FocusMax resolved?

For months, I have been having trouble with FocusMax / ACP interaction problems.

The Problem

FocusMax ( keeps crashing with the typical “Object not set” message. This only occurs when ACP creates a FocuserControl object to adjust the focuser position when a filter gets changed. The crash is intermittent and occurs at different times in the processing. I.e., ACP creates the focuser object, issues perhaps 8-10 commands against it, then releases the object. The crash may occur after any one of the commands.

The ACP AutoFocus.vbs would often fail; the script FilterOffsets.vbs would always fail after 3-5 filters. Typical ACP imaging scripts do regular filter changes for pointing and focusing. These scripts would typically fail after an hour or two. Problems occur with either Maxim5 or Maxim 6, with real cameras or using simulators.

I tried a number of things; eventually I rebuilt the entire observatory computer. I restored the original system from the backup partition, then reloaded all of the software. It continued to fail; now I was also seeing a problem where the Optec was failing to report position to FM.

We (Steve Brady, Bob Denny, myself) were leaning toward some type of hardware issue. So, I went out to map out the USB cables so I could

1) understand how everything was connected,

2) ensure that appropriate USB 1.0 versus 2.0 hubs are being used. I sometimes get a message “This device can run faster” when the STF8300 is powered up.

The map is posted elsewhere. I found a very nice utility USBview, a microsoft tool which unfortunately is not included in the base OS. It draws a useful tree structure showing where evrything is attached and what USB version it uses.

First, I discovered that when I rebuilt the system I installed an old version of the Optec driver (mislabeled folder). Installed the correct version, not the Optec problem is gone.

Second, two weird things happened when I was tracing the USB cables. I was unplugging and re-plugging in cables to make sure I had the right cable/device pairing.

a) twice, when I plugged the cable back into the computer the OS installed the device drivers. Weird, the device was already installed and operating. The system should not need to re-install drivers, they are already there.

b) When I plugged in the Edgeport cable, I got a Blue Screen of Death. The Edgeport supplies 4 RS-232 ports off a single USB cable; I use 2 of these to operate the two focusers Optec and LazyFocus. When the system was rebooted the Edgeport showed up but none of the ports were there. I uninstalled/reinstalled the Edgeport driver, rebooted, and the COM ports were now there.

After weirdness (b), everything is now working. Somehow the USB drivers were “messed up”, but got themselves straightened out. I can now runs AtoFocus.vbs and FilterOffsets.vbs with no problems, using eithere Simulators, the STF8300, or the ST2000M. Everything looks peachy now:)

I moved to FocusMax version 4, the new (non-free) version. Problems continued, with a new wrinkle


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