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EXT-70 Computer Control Options

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#1 mikenoname

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:05 PM

I would like to control my EXT-70 with my laptop. I currently have the 494 HBX.

 

I have read that the preferred path is to upgrade to a 497 HBX and make your own patch cable rather than getting a 506 cable and staying with the 494. A used 497 will be about double what the 506 cable is, so I am wondering why the 497/505 route is so much better.

 

Could users who have experience with both give me some clues?

 

I am assuming that with the 494/506 route the 494 is bypassed entirely. Is that not true? Or is it still needed for some things (like initialization and alignment perhaps)?

 

How much can the external software do? Does it depend on which software I use? AstroPlanner versus Meade's AstroSuite (or whatever it's called)?

 

Given that I would like to control the scope with AstroPlanner or the like, does the HBX make that much difference?

 

Thanks in advance!



#2 jgraham

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:09 PM

It has been a very long time, but if I recall right there wasn't a lot of software that you could use to connect with using the 494/506. Maybe that has changed. I do recall that the 506 cable connects to the mount and not the handbox like the 497/505, but you still needed the 494 handbox because that's where the mount controller in located. The thing that I likes about the 497/505 was that you could use the Remote Handbox function which gave you all of the functionality of the 497 controller, but was a bit easier to use. This worked well for me since I operated my telescope remotely from inside my house. An alternative to consider nowadays is controlling the scope via SkySafari using SkyFi or SkyWire. I'll check to see if this can be done through the 494/506, but I know that it works using the 497/505 combination. Star-hopping with SkySafari is a lot of fun!

 

Further thought is necessary...



#3 mikenoname

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 01:05 PM

John,

 

Curious what you come up with. Remote operation isn't a goal for me right now, just wired control via a laptop.

 

As to the Simulation Curriculum offerings, SkyWire is Mac/iOS only, so that's out. SkyFi is more cash than I want to sink into this cool but simple little scope. If I'm going to start throwing around that kind of cash I might as well put it toward a better scope. SkyBT is an option, though for that money, again, I could get a used 497/505 cable.

 

So the question for me is stay with the 494/506 or go to the 497/505.

 

In your post from November (which I can't seem to figure out how to transfer into this thread for some reason) you stated:

 

"I have a 506 cable set and several ETX scopes with 494 and 497 controllers. The 506 was designed to allow the mount to be controlled by an external computer, but the actual functionality isn't very good. A much better option is to get a 497 controller."

 

So you seemed to indicate that computer control via the 494/506 is significantly inferior to computer control with the 497/505, so that is what I was trying to get more info around.




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