Contents - Index


Software

Software



  • Camera: Select from None, CCDSoft, Maxim or TheSkyX Add On. You have your camera program connected to your camera system at least once for CCDAutoPilot to learn your filter names and binning options.  Once they are read, they are saved in the system profile for planning without connecting to the hardware.  If you are using CCDSoft, make sure in CCDSoft, Camera/Server Settings that "Allow Remote Connections" is checked.  If Maxim is selected, you can elect to have x and y binning be the same via the x=y bin checkbox. If it is not checked, a window will appear, giving the user a chance to enter the desired vertical binning.  If None is selected, no imaging is possible.
        Maxim-specific requirements: Go to the Camera Control window, hit the Settings button to bring up the Guider Settings window. Select the Advanced tab. Under Guider Motor Control, make sure to select Do Not Change On Pier Flip. Do not check Pier Flip on the Camera Control Window/Guide tab.  If you connect to your telescope in Maxim's Observatory window, be sure to uncheck Auto Scope Dec., Pier Flip and Auto Pier Flip. CCDAutoPilot manages all necessary meridian flip issues internally and allowing Maxim to make flip-related changes will most likely cause guiding problems. A telescope connection is required to use pulse guide, called "Telescope" in Maxim's Autoguider Output Control Via selection. When using the Telescope guide option, It may be helpful to check Safety Slew on the Guiding page, Meridian Flip box of CCDAutoPilot. See also Mount Notes.
    TheSkyX Add On (Professional Edition feature). Make sure your cameras and filter wheels are usable manually in TheSkyX. Run @Focus2 manually at least once to confirm focus operation. See the @Focus2 documentation in TheSkyX and make appropriate entries on the Focusing page for exposure time and magnitude for eaach filter used. Do not use the ASCOM driver choices under X2 Drivers, if they exist. There are deprecated and not recommended. Use the ASCOM selection toward the top of the driver selection tree. If you have a rotator, do not connect it to TheSkyX but connect it only to CCDAutoPilot to avoid operational conflicts. Do not check AutoReverseX for GEMs in camera or guider setup - this will conflict with CCDAutoPilot's guiding algorithm.
  • Telescope: Select from None, ASCOM, ASCOM/TheSky6, ASCOM/TheSkyX, TheSky6, TheSkyX.  Selecting ASCOM, TheSky6 or TheSkyX means those functions will be used exclusively for telescope control and planetarium functions (looking up targets, solar ephemerides, etc.).  When using either version of TheSky make sure in Telescope/Setup neither Keep Crosshairs on Screen nor Impose Slew Limits as these will interfere with CCDAutoPilot operations.  When using TheSky6, be sure Allow Remote Connections is checked in Telescope/Server Settings.  When using ASCOM, you will need to select an appropriate ASCOM driver for your telescope the first time.  If you select ASCOM/TheSky6 or ASCOM/TheSkyX, ASCOM will be used to telescope movement and TheSky will be used for planetarium functions. If you want to change the ASCOM driver selection, check the Change Driver checkbox before you Link to Software. TheSkyX/Paramount users, see here. TheSkyX-specific settings: , it is recommended that Sleep on Minimized be set to off and OpenGL be set to No OpenGL. Set Keep Cursor On Screen to No and do not check Impose Slew Limits. When using a SB Paramount mount, set Flip HA to 0.0.
  • Plate Solving: Select from None, CCDSoft/TheSky, PinPoint, TheSkyX. Regardless of the selection, Maxim can still be used as the camera server.  Due to PinPoint licensing restrictions, the full licensed version of PinPoint, not the LE version that accompanies Maxim, must be used.  With CCDSoft/TheSky, whichever version of TheSky is selected for the Telescope server will be used in concert with CCDSoft. TheSkyX has a particularly robust plate solve routine - see Plate Solving Notes for some suggestions.  Plate solving is essential for most CCDAutoPilot features and unattended operation.
  • Focuser: Select from None, @Focus2, FocusMax, Maxim, PlaneWave AutoFocus (if enabled). Focus routines specific to a camera server require that camera server be chosen for the camera.  If you are using Maxim, you will need to set up an ASCOM hub.  Use the Change Driver checkbox to select an ASCOM hub.  Configure the hub to connect to your ASCOM focuser driver.  In the Maxim Observatory window, hit the Options button, then Choose... to select the same ASCOM hub as selected above.  This arrangement is necessary to enable Maxim to control the focuser for focusing and CCDAutoPilot to control the focuser for focus offsets and temperature compensated focusing. 
  • Rotator: Select from None, ASCOM, RCOS PIR.  When using ASCOM, you will need to select an appropriate ASCOM driver for your rotator the first time.  If you want to change the selection, check the Change Driver checkbox before you Link to Software. When using RCOS PIR, it can be up and running. If using TheSkyX for rotator control, set the Rotator tab for Rotator angles, not Position angles. Also, start with Rotator Setup has "Positive angles rotate counter-clockwise" selected. Use check Rotator Direction during Initialization. Reverse if necessary. If not using TheSkyX for rotator control, make sure TheSkyX does not automatically connect to the rotator.
  • Weather: At present, the selections are None, Cloud Sensor.  When using Cloud Sensor, CCDAutoPilot will automatically determine which the Boltwood Cloud Sensor I or II TI/AAG CloudWatcher is used.  You will need to set the path to the cloud sensor's Single Line Data File.  This is not the log file.  Consult the cloud sensor's documentation for more details.
  • Dome: Select from ASCOM, AutomaDome or DDWCP (Digital DomeWorks Control Program or TheSkyX interface (Build 4568 or later).  When using ASCOM, you will need to select an appropriate ASCOM driver for your dome the first time.  If you want to change the selection, check the Change Driver checkbox before you Link to Software. When using TheSkyX, select and configure the appropriate driver in TheSkyX. Set the Dome Update Interval to 500 ms.
  • Flat Light Source: Select from Sky, FlipFlat/FlatMan or Custom.  Selecting Sky will use the twilight sky for flats.  Selecting FlipFlat/FlatMan will use Alnitak AstroSystems' artificial light source.  It is completely integrated into CCDAutoPilot and you will only need to specify the COM port used.  No other program can use this COM port at the same time. Custom allows flats to be taken toward the end of the session when the scope is at the park position, assuming the park position points the telescope at a suitable artificial light source.  On the Options page/Data Acquisition tab, use Run 5 to execute a script to turn on the artificial light source and Run 6 to execute a script to turn it off. On the Settings page/Flat Settings tab, set the min. and max. exposure limits so that the target ADU for each flat filter/binning can be met.  
  • Use Control File: (Professional Edition Feature) See the Control File Editor topic for more information.
  • Planning Only: When checked, only the planetarium side of the Telescope server is used.  All other choices are disabled.  This mode allows target planning either independently with TheSky or manually with ASCOM, or importing CCDNavigator plans. You are able to edit and adjust your image acquisition plan on the Session page without being connected to your observatory. You are notified of this condition in CCDAutoPilot's title bar and status panel. To exit the planning mode, Disconnect and uncheck the Plan Only checkbox
  • Sky Quality Meter: CCDAutoPilot will read the sky quality file outout by the SQM Reader by www.knightware.biz. SQM Reader can use the Unihedron SQM. The file must be placed in (My) Documents and the file name must be SQMReadings.txt. Any other file name or location will be ignored. When properly located, CCDAutoPilot will log the file header and most recent entry after every light frame that is saved.