Getting Started Work Flow

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Getting Started Work Flow

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There are basically two work flow descriptions that should be helpful to you as you work with APCC.   First, you need to understand how to get the program set up to work with your mount, your observatory and other software.  This section provides a step-by-step outline of this work flow - but it is an outline.  Be sure to follow the more detailed steps in the next three sections to actually set up your system with APCC.  Later in this "Getting Started" section, we will provide the second section on operational work flow.   This will deal with suggested procedures and methods of operation in your normal night-to-night observing and imaging after your system is all set up.

Before You Start

1.Get familiar with your mount.   If you are new to Astro-Physics mounts, spend some time simply using the mount with the keypad.  Learn how your mount behaves.  Become familiar with the mechanics of the mount.

2.Make sure that you are familiar with the other software programs that you plan to use with APCC.   If you try to learn TheSkyX, Starry Night, MaxIm DL, NINA, Sequence Generator Pro, ACP, CCDAutoPilot and APCC all at the same time, you will probably be doomed to failure.

3.Become familiar with the AP V2 ASCOM Driver before you begin using APCC.   Since most of the software you will use with APCC will work through the AP V2 ASCOM Driver, it is best to first become proficient with operations with the driver.  If you have been using a program like TheSkyX with its native driver, make the switch to using it with the AP V2 ASCOM Driver before combining it with APCC.

4.Confirm that you meet all of the Hardware/Software Requirements.

Initial Setup - Recommended "Easy" Setup

1.Prepare all of your physical connections.  Have the cables ready to go.

2.Close ALL other software, especially other astronomy software (possible ASCOM client software)

3.Install in order:

a.The Latest ASCOM Platform, if not already installed - v. 6.3 or later

b.The Latest AP V2 ASCOM Driver if not already installed - v. 5.09.11 or later.  If upgrading from 5.08.x or earlier, you MUST uninstall older versions of the driver in Windows Control Panel first!

4.Follow the instructions in the section that follows to: Install APCC.  During the install:

a.Be sure you check the box to: Install / Re-install the Virtual Ports. V. 1.5.x includes a new, updated Eltima Virtual Port driver.

b.Check the box to:  Allow to run after install.

Warning: DO NOT interfere with the two command windows (black DOS boxes) that will appear toward the end of the installation process!  Doing so will cause a failure of the virtual port system.  Click the link above for more details.

5.NEW USERS:  When APCC starts, enter your license key information when prompted to do so.  This can be either the trial or full license key.

6.NEW USERS:  You will be prompted to enter your site information for your primary site.  You can also enter information for any other sites you wish at this time.  For getting started, you only need the first site you will use, so don't worry if you don't have the information for every site you will eventually enter.  You can add sites later.  

7.Decide on and define your Primary and secondary Virtual Ports.  (Pick a port number for each and create the port in the Virtual Ports Tab.  We recommend COM 21 and COM 22 for most people.  This avoids conflicts with real ports.)

a.Once you have created the primary port, you can check the Create Virtual Ports First check box in the Mount section of the Connections Group Box.

8.Close the driver's Setup Telescope window if it is still open from the update to the AP V2 Driver.

9.To configure the AP V2 driver for APCC, simply click the small, but mighty Now button in the AP V2 Driver section of APCC's Connection Group box.
 
Now-1_2016-0720
 

a.Click OK on the two boxes that follow:
 
Now-2_2016-0720
 
Now-3_2016-0720
 
The AP V2 driver will now be configured correctly for connection through the APCC Virtual Port you defined earlier.

10.From the APCC Settings Menu (on the menu bar at the top), select Edit Initialize Mount Settings...  This will open the Initialization Window.  Enter your desired settings and then click the "Save" button.
 
SettingsMenu3
 

11.In APCC's Connections Group Box, select your connection method for connecting APCC to your mount - COM port, or Network for GTOCP4/GTOCP5 owners.

12.Power up the mount.

13.Click the Connect button in the Mount section of the Connections Group Box.  Your primary connection indicator should turn yellow.

14.Click the Connect button in the AP V2 Driver section of the Connections Group Box.  Your primary Virtual Port indicator should turn yellow

15.Start to Play!!  The instructions above will get anyone started with APCC. As you become more familiar with the program, you may wish to set up additional parameters as described in the section below.

16.Final note:  AFTER you have set everything up and tested through a start-up shut-down cycle or two, you will probably want to consider checking some of the auto-connect options in APCC's Connections group box.

a.Auto-Connect Mount - best for permanent  setups or for semi-portable setups that are used at the same location most of the time.  If you travel to different sites, leave this unchecked.

b.Create Virtual Ports First - almost everyone will want this checked.

c.Auto-Connect AP V2 Driver - again, best for permanent setups as in "a" above.  DO NOT check this if you start APCC from an ASCOM client program (doable, but NOT recommended).

d.Auto-Config AP V2 Driver - Unless you use the driver occasionally by itself, leave this UNchecked.  Use the Now button as described above for your initial driver setup.  Also, as in "c" above, DO NOT check this if you start APCC from an ASCOM client program.
Connections_1-5-0-24_2017-0601  Typical for most users

Additional Things to Consider at the Getting Started Phase

1.Most users will only need the first 2 Virtual Ports for the AP V2 ASCOM Driver (The 2nd port is for client programs that must run as administrator.)  You may, however, want to configure the rest of the Virtual Ports Tab for the way you plan to use your system.   Add extra virtual ports ONLY if you need them (i.e. for a non-ASCOM app like PulseGuide), but don't add them unless you actually will use them.  
 
Virt_Port_Tab_2015-1221

2.Set your desired Park position in the Park Tab.  Set the Unpark option in the dropdown list to Last Parked.  This is the normal Unpark setting for ALL permanent setups.  If you are portable, and must reestablish your position at each startup, set this to Park 4.   If you just need to reestablish your position this one time in a permanent setup, select Park 4 and then switch back to Last Parked once pointing is established.  To resume from Park 4, you will, of course, need to place the mount into the Park 4 position.

3. Create your Horizon Tracking Limits if you will be using them.  

4. Create your Meridian Tracking Limits if you will be using them.

5.Configure your Home and Limits (NON-Encoder mounts ONLY!) after you are finished using the clutches.

 

6. If you have APCC Pro we recommend the following:

a.Establish your Horizon and Meridian Tracking Limits BEFORE doing anything in the Pointing Model Tab.

b.If time permits, operate your mount normally for a few nights to be sure that you have everything else working the way you want it to.

c.When you feel ready (or if you simply cannot wait), open the Pointing Model Tab, and then click on the APPM button to get started with a pointing model.

 

If you follow these steps in order, you will have everything set up in a way that most users will find ideal.  There are, of course, many additional options and settings in APCC that you can work with, but start with the basics and try to get a good understanding of the program before attempting to use the more advanced features.