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Skywire for Nexstar

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#1 kkokkolis

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

Hello again. It has been a long time since I post here, because the Newtonians I bought after the Nexstar 6SE made me hang out a lot in the eyepieces forum. Lovely Nexstars don't ask much from eyepieces, that's for sure. Anyway.
I still have the Nexstar 6SE and plan a GOTO upgrade for my SW 12" Flextube. I also have iPhone 4S and an iPod 3 with most astronomy programs, Skysafari included.
I consider getting a Skywire for enhanced GOTO experience. I would apreciate any comments from your personal experiences about functionality, usability, practicality etc. I would love to give new life to my Orange gem. Thank you!

#2 Dave Ponder

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:43 PM

I have one, works great with my iPad. I have been working out of town so have not had a chance to use it much since I got it back in the late summer. Looking forward to spending more time using it.

#3 kkokkolis

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

Thank you Dave. You are the only one that has answered. It seems that it isn't that common yet. But I've found a guy in Greece that has tried it a lot and he only remarked enthusiastic comments. I'm ging to see by myself and give you feedback. The little orange screen seems vintage now, after all that Palm, PPC, iPhone and Tablet PC revolution of the last decade. And, if one already has a smartphone, it seems that it is a great bargain to add GPS, compass, gyroscope and and a great planetarium programm with telescope control for less money that the dull Celestron GPS Module or Skyscout cost.

#4 Bcpaq

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:55 AM

I would bypass the SkyWire, and get the wireless SkyFi (or the equivalent Orion-rebranded "StarSeeker").

In fact, I DID. I love it. Works great. And it is super nice not being tied to the scope with a cable.

I guess a downside on the wifi devices is that they need power. You can either feed them batteries, or power them externally. In my case, it will run off the same external battery I use to power the scope.

#5 kkokkolis

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

I thought of that too. But it needs electricity and it is a more sofisticated device with more potential for software or hardware problems. And it takes more space, in the bag and on the mount. And it costs more. And it might get damaged hanging there in the dark. And it is backordered.
I should stick with this subforum, I feel at home here and I'll stop spending for eyepieces!

#6 Peter9

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

Hi kkokkolis,

Here's a link to You tube showing "Skyfi" in use. Skywire, as far as I know, works just the same but is of coarse, linked to the scope by cable. It is also much cheaper, at least here in the U.K it is.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=vzZ4OiHpCAE

I too have been pondering for some time the purchase of Skyfi for controlling my scope via SkySafari.

Regards. Peter.

#7 kkokkolis

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

Nice. I should work into petrol buisiness too. I could use a C14 in a lovely observatory.
Thanks Peter.

#8 TmaninTn

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

No doubt, that setup is amazing.

About the Ski-fi though, I'll be honest with you kkokkolis that I've had a ton of trouble getting it to line up properly. I haven't tried it since I got my new iPhone 4, but with the iPhone 3 I never really got it to work properly. It moved the scope fine, even the rate control worked well. And I would prefer to use the iPhone (or iPad) instead of the hand controller, but for whatever reason I could never get it to sync the center of the scope with the bullseye from the App.

It may work better with the 4, I haven't tried yet, but that was my experience so far. I actually haven't messed with it in a while because the Skysafari App as a star map works just fine by itself, and I prefer the time I get behind the scope to be spent observing and not getting frustrated at an iPhone app.

But that's just my experience. I've read plenty of others who have had great luck with it. I think there's a thread in here somewhere where someone built a mount for their iPad to hook up to the scope mount which looked amazingly cool.

#9 RonnyKelly

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:53 AM

I am unable to download SkySafari Pro to my iPhone 3 as it requires IOS 4.3 and the iPhone 3 only supports 4.2.1 but I have it installed opn my iPad. I decided to order the SkyWire first to see how good it is before making the plunge to the more expensive SkyFi. Hopefully sdelivered in the next couple of days so I'll let you know how it goes for me.

#10 kkokkolis

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:55 PM

Please inform us, thank you!

#11 astro1tom

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:29 PM

I have used Sky safari while observing instead star maps, it is simpler than maps or books to use and has extensive information at my finger tips. I use Sky safari on a android 10" Toshiba tablet. Since then I have got a Bluetooth RN-270 adapter that connects to my Celestron SE controller using the standard serial cable and Sky safari to control my mount. It takes only a minute to setup and adds to my observing use. You, with iPhone/tablet can use either a serial cable or wifi. Android does not support either (with Sky safari), only Bluetooth. I can use this setup with Meade auto star also. Good luck with Sky safari.
Tom

#12 RonnyKelly

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:32 AM

kkokkolis I haven't forgotten, there jut hasn't been a good clear night since it was dleivered. I did a daytime, mock alignment run and it seems to do what it is supposed to but I'll need a clear night before I can see how accurate everything is.

I have been playing with SkySafari quite a bit and it is great. Very easy to use.

#13 kkokkolis

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

I just placed the order.I hope it'll find its way soon. Clouds, humidity, winds and rain mostly here too.

#14 kkokkolis

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

I received it yesterday and tried indoors with virtual alignment. It worked nice. Tonight I tried outdoors but was very unlucky. First I found my powers station unable to charge (my mistake, using the dobs I put aside the Nexstar for very long and forgot to charge once a month), then I had to fix the diagonal's brass rings in the dark (accomplished) and then I saw the sky filling with clouds in a minute. And the came to stay. I made an alignment with difficulty as holes in the clouds permitted some bright stars to be seen and then powered the Skywire. It worked with excellence, although I was half a degree off because of bad alignment. But the procedure is very promising. I tried three new (for the Nexstar, old for the other scopes) eyepieces, ES68 24 and Deloi 10 & 6 and they where terrific with Jupiter, the only object I could see and that behind clouds. But the view was promising also.
Now I have to solve these problems:
1. Where to put the iPhone (I used a fabric case but I am thinking of something like a wing thing)
2. How to avoid damage to all these cables.
3. How to keep the battery going for prolonged observations (the iPhone battery I mean).
4. How to turn the iPhone's screen red when in lock screen and main screen modes.

Anyway, the Skywire was fun and much easier to use than the Nexstar's software. It shows many more objects, such as Vesta and Satelites. It is much easier to search and select an object. It is unbelievably easier to read info for the objects and these are in depth with corresponding photographs providing a means of identification. Once you connect it is easy and fast to disconnect and connect at any time. The mount keeps the alignment. From the Nexstar I only used the arrows because the onscreen arrows are very small (with iPad there shouldn't be such a problem).
Overall the iPhone/ SkySafari/ Nexstar combination is a whole new experience, highly informative and enjoyable. When I'll get the SW GOTO Dobsonian mount for the 12" I expect the same level of functioning but we'll see.
I will update as soon as I'll have a proper cloudless observing session that will give me the opportunity to test precision, although it seems that precision is relying on a good mount alignment that is still made with the Nexstar's internal software. The Skywire takes over afterwards, using info from the mount.

#15 cpl43uk

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:46 AM

Another great thing about the sky safari app with skywire is that it has a field of view mode that can be tuned to your eyepiece FoV. This allows you to compare what you see with what the sky safari thinks you should be seeing. This has allowed me to 'detect' faint fuzzies that i would otherwise have missed. I just wish Apple would allow a function to really turn down the red screen brightness as i believe android offers...

#16 Pat at home

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:35 AM

The screen brightness can be turned down from within SkySafari, under the settings menu, in the appearance submenu, there is a screen brightness option which brings up a slider.

#17 RonnyKelly

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

Would you believe I still haven't used it yet. It's been cloudy but also I've been away for almost a month so I've had so much to do. Soon though, very soon!

#18 kkokkolis

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

Here we have clouds, strong winds and two more hazzards. A lot of smoke in the air (many people use their fireplaces to save money by not buying petrol) and much work (you are either unemployed or work for 2-3 peersons these days). Both hazzards come from the recent financial problems. It is even more expensive to spend gas for going to the mountain obsserving site, not to mention buying new equipment.
Anyway.

#19 RonnyKelly

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:52 AM

Well I eventually got aaround to trying this out but I can't get it to work. It won't recognise my telescope. I've been in touch with Southern Stars and they pretty much tell me there's no rerason for it not to work and it's not their fault. I have a 8SE and it will recognise the telescope if I put the SkySafari settings to Celestron NexStar 5/8 but Southern SStar tell me to seet it to Celestron Nex~Star GPS/SLT/SE but with this it says my scope is not connected or not powered on.

Pretty dismayed at this point.

Any suggestions?






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