Notes on upgrading observatory computer to Windows 7

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Revision as of 12:42, 16 August 2012 by Ejensen1 (Talk | contribs) (Order of software installation)

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This page is to document our upgrade to a new observatory computer with Windows 7. The original machine used to control the telescope (from commissioning in 2009 through summer of 2012) ran Windows XP. So there may be some issues encountered in the upgrade. Thorough documentation here should (hopefully) help with next time we need to upgrade hardware or software.

Initial testing was done with the same computer, but with a fresh Windows 7 install on a separate disk; so not everything in the first section may be completely the same with the new computer. (Eric Jensen, July 12-13 2012)

Order of software installation

(New notes with new computer, August 16- 2012.) To determine best plan for software installation, I contacted Bob Denny at DC3-Dreams (publisher of ACP) for advice on order of installation. He said "Install the ASCOM Platform 6 first. Then install the TheSky Controlled Telescope driver. Then the TCC Software. Then TheSky. Check TheSky out with your scope. Then check it via the ASCOM driver using the POTH tool that comes with the ASCOM Platform. Then MaxIm as ACP will be looking for it during installation. Then ACP and Hot Fix 4. Make sure at the end of the Hot Fix to use the "Register TCC for ASCOM" option, their software fails to do this and is no longer maintained by them. Next install the Digital Domeworks ASCOM Driver (DDWCP is not needed though can be useful for troubleshooting)."

  • Installed RealVNC free version
  • Installed Norton Ghost and backed up the computer in initial state.
  • Installed ASCOM platform 6 SP1 from here.
  • Installed TheSky Controlled Telescope Driver version 5.2.10 from here. During installation, chose the option to also have it install the source files.

Ports / connectivity

  • The Icron Ranger 2104 (4-port USB hub over ethernet) just worked - no installation of drivers needed. Plugged in a flash drive in the USB hub to test.
  • The Edgeport/4 (USB-serial converter), plugged into the Icron hub, did not work initially. Windows could see the device, but Device Manager said that drivers were not installed. Clicking on "Update drivers" and then "search for drivers" found and installed the necessary drivers without incident, and then it started working. COM ports showed up in Device Manager. There is a standalone application that can configure the device to map its ports to particular COM port numbers if it's necessary to change these. (Should check current XP install to see what the mapping is.) The TCC is set to use COM 4.

Current software / settings

In our current (Win XP) installation, we are running the following:

  • TCC version 1.5.26. This is the current version as of July 2012, per RCOS support forum It is configured to use COM 4. (Looks like the last full installer there is 1.5.17, so probably need to install that first, then download and copy over just the 1.5.26 RCOS-ae.exe file.
  • TheSky is major version 6, specifically The telescope is configured in TheSky as a Paramount ME, using port COM 6.
  • Digital Dome Works is version 5.2, revision date 12/02/2008, set up to use COM 5. It is available for download here.
  • MaximDL is version 5.18. This is the current version as of 7/13/2012, and we currently *do* have an active license for updates to it, through September 2012.

Notes for updating

  • TheSky 6:
  1. Use the DVD we have to install TheSky 6. (This installs; need to enter serial number from packaging.) Done
  2. Apply the updater to update to (downloaded from here.) Done
  3. Possibly, also apply a "daily build" update from here. Done - updated to
  1. Get files from the RCOS support forum.
  2. The last full installer there is 1.5.17, so download and install that first.
  3. Then download and copy over just the 1.5.26 RCOS-ae.exe file into the Program Files -> RCOS TCC folder.
  4. These programs run into problems with Windows User Account Control, so either need to turn that off completely, or do the workaround below:
    • Make shortcuts for both RCOS TCC and RCOS-ae on the desktop.
    • Right-click and then choose "Properties", and in that dialog, select "Run as administrator."
    • Before the TCC starts up, you will then always be asked if it's OK to run a program from an unknown publisher - just click "Yes".
  5. In order for the TCC to run under Windows 7, the executable RCOS-ae has to be run first (just once per reboot). When you run this, nothing appears to happen, but if you don't the TCC won't work - you'll just get "unable to connect to RCOS COM object" or something like that. To make this simple:
    • Move the shortcut for RCOS-ae (created in the step above) into the "Startup" folder in the Start menu (under the "All Programs" listing).
    • RCOS-ae will then run at startup without any user intervention, and so starting the TCC is just as simple as before under Win XP - just double-click the file.
  6. Finally, to get the presets from the old install, copy over the file RCOS.dat from the Program Files -> RCOS TCC folder. This has those values saved.