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Southern Stars SkyWire: Controlling Your Telescope

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#1 Olivier Biot

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 11:12 AM

Southern Stars SkyWire: Controlling Your Telescope With An Apple Device

By Eric Planalp.

#2 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:14 PM

I never thought I'd go to software programs, but this program with my IPAD is by far the most amazing telescope control program ever. Nothing compares IMO. It's doesn't have so many features, that is cluttery. It has all you need to enjoy the night sky in a new and revolutionary way. Truly amazing!

#3 jrbarnett

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 01:39 PM

I'll second that. I'm using it on a couple of different mounts with an iPod touch. It works really well, even with the small screen of the iPod touch. I can imagine how much better still it would be with the larger screen of the iPad.

It was a very nice review too, by the way, and I would agree that this is, indeed, a revolutionary product.

Regards,

Jim

#4 dramodt

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:38 AM

Too bad you didnt wait and do the review with version 3! Its great! But I have huge frustrations with the Skywire.

#5 PLANALP1

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 06:07 PM

I'll second that. I'm using it on a couple of different mounts with an iPod touch. It works really well, even with the small screen of the iPod touch. I can imagine how much better still it would be with the larger screen of the iPad.

It was a very nice review too, by the way, and I would agree that this is, indeed, a revolutionary product.

Regards,

Jim


Glad you liked the review. I didn't think it offered a whole lot of information, more like an introduction than a review, but decided to do it after I figured out how to save images from the iPod screen so I could show folks how it looked.

Maybe an iPad one of these days....

#6 shahgazer

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:22 PM

I have been using SkySafari for my outreach program and it is a great educational tool, especially when we can 'show' the stars with the compass on.

However, i would like to know if anyone had tried controlling a skywatcher mount, eg HEQ5 or EQ6?

The feature that i really need is the Sync function. Does it really work? I've a friend telling me it does not work as it claim. Unfortunately I don't have any hands-on example nearby to test it out.

#7 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 08:32 AM

Too bad you didnt wait and do the review with version 3! Its great! But I have huge frustrations with the Skywire.

:question: What is it?

#8 calibos

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 09:38 AM

I have been using SkySafari for my outreach program and it is a great educational tool, especially when we can 'show' the stars with the compass on.

However, i would like to know if anyone had tried controlling a skywatcher mount, eg HEQ5 or EQ6?

The feature that i really need is the Sync function. Does it really work? I've a friend telling me it does not work as it claim. Unfortunately I don't have any hands-on example nearby to test it out.


Just got a push notification of the upgrade on my iPhone and one of the new features it mentioned was something to do with Celestron and Skywatcher mounts and the local sync function being 'broken' but that there is a feature in SS3 to replace it in these mounts. Worthwhile going to the website and digging through the features list for version 3 methinks.

#9 amys

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 11:27 AM

I just won an iPad 2 :jump: , which arrived yesterday. I have downloaded sky safari 3 and I hope to try controlling my CG-5 with it using the Skywire soon.

#10 Nile

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 01:33 PM

Whoa Amy! How did you win it? Congratulations!! :-)

#11 amys

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 02:53 PM

Our local public radio station had 3 of them to give away in their latest fund raising drive as a stimulus to get people to call in. It worked -- I was driving in the car when I heard that and immediately pulled over and called to renew my membership. :grin:

I'm having a blast with it. I have an older iPod Touch and SkySafari looks sooooo much better on the iPad.

#12 Nile

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 05:14 PM

Awesome! I need to find cool radio stations now! ;-) Have fun, I am J!

#13 RobTeeter

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 07:46 PM

This may be slightly off-topic, but I can't wait for Southern Stars to come out with a USB version of either their SkyWire or SkyFi systems. I use a Truss Dob with SkyCommander and ServoCat, but unfortunately neither the SkyWire or SkyFi will talk to the ServoCat because the Generation3 ServoCat that I have uses a USB PC connection. Previous versions of the ServoCat, which utilized a Serial Port instead of USB, will talk to an iPad just fine using the SkyWire or SkyFi. I spoke with the Southern Stars guys at NEAF about all of this and they assure me something is in the works, but they don't have an estimate on a release date yet.

Being able to sit at my Dob and pan the sky on my iPad and then tap any galaxy, cluster or nebula, and then watch the scope to slew to it is an awesome idea. All you non-ServoCat drive guys make sure you enjoy this toy, but just know there are others of us out there waiting for Southern Stars to make the switch to USB (or at least offer USB as an option). :p

Take care,

#14 JimP

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 02:02 PM

How well do you have to be polar aligned for this to work? Is there a way to synchronize an object?
Can you touch a star on the screen and have the scope turn to it (one that you may know is a Carbon star or a double)?

best,

JimP

#15 PLANALP1

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:00 AM

How well do you have to be polar aligned for this to work? Is there a way to synchronize an object?
Can you touch a star on the screen and have the scope turn to it (one that you may know is a Carbon star or a double)?

best,

JimP


I've found that the SkySafari system is just as accurate as the Autostar controller itself. As long as you do your alignment to the point where the Autostar finds objects accurately, the SkySafari will do the same. I just use my ETX-125 in the plain old alt/az mode.

I haven't paid much attention to how comprehensive the library of stars is as I usually go after other targets, but I would imagine there are thousands of recognized individual stars that would be available for go-to's.

#16 dramodt

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 10:46 PM

Too bad you didnt wait and do the review with version 3! Its great! But I have huge frustrations with the Skywire.

:question: What is it?


It disconnects each time the iOS device sleeps. And the SkyFi is just as frustrating, no... more!

#17 amys

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 05:47 AM

Can you change the sleep setting so it doesn't go to sleep?

#18 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 09:07 PM

That problem has been fixed already in version 3.

#19 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 09:09 PM

Can you change the sleep setting so it doesn't go to sleep?


Yes, you can. You guys will want to update to version 3 if you havent already.

#20 amys

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 01:13 PM

I just tried to find my version number but couldn't. Can you direct me to it?

Thanks

#21 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:53 PM

Sure Amy,

http://www.southerns...fari/index.html

That's the new version of the program. Also, Tim is a really wonderful guy. He has answered all my questions and has addressed some of the quirks from version 2. I can't speak highly enough about this program.

#22 amys

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:34 AM

Thanks. I just downloaded version 3.

#23 gatorengineer

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:52 PM

This may be slightly off-topic, but I can't wait for Southern Stars to come out with a USB version of either their SkyWire or SkyFi systems. I use a Truss Dob with SkyCommander and ServoCat, but unfortunately neither the SkyWire or SkyFi will talk to the ServoCat because the Generation3 ServoCat that I have uses a USB PC connection. Previous versions of the ServoCat, which utilized a Serial Port instead of USB, will talk to an iPad just fine using the SkyWire or SkyFi. I spoke with the Southern Stars guys at NEAF about all of this and they assure me something is in the works, but they don't have an estimate on a release date yet.

Being able to sit at my Dob and pan the sky on my iPad and then tap any galaxy, cluster or nebula, and then watch the scope to slew to it is an awesome idea. All you non-ServoCat drive guys make sure you enjoy this toy, but just know there are others of us out there waiting for Southern Stars to make the switch to USB (or at least offer USB as an option). :p

Take care,


Rob works great with Argo Navis........ Which would drive servocat....

#24 RobTeeter

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 10:14 AM

Ahhh...that's the connection I thought of first, since ArgoNavis has two Serial Ports, one of which would need to go to the ServoCat and the other could go to the SkyWire.

However, in my discussions with the guys at Southern Stars and with Gary at StellarCat, the way the system has to be connected in order to function properly (ie. when you push the "Goto" button on the iPad it will cause the ServoCat to slew to the selected object) is that the SkyWire (or SkyFi) has to be connected directly to the ServoCat's PC Port (USB on Gen3 units) and cannot go through an intermediate step (ie. ArgoNavis).

So we're back to finding a direct connection between the SkyWire's (or SkyFi) Serial connector and the ServoCat's USB port. It does not sound as if Gary at StellarCat is willing to "downgrade" a ServoCat box to bring Serial back in, so we're waiting for Southern Stars to "upgrade" to a USB connector.

#25 Bill_Marq

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 06:30 PM

I am told that a serial-to USB adapter (with driver installed) does the trick. Is this not correct, or am I missing something? I didn't have this issue as my old LX200 has a serial port so SkyWire works fine using the cable I built from Meade's instructions in the manual. This extra cable is necessary because the telescope's serial port is a telephone type connector, not a DB-9.






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