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Controlling the mount via wireless or over the net

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#1 inZet

inZet

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  • Joined: 12 Feb 2009
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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:41 PM

Hello,

this is my first post in this area.

I'm glad to share with you a procedure to control a Celestron mount remotely that is virtually equivalent to SkyFi, but requires a PC with Windows. Comments are welcomed.

I use a Vixen Sphinx Deluxe (SXD) upgraded to NexSXD, an electronic board to implement the NexStar protocol and improve motor drive. This procedure is tested on this setup, but I have no reason to believe it will not work with all Celestron mounts supported by the NexRemote software.

First, I installed NexRemote from the Celestron support site.
Set the PC port field to he serial created by NexSXD when you connect the USB cable (usually COM4) or your real serial port to the mound (usually COM1).
Set the Virtual Port to a free serial port name, say COM8. This is the port you'll use to interface to the mount from this point on your local computer, for example a planetary software, but we want this port to be shared over the network, so please continue reading.
To reach this goal we need "something" that takes data from a TCP/IP connection and make a link with the COM8. There are many software that accomplish a so-called RS232-ethernet bridge via telnet.
For this purpose I used Piracom
In Piracom, set COM8 in "COM Port" found in the bottom of the window; all other fields are fine as the default (9600 baud rate, etc.).
Now you have to choose a TCP port number: I choose port 4030 because it is the same one used by the previous StarBook computer-keypad.
Click "Run" button and let the program to run, which activates the TCP/IP server. DON'T QUIT the application. It doesn't matter if it runs in the foreground or in background. As soon as the application runs, the serial port is shared over the network.
At this point from any computer on your network can access by entering the IP address of the computer and the TCP port number you have chosen (4030 for me).
For example, from an iPad with Skysafari in Setting -> Telescope enter the IP address of the PC (eg 192.168.1.134, see notes) and the port, 4030, but not before you specified the type of telescope.
Press Connect button et voila! You can control your mount from your iPad or iPhone!

PLEASE NOTE: those who use the PC into a virtual machine, like myself with a Mac, need to assign the virtual machine a real IP address. Do not use NAT because the NAT allows you to connect the virtual machine on the outside world but not vice versa. With VMWare Fusion, in the Virtual Machine menu-> Select Network Adapter With Bridge (automatic detection).

That's all. Enjoy.

Gianluca






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