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iPad + Sky Safari Pro + Sky Wire. Excellent!

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#1 Cotts

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

My Sky Wire arrived in the mail yesterday which allows me to run my AP Mach1GTO from the iPad.

Set-up was very simple. Turn on the Mount, plug in the Sky Wire to the RS232 wire from the mount and plug that wire into the mount. I started up the mount as a 'Resume from Park' and pretended I was polar aligned. In Sky Safari I go to the set-up menu to select the AP GTO, then I press the telescope menu, then the 'connect' button. I hear a little 'ding'....

The iPad display shows a 'Telrad' finder centered on Polaris (for this is how I parked my mount.) I went to the Deep Sky menu in Sky Safari and picked a Galaxy that was above the horizon at 11 am - M 104. Press 'goto' on the screen and away she went!

Now I can run all the goto from the iPad and Sky Safari's astonishingly huge database once I fire up the Mach1 in the usual fashion. I have variable slew rates right on the iPad for centering after a slew. The Sky Safari program allows me to set up and save any number of observing lists which can be used at any time. Spring Messier's? Check. UGC galaxies in Corvus? Check.

This is simply wonderful. Considering how few good nights there are most of my precious time can be spent observing....

My hat is off to Southern Stars. Excellent, easy to use products and quite inexpensive....... (Skay Safari and the Sky wire around $100 total.....)

Dave

#2 BWAZ

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:57 PM

I use SkyFi and my iphone, very neat setup. Ipad is a bit too large for my taste and a Ipad mini is definitely more attractive.

#3 jmiele

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:00 PM

I couldn't agree more Dave. Very fun to use. I don't like trying to make fine adjustment using the screen buttons as I can't tell where I'm at while looking into the EP :) But the AP has the standard controller for that. It's also great for planning out an evening.

What are the plans for the Mach1? Strictly visual or are you doing some photographic work as well?

Joe

#4 thelostboson

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

Dave, congratulations for an awesome setup. Sky Safari is a very good software on ipad! I love it too. Haven't had a chance to upgrade my rig yet though, but it's on the list. Thanks so much for sharing!

#5 MikeCMP

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:46 PM

In case you guys didn't know, the guys at main sequence software wrote a piece of software called wifi scope, that takes the place of the specialized skywire or skyfi . You just use your laptop in place of those devices, and connect your iPad through wifi. Works and free is great!

http://www.mainseque...re.com/WFS.html

Mike

#6 Mkofski

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:21 PM

In case you guys didn't know, the guys at main sequence software wrote a piece of software called wifi scope, that takes the place of the specialized skywire or skyfi . You just use your laptop in place of those devices, and connect your iPad through wifi. Works and free is great!

http://www.mainseque...re.com/WFS.html

Mike


Mike,

How is the router connected to the hand controller? I assume WiFi Scope uses a standard router for the WiFi network. For visual work I think I'd rather use an iPad rather than a computer.

#7 crazyqban

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:56 PM

Dave, I love my SkyFi/Sky Safari/Argo Navis/ServoCat rig on my Starstructure dob. It has changed the way that I observe for the better. Kudos to the the gang at Southern Stars.

#8 MikeCMP

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:19 PM

The computer can function in ad hoc networking mode. Then you connect to your mount with an eqdir, or regular serial cable. You start wifi scope, and connect using your mounts ascom driver, then use the iPad to drive it.

I ussually have my netbook with me since I image, so having the computer makes sense for me, and saves me buying a skyfi.

Mike

#9 Mkofski

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:41 PM

Mike,

What are you running SkySafari on? You use your NetBook as the router and attach it with a serial cable to you hand controller - then login to the network with an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch? Is that the sequence?

#10 City Kid

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:19 AM

Eventually I intend to use Sky Safari + iPad to control my new Teeter 12.5". It has Sky Commander and Servo Cat Jr. So Sky Wire is what I need to make it all happen? Sky Wire is the "receiver" that allows Sky Safari to talk to the Servo Cat?

#11 MikeCMP

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:19 AM

You got it, that's how it works. Works perfectly since I use eqmod in that scenario.

Mike

#12 MikeCMP

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:30 AM

Eventually I intend to use Sky Safari + iPad to control my new Teeter 12.5". It has Sky Commander and Servo Cat Jr. So Sky Wire is what I need to make it all happen? Sky Wire is the "receiver" that allows Sky Safari to talk to the Servo Cat?


I believe you need a cable to go from the sky fi or skywire to your servocat. I think they mention it on their website

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

Mike

#13 CosmicDave

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:57 AM

Hi, Mike Kofski

Remember me, I bought your Intes Mak MK-65? I still have it and love it. In fact, I have it mounted on an iOptron mount and I just downloaded this WiFiScope this morning and have it working. SkySafari on the iPhone is driving the MK-65 on the iOptron mount with WiFiScope running on the Netbook. Works great. Hope all is well. I almost bid on your MK-66 but I resisted.

Dave

#14 Cotts

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:51 AM

Mike,

What are you running SkySafari on? You use your NetBook as the router and attach it with a serial cable to you hand controller - then login to the network with an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch? Is that the sequence?


I have Sky Safari on my iPad. The SkyWire runs from there to the serial cable (that came with my Mach1GTO) to the mounts 232 port. You set up and align the mount the usual way (without Sky Safari) and then you use Sky Safari to replace your GoTo device/hand controller/ArgoNavis/SkyCommander or what have you. The data from your mount's encoders is used by Sky Safari to 'know' where the scope is pointing. And you have the almost infinitely larger object library/database of Sky Safari rather than the one you used to use.

The above can also be accomplished wirelessly if you choose!

Methinks Sky Commander, Argo Navis and the other aftermarket GoTo folks are going to have to do some work to compete with Sky Safari. The only thing I will be using the hand controller on my AP mount for now is setting up an evening's observing and parking the scope when I'm done. It's database is of no use to me.....

Dave

#15 MikeCMP

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:12 AM

I agree that the standalone device makers should be concerned. Some of those devices cost as much as an iPad and feature much less functionality. I understand that. Hey have lower volume and all that, but I don't see how they can charge that much for their solutions anymore.

Mike

#16 Mkofski

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

The MK66 and the 63 I had are living happily in Hong Kong now. Wish I had kept the 65 or the 66!

#17 LateViewer

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 01:41 PM

Oh no! Something else to want!

#18 jrbarnett

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:04 PM

Indeed, Dave. It is excellent. I also use Sky Fi, which is delightful as it cuts down on wire clutter and gives me liberty to wander around with the controller (iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone, depending), and give the mount plenty of range to do its slewing thing.

On the 23rd, Apple should be debuting a new iPad Mini with a 7" screen. The price should be lower than the low end full sized iPad (iPad 2) and way below the iPad 3 with Retina display. If it approaches the $250 price range, I can see having a dedicated iPad mini to use with my mounts. That's on par with what a replacement GOTO hand controller would cost.

I don't like the iPod Touch (last gen) or iPhone (4s) for use with Sky Wire or Sky Fi because my eyesight isn't what it once was, and the screens are too small for comfort (I am constantly zooming in). I received a new iPod Touch with the larger, higher res 4" screen for my B-Day and will give that a try, but my guess is that the iPad Mini will be the perfect compromise between screen size and tablet size in the field. :thinking:

The new Google Chromebook, too, at $249, might be fun. It runs on Android, is a real notebook, and should be able to run Sky Safari Andrioid.

- Jim

#19 Mkofski

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 04:00 PM

Jim,

With you on the iPod Touch/iPhone... too small. An iPad mini should be just right.

#20 dkb

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:29 PM


The new Google Chromebook, too, at $249, might be fun. It runs on Android, is a real notebook, and should be able to run Sky Safari Andrioid.

- Jim

Actually the new Chromebook does not run Android it runs on ChromeOS and can only use web apps.






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