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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5984421 - 07/22/13 12:47 PM

Quote:


I think the best way to solve this problem is to:
1) Give up
2) "source" a RJ11 (4P4C) terminated curly wire...
3) replace the RJ12 (6P6C) plug on my pier with a RJ11 plug
4) Call it a day and be happy that it works.




I think I have uncovered a new way to have my cake and eat it too.

Since this is, at its core, all about remotely driving my CGEM mount from a dedicated imaging/observatory PC/Laptop from a warm "enclosed" position some 40' from the pier... While not having a rats nest of cables, controllers, dongles at the pier.

Lets consider this:
Step one: I take the HC, and put it away, safe in its foam lined box.
Step two: I run a 40' serial signal to the mount on the pier over a Cat6 cable and a homebrew Celestron PC Port Converter...
Step three: On the PC/Laptop I run my copy of NexRemote to drive the mount over the wire in step two... I will use NexRemote, to store alignments, park the mount, hibernate, etc.
Step four: On NexRemote I activate a virtual port and I use that to link to TheSky (since I really like that point and go interface)

So far that is pretty straight forward right?

Step five: So I'm thinking how to I align with a tethered PC running NexRemote that is about 40' from the eye piece... Wireless GamePad anyone? I'm sure one of the geeks at work is likely to have something that I can borrow and test.


So lets see:
Less cabling (at least at the pier)? Check
Less things to setup and take down at the pier? Check
Engineering Elegance? at the pier Check... at the PC? Not really
One less unsecured kinda expensive sensitive gizmo to be left outside? Check
Will it work? testing underway...

I wonder what the max range of a wireless gamepad is...
So close and yet so far away...


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5984449 - 07/22/13 01:09 PM

Keep us posted on your progress.

And it you make one.... can you make more than one ??


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5984548 - 07/22/13 02:24 PM

The wireless gamepad, usually a Logitech, is the usual solution. Not only can you move the scope with one, you can map various NexRemote functions to the pad's buttons, including tours, etc.

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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: rmollise]
      #5984596 - 07/22/13 02:55 PM

Quote:

The wireless gamepad, usually a Logitech, is the usual solution. Not only can you move the scope with one, you can map various NexRemote functions to the pad's buttons, including tours, etc.




I think I recall reading a Blog about this... That blogger looks a lot like you, but with a darker beard and a hat...

Sadly everything that I have also read about wireless logitechs is that they have a range of 4' not 40'

At work we have some very long range wireless presenters devices that apparently can be made to look like a joystick to the device manager... That will be my first try.


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5985635 - 07/23/13 08:40 AM

I've never had a problem with the range of the game pad.

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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: rmollise]
      #5986000 - 07/23/13 12:43 PM

Wow, after only a few hours of playing with NexRemote and a USB wired XBOX 360 Controller (Wireless one coming in a few hours). I'm beginning to understand your not so stubble NexRemote love affair that comes through in some of your NexRemote Blogs and Reviews.

This is super cool! And I haven't even connected it to the mount yet, this is all virtual. But the fact that you can not only map out all of the buttons and the fact that there are "hidden" buttons button that you can map is really cool. I cant wait to ditch the "arrow keys" for a joystick.

Next stop Wireless Remote range.

Say is there a link somewhere that has a list of all of the NexRemote programmable buttons?


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5986049 - 07/23/13 01:19 PM

I got the list (partial?) of assignable buttons:

Align - Align Key
Enter - Enter Key
Undo - Undo Key
Up - Move Scope Up at current Rate
Right - Move Scope Right at current Rate
Down - Move Scope Down at current Rate
Left - Move Scope Left at current Rate
FastUp - Move Scope Up at Rate 9
FastRight - Move Scope Right at Rate 9
FastDown - Move Scope Down at Rate 9
FastLeft - Move Scope Left at Rate 9
Key1 - 1 Key
Key2 - 2 Key
Key3 - 3 Key
Key4 - 4 Key
Key5 - 5 Key
Key6 - 6 Key
Key7 - 7 Key
Key8 - 8 Key
Key9 - 9 Key
Key0 - 0 Key
Info - Info Key
Rate - Rate Key
RateUp - Increment Current rate by 1
RateDown - Decrement Current Rate by 1
ScopeX - Move the Scope in the X Axis (Joystick)
ScopeY - Move the Scope in the Y Axis (Joystick)
SelectionUp - Increment Current Selection by 1
SelectionDown - Decrement Current Selection by 1
Select - Execute Current Selection
Shift - Assigns second value to buttons.
MenuUp - Scroll Menu Up (same as Key6)
MenuDown - Scroll Menu Down (same as Key9)
TourUp - Increment Current Tour by 1
TourDown - Decrement Current Tour by 1


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beammeup
member


Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Straight of Gibraltar
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5986066 - 07/23/13 01:27 PM

What about this:
http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p6057_P...

Only works with nexremote apparently.

Or the usb version
http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p6058_P...


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5986163 - 07/23/13 02:17 PM

And if you paste this at the end of the Joystick.ini file

Your XBOX controller will take over the scope.
[JOYSTICK]
Name = Controller (XBOX 360 For Windows)
; This is the USB Wired XBox 360 Controller
Button1 = Rate ;Button A
Button2 = Undo ;Button B
Button3 = Align ;Button X
Button4 = Enter ;Button Y
Button5 = MenuUp ;Button LB
Button6 = MenuDown ;Button RB
Button7 = Shift ;Button Back
Button8 = info ;Button Start
Button9 = Key5 ;Left Stick Down press for Planets
Button10 = ;Right Stick Down
Button11 =
sButton1 = Down ;Shift+Button A
sButton2 = Right ;Shift+Button B
sButton3 = Left ;Shift+Button X
sButton4 = Up ;Shift+Button Y
sButton5 = RateDown ;Shift+Button LB
sButton6 = RateUp ;Shift+Button RB
sButton7 = ;Shift+Button Back
sButton8 = ;Shift+Button Start
sButton9 = ;Shift+Left Stick Down
sButton10 = ;Shift+Right Stick Down
sButton11 =
Axis1 = ScopeX ;Joystick1 X
Axis2 = ScopeY ;Joystick1 Y
Axis3 = ;Left Rudder (not suitable to drive scope)
Axis4 = ;Right Rudder (not suitable to drive scope)
Axis5 = ;Joystick2 X (X Rotation) (do not use)
Axis6 = ;Joystick2 Y (Y Rotation) (do not use)
Axis7 = ;
Axis8 = ;

Sadly, the NexRemote was not able to map or recognize the "Point of View Hat" on the controller, which would have been a perfect substitute for the Up/Down/Left/Right on the NexStar.


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: beammeup]
      #5986178 - 07/23/13 02:25 PM

Yes that will save my the pain (and fun) of soldering up a RS232-TTL converter. Nice Find!

But at $40 plus $10 shipping... I will likely go the digikey route.


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5986231 - 07/23/13 03:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:


I think the best way to solve this problem is to:
1) Give up
2) "source" a RJ11 (4P4C) terminated curly wire...
3) replace the RJ12 (6P6C) plug on my pier with a RJ11 plug
4) Call it a day and be happy that it works.




I think I have uncovered a new way to have my cake and eat it too.

Since this is, at its core, all about remotely driving my CGEM mount from a dedicated imaging/observatory PC/Laptop from a warm "enclosed" position some 40' from the pier... While not having a rats nest of cables, controllers, dongles at the pier.

Lets consider this:
Step one: I take the HC, and put it away, safe in its foam lined box.
Step two: I run a 40' serial signal to the mount on the pier over a Cat6 cable and a homebrew Celestron PC Port Converter...
Step three: On the PC/Laptop I run my copy of NexRemote to drive the mount over the wire in step two... I will use NexRemote, to store alignments, park the mount, hibernate, etc.
Step four: On NexRemote I activate a virtual port and I use that to link to TheSky (since I really like that point and go interface)

So far that is pretty straight forward right?

Step five: So I'm thinking how to I align with a tethered PC running NexRemote that is about 40' from the eye piece... Wireless GamePad anyone? I'm sure one of the geeks at work is likely to have something that I can borrow and test.


So lets see:
Less cabling (at least at the pier)? Check
Less things to setup and take down at the pier? Check
Engineering Elegance? at the pier Check... at the PC? Not really
One less unsecured kinda expensive sensitive gizmo to be left outside? Check
Will it work? testing underway...

I wonder what the max range of a wireless gamepad is...
So close and yet so far away...




Been doing this for multiple years now.. I use a Logitech F710 wireless remote, nexremote with theskyx talking to the virtual port on nexremote.

You can even have nexremote connect to your favorite serial over wifi device, skysafari, skyq, bluetooth, etc.


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5986488 - 07/23/13 05:27 PM

Quote:



Been doing this for multiple years now.. I use a Logitech F710 wireless remote, nexremote with theskyx talking to the virtual port on nexremote.

You can even have nexremote connect to your favorite serial over wifi device, skysafari, skyq, bluetooth, etc.




What sort of range are you getting on the F710?

Some sites report connectivity problems at a few feet.. Some report that they can run these things 30+' away from the PC... The XBox remotes seem to have better range reviews some stating that they can run as much as 50' away from the PC.

I would have pretty much clear line of sight between the pier and the remote location.


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5986714 - 07/23/13 08:18 PM

I have a Pod Observatory.. I'm never farther away than 8ft.

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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5987143 - 07/24/13 12:00 AM

range on common wireless RF devices can be impacted by many things, walls, material walls are constructed from and other RF devices operating on the same frequencies in the same local area are all factors. generally speaking RF controllers like the 360's use the same band Bluetooth and common wireless phones use, not to mention wifi as well so range can and will vary but as long as you are within a reasonable distance of the receiver it should work reliably. 30-50 feet is not what i would in my experience consider a reasonable distance, 20 feet or less is more realistic most of the time.

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Jmel
member


Reged: 01/24/12

Loc: Eastern North Carolina
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: frito]
      #5998599 - 07/30/13 02:53 PM

Funny stumbling across this thread. My coworker is making me a converter box in the office next to mine as I type this.

I myself have had a similar idea to yours, and I'll lay out what I am thinking, what I've done, and maybe we can collaborate...

I have a cg5 mount. I also have a laptop that runs the mount as well as handling the imaging. I also have an android tablet.

Here is my intended setup:

Mount connected via converter box and serial/usb prolific adapter. Then to a usb hub, then to laptop.

Also connected to usb hub is the Canon 1000D I use for imaging, as well as a gpslim 236 (with proprietary usb cable, though you could use it via bluetooth), and soon, in a few days, a temperhum usb stick.

On a secondary usb port on the laptop, an orion starshoot autoguider (of the magnificent mini autoguider package). This is due to the high bandwidth requirements of autoguiding.

On my pc, I run backyardeos for imaging/virtual illuminated reticle. PHD for guiding. Nexremote and nexgps for mount alignment. Alignmaster for polar alignment assistance. Stellarium and stellarium scope for one click 'goto' without having to use the hand controller. Astrotortilla for relocating specific spots in the sky I was imaging the night before (or the week before)...

I also use an app called "wifi scope" which allows ip based wifi control of the mount (using ascom) so that I can use skysafari pro on my tablet or phone for "goto's". This works pretty well, but took a little configuring on the skysafari end that I didn't anticipate.

The plan? Well, I go outside to my site (drive the truck, unload etc). I do a rough polar alignment on the scope, hook up all my power, and cables (I have them in a big fat wire loom now, for simplicity). Then, after starting the laptop and the software conglomeration, I close the lid (it doesn't go to sleep) and go inside where it's warm. I fire up team viewer (free btw, for lan use too) on the android tablet, and connect to the laptop via wifi. For this I use the built in (to my laptop) "my wifi" app, that turns my laptop into an access point. Next thing I know, I'm looking at a remote desktop of the laptop. Too small on the 7" screen? Well, I hook my tablet up to hdmi and use the bluetooth mouse and usb keyboard I bought for it.

Now we're makin bacon!

I was hoping to find a way to connect the gpslim 236 from holux directly to the mount, but right now that seems kinda pointless as it's more work researching cabling than I want to put into it.


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: Jmel]
      #5999054 - 07/30/13 08:16 PM

Aren't co-workers great! Subordinates are even better...

Yes you and I are on the same page... other than I plan to run mine on a permanent pier... And I have a laptop with an actual old school serial port...

Are you building the converter with a perforated board... or are you etching a customer Printed Circuit board?

If you are etching... I would love to see/share your PC design... I'm on the road to build a etched PC board next week.


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Jmel
member


Reged: 01/24/12

Loc: Eastern North Carolina
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #5999133 - 07/30/13 09:18 PM

perforated... I didn't know the other existed... I'd have loved to have recreated the celestron adapter with 2 aux and a PC port though.

Edited by Jmel (07/30/13 09:18 PM)


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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: Jmel]
      #5999401 - 07/31/13 01:28 AM

pcb etching is messy but great, used to do it in high school electronics class back in the late 90's, i bet they don't allow it these days due to the chemicals (ferric cloride) I know you can buy the stuff still, my local electronics store sells ferric cloride as well as copper clad PCB blanks and small tanks, i don't build enough custom PCBs to warrant buying the stuff and when i need to build something i just go with a breadboard becase its cheaper for one off stuff thats not complicated but having a real PCB to work with can help emmensely with building home made circuit boards for sure.

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Jmel
member


Reged: 01/24/12

Loc: Eastern North Carolina
Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL new [Re: ur7x]
      #6000791 - 07/31/13 11:45 PM

Quote:

Aren't co-workers great! Subordinates are even better...

Yes you and I are on the same page... other than I plan to run mine on a permanent pier... And I have a laptop with an actual old school serial port...

Are you building the converter with a perforated board... or are you etching a customer Printed Circuit board?

If you are etching... I would love to see/share your PC design... I'm on the road to build a etched PC board next week.




Went to test tonight on a spare mount I have, and it looks like perhaps V+ and C1+ were accidentally connected to each other with solder. I started checking the board when I noticed no communication from the pc to the mount after plugging it in.

(EDIT: this may not be the issue, I'm still trying to see what is going on with the circuit... testing all points tonight).

On the bright side, my mount is not fried, nor is my usb to serial adapter smoking away.

Hopefully he can remove the solder tomorrow and it didn't hurt anything during my testing.

If not, I'll chalk it up to a learning experience, and get one of those posieden (sp?) boxes from germany and just not deal with the work of getting the box made. My friend said the rj12 cable was the worst; it was stranded copper and very tiny. The last wire he soldered is the one where I think he accidentally jumpered the pins I stated above.

EDIT: Looks like my friend had it right, and the tiny part that I was supposed to do was wrong. I had pins 6 and 8 confused on the diagram for the serial port connection. I realized this by going back to the nexstar site and looking at the "pc cable". The font that was used on the schematic page at the end was hard to decipher. It's working perfectly now, and I'm very happy that I can leave the stupid hand controller at home.

Edited by Jmel (08/01/13 10:20 PM)


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: Celestron Nexstar "AUX" port... Serial to TTL [Re: Jmel]
      #6004662 - 08/03/13 11:42 AM

Wow... Nice work... I have now laid out a custom PC board for this project and will etch one next week at work. With little effort I got it all down to a board about 1"x2"...

I will post .ai, .pdf, .jpg files once I test it for anyone to copy.

I also have managed to get the hat/rocker/POV switch on my Xbox controller to drive the scope now too!

Simply down load a freeware Game Controller keyboard mapper (I'm using Xpadder) and assign the keyboard arrow keys to the POV switch and now those buttons are active too.

If you want your cake and eat it too (and this is the theme of this thread) then you assign "shift arrow" keys to the rocker/POV shitch and the joystick will drive the scope at the set slew speed and the POV switch will drive the scope at the full "9"...

Oh and I discovered a small bug with the NexRemote software!

When you drive the mount using assigned "FastUp" "FastDown" "FastLeft" or "FastRight" assigned buttons or keys the virtual display does not flash rate "9" in the corner, it reports that it is moving the scope at the preset (likely slower) rate. The good news is that buttons do work and it will move the scope at the faster rate...


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