Alternatives to Tronisoft  

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jriley
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Alternatives to Tronisoft

by jriley » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:00 am

As discussed in another thread, the Tronisoft folks seem to have gone missing or something, so I am considering alternatives for Bluetooth control.

(1) I am aware of the unit from Ursa Minor http://www.ursaminor.hu/bluetooth_interface_en.html. However 99 euros is pretty high, especially if you are paying in $US - about US$129. Considering that I am only paying $165 (shipping included, after a $10 coupon) for the head, that seems a bit much.

(2) Starry Nights has something that looks to be the same thing, essentially, available for several mounts. http://www.starrynightstore.com/bluestarnew.html (note that the cord isn't shown in the pic, but it has a coiled cord, like an old phone receiver.) I couldn't get them to tell me if it would work with the Orion/Merlin/Skywatcher mount. Still expensive at about $100 at the cheapest place I found it http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=12402&kw=bluestar&st=2.

(3) I don't recall seeing a link to these before, so forgive me if I am repeating a post from elsewhere. An outfit named AstroCables seems to be selling something that is virtually the same as what Tronisoft modified for us http://www.astrocables.com/index.php/action/category/id/3/. These are all Aircable adapters and cheap. They have six versions, surely one of which could be paired with the cheap Aircable Mini or Serial3.

I hope one of you who is conversant in what it would take to work could look at (2) and especially (3) to see what you think.

John Riley

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by mediavets » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:38 am

John,

The Ursa Minor device will work. Perhaps just consider yourself fortunate to have been able to buy a Merlin/Orion for just $165 and invest the 'saving' in this device.

Items 2 and 3 are designed for mounts that have an RS232 interface and will not work with the Merlin/Orion which has a TLL interface. The Tronisoft module converts the RS232 interface of the BTLink Bluetooth-RS232 adapter (which is functionally similar to an Aircable device of the same type) to TLL.

Merlin/Orion+Ursa Minor BT adapter+Papywizard on a Nokia Tablet still costs a fraction of the price of the nearest comparable two axis motorised pano head - that's the Rodeon VR head which starts from 3,700 Euros:
http://www.dr-clauss.de/RODEONVRHead_e.htm
Last edited by mediavets on Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by Paul » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:12 am

there are some alternatives, but all not "ready made"

there two types of BT devices:
BT to RS232
or
BT to TTL

with the type 1 you need in addition a 'RS232 to ttl converter' and a voltage regulator

example type 1 :http://www.tme.eu/en/katalog/?id_category=100554&page=1,20#id_category%3D100554%26
or ebay item 170284966529

with type 2 you need just a voltage regulator
example type 2: ebay item 360124939751

some RS232 to TTL converters you will find on ebay too like item 110319230385

----------
may be this device (type 2) could also be usable
http://www.acroname.com/robotics/parts/I19-10542.html

----------
up to 10 meter distance this device (type 1) may be usable too
ebay item 190262209575

---------

addition:
for devices type 1 you will need a RS232 to TTL converter too, but only for setup
Last edited by Paul on Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Paul

close, but no cigar ... ... ...

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by claudevh » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:57 pm

Hi John and the others ....

For the States, I thing that actually a solution based on the Sparkfun's module will be the best one .

BUT... you will have to assemble and solder a Power supply unit (PSU), to connect the PSU to the Sparkfun module and to make a cable ...

Herafter the necessary links :

For the Power supply:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=114
For the BT module:

Distance max 30 meters :
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8332

Distance max 100 meters :
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=582

If you are "really" interested, I can describe the work to do with pictures of the finished stuff ...
I have a working "proto" of both type AND 2 contributors of the forum are using this solution since weeks now !
See next links:

http://www.brewzone.com/2008/11/diy-pano-head

http://www.brewzone.com/2008/11/diy-pano-head

Please let me know !

PS: I confirm that no-one of the solutions you have proposed will work and this as very clearly explained by Andrew (AKA Mediavets)
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
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by mediavets » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:23 pm

As Claude mentions you can assemble components yourself - if you feel up to it - but the components he mentions above will cost close to $60 plus postage and that's before you start assembling anything.

On the other hand the Ursa Minor adapter is fully packaged and plug-n-play, but it costs more.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by Paul » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:38 pm

a readymade PSU from an US-store: http://store.gravitech.us/35v1aswvore.html
Paul

close, but no cigar ... ... ...

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by claudevh » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:48 pm

Hi John and you all,

claudevh wrote:PS: I confirm that no-one of the solutions you have proposed will work and this as very clearly explained by Andrew (AKA Mediavets)

Sorry I was in a hurry .... No-one solution will work except of course the Teleskop Austria (AKA Ursa Minor) who will work I thing (but We don't have till now any feedback about the users !

:rolleyes:
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM

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by jriley » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:21 pm

claudevh wrote:Hi John and the others ....

For the States, I thing that actually a solution based on the Sparkfun's module will be the best one .

BUT... you will have to assemble and solder a Power supply unit (PSU), to connect the PSU to the Sparkfun module and to make a cable ...

Herafter the necessary links :

For the Power supply:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=114
For the BT module:

Distance max 30 meters :
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8332

Distance max 100 meters :
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=582

If you are "really" interested, I can describe the work to do with pictures of the finished stuff ...
I have a working "proto" of both type AND 2 contributors of the forum are using this solution since weeks now !
See next links:

http://www.brewzone.com/2008/11/diy-pano-head

http://www.brewzone.com/2008/11/diy-pano-head

Please let me know !

PS: I confirm that no-one of the solutions you have proposed will work and this as very clearly explained by Andrew (AKA Mediavets)

I really would appreciate explicit instructions :D I really should be better at electronics, considering my background with them, but I am decades out of touch, really. Certainly, I am not afraid to solder things and get my hands dirty.

From all the responses given in this thread (which are GREATLY appreciated!), I am starting to clarify on the issues some. I had a fair amount of trouble wrapping my brain around all the discussions in the forum, since there are numerous dead-ends, loops, and obsolete sub-threads on getting one of these up and running.

I wasn't clear on the TTL/RS232 issue, for instance. I am guessing that all of the "out of the box" Bluetooth to Serial converters are going to be RS232 and require an RS232 to TTL converter. Please correct me if I am wrong. It seems I will need something like the BlueSMiRF if I wish to go straight from Bluetooth to TTL. With that, all I will need is to power the module and make an appropriate cable, right? Will the cable be the same as the one described elsewhere for the Tronisoft? I may do what someone showed in the Brewzone link - crack open a car charger, of which I have an extra with USB output (should be the right voltage, no?)

Yep, the Ursa Minor adapter is looking better all the time, but I trying to decrease expenses if possible. I hope Paypal will refund charges from Tronisoft.

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by mediavets » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:42 pm

jriley wrote:I wasn't clear on the TTL/RS232 issue, for instance. I am guessing that all of the "out of the box" Bluetooth to Serial converters are going to be RS232 and require an RS232 to TTL converter. Please correct me if I am wrong. .

Correct.

You also have to provide power to the RS232-TLL convertor and the Bluetooth-RS232 convertor.

The beauty of the Tronisoft based solution is that the 4201/4207 RS232-TTL module incorporates a voltage regulator so you can take power (9-12V) down the interface cable from the Merlin/Orion head and both step down the voltage to power the RS232-TLL module and also pass through power on pin 9 of the Dsub connector to power the BTLink RS232-Bluetooth adapter - that and the fact that it is relatively inexpensive.

The electronics in the fully integrated plug-n-play Ursa Minor adapter from Teleskop-Austria perform similar functions.
Last edited by mediavets on Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by jriley » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:33 am

I have been digging through a lot of Bluetooth converter supplier's sites and come up with something that seems ideal. Now I ask you to either rain on my parade or let me know I should be happy.

Roving Networks has a Bluetooth module that, I think, looks perfect for us: The RN-24 Bluetooth Super Module. It is tiny and available with either an external or built-in antenna. It says that "On board regulators can accept 4-20 VDC input power" and "TTL or RS-232 level, via on board RS-232 converters"!! If this means what I think, it would need neither a voltage regulator or level adapter, just a cable connected to it. Heck, here is the list of features:

Features & Benefits

standard spacing (.1 or 2mm) DIP header footprint.
On board regulators can accept 4-20 VDC input power.
TTL or RS-232 level, via on board RS-232 converters.
LED indicators for status.
On board stacks/profiles make integration simple (no host code).
Complete embedded solution, simplest mode requires only 4 pin connection ( TX, RX, VCC, GND).
Sustained data performance of >230kbps.
Advanced features such as auto pairing, and auto connect master,enabled using Programmable IO pins.
Fully configurable with simple AT style commands locally over UART and remotely over Bluetooth.
Low power consumption, 1ma standby, 5/25/40/60ma connected.
Bluetooth v1.1, 1.2, and 2.0/ EDR compliant.

See it at: http://www.rovingnetworks.com/bluetooth-super-modules.php

Cost: $69 for one, substantial discounts in bulk, available directly or through resellers.

So, am I crazy or could this be just the ticket?

They also have a postage-stamp sized module, RN-41, with built-in antenna and (I believe) TTL output. You would just need to supply power. It is only $35!

Also found out there: http://www.a7eng.com/products/bluetooth/productpages/eb301serialbtadapters.htm. This one seems to be in the same vein as the RN-41. It is only $32 each for 10 units.
Last edited by jriley on Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by Paul » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:41 am

imho both look good

and pricewise the a7eng module combined with the gravitec psu http://store.gravitech.us/35v1aswvore.html could be a solution which would easy fit into Merlins housing

but it is a class 2 device: range up to 30m
Last edited by Paul on Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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close, but no cigar ... ... ...

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by fma38 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:54 am

RN-24 module sounds good, but require a small PCB to wire all pins. Final price will be very close to Teleskop-Austria product, I think...
Frédéric

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by Paul » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:03 pm

@Andrew

pls may you check out, if this BT-RSS232 is similiar or identical to the Tronisoft one:

http://www.eco-m.co.uk/shop/serialbluetooth.html
http://www.eco-m.co.uk/shop/BT-RS232.pdf

same on ebay: item 140296470841
Paul

close, but no cigar ... ... ...

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by mediavets » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:09 pm

Paul wrote:@Andrew

pls may you check out, if this BT-RSS232 is similiar or identical to the Tronisoft one:

http://www.eco-m.co.uk/shop/serialbluetooth.html
http://www.eco-m.co.uk/shop/BT-RS232.pdf

same on ebay: item 140296470841

Yes, very similar or identical. Price is OK too.

Of course that's only one part of the complete Bluetooth-TLL interface. It is an alternative to the Tronisoft 4201/4207 RS232-TTL module that is harder to find in a suitable form. Bluetooth-RS232 adapters are easy to find.
Last edited by mediavets on Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by jriley » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:24 pm

fma38 wrote:RN-24 module sounds good, but require a small PCB to wire all pins. Final price will be very close to Teleskop-Austria product, I think...

Why do you think we need a printed circuit board? I thought we would only need the 4pins as they say in the description: "Complete embedded solution, simplest mode requires only 4 pin connection ( TX, RX, VCC, GND)" Aren't those all we need to control the Merlin/Orion? Wouldn't we be able to just solder the cable directly to the board or use a simple socket that costs $2? Still slightly more than half the price of the Teleskop-Austria. Plus, perhaps it could even be mounted internally, wired to the connector inside. I even wonder if it isn't something exactly like this inside the Teleskop-Austria unit. By in bulk, add a case, wire and profit and you get up to about $130 :P

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by Paul » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:35 pm

jriley wrote:Why do you think we need a printed circuit board?

Image

imho a extra pcb is not necessary

the big pic shows:
it has standard spacing, so it's possible to connect/solder the wires or solder pin headers into the module

just two resistors, that's all
power direct from merlins 12V
Paul

close, but no cigar ... ... ...

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by mediavets » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:35 pm

jriley wrote:Buy in bulk, add a case, wire and profit and you get up to about $130 :P

At current exchange rates US$130 is approx. 98 Euros - and the introductory price of the Teleskop-Austria device (fully assembled, plug-n-play, with a 2 year warranty) one-off is 89 Euros, and thereafter 99 Euros.
Last edited by mediavets on Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by jriley » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:49 pm

mediavets wrote:
jriley wrote:Buy in bulk, add a case, wire and profit and you get up to about $130 :P

At current exchange rates US$130 is approx. 98 Euros - and the introductory price of the Teleskop-Austria device (fully assembled, plug-n-play, with a 2 year warranty) one-off is 89 Euros, and thereafter 99 Euros.

OK - $121 then. If my wife hands me that $$$ and says "spend it as you wish", I am all over it. It is a hard choice if the money is there, no doubt. I am just scheming how to save some.

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by jriley » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:49 pm

Paul wrote:just two resistors, that's all
power direct from merlins 12V

Can you straighten me out on why we need the resistors?

John

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by claudevh » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:02 pm

Hi jriley,
Hi all ....

I am at this moment testing all of them ! But I need to realize some more checks...

Quick report :

RN24S (Rooving network) (inboard antenna):
- no PSU needed !
- TX (TTL) on pin 9, RX (TTL) on pin 11, GND on pin 32 and VIN (4 to 24 volts) on pin 32.
- Could be used "directly" without pcb support (just solder adapted wire with the 2 resistors)
- A resistor on the board should be removed in order to activate the TTL inputs
This last item should be done as last test , but I have not yet the time to do that !

EB301 (A7eng) (inboard antenna)
- should only be plugged on a small auxiliary board with PSU 5 volts and the 2 resistors!
Nearly all tests have been done (breadboard) and give good results with Merlin and Papy8
VERY PROMISING !

Special module for Parallax (A7eng):
http://www.a7eng.com/products/bluetooth/parallax_bluetooth.htm
- THIS WORK OUT OF THE BOX !
- just connect to the Merlin (don't forget the 2 resistors)
- quite expensive (104$ !):
http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=Ok6sVjDQtqYdR6UwTENIZQ%3d%3d
- Mouser Belgium free shipping ! :) : 84 Euros
http://be.mouser.com/Search/Refine.aspx?N=4294758655&Keyword=bluetooth&FS=True

PS. I am busy with another one who will be more cheaper ! (24 Euros) but need a PSU, I will report later ...!

We will have a replacement for Tronisoft if necessary !
;)
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
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by claudevh » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:07 pm

Hi all,

If I must made a choice NOW (100 % working unit with Papy, no configuration!)

Special module for Parallax (A7eng):
http://www.a7eng.com/products/bluetooth/parallax_bluetooth.htm
- THIS WORK OUT OF THE BOX ! except special cable with 2 resistors ... :/

:cool:
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM

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by Paul » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:23 pm

claudevh wrote:- quite expensive (104$ !):

www.parallax.com sell it for 79.99
Item code 30068

but runs it as slave on 9600 baud?
Paul

close, but no cigar ... ... ...

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by claudevh » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:31 pm

Hi Paul,

but runs it as slave on 9600 baud?

Yes , this is the default settings. :)

This module should only be connected to the Merlin (don't forget the 2 resistors !) ;)

Excellent price for US ! but not the same for Europe ! :/
:cool: Claude :cool:
Merlin + Papywizard on Windows 7 & Nokia 770 § N810 & Acer (Netbook) + PanoramaApp Androïd + Deltawave PapyMerlin BT + Autopano
Spherical Pano (180 x 360) with Canon 40D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom & Pôle Pano with Canon 5D MK2 and shaved Tokina 10-17 3.5-4.5 AF DX Fisheye
Gigapixel photography with Nikon D200 + Sigma 70-200 F 2.8 EX DG APO HSM

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by mediavets » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:46 pm

claudevh wrote:http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=Ok6sVjDQtqYdR6UwTENIZQ%3d%3d
- Mouser Belgium free shipping ! :) : 84 Euros

£68.20 for UK customers.
Andrew Stephens
Many different Nodal Ninja and Agnos pano heads. Merlin/Panogear mount with Papywizard on Nokia Internet tablets.
Nikon D5100 and D40, Sigma 8mm f3.5 FE, Nikon 10.5mm FE, 35mm, 50mm, 18-55mm, 70-210mm. Promote control.

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by bigwade » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:50 pm

claudevh wrote:http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=Ok6sVjDQtqYdR6UwTENIZQ%3d%3d
- Mouser Belgium free shipping ! :) : 84 Euros

Maybe I don't get it but the teleskop austria device is 89,- euro, incl. cable, box etc. plug&play
Listed on their site for 99,- eu but the introduction price is 89,- euro.
No need to find a box, soldering etc.......
Shops are closed now for one week.

EDIT:
Since no users confirmed yet the ursaminor thing works out of the box,
I will order one to see if it's working.
http://www.teleskop-austria.at/prod.php?lng=de&tid=15#montz-blt-hu
If so, my Tronisoft-kit, ready to use is for sale.
incl. car-radiofront box etc.
I like the smaller size, that's why.
Paid 51,36 eu for it (4 dec. 2008) and that's the price ex. shipment.
If the ursminor is not working out of the box, I will send it back and keep the Tronisoft-kit.
But that's for next week :)
grtz!
Last edited by bigwade on Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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