Topics

Onstep with Rasberry Pi 3+ Kstars and Ekos


Jochen.Siegfried@t-online.de
 

Dear Onsteppers
my Onstep with STM 32 Bluepill and Skywatcher EQ 5 is running well. I control onstep with my mobile, the Android App und Sky Safarie. I now have  Raspberry 3B+ with KStars and PHd2 already installed.
I will control the raspberry via  VNC on my laptop.

No I am a little confused on how to connect Onstep with the Raspberry pi ??

The idea ist to connect both cameras, the Canon EOS 550 and the QHY (guiding) to the rasperry and control it over my Tablet.

The plan is to do guiding and  plate solving.

Tips are highly apreciated !

Regards
Ferris


Khalid Baheyeldin
 

I use KStars/INDI but on a laptop.

The most reliable way to connect OnStep to the Raspberry Pi is over USB.
Since you have KStars and INDI on the Pi as well, then the QHY and Canon should also connect to the Pi over USB.

For cable management, I connect the QHY and Canon (650D) to an unpowered hub, and then one cable from there to the laptop.
Since you can mount the Pi on the optical tube, you don't need to do that.

The only problem people face is that there is modem manager running on the Pi and it takes over the OnStep serial port (/dev/ttyUSB0) when you plug OnStep in it.
The solution is to remove modem manager.
Search the group for exact commands.


Alexander Varakin
 

I run all my capturing hardware (Onstep, CCD, guider, filterwheel) directly from Pi without a hub.
Here is a script for installing all the required software on Pi:
https://github.com/avarakin/AstroPiMaker4
There is a step there for disabling the mounting of the camera. 
I suggest upgrading to Pi 4. No need for 4GB version, 2GB works fine. 


Brian Davis
 

Generally, the RPi4 has all 4 USB ports tied into a single PCIe lane limited to 4Gb/s (the SD card uses USB also). The whole Pi, has a max current limit of 1.2a, including board power, and whatever goes out the USB ports. This is why so many people have trouble running gear off the Pi's USB ports.

So, a good first step for problems with all USB gear attached directly to the Pi, is to move it off to a powered hub. Consider that any form of disk write, including images, temporary files, etc, are going to use a lot of USB bandwidth, and since USB 3.0 has a limit of 5Gb/s, and the Pi can do only 4, directly attached devices that use both current and bandwidth (like Cameras of any sort) are an iffy proposition at best, and often produce weird problems, problems caused by starving other devices, or just not working at all.

Another USB issue to keep in mind on the Pi4, is that the USB2.0 ports share a common root port - there is an integrated USB2.0 4-port hub in the VLI chip, so the total USB2.0 bandwidth across all 2.0 ports is 480mbit/s. USB3.0 hubs forward *both* USB3.0 and USB2.0 traffic, so the bandwidth limit applies even if you plug a USB2.0 device into a downstream USB3.0 hub. The PI's VLI chip can only handle 480Mbs total, and a USB2.0 camera can easily starve that, if it's using USB2.0, and even if its attached to a USB3 external powered hub. Something Astroberry and Stellarmate users should be aware of.

Power-wise, the RPi4 uses 575 mA at idle. Thus, there remain only 625mA for all other directly attached devices, but only when the PI is doing nothing at all. Typically, under normal loads, the Pi probably pulls more like 650-850 mA during normal use, leaving 400-500 mA for all directly attached devices. This creates a problem - The USB 2.0 specs call for the capability to use up to 500mA per connection, and 900mA for USB3.0. The Pi can't cover the potential load the spec places on it's (2) 3.0 and (2) 2.0 ports, which together would require 2800mA of power to attached devices to meet the basic USB spec.

Best practice - minimize the use of USB2.0 ports to the maximum extent possible, and move all devices requiring power to a powered USB3.1 hub.

Virus-free. www.avast.com


On Sun, Nov 22, 2020 at 5:39 PM Alexander Varakin <avarakin@...> wrote:
I run all my capturing hardware (Onstep, CCD, guider, filterwheel) directly from Pi without a hub.
Here is a script for installing all the required software on Pi:
https://github.com/avarakin/AstroPiMaker4
There is a step there for disabling the mounting of the camera. 
I suggest upgrading to Pi 4. No need for 4GB version, 2GB works fine. 


Rafael Barberá Córdoba
 

Brian, thank you for your detailed explanation about how USB works on Raspberry PI computers.


Jochen.Siegfried@t-online.de
 

Dear Onsteppers

thank you for all your tips on Onstep + Kstars + Rasberry Pi

 

Youtuber Galaxy Gazer did a video tutorila ("Die Alternative zum Laptop: Kstars Ekos") on KStars Ekos and Rasberry Pi3 B+. There he offers the download of an Image with Kstars/Ekos for the rasberry pi 3B+.

 

I downloaded the image and used Etcher to flash it on the Micro SD card. The Rasberry Pi is running fine and shows PHD2 and Kstars on a Ubuntu Mate desktop.

 

First Problem is that I always have to put the time and date right. Kstars remebers the location and all other info I did put in. But not time and date. I think this is because the Rasberry Pi has no real time clock built in .... ?

 

I have managed to connect my QHY guiding Camera and my canon DSLR. The DSLR driver seems to stop working after a few test shots. For this I will try the powered  usb hub.

 

My question is how to connect the Onstep STM32 PCB with the Rasberry Pi ??

Khalid suggested usb, but told me that this might lead to problems with "the modem" on the rasberry Pi .....!

 

Unfortunateley I have almost no background knowledge of computers, Rasberry Pi, Ubunto and the like.

I managed to download Galaxy Gazers image and flashed it on the SD card. The Rasberry Pi 3B+ came from a starter kit ....... !

 

I control the RB pi with the real VNC. This is part of Galaxy Gazers Image and was easy to instal ...... !

So far I control my Onstep with my Abdroid mobile and the Onstep App - this works very well !

 

Do I get this right :

In case, I manage to connect Onstep PCB to the RB pi, I will no longer Use the Onstep App, but do everything with Kstars and Ekos via the Rasberry pi and the Tablet via VNC ??????? That includes the 3star alignment and so on ... ?

 

I like the idea of controling all the astronomy gear by one thing, which can be mounted on the telescope ..... - the Rasberry Pi seems to offer this ... ???

I think ZWO ASIair and Stelar Mate do exactly the same thing .... ?!!!

 

I thought about creating my own Image for the Rb pi with Kstars and PHD2 because I cannot connect to the Indi hub via my Rb pi on the existing image .

On the other hand I think, that even with the tutorial mention I am not able to do this ...!

 

More tips are most welcome !!!

 

Best Regards

Ferris




Khalid Baheyeldin
 

On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 03:56 PM, Jochen.Siegfried@... wrote:

My question is how to connect the Onstep STM32 PCB with the Rasberry Pi ??

Khalid suggested usb, but told me that this might lead to problems with "the modem" on the rasberry Pi .....!

Plug in OnStep to the Pi using USB.
The amount of data that is exchanged between KStars and OnStep is not high, so bandwidth is not an issue.
And OnStep has its own power source, so current is not an issue either.

When you plug it in, go into INDI and set OnStep's baud rate to 9600 and the device to /dev/ttyUSB0.

See if INDI can connect to OnStep or not.

If not, then we will see about the modem manager and all the other issue. You may not have them ...


Khalid Baheyeldin
 

Jochen,

Please reply to the group so more than one person is able to help.

INDI is not part of Ekos, but a layer under it, and accessed from there.
When you start Ekos, there is a "2. Start & Stop Ekos" group of buttons.
One of them is INDI Control Panel.
If you start Ekos, the INDI control panel should start up, with a tab for each driver.
In your case, it should be Canon DSLR, QHY xxxx and LX200 OnStep.
Go to the LX200 OnStep tab and do what I said.


Jochen.Siegfried@t-online.de
 

Thank you Khalid !

I will try my very best !

 

For the moment I think I have destroyed all the adjustments I have done In Ekos ...

 

I will try again tomorrow ....

 

I am afraid of connecting my Onstep to the RB pi because I think something could go wrong and I have to do it all again ...

My Onstep is running so well

 

regards




Jamie Flinn
 

Suggest you use either astroberry or stelkarmate os...both setup and operate with  onstep well...on the pi you need to connect to your home network or install a real-time clock...Facebook group for both distributions have excellent help...I have 4 onstep rigs all working via pi with combo of stellarmate znd astroberry

On Nov. 23, 2020 4:27 p.m., Khalid Baheyeldin <kbahey@...> wrote:
Jochen,

Please reply to the group so more than one person is able to help.

INDI is not part of Ekos, but a layer under it, and accessed from there.
When you start Ekos, there is a "2. Start & Stop Ekos" group of buttons.
One of them is INDI Control Panel.
If you start Ekos, the INDI control panel should start up, with a tab for each driver.
In your case, it should be Canon DSLR, QHY xxxx and LX200 OnStep.
Go to the LX200 OnStep tab and do what I said.


Jochen.Siegfried@t-online.de
 

Thank you for all your tips !

 

Astroberry or Stelarmate. Which one is for free or at least not so expensiven (max 50$) ??

 

Is it right, that I download the Astroberry or Stelarmate image . Then flash it on the Sd card using Etcher. Then put the SD card in the RB Pi and everything is running fine ???

 

I think, it will not  be that easy .... ?

 

Would you please lead me to a forum where I can find all this basic information. Or at least give me some key words so that I can look up the information I need to teach myselfe all the basics someone has to know to do this kind off stuff ??

 

 

My RB pi with the image I have, will not go on the internet. I cannot connect to the Indi server ..... I have no idea on how to change this ....

 

 

As I said, I will have to teach myselfe some basics before I will get anywhere ....

 

 

There is one more question: the Pasberry Pi B 3+ is very power hungry. I have the original 3Amp power supply. This works wekll indoors. But how to feed the RB pi out in the field ??

 

 

Most power banks only supply 2.4 Amps ......

 

regards

 

Ferris




Jamie Flinn
 

Astroberry free....sm os is $50....get both and compare....I am currently running astroberry but about to start testing the new 1.5.5 release of sm....sm has awesome phone control app

On Nov. 24, 2020 3:27 a.m., "Jochen.Siegfried@..." <jochen.siegfried@...> wrote:

Thank you for all your tips !

 

Astroberry or Stelarmate. Which one is for free or at least not so expensiven (max 50$) ??

 

Is it right, that I download the Astroberry or Stelarmate image . Then flash it on the Sd card using Etcher. Then put the SD card in the RB Pi and everything is running fine ???

 

I think, it will not  be that easy .... ?

 

Would you please lead me to a forum where I can find all this basic information. Or at least give me some key words so that I can look up the information I need to teach myselfe all the basics someone has to know to do this kind off stuff ??

 

 

My RB pi with the image I have, will not go on the internet. I cannot connect to the Indi server ..... I have no idea on how to change this ....

 

 

As I said, I will have to teach myselfe some basics before I will get anywhere ....

 

 

There is one more question: the Pasberry Pi B 3+ is very power hungry. I have the original 3Amp power supply. This works wekll indoors. But how to feed the RB pi out in the field ??

 

 

Most power banks only supply 2.4 Amps ......

 

regards

 

Ferris




Jamie Flinn
 

Btw it is very easy...burn the image to sd and power up the pi....wait a couple minutes on first load....look for astroberry hotspot...connect and browse to 10.42.0.1....you will get a start screen and novcn connect button....ab both autostart indi

On Nov. 24, 2020 7:38 a.m., jamiecflinn@... wrote:
Astroberry free....sm os is $50....get both and compare....I am currently running astroberry but about to start testing the new 1.5.5 release of sm....sm has awesome phone control app

On Nov. 24, 2020 3:27 a.m., "Jochen.Siegfried@..." <jochen.siegfried@...> wrote:

Thank you for all your tips !

 

Astroberry or Stelarmate. Which one is for free or at least not so expensiven (max 50$) ??

 

Is it right, that I download the Astroberry or Stelarmate image . Then flash it on the Sd card using Etcher. Then put the SD card in the RB Pi and everything is running fine ???

 

I think, it will not  be that easy .... ?

 

Would you please lead me to a forum where I can find all this basic information. Or at least give me some key words so that I can look up the information I need to teach myselfe all the basics someone has to know to do this kind off stuff ??

 

 

My RB pi with the image I have, will not go on the internet. I cannot connect to the Indi server ..... I have no idea on how to change this ....

 

 

As I said, I will have to teach myselfe some basics before I will get anywhere ....

 

 

There is one more question: the Pasberry Pi B 3+ is very power hungry. I have the original 3Amp power supply. This works wekll indoors. But how to feed the RB pi out in the field ??

 

 

Most power banks only supply 2.4 Amps ......

 

regards

 

Ferris





Rafael Barberá Córdoba
 

Let us know how SM compare. I've read the the VNC response is better with Astroberry than SM, but you are right, the phone control app is a good add-on. Not as powerful as ASIAir one, but better that nothing :)


Jamie Flinn
 

IN general up to SM 1.5.4 vs current Astroberry, the ab os is faster and seeming a little more stable – I have a better VNC experience on that platform…I am trying to download and setup 1.5.5 today but getting a corruption issue on download – will let ya know

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Rafael Barberá Córdoba
Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:23 AM
To: main@onstep.groups.io
Subject: Re: [onstep] Onstep with Rasberry Pi 3+ Kstars and Ekos

 

Let us know how SM compare. I've read the the VNC response is better with Astroberry than SM, but you are right, the phone control app is a good add-on. Not as powerful as ASIAir one, but better that nothing :)

 


Alexander Varakin
 

On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 10:05 AM, Brian Davis wrote:
Generally, the RPi4 has all 4 USB ports tied into a single PCIe lane limited to 4Gb/s (the SD card uses USB also). The whole Pi, has a max current limit of 1.2a, including board power, and whatever goes out the USB ports. This is why so many people have trouble running gear off the Pi's USB ports.

So, a good first step for problems with all USB gear attached directly to the Pi, is to move it off to a powered hub. Consider that any form of disk write, including images, temporary files, etc, are going to use a lot of USB bandwidth, and since USB 3.0 has a limit of 5Gb/s, and the Pi can do only 4, directly attached devices that use both current and bandwidth (like Cameras of any sort) are an iffy proposition at best, and often produce weird problems, problems caused by starving other devices, or just not working at all.

Another USB issue to keep in mind on the Pi4, is that the USB2.0 ports share a common root port - there is an integrated USB2.0 4-port hub in the VLI chip, so the total USB2.0 bandwidth across all 2.0 ports is 480mbit/s. USB3.0 hubs forward *both* USB3.0 and USB2.0 traffic, so the bandwidth limit applies even if you plug a USB2.0 device into a downstream USB3.0 hub. The PI's VLI chip can only handle 480Mbs total, and a USB2.0 camera can easily starve that, if it's using USB2.0, and even if its attached to a USB3 external powered hub. Something Astroberry and Stellarmate users should be aware of.

Power-wise, the RPi4 uses 575 mA at idle. Thus, there remain only 625mA for all other directly attached devices, but only when the PI is doing nothing at all. Typically, under normal loads, the Pi probably pulls more like 650-850 mA during normal use, leaving 400-500 mA for all directly attached devices. This creates a problem - The USB 2.0 specs call for the capability to use up to 500mA per connection, and 900mA for USB3.0. The Pi can't cover the potential load the spec places on it's (2) 3.0 and (2) 2.0 ports, which together would require 2800mA of power to attached devices to meet the basic USB spec.

Best practice - minimize the use of USB2.0 ports to the maximum extent possible, and move all devices requiring power to a powered USB3.1 hub.
I disagree.
According to this document, Pi3 and 4 can supply up to 1.2A to USB devices:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/faqs/#pi-power
I run all my equipment from USB ports of RPI4 (in the past RPI3) and never had problems.
I have the following attached to PI: OnStep, filter wheel, guiding camera, CCD.