CCDAutoPilot's user friendly interface is continued and enhanced in version 4. This overview will give the general organization of the interface. The rest of the command summary will give details for each command by page or menu. Here is a view of the opening window.
There are a number of aids to operation. With most settings, hovering the mouse over a given control (checkbox, entry field, button, etc.) will give some tips on its use and application. From any page, hitting F1 on the keyboard will bring up the command summary help file topic for that page. Where a given field entry might be long (status panel at the bottom of the window, paths, command files, etc., hovering the mouse will show the full field. Items that are grayed out are not usable. Hovering the mouse over many of the controls will display a "tool tip" giving some hints on that control's use. It takes around a half-second with the mouse till for the tool tip to appear.
The main buttons at the lower left bring up the corresponding main page and utility window. There is a status panel at the bottom of the main page that has four panes. The first shows the connection status, the second the target list in use, the third the system profile in use and the fourth shows status of any activity initiated from the user interface.
CCDAutoPilot uses three key files, the system profile, the target list and the Control File.
The system profile represents the settings you would use from night to night for consistent operation of your imaging system. This includes not only all the settings on all the pages but includes the selected control programs on the settings page. You can have multiple system profiles if you have multiple camera/OTA systems. The system profiles end in .ap4 and are registered to Windows. Double-clicking on a system profile will start CCDAutoPilot with that system profile loaded. Any control programs that are not loaded will be started.
The target list represents your chosen target(s) and would most likely change from night to night. The target list stores the coordinates, start and end times for the targets (only one in CCDAutoPilot Basic), along with the related light frames from the Lights Page, dark and bias frames from the Dark & Bias Frames page and flat frames from the Flat Frames page. The target list may be generated during the day using CCDAutoPilot's planning feature for execution at a later time. A target list must have at least one target to take any light frames.
Control File (Professional Edition Feature)
The control file provides external control and configuration of CCDAutoPilot. By use of the Control File Editor, various notification configurations can be defined. An external program can write to the control file to control session execution, notifications and other CCDAutoPilot activities. See the Control File Editor topic for details.