Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC) Software
The Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC) provides advanced
mount control features useful for local or remote operation of your Astro-Physics
GTO mount. It was developed by Ray Gralak, the author of PulseGuide and PEMPro
in collaboration with Astro-Physics.
Whether you are controlling your mount while seated at
your computer six feet or half a world away, there are functions to
provide you with a more productive and pleasurable experience. Comet or satellite
trackers will love the custom rates and 3600GTO owners
with limit switches and/or precision encoder will appreciate the user interface. Through
the application of virtual serial ports, APCC will act as a hub for a number
of other applications that can all communicate with the mount through a single
COM port. APCC provides useful safeguards even if you are operating your scope
in your backyard.
APCC will be offered in two versions: APCC Standard
(APCC-ST) and APCC Pro (APCC-PRO). APCC Upgrade from Standard to
Pro Version (APCC-UP) will also be available.
APCC Standard Version (APCC-ST), includes Horizons
Features of APCC Standard
APCC Pro Version (APCC-PRO), includes Horizons
- Editable 3D telescope view shows the current orientation of your telescope and mount.
- Editable horizon tracking limits to stop tracking or park the mount once a horizon limit is reached.
- Editable meridian tracking limits to protect your telescope from pier collisions.
- Slew to counterweight-up positions with dynamic meridian delay feature (tied to meridian tracking limits).
- Multiple virtual ports to allow easy connection of applications that do not require ASCOM support (like PulseGuide or TheSky6/X).
- Site management allows easily changeable setup for multiple sites.
- Display and change time zone settings.
- Support for reading latitude/longitude/elevation from third-party
- GoTo or sync on RA/Dec and Alt/Az coordinates.
- Access to backlash, reticle, focus and PEM settings.
- Set custom RA/Dec tracking rates.
- Can save/recall multiple RA/Dec and Alt/Az slew coordinates.
- Park to editable Alt/AZ positions.
- Easy to read status window summarizes mount status of critical parameters.
- Logging of all commands for debugging if a problem occurs.
- Convenient log zipper to bundle relevant log files should problems occur and you need support from AP’s world-class support team!
- Can be configured to utilize a secondary serial port to
prevent communication loss if a serial port to USB converter fails.
- Terminal Interface tool to send commands directly to the mount.
- All features of the latest GTOCP3 control box firmware are supported allowing feedback of the actual status of the mount at all times.
- Tight integration with the ASCOM driver.
- Advanced support features for 3600GTO/3600GTOPE for precision
encoder and limit switch functions.
- Quick access to the Help files that relate to the function that you are attempting to use. Note the help icons on the screenshots below.
Features of APCC Pro
IMPORTANT: APPM requires the PinPoint
Astrometric Engine for plate solves. Please go to the following website to download
the 60- day trial version or make your purchase: http://pinpoint.dc3.com.
PinPoint is Included with ACP Observatory Control software by Bob Denny and available
from DC-3 Dreams .
- All of the features of APCC Standard.
- Dual-model pointing and tracking rate correction even with
the telescope in the counterweight UP position.
- Includes a separate application to acquire Pointing/Tracking model data (APPM).
Astro-Physics Horizons - Bonus Application
Horizons allows your Astro-Physics mount to accurately
follow solar system objects such as Comets, Asteroids, Planets, and even the
moon and sun. It uses data that you import from the JPL Horizons Ephemerides
web site to calculate the precise tracking rates needed to follow a target without
any guiding. This means you can do longer unguided exposures of a comet without
it blurring. Or, in the case of fast moving asteroids, you don't need to worry
about keeping your scope centered because Horizons will do that for you.
APCC and Astro-Physics Horizons Demonstration
In the video below, Howard Hedlund, from the Astro-Physics Technical Support staff, demonstrates key features of APCC Pro and the Astro-Physics Horizons program at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, NY in April 2013. Dennis DiCicco, Sky & Telescope editor, conducted the interview. If you wish to skip ahead and view only the APCC portion of this video, start at 13:50. However, we invite you to view the entire video for demonstrations of these exciting products: 1100GTO and 1600GTO German Equatorial mounts with discussion of the Absolute Encoder System, Right-Angle Polar Alignment Scope and the 10 x 60 Vario Finder with Quick Release Guider Bracket.
Here are a few screenshots of APCC to give you an idea
of the interface.
This is the Main Window of APCC Standard Version. The
Setup Tab is visible and various other tabs, the 3D View or Status Window can
be easily selected. The telescope position values continually update and the
graphic plots the position of your telescope and indicates the pier side. Move
commands are readily available as is the status bar on the lower portion of the
window. Connection information is always visible. Note that you can set up a
backup COM port that will be available if you experience connection problems
with your primary port. The circular help buttons direct you to the specific
part of the manual that discusses the function of the group box.
The 3D scope view is a separate window that can remain open alongside the main window, if you wish. It provides a visual representation of the movement of your mount and telescope relative to the pier. The dimensions of the telescope, dewcap, focuser, camera and pier can all be edited (and saved for future use) to provide a fairly accurate graphic of your instrument. However, we do not recommend that you rely solely on this graphic as you move into tight positions near the pier. Nevertheless, this is a very useful (and fun) tool.
The horizon tracking limits graph is featured here. You can either set your limits by double clicking on this screen or use the alternate procedure available with the edit button.
Hardware and Software Requirements
Mount Hardware Requirements
Minimum Recommended Computer Hardware Requirements
- Astro-Physics GTO mounts or OEM German Equatorial mounts with GTO Servo System (Parallax Instruments or Mathis Instruments), except for OEM equatorial fork mounts.
- GTOCP3 Control Box with revision "S" or later firmware
(Refer to information
regarding firmware upgrade, if needed). APCC takes advantage
of advanced features introduced in the “S" chip. APCC cannot be used with
the earlier GTOCP1 or GTOCP2 control boxes. However, GTOCP3 control boxes can
be purchased as an upgrade. Check out the additional
information. Before you place your order, gather the information required
on the GTOCP3
Upgrade/Replacement - Required Information form.
- APCC cannot be used with any other mount.
Minimum Recommended Computer Software Requirements
- Dual Core CPU (or fast single core CPU)
- 2GB RAM
- 1GB of free disk space
- 3D accelerated graphics card or integrated controller recommended
- OpenGL 1.5 or later required
- Native serial port or USB/serial port converter required.
- Window XP/Vista/7/8 32-bit or 64-bit
- ASCOM Platform 6 or later
- AP V2 ASCOM Driver v5.06.00 or later
APCC Standard - $250
APCC Pro - Price to be determined.
When Will APCC Be Available?
Since APCC requires the installation of the new “S" version
chip for the GTOCP3, the first phase of the rollout will be shipping “S" chips.
Please refer to this
information in order to purchase your chip. When you order
your “S" chip, please provide the e-mail address that will identify you when you sign up for
a future APCC trial or purchase. This is the e-mail address that we will enter
into our database and that you must match when you sign up for APCC.
We anticipate that the APCC Standard and Pro versions
will be available for download by Winter 2013.
If you would like to give APCC a test drive before you
make your purchase, a 30-day trial version will allow you to try it before
you buy. The download link for the trial version will be available soon. Please
note that you must have the "S" chip (or later version) in order
to download and use the trial.
Please watch this website for further information regarding the download location.
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Inc. - All Rights Reserved
This page was last modified:
September 18, 2014
11250 Forest Hills Road, Machesney Park, IL 61115, U.S.A.
Phone: 815-282-1513 Fax: 815-282-9847