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Bluetooth Serial Adapter

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#1 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 02:27 PM

I posted a question about using a serial bluetooth adapter on the Equipment topic-- if you can give me some advice there on a good reliable adapter for my LX90 --- and USB dongle for my laptop running XP home.

Thanks --- Joe

#2 rboe

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:22 AM

Others may work but the Keyspan version does. It's the Gold Standard of USB to serial adaptors. When I bought mine (after going the cheap imported route) a few years ago the Belkin brand name was one to be avoided in particular. The Belkin name is normally a sure sign of quality - in this case - unless they have updated their product, go with the Keyspan.

#3 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 11:49 AM

OK-- I saw a Airlink usb bluetooth on Frys.com for $20.00 -- now I need the scope end of the connection -- their is a Keyspan serial adapter available BUT it needs a 110 volt plug-in just creating more wires -- I need one with battery power and no extra cables-- I intend to use it for public observing and eliminate cables for kids to trip over--
http://shop4.frys.co...CH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

Anyone got a link for a reliable "scope end" bluetooth serial adapter with self contained battery power-- that is known to work with Astronomy software like CDC to control the scope wireless-- maybe I just need to buy the one on Orion's web site for $99 -- but it has a reputation for not working........... ????

Like this???
http://www.lemosint....ls.php?itemID=9

#4 Paula E

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:26 PM

The Aircable works well.
http://www.aircable.net/serial.html

If your serial port provides power on pin 9, it should be able to run the device without an AC adapter. (You also need a bluetooth adapter for the PC.)

I have one of these that I'm not using, Joe. If you'd like to try it out, I could pick it up next weekend when I'm out in Oklahoma again. (It's sitting in a drawer in my observatory - it works great between my PDA and Paramount.)

#5 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:46 PM

Pin 9-- ??? unknown-- this would be used to transmit from my LX90 --- TO my laptop-- my laptop only has usb ports.

Scott, do you think it would draw power from the LX90??? somehow??

#6 Edward E

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:57 PM

Hi Joe,

I can attest that the Kensington Bluetooth 2.0 USB dongle and the AirCable Serial 3 device work well together and work with CDC 2.74 & 3.014, Astroplanner, NexRemote and NexStar Observers List applications. I use a 9volt battery, velcroed to my Aircable Serial 3 device to supply power to the AirCable 3. Works well and the battery will last for 6 months to a year. The only time I have issues with loss of connection between the two wireless devices is if the power to the telescope gets very low, I forget to plug the Aircable Serial 3 device into the telescope or the astro application/ operating systems freezes up. Kensington has a nice micro Bluetooth adapter would seem to work well in a laptop outdoors. Here is a link to the web page:
http://us.kensington...html/14409.html
Hope this is of help.

Edward

#7 rboe

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:03 PM

:foreheadslap: I need to let my coffee soak in before posting. I confused Bluetooth and USB.

I've tried the AirCable with no luck. Many have gotten it to work though - but you may have problems like I did. :p

#8 Edward E

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:48 PM

Ron,

How long ago did you try the AirCable Serial 3? AirCable updated the Serial 3's config file a year or so ago which fixed the problem of connecting to other Bluetooth USB devices other that the AirCable Bluetooth USB dongle. I am assuming that you are using MS XP or XP Pro (SP 2 or higher). It's great going wireless!

Edward

#9 Paula E

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:07 PM

I don't know about the LX90, but I believe that pin 1 of the LX200 modular jack provides +12VDC, and pin 4 is the ground. I have no idea whether or not the LX90 provides this.

The aircable serial port would be connected to the LX90 - you'd need an RJ-11 -> DB9 dongle + RJ-11 cable to connect them. (I think they still use an RJ11 on the LX90 HC, right?) You'd need a USB->bluetooth adapater on your PC, unless your laptop already has bluetooth.

#10 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:23 PM

Scott -- I ordered the special cable from Astro-Cables-- this one: http://www.astrocabl.../1/prevstart/0/

That connects to the serial aircable and provides power-- nom I am starting to wonder if I made a $10 mistake?? Guess I will go ahead and order the Aircable this one:

http://www.astrocabl.../12/prevstart//

Directly from Aircable-- plug everything in and see what happens-- I already know about the DIP switch setting to 9600 baud-- hope it works? Also been advised to NOT buy the Aircable USB dongle-- but another brand -- as there appears to be additional issues when you combine both an Aircable serial adapter and USB laptop bluetooth connectors-- ??? again I don't know why??

Edward------ should the above combination work?

#11 Paula E

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:36 PM

I usually make (really badly btw) my own cables. $10 is a good price I think - that cable looks very nice indeed and should work very well.

Directly from Aircable-- plug everything in and see what happens-- I already know about the DIP switch setting to 9600 baud-- hope it works?


It should. Once I set the dip switches properly, my PDA (with its internal bluetooth) was able to control my paramountME without issue. I don't know why the aircable USB->bluetooth dongle wouldn't work, but I never tried it. Pretty much any of them should work.

The only reason I'm not using the aircable, btw, is that the Paramount only supports one connection at a time - either from a PC or from the aircable / PDA. I have to keep the connection active from the PC, because the control software for my dome runs on it.

I hope this works out well for you!

#12 Edward E

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 11:42 AM

It should work. I see that the Astrocable DB9 is a male and the AirCable Serial 3 is male so be sure that Aircable sends you the male/male adapter. When you have everything, check the Aircable first to make sure it powers up (red LED) boots up (green LED) and starts searching for a connection (flashing blue LED). Unplug the Aircable. Next load the Bluetooth software for your Bluetooth USB dongle. Once the software is running properly you should be able to see the Aircable once your telescope is turned on.

Edward

#13 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 01:29 PM

OK thanks very much--- I will post my success or failure when all the parts get here.

Joe

#14 Edward E

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:02 AM

Looking forward to hearing from you. I am sure it will work great for you Joe.

#15 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:13 PM

Yes-- it arrived last night--

I have a no-name bluetooth dongle that I bought from Fry's Electronics for $9.00-- an Air Cable3 serial bluetooth, and 12 volt cig lighter plug--

Experimented last night inside the house-- and it WORKS! on my LX90-- took a bit of experimentation to get the DIP switches set to 9600 baud on the Air Cable-- also the Air Cable has a password "1234" and I needed to use the small program that came with the dongle to enter the password--

Tested it with Cartes du Ciel and it worked just fine--

I have re-installed Stellarium ver 0.9.1 and the telescope control program listed on their wiki -- next I will test this to see if it works. You also need to have the ASCOM drivers installed for Stellarium. The new Beta 10 version does not yet support telescope control.

Very neat controlling the scope from a distance with no cables!

Still waiting on the special Astro Cable that takes a 9 volt battery --- to completely eliminate all outside cables-- but it works just fine on the 12 volt cig cable I have.

http://www.astrocabl.../1/prevstart/0/ Astrocables link

#16 tjay

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 08:30 PM

Joe,

Thanks for the update. I'm glad it works for you.

I've been wondering if a serial to bluetooth adapter would work with my Nexstar 8 GPS. Based on your success, I'll start looking for an Air Cable3 locally.

#17 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 09:16 PM

It should work with the ASCOM drivers -- a bit tricky to setup but not to very hard.

Here is the Air Cable web site page for the Air Cable3-- you can buy it directly from Air Cable on their web site-- found mine by posting a want ad on AstroMart.

http://www.aircable.net/serial.html if anyone can post the text to use to turn OFF the password "1234" which the Air Cable has by default please post the "code" -- I think it would be o1 that's a letter o plus a number 1 but I am not sure? Here is their programming instruction page.
http://docs.google.c...vjvpkp_29cf45mh

http://docs.google.c...vjvpkp_34ntj5vw


http://www.aircable.net/serial.html


and the Air Cable 3X
http://www.aircable.net/serial3x.html

#18 tjay

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for the links Joe. Maybe it will be my Christmas vacation project :)

#19 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 03:41 PM

One final update-

I re-installed 0.9.1 Stellarium, and the scope driver located on the web site wiki.

After fiddling with ASCOM and setting the port correctly-- it also works just fine using bluetooth.

All three programs Autostar Suite, Cartes du Ciel, and Stellarium appear to work with this solution.

#20 Edward E

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 10:24 PM

Glad to hear that everything is working for you Joe. I love not having any cables dangling off the telescope or laptop, its also safer to use during the night. Enjoy!

#21 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 09:48 AM

Yes it works-- but I must say the bluetooth connection "set-up" is kind of FUNKY! -- suggestions welcomed

Yes my laptop bluetooth does find the Aircable-- but sometimes says "your services are not available" after repeated tries using the bluetooth software to re-establish service, it will finally connect and then everything is OK.

Any suggestions on making the initial connection easier would be appreciated-- I am using Windows XP --and always using the same USB port location on the laptop.

#22 GrassyPond

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 11:48 AM

Hi Joe,
Another question on this setup. Will it allow you to attach 2 programs to the Aircable at the same time ie..Stellarium and Autostar Suite. By this I mean both communicating as if you are using 2 ports?
Thanks

#23 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:34 PM

grassy--- I have not tried that yet. But according to the aircable specs it can connect to multiple "devices" simultaneously-- and even serve as a "relay" for other bluetooth devices. It is also programmable in basic--

Next time I will try to do this with two different scope control programs.

#24 GrassyPond

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:55 PM

Thanks Joe

#25 Edward E

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 05:10 PM

I use NexHub (http://www.astrogeek...xHub/index.html)
to do this. NexHub is a virtual com port hub that allows you to create numerous virtual com ports. So far I have had NexRemote, AstroPlanner, CDC3 and NexStar Observers List all linked to my NexStar GPS 11 using one Bluetooth USB dongle and the AirCable Serial 3 device. Next practice run I will try the new Stellarium.

I like Stellarium's looks but found its interface, in the past, to be slow to respond and not intuitive.


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