HEQ-5 conversion with OnStepX, FYSETC E4 and Nina


Michael Ring
 

The E4 Board fits nicely as a replacement for the original stepper board of the HEQ-5.

I now did basic testing in Nina to make sure that slewing speed is fine and that the steppers are wired correctly, so far, so good.

Tonight I will have clear skies so I also want to test guiding and integration in Nina.

My config settings are currently set to default, any tips for me what settings I should tweak to get best possible setup for Nina + PHD2 ?
I only use Dec+Ra Motors, no dew heater and nothing else is enabled atm. I have no intention to use the mount visually, only for astrophotography.

For Green Swamp Server (with the original board) I had to change a setting in PHD2 to make sure that guiding worked after a meridian flip, is anything like this needed for OnStepX?

Michael



Von meinem iPad gesendet


Howard Dutton
 
Edited

On Fri, Jun 10, 2022 at 07:01 AM, Michael Ring wrote:
My config settings are currently set to default, any tips for me what settings I should tweak to get best possible setup for Nina + PHD2 ?
I only use Dec+Ra Motors, no dew heater and nothing else is enabled atm. I have no intention to use the mount visually, only for astrophotography.
The obvious thing that jumps to mind is preferred pier side being set to East as is done with OnStep.  In theory this might not be needed with X if some advanced ASCOM features are supported in NINA as X has this additional functionality present and exposed in the ASCOM driver.  Namely X can predict which side of the pier a goto will land and also allows setting the pier side, something OnStep can't do.

For Green Swamp Server (with the original board) I had to change a setting in PHD2 to make sure that guiding worked after a meridian flip, is anything like this needed for OnStepX?
I've never had an issue with this in PHD2 but I don't use NINA to operate PHD2.

This board is important to me, it's cheap and super easy to setup with what are the best drivers available for probably 90% of users.  I look forward to hearing how it goes.


Michael Ring
 

So far things went pretty smooth with Nina, was expecting some issues but nothing relevant popped up.

Guiding with PHD2 is a bit all over the place, but I changed a lot, did a hypertune and switched to OnStepX, so I am hoping that I can improve my current numbers.

RA is currently arround 0.8" and DEC 1.2" avg 1.5". Before the Hypertune and switching to OnStepX the average was usually <0.9". Seeing is okayish tonight, the bright moon does not exactly help.

I will try to increase the current for the stepper motors to see if this has an effect.

Michael

Am 10.06.22 um 16:27 schrieb Howard Dutton:

On Fri, Jun 10, 2022 at 07:01 AM, Michael Ring wrote:
My config settings are currently set to default, any tips for me what settings I should tweak to get best possible setup for Nina + PHD2 ?
I only use Dec+Ra Motors, no dew heater and nothing else is enabled atm. I have no intention to use the mount visually, only for astrophotography.
The obvious thing that jumps to mind is preferred pier side being set to East as is done with OnStep.  In theory this might not be needed with X if some advanced ASCOM features are supported in NINA as X has this additional functionality present and exposed in the ASCOM driver.  Namely X can predict which side of the pier a goto will land and also to allows setting the pier side, something OnStep can't do.

For Green Swamp Server (with the original board) I had to change a setting in PHD2 to make sure that guiding worked after a meridian flip, is anything like this needed for OnStepX?
I've never had an issue with this in PHD2 but I don't use NINA to operate PHD2.

This board is important to me, it's cheap and super easy to setup with what are the best drivers available for probably 90% of users.  I look forward to hearing how it goes.


Michael Ring
 

Using Metaguide instead of PHD2 helps a little, without fully understanding how to use Metaguide the numbers in RA + DEC are now equal (~0.64) and average is ~0.92

Michael

Am 10.06.22 um 23:58 schrieb Michael Ring:

So far things went pretty smooth with Nina, was expecting some issues but nothing relevant popped up.

Guiding with PHD2 is a bit all over the place, but I changed a lot, did a hypertune and switched to OnStepX, so I am hoping that I can improve my current numbers.

RA is currently arround 0.8" and DEC 1.2" avg 1.5". Before the Hypertune and switching to OnStepX the average was usually <0.9". Seeing is okayish tonight, the bright moon does not exactly help.

I will try to increase the current for the stepper motors to see if this has an effect.

Michael

Am 10.06.22 um 16:27 schrieb Howard Dutton:
On Fri, Jun 10, 2022 at 07:01 AM, Michael Ring wrote:
My config settings are currently set to default, any tips for me what settings I should tweak to get best possible setup for Nina + PHD2 ?
I only use Dec+Ra Motors, no dew heater and nothing else is enabled atm. I have no intention to use the mount visually, only for astrophotography.
The obvious thing that jumps to mind is preferred pier side being set to East as is done with OnStep.  In theory this might not be needed with X if some advanced ASCOM features are supported in NINA as X has this additional functionality present and exposed in the ASCOM driver.  Namely X can predict which side of the pier a goto will land and also to allows setting the pier side, something OnStep can't do.

For Green Swamp Server (with the original board) I had to change a setting in PHD2 to make sure that guiding worked after a meridian flip, is anything like this needed for OnStepX?
I've never had an issue with this in PHD2 but I don't use NINA to operate PHD2.

This board is important to me, it's cheap and super easy to setup with what are the best drivers available for probably 90% of users.  I look forward to hearing how it goes.


Michael Ring
 

Tonight seeing was better, RA and DEC are arround 0.5", average is 0.68", using PHD2. This time the HEQ-5 had to do quite some heavy lifting, my Celestron Edge HD 9.25 with Hyperstar.

Michael

Am 11.06.22 um 00:37 schrieb Michael Ring:

Using Metaguide instead of PHD2 helps a little, without fully understanding how to use Metaguide the numbers in RA + DEC are now equal (~0.64) and average is ~0.92

Michael

Am 10.06.22 um 23:58 schrieb Michael Ring:

So far things went pretty smooth with Nina, was expecting some issues but nothing relevant popped up.

Guiding with PHD2 is a bit all over the place, but I changed a lot, did a hypertune and switched to OnStepX, so I am hoping that I can improve my current numbers.

RA is currently arround 0.8" and DEC 1.2" avg 1.5". Before the Hypertune and switching to OnStepX the average was usually <0.9". Seeing is okayish tonight, the bright moon does not exactly help.

I will try to increase the current for the stepper motors to see if this has an effect.

Michael

Am 10.06.22 um 16:27 schrieb Howard Dutton:
On Fri, Jun 10, 2022 at 07:01 AM, Michael Ring wrote:
My config settings are currently set to default, any tips for me what settings I should tweak to get best possible setup for Nina + PHD2 ?
I only use Dec+Ra Motors, no dew heater and nothing else is enabled atm. I have no intention to use the mount visually, only for astrophotography.
The obvious thing that jumps to mind is preferred pier side being set to East as is done with OnStep.  In theory this might not be needed with X if some advanced ASCOM features are supported in NINA as X has this additional functionality present and exposed in the ASCOM driver.  Namely X can predict which side of the pier a goto will land and also to allows setting the pier side, something OnStep can't do.

For Green Swamp Server (with the original board) I had to change a setting in PHD2 to make sure that guiding worked after a meridian flip, is anything like this needed for OnStepX?
I've never had an issue with this in PHD2 but I don't use NINA to operate PHD2.

This board is important to me, it's cheap and super easy to setup with what are the best drivers available for probably 90% of users.  I look forward to hearing how it goes.


Howard Dutton
 

The E4 is still working well I take it.


Michael Ring
 

Yes, things now work nicely, time to configure a dew-heater and perhaps autofocus for the guiding scope.

Am 21.06.22 um 01:06 schrieb Howard Dutton:

The E4 is still working well I take it.


Howard Dutton
 

On Mon, Jun 20, 2022 at 04:23 PM, Michael Ring wrote:
Yes, things now work nicely, time to configure a dew-heater and perhaps autofocus for the guiding scope.
Great, this is the most exciting thing going on the hardware front, should make life easy for users.


ETXcetera
 

Shoot I just bought 4x2130s for use in my other boards but really tempted to just get the E4 instead. Looks like a winner for sure. One thing I don’t understand is the wifi built into onstepx. So we do not upload a SWS? How is that accessed?


Michael Ring
 

As far as I know SWS is not built into OnStepX, at least the reference page

https://onstep.groups.io/g/main/wiki/30066

does not mention anything....

However, you can connect a board flashed with SWS to the E4, haven't tried it as I do not need SWS.

There is also the possibility to connect to the E4 via Bluetooth, that's something I am going to try in the next days, together with configuring Dew Heaters and Autofocusser.

Michael

Am 23.06.22 um 06:54 schrieb ETXcetera:

Shoot I just bought 4x2130s for use in my other boards but really tempted to just get the E4 instead. Looks like a winner for sure. One thing I don’t understand is the wifi built into onstepx. So we do not upload a SWS? How is that accessed?


Howard Dutton
 

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 01:11 AM, Michael Ring wrote:
However, you can connect a board flashed with SWS to the E4, haven't tried it as I do not need SWS.
The E4 unfortunately "wastes" already scarce ESP32 pins on the (unused) sdcard...

What it comes down to is there is only one serial port interface and normally it's used to provide the USB connection.  You can override that and add an SWS though.
What the E4 also doesn't have is an ST4 port.

What OnStepX has on the ESP32 that OnStep does not is WiFi IP command channels like an SWS provides; it does NOT have the WebSite, or support Encoders, Game Pad, etc. built in though.

Still those WiFi IP command channels can do a lot.  Android App, the Wireless SHC, ASCOM, INDI, etc.


Michael Ring
 

Perhaps this adapter can free up the extra SDCard pins:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002624888242.html

How are the command channels enabled in STA mode with DHCP? Like this in config.h??:

#define SERIAL_IP_MODE    STATION
#define STA_SSID          "Home"
#define STA_PASSWORD      "TopSecret"
#define STA_DHCP_ENABLED  true

or is something missing?

Thank you,

Michael


Am 23.06.22 um 11:38 schrieb Howard Dutton:

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 01:11 AM, Michael Ring wrote:
However, you can connect a board flashed with SWS to the E4, haven't tried it as I do not need SWS.
The E4 unfortunately "wastes" already scarce ESP32 pins on the (unused) sdcard...

What it comes down to is there is only one serial port interface and normally it's used to provide the USB connection.  You can override that and add an SWS though.
What the E4 also doesn't have is an ST4 port.

What OnStepX has on the ESP32 that OnStep does not is WiFi IP command channels like an SWS provides; it does NOT have the WebSite, or support Encoders, Game Pad, etc. built in though.

Still those WiFi IP command channels can do a lot.  Android App, the Wireless SHC, ASCOM, INDI, etc.


Howard Dutton
 

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 03:26 AM, Michael Ring wrote:

Perhaps this adapter can free up the extra SDCard pins:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002624888242.html

I was wondering the same but thought "no way" and didn't look, amazing what is out there in the world!


Howard Dutton
 

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 03:26 AM, Michael Ring wrote:

How are the command channels enabled in STA mode with DHCP? Like this in config.h??:

#define SERIAL_IP_MODE    STATION
#define STA_SSID          "Home"
#define STA_PASSWORD      "TopSecret"
#define STA_DHCP_ENABLED  true

or is something missing?

I think that is correct.  The Config.defaults.h file has a section that shows all the options (the underlying WiFi code is identical between SWS, OCS, and OnStepX):


// ESP32 virtual serial IP command channels
#ifndef SERIAL_IP_MODE
#define SERIAL_IP_MODE                OFF                         // use ACCESS_POINT or STATION to enable the interface (ESP32 only)
#endif
#ifndef SERIAL_SERVER
#define SERIAL_SERVER                 BOTH                        // STANDARD (port 9999) or PERSISTENT (ports 9996 to 9998)
#endif

// translate Config.h IP settings into low level library settings
#if SERIAL_IP_MODE == ACCESS_POINT
#define OPERATIONAL_MODE WIFI
#define AP_ENABLED true
#endif
#if SERIAL_IP_MODE == STATION
#define OPERATIONAL_MODE WIFI
#define STA_ENABLED true
#endif
#if SERIAL_IP_MODE == BOTH
#define OPERATIONAL_MODE WIFI
#define AP_ENABLED true
#define STA_ENABLED true
#endif

#ifndef AP_SSID
#define AP_SSID                       "OnStepX"                   // Wifi Access Point SSID
#endif
#ifndef AP_PASSWORD
#define AP_PASSWORD                   "password"                  // Wifi Access Point password
#endif
#ifndef AP_CHANNEL
#define AP_CHANNEL                    7                           // Wifi Access Point channel
#endif
#ifndef AP_IP_ADDR
#define AP_IP_ADDR                    {192,168,0,1}               // Wifi Access Point IP Address
#endif
#ifndef AP_GW_ADDR
#define AP_GW_ADDR                    {192,168,0,1}               // Wifi Access Point GATEWAY Address
#endif
#ifndef AP_SN_MASK
#define AP_SN_MASK                    {255,255,255,0}             // Wifi Access Point SUBNET Mask
#endif

#ifndef STA_AP_FALLBACK
#define STA_AP_FALLBACK               true                        // activate SoftAP if station fails to connect
#endif
#ifndef STA_SSID
#define STA_SSID                      "Home"                      // Station SSID to connnect to
#endif
#ifndef STA_PASSWORD
#define STA_PASSWORD                  "password"                  // Wifi Station mode password
#endif
#ifndef STA_DHCP_ENABLED
#define STA_DHCP_ENABLED              false                       // true to use LAN DHCP addresses
#endif
#ifndef STA_IP_ADDR
#define STA_IP_ADDR                   {192,168,0,2}               // Wifi Station IP Address
#endif
#ifndef STA_GW_ADDR
#define STA_GW_ADDR                   {192,168,0,1}               // Wifi Station GATEWAY Address
#endif
#ifndef STA_SN_MASK
#define STA_SN_MASK                   {255,255,255,0}             // Wifi Station SUBNET Mask
#endif



Howard Dutton
 

On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 03:31 AM, Howard Dutton wrote:
On Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 03:26 AM, Michael Ring wrote:

Perhaps this adapter can free up the extra SDCard pins:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002624888242.html

I was wondering the same but thought "no way" and didn't look, amazing what is out there in the world!
That should give you access to 4 unused pins...

I guess the thing to do would be to use 2 of the four for SERIAL_B (SWS) then the other 2 for PEC and Limit (freeing up the TE and TB for thermistors) any objections to changing the pinmap to enable this?


George Cushing
 

And then there's this FYSETC SD-WIFI with Card-Reader


George Cushing
 

Take a look at the under $20 Makerbase MKS TinyBee: w/ESP32 MCU & Wifi WEB Control. Support for 5 external drivers. The layout looks less constrained.



GitHub page.


Howard Dutton
 
Edited

I examined it and It has significant drawbacks.

From what I recall the stepper drivers sockets have no mode switching at all not even SPI.

It uses 3x 74HC595 SSR's (to make 24 output pins from 3 MCU pins) which X does in theory support.  I think it would work and if you use TMC2209's and jumper lead the serial interfaces could be ok.

Seems like a lot of hassle though.


Howard Dutton
 

There is now experimental support for the Website running on the ESP32 alongside OnStepX (no SWS required):

https://github.com/hjd1964/OnStepX-Plugins/blob/main/README.md

Handy for this FYSETC E4 I bet... provided it works well and has no or minimal impact on operation.


Michael Ring
 

I am just converting my 2nd mount, a NEQ-6 to OnStepX, will build this firmware with this plugin.

One question:

Stellarium has a very simple socket api, if this could get implemented slewing a OnStepX scope would get a little bit easier...

http://svn.code.sf.net/p/stellarium/code/trunk/telescope_server/stellarium_telescope_protocol.txt

Yes, I know, I can do the samer thing with Alpaca and the ASCOM driver, but the only reason for me to start alpaca is to slew my mount, so things could get simplified here.

 

Michael


Am 08.07.22 um 03:10 schrieb Howard Dutton:

There is now experimental support for the Website running on the ESP32 alongside OnStepX (no SWS required):

https://github.com/hjd1964/OnStepX-Plugins/blob/main/README.md

Handy for this FYSETC E4 I bet... provided it works well and has no or minimal impact on operation.