraction of the distance it should (e.g. a command to move 90 degrees results in 3 - 4 degrees of travel.

EQMOD runs happily enough (no errors reported).

One thing that concerns me, is that each time I configure the board (a new genuine Arduino Mega 2560 running 8.11), the 'Goto Rate (x sidereal)' parameters show different values.  These vary from 102 through 460 to 507, despite the input parameters beingthe same (I loadthe EQ5 modified pulley config and change the driver to TMC2100, 16 ustep, and 0.9 degree angle, then update both axes.  I am going to try this on a different PC to see if that helps, or possibly set the angle in the config to 1.8 degrees to see if that speeds it up.  Sidereal tracking rate looks to be about right, but have not yet tried it on a star as there is obviously something amiss at the moment which needs to be rectified. 

Using jumpers, I can set the drivers to 16 ustep, no interpolation mode - will give this a try when I get a chance.

Meanwhile, my 8825 setup with diode matrix runs happily in the observatory . . . .

Dave

3
General Discussion / Re: AstroEQ 8.11 Released
« on: March 11, 2018, 20:44:41 »
Hi Tom

Due to distractions, I have only just picked up my TC2100/0.9 degree motor project again (previous posts were under Beta Firmware Releases).  I now have the Watterott TC2100 drivers working under 8.11 and they operate extremely well - very smooth and absolutely silent. 

For reference, with the Watterott boards, the CF1 and CFG2 pins need to be open circuit to operate in 1/16 step mode, other than that, no jumpers/soldering required.

Strangely, I am unable to get 8.11 running on my DRV8825 based controller - am investigating that currently.

Regards

Dave

4
Beta Firmware Releases / Re: AstroEQ 8.11(beta) Release
« on: November 20, 2017, 16:06:58 »
Hi again Tom

I tried linking the jumpers today, however on each board one solder pin of one of the pairs disappeared when I applied the iron (16 watt pointed tip).  Currently CFG1 remains open circuit on one board and CGF6 remains open on the other.  Strangely, this hasn't impacted the performance of either unit, one seems to run OK and the other still runs fast!  Anyway, I decided to make one last expenditure on this and have ordered a pair of 5v boards from the original supplier (Watterot) and these should arrive in the coming days.

Will let you know how these perform, as I understand that the required jumpers are connected by default on these units.

Rgds

Dave

5
Beta Firmware Releases / Re: AstroEQ 8.11(beta) Release
« on: November 19, 2017, 23:02:16 »
Hi Tom

Thanks very much for responding so quickly!

As far as I can tell (with my 70 year old eyes and a magnifying headset), these jumpers are not shorted on my boards - many thanks for the tip.  Just to be sure, I will get a second opinion in the morning then hit them with the soldering iron if my suspicions are correct ::).

Hope all is going well in the US and that you are enjoying there.

Cheers

Dave

6
Beta Firmware Releases / Re: AstroEQ 8.11(beta) Release
« on: November 19, 2017, 17:10:00 »
Hi Tom, when you have a moment (I know that you are very busy !), could you please let me know the make of your TC2100 drivers (if they are marked)?  I bought a pair which are labelled "BigTree Tech" and each behaves differently.  The first appears to run at the correct sidereal speed and slews quite slowly, while the second runs more than 4 times faster in both sidereal and slew modes and causes the motor to be a lot noisier.  My drivers are mounted in sockets, so are easy to change around and the issue definitely follows the driver board.  I can't see any physical differences between the two units (solder links etc).

Replacing them with 8825s and re configuring 8.11 accordingly fixes the issue and the controller runs normally (with the known skip while tracking).  I have not fitted the diode array to this controller as I was hoping the the TC2100s would fix the micro stepping problem.

I am testing with 10V 0.4A 0.9* resolution motors, running in 16 microstep mode on both drivers.

Cheers

Dave

7
Update on Connection Timeout problem:

I believe that this was caused by two contributing factors - an intermittent fault in the Mega 2560 board and an intermittent 12 volt supply connection issue.  I have swapped the Mega board and replaced the jack plug/socket power connector with a 2 pin screw-in connector. 

These changes don't fully explain all the symptoms I was experiencing (e.g. two different AstroEQ controllers both failing to connect to the mount), however the kit has now run happily for more than 30 hours over a number of test sessions, so I am gaining confidence that it is stable again.

8
Beta Firmware Releases / Re: AstroEQ 8.11(beta) Release
« on: November 05, 2017, 11:58:43 »
Update to my last post on slew speeds :

Using the EQ-5 Custom Pulley config, the Goto Rate multiplier usually appears as 808 in the config setup. When upgrading a Mega 2560 to 8.11 for the first time, opening the custom pulley config the correct multiplier appears.  If microstep gear changing is then disabled, the multiplier changes to 507. re-enabling Gear Changing then sets the multiplier to 504.  Loading the config file again brings 808 back.  This does not happen on susequent config changes (i.e. once 8.11 has been written to the board).

Similarly, when downgrading from 8.11 to 8.05, the first timethe config file is loaded, the goto multiplier shows 101. Loadingthe config file a second time corrects it to 808.  No other parameters change.

I also mentioned in an earlier post that upgrading took a very long time - this is because I was leaving my mouse pointer on the 'Next' button.  It seems that after some operations, the button does not function until the pointer is clicked elsewhere on the screen then returned to the button.  Maybe an issue with the touchpad on my laptop?

I should receive some 0.9 deg stepper motors this week, so will try 8.11 with TMC2100 driver boards.

9
Beta Firmware Releases / Re: AstroEQ 8.11(beta) Release
« on: October 31, 2017, 10:41:49 »
Hi Tom

(moved from 'Loss of COM Port' Thread): With DIY Mega 2560 and DRV8824 stepper drivers, slews initiated from Cartes du Ciel are very slow indeed and the motors are very noisy.  Slewing via EQMOD NESW controls is fine.but Spiral Search is also noisy.

Downgrading to 8.05 cures the problem.

Let me know if you need me to save any files or do any other testing

Cheers

Dave

10
Hi Tom

I have loaded the Beta software successfully and it drives the mount via EQMOD as expected in test mode, using the slew controls.  When I connect to the mount using Cartes du Ciel, however, it slews extremely slowly and the motors are very noisy.  I checked the settings again via via the Update Utility and everything looked fine (I use the EQ-5 Custom Pulley config).  This time I invoked Spiral Search during testing and again the motors were very noisy. Apologies if I have overlooked something in the setup, however I don't think that anything has changed other than the firmware.

I also found that the utility was able to communicate with the Mega board which appeared to be dead yesterday.  I was able to update the firmware on this, but it appears to have an intermittent fault.  Sometimes when performing a firmware update it uploads the firmware, reads the EEPROM OK, indicates that it has loaded the config, but locks up and does not respond to the 'next' button.  This does not happen on my other Mega board, so I have installed the latter board in the controller to eliminate the possible intermittent problem.

I have left the mount tracking and have not had any port discnnect errors from EQMOD, however it frequently runs for 4 hours before failing.  To eliminate the switch mode PSU, I am running on battery.

The controller uses DRV8824 stepper drivers (low current, apparently now discontinued) as these gave some improvement in 1/32 stepping accuracy, plus I have the diode network implemented in this controller.

WIll update you later on the stability of the COM port :)

UPDATE 21:38 - when the lock-up mentioned above occurs, I have now found that the utility will continue processing after a delay of 1 - 2 minutes.  The point at which it stops and waits is shown in the attached screen clip[/i]  The mount has now been tracking without losing the port for 5.5 hours.

Dave

11
Thanks Tom.  Woukd you recommend buying a genuine 2560 replacement board for my controller? Mine are clones, but have run happily for a year now, however I would make the additional outlay if there are advantages to be had from an original unit.

Cheers

Dave

12
Hi Tom, My eyesight is not great these days, so yes I'm sure it would have been '1' rather than 'l'.  I have opened the controller case and think that the board is dead. The power LED lights up but nothing else.  The Firmware Update Utility is unable to conect to it and the Arduino IDE will not upload a simple sketch.  Apart from the odd fleeting blink of the Rx LED, nothing happens at all.  Pressing the reset switch has absolutely no effect.

I will load the BEta software and hook up my spare unit tomorrow and see how that runs.  I assume that it is OK to leave the mount running via the Virtual Port setup? That way if it stops I can attempt to restart it and log the results.

Regards

Dave

13
Hi again Tom

I set up the virtual ports on my Win 7 machine and first tried connecting to my spare controller (Controller on COM5, VPs 10 & 11 (EQMOD on COM11)).

It connected immediately and a stream of data was visible in both windows of the Serial Echo tool.

I disconnected the spare controller and plugged-in the main controller which appeared in Device Manager on COM 5.  Following the same procedure, the controller failed to connect and the window for COM 10 simply showed
Port Open
:el*

Pressing 'q' did not appear to have any effect.

Hitting 'ASCOM Connect a second time gavethe same result, then the ASCOM Toolbox failed to respond.

Later I will change USB ports and cables to see if I get a different result.

Thanks again for you help!

Rgds

Dave

14
Hi Tom

Many thanks indeed for your help with this - I will set it up later today and see what happens.

This morning I am unable to connect to either controller via the Firmware update Utility - the EEPROM Read fails with' connection unavailable'.  This happens on both my machines.  Tearing my hair out now  :-[

Hopefully the com port tools will show what is happening . . .

Cheers

Dave

15
HGi Tom

A bit more information on my issue. 

This afternoon the kit started first time and ran for 4 hours before the port timeout occurred.  Nothing would make it reconnect and my spare controller was not recognised either, despite showing as connected in Device Manager.  THe EQMOD driver setup port search would pause for several seconds on the correct port, then run through to Port 16 and show 'not found'.

I figured that EQMOD should recognise and connect to the spare controller with no connection to the mount (bare box on USB port) and tried it on a different (Win 10) PC.  Again, EQMOD could not connect, despite pausing on the correct port for a number of seconds.  I then ran the AstroEQ utility and it immediately found the board.  I uploaded the config which looked fine and reloaded it to the board and on completion it successfully opened EQMOD  for testing.

As the mount was not connected, I exited the utility and tried connecting to EQMOD via the toolbox.  The Toolbox search tool then found the port immediately and EQMOD opened normally.  The spare controller then ran fine on the Win 7 laptop, despite failing to connect a great many times prior to running the firmware update utility.

Could something in my observatory setup be causing the AstroEq board to become invisible to EQMOD?

In the morning I will run he utility on the controller in my observatory and see if that connects again too.

Cheers

Dave

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