Ascom Gps

Ascom GPS is a new program that I’ve created.  It’s taken me a while to get this into production, mainly because I have been sidetracked by another project.  (More on that later)

 

Ascom GPS is a utility that I have created to help me with my astrophotography.  Using my Meade LX-90 Telescope, I wanted to be able to set the location, date and time of the telescope when I start an imaging session.  Doing this will help to improve the pointing and tracking accuracy of the scope.

Why create ASCOM GPS, are there not already tools around that do this?  For the Autostar telescopes, there is a product called StarGPS, it’s a new firmware that you can upload to the handbox and that adds GPS functionality directly into the telescope.  However it has a downside.  To make use of the GPS you have to use the serial port.  This means either switching plugs about or doing something else.   I want to use the Serial port on my handbox to connect to my laptop.

 

Since I already have the laptop, I’m acutally 90% of the way to being able to do what I wanted.   All I need to do is add a simple GPS Receiver (the link takes you to the one that I purchased).  Once installed, it’s simply a case of getting a reading from the GPS, opening a connection to the telescope mount and uploading the new information.

 

This is where Ascom GPS comes in.  Install the program, run it.  Choose your mount. click connect on the mount, connect on the GPS the click Set Location and you are done. The information from the GPS will be transferred to the mount.   The best part is that it works using the ASCOM Platform so it’s not specifically for the Meade LX-90.  It will work for any telescope that has a driver with ASCOM Support.

 

I mentioned that I was sidetracked by another project.  Turns out that the Meade telescope driver doesn’t do what I need for AscomGps to work properly.  Hence my last post where I created an open source project to create a new driver for Meade telescopes.   There was a problem with the original driver that I was using as the settings for the location, date and time were not implemented on that driver.  Which means that the program wouldn’t work.   Anyway, now that I have a new driver installed.  It should work great.

 

Where can I get Ascom GPS?  Here’s a link to the installer.   I’ll update this post once I have somewhere more permanent with a release history.

2 Responses to “Ascom Gps

  • Michael Waring
    3 weeks ago

    Nice on Colin.

    Does it take into account the differing ways that different brands of mount want the data entered?

    e.g DD-MM-YYYY, or MM-DD-YYYY

    56.3513N, or 56 21 05 N

    etc

    Michael

    • cjdawson
      3 weeks ago

      That is one of the beauties of using ASCOM. The date and time is passed to the ASCOM Driver using the .net DateTime class, so it’s binary rather than text. The individual mount driver then has the responsibility of sending the date to the mount in the correct format. So, for a scope from manufacturer A, it’ll be DD-MM-YYYY and for manufacturer b, it’ll be MM-DD-YYYY as the mount driver will know what the mount requires.

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