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SkyFi/StarSeek/SkySafari and alignment

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#1 mikee



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Posted 03 December 2010 - 07:43 AM

Hi all -

I just ordered the Orion rebranded SkyFi wifi module (StarSeek) to use with SkySafari on my ipod touch.

But I think I may have been in error as to what this actually does - the description makes it sound like it replaces your hand controller but I was just looking at the online help in SkySafari about scope control and it says "after you do your telescope alignment procedures..." which implies that I still have to use the hand controller to do a 3 star alignment, then unplug it, plug in the wifi thing and then i can connect and control?

Maybe it's just me but that seems pretty bogus if I have to use the hand controller and then switch plugs and use the wifi module.

I did notice that the SkySafari docs say you can align on individual objects once you recenter them in your eyepiece but I'm not sure what that's actually doing if you're doing the alignment with the SynScan controller.

I was really hoping I could sell my hand controller but alas that doesn't appear to be the case. I use a Macbook laptop so I don't think I can use EQMOD but I'm still trying to determine (there's dearth of information as to whether Parallels or Fusion can connect through the ShoeString USB2EQ6). And that seems kind of bogus too - plug in your laptop, align the scope and then unplug and plug in the wifi module.

Any ideas?

#2 rmollise



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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:21 AM

It is not bogus. ANY planetarium program must be used with a telescope that has been aligned. The Only exception is NexRemote, which takes the place of your hand control. It is the only program that does it, because it is from Celestron and it runs the HC firmware on a PC.

Oh, and you CANNOT unplug your HC. It has to remain plugged in as long as you are using the telescope.


If you want to dispense with the hand controller, return the product and get a copy of NexRemote to run on a laptop or netbook. ;)

#3 mikee



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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:42 AM

So even EQMOD requires that you use the hand controller as well? I've read numerous posts about people running their Atlas without a hand controller at all.

#4 rmollise



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Posted 03 December 2010 - 01:17 PM

So even EQMOD requires that you use the hand controller as well? I've read numerous posts about people running their Atlas without a hand controller at all.

Sorry, I misread your post to the effect that I thought you were using a Celestron mount. Yes, EQMOD will do the same thing for SynScan mounts NexRemote does for Celestrons...but...

You won't be able to run EQMOD on your handheld with SkySafari...so you are back in the same boat. The mount must be aligned before you connect SkySafari, and SkySafari won't work with EQMOD (which must run on a Win PC). And you cannot disconntect the PC running EQMOD and connect SkySafari. Same difference IOW... ;-)

#5 jrbarnett


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Posted 04 December 2010 - 12:42 AM


You can read reviews from testers on the Southern Stars website. The S&T write up reproduced there describes how setup works. You do use the wired HC to align the mount. Once aligned, however, you are wireless and use the iPod/iPhone to select and slew to targets. Much nicer, IMO, than lugging a lappy out into the field.



#6 therocksal


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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:01 AM

I just lugged out my new CPC1100 tonight and tried out my Starseek with sky voyager and starmap pro. I aligned my scope using the HC, plugged in the Starseek, placed the HC in it's holster, placed the Starseek on top of my mount...and it worked great. I was checking things out on Voyager, then when I found something I wanted to check out, hit the goto button, and it worked perfect. Can't wait till summer!

#7 Norm42


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Posted 02 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

Just started looking at the hw/sw for telescope control. I like the idea of using a pc or ipad UI vs the interfaces on the hand controllers.

I assume the sequence here is that after the alignment with the hand controller the starseek plugs into the additional jack (looks like a telephone or cat5 jack) on the atlas/synscan and celestron nexstar hand controller. So both the hand controller and the starseek are plugged in. The hand controller plugged into the mount, the starseek into the hand controller. Is this correct?

So in effect the starseek is just feeding in location commands of some sort to the hand controller to move the mount. As compared to using the UI/data base on the hand controller to select objects.


#8 JMW


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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:26 AM

I spent 3 hours tonight using my iPad to communicate with my Atlas controller via wifi. Works great and was much nicer than using Starry Night on the laptop. It was cold so I had a heating pad running to keep my spare eyepieces and iPad warm. A warm iPad is easier on my fingers in the winter. I also plan to use it to an Argo Navis on an Obsession 20 inch F5. I find the iPad is much easier to align screen view with the sky compared to a laptop

#9 MarkCPC11


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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:11 PM

I was using the star seek unit with my Ipad, but i could not get things perfecly aligned.. I would do a two star alignment.. Second slew to a bright star, connect the unit and connect it to the Ipad, select the object thats centered in the eyepice on the search screen of skyseek pro then I hit align.. Then I do a goto on the ipad to say m42, but the position is 10 full deg off, don't understand how to align both the software and the telescope.. The help section states you should move the scope to the object, but if you use the handcontroler the software moves the pointer on the screen, if you move the scope manualy u lose the alignment?? So I'm stuck, anyone have a fullproff method of doing this??

#10 dymy24


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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:08 PM

I just started using Skysafari and the Skywire interface with my Skywatcher (Synscan) mount. So far, it's as advertised, and about as good as I need it to be.

I power up the scope and start from Home. I don't usually do an alignment, as the mount is on a permanent pier. Lately, my mount has been "forgetting" its Lat/Long - a problem unrelated to the Sky Safair/Skywire. Because of this problem, I did go through a one star alignment procedure the first time I used the Skywire to connect my iPad to the mount.

Everything work as advertised. Start up the mount, start SkySafari on the iPad, do an alignment (if necessary), connect the iPad to the mount with the skywire, choose your scope in Sky Safari settings, press the "connect" radio button, select a target.

I enjoy the product so far. For the relative newby like me, planning an evening's session just got a good bit easier.

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