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Sky Portal external WiFi accessory

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9 replies to this topic

#1 Noah4x4

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 11:18 AM

I have the misfortune to own a first generation Evolution which has the 'SkyQlink' WiFi signal that struggles once beyond six feet. Great scope, awful WiFi. I later bought a second generation SkyPortal external WiFi accessory ('Celestron.xx' signal) which is better, but still struggles beyond about twelve feet, but in TeamCelestron I have been told that "up to 20 feet" was the anticipated operating range for that version (but I wonder what the reality is?). Both are out of warranty, and I respect that wireless technology has advanced since 2015.

 

Now there is apparently a third generation version. But how has it been improved?  I wish to connect my scope in Access Point mode to a high powered Netgear EX8000 wireless extender situated about 15 feet away from my scope behind double glazing. My wireless adapters in my Intel NUCs will comfortably connect to it up to 100 feet distant, but my existing Celestron WiFI won't. Nobody should reply that I could use instead use Cat6a cable or dual computer wireless as I already do. But life would be a lot easier with CPWI if I could get a SkyPortal dongle with a strong enough signal that meets my requirements. I have had success using dual wireless adapters and then the dongle only need connect over three feet. But if I could get a dongle with enough range it would be much simpler.

 

So has anybody got experience of the third generation SkyPortal dongle? Over what range have you succeeded with Access Point mode? I don't want to fork out another £125 to find I have bought another lemon. I can't find any manufacturers information and my local retailers won't commit to guaranteeing any range. I have a ticket in with Celestron Support. Surely somebody can confirm what effective range this third version has?

 



#2 Xeroid

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 04:07 PM

As some folks I know would say: "Fuggitabout it Celestron Wifi" lol.gif

 

I use a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ computer as my Wifi adapter to my Alt-Az/ GEM mounts via the Hand Controller and USB-to-Serial cable. Can be configured in AdHoc or Access Point mode.

 

Over 100 foot range and its $35 USD.

 

Has 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE

 

Free Raspberry software called: "Ser2net"  allows network communications (like SkySafari) to a Virtual USB port on the Raspberry.


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#3 roelb

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 05:38 PM

Why do you need to connect your mount wireless to your PC inside the house?

Just connect the HC to your NUC at the scope (USB).

Run CPWI on the NUC at the scope.

Connect the NUC at the scope wireless with your router.

Use "Remote Desktop" to control CPWI on the NUC at the scope.



#4 sandconp

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 06:22 PM

I am ready to give up on using the built in Celestron WiFI because of a new bug I found.  I will be testing the SkyFi III device from Software Curriculum tonight which seems to have a much better range than the internal WiFi on the Evolution Mount.

 

i cannot get a good alignment all of of a sudden using Sky Safari and Star Sense along with many others and it’s a Celestron bug.  We have a ticket open with the developer at Celestron. 


Edited by sandconp, 18 February 2019 - 06:22 PM.


#5 Noah4x4

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 07:32 PM

Why do you need to connect your mount wireless to your PC inside the house?

Just connect the HC to your NUC at the scope (USB).

Run CPWI on the NUC at the scope.

Connect the NUC at the scope wireless with your router.

Use "Remote Desktop" to control CPWI on the NUC at the scope.

Yes Roel, I know that route works fine as I have done it, but it's yet another cable at the scope with the awfully clunky external serial to USB adapter (as I have an older HC). I want to dispense with that cable. 

 

I have also had success with dual Wireless adapters, connecting one to my weak signal dongle and the other to my network and via remote desktop to second PC indoors which also eliminates that cable. But I want a more elegant solution that avoids the lag and poor software response I have been suffering which means I must use cat6a cable rather than WiFi.

 

I am running 4k UHD for camera/display and have added Celestron CPWI, which is surpringly graphics intensive. If I run both over Windows RDP even at 5GHz I have noticed significant lag that isn't so apparent if I use the regular HC rather than CPWI. I have been using cat6a cable, but am determined to overcome the wireless challenges. My plan is to try running only the camera and focusser over the 5Ghz channel and separately connect CPWI directly from the dongle to my Netgear EX8000 wireless extenders seperate 2.4Ghz channel. I can then use a spare laptop that I have indoors, so also avoiding CPWI going over RDP. By splitting/reducing the load on any single channel/RDP that, in theory should improve things. If I drop resolution to 1080p I notice that also fixes a host of issues, but I aspire to a 4k display, which I can currently only achieve over cat6 cable. The suggestion of Raspberry Pi isn't sensible. It won't ever support the resolution of 16 megapixel camera, offers only USB2.0 etc.

 

The key question is will a Celestron third generation dongle work over around 20 feet on 2.4Ghz network? Can anybody confirm? If yes, me discovering how to seperate my dual band 802,11ac network into two distinctly seperate WiFi channels could be a game changer (But it might only be possible with BT Internet hubs). BTW Sandcorp, SkySafari works fine for me provided I am under six feet  from my scope. I don't think your issue is a bug. 



#6 skaiser

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 09:29 PM

Noah

  I can testify to the robustness of a "new" skyportal dongle working in the DIRECT CONNECT mode while linked to a Ipad pro at 27 feet distance.

Last month I acquired the new module from celestron under warranty return of my "2017" vintage module.

The old unit seemed to have gotten progressively worse for communicating to my CGX mount, even at 3-4 feet.

Running Skysafari pro v6 on my Ipad, was a disaster anymore with key lockups, gotos aborting, really poor communications.

Fortunately I was able to convince celestron ,and they replaced the unit under warranty.

What a difference.

I cannot testify if the Access Point mode works better since I have never used this mode.

I believe I saw somewhere that Celestron now is using a "known" brand name mfg for the WiFi components in their modules instead of bargain brand.

 Hope this helps.

I would hope you could find a supplier that would allow a return in xx days if the module won't work for you.

Take care

steve 

Update 2-19-19

Doing various functional tests on CPWI 2-1-21 to see how Derik's improvements are working.

Running it on my HP laptop, I have solid communication, via WiFi Direct connect , to my CGX mount, also at 27 feet.

I have not yet performed detailed tests to see at what distance communications break down .

A strange thing I have discovered:

 I have a old (2005) vintage HP laptop which I replaced with a new High end  2019 HP Omen Laptop. (mainly to get USB3 ports for my camera connections)

 CPWI WiFi communications with my scope with my New Laptop are NOT stable. It will disconnect within 5-10 minutes no matter what I am doing.

On my OLD laptop, communications are rock solid ,at least for 3 hrs I was testing so far. (even at 27ft mentioned above.

I hope I can find some setting on the new Laptop that is causing this issue.


Edited by skaiser, 19 February 2019 - 09:33 AM.

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#7 Vickmann

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 02:18 AM

As some folks I know would say: "Fuggitabout it Celestron Wifi" lol.gif

 

I use a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ computer as my Wifi adapter to my Alt-Az/ GEM mounts via the Hand Controller and USB-to-Serial cable. Can be configured in AdHoc or Access Point mode.

 

Over 100 foot range and its $35 USD.

 

Has 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE

 

Free Raspberry software called: "Ser2net"  allows network communications (like SkySafari) to a Virtual USB port on the Raspberry.

Can you do a detailed tutorial post with this marbelous info?, please :)


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#8 BGazing

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 01:06 PM

My Evo is out of warranty and I kinda reverted to HC in order to maximize viewing and minimize chance of hassle. 

 

Has anyone tried DIY replacement of the old wifi module with the new one...and is it feasible or possible at all?



#9 Noah4x4

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 01:34 PM

My Evo is out of warranty and I kinda reverted to HC in order to maximize viewing and minimize chance of hassle. 

 

Has anyone tried DIY replacement of the old wifi module with the new one...and is it feasible or possible at all?

I replaced my poor 'SkyQLink  internal WiFi with a marginally better second generation 'Celestron.xx'  SkyPortal dongle, but it's range is barely 10 feet. Skaiser suggests his third generation dongle is better, but he has not tested its range in Access Point mode.  Celestron comments in TeamCelestron suggest "it was never anticipated anybody would want WiFi beyond 20 feet". The fact that nobody has confirmed the range perhaps suggest a majority might have given up unless close to their scope. 



#10 redbaron12

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 08:51 AM

Can you do a detailed tutorial post with this marbelous info?, please smile.gif

There are other options.  I stumbled on this a while ago and tried it out and it worked great.  I've since bought the "second" generation Celestron WifFi module and prefer that because it's a cleaner setup.

 

By the way, love your Bullie.  I have a girl and have to make sure she's not around when the scopes are up because she insists on curling up under them, and knowing Bulls, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and to the them, if there is something in the way, they just embrace the challenge and keep going.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-wi-fi-adapter/

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