Astro-Physics Command Center (APCC) Software
APCC Offically Released October 24, 2014 !!
Read all about the First and Full Rollout
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 is offered in two versions: APCC Standard
(APCC-ST) and APCC Pro (APCC-PRO). We also offer an upgrade option from Standard
to Pro Version (APCC-UP) whenever you wish to use the additional featuares.
APCC Standard Version (APCC-ST), includes Horizons
- Each license includes one year free software
subscripton that entitles you to download the latest new features, enhancements
or bug fixes. After one year from date of purchase, you will have the
opportunity to continue your subscription for approximately 20% of the
product retail price. Renewal is optional, the software will continue to operate whether you renew or not.
- You may install up to two copies of the
licensed software, provided that only one (1) copy is in use at any
given time (i.e., no concurrent use on different computers). If you
require additional licenses for your personal use, please purchase additional
APCC-ST-A or APCC-PRO-A licenses, for use by the same person. If you have different
requirements, please contact Astro-Physics. Please refer to our license
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
- 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 "V" or later firmware
(Refer to information
regarding firmware upgrade, if needed). APCC takes advantage
of advanced features introduced in the “V” 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
The whole idea of "minimum
computer requirements" for
a single application is really no longer valid in today's computer world.
Any computer that can run any of the modern software packages that you will
be using with APCC will be adequate to run APCC. The issue in today's environment
is whether your computer can run ALL of the required software SIMULTANEOUSLY
to achieve your desired goals. APCC is unlikely to ever be run as a stand-alone
piece of software. When you consider your computer hardware, aim for a system
that can handle all of the observing and imaging software that you plan to
use, and that can handle all of it running together. That being said, here
are some general tips and recommendations and a few specific requirements:
Minimum Recommended Computer Software Requirements
- RAM is generally more critical to adequate performance than processing power. If budgeting for a computer system, spend the money on more RAM
instead of the latest and fastest processors with the most cores. 8GB of RAM is probably adequate for an imaging system, but 16GB or more is even better.
- Solid State Drives (SSDs) have recently become much more affordable. They are certainly not a requirement, but are recommended for your boot drive
for their robustness, lack of moving parts, and overall speed. At least 10GB of free drive space (for logs and settings) should be available.
- 3D accelerated graphics card or integrated controller recommended if using the 3D Telescope View
- OpenGL 1.5 or later required (Both planetarium programs mentioned above require higher Open GL.)
- Native serial port, or installed PCI serial card, or USB/serial port converter required. For USB to serial converters, we recommend the following:
Keyspan units (sold by Astro-Physics), High quality units with FTDI chipsets (i.e. Industrial units from serialgear.com like their 2-port or 4-port), Industrial USB to
Serial converters from Moxa, Converters from Digi/Edgeport. We CAN NOT advise using ANY converter with a Prolific chip set!
- Window XP/Vista/7/8 32-bit or 64-bit
- ASCOM Platform 6.1 SP1 or later
- AP V2 ASCOM Driver v5.06.00 or later
All prices are in USD
APCC Standard (APCC-ST) - $249
APCC Pro (APCC-PRO) - $449 - Introductory Price until December 31st !!!
Additional APCC Standard License (APCC-ST-A) - $49
Additional APCC PRO License (APCC-PRO-A) - $69
APCC Offically Released October 24, 2014 !!
First Rollout Phase - October 24 - November 4
On October 24th, we officially released APCC to a group of individuals who have "V" chips
in the GTOCP3 Control Box of their mounts. We decided to limit the first group
of users so that we can be sure that the online order system and download process
is operating smoothly. Secondly, some of our technical support team from Astro-Physics
will be leaving for the Southwest Astrophography Seminar (SWAP) and the Arizona
Science & Astronomy
Expo (ASAE) conferences in Tucson, AZ on October 28 and will not be returning
to the office until November 5th. Our ability to support this new product during
that time will be very limited.
Although we have shipped a large number of "V" chips as free upgrades to people who had the "S", "S1", "T" and "U" chips, there are still some people who do not have this upgrade yet.
We will contact the remainder of these people during this period as well, so that they also have the "V" chip for the Full Rollout phase. Please be patient if you have not heard
from us yet regarding your upgrade.
If you purchased a mount from a dealer or another individual and have not yet
registered the mount in your name, fill out the
Registration Form and either e-mail, fax or send it in. We will enter the
change of ownership information into our database. If you have one of the chips
mentioned above, we will contact you for your upgrade.
During the first rollout phase, we will also accept new orders for the "V" chip
from customers who have earlier versions, however these chips will not ship until
after November 5th. Please fill out the GTOCP3
Chip Upgrade Order Form. Be sure that you also fill out the APCC
E-Mail Registration Form if you would like to take the software for a test
drive or complete your purchase.
Full Rollout Phase - November 5
On November 5th, we will begin contacting all of the
people who have "V" chips and have also given us their official APCC e-mail address.
APCC will be available for download to begin your 30-day trial or purchase.
The link to the download area will be provided at that time, which will also
direct you to our e-commerce site.
What is an APCC e-mail address?
is the e-mail address that you have designated (or will designate) to be associated
with your APCC trial or permanent license.We will enter this e-mail into our APCC database
and it must match the e-mail address that you use when you sign up for APCC. Your license key
will be sent to this e-mail and you must enter this e-mail when you register. If you have a "V" chip
and have not already provided your APCC e-mail address to us, please fill out
E-Mail Registration Form. Please make note of it for your records.
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Inc. - All Rights Reserved
This page was last modified:
October 24, 2014
11250 Forest Hills Road, Machesney Park, IL 61115, U.S.A.
Phone: 815-282-1513 Fax: 815-282-9847