I was looking for some way to allow my Meade 16 Starfinder Dob to track.
I started a thread and found some tables could do the trick but where expensive. While I can't afford the tables I found, a recommendation from star2root in this forum set me on a related quest.
Star2root recommended some Push-To software called Skeye that runs on Android phones and tablets.
I went at once to the iTunes App store and purchased the only telescope Push-To software I could find for the iPad/iPhone called "iPushTo".
I quickly found that is software would be usless to me. You have to mount the phone/pad when the scope was perfectly horizontal and there is not option for further alignment, nothing to align for gyro drift during use and a poor interface and catalog.
So the iPad and PushTo software was a FAIL.
That is ok though, I love my iPad and it works wonderfully as a hand-held sky survey tool, planning tool, and much more. I like the apps StarTrackerHD, DS Browser, pUniverseHD and especially I love SkySafari+
I purchased a used Color Nook and bought a non-OS replacing triple boot "root kit" that allowed the Nook to run Android tablet software (Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich).
The Color Nook was on the application web sites "white list" of devises reported to work with the Skeye software app.
Turns out the person that wrote the report did not bother to try the primary feature of the software, the Go-To function.
As I learned the Color Nook tablet does not have a magnetometer.
This renders it useless as a GoTo tablet.
I contacted the developer though his news group and he appended the white list: http://skeye.wikispaces.com/
I was very pleased with the easy of contact and how friendly the developer was. This encouraged me to press on.
Plan B: Used Color Nook $100 + Android OS Root Kit / MicroSD $15 = FAIL.
I went to Microcenter the next day and purchased an Acer A100 tablet. The tablet was a factory refirb for $169.00.
I really, really like this tablet it has great I/O ports, fast, great screen, great form factor. It does have a magnetometer, gyros and a GPS built in.
After installing Skeye and the important support apps Navy Clock to sync time to the nano-second and GPS Status to calibrate the gyros and magnetometer I thought I was all set.
However, it was not to be.
The A100 apparently has a very poor magnometer and the on-board electronics interfere with it's performance.
It works fine for a basic compass but the SkEye software would continually, give "Strange Magnetic Field" warnings even away from the scope, with WiFi off, Bluetooth off, and out in fields away from all metallic structures of any kind.
The app ran great with no lock-ups but it would not align well and even when still the stars would "swim" on the screen.
Plan C: Acer A100 Tablet + Skeye and support apps = FAIL
So back to Microcenter to trade up to a tablet with a better magnetometer.
Magnetometers are not exactly something you find in reviews so I turned to the white list again. Most of the reports were from people with little to no technical experience so it was a rough guide at best.
I purchased a Galaxy Tab 2, 7.0 $249
(Model GT-P3113, Android Version 4.0.3, Kernel 3.0.8 )
I installed Skeye and at once noticed better hand-held performance then I got with the A100. I really liked the A100 better (see above) but the Galaxy tablet was running Skeye and that is what is most important.
The RAM-Mount system I ordered had not arrived yet so I used the highly technical mounting system from 3M called "Velcro".
Once the RAM-Mount arrives I will have a more secure accurate platform for the tablet and I will be able to use it with the RAM-Mount system on my motorcycle for GPS and other duties.
I aligned the application with Saturn and Vega and it took me to the Ring Nebula. Now when I said it 'took me there' it brought it into my 30mm Explore scientific 68Deg eyepiece view. It did not center it. But that is ok.
As I worked with it through the night I found that, as expected with any phone/tablet used for this kind of work, there will be gyro drift. I found that by using the application's simple insta-align feature I could just align with a few bright stars in any constellation and it provided good Go-To services for the DSO's nearby.
This was very useful as this week has been poor viewing with the moon and high humidity. The Go-To was much quicker than my Telrad for darting from one section of the sky to the other. I was able to find lots of old friends and 3 new M-objects got crossed off the bag-list.
I am NOT getting rid of the Telrad, as it helps me to quickly align the Skeye to bright stars and counter the gyro-drift.
Plan D: $249.00 Galaxy (proper name for the job I think) Tab 2 + $9 Skeye Pro, + Navy Clock, + GPS Status = WINNER.
All Four Tablets Ready to try Push-To services:
A100 mounted on 16inch Dob
Galaxy Tab, temporally mounted with Velcro for testing to the 16 Dob
The great I/O ports of the A100
Poor, Color Nook. Affordable but no Magnetometer.