ASCOM Initiative Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry Pi

The ASCOM Initiative Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry Pi has been released for the amateur astronomy industry. If you are interested in just learning about Alpaca, or developing apps/drivers that use Alpaca, and if you have a Raspberry Pi 32- or 64-bit with Bulldog OS (Buster 32 is OK too), this is for you. The Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry Pi offers a simple shell scripted installer, this puts the Alpaca Device Simulators and the Alpaca Conformance Checker at your fingertips.

ASCOM Initiative Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry PiThe ASCOM Initiative is a “loosely-knit” group of astronomy software developers and astronomy device manufacturers devoted to vendor-independent universal plug-and-play control. While it is a network protocol, Alpaca’s design purposely does not include device-level hardened security measures that would be needed on the open public or campus internet. Instead, it is intended to be used within an isolated protected in-observatory local network. This keeps coding minimal, implementations lightweight, and management simple.

The new ASCOM Initiative Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry Pi comes with a detailed PDF help document. This document shows you how to build an Alpaca workbench consisting of the ASCOM Alpaca “Omni Simulators” package (included), the ConformU conformance checker tool (included), and info on the Python client API library Alpyca and the Wireshark net analyzer tool to analyze the HTTP/REST network data. Since this is (primarily) a developer package, help will be provided on the ASCOM Driver and Application Development Forum.

Included in the ASCOM Initiative Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry Pi manual are:

– How to install the Alpaca Workbench

– How to use the Pi-hosted device simulators themselves

– How to use the device simulators remotely from existing Windows apps via the Chooser’s Alpaca support

– How to use the Conformance checker, including its Alpaca Discovery tools

– How to access Alpaca devices from Windows apps

– How to give existing Windows devices an Alpaca front end with ASCOM Remote

– Info on the Python 3 Alpaca package ‘Alpyca’

– How to easily install WireShark to monitor and decode Alpaca traffic using your Pi

You can learn more at about the ASCOM Initiative Alpaca Workbench for Raspberry Pi here.

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