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USConverters serial WiFi adapter

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#1 Thrifty1

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 01:04 PM

Has anyone used this with a Meade telescope?

http://www.usconvert...2-wi-fi-adapter

The manufacturer says it works for astronomy setups including Meade telescopes and SkySafari software. It is 1/2 the price of the name brand WiFi telescope adapters.

I ordered one today so I will be able to test it myself soon but I was curious if anyone was using it already. Several people on the Celestron forum are using it with no problems.

#2 bmr528

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:37 AM

Looks interesting!!  I did a quick read of the product,, did not really see anything related to astronomy but if you see that celestron users have been able to use it then it probably is OK..

 

I bought the Meade Stella a few months back,  More $$ but I am completely happy with it's performance

 

Make sure to come back & tell use how it worked,, I may use one for my second scope.

 

djl



#3 Thrifty1

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:50 AM

Here is their page regarding using their WiFi to Serial adapters for astronomy.  It is linked to their prior model which is now discontinued.  

 

http://www.usconvert...-telescope-wifi

 

I e:mailed the company to inquire whether the updated model also is set up to work with telescopes and here was their reply:

 

"Yes the WA232E will also work the same way as the UCW232C in regards to telescope mounts and Skysafari/iPad."

 

I will report back once it arrives and I test it.  


Edited by Thrifty1, 23 August 2017 - 09:50 AM.


#4 carolinaskies

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:35 PM

As long as the pinouts are configurable in the software it should work well.  

There are other similar modular RS232 solutions out there both in WiFi and Bluetooth. 



#5 Thrifty1

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:51 PM

Success!!!  The wifi adapter arrived today and I was able to successfully connect SkySafari Plus on both my iPhone and iPad to the wifi adapter and wirelessly control my ETX-90. I assume it will work fine on my LX200R as well. 

 

I had a problem initially connecting based on how the wifi adapter was configured out of the box. I logged into the wifi adapter from my MacBook to see how the settings were configured. The baud rate was set very high at something like 34000. I lowered this to 9600 and tried to reconnect and all worked great.  

 

I chose objects in SkySafari and it slewed the scope to those objects as it was supposed to.  The manual controls for slewing the scope worked well with very little lag. 

 

So so far it looks like this is a nice lower cost alternative to other telescope wifi to serial adapters. 


Edited by Thrifty1, 25 August 2017 - 08:52 PM.

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#6 AWATS

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 12:04 PM

Great to hear. I just ordered three for my scopes. It will be nice to use SS5 on my iPad.waytogo.gif



#7 AWATS

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 12:00 AM

Note to self:

 

Some of the "UCW232C" converters for sale on eBay are OEM and aren't loaded with the US Converter settings and config app they ship with their units. If it's not specifically labeled as a UCW232C, it's not ...

 

I bought 3. After a lot of work I was able to update them with the latest firmware from Microchip but I can't load US Converters factory configs since the HTML web app isn't on them. I had to do everything manually using the CMD mode over the serial port. I have the infrastructure mode working. Next is AP/ad hoc mode. Also, there are internal jumpers that US Converters use that many of the OEM versions on eBay don't. They will work with ASCOM fine but not Sky Safari 5 without some setting changes.

 

If anyone has gotten one of these OEM units and want to fix the settings for SS5, do the steps below. It wasn't necessary for ASCOM other than setting the ssid and password. One thing to try is to push the reset button on the module for about 3 seconds. That will make it go into AP/ad hoc mode. Connect your PC or ipad to it (it might show up as WIfly7-EZC-xx. Then open a browser and type CONFIG. That will open the Microchip config page. You can enter your wifi name (access point) SSID and password there. You can also use the terminal tab to change the settings to work with Sky Safari I list below without connecting it to a serial port on a PC.

 

Fix:

Set the switch to DCE(F)

Connect the module to a serial port and start a terminal program at 9600, 8, N, 1 on the same  serial port. You can find the port in Device Manager->Ports

Power up the module

Press the $ ($$$)  in quick succession - You will go into CMD mode.

 

Now enter:

1. set wlan ssid <your wifi router name> - Note: it's case sensitive and don't add the < > characters. You'll get back ok

2. set wlan passphrase <your wife router password> - you'll get back ok

3. set comm open 0 - you'll get back ok.

4. set comm close 0 - you'll get back ok

5. set comm remote 0 - you'll get back ok

6. save

7. reboot

 

The unit will reboot in infrastructure mode and auto connect to your wifi. Again, you can omit the set comm open/close/remote settings if you aren't using Sky Safari.

 

When I work out finished the AP/ad hoc settings, I'll add them to this post. Something is odd about the default port 80 usage.

 

Recommendation: Buy the latest wifi module from the company directly. While I now know more than I wanted to, I can't say that half price was worth it. Certainly better than the cost of SkiFi but get a UCW232C directly from USC or some old stock that is a true UCW232C. There is a newer model that replaced the UCW232C - the WA232C. Those have the right settings loaded including booting to access point and not infrastructure like the stock Microchip/Roving RN171 firmware does.

 

AWATS


Edited by AWATS, 10 September 2017 - 10:35 PM.


#8 Thrifty1

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:00 PM

Wow - you are going through a lot to get this working. And I don’t understand even 1/2 of what you had to do - your technical knowledge far exceeds mine

The newer WA232E model I posted about at the beginning of this thread worked with only needing to change the baud setting.

Out of curiosity, what did yours on eBay cost versus the one directly from the manufacturer that is a little under $70?

#9 AWATS

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:17 PM

Hi Thrifty, 

 

I paid about $25 each. I figured they were true UCW232c but they aren't. USC just buys them from Roving/Microchip and loads their software. Yeah, I learned a lot. smile.gif

 

I could just buy the WA232s but decided to jack with these. You always learn something! I still might in the end. I did learn more about what the Skyfi unit is and isn't though. Despite the price, it will just work. 


Edited by AWATS, 10 September 2017 - 10:38 PM.


#10 Thrifty1

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:52 PM

Just wanted to update this as I finally got around to testing the WiFi serial adapter to my LX200r. 

 

All worked well. I controlled it over WiFi on an iPad mini, iPhone 7, and MacBook Pro. 



#11 carolinaskies

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 06:34 PM

Going to pin this in my favorites as I think I want to do this for a couple of my scopes.   



#12 EdIII

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 11:04 AM

Hello,

I ordered one of the WA232E adapters from US converter. My intention is to use it with my iPad and SkySafari 6 plus. When I try to connect, I keep getting the error message “Can connect to the scope, but it is not responding “ or something like that. My scope is an ETX125 with Audiostar. 

 

I have been the full full circle with support and they have been great. Bottom line is that I am told it doesn’t work with some scopes and they don’t know what the incompatiblity is. 

 

I did a loopback and the iPad sent to the WiFi unit and received it back. So, the WA232E is working. I have a standard Meade cable and checked continuity. The tx/rx is reversed in the cable as it should be. The Safari setup shows the ETX 125 and the Goto Mount. I tried two different Audiostars and two different handset cables. I tried two different cables from the scope handset to the WiFi unit.  I tried both settings on the DCE switch. I did a reset on the WiFi unit to be assured the settings were at factory default, which are the recommended settings. The WiFi is connected properly in the iPad settings.  I made sure to align the scope before each test.

 

Can anybody think of anything else to try? Learning the details of how this works has been fun, but now I am ready to see the scope move !! Is anybody using this with the Audiostar hand controller? I am beginning to suspect an incompatiblity there? 

 

Ed



#13 bmr528

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 06:09 PM

Probably the error says, "Can make connection to WiFi module but scope is not responding"  You will need to tell us exactly what the error reads.

 

The Wi Fi unit is not talking to the Scope

 

Could be :

 

Baud rate setting of serial port on Wi Fi unit.  Should be 9600   ( Most likely the problem )

 

Are you SURE that the meade cable needs to have TX/RX reversed ?  It's not a Meade Wi Fi module and the Serial port pinouts may be different may be different.

 

Are you using the Meade DB9 connector with the Meade Cable?,,  If it's not the baud rate It may be that TX/RX needs to be reversed on the DB9 connector ( Pins 2 & 3 )

 

The Meade Stella instructs to leave the WiFi module turned off until the alignment is completed, Then turn it on,  Are you doing that?

 

djl


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#14 bmr528

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 06:19 PM

You said you did a Loop back test with the converter, Was it just a WiFi loop back or the serial loop back test? ( where you put a jumper between oins 2 & 3 on the db9 connector)

 

djl


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#15 EdIII

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 07:38 PM

My response is embedded. Hope you can figure it out.:lol:

 

Probably the error says, "Can make connection to WiFi module but scope is not responding"  You will need to tell us exactly what the error reads.

The Wi Fi unit is not talking to the Scope

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<It says....Connection Failure.  SkySafari 6 Plus can make a wireless network connection to the scope, but the scope is not responding.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Could be :

Baud rate setting of serial port on Wi Fi unit.  Should be 9600   ( Most likely the problem )

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<I do not see a way to check the baud rate rate using the iPad. When the system did not work, I did a reset to factory default settings. Default is said to be 9600. Support did not mention checking baud rate.....not sure how??>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Are you SURE that the meade cable needs to have TX/RX reversed ?  It's not a Meade Wi Fi module and the Serial port pinouts may be different may be different.

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<My Meade cable has transmit on WiFi unit going to receive on telescope and vice versa on the other. The WiFi adapter manufacturer recognizes that some cables may have the two leads reversed and that some may not, so they put a switch on the WiFi adapter to switch it. I have tried it both ways.  The DB 9 connector is standard configuration. The telephone connector end is suspect, but has been used to update Autostar, so it seems that would prove it works with the ETX.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Are you using the Meade DB9 connector with the Meade Cable?,,  If it's not the baud rate It may be that TX/RX needs to be reversed on the DB9 connector ( Pins 2 & 3 )

 

 

<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>The cable has a telephone looking connector on one end and a DB9 on the other. See above concerning switching of the tx/rx wires. One position on the switch has to be correct. Yes, it reverses pins 2 and 3.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

The Meade Stella instructs to leave the WiFi module turned off until the alignment is completed, Then turn it on,  Are you doing that?

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Yes>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<The loopback test was done with software and a connection between pins two and 3 on the DB9. It amounts to typing in a message in the top, compose, window,  sending it and then seeing it return near the bottom of the screen in the receive window>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<The protocols such as baud have bugged me from the beginning, but if factory default means anything, they are correct.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Ed



#16 bmr528

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 08:19 PM

Ed

 

Go to the converters web site:   http://www.usconvert...2-wi-fi-adapter

 

scroll down one page and you will see "Resources" on right side.  ( right below "Application Diagram A )  

 

You need to open "Serial WiFi  Setup Guide" PDF 

 

After you connect your I pad WiFi to the converter, Start on page 6 of the setup guide

 

I will guide you through logging onto the converters web page setup.

 

the first tab should be the baud rate settings.

 

FYI, My converter ( while being a Meade product) gave me the exact same error message, A new serial cable fixed the problem,  Not saying yours is bad but that has to be the general area of concern, serial port settings cables, etc..

 

I also found that I had to make sure that the cable jacks were fully inserted into the hand set..  

 

Just a though,,, Look at the jack on the handset and make sure no pins are bent

 

djl


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#17 EdIII

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:09 AM

Thank you. I will try that this evening when I return. 

 

Ed


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#18 Ufdah

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:42 AM

...Can anybody think of anything else to try? Learning the details of how this works has been fun, but now I am ready to see the scope move !! Is anybody using this with the Audiostar hand controller? I am beginning to suspect an incompatiblity there? 

 

Ed

I was having the same issue with my US Converters module when initially trying to connect it to my Nexstar 8i SE. I had been using a 9ft serial cable that worked for firmware updating but didn't work for the WiFi module. I got a new RJ22 cable, cut it down to 6 inches and soldered it directly to the module and it worked a treat! I have a feeling that the drivers on the serial connection of the module aren't very strong and don't handle long or poor quality cables well. Also, if you're using the gender changer that comes with some of their modules I'd try to get it out of the equation, every connection in the signal path is going to introduce resistance that the drivers will have to overcome. 


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#19 EdIII

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:09 PM

Wow, I would not have expected it to be so sensitive that a little cable length made a difference. I can try a short one. I already have one, I think. How did you even think to try that?

 

I expected to work on the scope protocols this evening and report back, but real life got in the way. I will try again tomorrow.

 

Ed



#20 EdIII

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:22 AM

Quote:

 

Go to the converters web site:   http://www.usconvert...2-wi-fi-adapter

scroll down one page and you will see "Resources" on right side.  ( right below "Application Diagram A ) 

You need to open "Serial WiFi  Setup Guide" PDF

 

End quote

 

I did get the protocols checked with that information, but it was confusing. It instructs one to open Internet Explorer, which does not exist for the iPad. After a great deal of head scratching, I learned it works just as well with other browsers. Once I had that sorted, I quickly learned that the protocols are correct......9600 baud, etc. 

 

So, the cables are next in line. I don’t have a tool for crimping the phone jack, so it will take some time to get this part done.  I will play around with what I have in the meantime.

 

Thanks for all all of the assistance.

 

Ed



#21 bmr528

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:54 AM

Well,, At least you have eliminated that potential issue..

 

Is the app really Sky Safari 6 ?  I just recently got a popup that said Sky Safari 6 "Beta" is ready for release.. ( I am using a Android Tablet, SF6 may be out in production form for Apple IOS )

 

The "Beta" thing would throw a red flag for me,,  If possible I would install SkySafari 5 instead..

 

Also, you may want to try setting SF5/6 to maybe say, Meade LX90  telescope and see if it can communicate..  It may slew all over the place but if ETX125 is "not Supported"   this may at least rule out equipment failure.

 

And on a side note, The Serial Wi/Fi converter has no real software other than the web interface,  The converter itself does not issue any scope type specific commands, That is all controlled via the SKysafari app.  It sends the command via wi/fi, the converter changes the wifi to serial and forwards to scope.  Not sure how there could be any real "incompatibilty" between the scope and converter. ( Of course I could be wrong )

 

Also, How old is your IPad?  Have you tried a different tablet or Iphone..  I did once run into a fellow astronomer that had an older Ipad that just would not work ( with Meade Stella)  He bought a new Ipad and everything started working.  I can't remember the reason, May have been older operating system or something.

 

This issue really has me intrigued,  I am a problem solver by trade and don't like to be bested.  I always say, You just have to be smarter that the problem.

 

djl


Edited by bmr528, 09 August 2018 - 09:56 AM.

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#22 EdIII

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:53 AM

Well,, At least you have eliminated that potential issue..

 

Is the app really Sky Safari 6 ?  I just recently got a popup that said Sky Safari 6 "Beta" is ready for release.. ( I am using a Android Tablet, SF6 may be out in production form for Apple IOS )

 

The "Beta" thing would throw a red flag for me,,  If possible I would install SkySafari 5 instead..

 

Also, you may want to try setting SF5/6 to maybe say, Meade LX90  telescope and see if it can communicate..  It may slew all over the place but if ETX125 is "not Supported"   this may at least rule out equipment failure.

 

And on a side note, The Serial Wi/Fi converter has no real software other than the web interface,  The converter itself does not issue any scope type specific commands, That is all controlled via the SKysafari app.  It sends the command via wi/fi, the converter changes the wifi to serial and forwards to scope.  Not sure how there could be any real "incompatibilty" between the scope and converter. ( Of course I could be wrong )

 

Also, How old is your IPad?  Have you tried a different tablet or Iphone..  I did once run into a fellow astronomer that had an older Ipad that just would not work ( with Meade Stella)  He bought a new Ipad and everything started working.  I can't remember the reason, May have been older operating system or something.

 

This issue really has me intrigued,  I am a problem solver by trade and don't like to be bested.  I always say, You just have to be smarter that the problem.

 

djl

 

 

 

 

 

Ha, We think alike. I don’t want it to whip me......but it’s getting close.  :lol:

This is SkySafari 6 plus. I would be afraid of the Beta and that was one of the choices. iPad is a year old or so, not an older one. I can try the things you mentioned. This morning I played with some cables, but nothing changed. I checked pin out again and all appears correct. I am using telephone cables and I have tried 3 of them. I am considering eliminating the gender changer by replacing the female DB9 connector with a male, but that will involve waiting on a part.

 

Ed



#23 EdIII

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:57 AM

My present cable and I believe most cables used in this circumstance, have extra connectors and adapters in the line. I am going to make a short cable with connectors only on each end to eliminate any possibility of extra signal loss. I count 4 unnecessary connections and a lot of length. Seems like a long shot to me, but who knows, others here have had problems with their cables, so it’s worth a shot.

 

I am keeping the old cable intact for updating the 497 handset since it is proven to work for that purpose.

 

Parts ordered!!

 

Ed

 

What are the 4 unnecessary connectors:
1. Four cable line to RS232 adapter.
2. Adapter in RS232
3. Adapter out RS232
4. Male to male adapter “in”

See photo

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 9B9D4A4F-728A-4155-83B0-41074E466D14.jpeg


#24 Thrifty1

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:05 AM

It has been a while since I used this setup so I tried it out again this morning with my ETX-105. Here is how I have mine setup:

 

Wifi adapter:  switch set to DTE

MIni gender changer connected to the adapter with the phone jack

cable from adapter to Autostar controller (mine is a coiled / stretchy cable about 5-6 feet long when stretched out)

 

I am using an iPad Air2 on iOS 11.4

I am using SkySafari 5 Pro

 

Steps:

- power on and align ETX without it connected to WiFi adapter

- once alignment is done, connect WiFi adapter and power it on

- on iPad join the WiFi network for the serial adapter

- hit the info button on th WiFi network to get the router address (not IP address)

- on SkySafari, go to Settings - Telescope and choose your scope type. 

- Auto-Detect SkyFi is off

- in the IP address field, put the router address from the WiFi adapter network (not its IP address)

- in the port number field, I have 5000 (not sure if I had set that or it was the default)

- the “readout rate” is set to 4 per second (don’t know if that matters)

 

Note: I just tried this with my iPhone 7 Plus and all worked as well. 

 

Here are the settings on the WiFi adapter:

Default IP address for changing setting - 192.168.0.3

default username & password - admin

 

9600 baud rate

8 data bits

data parity - none

Stop bits - 1

Flow Control - none

RS485 - Disable

 

operation mode - Socket

connection type - TCP

transmit timer - 100

 

sever/client mode - Server

Server listening port - 5000

tcp connections - 1

 

Static IP Seetings

static IP address - 192.168.0.3 this is the one used in SkySafari to connect the scope. This shows as the router address in network settings on iPad. 

Static default gateway - 192.168.0.1 this shows as the IP address in the network setting on iPad 

Static subnet mask - 255.255.255.0

static dns server - 168.95.1.1 (default???)

 

DHCP Settings

DHCP client - Enable

DHCP server - Enable

DHCP Server IP Pool Start - same as Static Default Gateway above

DHCP Server IP Pool End - same as above but last 3 digits changed to .10

 

DHCP server leaves time - 43200

 

 

I hope this this helps you get connected. I have also used this with my 10” LX200R. I just have to switch the cable used to connect the scope to the WiFi adapter and change the telescope settings in the SkySafari app to the LX200.


Edited by Thrifty1, 11 August 2018 - 08:48 AM.

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#25 EdIII

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:34 AM

I will have to check a few of those, but it appears everything is the same except you are using SkySafari 5. I am using 6. Version 5 is no longer available at the App Store, but I did see it somewhere. I will look again as soon as I get these cable parts. I am going to try a new cable next and then version 5.

 

Thanks so much for going to the trouble to get the information to me.

 

Ed




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