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Gx Camera driver overhaul—new unified drivers for Gx USB and Gx ETH cameras
 Gx CCD cameras were developed evolutionary, new models with new CCD detectors as well as new revisions of existing models were introduced over time. Also new communication buses and protocols were incorporated. All these changes required new drivers for both SIPS software package and third-party programs. Introduction of the latest CCD camera G3-16000, which uses new electronics and thus requires new driver, initiated driver overhaul—all currently supported cameras, connected over the USB, use single new driver 'GxUSB' and similarly all current cameras connected over the Ethernet Adapter use common driver 'GxETH'. This redesign affected drivers for other camera control programs and new versions of unified drivers for ASCOM and for TheSkyX, MaxIm DL and Astroart are also released.

Some new drivers simply replace older versions, adding support for new features and possibly for new camera models (e.g. the newly introduced G3-16000 camera). Other drivers are completely new, supporting new user applications (e.g. TheSkyX from Software Bisque) or new hardware (e.g. drivers for Gx Camera Ethernet Adapter for MaxIm DL and Astroart—these drivers did not exist in previous versions and it was necessary to use ASCOM drivers instead).

New drivers are designed as universal, supporting entire class of current Gx cameras, with either USB or Ethernet connection. While this universality was already introduced in the case of Gx Camera Ethernet Adapter driver, USB drivers traditionally distinguished between “small” G0/G1 guiding cameras and “large” G2/G3/G4 cameras. This separation is gone, new driver handles all USB connected cameras equally.

Unfortunately there are software packages with driver interface not designed to allow usage of single driver for both imaging and guiding cameras (e.g. MaxIm DL v4/v5 or Astroart). The only solution was somewhat artificial splitting of drivers for these software packages into two variants:

  • “Imager” driver, which controls models G2, G3 and G4, typically used as imaging cameras.

  • “Guider” driver, which controls models G0 and G1, typically used as autoguiding cameras.

Remark:

“Imager” and “Guider” variants are always downloaded and installed together. If for instance the user downloads and installs MaxIm DL Gx USB camera driver package (CCDPlugGxUSB_Setup.exe), both “Imager” and “Guider” variants are installed.

This solution does not allow for e.g. using of G1 and G0 models together as imaging and guiding cameras, but it hopefully covers typical camera combinations. The limitation is not inherent to Gx cameras or their drivers (other software packages like TheSkyX or SIPS do no suffer from it), but rather to the way some software packages handle camera drivers.

Because we do not know with which software the ASCOM driver will be used, we also split the ASCOM drivers to two variants—Imager and Guider. So when considering USB and Ethernet versions, drivers for ASCOM, MaxIm DL and Astroart are available in four versions:

  • Imager cameras on USB.

  • Guider cameras on USB.

  • Imager cameras on Ethernet.

  • Guider cameras on Ethernet.

The SIPS and TheSkyX drivers are only in USB and Ethernet variants.

Unified drivers are released in the SIPS version 2.3. But SIPS software package offers available Gx cameras in the CCD Window tool, so the user does not need to install Gx camera drivers. USB drivers require no configuration at all (cameras simply appear in the configuration window when they are connected to the host PC and Scan Cameras command button is clicked). Cameras connected through the Gx Camera Ethernet Adapter require only the device IP address of FQDN to be defined.

Drivers can be downloaded from the download section of this web site.

 
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