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Autofocus?


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I wonder how the work on autofocus are going? I think this is the feature most people are waiting on right now.

 

Ole Alexander

 

The auto focus feature is still progressing.

 

Basically I only have to big features I'm working on right now (BackyardNIKON and auto-focus).

 

I'm not undertaking any other major features before these are done.  That is my commitment to you guys.

 

February was a complete write off for both Chris and I.  We both traveled to Germany for 3 weeks in February and combine with jet lag and huge projects at work (our day jobs) we were both out of it for 5 weeks.

 

Regards,

 

Guylain

 

 

 

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Hi Guylain.  I haven't been around for a while as I've been taking advantage of the poor weather to work on processing skills.  I was wondering if you might be able to give a high level snapshot of your plan for autofocus please?  I've just purchased a MicroTouch autofocuser and it uses FocusMax which currently only integrates with MaximDL and CCDSoft.  I'm hoping that when the BYEOS Autofocus is up and running that I'll be able to use it with this MicroTouch kit.

 

Cheers,

 

Gord

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Hi Guylain.  I haven't been around for a while as I've been taking advantage of the poor weather to work on processing skills.  I was wondering if you might be able to give a high level snapshot of your plan for autofocus please?  I've just purchased a MicroTouch autofocuser and it uses FocusMax which currently only integrates with MaximDL and CCDSoft.  I'm hoping that when the BYEOS Autofocus is up and running that I'll be able to use it with this MicroTouch kit.

 

Cheers,

 

Gord

 

BackyardNIKON comes first and it's almost ready for prime time.

 

My next chore, yes a chore, is to complete the user guide for both BackyardEOS and BackyardNIKON.  I had help from Rick Burk a few months back and he has been a tremendous help.  I need to put roughly another 2 full days in it and the user guide will be complete and up to date with both BackyardNIKON and BackyardEOS v3.

 

Once the user guide chore is done I'll be playing again... releasing BackyardEOS 3.1 with a complete redesign of the background worker process to process downloaded images and to encode AVI's in Planetary.  By the time this is done summer will be over.

 

Once BackyardEOS v3.1 (free upgrade to everyone as usual) I will jump back on autofocus; sometime in September I guess.  Autofocus is not an easy task, I'm very meticulous and I refuse to release such an important feature half baked because it is something everyone will be relying on so it gotta work all the time.  This is a no compromise feature in my book.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Guylain

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Thanks Guylain. That does help and I know you always want to put out a first class product. I think what I was looking for was more of a glimpse of what you had in mind conceptually for autofocus. I realise you have more than enough on your plate and am grateful for such a superb programme.

 

Many thanks,

 

Gord

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Seeing that Auto Focus won't be available for a while, is it possible to implement ASCOM's temperature tracking check box option in the current focuser set up?

 

I'll see shat I can do but no promises for 3.1 <_>

 

Regards,

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When we get autofocus, what types of hardware will be recommended? Servo only or is DC (with ASCOM) Ok? 

 

On the server side, is there an advantage to, say, Moonlite's DRO vs. the mini controller?

 

Thanks,

Z

 

You will need an ASCOM compliant focuser.

 

A stepper motor is recommend because they are repeatable.  However, a DC motor should work to provided it  has an ASCOM driver.

 

As soon as I release BackyardNIKON for production I will jump on the auto-focus routine again for both BackyardEOS and BackyardNIKON.  I admit that it is taking way much time than I had anticipated originally, I've bitten more than I could chew at one time <_>

 

Regards,

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Thanks for the update. I guess maybe for $79 it would be worth it to try a USB+Ascom solution, with the dc focuser I already have, before jumping all the way to an upgraded focuser with servo and controller etc.

 

Will autofocus be a step in the imaging plan? Take x images, autofocus take y images, etc.?

 

Total automation is of course my desired goal. Goto, plate solve, focus, autoguide cal and guide, image, repeat for new target, etc.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the update. I guess maybe for $79 it would be worth it to try a USB+Ascom solution, with the dc focuser I already have, before jumping all the way to an upgraded focuser with servo and controller etc.

 

Will autofocus be a step in the imaging plan? Take x images, autofocus take y images, etc.?

 

Total automation is of course my desired goal. Goto, plate solve, focus, autoguide cal and guide, image, repeat for new target, etc.

 

 

 

Yeah, wait and see how your DC motor works before spending more money.

 

I'm not sure of my final implementation and integration with the capture plan yet.  My mais objective is to keep is simple yet reliable.

 

Regards,

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Same as before... I need to get BackyardNIKON and BackyardEOS 3.1 out to production quality first... then I'll jump back on the auto focus.  I know it is taking a long time but auto-focus is a no compromise feature, it just needs to work all the time so I'm not willing to release it half baked <_>

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Oh, I just bought a MicroTouch Autofocuser thinking it was ASCOM compliant.  When will BackyardEOS have the ability to connect?  When is version 3.2 expected?  Wish I could help...

 

I think you are mixing terminology here.  You have a motorized focuser, not an auto focuser.

 

BYE will connect to any ASCOM compliant focuser because it talks to ASCOM only and in turn ASCOM talks to your motorized focuser via it's ASCOM driver provided by your focuser supplier.

 

1) Did your install the ASCOM platform?

2) Did you install the ASCOM driver that came with your focuser?

3) Did you try the software that came with your focuser to confirm connection/operation?

 

Regards,

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Yes, yes and yes to the above.

 

This is the unit

http://starizona.com/acb/MicroTouch-Autofocuser---Wired-P2715C745.aspx

 

Yes we are able to control the Microtouch device and the move the focus motors.  It connects to the control software just fine.

 

The product had the following claim

  • Automatic focus with ASCOM-compatible software (FocusMax, MaxIm DL, ImagesPlus, etc)

Thus I had hoped to use BackyardEOS to see the DSLR image of the star and 'autofocus'.  But the properties of the driver errored when we connected via BackyardEOS.  I will try again

I dont really feel like downloading MaxImDL trial just to confirm the unit works though, I would much rather use the backyardEOS software which I highly prefer.

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Again, mixing terms.

 

BYE does not autofocus.

 

BYE does control ASCOM compliant focusers... so if BYE does not connect to your focuser the issue relies somewhere in ASCOM and/or it's driver.

 

Having the focsuer connecting to its own software is NOT a confirmation that all the ASCOM drivers are installed.  Make sure all the ASCOM components are installed for your focuser first.
 

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Hi. I have a C11 with Hyperstar and have a "FeatherTouch" focuser to move the primary mirror. I also have the Starizona "MicroTouch Autofocuser" that works with MaximDL. Autofocus is possible with MaximDL and Focus Max but not BYEOS at this time. I can connect to the MicroTouch Autofocuser (whose motor drives the Feathertouch focuser) with BYEOS but only to nudge it manually through the interface. This same functionality is available with the programme (MicroTouch Controller) that comes with the MicroTouch Autofocuser unit. For Autofocus, you are limited to MaximDL and FocusMax and the anticipation of Autofocus coming to BYEOS. Guylain has been working very hard to ensure that when BYEOS Autofocus is released it will be like the rest of BYEOS, a first class product. Hope this helps,

 

Cheers,

 

Gord

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Just a follow up.  I was able to connect to the MicroTouch Focuser and adjust the focus settings using BYEOS.  The trick was to run BYEOS as administrator as that was the same requirement to install the drivers on my Windows 8 system.  I will wait eagerly for the autofocus function in the future release, but take your time in QA.  Thanks

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It is not normal to have to run BYE as Administrator in order to control ASCOM devices. It is also not normal to have to run as Administrator to install the ASCOM Platform or ASCOM drivers on any version of Windows.  I would guess that somehow you have non-standard permissions on parts of the Registry that is used by the ASCOM Platform. 

 

You may want to consider asking about this on the ASCOM-Talk Forum.  That group has procedures for removing the Registry settiings, correcting any permissions settings, and uninstalling the ASCOM Platform. Then you should be able to install the Platform and any drivers without running as Admin.  That should eliminate the need to run BYE, or any other ASCOM client applications as Admin, unless those apps require Admin permissions for some other reason.

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Hello Guylain and everyone,

 

I am also very interested in the Autofocus feature. I understand there may be two ways to get it:

- feature directly implemented in BYE. Still on the backburner?

- interface with Thirdparty Software, like Focus Max. (the same way Astrotortilla does?) I would think that FocusMax only needs to access the picture taken by BYE? Does it need to access liveview? As a side question to this, does BYE/Canon DSLRs support subframe (Region of Interest) which could be usefull for much faster download of a single star (out of focus) picture in order to get focus data.

 

Again I love BYE, and would love to upgrade to a motorized focuser while still using BYE.

Thanks,

Olivier

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Olivier,

 

FocusMax is, by all indications, a great piece of software.  Unfortunately it does not support the wide range of camera capture software that AstroTortilla does. FocusMax is designed by the authors to only take images from CCDSoft and MaximDL.

 

You do not have to wait for BYE to incorporate autofocus enhancements to upgrade to a motorized focuser.  In fact, if your motorized focuser has an ASCOM driver you can connect to and adjust that focuser from within the Premium versions BYE and BYN.  However, you must tell the focuser to change position.  This is what I call manual motorized focusing, as opposed to autofocusing.

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Any news on the auto focus functionality? Any beta available to test?

 

Not yet and with the summer fast approaching I'll focus on doing some needed imaging myself.  I need to refuel myself by -playing- the hobby for a short while instead of -working- it.  Otherwise I'll lose the passion and the passion is what keeps me going :)

 

Regards,

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