Resolved SBIG Drivers for macOS 10.15 (Catalina)

Discussion in 'General' started by doncarona, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    Greetings,

    Any word on when a new driver installer will be ready for macOS 10.15 (Catalina)? Since Catalina runs on a dedicated read-only system, vendors aren't allowed to write kernel extensions to "/System/Library/Extensions" any longer...probably have to write to "/Library/Extensions" now. I'm upgrading two of our observatories, but don't want to install Catalina on the TCS servers unless you have a new driver installer ready for download.

    Best Regards,
    Don
     
  2. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Hi Don,
    Thanks for reaching out. This is an issue we are actively tracking. I would recommend against upgrading to Catalina - far too many applications aren't ready for it, and a large number of hardware devices from many manufacturers will be unsupportable on it.

    Which SBIG cameras do you have?

    The reason I ask is that certain older models are unsupportable do to circumstances beyond our control - decisions made by Apple and by Cypress Semiconductor, maker of a critical interface USB component in certain SBIG models.
    The Aluma series cameras have a whole new architecture, and a driver update to the 64bit Catalina 10.15 looks viable.
    The (STX, STXL, STF) may be doable, but we're waiting for things to stabilize with MacOS.
     
  3. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    Thanks for the quick response Colin! I'm sure there are others out there wondering the same thing and you've answered perfectly. We have just about every SBIG camera except one from the Aluma series and I'm looking at one of those now. I'm in no rush to upgrade as I have 8 observatories to manage. I actually keep most of our TCS computers on High Sierra with a couple on Mojave. There are some real issues running IRAF on Catalina; so, I'll likely not perform any upgrades to the latest OS until things stabilize since IRAF is in my data pipeline. I did have some minor luck last night running an ST-i and an STF-8300 from Catalina using the current driver set with a manual install. Too many pitfalls, but it was fun to try. The weather here was cold and rainy and I had nothing better to do. I look forward to seeing how things progress. Best -Don
     
  4. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    If you have STTs, they may work. The ST and STL probably wont as the Cypress device has to upload firmware and configuration and then re-enumerate itself as a new USB device with a new VID and PID on the bus, and this just isnt going to work since Apple took away Kext and certain other so-called security fixes went in.
     
  5. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Let me restate that - the ST-i may work, I meant like the ST-7XME through ST-2000XME family.
     
  6. Roy Salisbury

    Roy Salisbury Standard User

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    Any update on this? Also, I'd be looking for the STT drivers. I know the camera is discontinued, but the drivers are universal between the STF and STT I thought. Specifically I have the STT-8300 w/ FW8 & OAG plus the AO unit.

    Roy
     
  7. Roy Salisbury

    Roy Salisbury Standard User

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    Can you share some info on how you did the manual install on Catalina? I can give that a try as well.

    Roy
     
  8. stephen.tate

    stephen.tate Standard User

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    Dear Whoever -- this is now critical Apple have started to push 10.15 this to a wider audience are you saying that anybody who has a camera older than STF model such ST-8300 series is out of luck and may as well throw out the camera ? don't think this is on really. you can argue that its just future development, but lets be honest many of your cameras are consumer used and X,000 dollars spent just to throw away not good for customer service.
     
  9. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Our first goal is to ensure that all modern hardware, such as STT, STX, STXL, and STF, will work on Catalina.

    Unfortunately for older hardware such as the ST series it isn't within our ability to solve the problem. Apple has made it impossible to initialize hardware that is based on older Cypress chipsets. Cypress used to use a "re-numeration" scheme to download the firmware into the Cypress chip, which then rebooted and reconnected with a new personality. Cypress has moved away from this technology so they aren't porting it to new operating systems. This affects many different types of hardware, the most common example being printers.

    These older camera still operate in Linux or Windows. It's not the ideal solution but you can run the camera via Boot Camp, VMWare, etc.

    Another less-than-ideal solution would be to use a Raspberry Pi or similar to initialize the camera, then plug it into the Mac. Or use BootCamp just to initialize the camera and then go back to MacOS.
     
  10. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

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    OK, so when do you expect you might have a new driver for the STF? Is this staffed? Is there an ETA? I'd like to be able to use my camera again...
    Thanks,
    stan in Brooklyn
     
  11. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    Hi Colin et al. Maybe we should look at this from a different approach. At the low end, macOS is just a UNIX computer. It should be possible to borrow from the Linux driver and compile libsbigudrv for macOS. I've done this, albeit several years ago, when I wanted to run XmCCD under X11. Now that XQuartz has taken over the X11 responsibilities for macOS, there are some issues with getting OpenMotif to cooperate with XQuartz; so, it's not as straight-forward to compile XmCCD under macOS now. Regardless, if all the end-user has to do is install fxload and/or libusb as well as the Xcode command line tools in order to compile libsbigudrv as 64bit, then it should be possible to run any of the ST, STF, etc. cameras under Catalina. The libsbigudrv is currently 64bit for the Linux distributions. Just a thought.
     
  12. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    We have work related to this in the queue.
     
  13. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    CATALINA ISSUE SOLVED

    So, I read a few Apple white papers regarding Catalina last night and it was clear to me that while kext is deprecated, it is still fully supported. I ran some tests on 3 of my development computers and SBIG cameras are completely operational under Catalina. Heres what you need to do, but don't blame me if you kill your computer because you did something you weren't supposed to do.

    Before proceeding, you must disable System Integrity Protection (SIP) on your Mac. To test if SIP is enabled, open Terminal and type: csrutil status and press Return. If it's enabled, disable it using these instructions:

    1. Boot to Recovery OS by restarting your machine and holding down the Command and R keys at startup. (You can release the keys once the Apple logo and progress bar appear.)
    2. Launch Terminal from the Utilities menu.
    3. Enter the following command: csrutil disable and press Return. A status confirmation is displayed.
    4. Close Terminal and Restart the computer from the Apple menu. Note that it can take several seconds before the computer responds to the restart command.

    Install SBIG Universal Drivers in Catalina...

    1. Download the latest SBIGDriverInstallerUniv.dmg from SBIG.
    2. Important: Close all programs and reboot your Mac.
    3. Open Terminal and at the prompt, type:

    sudo mount -uw /

    4. Press return on the keyboard and enter your administrator password when prompted. This will make the read-only system volume writable. Don't mess around with the system volume.
    5. Mount the driver installer disk image (SBIGDriverInstallerUniv.dmg) by double-clicking its icon.
    6. Right-click on the package installer (SBIG Universal Driver Installer 4r84) and choose "Open".
    7. You'll be told that it's not from an identified developer....just choose "Open" again.
    8. As you go through the normal package setup, Catalina is going to complain that you're writing to the system volume...just keep pressing forward.
    9. The drivers will be installed and registered and when the installer finishes, you'll be required to reboot. If for some reason you're not required to reboot, reboot anyway.
    10. Once the computer reboots, your system volume will be read-only again and you'll be able to run your cameras through TheSkyX, CCDOps Lite, or whatever you use that's allowed to be installed in Catalina.

    The oldest USB camera I have is the first ST-7 production camera with USB. It worked perfectly through the camera control software I programmed myself as well as TheSkyX. Sorry folks, I don't have other control software. I was also able to control my SBIG DSS-7 spectrograph (which SBIG really needs to produce again) connected to my ST-402 as well as my STX-16803 and STF-8300. Hope this helps until SBIG can decide how they want to manage the next iteration of SBIG drivers for Mac.

    Best Regards,
    Don
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    Doug likes this.
  14. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    Hi Roy. Sorry for the delay. The manual install was a dead-end, but if you read my last post, I did solve the problem and SBIG cameras can be operated through Catalina. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Don
     
  15. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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  16. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

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    Haven't tested it yet but according to the folks at StellarMate, the latest INDI library includes 64-bit driver support for SBIG cameras: https://astronomytechnologytoday.co...ase-of-kstars-v3-3-7-and-indi-library-v1-8-2/

    Excerpt from the link above:

    "...The latest release of KStars v3.3.7 packs a lot of new features and fixes across the board including ASTAP integration (an astrometric plate solver), FITS Enhancements, Guiding/PHD2 improvements and much more. The INDI Library v1.8.2 release improves support for QHY & DSLR cameras, and adds 64bit support for SBIG."

    Hope it's true and it works. Could someone please test this (I'm not near my observatory this week)?

    -stan in Brooklyn
     
  17. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    Hi Stan. There are a number of solutions like this on the market now, but it doesn't solve the central issue discussed here, which is native USB support for SBIG cameras on macOS 10.15 (Catalina). StellarMate is a Linux box that controls the setup and specifically, SBIG cameras using the native Linux 64-bit drivers previously discussed. If you want to have some fun with a DIY project, you can create a more powerful system with a LattePanda micro pc or a LattePanda Alpha 864s if you really want it to scream. Thanks!
     
  18. Stanley Fertig

    Stanley Fertig stan in Brooklyn Cyanogen Customer

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    Oh,well. I actually use kStars (which I adore) and INDI without a StellarMate directly from my macBook Air to the scope, focuser and STF-8300M, and it has always worked just fine, at least until Catalina. So if this still won't work, my question is--and thank you Don for a workaround--is SBIG currently working on a new native driver?? Doug??

    Thanks all,
    stan in Brooklyn
     
  19. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    The installation method for SBIG drivers in Catalina that I previously submitted should allow you to use kStars and INDI directly from your MacBook Air without any problem. According to previous posts, they are looking at a few alternatives for macOS drivers.

    Regards,
    Don
     
  20. doncarona

    doncarona Standard User

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    @Stanley Fertig ... Just successfully tested kStars, Ekos, INDI on a MacBook Pro running macOS 10.15 (Catalina) with native SBIG drivers installed per my previous instructions. It all works as expected. I tested using my ST-i and STF-8300.
     

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