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SkyFi + Sky Safari + DM-4 + IPad Mini = Amazing

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#1 jloweva

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:53 PM

After reading many of the related threads and tinkering with my various purchases for the past week, I think I finally found the winning combination. Special thanks to Chucky for showing the way with his DM-4/SkyFi set up. The experience is transformational, because you see exactly what is up in the sky in real time and push exactly to where you want to go. I thought others might appreciate the attached pictures. And while it might look a bit crowded, almost everything attaches in seconds with Velcro save for the iPad Mini, which is held on magnetically by an iMagnet holder I found on Amazon for $39 and which attaches to the DM-4 via a special 3M sticky suction mount. The iPad Mini is encased in an Otter Box and inside the Otter Box is an additional metal disc that came with IMagnet mount. The iMagnet mount also comes with a full-size IPad case with magnetic mount, so one could use that instead of a Mini. Personally, I found the full sized IPad too big for outdoor use. Finally, I have my dew strips connected to an Astrozap dew heater controller that attaches to a NiMh battery with custom made Anderson Power Poles. The NiMh sits very nicely on the DM-4 extension and is attached via Velcro and a supplemental Velcro strap. Will try to post pics once I figure out how.

#2 mountain monk

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:44 AM

Please do. I for one would appreciate it.

Dark skies.

Jack

#3 jloweva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

Post deleted by jloweva

#4 jloweva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

Pics

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#5 jloweva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:24 AM

More pics

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#6 Tim D

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:36 AM

Nice set up!! I just bought the Skywire to use with my Iphone and tried it with Skysafari Plus- OMG it is so cool and easy to use with a great interface with my GOTO Dob
Tim

#7 jloweva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

One more pic.

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#8 jloweva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

I know it looks bulky, but it's really very compact. I've tried to reduce everything to its simplest form. Even thought the TEC Turret with the five eyepieces is quite a handful, I find when I am observing that I can get the magnification I want in seconds, without compromising quality or field of view. I have a 24 Pan, 17.3 Delos, 10 Delos, 6 Delos and 3.7 Ethos loaded on it. I absolutely hated switching out eyepieces, barlows, diagonals, etc. I was always afraid I was going to drop one, or get dust or other foreign objects on everything, and I found it very disruptive to the observing process. I bought two manfrotto bags for the equipment. The first one holds the tripod with the DM-4, extender and NiMh battery attached. The second one fits the NP-101 without the Turret, with the dew heater controller, the Sky Commander, SkySafari and IMagnet mount on top. All I need is a carry bag for the Turret and I am going to pick one up this week. I leave the whole Turret/eyepiece assembly connected and just pop it in when I am ready to observe. I've timed myself and can actually break down the whole setup in approximately 5 minutes if I need to. To observe at my home, I simply take off the scope with the Turret attached, bring the tripod outside where I want it and go back in and get the scope. The NiMh battery will keep two dew strips going at full blast for approximately 5 hours. Special thanks to Midnight Dan for his posts on that topic.

#9 Chucky

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

Glad you have everything working to your liking. Enjoy.

#10 mountain monk

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:06 PM

Thanks for the pics. I'm amazed you hang all that off a Bogen tripod.

Dark skies.

Jack

#11 jloweva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

It's rated for 45 pounds and I have about 22 on it. It's very stable.

#12 Chucky

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

My setup. Ipad Mini. I forgot to tuck-in the wires.

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#13 Chucky

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

Another picture.

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#14 JMW

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:38 PM

I like your iPad mount and your red over Sky Commander. It's great seeing some mounting ideas for the iPad. I haven't interfaced my Sky Commander with Sky Safari. Not sure how. It is straight forward using the Planetarium option on the Argo Navis.

I have been using the SkyFi + Sky Safari + DM-6 + Planet Tripod + Argo Navis + iPad Mini + TEC-140 combo. I have a 3 amp-hour battery on the top of my DM-6 for cold.weather run time of the SkyFi and Argo Navis. No cord wrap since battery moves with DM-6. I have been thinking about how to rig a bracket for my mini. I have mine in a leather flip cover so I can cover it when I don't want the light. I have red film on the screen. I want to sew on some attachment points on the back of my iPad mini case to snap to a holder on the mount.

I have a Gitzo 5541LS tripod that I use for ultra portable setups with my DM-4. Handles my SV115T just great. Only concern is being knocked over when around crowds doing public viewing. I use the larger rig with the Planet tripod for those situations.

#15 Chucky

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:35 AM

I snapped on a rear cover for my Mini (SwitchEasy CoverBuddy Hard Case) and then used Velcro to attach to the Sky Commander plastic piece provided by Discmount. Creates a rock solid angled position....no wiggle setup for the Mini. At least for the DM-4, don't know how the setup could be improved.

#16 Spaced

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

Jloweva, Chucky, this is the first I've heard of the iMagnet and, if it works well, then it's part of a solution I've searched for. My brief internet search shows iMagnet designed only for full size iPad, not Mini. Are you satisfied that it's a workable solution for the Mini? Any suggestions?

#17 jloweva

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:27 PM

I am. The product comes with a back cover for the regular sized iPad that has a magnetic disc built into it, along with an additional magnetic disc that you can install elsewhere. Rather than take the sticky backing off this additional disc, I simply stuck the disc into the back of the otterbox case that I bought for the mini and the magnetic force is very strong. Feel free to give me a call tomorrow if you want to discuss further. The magnetic adhesion is very strong even through the otterbox, and I have no concern about it falling. You can PM me for my phone number.

#18 mountain monk

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:19 PM

I too use the Sky Commander plastic angled piece on my DM-6 plus Velcro on my iPad. Works for my NP-101 and C8. I just got an iMagnet and Nexus for my Teeter. The clamp seems very secure.

Dark skies.

Jack

#19 Spaced

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:15 AM

Bueno! Thanks!

#20 Chucky

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 07:28 AM

The iMagnet looks neat, but with my DM-4 setup, it's just not needed. I also use my Mini on my Dob with a small table atop a stalk. There the Mini just rests on top of the table. Again, no need for an iMagnet. But for some applications, I can see where the iMagnet might work well.

#21 jedavis1

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:10 PM

Chucky,
I have been trying to accomplish what you have done with my DM6/SkyWire/iPad set up. I don't seem to be able to get the iPad to communicate with Sky Commander. I am using the supplied Sky Commander RJ11-DB9 cable to connenct the SkyWire but with no success. Any suggestions?

#22 btschumy

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:32 PM

My suggestion would be to contact us a Southern Stars and we can help you trouble shoot it.

#23 jedavis1

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:05 PM

I have ordered the correct DB9 rj11 cable. I was trying to use the cable to flash the Sky Commader. I now realize that will not work. I will update after trying the new cable.

The trial with the 925 CPC was impressive!

Jim

#24 Oscar56

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:33 AM

I also use my Mini on my Dob with a small table atop a stalk. There the Mini just rests on top of the table.


Can you post a picture of your setup?

#25 jedavis1

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:06 PM

I will post a pic when everything is put together and works

Jim






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