AA8 failure to connect to camera

Cameras, telescopes, focusers and other hardware
Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 17 Dec 2021, 20:56

A bit of a mystery this one, that has me going around in circles :roll:

I have an Altair 294c Pro Tec camera, which has been functioning as an ASCOM camera in AA8, from my Win 10 i5 laptop, and connected to the camera via USB.

I recently obtained a i7 based based Mini PC,running WIn 8 Pro, and have mounted this on my telescope, linked back to my laptop PC via an Ethernet connection. Controlled via Windows Remote Desktop.

I have installed AA8, net 3.5, and the ASCOM Platform SP6.1, and the Altair ASCOM camera driver on the Mini PC. The files d_ASCOM.dll and g_ASCOM.dll are contained within the AA8 program folder. The camera appears in the Alpaca "Chooser" list, and the ASCOM control window pops up when I select "properties", but the camera does not "connect".

I have compared the content of the AA8 program folder, with that on the laptop, and they are identical. I have also uninstalled AA8 on the Mini PC, and re-installed it, to no avail.

All of the other software (Sharpcap Pro, PHD2, Hitec Focus Motor controller, Cartes du Ciel, Altair Capture, and the HEQ5 SynScan) is functioning fine of the remote PC. AA8 does, with the exception of the ASCOM camera Plug in.

Maybe "I'm just not seeing the wood for the trees here", but it is looking like I might be heading for just using AA8 for processing,and using Sharpcap Pro for capture.

Iver
Posts: 65
Joined: 08 Jan 2019, 04:32

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Iver » 18 Dec 2021, 03:15

Hi Dave, I don't think you should be trying to connect to ASCOM remote/Alpaca if you are using remote desktop. The ASCOM driver is in the mini PC that has the camera connected to it and you are remotely operating the mini pc desk top. I think your problem is that the mini pc is trying to connect to the driver on your end that does not have a camera connected.
Iver

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 12:30

Hi Iver. thank you for your response.

If I don't have the ASCOM Platform, and the Altair ASCOM camera driver installed on the remote PC, then AA8 doesn't know the camera is there, it doesn't appear in the ASCOM Camera Chooser Window, and the ASCOM camera control panel doesn't open.

With the Altair ASCOM camera driver installed, everything opens up as normal, except when I 'click' on connect, AA8 flags up "Error cannot connect to camera".

In Sharpcap, I can operate the camera using either its native driver, or via ASCOM.

I can follow what you are saying, and I think that suggests that I can't use ASCOM to 'drive' the camera on the remote PC using AA8. That is a bit odd, as I can with Sharpcap.

With AA I can use the native drivers for SX cameras, as I did back in the day, and it would be nice if I could do the same with the Altair camera, as the native driver gives more control options than does ASCOM.

As it is, I guess I am stuck with not be able to use AA8 via a remote desktop connection.

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 16:04

Out of interest, I removed the ASCOM Platform, Altair ASCOM Camera Driver, AA8, and all other astro software from the laptop, so that all the relevant software resided only on the remote Mini PC.

The result was exactly the same as above. The camera listed ASCOM (Alpaca) Camera Chooser, and the camera control panel pops up, bit AA8 still cannot connect to the camera.

The Ethernet link is working, and the Sys LED is illuminated on the camera.

Iver
Posts: 65
Joined: 08 Jan 2019, 04:32

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Iver » 18 Dec 2021, 16:35

I'm confused by what you are trying to do. It sounds like you have the mini PC outfitted to run all your equipment and use remote desk top to operate the remote computer. If that is what you are doing you should not have ALPACA discovery enabled.
Iver

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 17:29

Yep, I'm confused too Iver :lol: .

That is indeed what I am trying to do.

I was under the impression that Alpaca was just a later development of ASCOM, and developed by the same people, but then I am a retired Senior Technical manager, (RF & Electronics) and EMC Consultant Engineer, not a software/IT expert, so forgive my ignorance.

AA8 + Camera function perfectly on the laptop, but not on the remote PC, yet the software is mirrored on it.

All other ASCOM controlled equipment woks fine, but not AA8.

If using Alpaca is the problem, how do I disable this in AA8, and get AA8 working from the Altair ASCOM camera driver, as it clearly is when operated directly from the laptop

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 17:37

Here's an update Iver.

I found how to enable/disable Alpaca, and it was disabled.

The end result, "cannot connect to camera" is the same, with Alpaca enabled, or disabled.

The AA294CPROTEC is shown as 'connected' in Device Manager/ Universal Serial Bus Device.

I have tried each, and every option under Windows Remote Desktop.

Iver
Posts: 65
Joined: 08 Jan 2019, 04:32

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Iver » 18 Dec 2021, 19:00

I use a laptop for imaging that can control everything mount,camera, filter wheel, guider, focuser, all with AstroArt. Sometimes I go into the house and use Remote desktop to control AA on the imaging laptop and it all works, so I know it can be done. You are running everything on the AstroArt version on the mini PC right?
Iver

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 20:08

Yes, exactly that.

I can control everything on the remote PC via RDP, without any problems, with the exception of AA8, which while it opens, and allows to me to select the camera, view and set its properties (Gain, Offset.... etc), it will not connect to the camera.

As I said, disconnect from the remote computer, and it connects fine directly from the laptop.

I haven't ventured any further than trying to connect the camera in AA8, as at this stage there is little point if I can't get the camera to connect. I have bought the Mini PC indoors, as its easier to 'sit and play' at the desk.

There has to be some anomaly in AA8, as all of the other control software installed on the remote PC, works perfectly, in controlling the mount (HEQ5 Pro), the Hitec focuser, main and guide camera, when used within Sharpcap.

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 20:41

This is as far as I can get in AA8, so its all there, except it can't connect to the camera.

Iver
Posts: 65
Joined: 08 Jan 2019, 04:32

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Iver » 18 Dec 2021, 21:00

Have you tried to connect remote desktop via Wi-Fi?
Iver

Dave_S
Posts: 35
Joined: 11 Oct 2021, 10:09

Re: AA8 failure to connect to camera

Post by Dave_S » 18 Dec 2021, 23:03

I originally started off running a USB cable out to the camera, and of course AA8 worked fine. However, running out cables, and then putting them away each time, was hassle.

So when I acquired the mini PC, which I mounted on the scope, and switched over to Wi-Fi. I can't remember if I tried AA8 using this method, albeit Sharpcap, and other software did work fine, but the Wi-Fi venture didn't last long. The 'lag' was too long. due to the distance between the router (indoors), and the summer house (my warm room) at the far end of the garden, with a Wi-Fi extender in between.

I then dispensed with the Wi-Fi, buried a conduit between the summer house, and the pier, installed a 12V power feed, and a Cat5e Ethernet cable.

That is where I am at now, with everything working remotely via RDP, with the exception of AA8. :roll:

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