Sequence Generator Pro Beta is Released for Testing

Hi folks,

Here is the latest 2.4.3 beta:

This will likely be the last release in the 2.4 line and will finish the implementation of these features: is a milestone because it pretty much wraps up all of the changes we are willing to commit to (in the list above) before starting work on 2.5. I don’t expect but 1 or 2 more beta releases before the formal 2.4.3 release. Changes:

  • Added the ability to optionally capture calibration frames even if the sequence fails to complete. The calibration frame run follows all of the same rules as normal sequences (start times, end times, etc.). Prior to running in this mode all end of sequence options (except camera warm up) will run (so you can depend on your mount parking or pointing at flat field light sources, etc). When the calibration frame sequence is complete, the camera warm up will run. This option can be turned on and off in the sequence options window (you can also set it as on or off for new sequences in the general options dialog).
  • Auto Focus settings for nebulosity rejection and sample size now belong to each target (used to be only one set for the whole sequence).
  • Meridian flip options now specify flip time before or after meridian in (real) minutes instead of degrees.
  • Fixed the PHD2 version checker.
  • Fixed a bug where focus position in file names might not reflect the actual position used to integrate the exposure.
  • Recovery mode now honors sequence end time as well as target end times.
  • The “Plate Solve” option is now disabled in MFW images (the canvas you draw on… not images produced from MFW created sequences).
  • Fixed an issue where sometimes a crash could occur when transferring plate solve data from the solver to a specific target.
  • Fixed a bug that would warn the user that a target does not have the centering feature checked despite entering a valid location even when the target was inactive.
  • Fixed an issue that stopped certain SBIG filter wheel from functioning properly after upgrading to SBIG driver 4.88 Build 9. Changes:

  • By popular demand, the feature to force absolute positioning of the first filter placement (use) has been demoted to an option (now available in the Focuser Options dialog). This is only of concern to you if you use the “Set focus position per filter” option. If you do not check this option, SGPro will function as normal. If you do check it, you need to expect your first filter change to move the focuser the absolute position defined in the filter table (for whatever filter that is). After this movement, all focus changes die to filter usage will be relative. Changes:

  • Small tweak for the initial focus position feature introduced in (below).

To try and distill this feature, it will work like this (assuming you are using “Adjust focus position per filter”):

  • Prior to running a sequence, if you fiddle around and plate solve or auto focus or even just change the CFW position manually, you will find that, during your manual operations, the first change of filter wheel will set the focuser to the absolute position for the first CFW change requested (as defined in the filter table). This is OK, you are at your rig and can make sure your operations complete successfully. When you start the sequence, the first filter wheel change will cause a relative change in focuser position (like you are used to now).
  • Optionally, you can also, just open the sequence and run it. This assumes that your initial focuser position for the first filter (might be Plate Solve, might be AF, might be the event filter, etc…) is precise enough to satisfy the first sequence operation (AF, Plate Solving, etc). This will set the focuser position to the absolute position specified for that filter in the filter table. From then on, only relative focuser movements will be made. Changes:

  • Initial implementation of pause guider during backlash compensation. This was a bit invasive to the sequence… if you are testing this feature (found in the Auto Guider tab), please watch your sequence for a bit to ensure this is working as expected.
  • SGPro will now attempt to set the initial focuser position of the first required filter in an absolute manner (as defined in the filter table). After this, filter movements that adjust the focuser will be made relative to one another’s position. If your absolute position of the first filter is close enough to derive a plate solve or get a good focus (from AF), this means you should literally be able to open a sequence and click “Run” with no prep work. This is only applicable if you are using the “Adjust focus per filter option”.
  • The interval and duration of recovery mode are now user definable.
  • Fixing a bug that would sometimes not populate the filter list when applying a profile to an existing sequence.
  • The MFW text angle box no longer requires you to click enter for the typed angle to apply to the mosaic canvas
  • The initial angle of the MFW is no longer restricted to between 0 and 180 degrees
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes the first event on a target with the “rotate through events” option selected would be temporarily skipped.
  • Small tweak for %am file name token (hardening)
  • Non-functional option to force non-light frames to finish even after sequence failure (please do not attempt to use this yet) Changes:

  • Fixed a bug which can sometimes (conditions unknown) cause the event to increment before it is supposed to.
  • Added an option for Nikon cameras that will facilitate better compatibility. If your camera exhibits behavior where exposures less than 30 seconds appear to hang and those greater than 30 seconds work fine, open the Nikon setting dialog and check the “Always use Bulb mode” option. This should fix your short length exposures. Reminder that your camera needs to be in M(anual) mode. Thanks to @rofus for his help on this. Changes:

  • Implementing “Slew Here” option on the context menu. This will use data about a previous solve to provide rapid, low overhead movements (without the need for a full centering process)
  • Fixed a bug that prevented temp compensation from functioning properly.
  • Adding file naming tokens for focuser position (%fp) and ambient temp (%am)
  • Can no longer attempt to center the scope or automatically rotate the camera while the camera is occupied with another task (like plate solving or frame and focus).
  • Auto Focus crop now applies (crop % / 2) to each edge of the image. A crop of 25% will now not consider 12.5% of each edge (previously, it would not consider 25% of each edge).
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the sequence to hang if the camera times out during image download Changes:

  • Stabilized communication between SGPro and PHD2 (for profile management). Not perfect yet, but way better than This beta requires the use of PHD2 2.5.0dev3. If you are not comfortable with using PHD2 dev builds, you might want to stick with the SGPro 2.4.2 release. You can find it here:
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the dome to move in the wrong direction when imaging targets near the pole.
  • Known Issue: If you open PHD2 by clicking its “settings” button on the control panel, do not close this instance of PHD2 prior to starting your sequence. SGPro will get confused about which version of PHD2 it is supposed to talk to and error out. This will be fixed in the next beta. Changes:

  • Some stabilization between the new SGPro and PHD2 interactions (more to come probably… or if it doesn’t work out might just be removed)
  • Initial implementation of MetaGuide start / stop for use in target changing and meridian flips (No real way I have to test this that I know of… just going off of guidance from @freestar8n )
  • Fixed an issue where OBJCTRA and OBJCTDEC could not be read properly in non-English regions.
  • Fix for sometimes misidentifying certain FITS headers for dates (non-functional issue)
  • Fixed an issue where the sequence might continue well past the target end time if recovery mode was invoked just prior to it
  • Fixed an issue where sequence images may not open with the sequence Changes:

  • Adding the notion of auto-guider “properties”. While they may apply to any guider, PHD2 is the only guider that uses them right now. Currently, via SGPro, you can select a PHD2 equipment profile, then select sequence options that will allow you to automatically connect and disconnect PHD2 gear when the sequence begins. You actually don’t even need to have PHD2 open when you run the sequence any longer… SGPro will start it, connect your gear and start guiding on its own.
  • Re-introduced “pause guider on main camera image download”. While this option appears in the control panel, it is actually only available for SBIG cameras right now (this is to help with PHD2 issues when using the on-board guide chip). We will likely implement this for FLI, QSI and DSLRs in the near future. We cannot implement this feature for ASCOM cameras. Note: There is a known issue where SBIG cameras will attempt to pause the guider for non-light frames (this will be addressed shortly)
  • These guider settings belong to SGPro equipment profiles (they are not global SGPro settings).
  • Can now connect or disconnect PHD2 gear from the PHD2 docking module
  • Fixed an issue that would cause the AIRMASS FITS header to fail sporadically.
  • Fixed a bug where moving successful plate solve parameters to a target’s settings would ignore the image angle for the camera rotator.
  • Fixed a bug where duplicating a target would ignore camera rotator options.
  • Plate solvers now give better feedback to users for obviously bad hints.
  • The FITS header display window now opens significantly faster.

As always, you can download it here:

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