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Doug D.
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AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad
      #5025798 - 01/18/12 10:17 PM Attachment (276 downloads)

I have been waiting quite some time for a turnkey solution that would enable me to use my Half Hitch II with DSCs wirelessly with an iPad/iPhone. The Australian company Astro Devices just this week released a new device called the "Nexus" that makes this possible (see also announcement from Serge Antonov from AstroDevices in the vendor's announcements forum on CN). I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one a couple of weeks ago - I was aware it was in the works more than a year ago and have been pestering Serge for updates every now and then. When he contacted me to let me know it was ready to be released I jumped at the chance to order one.

The weather hasn't cooperated very much since obtaining the unit but I have had a chance to hook it up to my 4096 TIC encoders on the Half Hitch II, do a 2 star alignment using SkySafari+ on both my iPhone and iPad, and hunt for some targets to test it out. I need to spend more time with it to confirm the accuracy at higher powers but so far, I'm pretty excited about this little gadget.

The Nexus is about the size of a Skycommander XP-4, weighs even less and fits pretty nicely on the fold out tray of the Half Hitch. The encoder cable plugs into the unit and after pairing wirelessly (pretty simple procedure) with the iPad, you start SkySafari and connect using the "Telescope" setting built into SkySafari. This differs from SkyFi, as I understand it, which can be made to work with a Push To scope in conjunction with an XP-4. The Nexus avoids the "middle man" so to speak, and passes encoder settings direct to the iPad, Mac, PC Android, etc. - although I am personally only interested in it as an iPhone/iPad solution. I guess it is fair to say the Nexus is more like a wireless version of the Dave Ek DIY box (although a Bluetooth mod has also been described).

For me, it is a real pleasure to use that big iPad screen to find objects and track my scope movements as I push the scope around on the Half Hitch. It offers a compact, fairly simple grab and go solution. The Nexus has a number of other features (e.g., serial to WiFi, simple camera shutter trigger, firmware update via USB stick) most of which I've yet to try.

The one issue so far, which Serge warned me about right away is that the Nexus drains a 9V alkaline battery pretty quickly when using encoders and WiFi. The Nexus has a connection for an external 9-25V DC battery. I had a Tekkeon Li-Poly battery lying around which I decided to hook-up and this is turning out to be a great solution (compact, high capacity, good cold weather performance).

The attached image is just to show the Nexus and give you an idea of the hook-up with the Half Hitch. The Tekkeon battery is larger than the Nexus and I've got it attached with Velcro to the underside of the HH fold out tray. The Nexus is communicating with the iPad and SkySafari with the cursor showing the scope "position" (not aligned to sky indoors obviously). Pushing the scope around moves the virtual sky around the fixed scope cursor or other way around depending on how you set it.

The iPad is mounted in a Delkin "Gecko" iPad1 accessory holder and attached to a Manfrotto "Variable Friction Magic Arm" held by a "Super Clamp" (attached to tripod leg). It is very easy to adjust the position of the iPad with this set-up. I will continue to put the Nexus and iPad through their paces in coming days and weeks and I'll update with any new thoughts as I go along but I'm pretty confident this is going to be a sweet set-up for anyone wanting to combine push-to with the great GUI (and extensive database) that the iPad and SkySafari plus (or Pro) can provide.


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Ricky
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5025806 - 01/18/12 10:22 PM

Thats a real good looking setup!

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Emanuele
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Ricky]
      #5025835 - 01/18/12 10:37 PM

Wonderful! I've been looking at a solution like this for a while and was not aware of the Nexus device!

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orlyandico
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Emanuele]
      #5025873 - 01/18/12 11:00 PM

Hmm. Two hundred bucks!

I made my own in a couple days for the cost of an Arduino and a Bluetooth dongle. Total price.. $70. Maybe I should get into business for myself..


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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5025897 - 01/18/12 11:11 PM

May be - and that is a great way to save some bucks. But for someone such as myself with meager electronic skills and even less time, I'm ok with maybe paying ~twice as much to get a Nexus and the support that goes with it. The Nexus is also WiFi and not bluetooth, which may or may not be important to you.

just curious - are you able to use your Arduino and BT dongle to communicate with an iOS running something like SkySafari?


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swsantos
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5026029 - 01/19/12 12:58 AM

Will it work with an Android tablet with Sky Safari for Android?

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orlyandico
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: swsantos]
      #5026054 - 01/19/12 01:19 AM

SkySafari for iPad / iPod cannot talk over Bluetooth, this is documented on the Southern Stars web site. I actually use a SkyWire with my iPad (another fifty bucks).

Android tablets with Sky Safari can talk over Bluetooth to devices such as my DIY Arduino thing. Or to the Dave Ek bluetooth kit, which should be a better choice for Android users. 1/2 the cost of this thing, too.


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BWAZ
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5026080 - 01/19/12 01:59 AM

Thanks for the timely review! I was thinking of the Nexus the other day and this thread got my attention immediately. Cutting off the "middle man" is the real deal here. Though I do enjoy the SkyFi a lot which relies on the middle man to communicate with the mount/encoders.

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orlyandico
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: BWAZ]
      #5026081 - 01/19/12 02:02 AM

the SkyFi / SkyWire can talk directly to a "decoder box" like Dave Ek's box or Mike Fulbright's Arduino DSC (on which mine is based).

the SkyFi can also talk to a Tangent Instruments box, but is just using it as an encoder-reader (SkySafari has a built-in 2-star align routine). I suspect the Nexus is the same - it just reads the encoders and presents the raw ticks to SkySafari).


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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5026178 - 01/19/12 05:51 AM

Quote:

I suspect the Nexus is the same - it just reads the encoders and presents the raw ticks to SkySafari).




That is my understanding as well and an important distinction - unlike SkyFi it doesn't require connection to a separate decoder box. However, if you check the specs more closely, the Nexus is capable of doing even more. For example, it has built in 2-star alignment for use with ServoCat and transmits actual celestial coordinates to the ServoCat and planetarium software. I can't speak to how that works simply because I am interested (for now at least) in using simply to transmit push to encoder coordinates to SkySafari on the iPad.


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EFT
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5026465 - 01/19/12 10:20 AM

I'm looking forward to testing one out in the next couple of weeks and hope to be comparing a couple different designs.

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tjay
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: EFT]
      #5030283 - 01/21/12 11:55 AM

I'm interested in how well it works as a serial adapter over WiFi. WiFi control of my mount and my DSLR shutter would be kind of neat.

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Markovich
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: tjay]
      #5030504 - 01/21/12 01:39 PM

OK, I must admit to being a bit confused about it. Does it offer similar functionality to SkyFi, meaning that it simply passes through the encoder readouts to your astro application ( like Sky Safari,etc) ?

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astrodevices
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Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Markovich]
      #5031286 - 01/21/12 10:25 PM

Hello Mark,

SkyFi only serves as a WiFi to RS232 adapter (+ WiFi to USB serial adapter in the latest model), it does not support the encoders' readout. You need another device that reads the encoders...

Nexus provides the encoders' readout and also two WiFi to RS232 adapters (all are independent) as well as WiFi to USB serial (later this year through the firmware upgrade). In case of using Nexus with ServoCAT only one of the RS232 ports is available as a WiFi to RS232 adapter.

For a simple wireless DSC mode of operation Nexus is equivalent to: SkyFi + Tangent Instruments Box.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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Markovich
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5031332 - 01/21/12 10:54 PM

Ah ok, that's clear. VERY interesting...since I've been waitng for a USB SkyFi for a couple of months now. Tempted to cancel and order yours for my Obsession and iPad.

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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Markovich]
      #5031972 - 01/22/12 11:06 AM Attachment (112 downloads)

The weather is just not helping out here so while I've been waiting to actually use my Nexus some more under a clear dark sky, I've been playing around with placement of the iPad for maximal utility with both my scope and mount. In the original post, I showed how the iPad could be mounted to a tripod leg using a Manfrotto "magic friction arm". This is great but obviously doesn't move with the scope in the direction of each target. Mounting an iPhone is pretty trivial but the iPad poses some challenges. I finally settled on a position that gets the iPad close to the center of gravity while at in an ideal spot for real time pointing (i.e., as a "finder" with the Nexus) and viewing. The Nexus and Tekkeon battery are serviceable on the HH fold out tray and I have no plans to fine tune their placement further.

The Traveler and binoviewer (w/24 pans) are really what I'd like to use for this set-up although it is pushing both my idea of "grab and go" and the limits of the Half Hitch Mk II. The scope rides very nicely throughout its altitude while at its focus point w/BV & pans, and holds position where I leave it from basically horizon to zenith using the extension arm and weights as shown. However, at or near zenith I can't then adjust the scope downward using my alt axis slo mo knob - I think the inertial mass is just too great for the friction bearing surface and it slips when knob is turned (but I'm still working on it). A HH III or super HH would probably be a better fit with this configuration - although cyclops mode with 2" diagonal instead of heavy BV, would also be a better match (as I've confirmed in past without an iPad mounted). But aside from a few degrees near zenith (where "nudging" works fine by the way), the slo mo alt control still drives the scope through most of its range.

In any event, the set-up is very sensitive to iPad placement as you can imagine but this position works pretty nicely (iPad is rigged to the Traveler accessory bar/clamp with a small ball head, clamp and compatible rail, and a few bits of other hardware I have lying around from my camera gear). I've gotten some e-mails about ideas for mounting so I thought some of you might enjoy seeing this. Ahhh, to now try it out for real.......


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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5031990 - 01/22/12 11:13 AM Attachment (118 downloads)

and a side view......

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7331Peg
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5033416 - 01/23/12 01:46 AM

Doug, any feel yet for how well the Ipad handles the cold weather and the dampness? I just got one a couple of months ago, but have hesitated to take it outside.


John


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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #5033561 - 01/23/12 08:11 AM

That is a great question John - my longest observing session so far was under an hour and the temp was in the 40's (f) as I recall. As soon as things clear up, I can get a better idea. As for dampness - I wouldn't want to get it wet but I wouldn't expect a little dew or high humidity to be much of an issue. But I don't want to imply I'm expert on the issue.

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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5036848 - 01/25/12 10:29 AM

Finally - last night was decent enough to get out and observe for a couple of hours. The temperature hovered in the mid to upper 40's while I observed.

On the plus side, I am happy to report that I love the way the Nexus works with the iPad to transmit encoder positions to SkySafari. The 2 star alignment is a piece of cake especially in conjunction with my GLP. I used just the 24 Pans in the BV (with a 1.25X Glasspath compensator to give me the needed in-focus) so the wide FOV ensured my targets were centered repeatably without much difficulty (I still plan to test accuracy at much higher mags). It is also great to have the iPad located just off to the side of the scope. I just felt the whole experience of using SkySafari this way was a pleasure - it really is a nice app and the Nexus and iPad placement lets you take full advantage of it.

In the approximately two hours I was out there moving the scope from target to target the iPad went from a 100% charge to ~47%. This is a bigger draw down than I would have anticipated for that time period. How much of it had to do with the cool weather and/or WiFi communication, I have no idea. But I am concerned that freezing temperatures could be an issue. On the other hand, the Tekkeon powering the Nexus didn't budge much based on the green LED power charge monitor during this time. In addition, I never lost connection with the Nexus and there were very few instances of on screen lag while pushing to targets.

There is one big potential negative, however, that has nothing to do with the Nexus or SkySafari itself - the iPad really impacts your night vision. Even with the red (night) setting and cutting the screen brightness down, the light is too bright. Moreover, when turning down the brightness from within SkySafari, the screen seems to wash out and lose a lot of contrast making it harder to see (i.e., it wasn't simply reduced brightness but loss of contrast).

The iPad brightness issue would be a problem for a serious night of sustained viewing of dimmer objects (maybe an iPhone would be better in this regard?). But on the other hand, I had my 11 year old daughter out there with me last night and she was loving it! In nights past she would lose interest after a half hour or so but last night she just took control of the scope and was moving from target to target, asking me questions about this and that and hitting the "info" icon on the iPad to get more information on the fly. We both had a blast - especially me to see her reaction to a very intuitive interface and a beautiful sky. Not to sound over the top, but it did seem like she was appreciating this whole "get out under the stars with Dad" thing a bit differently than before. I hope it lasts!

So the bottom line is that I'm still quite enthusiastic about this combination of DSCs with a grab and go Alt/Az mount and scope - even with the iPad caveat. The potential here for casual viewing and some outreach is outstanding.


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rmollise
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5036963 - 01/25/12 11:30 AM

Several outfits, including AstroGizmos, make red filters for the iPad/Pod/Phone that fix the night vision problem but still allow the touch screen to work...

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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: rmollise]
      #5037011 - 01/25/12 11:55 AM

I wondered about that Rod but I was concerned about losing touch sensitivity. I will definitely check it out, thanks for the suggestion.

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BWAZ
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5037191 - 01/25/12 01:39 PM

My Nexus is on the way and thanks for the encouraging report!

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Tamiji Homma
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: BWAZ]
      #5039142 - 01/26/12 01:56 PM

Quote:

My Nexus is on the way and thanks for the encouraging report!




Yup. Thanks Doug, for this thread. I think mine is coming today according to EMS tracking.

I'll have similar system (light-weight tripod/HH) to Doug for my binoculars.
Looking forward to it.

Tammy


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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5039151 - 01/26/12 02:01 PM

It will be great to hear how it goes for both of you. And I'm placing my Astrogizmos red film order today!

Serge at AstroDevices has also been really responsive to my questions regarding the Nexus.


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OneDaveT
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #5042187 - 01/28/12 09:46 AM

Quote:

Doug, any feel yet for how well the Ipad handles the cold weather and the dampness? I just got one a couple of months ago, but have hesitated to take it outside.




It handles the cold quite well. I've been out down to 25 degrees for several hours and noticed little to no effect. The issue is dew & frost. The large glass display can collect quite a bit. A notebook cover/case takes care of this if the iPad is loose. With the stand display you have a small clothe to cover would work. I would have said a dish towel, but your setup looks too nice for that. :-)


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Tamiji Homma
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5042513 - 01/28/12 01:11 PM

Quote:

It will be great to hear how it goes for both of you. And I'm placing my Astrogizmos red film order today!

Serge at AstroDevices has also been really responsive to my questions regarding the Nexus.




Nexus delivered as scheduled. But I haven't had a chance to try under sky yet... It has been too windy to take scope out here.

As soon as I got Nexus delivered, Serge@AstroDevice emailed me quick start guide. He must be monitoring delivery confirmation
I followed his clear instructions and I was about to run the device in a few minutes.

I did try it inside house, setting up iPad, connecting from SkySafari Pro, exercising two star alignment. It seems to work. Well, I'll have to try under night sky of course.

I am waiting for wind to calm down.

I haven't decided how to attach iPad/iPhone along with Half Hitch mount yet. It would be nice to attach iPad on HH SkyCommander mounting plate securely somehow.

Tammy


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7331Peg
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: OneDaveT]
      #5043602 - 01/29/12 01:48 AM

Thanks for that info - I appreciate it! I'll give it a try.


John


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Doug D.
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5044636 - 01/29/12 05:40 PM

Quote:

I haven't decided how to attach iPad/iPhone along with Half Hitch mount yet. It would be nice to attach iPad on HH SkyCommander mounting plate securely somehow.

Tammy




Yes, it is a little tricky. I found placement was really critical to performance, it strongly affects moment arm in some places. I couldn't get it to work at all when attached to the finder bracket, for example. It would be best to mount it somewhere off the scope (or finder bracket) but where it would still turn with Az axis (e.g., the XP-4 mounting plate). I didn't consider the XP-4 mounting plate for the iPad because I wanted to mount the Nexus and Tekkeon there but also because of clearance issues (and plain old "how to mount it there issues"). In many ways though, it would be the best place if weight weight wasn't a concern - clearance can be accomplished with a tripod extension.

I'm not sure the HH 2 is up to the task but I would imagine the newer Super and even beefier planned mounts would be good candidates for a redesigned DSC holder for a tablet. I previously brought up possibility of a design to facilitate iPad/iPhone mounting (either here on CN or the HH Yahoo group - don't recall) but it received a tepid response. There are lots of DIY possibilities of course, but for me at least - the finished product is unlikely to look very pretty...


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Tamiji Homma
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5044870 - 01/29/12 07:54 PM

Hi Doug,

I started thinking of getting smaller Android tablet for this task. iPad is bit too bulky.

I thought Kindle Fire would be a good candidate but Amazon does not allow Kindle Fire to access Android Market... *sigh*

Maybe looking for alternative 7" Android tablet for this task.

Tammy


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swsantos
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5044923 - 01/29/12 08:25 PM

I bought the 7" Toshiba Thrive and it's not only a great size, but it's case back is nicely textured and sort of rubberized. It's very grippy and easy to handle and deal with outside in the dark. I bought it because I did not want to bring my iPad outside and found it also to bulky and slippery to hold outside.

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Dakota Tobias
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5132687 - 03/20/12 08:18 PM

Hello, just bumping this thread to see whether anyone else who has taken delivery of the Nexus would care to share his/her experiences good or bad... I'm considering ordering one to use on my dob, but where to put that Ipad???

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swsantos
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Dakota Tobias]
      #5133409 - 03/21/12 10:49 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

I already had an iPad 2 and a Half Hitch but decided to go in a different direction...

Given that the iPad is expensive, relatively large, and slippery to grip sometimes, I purchased the BETI and a 7" Toshiba Thrive to use with the Half Hitch + SkySafari through Bluetooth and it is in my opinion perfection. The BETI + Half Hitch + SkySafari combination is dead accurate.

Why? The smaller 7" tablet is much easier to hold than my iPad and the Thrive specifically has a textured rubbery grippy back. I can hold it in one hand. Try holding an iPad in one hand while looking through an eyepiece while focusing with the other hand - no way! But with this Thrive you can. It is physically slightly smaller that my Pocket Sky Atlas and is very easy to hold outside in the dark and it actually fits inside my eyepiece case. The 7" screen is plenty big for SkySafari. The Thrive was also less expensive than the iPad and I would rather not have my almost $800 iPad outside at night.

Just my opinion on an alternative should anyone be interested.

Steve


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seigell
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: swsantos]
      #5150848 - 03/31/12 09:32 PM

Have you found a Red-Adapted Color Scheme for your Thrive ??

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swsantos
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: seigell]
      #5151523 - 04/01/12 11:05 AM

I just leave it on the dimmest setting and put SkySafari into night mode when I am using it and its fine. I do not feel the need for anything else. I have several astro widgets running on the home screen and I use a black wall paper background and its plenty dark like that.

Steve


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Mkofski
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #5154090 - 04/03/12 01:16 AM

Quote:

Doug, any feel yet for how well the Ipad handles the cold weather and the dampness? I just got one a couple of months ago, but have hesitated to take it outside:




John, haven't tried it with my iPad but I had a black Lab that loved to get my iPod at night and take it outside. It spent several nights in the snow and always worked as soon as I dried it off.


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Parallel Rules
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Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Doug D.]
      #5164366 - 04/10/12 12:03 AM

Hello Doug. Do you have more photos that show the connections with the ipad base and the friction arm as well as the super clamp? Thank you in advancem, David

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stubeeef
journeyman


Reged: 08/06/12

Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Parallel Rules]
      #5367027 - 08/13/12 06:17 PM

Do I understand this right....a difference in SkyFi and Nexus-the Nexus gives DSC feedback to SkySafari+/Pro so that if I had moved a Dob like a XT12g the cursor on my iPad would show the movement?
Sorry but some of this is confusing. A table showing the capabilities of these items would be useful.


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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: stubeeef]
      #5367095 - 08/13/12 06:53 PM

The differences between SkyFi and Nexus are:
1. SkyFi provides either WiFi to Serial interface or WiFi to USB interface.
2. Nexus provides (all of them can be used at the same time):
- WiFi to encoders interface
- WiFi to Serial x 2 interface
- WiFi to USB interface

In case of XT12g (which is a GOTO) it will not make any difference what is used as encoders are connected to the control box on XT12g and Nexus or SkyFi would be connected to the serial port on the hand controller and only WiFi to Serial interface functionality Nexus/SkyFi will be used. A two star alignment will have to be performed using the hand controller before the SkySafari Plus/Pro starts showing the telescope position on the screen.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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stubeeef
journeyman


Reged: 08/06/12

Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5367237 - 08/13/12 08:15 PM

Does the Nexus then, replace the need for an Argo Navis or Sky Commander if used with something like a servo cat? Where the skyfi would require the AN???

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budman1961
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Reged: 02/25/11

Loc: Springfield, MO
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5367239 - 08/13/12 08:15 PM

That looks like a fantastic device! I had the SkyFi adapter for ios, it worked well, but didnt really fot into my setup. This looks very promising, a real connectivity "Swiss Army Knife"!

Andy


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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: stubeeef]
      #5367253 - 08/13/12 08:25 PM

Quote:

Does the Nexus then, replace the need for an Argo Navis or Sky Commander if used with something like a servo cat? Where the skyfi would require the AN???




Yes, Nexus can be used with ServoCAT without a need for an extra DSC unit.

In that case however either two serial ports (in case of 1st generation and 2nd generation of ServoCAT, non-USB) or one serial port and the USB port (in case of 3rd generation of ServoCAT, USB) will be used for connection to ServoCAT to provide a full wireless GOTO functionality.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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stubeeef
journeyman


Reged: 08/06/12

Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5367329 - 08/13/12 09:11 PM

I'm unable to tell what is being sold. (what is in the box)
If I choose a Servocat 3 jr, it doesn't include encoders. So does the Nexus come with, or option with encoders? if so are they how many K are they (not that I really know why more K is better )
Where do you get, and how to install them outside of a Nexus kit?

Edited by stubeeef (08/13/12 09:40 PM)


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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: stubeeef]
      #5367563 - 08/13/12 11:32 PM

Nexus is supplied without encoders. The standard Nexus package includes:
1. Nexus unit with wall mounting plate.
2. Serial RJ12 to DB9 adapter cable.
3. DC 2.1mm to cigarette lighter plug adapter cable.
4. Printed User manual and setup guides.

There is a list of suppliers of encoders/encoder kits on our website: http://www.astrodevices.com/Links/Links.html

We can also supply additional cables for ServoCAT and encoders.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5367782 - 08/14/12 06:29 AM

Great setup, although a device like this has existed for a while now, David Ek's had a design out that was modified by Craig Combs which uses bluetooth to connect to your device, be it a laptop, iPad, iPhone Android or any device that supports bluetooth, I use mine with my laptop and Stellarium.. Ascom drivers available too

here is a pic of the unit i picked up a few months ago with my Nagler 2.5 next to it for size reference.



it sells for 120 US.

In closing, i just want to say, i think the Nexus looks like a great device also, don't mean to hijack the thread, just wanted to let you know that there are options. Craig sells these devices completed or you can build your own by getting the plans here


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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5367843 - 08/14/12 07:56 AM

Hello Joe,

I just wanted to point out a couple of things:

- Craig Combs' box does not work with Apple's iPhone/iPad/iPod touch
- David Ek's / Craig Combs' box cannot be used with ServoCAT

Best Regards,
Serge.


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5368199 - 08/14/12 12:06 PM

Serge: got it... i stand corrected, i'll be looking at ordering one your Nexus devices soon. I'm currently designing a mount that i think your device will compliment greatly!

clear skies!

Edited by JoeM101 (08/14/12 12:09 PM)


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Doug D.
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/23/05

Loc: Virginia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5368271 - 08/14/12 12:37 PM

Glad to see this thread revived - not a whole lot to add that is new other than to say I'm still using my Nexus with my iPhone/iPad and SkySafari and I'm still happy. It is versatile, compact and just plain works well.

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jloweva
member


Reged: 01/09/12

Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: swsantos]
      #5590027 - 12/26/12 05:27 PM

Hi. Was just checking out the thread on the Nexus and saw your post. Quick question about the thrive and sky safari. Do you need to be connected to a home wifi network connected to the internet or 3G/4g for sky safari to work on it, or is it self contained. In other words, once I loaded SS on the thrive, does it need constant Internet connectivity to work.
Btw, how is your setup working six months later?
Thanks!


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swsantos
sage
*****

Reged: 09/29/05

Loc: Rhode Island
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: jloweva]
      #5590567 - 12/27/12 12:06 AM

I have the Astro Devices' BETI (not the Nexus) so I connect the Thrive directly and wirelessly by Bluetooth to BETI. It works flawlessly. There are no wifi, internet, or netowrk issues at all.

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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: jloweva]
      #5590643 - 12/27/12 01:23 AM

You do not need to be connected to any network (home WiFi or 3G/4G) in order to use an Android tablet or an iOS based device with Nexus and SkySafari Plus/Pro. Once you install SkySafari Plus/Pro on your tablet you are all set.

Nexus creates its own WiFi Access Point that any Android based (WiFi enabled) device (or iOS based device or a PC or a Mac) can connect to.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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zawijava
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/06/07

Loc: Wells, Maine 04090
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5633521 - 01/20/13 04:38 PM

Serge and others,

I'm interested in using a AstroDevices Nexus with a Nexus 7 [Google 7" Tablet] and SkySafari [for Android] on my Astro-Physics 400 QMD mount. Can you tell me if the encoder cables come with the Nexus? Also, I operate my mount and accessories via a 17 AH 12v battery with cig lighter sockets. Can I operate the Nexus via 12v? Is a cig lighter cord supplied with the Nexus? thanks! -Tim

Quote:

You do not need to be connected to any network (home WiFi or 3G/4G) in order to use an Android tablet or an iOS based device with Nexus and SkySafari Plus/Pro. Once you install SkySafari Plus/Pro on your tablet you are all set.

Nexus creates its own WiFi Access Point that any Android based (WiFi enabled) device (or iOS based device or a PC or a Mac) can connect to.

Best Regards,
Serge.




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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: zawijava]
      #5634427 - 01/21/13 07:25 AM

Hello Tim,

Nexus is supplied with a cigarette lighter adapter and you can power Nexus from 9 to 25V DC.

The encoders cable is not included but can be supplied at extra cost ($10) .

Also, you will need SkySafari Plus or SkySafari Pro as basic version does not support any telescope interface.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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zawijava
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/06/07

Loc: Wells, Maine 04090
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5634544 - 01/21/13 09:20 AM

Thanks for the quick reply Serge! Another question regarding Firmware Updates. I assume any updates are done via the USB Port on the Nexus? Can updates be accomplished via a Mac? thanks, -Tim

...I think I just answered my own question upon closer review of your website....looks like a yes I believe.

Quote:

Hello Tim,

Nexus is supplied with a cigarette lighter adapter and you can power Nexus from 9 to 25V DC.

The encoders cable is not included but can be supplied at extra cost ($10) .

Also, you will need SkySafari Plus or SkySafari Pro as basic version does not support any telescope interface.

Best Regards,
Serge.




Edited by zawijava (01/21/13 09:24 AM)


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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: zawijava]
      #5635068 - 01/21/13 02:19 PM

Hello Tim,

You are welcome.

Firmware updates are done using a USB flash drive - it just needs to be formatted as FAT32. So, yes, you can use a Mac.

Best regards,
Serge.


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LateViewer
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Manhattan
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5847928 - 05/08/13 02:45 PM

Great thread. I was not aware of the Nexus system. I am still a bit confused about encoders and whose would work best an an Obsession like Dob.

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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: LateViewer]
      #5848526 - 05/08/13 07:26 PM

The most popular choice for encoders is to use optical 10000 steps per revolution encoders from US Digital:
http://www.usdigital.com/products/encoders/incremental/rotary/shaft/S6 .
Some people use AMT102/AMT103 capacitive encoders (hollow shaft, 8192 steps per revolution) available from http://www.digikey.com. AMT102/AMT103 require a bit of work to install them as they were designed to be mounted on motors.

Best regards,
Serge.


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Daud
sage


Reged: 08/05/06

Loc: AZ, Scottsdale
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5875358 - 05/21/13 09:18 AM

Serge,

what other specifications for the S6 encoders on the page you pointed to ?


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astrodevices
Vendor-Astro Devices


Reged: 10/26/07

Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: Daud]
      #5875373 - 05/21/13 09:29 AM

The specifications for the S6 encoders are as follows:
1. CPR (counts per revolution) - multiply by 4 to get the number of quadrature steps per revolution.
2. Shaft diameter - most people use 1/4".
3. Index - one of the pins has the index signal - one pulse per revolution, not used by most DSCs.
4. Output - most (if not 100%) DSCs need 'single ended'.
5. Torque - does not really matter which one.

In other words for 10000 steps S6 encoders the part number is S6-2500-250-NE-S-D.

Best Regards,
Serge.


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Defenderdan
member


Reged: 05/20/13

Re: AstroDevices Nexus WiFi DSC, Half Hitch and iPad new [Re: astrodevices]
      #5878585 - 05/22/13 05:12 PM

Thanks for this thread! Are there any other write-ups about installing encoders, specifically for a fork drive on a Meade 10" SCT.

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