PHD2 crashes mount and drops UPB connection

Ultimate Powerbox v1 and v2
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Texwardo
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2022 5:29 pm

PHD2 crashes mount and drops UPB connection

Post by Texwardo »

I installed an Ultimate Powerbox last year, and I have not been able to run a successful astrophotography session since then. Because I could only test the conditions to create the issue out in the field under dark skies, it's taken me forever to figure out what's causing it.

I connect my UPB at the start of my session, start up EQMOD, start SGP, center on the target. Everything works fine. When I start a sequence and SGP calls up PHD2, I get a message that SGP has lost the connection to the mount. At that point, I'm not able to connect to the UPB with my computer, and the mount power has been powered down - it won't start up again unless I completely power down my system and reboot everything. My ZWO 1600mm camera still shows as being connected. This also happens if I start PHD2 before I start SGP.

What's curious is that this continues to happen even if I connect my auto guide camera, mount, and imaging camera directly to my computer (bypassing the powerbox) and run them like I did before I had the Powerbox. That is, my usual imaging sequence from before I installed the UPB now will not work either. It makes me wonder if the UPB inserted some new command or configuration in the background that is causing the breakdown.

I'm running Windows 10 on an Asus laptop. I have downloaded and installed the most recent UPB drivers and Unity Platform. I'm running SGP 4.1.0.832, PHD2 2.6.11, ASCOM 6.6.0.3444. Mount is EQ6R-Pro. Imaging camera is ZWO ASI1600mm and guide cam is ZWO ASI290 (I had the same issues with another guide camera from a different manufacturer - I bought the 290 in hopes it would solve the issue.) PHD2 has the 290 selected as a ZWO ASI Camera, SGP uses the ASI Camera driver.

Any ideas? I'm at my wits' end. Eighteen months without being able to image!!! I'm ready to throw out all my gear and take up a new hobby.
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Evans
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Re: PHD2 crashes mount and drops UPB connection

Post by Evans »

What kind of power supply do you have? Do you use any USB extensions?
Usually, these kinds of issues have to do with power management (long cable or power supply adequate electric current, etc)
Texwardo
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2022 5:29 pm

Re: PHD2 crashes mount and drops UPB connection

Post by Texwardo »

I am using a 13.8V filtered and regulated power supply. I purchased new, shielded USB cables throughout my setup. No extension cables.
johnschnupp
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Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2022 8:26 pm

Re: PHD2 crashes mount and drops UPB connection

Post by johnschnupp »

Texwardo,

It sounds to me like you are having a power problem. I experience a similar thing, mainly in the summer, when the ASI2600MC-pro cooler requires high power% to reach temperature setpoint. There are multiple things to try.
1. The first one is to make sure that you have a good power supply. You need a good solid 12V supply. I see you mentioned 13.8v supply, this voltage is good but it is not the only piece of the puzzle. The Pegasus manual say 6A but that is a bare bones minimum needed. Add up all the current used by all your devices (camera, mount, dew heater, guide cam, etc) The power supply that is able to supply at least that amount of current, 10A is typical. A higher current rating of 20A would be even better as more power would be available (especially important in the summer when camera cooling will require more power).
2. Make sure that you are using adequate wire thickness that can support your maximum current draw. If the gauge of the wire is too thin, then the resistance of the wire alone can provide a voltage drop between your power supply and the UPB. The gauge of wire to use also depends on the distance from your supply to the UPB, longer wire runs will also require increased wire gauge. At a minimum you would probably want 16AWG but even 14AWG or 12AWG may be required based on the total current and overall distance.
3. This should probably be considered a last ditch effort. If your power supply is adjustable you can try and increase the voltage slightly. The UPB firmware has built in overvoltage protection. For firmware 1.4 it is 14V. For firmware version 1.5 it is 14.5V. Before you do any adjustments to voltage you need to check all of your devices and make sure that they will be ok to run at 14v or 14.4v. I know that my ASI2600 camera is spec at up to 15v.

John Schnupp, N3CNL
2007 R1200RT +69,500
1995 XLH 1200 106,495 (retired)
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johnschnupp
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Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2022 8:26 pm

Re: PHD2 crashes mount and drops UPB connection

Post by johnschnupp »

I forgot to mention, the USB cables are probably not the source of your power problems. Bad USB cables usually are suspect the you are getting bad data.
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