CPWI is the Celestron replacement for NexRemote and offers a Windows version of "SkySafari". It is currently in beta test via TeamCelestron, and my first impression is I like it. It appears far more accommodating with Celestron scopes than (say) Stellarium or similar (notably ease of set up) and offers inclusive controls over the new Celestron focuser etc.
It is not yet fully integrated with some of the more sophisticated third party software, but those 'bugs' are fast being eliminated. I think it is a real game changer. But EAA practitioners will face some implementation challenges. As often is the case, it has been challenging to resolve wireless/remote control issues. Here are some thoughts from my experimentation that may assist others...
My pre-2016 internal Evolution WiFi is utter pants. Anything with a 'SkyQLink' signal is pretty useless. So all my wireless tests have been conducted with a later SkyPortal external WiFi device (dongle) emitting the more reliable 'Celestron.xx' signal with fully updated firmware and all other known WiFi improvement tips have been employed . But even that has proved a tad limiting....
CPWI running on a Windows PC will connect to a Celestron scope by three routes;
But this only applies to scopes such as the CGX. It won't work with (say) an Evolution that has only a 5V output non-data USB port.
b) Cable between hand controller and computer.
This route is very dependable, but it does require a suitable cable. This might be a serial to USB adapter if an older HC; or USB to USB if newer HC. In either case it is inherently 'RS232' and needs a PL2302 driver installed in your PC running Windows 10. But I wanted to avoid this cable as my scope already has enough wires dangling for camera etc.
c) Celestron wireless
If you connect your laptop directly to 'Celestron.xx' in the dongles 'Direct' mode I found CPWI works fine up to about eight metres. Sadly, the signal strength of the dongle is limited like so many other direct connect devices of this type. However, many of us require remote control over much longer distances (notably from indoors).
I hence switched to 'Access Point' mode and attempted to connect the dongle via my home network. The dongle refused to connect to my main router/hub due to distance and obstructions. This isn't surprising as I have always struggled with Celestron WiFi and its limited effective range. The 'Celestron.xx' direct signal strength is perhaps fine for visual astronomers using a tablet, or for Astrophotographers that sit with laptop close to their scopes. But for EAA enthusiasts that like to sit in a more distant warm 'mission control' behind a brick wall, it has always been a challenge.
I hence installed an Edimax N300 Multi-function Router (802.11n) in wireless range extender mode in between scope/dongle and router/hub. However, I can't get it closer to my scope than ten metres without losing signal strength from my 'Mission Control'. I suppose I could relay multiple such 'extender' devices, but I fear that won't provide a solution once I add the data demands of my camera. With this single range extender route, I did get CPWI working, but the lag was pretty terrible. As on previous occasions with other devices, I could not resolve this wirelessly over the distance and the local obstructions that I needed to navigate. To be frank, this isn't a new problem for me as the weak Celestron WiFi signal has always been a tad problematic unless close to the scope.
So, my base point once again became the commonly employed two computer solution running Windows Remote Desktop. A tip here; ensure that your RDP (via experience/options) is not set to <discover connection automatically> as that tends to opt for too low a setting. Instead set it to <WAN 10 Mps or higher> for wireless or <LAN 10Mps or higher> for cabled between the two computers.
What I discovered is that I could now wirelessly connect my Intel NUC computer A (at the scope) to the dongle in Celestron direct mode; the benefit of that being that eliminates the messy HC cable. Then connect computer A to B (indoors) by cat6a cable and it all works fine over RDP including with my 4K UHD camera. No lag, no drop outs. Here, the wireless distance is now merely two feet between dongle and computer A. However, and my core observation I had to ensure that computer B was NOT simultaneously wirelessly connected to my home network. So once indoors, I needed to temporarily 'forget' my home network on B for this route to work. This might sound familiar to those that struggled with pre-2016 Celestron WiFi, but for different reasons.
Frankly, it took me ages to identify a solution as it is not obvious to a non-IT expert that a Windows PC can only connect to one wireless network albeit it can simultaneously connect to one wireless AND one Ethernet. I believe this issue arises because Computer B will attempt to wirelessly connect to computer A, but can't find it on the wireless network because A is instead wirelessly connected to the dongle (hence Celestron.xx'). If you want to run all on one wireless network, you must connect ALL devices in Access Point Mode (which might not work if distance is a problem) or connect A to B by cable having connected Dongle to computer A by wireless in Direct mode. The advantage of the latter being it eliminates the (serial/USB) cable between HC and computer at the scope.
In my situation, I am already compelled to use cat6a cable between computers A and B because of distance, also the demands of my 4K UHD camera and my desire to send a 4K signal from camera to 4K UHD monitor. The curious thing I am reporting here is that RDP activated from B does seems to want to select wireless (which is not available when A is connected to Celestron.xx) even where a cable network has been established and <LAN 10 MPs or higher> selected. Hence, the strange need to 'forget' the home wireless network on Computer B to force it to take the LAN route..
I could, of course, alternatively connect HC to computer A by cable and then wirelessly (or cabled) connect computer A to B. But since I know that wireless isn't an option for me due to the demands of my 4k camera, the route that I describe at least avoids the need for a cable between HC and Computer A, and over that short distance its Celestron Direct WiFi signal is wholly satisfactory.
If anybody has a solution permitting computer A to simultaneously connect wirelessly to both dongle and network OTHER than in access point mode that would be welcome. Might employing two wireless adapters work (e.g. one to dongle; one to network)? But unless I can solve the conundrum of getting the dongle's wireless signal closer to my principle hub/router, I am afraid I am stuck with cable between the two computers, and even then I am not convinced that the best case scenario 5Ghz 802.11ac can handle 4k UHD camera despite only screen data being transferred between A and B over RDP.
The combined demands of CPWI and (say) SharpCap means all the processing donkey work must be handled on computer A, and until better domestic wireless solutions are developed, wireless remote control may remain a challenge where high resolution cameras and CPWI are to be controlled from distance beyond ten metres/33' (cable is always going to be more dependable over any longer distance). But don't be deterred, the problems are no more challenging than running SkySafari and CPWI is a Windows solution that I think is a major step forward of benefit to all Celestron EAA practitioners.
I have since attempted with a second wireless adapter added to Computer A. I did manage to connect one wireless adapter to 'Celestron.xx' and the other wireless adapter to my network and get remotely connected from A from B over RDP . However, using either cable or wireless between A and B it appears that Windows didn't seem to like it (e.g. drop outs and lag). At one point I had a potential camera wrecking wild uncontrollable slew of the type I used to encounter with my Evo's internal WiFi.
So my updated conclusion is this;
a) If you want to use wireless between computer A and B then connect HC to A using cable.
b) If you are content with Cat6a cable between A and B then you can connect A to scope by Celestron wireless.
c) However, you must use Access Point mode in all other circumstances, or risk conflicts and loss of control.
Edited by Noah4x4, 11 February 2019 - 09:05 AM.