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SkySafari to ASCOM scope...with WiFi Scope!

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#1 averen

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:57 PM

Hey all,
I created a free application called WiFi Scope which provides a link between SkySafari or StarMap to an ASCOM scope on a PC.

WiFi Scope is a lightweight application that provides a bridge between SkySafari on the iPad, iPhone or Android phone to your ASCOM telescope on your PC. Simply connect your scope to WiFi Scope and then connect SkySafari to WiFi Scope and enjoy awesome telescope control right in the palm of your hand...literally!

It works great as a planetarium application when imaging too!

You can find it on the MSS site in the downloads section:
www.mainsequencesoftware.com

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Thanks!
Jared

#2 jmiele

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:08 PM

If this works as described you might want to contact the folks at Southern Skies. They list several ways to TCP connect using their software and/or Sky-Fi right on their site. This may be another option for folks.

Joe

#3 averen

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:25 PM

Joe
I contacted them a while back about it. Tim actually helped to point me in the right direction with some initial protocol help.

Thanks
Jared

#4 jwaldo

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:22 AM

:waytogo:

This sounds like exactly the program I wanted since I got SS but didn't have the programming ability to make myself. I'll have to give it a shot later!

#5 Hilmi

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 01:55 AM

Excellent work, finally people with Gemini II will be able to connect to SkySafari without extra hardware.

I am going to post the good news on the Yahoo group for Gemini II

#6 johnpd

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:02 AM

Hi Jared,

A little more explanation about how you connect your scope to WiFi Scope.

1. You still need to connect your scope to a PC using a serial RS-232 cable probably using a USB to serial adapter?

2. WiFi Scope uses ASCOM to connect to the scope. In WiFi Scope you must specify the COM port being used by the USB to serial adapter?

3. How does WiFi Scope then allow your PC to connect to the iPad/iPhone/etc.? Southern Star's SkyFi module generates a wireless signal can be picked up by an iPad/iPhone/etc.

JohnD

#7 averen

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:04 AM

1. You still need to connect your scope to a PC using a serial RS-232 cable probably using a USB to serial adapter?


This is correct.

2. WiFi Scope uses ASCOM to connect to the scope. In WiFi Scope you must specify the COM port being used by the USB to serial adapter?


Yes, clicking the "Setup" button will bring up the ASCOM properties dialog for the device. From there you can change whatever settings (including COM port) that you need to make. WiFi Scope connects the same as if you were connecting your telescope to a planetarium program like Cartes du Ciel.

3. How does WiFi Scope then allow your PC to connect to the iPad/iPhone/etc.? Southern Star's SkyFi module generates a wireless signal can be picked up by an iPad/iPhone/etc.


Your PC and device need to be on the same network. That means both devices must connect to the same router or if you don't have a router then you'll need to setup an ad hoc network between the two devices.

Hope that helps!
Jared

#8 Starhawk

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:01 PM

This is very cool. Any chance you can start on non- Windows platform versions? From what I can tell, no one should bet a nickel any given piece of windows software will still work when Win 8 ships.

-Rich

#9 tjay

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for putting this together! I'm hoping to give it a try soon.

#10 budman1961

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 05:29 PM

I installed the software precisely as instructed, and I could connect SS to my LX200. Whenever I chose a target, the mount briefly slewed, but then stopped. The software locked up, and I had to kill it in task manager.

I scoured the yahoo group for a solution, I did find 1 thread mentioning it, but no solution.

Any updates?

Andy

#11 averen

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:02 PM

This is very cool. Any chance you can start on non- Windows platform versions?


I actually need to get the developer preview of Windows 8 on one of my machines...but I don't think it should cause problems in all honesty.

I have no desire to port this to other operating systems. The entire thing is made easy because of ASCOM. Without ASCOM, WiFi Scope would have to implement actual telescope communication for specific telescopes and that's considerably more work than I want to do. ASCOM obscures this which makes implementation considerably easier. Now if you can convince the ASCOM people to be more cross platform or convince the other platforms to create their own generic telescope interface then I'll be more inclined to move it over to other OSes :-)

Jared

#12 averen

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:29 PM

I installed the software precisely as instructed, and I could connect SS to my LX200. Whenever I chose a target, the mount briefly slewed, but then stopped. The software locked up, and I had to kill it in task manager.

I scoured the yahoo group for a solution, I did find 1 thread mentioning it, but no solution.

Any updates?

Andy


I'm not exactly sure what could be causing that behavior if you're running the current version (1.0.6). WiFi Scope employs 2 different types of slews depending on what the driver supports. It's possible that your ASCOM driver doesn't support asynchronous slewing. I have some code that checks for this but it doesn't block SkySafari from polling the mount. The mount should respond to position requests during a slew. However I can't explain why the slew would start and then get interrupted. Was there any pop up saying that "WiFi Scope has caused a problem and will be closed" or something to that effect?

If you open up the traffic display do you see anything that looks odd when this happens? Try turning down the "Readout Rate" in SkySafari to "1 per second" and see if that helps.

Thanks,
Jared

#13 Hilmi

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:48 PM

I tried your software today after installing it, worked from the first time and I did not need to even need to read the instructions. I had a wonderful time using it. You have just made all the Gemini II users very happy. I''m gonna be clicking the donate button right now.

#14 jwaldo

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:46 PM

Finally gave it a try. Had a bear of a time getting it to stay connected to my LXD75. It loses the scope connection whenever the mount is slewing, and the manual direction buttons don't work at all. Still playing around with settings all around, I'm sure it's a PEBKAC issue. Or would that be a PEBPAC? :lol:

#15 averen

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:59 PM

The Meade scopes must hate having the RA and Dec queried while slewing...or at least the ASCOM driver hates it for some reason. I'll see about creating a new version with some additional logging so I can try and figure out what's going on.

So question for you meade folks. When you invoke a slew using a planetarium program (connected via ASCOM to your scope) does the reticle in the planetarium application move as it's slewing? Or does the position just jump?

Thanks,
Jared

#16 jwaldo

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:25 PM

The Meade scopes must hate having the RA and Dec queried while slewing...or at least the ASCOM driver hates it for some reason. I'll see about creating a new version with some additional logging so I can try and figure out what's going on.

So question for you meade folks. When you invoke a slew using a planetarium program (connected via ASCOM to your scope) does the reticle in the planetarium application move as it's slewing? Or does the position just jump?

Thanks,
Jared


Autostar doesn't seem to play well with others :lol:

IIRC, when I control it via Stellarium it stays on the last position the scope was in, then jumps to the new position once the slew is over.

#17 averen

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:36 PM

I did happen to find a minor bug around the slewing code...it may fix the issues. But based on the comment above it may not. You can find it here:

http://www.mainseque...m/downloads.php

Jared

#18 averen

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:28 PM

WiFi Scope 1.0.8.0 has been released.

Release Notes:
-Added logging - log will show up in "My Documents" folder
-Updated release notes

Hopefully this will help to track down some of the annoying problems with telescopes disconnecting. You can find it here:

http://www.mainseque...m/downloads.php

Thanks,
Jared

#19 jmiele

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 01:00 PM

Thanks for the link! Joe

#20 budman1961

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:32 PM

I just installed the new version, and it works as promised with the exception of moving the scope with the arrow keys.

Goto's really goto!

Andy

#21 Alph

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 08:07 PM

Do you mean WiFi scope or mount? :roflmao:

#22 budman1961

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 08:26 PM

Both! :jump:

#23 jwaldo

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:07 PM

Updated to the newest version. No more random disconnects! The arrow buttons still don't work, but that's the only problem I had. I'll have to try it out under the stars soon...

#24 pfile

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:07 AM

with a 32-bit W7 virtual machine running under VMware Fusion 3, with networking set to bridging, i managed to connect SkySafari on my iPhone with my new G11/G2, and do a bunch of gotos.

had a couple of disconnects; not sure what that's about. skysafari seems to be rather chatty, or else it's querying the position a lot, cause the activity window scrolls nonstop when SS is connected.

thanks Jared, this is great.

#25 averen

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:38 PM

Hey All,
I just uploaded a new version of WiFi Scope.

Release Notes v1.0.9
-Slew rates are now disabled (with an annoying message overlaying them) when the ASCOM driver does not support nudge moves.
-Fixed longitude bug when "Set Time and Location" was on in SkySafari.

It's possible that the last "Set Time and Location" fix will fix the meridian flip issue but no guarantees on that.

You can find 1.0.9 here:
http://www.mainseque...m/downloads.php

Jared


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