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Thread: Stellarium "Telescope controls";

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    Default Stellarium "Telescope controls";



    Does anyone here use the telescope controls with Stellarium? I see it there, but I'm pretty much at a loss to know if it really works. I try and use NexRemote, but it doesn't want to play very well. I must be downloading it wrong. It did work once. Maybe Stellarium might be better. I can use an extension cord with the hand controller and that method works fine. Anyway, Thanks

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    Default

    I did once try the built-in Stellarium telescope control on my HEQ5. It worked fine.

    Nowadays, I use EQMOD with Stellarium. The net effect is the same - I can use Stellarium to control the scope - but it has advantages for alignment.

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    Default

    I do - they work great, it's simple to configure (no ASCOM drivers to set up and whatnot unless you prefer them) and I love being able to control the scope from inside the house and then jump out to see the objects. I'm also working to get Stellarium to communicate with the scope wirelessly though a Skyfi adapter, as I hate tripping on cables - and always do!. The wireless control part is a bit trickier and geekier but doable.

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    Default

    Thank You, I'll persue the details and try that out next.

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    Default

    Hi TheOD,

    I just spent the last half hour responding to your PM, then pressed "SEND" and was told that I don't have enough posts yet to send a PM. The PM's contents were lost. Astronomyforum.net, can I please have the last half hour of my life back?!

    Anyway, I'll try to remember most of what I wrote and reply to the PM publicly here...

    - SkyFi is a wireless adapter, originally meant for interfacing your scope wirelessly with Southern Sky's Sky Safari planetarium program for iPhone, iPad, Android or OsX. It's also sold by Orion as the Starseek WiFi, for connecting with Orion's Starseek planetarium program. It's a joy to use from a tablet, and the gee whiz volume goes to 11 when you click on a nebula and the scope goes to fetch it. I bought it originally to control my NexStar 8SE from an Android tablet.

    - I soon started wondering if I could use it to control the scope from other apps, namely Windows applications such as Stellarium, NexRemote, Virtual Moon or Astroplanner. Southern Stars makes no secret that it should, though they support it just for its intended use. And just recently, they updated their web site with guidelines on how to make it work ( here: Southern Stars • Products • SkyFi )

    - All the SkyFi does, really, is relay serial commands over WiFi - so if you can trick apps into seeing the SkyFi's IP address as a serial port, you're golden. And there's free software that does exactly that: create a virtual serial port that maps to an IP address. The free version of HW VSP3, linked to from the site above, is easy to configure, and will map, say, COM7 to the SkyFi's IP address. So you get on the same wireless network as the SkyFi, start up HW VSP3, and configure whichever software to use the virtual COM port created by HW VSP3, and you're golden - PC wireless control of your telescope (and it doesn't need to be Windows - there are solutions for Linux and OsX too).

    - One annoyance about the adapter had been that you needed to be in a so-called peer-to-peer network to connect to the SkyFi - so you had to disconnect from your home ("infrastructure") WiFi network to link to your scope's, which is annoying if you have undiagnosed Adult ADD like me and always want to look stuff up on the Web as you're skywatching. But the latest and greatest new release of the SkyFi can use your home wireless network, though with a few caveats on the security protocols. And there's new firmware out for making the old version do the same. If you do buy it, though, note that the Orion Starseek offering still seems to be the old version of the device - the new version is sold directly by Southern Stars.

    - Though using the SkyFi adapter can mean making your own cables for some scopes, the Nexstars can be connected with a cable that ships with the adapter (it has a phone jack (RJ11) on one end and a thinner phone-handset jack on the other). So you align your scope, plug the SkyFi into the hand controller's port, connect your PC to the same wireless network, start up HWVSP3 to create the virtual port, and start up your scope control software of choice, and you now have one less cable to worry about. Once you have it working once, it's actually simpler that how it sounds, as both HW SP3 and your planetarium software remember their connection settings. You'll also want to velcro the SkyFi module, probably to the arm to avoid the short cord strangling your precious.

    - Hope this explains it well, but let me know if you want more info or some pictures. I'm a computer guy 9 to 5, so I may have skimped on some meaningful details thinking they're obvious when they're not.

    - And back to your PM, Albany's a great town and I love it here - though now that I have a telescope I'm darn jealous of where you're living now. The middle school's down the block from where I live - did you go there?

    Paolo
    Last edited by paolotto; 02-13-2012 at 06:30 AM.
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    Default

    I better mention though that I've just gotten the thing working and can only confirm from personal experience that it works with Stellarium. But it should logically work with any software that uses serial ports to send standard commands to the scope. I'll let you know if it gives me trouble with other software once I try it.

    The final cable I'd like to get rid of is the USB cable to my DSLR or Orion Starshoot - Hopefully there's a solution for USB-to-Wireless conversion that I can implement before I trip on the cable and break my neck, or worse, break my telescope
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    Hello Paolotto, I just sent you an e-mail and before I was finished, it "Timed Out" and I was back at "step one". I'll try again but I'm on "dial-up" so my abilities are limited, I guess. Thanks for helping here.

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    Default

    You have other free choices -- for example Cartes du Ciel planetarium software will control a scope --

    The ASCOM drivers also work and free to try -

    ASCOM - Standards for Astronomy

    The most common problem is that the COM port listed in the software is different from the COM port being used by the computer-- also if you are using a USB to Serial adapter cable some of the cables just do not work -- the KeySpan brand cable is known to work along with the one sold by scopestuff.com.

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    Thanks for the help. What I'm going to do is "Strike Out" and find a "high speed internet" WI-FI where I can download faster. Trying to "download" anything on a dial-up is impossible. As it is, I'm not "shot down in flames" (AC-DC tune) because I can use an extension cable. Might be nicer to do it all from a PC though. Thanks everyone. "I will Win"!!!!

 

 
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