AIP4WIN & Win 10 plus Acquisition Software

Forums Variable Stars Photometry software issues AIP4WIN & Win 10 plus Acquisition Software

William Bristow

Hi Martin.

I have AIP4Win v1 running ok on a Win 10 Pro VM (Virtual Machine).

Assuming you are trying to run an old version 1 copy of AIP4Win note that it won’t run properly unless you install the last update patch to v1.04.0025 that the publishers Willmann Bell used to provide on their website.

Willmann Bell no longer support v1 or supply a copy of the patch (they don’t even bother replying to emails come to that) however I do have a copy and if you send me an email I can provide a download link and instructions to install the patch. I will not supply an ‘open’ link here in the forum as the software is still under copyright protection even though it is no longer supported. 

I have tried the latest AIP4Win v2 release on Win 10 Pro and as others have found it is not stable on the current v1803 version of the Win 10 platform, the older patched v1 version appears to work ok.

To check which version of AIP4Win you have installed go to the program folder at C: Program Files (X86) AIP for Windows, right mouse click the AIP32 Application (exe) file and click ‘Properties’, click the ‘Details’ tab and to the right of item ‘Product Version’ you will see the current release of the AIP4Win application, if it is less than v1.04.0025 then applying the patch update may allow it to run on your system.

The other question  you posed “Is there any good free image acquisition software out there?”, the short answer is an ambiguous yes and no, you would have to be a bit more specific in your question and define what exactly you want.

For basic image acquisition with a dedicated CCD the original Starlight Xpress software that was provided with your MX916 should still run on Windows 10 although the latest hardware drivers for the 64bit OS are required. If you contact Starlight Xpress they should be able to provide you a download link to the latest acquisition program for Win 10 64 bit OS’s if you find the original capture software won’t run.

If you want to control and sequence the camera and a filter wheel plus interface with the mount then take a look at Sequence Generator Pro, they have a free ‘Lite’ version that works well and the ‘Lite’ version will interface with freeware PHD2 for guiding and a freeware planetarium program such as Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium will interface with an ASCOM controllable mount. I am not sure though if the ‘Lite’ version will correctly transfer the mount coordinates to the fits header and am not in a position to try this at the present time.

The full paid-for version of Sequence Generator Pro would handle cameral control, guiding and mount control in a single package and SGP has a good take up amongst astro imagers, at around £75 it is probably the lowest price complete package currently on the market but if you are prepared to work with the free ‘Lite’ version, PHD2 and Cartes Du Ciel or Stellarium then you can emulate most of the paid for functions, it’s just a bigger learning curve getting the three software packages working together. There is a free trial period for the full version of SGP before it reverts to the ‘Lite’ version after the trial period expires.

At around the same price point as SGP, ~£75, is Nebulosity from Stark Labs which offers camera and filter wheel control plus image calibration only, no mount control.

Otherwise, in the mid price range, software that offers good value for money includes Astroart, one of my favourites from a long time back and still going strong, the UI might look a little ancient but Astroart offers full camera and mount control and includes an aperture photometry tool as well as full image calibration and post processing tools. For around £150 at todays exchange rate it sits in the ‘middle ground’ price wise. A free demo version is available that does everything except save an image.

Above that price point you are into Maxim DL, Prism and TheSkyX Pro which are between two to six times more expensive depending which add-on options are taken up.

For basic webcam imaging there is Firecapture and Sharpcap, both widely used for planetary imaging capture and for planetary image processing there is Autostakkert and Registax, all free programs.

Finally, for basic image calibration, registration and integration there is the freeware program Deep Sky Stacker:

And for normal photographic image post-processing, a widely used freeware app is Gimp, the latest version includes built-in support for the fits file standard and photographic image formats in 32 bit.