Spike-A Flat / Switches

Apologies if this has already been covered somewhere and I missed it in the search.

I’m using SGP4 and a Spike-A Flat panel with the USB controller. I’ve installed the ASCOM Switch for it as well as the Alnitak Emulator. I figured out the panel values for a couple filters and set that up along with the exposure time in the Flats setup. I can set up the Flat Panel as the Alnitak, run the sequence, and it communicates with the Spike-A flat fine. Great. On the Switches tab of the Control Panel, I also see that it has recognized and connected to the Spike-A Flat ASCOM Switch. From this tab, I can also set the panel brightness. But for the Flat Panel setup, there is no option to use the ASCOM Switch instead of the Alnitak.

Since the Alnitak emulator seems to work fine, that’s good. But is there a way to bypass that and get SGP4 to set the panel brightness directly via the ASCOM Switch instead when the sequence runs through and does the flats?


We don’t currently support “Switches as Flat Panels”. ASCOM did create a Cover Calibrator device to specifically handle flat panels vs using the switch interface which has no real definition on how to handle specific device interfaces. So there’s no contract on how we should treat a flat panel as a switch. My recommendation would be to reach out to Spike-A and ask them to create a CoverCalibrator device rather than a switch for their flat panel.

Also what benefit does the Switch control have over the Alnitak protocol here?



I’m not very familiar with switches in the first place so I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be the solution for a Flat Panel or not. Sounds like that’s the wrong tool for the job. The Alnitak protocol seems to work fine so that’s what I’m planning to use. I know the Switch ASCOM for Spike-A was written by one of their users, so I’m not sure if they’d be receptive to developing a CoverCalibrator short of someone else doing it and providing it. But certainly worth asking. Thanks.


Just to close the loop on this, I did ask the Spike-A folks about development of a CoverCalibrator and offered to take a first cut at writing one if they were interested. It was politely declined at this time. The emulator method with the Alnitak protocol works fine though, so no big deal from a functional standpoint.