updated March, 2010
Do you have to use the program for radio astronomy? Absolutely not! There are dozens of potential uses for this program. In fact , people are using RSP to monitor their home heating systems, run magnetometers, in audio work, seismographs, weather stations, etc. It just so happens that because of my connections with the amateur radio astronomy community, Radio-SkyPipe has caught on mostly in these circles. Anywhere a voltage needs to be monitored, RSP can be useful.
Will RSP run on my Linux computer? No. There are no plans to do support Linux. However, it would be possible to write UDS to run on a Linux PC and send data to a Windows PC that runs SkyPipe. **NEWS** I have tried with some success to get Radio-SkyPipe 1 to work under Wine on a Ubuntu Linux machine. I was not able to get it to connect to another Radio-SkyPipe machine over the internet.
Will RSP run on my Mac? RSP has been made to work on a Mac using Windows emulation software.
Will RSP run on my old 12 MHz 486 and Windows 95? Maybe. If the computer has a reasonable amount of memory, 32 MB suggested, and you do not expect too much in the way of speed, you can probably get it to work OK.
How can I get the data in text format for Excel and other programs? The Pro version can export to text delimited file. The data format for SkyPipe is open so theoretically a conversion program could be written, but it is probably not worth the effort.
Can I use an ADC other than the ones you have on your website? The only ADCs that SkyPipe can talk to directly are the MAX186 and MAX187 ADCs shown here on the website. These are inexpensive and easy to build. However, other ADCs can be supported using the UDS feature available to Pro version users. This may require a bit of programming unless a UDS interface to your ADC has already been written.
My PC doesn't have a parallel port, what can I do? The MAX186 and MAX187 ADC circuits use a parallel port. If your computer does not have one you can use a LabJack ADC or review these suggestions.
Can I run audio into my ADC? No, not directly. The sample rate is too slow to do this. You need to rectify and smooth the audio signal before it goes to the ADC or use the sound card for audio.
How can I view more than one chart server? With the free version of RSP, you can view two charts in Client mode by selecting this mode for the main and then selecting View / New Client Window for the second chart. Of course, if your main window is tied up as a client window it cannot be used for charting local data or as a server. In the Pro version you can have up to 9 client windows and reserve your main window for your own data collection.
I can't connect to a chart server on the list, why? The problem could be on your end or on the server end. That a server appears on the list is no sign that it has its system configured correctly to pass the RSP data over the internet. If you can receive charts from other servers, your client configuration is OK and the problem is on the server end. Both the sender (server) and receiver (client) ends of the connection must have their copies of RSP properly configured AND must configure any firewalls or routers that they use to pass the data. This second requirement has become a huge problem as more and more people have home networks and are connected via broadband to the internet. Most routers and firewalls work on similar principles and you can use the Linksys and ICS help as a guide. Also visit your firewall and router documentation to see how to open ports for SkyPipe to use. Another reason things may fail is if SkyPipe is not binding to the correct IP address. Try setting the permanent IP on the Connection configuration panel to 0.0.0.0 and selecting "Always use the following permanent IP." This forces SkyPipe to try to find the IP internally.
How can I put charts on my web page automatically? You can use the FTP Upload Manager that is available in the Pro version to automatically upload charts to a website where anyone can view them. You must also use the FTP Image Save Pro feature to provide the FTP Manager with fresh images.
I keep getting a message that the printer port drivers are not installed, why? On some PCs, the drivers that allow RSP to talk to the printer port for purposes of using an ADC do not install automatically. There are instructions on how to force the install manually on the troubleshooting page.
Nothing appears on the chart from my sound card, why? The most likely reason is that you do not have your Windows mixer panel set up correctly. See the help page on this. If this does not fix the problem make sure you have selected a sound format that works. Usually 11025 HZ PCM will do the trick. If you are recording two channels (Pro Version only) make sure you have selected a format that is stereo. Also make sure you have the right data source selected (soundcard right or left) for the channels you are using. Lastly, check your cables.
No one can connect to my chart, why? See this.
How can I view a chart from another PC on my LAN? There are two ways to this. With both methods you need to make sure the Server PC is binding to a LAN IP address. Jot down the port number and IP of the server and go to your client PC elsewhere on your LAN. You can enter this information as a new entry in your private servers list and make sure you select the option to display the private servers in your Available Servers List. The second method is less permanent but is handy if you want to quickly check a local or remote server. Right click on the Available Servers list and you will receive a dialog box where you can manually enter the information.
Can RSP stream audio? No, but it has been proven to be compatible programs like Windows Media Encoder which can stream audio.
Can RSP record audio? Yes, the Pro Version has a rich supply of wav file recording and playing tools to allow you to record sounds that are associated with your charts.
How can I add axis labels to my chart? Yes, this is a relatively new feature so you may have missed it but it is under View / Chart Text options.
When I try to chat with someone there is no response, why? Just because they appear in your list of users in the Chat Window, doesn't mean someone is actually monitoring Chat on their PC. Many times, people walk away and just collect data but do come back to check on it from time to time. I have had many time delayed conversations like this with people when we were both busy doing other things. Also, you may have to change you Chat Send Target to chat with someone so that it points to the Server that they are connected to.
I have multiple uses for the program. Can I save all my settings? Yes. This is an often overlooked feature of the program. You can create Profile files which hold most of the settings and then load a specific profile for a specific usage. Look under File for the Load and Save Profile menu items if you have the Pro Version.
How do I put the bottom of the chart at zero? Right Click on an active chart and select Set Ymin to Zero. There is now a Y0 button on the front panel. You can also set any of the chart boundaries manually using the manual entry chart view feature.
How do I save a portion of the chart? Select the portion of the chart (time boundaries) by any of the many methods and push the Save View Button which save the displayed portion of the chart.
How do I join two charts? If two files are sequential, that is, they do not overlap in time, you may join the files using the Append Data Files option under Tools in the Pro version.
How do I save a picture of the chart? The Pro Version can save the current chart image in JPEG or Windows MetaFile formats. Look under File for the Save Chart to Picture option.
My charts don't scroll. They keep starting over. Why? Do you have the Run in Small Memory Mode option turned on? This will prevent the charts from scrolling normally.
How can I start SkyPipe
automatically? Use the Autorun auxiliary program.
This can start you in stand alone or server mode without anyone being around.
What does the Y axis represent? The Y axis when using a sound card is a 16 bit number made from averaging a number of peak buffer samples from the sound card. See the sound card data source help for how you can affect the buffer size. The number represents the relative signal strength of the audio as detected by this method. To determine an absolute value for the Y axis it should be calibrated using an external calibrator appropriate for the type of observation you are using. For example an RF noise source can be used at the input of radio and the radio used to drive the sound card. The Y axis can then be charted to the dBm or equivalent noise temperature. To make the translation of the Y numbers directly on the chart you can develop a function and apply it in real time with the Equation feature of the Pro version.
For ADC or other types of input the Y value plotted is the raw numerical output of the device unless translated by the equation feature as explained above for sound input. A typical 12 bit ADC outputs the numbers between 0 and 4095. If the ADC is voltage driven with a top value of 4.095 VDC, the each Y division equals one millivolt but that is a matter of the ADC design and the application of a 4.095 V reference. SkyPipe is just spitting back the raw value unless you modify it in the equations feature or using custom UDS code.
See: Applying Equations, Writing Equations, Estimating Non-calibration Points. and the UDS Model.
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