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Fibre Configuration


af2_configure is the program used to create a fibre configuration. You should start the process of creating configuration files well in advance of your run, and send your configuration files to your Support Astronomer (SA) for checking at least one week before your run. See the af2_configure manual for more information.

Please follow these instruction to dowload and install af2_configure on your computer:

  1. Download the source and executable files:
    • Linux and Solaris: af2_configure.tar.gz (last modified: 29 September 2014). This gzip-ed tar file contains the source and the precompiled Linux (i686) and Solaris (SunOS sun4u) executables. The Linux executable file was created under Redhat Enterprise but should work without recompiling in many other distributions.

  2. Unpack it in a directory of your choice:

    GNU tar: gtar -zxf af2_configure.tar.gz
    Solaris tar: gzip -cd af2_configure.tar.gz | tar -xf -

  3. IMPORTANT: af2_configure can automatically download the latest versions of the necessary setup files small_fibres.dat and wht_prime.dat from the ING web server. To download the files manually please download and copy to directory af2_configure/bin/ these two files: small_fibres.dat, wht_prime.dat

    The versions of the files small_fibres.dat and wht_prime.dat used to generate the configuration files should be the same as the current system versions used to perform the physical setup; the versions linked above are synchronised with the system versions.

  4. Change to the test directory:

    cd af2_configure/test

  5. Execute af2_configure. Default answers are fine, note that /XWINDOW is the optimal display device. You will be asked for a .fld file, a few of which you will find in the test directory:


  6. Documentation on the use of af2_configure can be found in the af2_configure manual, and in particular on how to make a .fld configuration input file. Some examples can be seen here. Also make sure to check the AF2/WYFFOS web page for the latest news.


The af2_configure manual provides some sections about problems and solutions when installing or running af2_configure. Below you can find some installation issues:

Binary file not executable

Do initial placement by scanning SKYPA? (no) >
Using excecutable ../bin/af2_configure.x ...
../bin/af2_configure.x: Exec format error. Binary file not executable.

If you find the error above or any similar regarding file af2_configure.x not being executable, then you need to compile af2_configure on your system. Proceed as follows:

  1. Change to the source directory:

    cd af2_configure/src

  2. Run the build command:


A new executable af2_configure.x file will be generated. Change to the test directory and try again


Some libraries are not found

You can check that all the necessary libraries are available to run af2_configure with the following command:

ldd ../bin/af2_configure.x

Check the output carefully for error messages. In case there are any, follow the guidelines above to compile af2_configure.

None of the above works

We have set up a virtual machine so users can run af2_configure remotely, please follow these instructions:

  1. First check that your system has a VNC viewer. We recommend Tiger VNC.
  2. Start vncviewer:


    Where xxxx is the name of the virtual machine. Contact the AF2 instrument specialist for obtaining the name of the machine and the password to start a session.

  3. Your need to log on as user af2_configure, same password as before. Start up can be slow.
  4. Once the remote session is started, open a terminal. First copy your configuration files to a local directory, for example:

    mkdir 20131009
    cd 20131009
    scp user@computer:/home/user/*fld .

  5. Start af2_configure in the directory containing your .fld files and follow instructions:


  6. You can email the AF2 instrument specialist with the location of the configurations files generated, for instance:


  7. Documentation on the use of af2_configure can be found in the af2_configure manual, and in particular on how to make a .fld configuration input file. Some examples can be seen here.
  8. IMPORTANT: To exit the VNC session, type function key F8. From the displayed menu, select 'Exit viewer'.

Checking your configurations

Your configurations should be checked by the telescope observing system software in advance of your observations to avoid any risk to the fibres. Send your configuration files to your SA for checking at least one week in advance of your run, so that there's sufficient time to fix any problems that may occur.

Instructions on how to check a configuration file:

This is a brief set of instructions on how to check configurations at the telescope, e.g. should you wish to make changes to, or create new, configurations.

  1. In the WHT control room, log in as whtobs (your SA will provide you with the password) at the machine labeled as whtdrpc1 (or whtdrpc2).

  2. Open a terminal and create a directory corresponding to the PI's surname, as follows:

    >mkdir /home/whtobs/AF2/PI_NAME/

  3. Copy your configuration files using scp. For example, if you brought your files in a flash drive, and it is mounted as /media/flashdrive/, do:

    >cd /media/pendrive/
    >scp configuration_files*"

  4. Connect to icsdev1 (or, alternatively, icsdev3) using ssh:

    >ssh -X whtobs@icsdev1 (or, alternatively, >ssh -X whtobs@icsdev3)

  5. Once logged in, type


    and then

    >cd /home/whtobs/AF2/PI_NAME/

    You can now check your configuration files by typing:

    >af2 checkt configuration_file.cfg xx:xx:xx

    where xx:xx:xx is the sidereal time (the average) you are planning to observe the given configuration (you can check this at

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Contact:  (AF2 Instrument Specialist)
Last modified: 01 December 2016