Getting Help - Up Front

  • Keep in mind that "ASCOM", "Alpaca", and the "ASCOM Platform" are a set of specifications, documentation, tools, and libraries used by many developers for apps, devices, and drivers. If you have a problem with an app or a device that uses ASCOM or Alpaca, the first place to go for help is the app or device maker.
  • With the above in mind, feel free to communicate with us on the ASCOM Talk Help Forum.
  • Use the detailed links in the orange box on the left of this page to get help on your specific type of problem.
  • The problems we see most commonly are with devices, and are most often caused by flaky cables, bad USB connectors, bad power supplies for devices, or other hardware and driver related issues. The device maker, driver author, and people here who try to help need a way to make the problem happen reproduceably. Divide and conquer is another concept to consider.
  • An anti-malware program may incorrectly detect and quarantine a component. We test with all major AV programs however, it's a moving target. So turn off your AV and try again. If it still quarantines, use the AV tools to declare the component as safe.
  • There are no gremlins living in computers and devices. The causes of problems can virtually always be explained logically. Give the developers and others who want to help a chance to focus on the problem and solve it.

How to Avoid Frustration

If you find yourself not understanding and not getting help from device manufacturer or the app developer, it's easy to get into the "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" mode. When you find yourself there, beware, you're likely to do something that makes things worse and/or obscures the real problem. Here are some common frustrating scenarios to be aware of and avoid:

There is no end to the Old Wives' Tales out there relating to fixing software and hardware problems.

General Advice - If You Ask Us for Help

Communicate with us on the ASCOM Talk Help Forum. Remember that we aren't looking over your shoulder; we can't see things that are totally obvious to you. We need to know: