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What Viritual Serial Ports Softwate do you Use?

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#1 Edward E

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:39 PM

This is old school but I need a piece of software that will create multiple virtual serial ports on my Windows 10 machine.  I do not mind paying for the software as long as:

 

1)  it works,

2)  does not require me to go "google spelunking" for drivers or signatures for drivers,

3)  does not drop most of the info between devices, AND

4)  does not cost 100 or 1000 bucks.

 

What software do you use?

 

I have been using HW Group's single virtual serial port software.  It works well but only creates 1 vert serial port; they do have software that creates up to 255 vert serial ports, but you have to purchase their hardware for that software.   I also tried com0com, but never was able to get it running on my Windows 10 machine.  Thanks for your input.  smile.gif


Edited by Edward E, 29 March 2017 - 01:39 PM.


#2 GamesForOne

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 02:21 PM

I use Eltima Software Virtual Serial Port Driver, but it is $100. Sometimes you can find a discount coupon of 50%.

 

Yes, it is a lot to pay but it "just works" for me and has for years. I've used it for some heavy duty serial port applications (i.e. airborne meter reading). I tried a few freeware alternatives and got tired of the driver signature hassles or intermittent function.

 

What's your time worth?

 

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#3 ccs_hello

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 05:17 PM

Edward,

 

You did not state what's the other side of the equation.  Is it

- a folded com port within the same PC (such as com0com, both ends are virtual COM ports, internally folded)

- a TCP based COM port type of hardware box (a.k.a. reverse-telnet type of device)  <-- physical device on the other end (intermediate link is TCP/IP network)

or

- a USB-serial dongle which plugs into your local PC  (can be multiple copies of them)   <-- physical device/dongle on the other end (intermediate link is USB)

 

On (3), using FTDI as example, you can use FTDI's VCP driver.  Of course you have to use a USB hub for multiple of FTDI branded USB-serial dongles.

Its Win 10 driver is signed.   See   http://www.ftdichip....Drivers/VCP.htm

 

On (1) or (2) after you find the proper software driver, you have to make sure it is signed.  (Open sourced ones usually are not.)

If it isn't, Win 10 will refuse to install it.

There is a way to disable Win 10's device driver signing check.  Just Google it.

 

At the end of day, it's either labor/time or money.

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello


Edited by ccs_hello, 29 March 2017 - 06:43 PM.


#4 giorgio_ne

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 03:37 AM

Hi there!

 

The last com0com driver version signed available on SourceForge is the 2.2.2.0. A signed version of the latest com0com driver version 3.0.0.0 can be found at powersdr-iq/downloads (files: setup_com0com_W7_x86_signed.exe and setup_com0com_W7_x64_signed.exe).

 

in a bid for better cable management, I'm trying to configure a com to tcp solution so that SGP/ASCOM can drive the mount via SkyFi instead of having a USB to serial cable running from my OTA mounted intel NUC to the EM-200.

I'm not out the wood in making com0com work but, once done, it can give you all the serial port you need.

com0com only create serial port pairs. You need another software to tunnel them over TCP/IP. The only free I've found is from commfront a hardware manufacturer who does not mind sharing the software for personal use.

 

Clear skies!

G.


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#5 giorgio_ne

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 04:50 AM

Here is another alternative to com0com:

https://freevirtualserialports.com

 

I still haven't tested it myself, but it is win10 compatible and with signed drivers.

 

G.



#6 Edward E

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 02:58 PM

Thank you for the input.  I have been looking at Free Virtual Serial Ports.  It looks like a simple direct virtual serial creator but it is not free.  It has a 14 day trial after which you have to pay $70.00.  I was hoping that someone has used it already and could lend some feedback.  I'm still a little ways off from needing multi virtual serial ports, maybe some more input will come along.

 

Commfront looks good but it appears that it will only create 1 virtual comm port at a time.  I will need at least 2 maybe 3.



#7 LoveChina61

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:19 AM

Edward, you were able to get the HW VSP3 program working so that it could control your scope through the SkiFi device that Southern Stars sells? If yes, I could sure use some pointers. I spent a lot of time fiddling with it but could not get it working.

 

The COM2TCP program by AstroGeeks worked great and was easy to set up. I enjoyed using it to control my Meade LX200 Classic for a while but the free trial period has expired. It only cost $39 to buy the program but it might be worth one last try to get the free HW VSP3 program working.

 

Mike



#8 giorgio_ne

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 04:49 PM

I'm also curious to know haw to make HW VSP3 under windows 10 and talk to SkyFi. I've been battling for hours without success. Judging by the logs, the program is unable to read or set SkyFi own configuration parameters.



#9 LoveChina61

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:42 AM

I use Eltima Software Virtual Serial Port Driver, but it is $100. Sometimes you can find a discount coupon of 50%.

 

Yes, it is a lot to pay but it "just works" for me and has for years. I've used it for some heavy duty serial port applications (i.e. airborne meter reading). I tried a few freeware alternatives and got tired of the driver signature hassles or intermittent function.

 

What's your time worth?

 

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Michael Mc

Michael,

 

Evidently VSPV 7.2 is not a program that an average user can utilize to connect his computer planetary program to his scope. Instead it appears that a person must know a little programming language in order to get it working. Am I correct?

 

I downloaded the program thinking that it would be nearly "plug-n-play" but in fact it does not appear that there are any user-friendly menus for connecting my scope to SkyFi with the Eltima software unless I know how to do a little programming.You wouldn't happen to have a short program written for that purpose that you could pass on to me, would you? Thought it might be worth asking.:)

 

Mike



#10 Edward E

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

I have used HW VSP single port software to make a connection between my scope and nearly all Planetarium programs that are ASCOM compliant under Windows 10.  I'm using a Serial, WiFi adapter from US Converters but I have used a Bluetooth adapter in the past; both worked fine with HW VSP.  I found the HW VSP to be plug and play, just being sure that the basics are set, comm port, connection speed etc..  I have never used the SkyFi adapter so I do not know if it plays well with HW VSP or ASCOM for that matter.  I have read, over in the scope specific forum, that many users had problems with the SkyFi adapter in various setups.



#11 LoveChina61

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 03:32 AM

I have used HW VSP single port software to make a connection between my scope and nearly all Planetarium programs that are ASCOM compliant under Windows 10.  I'm using a Serial, WiFi adapter from US Converters but I have used a Bluetooth adapter in the past; both worked fine with HW VSP.  I found the HW VSP to be plug and play, just being sure that the basics are set, comm port, connection speed etc..  I have never used the SkyFi adapter so I do not know if it plays well with HW VSP or ASCOM for that matter.  I have read, over in the scope specific forum, that many users had problems with the SkyFi adapter in various setups.

Thanks, Edward. I will have to check that out.

 

I purchased a bluetooth adapter similar to (or exactly the same as?) the SkyBT one offered by Southern Stars. The bluetooth adapter is the RN-270M and I purchased it off of www.microchipdirect.com .  It works plug-n-play with my Sky Safari on my Android phone to control my Celestron 114 GT scope.

 

I will have to fiddle with this bluetooth device and see if I can get it working with the HW VSP virtual port software to control my 114gt scope via a desktop planetarium program like Starry Night. And if I can get it to control my Celestron that way then the same set up should also be able to control my Meade LX200 I would think.

 

Mike


Edited by LoveChina61, 07 April 2017 - 03:33 AM.


#12 Edward E

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 09:50 AM

You might not need HG VSP with a Bluetooth adapter, depending on what OS you are using.  With Windows 10, once you are paired and connected to the Bluetooth adapter, thee should be 2 com ports created; one an outgoing and one an incoming.  The ASCOM should be able to make use of the outgoing com port.  Read over this handy doc on setting up Bluetooth to control a telescope.



#13 GamesForOne

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:01 PM

 

I use Eltima Software Virtual Serial Port Driver, but it is $100. Sometimes you can find a discount coupon of 50%.

 

Yes, it is a lot to pay but it "just works" for me and has for years. I've used it for some heavy duty serial port applications (i.e. airborne meter reading). I tried a few freeware alternatives and got tired of the driver signature hassles or intermittent function.

 

What's your time worth?

 

---

Michael Mc

Michael,

 

Evidently VSPV 7.2 is not a program that an average user can utilize to connect his computer planetary program to his scope. Instead it appears that a person must know a little programming language in order to get it working. Am I correct?

 

I downloaded the program thinking that it would be nearly "plug-n-play" but in fact it does not appear that there are any user-friendly menus for connecting my scope to SkyFi with the Eltima software unless I know how to do a little programming.You wouldn't happen to have a short program written for that purpose that you could pass on to me, would you? Thought it might be worth asking.smile.gif

 

Mike

 

The context of the original question was not clear. The Eltima product I suggested does not appear to be relevant to SkyFi.

 

I am confused why users think they need additional software. The SkyFi description says it uses a virtual serial port on Windows already. It would seem all you need to do is connect as directed to your scope, and then connect it to your software that expects a serial connection to the mount for your scope. The whole point of the SkyFi appears to be to create a virtual serial port over wireless TCP/IP.

 

??

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Michael Mc



#14 Edward E

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:24 PM

I think I see were the confusion is coming from.  From the web pages for SkyFi, it would seem like all you have to do is make a connection to the SkyFi unit, start up you astro app and foo you go controlling your scope.  This is true IF you are using an app like Sky Safari on your phone, tablet, or computer.  It DOES NOT work for software such as Sky Charts, C2A, Hello Northern Sky and other ASCOM compliant software.  With these ASCOM compliant software, you have to create a Virtual Serial Port (VSP); with out a VSP, your software has no way to communicate with the outside world, that is your telescope.


Edited by Edward E, 07 April 2017 - 05:25 PM.


#15 giorgio_ne

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 06:57 PM

Success finally! I have been able to configure on my win10 NUC com0com (latest version with signed drivers) and com2tcp (from sourceforge) to wirelessly connect SGP to the mount via SkyFi.

it was eventually quite straight forward, all I had to do was:

1) create a pair of virtual com ports in com0com, COM3 and COM4.

2) connect the Ascom Mount driver to COM3

3) run the following command start com2tcp --telnet \\.\COM4 192.168.1.200 4030 in a batch file

The numbers are of course my SkyFi ip address and the port number. I'm now able to use the following chain: Sky Safari on iPad-> Sequence Generator Pro-> SkyFi-> Mount. For people who do not have SkyFi, a raspberry pi can be easily be configured to act as a TCP COM bridge at a fraction of the cost.

 

Back to the OP question, com0com allows the creation of multiple virtual COM pairs. Multiple com2tcp commands, for each vcom pair, can also be invoked using a .bat file. The solution is 100% free. 


Edited by giorgio_ne, 07 April 2017 - 07:04 PM.


#16 LoveChina61

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 08:51 AM

Success finally! I have been able to configure on my win10 NUC com0com (latest version with signed drivers) and com2tcp (from sourceforge) to wirelessly connect SGP to the mount via SkyFi.

it was eventually quite straight forward, all I had to do was:

1) create a pair of virtual com ports in com0com, COM3 and COM4.

2) connect the Ascom Mount driver to COM3

3) run the following command start com2tcp --telnet \\.\COM4 192.168.1.200 4030 in a batch file

The numbers are of course my SkyFi ip address and the port number. I'm now able to use the following chain: Sky Safari on iPad-> Sequence Generator Pro-> SkyFi-> Mount. For people who do not have SkyFi, a raspberry pi can be easily be configured to act as a TCP COM bridge at a fraction of the cost.

 

Back to the OP question, com0com allows the creation of multiple virtual COM pairs. Multiple com2tcp commands, for each vcom pair, can also be invoked using a .bat file. The solution is 100% free. 

 

Giorgio, I am able to follow you on all of the above except for #2 "connect the ASCOM Mount driver to COM3". I have the correct Celestron scope and driver selected within my Starry Night Pro program as I can connect and control my scope with a cable connection to my laptop. But nothing appears to be happening when I don't use a cable and try to connect to the first virtual port (e.g. COM3 in your example above) even if I first run the appropriate batch file to get SkyFi talking with COM4 first. Is there anything special I need to do to get the ASCOM driver talking to COM3 besides just selecting that port for the ASCOM driver in my planetary program?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike


Edited by LoveChina61, 08 April 2017 - 08:52 AM.


#17 Edward E

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 12:00 PM

giorgio,  great to hear that you were able to connect with com0com.  Did you have to disable any features under Windows (I'm assuming you are using Win 10)?  With ASCOM driver connected to the com3 and the the com/tcp command using com4, which is the outgoing port and which is the incoming port?



#18 giorgio_ne

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 04:08 PM

Hi Mike, I'm using a Takahashi EM-200 mount whose Ascom Temma driver allows me to select the COM port the mount itself is supposed to be connected to. I'm not sure if/how other Ascom drivers allow the same. After I created the pair of virtual ports as COM3 and COM4, I could see them both on the Temma Ascom driver. I selected COM3 for the driver then created the .bat file using COM4.

 

Hi Edward, I was also cognisant that the Win10 firewall could have meant trouble but I'm happy to confirm it does not interfere. I've configured the setup with the firewall completely turned off. After having ensured everything worked properly, I've enabled the firewall, rebooted the NUC and tried connecting again. Everything was still in order.



#19 LoveChina61

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:13 AM

I like to learn new things and enjoy the challenge of trying to get stuff working like this. But after a lot of fiddling, I still have not had success in getting it working on a Vista system. I wonder if it has something to do with the unique "pin out" for the Celestron serials ports? If I remember correctly, the Meade cables are "straight through" cables, while the Celestron ones are "crossover" cables.

 

I just went ahead and purchased the COM2TCP program from Astrogeeks.com. I had it up and running in no time at all and controlling my Celestron scope. I used the same program to control my Meade LX200 in the past so I know that it works with that scope as well.

 

Good luck and may you be able to enjoy some clear skies!

 

Mike




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