mk3 ScopeDog getting closer!

Now that the eFinder is working reliably, the next challenge was to integrate it furher with ScopeDog. A little while back I revised ScopeDog to use the latest components, including a Raspberry Pi 4B. The Pi would have more than enough capacity to run the drives and the plate-solving.

First issue was that ScopeDog was written in Java, and the eFinder in Python. This would make complete integration difficult given my coding expertise. So I converted the Java code to Python. 

That done I mashed together the new ScopeDog and eFinder codes. A few minor issues, but it worked almost straight away. The Pi OS & Python interpreter seems pretty good at managing threads and doing repeated plate-solves has no effect on the drives. The camera just plugs directly into one of the spare USB ports on the ScopeDog Pi.

Next job was to combine the two handpads. First attempt was to use the eFinder handpad as is, which meant using buttons to steer the scope. It worked, but I missed the light-touch joystick i have been used to. So I made a new handpad, with buttons for eFinder and display control, and a joystick for scope control. It included the eFinder OLED text display, which gives useful options to display ScopeDog data. Using a Raspberry Pi Pico in the handpad is giving a lot of flexibility in customising it for new features.

I’ll be taking the mk3 to Winterfest next week to give it its first shakedown for real.

© AstroKeith 2022