Notes on upgrading observatory computer to Windows 7
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)
(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Make sure at the end of the Hot Fix to use the "Register TCC for ASCOM" option, their software fails to do this and is no longer maintained by them.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.
- Installed RCOS TCC:
- Get files from the RCOS support forum.
- The last full installer there is 1.5.17, so download and install that first.
- Then download and copy over just the 1.5.26 RCOS-ae.exe file into the Program Files -> RCOS TCC folder.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- TheSky 6:
- Use the DVD we have to install TheSky 6. (This installs 22.214.171.124; need to enter serial number from packaging.)
- Apply the updater to update to 126.96.36.199 (downloaded from here.)
- Apply a "daily build" update; download from here, then replace only the executable file "TheSky6". This updates to 188.8.131.52.
- To copy over previous settings:
- Copy old Normal.sky file to new installation; it lives in Documents/Software Bisque/TheSky6/Documents. It should contain the Tpoint model as well.
- Also copy over the folder "Field of View Indicators" in Documents/Software Bisque/TheSky6/.
- Tpoint: Download the installer from here. Version 1.00.512; need to enter serial number from inside the manual.
- MaxImDL: Download latest version from Diffraction Limited website. Currently version 5.21
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 instantly. But without prompting, Windows 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. For some reason, the order in which the ports became visible to the computer causes it to report that the serial ports 1,2,3,4 on the device are mapped to COM ports 4,5,7,6. (Note the swapped 7 and 6.) I used the tool to remap these to 4,5,6,7, but on reboot, they revert to 4,5,7,6. However: when I was setting up devices later, it turns out that the third port from the left on the hub really is COM 6, not COM 7, although the OS reports port 3 as being mapped to COM 7. So despite the odd reporting by the OS, it appears that the serial ports on the device really are, left to right, COM 4,5,6,7.
- Current serial port usage:
- Port 1 / COM 4: TCC
- Port 2 / COM 5: Digital Dome Works
- Port 3 / COM 6: Telescope
- Port 4 / COM 7: empty
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 184.108.40.206. 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.