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dciobota
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Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :)
      #4751864 - 08/16/11 06:29 PM

Apologies in advance if this is in the wrong forum.

Any interest in this? I wrote an android app to control Celestron scopes (just basic movement + inject location and date/time). With a serial bluetotth dongle, I can use my modified Nook Color to control my CGE. Should work with all celestron goto scopes and even synscans (based on what I read, they use the Celestron command set).

I can give more details if anyone's interested, plus a link to the app (it's not on the market, you'll have to sideload it). Beware, it's only tested on one scope so far, so I wouldn't even call it a beta. I need victims, erm, volunteers to test it on other scopes and android devices.

I plan to improve it some more in the coming weeks, and publish it as a free app on the market. I enjoy giving back to the community.

I couldn't find anything like it for androids, so I thought it would be a fun project to do.

Daniel


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mgb
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4751980 - 08/16/11 07:46 PM

Daniel,

That's is great.

But how did you set up the serial dongle ? What did you use ?

I have an NEQ-6 and an Android phone and tablet so I could test it on the Skywatcher.

Let us know.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: mgb]
      #4752278 - 08/16/11 10:59 PM Attachment (82 downloads)

Ahh, great! Ok, here's the info I posted on another forum:

Ok, here's the rundown on all the hardware:

CELESTRON SCOPE
any celestron scope with goto controller handbox (even the old ones without numeric pads I think). I will make a version later that will bypass the hand controller, but not yet.

RJ45 -> SERIAL DB9 adapter
This is your standard adapter that hooks from your pc serial port to the bottom of the hand cotroller. An example is here:
http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=105-243-470-1611

BLUETOOTH SERIAL ADAPTER
There are many of them on the market, one of the cheapest I found that works well is here:
http://www.usconverters.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=70&products_id=262
I bought the industrial version, as it has an external antenna and seems a bit more rugged. Note it has a female db9 connector, just like the rj45 adapter. So, if yours is similar, you will need...

DB9 NULL MODEM ADAPTER MALE/MALE
This will allow you to connect the bluetooth adapter to the rj45 adapter.

Another thing you may need if it didn't come with your bluetooth serial adapter is a power supply. The one bluetooth serial adapter listed in the link is very nice as it has a mini usb connector, so it can connect to any usb power source (5v). It also came with a little connector with leads to hook up to a battery for example. It draws very little power (I think it's <100mA, it's in the specs on the site).

Ok, that's all the hardware. Hook up the rj45 to the hand controller, then the male/male adapter and bluetooth serial and you're done! Oh, one thing more though. Make sure the bluetooth adapter is set to 9600 baud, because that's what the hand cotroller uses to talk. Also, the bluetooth serial adapter needs to be in discoverable mode. By default, that's how they're set up at the factory, just make sure.

Ok, that's all you need. Load my app, then start is up. You'll see a very ugly handbox (runs in portrait mode only btw). Click on the menu, and choose "connect a device - insecure". There is also a secure option, but I don't think it's working yet. A list of bluetooth devices will pop up, you can scan until you see the bluetooth serial adapter showing. Click on it, and if you haven't paired with it yet it will ask you to pair - enter your pairing key. The it will connect, and a short popup will say "connected to #" where # is the name of the bluetooth serial adapter. So now you're ready to rock!

Hold the buttons down, it will move as long as the button is down. I forgot to test whether multiple buttons work, probably not, since I haven't synchronized those calls yet. The red stop button will send both dec and ra stop commands, just in case something went amok slewing! The Spd+ and - change the slew rate. I decided to add two more buttons to the app. One uploads the current date/time to the handbox, the other uploads your current location to the handbox. You must have either gps or network (wifi) location enabled on your android device, and for some reason mine didn't work unless I enabled Google's Latitude whatever that is. But anyways, this makes the app much more useful to me, as I don't have to manually enter my location in the handbox every time I power up. And if I get a gps dongle (my nook has no gps), I'l be able to set my location in the field kit wherever I go.

You can download and install from here:

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0ByZXuV0vUfw7ZTg1Y2ZhYWQtOTA3Ni00YzMyLWI5YzItYzFiMmFkYWNlZTA0&hl=en_US

However, your tablet has to be rooted so you can install apps from your sd card. If you can't do that, I'll try to set up a google market account and publish the app there sometime this weekend. I'm kinda jittery about that it being fairly untested and so on.

If you want to learn to root your android device, ask on here and I'll try to point you in the right direction. Or you can pm me, I don't know what the policy is here about posting stuff like that, I don't want to get anyone in trouble.

I also enclosed a pic of the app, ugly but still learning the android sdk. Sorry for the blurry pic.

Which table do you have btw?


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AWATS
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4752399 - 08/16/11 11:59 PM

I'll try it but I have a Meade LXD-75 mount. Care to add that in? I have a Nook Color running CM7. Right now I use Astromist with a BT dongle.

I wish they would port Stellarium to Android or Touchpad but that's not going to happen.

Edited by AWATS (08/17/11 12:00 AM)


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psonice
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: AWATS]
      #4752635 - 08/17/11 05:29 AM

No android here (I dev on iOS so far), but huge thumb up for this. Also big thumb up for not releasing it in this state on the market

What are your plans for it? A controller is kind of useful, but if it can work with other apps (i.e. the star chart apps) it would be a whole lot cooler.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: psonice]
      #4752912 - 08/17/11 10:59 AM

Ahh, a meade version is in the works, as I have some of their command set. That's great you have a cm7 modded nook, it's what I have also. This way, you can be my autostar tester. :-) Btw, the command set I have is for lx200, do you know if the autostars use the same? I suspect they do, but not sure.

Linking it as a driver, would love to, but don't have a way yet. I checked info on ascom-x to see if there's a ubuntu beta of some sort, but nothing. That's too bad, as I see *nix based OS's as a significan platform for apps in the futue.

I may talk with some of the android sky chart developers (Skye seems like a very nice app actually) and see if we can collaborate in some way.

Btw, feel free to suggest any additions to this. It's still in its early infancy, so anything is possible.

Thanks for the feedback and clear skies all.

Daniel


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psonice
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4752967 - 08/17/11 11:34 AM

Quote:

That's too bad, as I see *nix based OS's as a significan platform for apps in the future.




I think you mean *nux, the unix-based OS is iOS and I doubt that's going to support an app like this any time soon (I'd be angry with apple about that, but I'm about 10x more angry with the scope manufacturers for still using serial in 2011!)


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: psonice]
      #4753257 - 08/17/11 01:40 PM

You're right, it's more of a flavor of Linux, but Linux itself is based on an incarnation of unix (can't remember which version, twas many moons ago). I do believe an ascom-x type project to span all the unix type variants would be a worthy project, but alas, I don't have the means nor the time to take up anything like that.

As to iOS, I may do some investigating to see if there's a windows based sdk for ObjectiveC. I just remembered my wife has a 1st gen ipod touch which I believe has bluetooth? If I can develop on my pc and test on her ipod, I may be able to come up with something. Ever since I got the nook a month ago she's been wanting a tablet of her own, so I may just get her one and swipe her ipod for testing. ;-)

You and me both on the serial thing, I think it's time for those manufacturers to come out of the stone age and graduate to usb and maybe even wireless!

Oh, one more thing I thought about is creating a widget that would serve as a smart hub for other astronomy apps to connect to the scope. The smart hub can support multiple apps connected through it, and it can emulate whichever scope type it supports. I think if I get the meade command set, I can simulate synscans, celestrons and meade... that should take care of at least 80% of the scopes out there I think. The rest I can add later. In this way, if I publish the interface to the hub, any third party app can get telescope control.

What do you think of that idea?


Edited by dciobota (08/17/11 01:45 PM)


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btschumy
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4753287 - 08/17/11 01:53 PM

Quote:

As to iOS, I may do some investigating to see if there's a windows based sdk for ObjectiveC. I just remembered my wife has a 1st gen ipod touch which I believe has bluetooth? If I can develop on my pc and test on her ipod, I may be able to come up with something.




You won't be able to use bluetooth on iOS to talk to mounts. Apple hasn't enabled the bluetooth profile that allows arbitrary serial communication. That's the whole reason Southern Stars went down the SkyFi/SkyWire path.


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AWATS
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4753786 - 08/17/11 06:46 PM

Quote:

Ahh, a meade version is in the works, as I have some of their command set. That's great you have a cm7 modded nook, it's what I have also. This way, you can be my autostar tester. :-) Btw, the command set I have is for lx200, do you know if the autostars use the same? I suspect they do, but not sure.

Linking it as a driver, would love to, but don't have a way yet. I checked info on ascom-x to see if there's a ubuntu beta of some sort, but nothing. That's too bad, as I see *nix based OS's as a significan platform for apps in the futue.

I may talk with some of the android sky chart developers (Skye seems like a very nice app actually) and see if we can collaborate in some way.

Btw, feel free to suggest any additions to this. It's still in its early infancy, so anything is possible.

Thanks for the feedback and clear skies all.

Daniel




Sure, shoot the Meade version on over when it's ready. Somewhere I have the full Meade command listings. Yes, I think all Autostars are the same let me dig up the info and get back to you.

I downloaded the WebOS development stuff and was going to do something similar for the Touchpad but work gets in the way. I decided to stick with Android for now. I am using Google Sky but Stellarium would be awesome. Can't have it all!

Edit: I found the doc. I think it's the same one as you. If I recall correctly that doc covers pretty much any Autostar box. I was spying on the serial port sometime back and both my 494 and 497 seem to be the same commands although some might not be supported bu the 494. Not sure what they might be.

http://www.meade.com/support/TelescopeProtocol_2010-10.pdf

Updated as of 2010 and lists Autostar and Autostar II among others.

What range are you seeing on the NC BT? I am getting about 3 ft.

Edited by AWATS (08/17/11 07:53 PM)


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: btschumy]
      #4753932 - 08/17/11 08:16 PM

Ahh, that sucks. :-(

Although going over wifi is really not a bad idea if someone can make a standalone wifi telescope hub. Something like a print server appliance, except it would serve commands.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: AWATS]
      #4753944 - 08/17/11 08:24 PM

Say, thanks very much Terry, that's what I was looking for! The doc I have is much older and doesn't mention autostar... still has examples in VB, lol.

As to BT range, normally it's about 3ft or so like your. The dongle I linked to has extended range (and a nice antenna), so I can actually keep a connection to it up to about 7ft. Still not long enough to control the scope from the house.

I'll post a link to the meade also when I get it running, probably this weekend... unless the missus drags me into shopping, lol.

Thanks again and clear skies.

Daniel


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Harshad
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4755308 - 08/18/11 01:08 PM

Hey, this is looking good!

Quote:

However, your tablet has to be rooted so you can install apps from your sd card.




Not necessary AFAIK. In Android phones, Settings -> Applications -> Unknown sources allows side loading without rooting. I guess tablets wouldn't be too different.

Quote:

I may talk with some of the android sky chart developers (Skye seems like a very nice app actually) and see if we can collaborate in some way.




I am definitely interested though I am currently more focused on DSC + PUSHTO functionality. I have some stuff ready, but want to increase the accuracy on various fronts. Have been trying to wrap my head around the IERS precession/nutation models the past couple of days. It's pretty deep stuff, even with approximations.

'will follow your progress in the meantime. cheers,


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AWATS
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4755539 - 08/18/11 03:06 PM

Quote:

Say, thanks very much Terry, that's what I was looking for! The doc I have is much older and doesn't mention autostar... still has examples in VB, lol.

As to BT range, normally it's about 3ft or so like your. The dongle I linked to has extended range (and a nice antenna), so I can actually keep a connection to it up to about 7ft. Still not long enough to control the scope from the house.

I'll post a link to the meade also when I get it running, probably this weekend... unless the missus drags me into shopping, lol.

Thanks again and clear skies.

Daniel




Sounds good! As for the wife, do what I do. It always works! I do what I am told. Failsafe!

I have the Orion commands too if you are interested. Might be useful for push-to.

Edited by AWATS (08/18/11 03:08 PM)


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: AWATS]
      #4756232 - 08/18/11 11:04 PM

Oh, Orion, that's the same as the synscans isn't it? Based on Celestron's. By all mean, yes, I'd like to cover as many brands as I can! Maybe I can integrate them all into one generic hand controller.

Thanks again and clear skies.

Daniel


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Harshad]
      #4756245 - 08/18/11 11:14 PM

Quote:

Hey, this is looking good!

Quote:

However, your tablet has to be rooted so you can install apps from your sd card.




Not necessary AFAIK. In Android phones, Settings -> Applications -> Unknown sources allows side loading without rooting. I guess tablets wouldn't be too different.

Quote:

I may talk with some of the android sky chart developers (Skye seems like a very nice app actually) and see if we can collaborate in some way.




I am definitely interested though I am currently more focused on DSC + PUSHTO functionality. I have some stuff ready, but want to increase the accuracy on various fronts. Have been trying to wrap my head around the IERS precession/nutation models the past couple of days. It's pretty deep stuff, even with approximations.

'will follow your progress in the meantime. cheers,




Ahh yes, you're absolutely right, you just have to enable install from unknown sources. Still learning my way around this tablet. :-)

As far as DSC, how about I display az/alt or ra/dec? One of the things, I'm investigating right now is a simple alignment procedure. I really like Meade's approach using level north, or even Celestron's sky align... they don't seem too difficult. Plus syncing to a nearby star seems fairly easy too. But all those may be a bit in the future, as it takes quite a bit of time to test.

I'll definitely keep everyone posted on this.

Btw, I think I may have set the minimum OS requirement a bit too high in the app manifest, it's set to 2.3. I think it should work with 2.1 as well, not sure about the lower versions. I don't think it matters when you sideload it, but let me know if it is. I'll lower the requirements this weekend.

Daniel


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4760709 - 08/21/11 02:57 PM

Ok, some updates.
First off, a small update to the Celestron handbox, it now displays az/alt or ra/dec (you choose) as you slew around. If your telescope is not aligned, then ra/dec make little sense. Same thing, if you scope does not have an alt/az mode (like the CGE) then alt/az make little sense also. Let me know what you find out with yours.

New doc link:
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0ByZXuV0vUfw7ZmQzZGVhNjEtMjczYy00NTJiLThmMWUtMWU5NGIxMjIwYmQ1&hl=en_US

Next thing, a new app, the Autostar Handbox! Very similar to the celestron one (basically same UI) but no position display finctionality (the ra/dec button does nothing). One extra button for the Autostar is the Max/Quiet button, which toggles max slew from 4deg/sec (Max) to 2deg/sec (Quiet). And this brings me to some notes and observations on autostars:

1. I'm still not sure how slew rates work. On the handbox, you get 1-9 rates. However, from the command set, there are two parameters to set: max slew, which you can set to 2,3 and 4deg/sec, and slew rate, which you can select from 'guide', 'center', 'find', and 'slew'. As you can see, it's pretty confusing. So, I guessed and made the rate buttons choose between guide (G), center (C), find (M) and slew (S), figuring the (S) setting uses the max slew value. So please check this functionality for me, as I don't have an autostar to test with.

Another issue is date/time. For the autostar, there are commands to upload date and time, but not set daylight savings... odd. The autostar II has a way to update daylight savings, and also a command to automatically enter date/time at initialization to bypass the screen prompts. The date/time button sends all those commands in the hope that some of them change the date/time correctly. Please let me know how this works for you as well.

The upload location should work for all autostars. One caveat, this will replace your current site's location. If this is not what you want, let me know, I can update a specific site instead (like say, site #4 in your menu)... but in order to use the uploaded location you'll have to choose that site as your current site.

Here's the link to the Autostar apk:
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0ByZXuV0vUfw7YTU1YzUyMWYtZmY3My00ZmI3LTkxYjAtNDVjN2JkY2QwMGU2&hl=en_US

Per Terry's suggestion, I am next going to make something similar for the Orion Intelliscopes, although there will be no scope control, just position display.

Hope you gus like this, and please let me have your feedback, fixes, suggestions, etc.

Thanks and clear skies.

Daniel


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4777162 - 08/30/11 12:53 AM

Ok, some more updates, for the Celestron at least. Goto! So far just the Messier and NGC catalogs, but more on the way.

Here's the latest Celestron one:
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0ByZXuV0vUfw7ZTIyYzFhMTQtZGI2Yy00NGE0LTk4NTAtYzg1MzhhNTk3MmJk&hl=en_US

I have made similar mods to the autostar one, but very untested. I currently have one tester for this one, if there is more interested I'll post it. I do not have any autostar scopes to test so I have to rely entirely on volunteers for this one.

Thanks and clear skies,

Daniel


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Shadowalker
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4780535 - 08/31/11 04:43 PM

Excellent thread and discussion, guys. Would you consider having it moved to one of the equipment forums? I'm sure some there would like to see this and would have contributions to make.

Anyway, just a thought.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Shadowalker]
      #4781401 - 09/01/11 12:43 AM

Hi Tom,

I'm all for it, but I think that's where I posted first and it got moved here. I'll leave it to the mods to put it wherever it's most useful.

Daniel


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Shadowalker
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4782355 - 09/01/11 01:26 PM

Quote:

Hi Tom,

I'm all for it, but I think that's where I posted first and it got moved here. I'll leave it to the mods to put it wherever it's most useful.

Daniel




Sorry, Daniel. I'm new to this forum. After I posted this, some of the other moderators told me the genesis of this one. Its good where it is.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Shadowalker]
      #4785397 - 09/02/11 10:01 PM

No problem Tom, I'm glad at least this thread is stirring up interest. I will post an update this weekend, I have added goto and some other functionality to make both apps more useful.

Clear skies,

Daniel


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gmartin02
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4969057 - 12/16/11 04:06 AM

I tried this app on my Droid 3 (inside the house) - on an AS-GT with an AIRcable Bluetooth to serial adapter.

I connected with no problems (with the "Connect a device - Insecure" option) and was able to control the telescope. Pretty cool! I can finally use my Droid for something useful for scoping.

Next I will try it outside with an aligned telescope & use the GOTO to find something I can see.

Thanks Daniel - Please keep adding more objects.

Greg


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tjay
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: gmartin02]
      #4969114 - 12/16/11 07:10 AM

BTW, I was able to install this on my unrooted Samsung Galaxy S2 by emailing the .apk to an email account on my phone and installing it from there. I may not get a chance to try it for a few days, unfortunately.

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groz
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4969353 - 12/16/11 10:34 AM

Quote:


Linking it as a driver, would love to, but don't have a way yet. I checked info on ascom-x to see if there's a ubuntu beta of some sort, but nothing. That's too bad, as I see *nix based OS's as a significan platform for apps in the futue.





You will never see an 'ascom' thing on *nix. I started to get involved in that, till I realized, the ascom folks aren't interested in 'make ascom multi platform', they are trying figure out how to 'make other platforms do windows activex stuff', which will likely never happen. (My opinion) The ascom-x folks have the concept of 'multi platform' backwards, they want to make other platforms behave like windows, rather than, make ascom useable on other platforms.

But, the INDI project is alive and well, with numerous folks contributing these days. INDI is a wire-line protocol, based on xml data interchange. It works just fine with client and server sides running on the same computer, and works equally well with remote connections. The reference implementation is on linux, but, I know it has been brought over to the Mac as well, and am planning on learning enough about mac development over christmas, that I can get it running on the MacBook we have in the house.

The project has been a little stagnant over the last year, because a few of the developers (myself in particular), have been in a time crunch mode with 'real work'. I know at least a couple of the developers have some free time coming over the christmas break, and, a few new astro toys waiting on some driver upgrades. All of us in that position, have a goal to get the new hardware fully operational for the upcoming new moon cycle, so, I'm expecting a flurry of commits into the version control over the next couple weeks.

It is my understanding that INDI is available thru macports, and altho I've never touched any mac side development, now that I have a macbook pro on my desk, it's inevitable that I'm going to start ramping up the mac knowledgebase here soon. One of my personal goals over the christmas holiday, is to get all of the astro gear we have here fully stabilized, on both linux and mac thru INDI.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: groz]
      #4972400 - 12/18/11 11:45 AM

Hi folks,

Wow! I feel somewhat ashamed to have somewhat dropped the ball on this. I haven't really worked on this since september, other things just kept getting in the way. After reading these posts I feel motivated to start work once again.

Thanks all who have tried this app and reported results, glad it works with other devices. I have an old Droid I bought off ebay, and even on android 2.1 and tiny 3.7" screen it does the job. I'll keep adding the features I planned, planets and moon probably next. Gotta have those at least, lol.

INDI, that actually looks pretty good and I see quite a bit of telescope support. XML is actually a darn good idea, I work with it every day. My only problem is I don't have a development unix machine... plus, my guess I would have to create separate native libraries for each type of phone and tablet chipset, right?

Looking at my development and notes from way back in sept, I have in progress what I would call a telescope hub. It would be a standalone app, and there would be two ways to connect to it: ip and programatically (android intent). The hub will handle the transport part (connecting to the mount through either bluetooth, ip or straight usb via usb-serial) and the protocol part (like celestron, autostar, etc). Standardized commands would be sent to the hub, and standardized replies sent back, similar to ascom I guess. I'm thinking INDI has something similar as well. I don't really want to reinvent the wheel, but as my development options and time are limited, this looks like the best I can do. Does this seem like something supportable to you? The protocol handling part and hub interface would be completely open to the community, so anyone can write a client or even add support for a telescope mount.

Anyhoo, thanks again for the interest in this, and I'll try to put up an update, maybe over Christmas break.

Daniel


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Harshad
super member


Reged: 10/04/10

Loc: India
Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4973453 - 12/19/11 12:49 AM

Daniel, nice to see this project evolving.

Quote:

Looking at my development and notes from way back in sept, I have in progress what I would call a telescope hub. It would be a standalone app, and there would be two ways to connect to it: ip and programatically (android intent). The hub will handle the transport part (connecting to the mount through either bluetooth, ip or straight usb via usb-serial) and the protocol part (like celestron, autostar, etc). Standardized commands would be sent to the hub, and standardized replies sent back, similar to ascom I guess. I'm thinking INDI has something similar as well. I don't really want to reinvent the wheel, but as my development options and time are limited, this looks like the best I can do. Does this seem like something supportable to you? The protocol handling part and hub interface would be completely open to the community, so anyone can write a client or even add support for a telescope mount.




I am no expert but this sounds exactly like INDI to me. It would be cool if you followed the INDI schema (unless there are some shortcomings in it).

If there is going to be something like INDI for Android, I would be interested in making SkEye a client for the service.

As for the communication part (Socket or Android Intent), I could share some code I had developed to communicate between Android applications over local sockets. Sockets would be faster than Intents (speed will probably matter when guiding).

I wish I could be more proactive in this, but I don't have a motorized scope to try & test things out.


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dciobota
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Reged: 08/07/07

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Harshad]
      #4976071 - 12/20/11 02:01 PM

Hi Harshad,

First off, love your app. I definitely would like to work with you in implementing this, that is a very much appreciated offer. I only have Celestron mounts, I don't know if I can contact the guy that was helping me with the Autostar. I do have a prospective helper for Intelliscope interfaces... the one major player I'd like to be able to support also is Orion goto scopes.

I think you're right, it does sound like INDI, as a matter of fact I was going to ask for permission to use the same schemas and see if I can implement the same functionality.

And as far as sockets, yup, I figured that may be the better way to go also, so I'll support that first. I would definitely welcome code samples, have done sockets in jave in the past but not on Android.

Anyhoo, I'll pm you with further details. I look forward to make this work for you, it would be a great extension to SkEye.

Daniel


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groz
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4976443 - 12/20/11 05:40 PM

Quote:


I think you're right, it does sound like INDI, as a matter of fact I was going to ask for permission to use the same schemas and see if I can implement the same functionality.





Hehe, well, grab the documents and 'fill yer boots'. In reality, INDI is just that, the specification for data interchange. The sourceforge repositories contain a reference implementation, which is hosted on a *nix build, running on linux, and I understand it's also available thru macports.

If you want to build a new implementation, that's great. If you make it open, we can arrange for write access to the indi subversion tree. Having another client / server reference available for droid would be great.

I know there are a few implementations 'out there'. DCD is a python implementation of an indi client, and many of us use it for a raw 'quick test' of server side development work.

Personally, I'd find an indi client on droid to be a fantastic thing to have. All of our 'telescope end' server stuff is already targetted to headless little solid state computers that run on 12v 'at the telescope', with clients running elsewhere on the network. Having a client that can communicate with it all, over wifi, on my phone, would be interesting, and could well be my inspiration to get a doid based tablet.


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: groz]
      #4978005 - 12/21/11 03:21 PM

Awesome, thanks! I have a lot of reading to do.

Thanks fot the encouragment and I agree, this would really benefit the android community. I hate reinventing the wheel and INDI seems perfect for the job.

I'll keep you all posted on the work.

Clear skies.

Daniel


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Tim DeBenedictis
Vendor - SkySafari


Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #4991278 - 12/30/11 12:13 AM

Daniel-

I'm one of the SkySafari developers. We're just gotten our Android version out the door, and I'm trying to support a few more off-the-shelf bluetooth serial adapters. Our code is working well with a StarryNight BlueStar, and a Roving Networks RN-370, but not so well with an AirCable 5. I can't figure out why - the AirCable just "acts flaky" but another user said his AirCable 3 runs fine with your app and his Celestron. I'm wondering if you might be interested in sharing code with us - perhaps we can trade you a free copy of SkySafari Pro. Anyhow, feel free to email me privately at timmyd@southernstars.com if you're interested.

-Tim


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Tim DeBenedictis]
      #5006076 - 01/07/12 06:53 PM

Hi Tim, sorry for the late reply. I just sent you an email.

Clear skies,

Daniel


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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5006085 - 01/07/12 07:02 PM

Hi all,

I think I toitally forgot to put a link to the app after I added goto.

Here's the Celestron version:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0ByZXuV0vUfw7Y2U1OWY5MDgtZDI5Yi00ZmQ2LWFmNGUtMDMxZmFhM2M5MzEy

However, I'm not working on this anymore, at least not in this form. With the help of some of the guys over at the INDI project I have started porting INDI over to the android, so I'll be pretty much tied up doing that in whatever little spare time I have. The good news is that once INDI server is up on android, anyone can write a client app to talk to it, and I can actually rewrite the handbox apps to talk to INDI. This way I don't have to write device code anymore.

So hopefully I'll be able to provide a greater benefit to the community.

Clear skies,

Daniel


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Antcodd
newbie


Reged: 02/05/12

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5057468 - 02/05/12 08:26 PM

Hi,

Can anyone confirm if the Bluetooth-serial adapter mentioned in the the third post (http://www.usconverters.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=70&products_id=262) works with SkySafari Plus/Pro (for Android)?

I'm thinking of getting one but would need to ship it half way across the world to New Zealand hehe (only available adapter here is about 3x the price). I was also planning on using it to help with porting telescope control for the Android port of Stellarium that seems to be getting off the ground.

Thanks,
Anthony

Edit: By the way, if anyone wants to test this software, SkySafari etc. without a bluetooth adapter; I managed to make it work with hub4com and creating an incoming bluetooth COM port in bluetooth settings on the PC then using

Code:
hub4com --baud=9600 --octs=off \\.\COM5 \\.\COM4



(replace COM5 with the bluetooth COM port and COM4 with the serial port/usb to serial adapter the scope is attached to). You can put that in a *.bat file in the hub4com directory if you like. The --octs=off is important as otherwise it won't work (something to do with flow control pins not being connected on the scope end and hub4com expecting proper flow control before forwarding data to the other COM port).

hub4com can also act as a TCP server so could also potentially work with SkySafari like it is a SkyFi but I didn't manage to get that to work (the configuration for hub4com is ridiculously complex).

Edited by Antcodd (02/05/12 08:44 PM)


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groz
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/14/07

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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: psonice]
      #5061377 - 02/07/12 11:49 PM

Quote:

but I'm about 10x more angry with the scope manufacturers for still using serial in 2011!)




When usb loses the 16' cable limitation, and can run from the mount on a pier, down the pier, under the floor, and into the warm room where the computers are located, then it's time to think about losing serial control on mounts. Until such time, usb becomes an unworkeable limitation for many higher end installations.

To build a mount, that has an inherent limit of 16' of cable between the mount, and the controlling computer, would be awfully short sighted of a manufacturer, and, likely to lose them most if not all access to the higher end fixed installations. A serial connection doesn't have this limitation, usb does.

Edited by groz (02/07/12 11:52 PM)


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dciobota
super member
*****

Reged: 08/07/07

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Antcodd]
      #5065365 - 02/10/12 12:13 PM

Hi Anthony,

I can confirm that the bluetooth serial adapter works with the SkySafari prerelease version that was put out in december. I tested it with a cge and nexstar mount, so it's good for celestrons at least. A fellow in Ukraine bought the same adapter and used SkySafari with an intelliscope controller, so that works too. Btw, that particular adapter has a very long range. With my app running on a droid X I was able to control my scope from about 30ft away.

Hope this helps.


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yaroslav_s
member


Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Kyiv, Ukraine
Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5070692 - 02/13/12 03:17 PM

Here is a similar adapter on Ebay.com. eBay Link

Edited by Shadowalker (02/14/12 10:08 PM)


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Antcodd
newbie


Reged: 02/05/12

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: yaroslav_s]
      #5076436 - 02/17/12 01:20 AM

Thanks heaps guys, I was planning on ordering it from that eBay link anyway. Looking at the manual it appears to be the same item and it's insanely cheap to ship. Good to know it should work!

Sorry I didn't reply earlier, thought I'd get notified about new messages in the thread but I must have done it wrong (just figured it out now - unusual that it is off by default for subscribed threads).


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Driven1
super member


Reged: 08/19/10

Loc: N. Central PA near CSSP
Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Antcodd]
      #5801441 - 04/15/13 08:26 PM

I realize this is an old thread, but can't seen to find any further info on the project's advancement (if any). I realize that this app was designed for bluetooth. What I'm wondering is if the developer would consider setting it up to use a USB Serial converter. Through another app called Slick USB you can use an FTDI based USB Serial port to control the telescope. I've tested it through a Terminal app and I can get the scope to move. So I would expect if this app had serial support, it would work this way. Anyone know anything on the status of this app or where I might find the developer?

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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Driven1]
      #5801861 - 04/16/13 01:16 AM

Quote:

I realize this is an old thread, but can't seen to find any further info on the project's advancement (if any). I realize that this app was designed for bluetooth. What I'm wondering is if the developer would consider setting it up to use a USB Serial converter. Through another app called Slick USB you can use an FTDI based USB Serial port to control the telescope. I've tested it through a Terminal app and I can get the scope to move. So I would expect if this app had serial support, it would work this way. Anyone know anything on the status of this app or where I might find the developer?




The SkySafari developers have their own Yahoo technical support group and you can find it here:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/southern_stars

SkySafari Plus and Pro support WiFi connections to telescopes on Android and iOS. They support Bluetooth connections on Android. They do not support USB connections directly to any phones or tablets.

They do have a WiFi device with a USB port for connecting to telescopes that only have USB ports, like iOptron. They don't work that well and the SkySafari developers blame iOptron. I tend to agree with them that iOptron is the culprit.

There is also a great little WiFi telescope interface from Astro-Gene that also has a built-in access point and DHCP server and is designed to work with iOS and Android

http://www.astrogene1000.com/

http://www.astrogene1000.com/products/gc-wifi3/index.htm


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dciobota
super member
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Reged: 08/07/07

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5802378 - 04/16/13 11:32 AM

Hi guys,

The reports of my demise were greatly exaggerated... ok, maybe not by much lol. Been out of the scene for sometime now, and I do feel guilty about not finishing this app, or at least putting it up on the market, such as it is. I have also another one that remains about 80% complete (an astro oriented dslr control), so I really need to get my stuff together and finish what I startet, lol.

As to the usb serial access. I downloaded the terminal app, and tried to connect to my two scopes: one, an ioptron cube pro, the other a celstron slt, using my two tablets, a nexus 7 and a samsung tab 2 7.0. Unfortunately, neither tablet worked with neither scope. :-( The tab seemed to connect, but I never got replies back from either scope.

Without the actual code from that app, or at least knowing why it won't work, I feel I may be reinventing the wheel trying to support usb. I know how to connect to usb devices, but not sure how a usb serial device actually works. In linux, the device is registered with the approriate driver (like usbserial), but this is not the case with android it seems. It does register the usb device (it shows up with dmesg) but no driver is assigned to it. So it looks to me like the app you mentioned has its own driver built in. So not much luck for me there.
I may do some more research on this in the future.
As a more fruitful path, the indi for java project provides a better (more generic) way of interfacing with telescope devices:
http://www.indilib.org/develop/indiforjava.html

Currently, the only implementations I see for drivers is using bluetooth, like my app. But if usb support is added in the future, writing a driver for indi may be the best way to go.

Hope this helps.

Daniel


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dciobota
super member
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5802750 - 04/16/13 01:47 PM

So, ok, I did some quick research and lo and behold, google code shows this project:
http://code.google.com/p/usb-serial-for-android/

Looks perfect for the job. So now I need to get off my easy chair and do some coding again. ;-)


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Driven1
super member


Reged: 08/19/10

Loc: N. Central PA near CSSP
Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5803499 - 04/16/13 08:36 PM

Wow! You DO exist! Sweet!

Here's the thing, I already have a working USB Serial port using Slick USB (available through Market) on my Tablet so all I really need is for your app to recognize the USB serial's available for use. If you want to build a USB serial port into your app, that would be awesome too.

I use Slick USB to create the port with my USB to Serial converter. Connect the USB Serial converter to the AutoStar hand controller vial a homebuilt Serial/DB9 cable, and then I've made a command connection to the Meade AutoStar Controller using a terminal app. I can send commands from the terminal app based on Meade's command set and get the scope to move. I just have no clue how to make it all work easily. In fact, I can't even figure out how to get the scope to STOP moving! Lol!

For the person that mentioned SkySafari...

Already talked to the folks a Southern Stars about adding serial support to SkySafari. They're not gonna touch it for support reasons. It would be really great if they would, but I got a VERY firm No.

I also realize that I could go BT or Wifi but using serial is such a simple system that it's not likely to give the headaches associated with the other two. I can also currently do the same thing using my Laptop with the same USB to Serial converter. The use of my Tablet is just sooo much easier to carry around.

If I had a clue about coding I'd try to get it done myself. But alas, I don't.

So, I'm hoping dciobota can come up with something. Thanks for your interest and your coding abilities!

Oh! Almost forgot. According to what I've read in the Meade Command Set, not all commands will give replies, ie: Movements like :Me# (moves the scope East but does not give an acknowledgement that the command was received). Their "Get" commands WILL give replies like :GL# (shows Local time from the Controller in 24hr. format. These DO come back as correct replies in the terminal app I'm using.



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dciobota
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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Driven1]
      #5805578 - 04/17/13 09:43 PM

Hi Driven,

Lol I exist and that's all I can say at the moment. Not sure what you mean "have a working serial port" through Slick USB. As far as I can tell, the app is only a serial terminal simulator, unless I missed something. There is a library for sale to allow oither apps to connect to serial devices, but it's $99, a bit to steep for me.

I did some more digging and there is an indiserver app for android that so far has lx200 support over usb (I think). It mentions bluetooth only, but the code shows prolific support unless I'm mistaken. So, that's probably the best way to go for me: write an indi client (or use the one for android) and hook it up to my app.

I'll keep you posted, but I'm not promising anything soon. ;-)

I'm actually kinda surprised none of the planetarium folks tried to tackle this already.

Hope this helps.

Daniel


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Driven1
super member


Reged: 08/19/10

Loc: N. Central PA near CSSP
Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5807421 - 04/18/13 06:39 PM

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=slickdevlabs.apps.usbtoserialte...

Yup. You're missing something. If you own an FTDI based USB to serial converter (and I do), Slick USB provides the driver to allow Android to utilize the converter. Slick USB also has a terminal built into it. There are free and paid versions. The one thing I don't know is if other apps would be able to access the serial port.

This is what I'm using for a serial port...

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=18...


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dciobota
super member
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Reged: 08/07/07

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Driven1]
      #5807588 - 04/18/13 08:04 PM

That's a pretty nifty and compact little adapter!

But yes, I agree with you, the app lets you talk to your mount that way, but it won't allow other apps to do the same unless you buy that library he has advertised for $99. I'll keep playing with that android indiserver app to see if I can get it to talk to one of my mounts. Stay tuned.

Daniel


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Driven1
super member


Reged: 08/19/10

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Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: dciobota]
      #5807927 - 04/18/13 11:27 PM

Thanks Dan.

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JLundberg
newbie


Reged: 01/20/14

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: Driven1]
      #6324016 - 01/20/14 12:12 PM

Hello everyone,

Just getting back into things and ran across this forum. I'm excited about the possibilities running my scope from my android. I look forward to hearing about more of this in the future.

John


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deltacathy
newbie


Reged: 02/09/13

Re: Android + Bluetooth = telescope control! :) new [Re: JLundberg]
      #6387374 - 02/20/14 06:45 PM Attachment (4 downloads)

Quote:

Hello everyone,

Just getting back into things and ran across this forum. I'm excited about the possibilities running my scope from my android. I look forward to hearing about more of this in the future.

John




Hi John,
Do a search on the net for ( synscan Bluetooth ) and you find a link to the Bluetooth adaptor for Meade LX200 ,Skywatcher SynScan and Celestron Nexstar mounts ( Nexstar are heavier as they need a battery pack attached ) Merlin/Teletrack and Allview are the same size as the picture.
They weigh around 28g and work with pc mac or Android also have a look at the Skywatcher EQ8 Bluetooth on YouTube .

Edited by deltacathy (02/20/14 07:46 PM)


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