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Bluetooth Serial Adapter

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#26 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 10:31 PM

Grassypond-- I could not get two different scope control programs to run at the same time-- said "Port is not open"

Well sure the other program has it! Ha. :)

Ed-- that software package for Nexstar must control the ports opening and closing.... or am I missing something?

#27 GrassyPond

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:10 AM

Thanks Guys. I am running into the "Com Port Open" error also. I will look at NextHub.

#28 Edward E

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:11 AM

Yes It does Joe, if you open NexRemote first. NexRemote will take over the com port and not allow other apps to use that port. NexRemote does have a single virtual com port but that still limits you to one additional app.

You have to start NexHub first assigning its master port to the port that the Bluetooth USB is connected to. Then assign your astro apps to NexHubs slave ports (virtual com ports) and all should work. There are 9 slave ports on NexHub. That’s way too many ports for me to use.

#29 GrassyPond

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:40 AM

Turns out NexHub is specific for the Nexstar handset. I did try it with POTH(Ascom) and it did work; however, it would not allow me to connect my Meade AutostarSuite to the Meade scope. I tried connecting directly to the scope with no other connections working with no luck.
I guess i am still looking for a solution.
Thanks

#30 Edward E

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:29 PM

GrassyPond, as far as I know HexHub is simply a virtual com port hub, it's not proprietary to NexStar products. HexHub would not know what telescope you are connecting too, just that you made a connection. I do not even use the hand control for my NexStar GPS 11 anymore. I use NexRemote on my laptop using the Bluetooth USB dongle, my AirCable Serial 3 device and the PC hub on the base of the scope. It seems that once you align your Meade scope properly, you should be able to use NexHub to interface several programs with your scope. Can you describe for us how you setup your scope and software? What error message did you recieve? Are you using a laptop or desktop?

#31 GrassyPond

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:42 PM

Hi Edward,
Currently I use POTH(Ascom) to control the scope, focus and dome. I use Stellarium(really heats up the laptop) through the network to interface to POTH at the dome from my laptop. I am not all that happy with POTH, thus I try to use AutostarSuite over the network at times. I also use tightVNC to control the dome computer from remote locations, like my house. I would like to be able to connect both at the same time to the LX200R. That way POTH would know where the scope is pointing and would keep the dome in sync with it. I could then use Meade's software to focus and point the scope. When both Comm ports on the scope are used, the scope gets bogged down, thus I am trying to figure out a way to keep the polling trafic to a minimum.
The error i get when connecting NexHub in "port not available".
Thanks
Joe

#32 Edward E

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 06:10 PM

I was wrong concerning NexHub. I spoke with Ray who programmed NexHub and he states that NexHub has all the Celestron protocols built into NexHub's software, thus it will not work with Meade telescopes. I read of a virtual hub that would meet your needs GrassyPond. I will see if I can find it. Found it. Try this program, I have not used it but it seems to do what you want to do and the price is right, Free! XPort

#33 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 07:11 PM

Edward-- thank you I will try Xport---

Joe

#34 GrassyPond

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:07 PM

Hi Edward and Joe,
After futher review, I did get the nexHub working with both the Ascom MeadeGPS driver and the AutostarSuite at the same time. It was still kind of flakey.
Oh well....
Thanks
JOe

#35 Edward E

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 11:42 AM

Joe, did XPort work for you. I wanted to try it out this weekend but did not due to time issues. I realy need 4 day weekend and a 3 day work week. :D

#36 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 02:30 PM

Have not tried it yet--- been playing with the Basic program inside the Air Cable 3-- trying to get a more stable connection --- got an updated Serial URT program from the Google group air cable forum--- just now testing it. The "3b" folder--- in this zip file.

http://aircable.goog...es/0.11UART.zip

#37 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:25 PM

OK-- I tested the bluetooth connection here are the particulars--

1. Using an Acer One with XP Home, a no name bluetooth dongle, an Air Cable 3, a special Astro Cable connector that plugs into the 497 Controller and has a 9 volt battery connection built in to power the Air Cable 3.

This cable: http://www.astrocabl...ion/item/id/12/

I used the Meade software to control the scope (inside) for a test. It connected and I brought up the Meade controller panel using the software and "aligned" the scope-- then I did a fake slew to several objects using the Acer One and the Meade software--

Here is the small issue-- I left it alone for about 5 minutes and it lost the connection. I was able to use the Meade software to re-acquire the scope and continue doing gotos --- this has to be something in Windows that is idling the connection when there is no activity for a time (on bluetooth)--- ????? It did reacquire the Air Cable-- however I would prefer that it NEVER drops the communication. Anyone have a suggestion for how to retain the bluetooth connection in Windows XP.

Appreciate your help.

Joe

#38 Edward E

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 01:07 PM

I have seen this issue with other Bluetooth devices Joe. Solution has been to go into the "options" or "preference" menu for the device and to uncheck the "idle after" or "disconnect when idle" box(s). Are you using the Bluetooth stack from Windows or from the manufacture of the Bluetooth device? What service pack if any are you using of Windows XP Home?

#39 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 01:33 PM

I am using the Windows XP stack-- I found this article about XP issues-- Service Pack 3---this might also affect bluetooth connections--
http://www.wired.com...s/2004/06/63705

I do not see and "idle" setting of any kind-- in bluetooth; the wifi card does have a "turn off power saving" -- but not the bluetooth.

#40 Edward E

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 10:36 AM

My XP Pro is using the same stack and is upgraded to sp 3, Joe. I also could not find any settings for idle time settings. I did read that sometimes the issue of disconnects after x period of idle time is fixed by reinstalling the Bluetooth stack and rebooting. This was reported to work on Bluetooth headsets and Routers. If you have not already, you might want to post the issue over on the Bluetooth forum page and see if anyone has a suggestion or fix.

#41 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 06:31 PM

Just a further update on my bluetooth --

I have successfully controled the scope using the Meade Autostar suite planetarium program. Everything appears to work just fine.

However, Cartes du Ciel and Stellarium do not work using the ASCOM drivers. I am posting questions on the ASCOM Yahoo forum, but no real answers yet. It just may be that ASCOM will not work over bluetooth?

Will keep you advised-- but the Meade software does work. I have not tested the "Scope Driver" control software yet... I will do that next.... with their trial version.

Additionally-- I am using the Meade regular serial cable that you use to update the firmware on the 497 hand controller. I just plug the Air Cable 3 into the serial port connection on the cable and plug the "phone plug" side into the 497 hand controller. This arrangement has given me a good connection. I am also using the "Little" slave Basic program located on the Air Cable web site-- I just added one line of code for BAUD 96, and sent the program to the Aircable 3 using the regular Windows bluetooth SEND command. Air Cable's Basic programs are here--
http://code.google.c...aircable/w/list


#42 Edward E

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:48 AM

Strange, CDC 2.76 & 3.0 has never given me issues with the Bluetooth/Aircable setup, even when I was using the Aircable Bluetooth Dongle, which has some timeout issues. I have not tried Stellarium since it use to only work over a server. I see that the new version uses ASCOM, but I have not had the time to try it out. It would be great to show folks @ public star party where, in the whole sky, the telescope is pointed in addition to the close up Star/DSO chart display.

#43 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 11:16 AM

Edward-- that's exactly what I want to do-- show them the planetarium sky chart and then have them look through the telescope. No answers yet on the ASCOM Yahoo forum except that ASCOM only supports serial port communication and or a device that presents itself as a regular serial port, like a USB to Serial adapter cable, which works just fine.

Your comment about using bluetooth with CDC is interesting but I have no answer for why yours would work and mine does not??? Everything works with a hard wired cable-- and Meade's software works on my bluetooth..... but not the other programs.

I was hoping some of the computer "geeks" on this forum might have a solution?

#44 Edward E

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 10:46 AM

If I remember correctly, you are using a non-branded USB Bluetooth device, right? Which ASCOM driver did you install? What error message do you get from CDC when you try to make a connection to the telescope?

#45 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:47 PM

Yes a no name brand bluetooth dongle on the laptop (ver 2 bluetooth)-- I am using the latest ASCOM version 5-- and I tried both the ASCOM selection and the Meade selection--

I get " does not appear to be anything connected" error message...... the Air Cable blue light lights up indicating a transmission from the laptop. Usually this stays on permanently once a connection is made. After maybe 10 seconds I get the above message..... and the blue led goes off.

EDIT-- guess I should have said the one for the 497 hand controller-- but I have also tried the LX200 driver neither of them work.

#46 Edward E

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 10:14 AM

Joe, sounds like a hardware protocol issue. Your wireless serial path seems to be working fine. I usually get the message you are reporting if I forget to turn on my telescope. Seems the next thing to try would be to connect to another Meade telescope (newer model maybe) and see if you get the same issues. We still cannot rule out the UBS Serial dongle. I was going to see if I could duplicate your issues with my scope this past weekend but I was out sick. Will try again later this week.

#47 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 09:44 AM

Yes I believe the USB dongle on the laptop may be the issue???? It connects using the Meade Autostar software-- but will not connect using any ASCOM driver software. The solution may be the USB Air Cable brand dongle which does not use the Windows bluetooth stack, but sets up its own pairing to another Air Cable serial device-- automatically.

#48 Edward E

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 10:45 AM

I tried using the the AirCable USB Bluetooth device and had the same problems your are now experiencing plus timeout errors. Others have reported problems with USB devices when used for astro apps here on the forums. Some USB devices work others do not. There is a list of USB devices that work here on the forum, though the devices listed were USB to Serial adapters for the most part. The only solution I have found to work (suggestion given to me by a fellow in Colorado) is to use a USB Bluetooth 2.0 device from Kensington. I am not sure why, but the Kensington device works with all asto apps. I got mine from Circuit City; you can pick one up really cheap with the After Christmas/Fire Sale that Circuit City now has.

#49 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 01:49 PM

A funny thing happened on the learning curve-- I have tried just about every "basic" program that Aircable has on their web site trying to get it to work-- no luck with any of them.

Now when I reload the software that DID work with the Meade Autostar Suite --- even the Meade program does not work. !

This has been a frustrating bluetooth experience. A direct cable USB-Serial connection still works perfectly. But nothing works across bluetooth; not even the Autostar software as previously reported. Aircable tells me that their USB branded dongle will setup a SINGLE COM port automatically with any other Aircable branded device. However it costs about $70 --- a little too expensive just to run a "test".

Edward-- it might be my USB bluetooth dongle-- but who knows without buying another one which would be the Kensington as you recommend?????

I will probably just use a hard wired connection and try to figure out how to keep the cables away from the kids at our public observing events. So far the bluetooth telescope control has been a complete failure, on my XP laptop using the Windows bluetooth stack-- the Aircable 3, and a normal USB bluetooth dongle on the laptop.

#50 Edward E

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:13 PM

Kensington USB 2.0 dongle, that's the one Joe. This device has worked for everyone so far. Give it a try, if it does not work, take it back unless you by it from Circuit City, they would not take things back even before they filed bankruptsy.

Looking back through the post, I did notice that it was never mentioned that astro apps must be routed through the real HC or virtual HC (Nexremote) to operate property. I thought I would through that out for future readers looking for info here.

Don’t lose heart Joe. We are on the cutting edge of technology here so there are always issues to iron out. My issue right now is that I can use my wireless setup when routed through the real HC (NexStar GPS 11) but not through the PC Port using NexRemote. Oh well. :crazy:


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