Initial Testing - can't connect to SkyX as Planetarium

Hi Leo! Just found out about your software today, downloaded it and went through the various panels - looks great! I did set up some simulators and attempted to connect to The SkyX Pro as planetarium but keep getting this error

  • Planetarium Connection Error = Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID {0E0015B2-8EB6-4CA1-8A19-1A8BA6540C5D} failed due to the following error: 80040154 Class not registered (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80040154 (REGDB_E_CLASSNOTREG)). I’m running version 10.5.0 Build 10305

Any suggestions?

Wayne Hixson
Seattle, WA USA

Fixed it! Had to Run Sky X as Administrator first - works like a charm now! What cool software. The only thing I’ve run into is that I can’t connect a simulator Guide camera and simulator Main Camera at the same time.

Just playing around with it, but looks like a keeper to me

Hello Wayne, thanks and welcome.

Sorry but i read only now … i live in Italy. Your solution is right. Start TSX like administrator to register DCOM server interface of TSX and activate TCP server in TSX for listen to client checkbox.

I remember to had developed theTSX interface using their simulator but you can mix different application for simulation if needed.

All the best,
LO

Hi Wayne -
Welcome to the Voyager community! I’m just another user but glad to see more people discovering Voyager.

Voyager supports guiding via PHD2, TheSkyX and Maxim DL. You mentioned trying to connect a simulator guide camera - I do this with TheSkyX connected to ASCOM simulators for both the main and guide cameras. That’s enough to try Voyager out with everything connected.

I built a Wiki for Voyager at https://voyager.tourstar.net. There is a Quick Start tutorial that you can run entirely with simulators. I’d be interested in your feedback, as a new user, on how to improve the Wiki to help people new to Voyager.

Cheers,
Rowland

Thanks guys! Bill Long put me onto the software when I was asking him about the Sky X Camera Add-On.

Leo, question for you. The reason I even started looking at the Sky X is that I have one of the new FLI Kepler KL4040 cameras. This camera uses what is called a Scientific CMOS (sCMOS) chip. It is unique in that it does 2 simultaneous subs, a high gain and a low gain, with one exposure. After calibration of the two sets of subs, you merge them in an HDR way.

Currently third party apps like SGP and Maxim aren’t able to handle that. The FLI ASCOM driver allows you to save both subs but really isn’t suitable as a full imaging app. Richard Wright of Software Bisque is writing a native driver for it that will handle the two streams and put the high and low gain in the file name, as well as filter, temperature, etc data in the file name and FITS header. So I decided to get the Camera Add On so I could use the camera as it is designed to be used. Now my question is, will Voyager be able to handle two images coming from The Sky X for each exposure and keep the gain information that Richard is providing? What would you need to have to make that happen? I know this is kind of a very niche requirement right now but there will be more of these cameras coming out (QHY is already selling them) and need to be addressed.

Rowland, definitely reading through the Wiki now! Very helpful but I’m not too far into it. I’ll provide feedback later.

Thanks again!

Wayne Hixson

PS Lots of neat amateur astro innovation coming out of Italy! I’m also using the Primalucelabs Eagle computer and it’s great.

Rowland, I am unable to connect both the main camera and autoguider in the Sky X at the same time. Do you use 2 different simulators?

Hi Wayne -

I just use the “Software Bisque Camera Simulator” in both Camera and Autoguider tabs in TheSkyX.
I have the settings different for the guide cam and the main cam in SB’s simulators, but I think it’s the same driver. They both connect fine. Does that work for you?

Cheers,
Rowland

Wayne - one caveat - guiding with a simulated camera doesn’t work very well since the simulated cameras either return a fixed image or a dark frame, so the guide software tends to fail when trying to calibrate, etc. That said, I was able to use the ASCOM “Camera V2 Simluator” and connect it to Voyager as the main camera and to PHD2 as the guide camera, and then connect both Voyager and PHD2 to a mount simulator. Everything connects OK, but if you’re just trying to learn Voyager, you might want to start with “no guiding” as in the Quick Start tutorial.

Cheers,
Rowland

Will do! Hopefully the weather will improve and I can connect to real hardware soon.

I’d been using the ASCOM simulators. I’ll change that.

Wayne

I see the camera you talk about, great piece of HW and SW. Voyager use TSX call to save FIT. This mean is directly TSX save FIT, Voyager just put inside the FIT file some key in the header card. Based on this all must work if you use the dedicated native driver about SB. I dont know if file is really 1 (with two set of data) or 2. If are 2 file separatly i need to know which API they have modified because standard interface to TSX provide only access to one image. anyway I need some documentation about how its work TSX side and access to the TSX version that handle this camera. For sure the FIT file.

If all is accessible at documentation level i can add a dedicated Voyager control in the list of actual camera control if necessary.

All the best
LO

Thanks Leo! Sounds great.I sent your comments to Richard Wright at Software Bisque to see what I can find out!

Ok Wayne … let me know about

LO

Hi Leo! Here is what I heard from Richard Wright

Hi Wayne,

The native Kepler plug-in will produce up to three different FITS images. Operated in a single gain mode, the fits files and workflow are just like any other camera. Of course, then you only get 12-bits of dynamic range.

Operating in high dynamic range mode, you’ll get three fits files. A merged 16-bit file is returned to TheSkyX via the normal channels and is displayed in the fits viewer, with details about the Kepler’s unique settings and merge parameters stored in the FITS header.

In addition, the plug-in saves the low gain and high gain source images as separate fits files as well, with a prefix (LG for low gain, and HG for high gain). This information is also saved in the FITS header. These files are put in the autosave folder along side the merged file and have the exact same file name, except for the LG/HG suffix so that all three images can be found together and be easily recognizable.

This is probably all the info a 3rd party would need. Currently, there is still a little bit of R&D (magic fairy dust<g>) to getting the merge process to work correctly. I expect I should be releasing it no later than early summer.

Richard

Hello Wayne, like i said to you nothing change for Voyager. The merged file is like the normal file generated from TSX.

When the plugin is ready and work we can do test, also i can move the LG e HG file to separated directory if you need them.

All the best
LO

Great! Just an FYI, here’s some additional info from my conversation with Richard

Wayne Hixson:

Regarding the 3 files, will we be able to do the Sky X file naming options for the LG and HG images, or just the Merged images?

All three will obey our naming conventions, including filter names. The only difference is there will be an HG/LG appended to the raw individual readouts.

Wayne Hixson:

what we’re finding is that we get better results doing separate dark/flat calibration of the LG and HG images BEFORE the merge rather than after.

Yes, this is expected and will be the recommended way to do this. We do of course still need “a” image to display in the fits viewer though, so there’s that. It may also actually work “well enough” to calibrate the merged file depending on how much work the user wants to put into it. Some experimentation is still needed along these lines.

Wayne Hixson:

Will you offer an API method for 3rd parties to access the individual subs rather than just the merged?

The current API can be used to get the name and path of the image file just saved. Just append HG/LG before the .fits to access the raw filts files. I might be wrong, but I don’t think there’s a scripted way to read the raw data anyway… if there is, it’s not likely we’ll add anything for Kepler and he’ll need to just read the FITS files directly.

Wayne Hixson:

PPS just an fyi I’m leaving for Oregon Star Party on July 29th…hoping to have driver in hand! LoL.

I’ll try and get you going by then :wink:

Richard

Ok Wayne , good news. TSX have API to access directly to raw data “DataArray”.
Without this support Voyager cannot get data for autofocus.

All the best
LO