Staff Assigned: Adam Robichaud Yet Another TheSkyX Question

Discussion in 'Aluma Series' started by Semih Eskin, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. Semih Eskin

    Semih Eskin Cyanogen Customer

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    Hello,
    I've recently purchased Aluma 8300 Camera w/ Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Pro Package and I'm trying to use it with TSX.
    I read the forums and I've purchased Maxim DL Pro also to use Aluma with TSX - it seems it is the only way right now.
    Although camera works, I couldn't find a way to use OAG and Filter Wheel with TSX.

    I need a bit guidance.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    We’re working with Software Bisque to improve support for Aluma cameras.

    We are also currently testing new ASCOM drivers for Aluma cameras and filter wheels. The beta test release for the camera driver is actually being distributed now as part of the DL imaging driver package. Filter wheel beta support will be included in the next release.
     
  3. Semih Eskin

    Semih Eskin Cyanogen Customer

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    Thanks Doug. I've also started testing ASCOM Camera driver.
    Any timeframe for FW Support or native TSX? Right now, as a Paramount MX+ owner, current status is pretty much useless for me until required software released. I have to set aside my new camera.
     
  4. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    You can run it through MaxIm DL, which works very well in conjunction with TheSky software. They can be linked for telescope control etc.

    We're engaging with SB on this; stay tuned.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  5. Semih Eskin

    Semih Eskin Cyanogen Customer

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    "Staying tuned" is a very broad time frame. I was not trying to figure out a far-from-ideal workaround. To be more specific; I moved from Mac to PC to run Maxim after I read the forums. Also spent additional 500$ for Pro version to integrate it for TSX. There was no information about FW8G being tightly coupled with Maxim.
    From Aluma product description "Aluma is designed to operate either via USB 2.0 or WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. Designed from the ground-up to support operation on any modern computing platform, Aluma is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. Fully-documented and supported drivers are available for all platforms, including ASCOM drivers. The Aluma camera interface specification is fully documented, supporting the development of fully custom interfaces. ... Aluma also supports third-party applications through ASCOM and native drivers".

    Aluma advertised as like that for a year. Isn't it a false advertisement than? How can anybody use Aluma with a Mac or with third-party software or with ASCOM drivers?
    I couldn't find any documentation about drivers/software support are not being ready before my purchase.
    May anybody from DL be more specific about the time frame? Days, weeks, months, years?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  6. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    We haven’t sold it for “years”; it was introduced last year.

    Yes we are behind and I sincerely apologize for that. The Windows API is fully released now and we need to get a demo camera over to Bisque for integration.

    Mac and Linux versions of the API are in testing. The Mac version has a little gremlin related to buffer size that is being sorted out.
     
  7. Semih Eskin

    Semih Eskin Cyanogen Customer

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    Sorry for the extra "s". I've edited my post to be more accurate.
    My intension was not to offend anybody. Don't get me wrong, Aluma and FW8G is an incredible piece of hardware. Very well designed and built. That's why I decided to buy it.
    You released a new camera line without proper software support at the release date, that's a strategic decision that you took and I'm not arguing on that. But, using "present tense" for features that not exists yet on your web site and relevant documentation is misleading and frustrating. That's what I'm trying to say. DL is a reputable company, not a random Chinese manufacturer. When I read something on your site/documentation, I believe it without further research. This is a direct feedback from a customer, take it or leave it.

    That said; are there any chance you may share the Windows SDK with me? I'm not sure Software Bisque will prioritize this. I'll implement features that I need on my spare times.
     
  8. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Your feedback is appreciated and you are quite correct, we aren't where we wanted/expected to be at this point in time. However that is almost resolved.

    Yes we can share the API with you. I'll ask Adam to get you set up.
     
  9. Semih Eskin

    Semih Eskin Cyanogen Customer

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    Thank you Doug!
     
  10. Semih Eskin

    Semih Eskin Cyanogen Customer

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    I've completed initial version of Aluma X2 driver for TheSkyX. I open-sourced the driver if anybody interested. You can find the link to the repo below.
    There are many missing features like error handling etc. I hope, I'll complete them in my spare times.

    https://github.com/semiheskin/AlumaX2
     
    mike m benjamin likes this.
  11. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Thanks for taking this on.

    FYI, the MacOS and Linux versions of the driver are also available. They can be downloaded from the front page of the API documentation.
     
  12. higbyrichard

    higbyrichard Standard User

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    I have just seen the posts from Semith and the responses from Doug from Defraction Limited relating to issues concerning the Aluma 8300 Camera and FW package. I wish to lend my support to everything Semith has said. In our case, I am a long standing champion of both the SBIG hardware and the SkyX Bisque software. I initially recommended the SBIG STT camera as I have one and when this was discontinued suggested the Aluma 8300 camera presuming that its launch and operation would continue in the professional SBIG tradition. How wrong we were.
    Candidly, we have been embarrassed by our recommendation. For an established outfit to launch a camera in the market without tried and tested operating software is unprofessional. Our friends frustration, daily international calls to your support person and short term software "work-arounds" makes us wish we had never made the recommendation in the first place. All this aggravated by the fact that there are issues with any interface with SkyX Software, the latter of which was never an issue in the past with SBIG cameras.
    You have lost me as a customer.
    Richard (Tasmania, Australia).
     
  13. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Richard, how can we help? The ASCOM drivers for the Aluma series cameras are available for use with TheSkyX, and we've done work on the other platforms as well.
    Are you looking for TSX support on Mac or Linux or what?
    The Aluma cameras use the best of what we've learned building cameras for 25 years... and the old APIs just aren't up to speed for modern multi-threaded environments.
     
  14. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Richard, it was totally inappropriate for you to rant over on the Software Bisque forum.
    http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/t/35196.aspx

    We want to resolve whatever problem exists.
    This post you made above indicates you have a problem - yet we don't seem to have any record of you owning an Aluma camera, and you imply some friend of yours does.
    From our records, we're not sure who you are talking about or what the issue is.
    For us to get to the bottom of this, you need to give us a fair oppoertunity to address your issue (or your friend's issue). Flaming us publicly on a third party forum isn't really helpful.

    So, that said, what's your issue or what is your friend's issue, who is the friend, and what can we do to fix it?
     
  15. higbyrichard

    higbyrichard Standard User

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    Craig,
    First we had incorrectly assumed that you represented both Software Bisque and Diffraction Limited as you appear on both Forums.
    You will note from my post of the 23rd June, that I do not own an Aluma Camera and that a colleague of mine does.
    Second, the criticism relates specifically to the launch and sale of the Aluma 8300 Camera and FW package and its operating Firmware. In short Craig, it did not work out of the box as advertised.
    To conclude, I am informed that the Aluma 8300 camera is finally working after months of frustration with the Firmware being manipulated by Diffraction over the Internet. There is therefore nothing further to resolve.
    I trust that is now clear.
    My own SBIG Cameras of which I own two are both exceptional instruments and driven directly by the superb SkyX Operating System.
     
  16. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    I work for Diffraction Limited, and am a Software Bisque customer.
    Thank you for confirming that the problem is resolved.
    Whose camera are you talking about? MC? GC?
    In the end, releasing 6 camera sensor variations with 3 operating systems took longer than anticipated.
    Let me offer my apologies if this has caused you personal embarrasment and frustration.
     
  17. Doug

    Doug Staff Member

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    Yes we were slower off the ground with the new DL Imaging driver platform than we expected. Aluma represents the first truly from-the-ground-up design platform from SBIG since the ST-7. We had very ambitious goals for the new API that we launched with it, and it is fair to say we underestimated the amount of effort required to perfect it. Our goal was to build a new platform that would be reliable, expandable, and serve our customers well for many years to come. I believe we have succeeded in that.

    The good news is that this new driver and firmware platform is the basis for all new models moving forward. We are integrating several exciting new camera models right now, and there is virtually zero software work required to support them. All we need to add is one adjustable parameter, but there's already a built-in mechanism in the API and drivers for doing exactly that.

    The DL Imaging driver platform is now working so well that we have recently decided to bring the STF, STXL, and STX series cameras over to the new API. That work is underway now. Once that is complete we will deprecate the aging SBIG Universal drivers. They will still be available to support obsolete models, but will not be further developed moving forward.
     
  18. higbyrichard

    higbyrichard Standard User

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    Craig, Thank you for your response. The package in question was for MC. I have cooled down now and happy to move on.

    Regards

    Richard
     
  19. Brian Sutton

    Brian Sutton Standard User

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    Hey Semih. I was reading through the forums to find out how to get my new Aluma 694 w filter wheel to work with the SkyX. I downloaded your x2 but I’m not sure what to do with it from there. Any help would be very much appreciated! It’s kinda silly that you spend over $6000 and it doesn’t even work! At least for me anyway.
     
  20. Colin Haig

    Colin Haig Staff Member

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    Hi Brian, a few months ago, we sent an entire Aluma package with FW and AO-8A down to Richard Wright at Software Bisque so that they can add everything needed into TSX for the various operating systems it supports. It would be helpful if you would post over on the Bisque site to help them prioritize it. They've been very busy with multiple new products.
     

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