I connected up the Paramount ME to its 48V power supply which in turn goes to a 1000W uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in my attempt to protect the delicate Paramount motor boards and electronics from anything nasty coming down the mains (and believe me – here in 3rd world Brockehurst we often get nasty things coming down the mains). I have my little Libretto sub-notebook running The Sky software and initially connected it to the Paramount via the Paramount’s serial port (I had to use a USB to serial port converter from the Libretto as modern laptops don’t know what serial or parallel ports are). It didn’t run at first as I had to go into the hardware and see which COM port it had allocated to talk to the Paramount – for some unknown reason it had chosen COM 5 (???) Once I had changed the settings in The Sky to COM 5 and hit “connect” the little Libretto started talking to the Paramount and the Paramount started talking back. First thing it said was that the Paramount hadn’t been homed and did I want to do that. Confirmed that I did and the mount burst into life (for the first time) and it slewed to the (wrong) home position as I haven’t synched the mount yet. However, as the mount now thinks it has been homed it will let the joystick work – so I took this short video clip of the Paramount being controlled by the off-camera joystick
I don’t want to talk to the Paramount through the serial port however, I want to go direct through the USB port. This required putting the software Bisque DVD in again and loading up the USB drivers for the MKS4000 Paramount controller. It looked like I had loaded up the drivers o.k. but I didn’t get “New Hardware Found” and I couldn’t control the Paramount from the Libretto – strange. Re-booted the computer and still nothing happened. So started looking at the port allocations again and this time the USB to UART controller (basically the USB link from the Libretto to the Paramount) was there and had been allocated to COM 4 (???) Don’t know what this is all about now but just clicked on COM 4 in The Sky for the communications link and Bingo – it all works.
One thing you should know should you ever be in the nice situation of being able to buy a Paramount – is that it kicks out a LOT of weird noise in the background, grumping, gurgling and harrooomfing away all the time. According to Nik Szymanek this is all quite normal (thank you for letting me know this Nik, it sounds dreadful when you hear it for the first time!) so I guess the point is DON’T PANIC
I guess the next step in the mini-WASP saga will be getting the new dome erected, so might not be any news on this one until early 2011.