Questions for leo

Hi Leo

I have been recommended your software by another user ( Hi Rob :slight_smile: ) and have a few questions please

  1. I see you were going to close the forum a while ago , may I ask what you long term plans are ( support and development ) , you need to earn money to make this worth while.
  2. Personally I would like to see what I am imaging with a preview IMO is a must
  3. the framing and mosaic thing looks good when will it be coming
  4. Is there any plans for direct support of cameras ( more stable than ascom )
  5. Plate solving with anvsr would be good
  6. Is there any options/plans for a manual rotator

I ask not because of the cost ( too cheap IMO - other users feel free to shoot me :slight_smile: ) but the time I would invest in learning new software , only to find it is no longer supported.
I am encouraged to see the rapid development to date , please keep up the good work.
I am unhappy with the stability of the current software I use and ask other users for honest answers here - how well are errors handles , do you get many crashes , nothing worse than waking up and finding you have no data.
Kind Regards
Harry Page

1 Like

Welcome in this forum Harry … and thanks for your interest in Voyager.

My answer to your question:

  1. my intention is to close forum and server to avoid costs and using a private free space where put download. I never talked about stop to develop Voyager. No license equal no money to mantain servers. If Voyager’s users also doesn’t pay for renewal of support i cannot afford the costs. In anycase repeat … i dont stop to develop Voyager.
  2. there’s a lot of free viewer for FIT, usually in unattend imaging if you trust your automation software just look at first image is enough. I don’t think who use ACP or similar software every night is up to look whats happen … anyway Viewer is on the way also if I continue to find it a really strange request.
  3. There’s a lot of planetary managed by Voyager anyway i invest money to get a mosaic wizard project , i just need time to attach to Voyager.
  4. There’s not problem with ASCOM in Voyager for a way that Voyager use it … you can use with hight stability. Answer is not for now.
  5. I already have support for astrometry.net. Also you can use astrometry.net from web and from local like blind solving. Also Voyager can use Astrometry.net like Plate solving and i think is the only one software to do this. All thanks to All Sky Plate Solver that is much better than ansvr.
  6. Answer is not, an automation software with manual rotator sound really strange from my side of view but if you explain to me why and how to implement i’m happy to add.

Problem with Voyager is no one understand really what is under … how use new technology like AI … or how implements complicated algorithms inside … just see the price and see no viewer and no frame and wizard and think … what a bad software !! But anyway in the mornig they have a perfect frame and wizard with no data on the disk :slight_smile: … i dont push to tell about this because i started 10 years ago and i prefer to write code and help people to enter and use automation in their passion.

For last … Voyager is written to avoid crash … i never see Voyager crash in 10 year … but tell you is at 100% true is not the thing.

All the best
LO

Hi Harry -

Let me chime in here - first, thanks for the great PixInsight Tutorials you have posted on your website, they helped me get started. Very useful.

I discovered Voyager in December in a big “SGP Alternatives” thread on CN. I am a bit of a software nut, it’s been my career and I enjoy looking at new products. Like you, though, the enjoyment ends when I wake up and find my software crashed or hung at 1:30AM while I was sleeping and one of those rare clear nights has been lost with only a couple of hours of data collected.

I have licenses for, and have used, ACP Expert, CCD AutoPilot, Prism, CCD Commander, SGP, SharpCap and more. They all work and they all have their fans and success stories. I am sure that many of the issues I have had were my fault.

All that said, the only two that consistently worked night after night without failure for me are ACP Expert and Voyager. I run a Paramount MyT and an iOptron CEM60 on any decent night. Until December I ran ACP on the Paramount and everything else on the iOptron. ACP was good, but it only works with Maxim DL for guiding and image acquisition. The camera side worked fine, but guiding was hit or miss with Maxim. Again, I know Maxim is used the world over, so mea culpa, just reporting my experience.

I started using Voyager on the CEM60 in mid-December. Like all new software, as you well know, there is a learning curve, but honestly, it went very smoothly, and at that time, there was basically a partially finished manual in Italian that I Google translated to English and stumbled through. But I still got it running the first night with autofocus, meridian flip management, automated sequence, PHD2 for guiding, etc. It just worked.

It’s now mid-April and I have imaged 35 full nights of unattended runs with Voyager. No crashes, no hangs. I have had some hardware issues like a loose power cable and USB plug but I have Voyager set to text me when that happens and I can wake up and go fix it. But Voyager itself has simply not crashed.

Leo’s day job is writing real-time software - he understands how to structure a program so it won’t crap out if a third party software piece doesn’t return as expected. Voyager will time out and take the appropriate action - much of which you can choose. E.g. it may retry the action if it is safe to do so, or park the mount if it is not safe (e.g. an impending pier crash if the scope keeps tracking).

I agree with you that Voyager is priced too low. I think its real market is mid-range - people who may be hitting the limits of free or low-cost packages, or would like fully automated imaging but don’t have the means to put together the full ACP package which requires Maxim DL and strongly recommends FocusMax.

After using Voyager on my CEM60 for a couple of months, and having another round of Maxim DL guiding frustration, I tried Voyager on the Paramount MyT. I haven’t gone back to ACP, and am now running Voyager without issues on both mounts on every clear night.

I feel like Voyager is an undiscovered gem that would benefit a lot of people who want to collect data every clear night. I think the lack of complete English documentation was a hindrance. As I said earlier, I like learning software and I’ve always wanted an excuse to write a Wiki, so I built one for Voyager: https://voyager.tourstar.net

My recommendation:

  1. Download the trial version of Voyager
  2. Go through the Quick Start tutorial in the Wiki - you can do it 100% with ASCOM Simulators so you don’t even need to hook up your gear. It will give you a feeling for the software and you can go on from there.

Hope that helps and please feel free to ask questions here or shoot me an email - rarcher at the same domain address as the Wiki.

Best,
Rowland

1 Like

Hi
Many thanks for your reply and appreciate your answers, I do know hosting can cost more than people think , my little website costs me hundreds a year to keep going.

I do not " think bad software " and am sure many hours of work / day/month and even years of work you have put into it , and users must support this effort.
users will be used to a feature and to attract customers you sometimes will have to give them what they want , regarding the viewer IMO I like to see each sub ( when awake ) as often may unexpected things happen , well to me anyway and handy for rough initial focusing and using another program to view is a bit cumbersome .
Are you saying your all plate solver is a blind solver ?
What I mean by a manual rotator is when a target is selected ( hopefully with your mosaic wizard ) there will be a rotation of the target that will most likely not match the camera angle , which would be handled by a motorised rotator if you had one , but most of us don’t so a way of telling you how much to rotate the camera by ( and which way ) to get the framing right.

As a lot of people will tell you , I can break anything :slight_smile: so lets hope I can not break voyager

many thanks for your time

Harry

All Sky Plate Solver is an application and a COM interface written over astrometry.net like ansvr.
It can Install all with a button and have a wizard to download index. Have a little viewer and object viewer attached to it.

http://www.astrogb.com/astrogb/All_Sky_Plate_Solver.html

All the best
LO

Hi
thanks for your reply and you are pleased people still use the old vids ( must do more sometime :slight_smile: )
I too have done the maxim thing :woozy_face: , I remember the dreaded guiding on a hot pixel drove me potty .
I have coughed up the small sum for a licence and will use your wiki to have a play and will ask when I am doing my " thick thing"
keep well
Harry

1 Like

Thank you , you are welcome. If need help we can arrange remote session to setup all.
A license mail was sended to you.

All the best
LO

Hi
I will have a good play this weekend and see how we get on

Thanks for the offer of help , I might need it

Harry

Hi
so got my equipment connected and working , so thought I would run of some bias frames with the sequencer , but will not let me without it seems having the mount synced ( keeps asking for co ords )
tried disconnecting everything but the camera , still asked for co ords why is this so please
also the auto flat seems to need a mount connected as well or it reports a error
off course its probably:innocent: me
thanks
Harry

Currently, Voyager requires that all equipment be connected at all times, even if you are only taking calibration frames. This is an inconvenience, but I believe Leo is working on a way to connect equipment selectively.

Best,

Glenn

All Sky Plate Solver is fantastic. I much prefer it over ANSVR. I was skeptical at first, too, but I have become a fan. :star_struck:

Best,

Glenn

Hi
I can cope with the connect all equipment but why do I have have the scope synced ?

Harry

I have downloaded it , Must play :slight_smile:

Hi Harry,
You can take bias frames with a sequence.

A Sequence is a complete description of actions associated with imaging a target, so it does have more settings than you need to take bias frames. It’s easier to take bias frames with a DragScript, since it allows single actions, but let’s see how to do it with a Sequence.

FYI, once you get the settings right for a Bias sequence, save that Sequence with a filename like bias-frame-sequence and you can just load it later to reuse.

  1. As Glenn points out, you do need a mount connected, but it can be a simulator
  2. A sequence requires coordinates so put in any object of your fancy, or just make up RA and DEC coordinates and enter them at the top of the Sequence definition (the line starting with target)
  3. Now go through the tabs in the Sequence definition and turn off anything that would be needed if you were shooting a light frame but is not needed for calibration frames:
    a) On Start tab: Uncheck “Point Target on Start” and “Inject Focus on Start”
    b) Plate Solving: Check “Disable Plate Solving”
    c) Meridian flip: Select “Do Not Manage” from the drop-down
    d) Guide/Dithering: Uncheck the boxes next to “Calibrate Guide” and “Guiding” (or select No Guider in your profile setup)
    e) Focus: Uncheck any selections to do an autofocus action

I just did this successfully so give it a try and let me know.

Cheers,
Rowland

1 Like

Harry,

And for reference, this is what the DragScript to take 10 Bias frames looks like, assuming your gear is connected:

DragScript is really a drag and drop sequencer (using the word “sequencer” generically, not referring to a Voyager Sequence). It’s pretty easy to use, but hey, you’re the guy who convinced me that my eyes wouldn’t burn and fall out if I learned PixelMath so I know you’re up to the task :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Rowland

Leo said:

There’s a lot of free viewer for FIT, usually in unattend imaging if you trust your automation software just look at first image is enough. I don’t think who use ACP or similar software every night is up to look whats happen … anyway Viewer is on the way also if I continue to find it a really strange request.
5. Answer is not, an automation software with manual rotator sound really strange from my side of view but if you explain to me why and how to implement i’m happy to add.

Regarding the use-case for image viewer and manual rotator:

I do not have an observatory and usually need to set up every night I image. This means I need to achieve rough focus before running an auto focus routine, and I frequently need to adjust camera rotation to properly frame the night’s target. I try to select targets that work well with the chosen rotation angle so I don’t have to change it again during the night.

If I can leave the rig set up for multiple days (like at a star party or in my back yard), I usually don’t need to make these adjustments on the second day before starting to image. I just start the DragScript and enjoy my evening.

At a star party a couple of weeks ago, I started a DragScript to image M106 and let it run for a bit. I decided to check a few subframes in another app to make sure there were no problems. I discovered that I had configured plate solving incorrectly and the target was well off-center. I reframed the target and continued imaging for the rest of the night.

But I would not have recognized the problem if I had not checked the subframe in an image viewer. I am glad Voyager is getting a built-in image viewer because, although it may be infallible, I most certainly am not. :innocent:

For camera rotation, I am simply using plate solving, which does report the sky angle. The angle is hard to pick out of all the data in the monitor, but it works OK. I like to rotate the camera to make the composition pretty. (I find that if I shoot only at one angle (say 0 degrees) and crop the picture to compose the shot after the fact, I lose too much of my image to the cropping tool.)

It would be great if camera rotation could be specified in a sequence, and when the sequence or DragScript starts, Voyager could prompt those of us with a manual rotator to rotate the camera by a certain amount (ie, 20 degrees clockwise) and then plate solve again to verify. After correct rotation is achieved, the sequence or drag script could continue.

Hope all of this makes sense. Thanks again for all of your excellent work, Leo.

Glenn

Thanks Glenn, in my AP career i learn that rotating camera manually or with rotator for some system mean to lost collimation or planarity. If you feel good to do this i understand your reasons. Personally I never rotate my camera to do a image in so many years also because if you do more than one object for night you need to do flat at same rotation … is difficult to do manually.

Voyager phylosophy is to don’t put inside things or actions can introduce a fault or a problem for the final result. But i can add manual rotator … but i’ll add with color gold with mean control can introduce problem.

Viewer is on going.

Thanks to you for your support.

All the best.
Leo

1 Like

I’ll introduce a flag in sequence “Sequence for calibration only files” … to avoid use of mount.
I’m finishing to connect/disconnect controls one by one … anyway DragScript is a very simple way to do calibration file. THere’s a precompiled dragscript inside the editor.

1 Like

Hi Thanks for the script "look at "

I can feel my eyes burning right now :slight_smile:

Harry

Hi

For aesthetic and physically getting a target within the chip rotating is a must have for most people and
personally mutli targets during one night are a pipe dream :upside_down_face: and mullti nights are needed on the same subject to get enough data .
Also when you get your framing wizard going rotation will be a must as well , so I look forward to your future updates
Many Thanks
Harry