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NexStar 6SE, Celestron Wi-Fi and SkySafari 6 Plus

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#1 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:08 AM

I used my NexStar 6SE, Celestron Wi-Fi and SkySafari 6 Plus for only the second time last week on my deck. My goal is to eventually get a wireless camera so I can control everything from indoors during the cold months (and in northcentral WI, that's pretty much half the year). 

 

For now, I easily take my scope out and mount it to a sturdy railing post that I reinforced and is more solid and vibration free than my tripod is on my deck because the post is not connected to the deck flooring. The upper deck (in the pic below) also has a separate support structure than the lower deck so no one walking on the lower deck affects the view. 

 

I really love the convenience of it all. I have to say that using my phone with SkySafari and the Celestron Wi-Fi is just about the easiest thing to use and far better than the handcontroller of the 6SE. It's so easy to connect and align. I typically only view the Moon and planets, and even doing a quick Solar system alignment using only the Moon it works great. But even being able to use SkySafari to locate objects and GoTo is really easy and quite accurate. 

i love using SkySafari as a live sky map, instead of having to scroll through things on the handcontroller. 

 

Who else here uses SkySafari and the Celestron Wi-Fi to control their scope? What do you think of it?

 

60460855_10206331288317748_6907757599085

 

6f106c_64e1f94158ff414f82b9b27590bd44ee~

 

Initial post support attachment to mount the scope without using the tripod...

 

60500586_10206321483592636_1880860131328

 

Once I got the post firmed up (lag bolts underneath the decking), I added an accessory tray under it and stained and poly'd the support to somewhat protect it from the weather. 

60333312_10206324675632435_4976568551356

 

By winter I should be able to use this setup from the comfort of my dining room only 8 ft. away from the scope. Gotta love technology.


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 22 May 2019 - 09:11 AM.


#2 sandconp

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:47 AM

Nice set up. I use VNC to remote into a laptop from inside my porch in the winter and it works great. I am mostly into EAA where I take very short exposures and do live stacking with Sharpcap Pro. I like Sky Safari but my iPad doesn’t work to good when I am outside in the cold so I still prefer the hand control. When’s it very cold, I can remote into my laptop from inside.
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#3 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:59 AM

Nice set up. I use VNC to remote into a laptop from inside my porch in the winter and it works great. I am mostly into EAA where I take very short exposures and do live stacking with Sharpcap Pro. I like Sky Safari but my iPad doesn’t work to good when I am outside in the cold so I still prefer the hand control. When’s it very cold, I can remote into my laptop from inside.

Thanks.

 

Yeah, I'm going to use my laptop for my indoor routine during the colder months. Because I live in some pretty bad light pollution, I might try EAA again. When no one is on the deck, the setup is rock solid. Even when people are on the deck I can observe without the view begin affected (so long as they stay on the lower deck).

 

I'm going to setup a table on the lower deck this summer and work out all the bugs of doing the entire remote/networking thing, so by Winter I should have it all ready to go. 

Because the scope is so close to my patio doors and dining room inside, I'm thinking of running conduit under the deck and run any hardwired networking into an Ethernet patch panel mounted right on the dining room wall inside (I used to be a Network Admin). Another great thing about the setup is that my big screen TV in the living room can easily be seen from the dining room, so I'm thinking of using that as my monitor. laugh.gif


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 22 May 2019 - 10:01 AM.


#4 JGass

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:09 AM

Thanks.

 

Yeah, I'm going to use my laptop for my indoor routine during the colder months. Because I live in some pretty bad light pollution, I might try EAA again. When no one is on the deck, the setup is rock solid. Even when people are on the deck I can observe without the view begin affected (so long as they stay on the lower deck).

 

I'm going to setup a table on the lower deck this summer and work out all the bugs of doing the entire remote/networking thing, so by Winter I should have it all ready to go. 

Because the scope is so close to my patio doors and dining room inside, I'm thinking of running conduit under the deck and run any hardwired networking into an Ethernet patch panel mounted right on the dining room wall inside (I used to be a Network Admin). Another great thing about the setup is that my big screen TV in the living room can easily be seen from the dining room, so I'm thinking of using that as my monitor. laugh.gif

If only you could make it automatically switch to the scope views, during commercials!



#5 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:14 AM

If only you could make it automatically switch to the scope views, during commercials!

Ha! That would be easy enough to do with the TV remote. It's a smart TV, so I'd probably use one of the HDMI ports for the scope view from my laptop. 



#6 Xeroid

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:22 AM

I too use WiFi with my NexStar but with a slightly different twist:

 

I use a modified $35 Raspberry PI 3 B+ as my WiFi receiver/transmitter via serial-to-usb cable from the hand controller..

 

Why you may ask?

 

Well, one very dark night in my backyard, I plugged the Celestron Skyportal Wifi Module INTO the GUIDE PORT by mistake.

 

eeeeeeooooooowwww!!bawling.gif

 

Well, the very strong aroma of burning plastic hit me right where it hurts....it was instant toast, complete meltdown.

 

Yanked it out and fortunately the NexStar mount was not damaged.  

 

Valuable lesson learned, I placed electrical tape over that stinken port (see photo). 

 

The Raspberry Pi connects to my network with a local IP address so I can use SkySafari Plus from my tablet or do a remote VNC connection to the Raspberry from my PC. It does provide a very strong & steady signal, approx 100 feet easily. There are a ton of free astro programs available for the Raspberry.

 

The bag in the photo below carries the Talencell Li battery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#7 Xeroid

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:35 AM

..and using the Raspberry & the old Celestron SkyLink PC software, I can remotely control the mount from the planetarium program: Cartes du Ciel

 

WhaaaaHooooo!

 

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#8 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:11 PM

You were fortunate that it didn't kill the electronics of the mount itself. I just plug my Celestron Wi-Fi right into the mount base...no issues clearing anything even at zenith. Mine is the newer version and it works every time. 



#9 wrvond

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 06:53 PM

I use Celestron's WiFi on my setup along with Sky Safari 6 Pro almost exclusively, however, I downloaded and installed Celestron's Skyportal app on my iPad and iPhone. It's written by Simulation Curriculum as well but isn't as cluttered with options. Kind of a "leaner" version that carries it's own appeal (it's free!).

 

C8 ASGT

Edited by wrvond, 22 May 2019 - 06:54 PM.

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#10 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:53 PM

There is mention of "wireless cameras".

 

Modern high resolution CMOS cameras are now modestly priced. The pitfall is you need powerful computing, loads of storage capacity, powerful WiFi and plenty of watts to connect to them wirelessly. I have succeeded even with 4k UHD resolution over wireless, but whilst you might manage a mount with (say) Raspberry Pi, you might struggle to add camera, focuser or other remote peripherals.

 

Best bet is look at this challenge holistically. Where do you want to be as regards your rig in two years. Indoors? Remote camera + remote scope + remote focuser?

 

Frankly, you won't better a two computer set up (e.g. small computer at scope) connected wirelessly using Windows Remote Desktop with RemoteFX compression disabled. However, the general recommendation in these threads is at least an Intel i3 processor specification. I wince whenever I read mention of Raspberry Pi solutions as whilst they do work with low specification rigs, as soon as you add something more challenging (like nigh resolution camera), they tend to run out of "ooomph". I spent an unnecessary fortune upgrading components as my rig developed because I repeatedly underestimated the requirements of the next incremental step. 


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#11 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 09:05 AM

I use Celestron's WiFi on my setup along with Sky Safari 6 Pro almost exclusively, however, I downloaded and installed Celestron's Skyportal app on my iPad and iPhone. It's written by Simulation Curriculum as well but isn't as cluttered with options. Kind of a "leaner" version that carries it's own appeal (it's free!).

 

I have both as well. I typically use SkySafari, but I've also used Skyportal. You can tell they were written by the same company. My version of SkySafari was only $4.99 when I bought it. 



#12 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 09:14 AM

There is mention of "wireless cameras".

 

Modern high resolution CMOS cameras are now modestly priced. The pitfall is you need powerful computing, loads of storage capacity, powerful WiFi and plenty of watts to connect to them wirelessly. I have succeeded even with 4k UHD resolution over wireless, but whilst you might manage a mount with (say) Raspberry Pi, you might struggle to add camera, focuser or other remote peripherals.

 

Best bet is look at this challenge holistically. Where do you want to be as regards your rig in two years. Indoors? Remote camera + remote scope + remote focuser?

 

Frankly, you won't better a two computer set up (e.g. small computer at scope) connected wirelessly using Windows Remote Desktop with RemoteFX compression disabled. However, the general recommendation in these threads is at least an Intel i3 processor specification. I wince whenever I read mention of Raspberry Pi solutions as whilst they do work with low specification rigs, as soon as you add something more challenging (like nigh resolution camera), they tend to run out of "ooomph". I spent an unnecessary fortune upgrading components as my rig developed because I repeatedly underestimated the requirements of the next incremental step. 

Yes there is a lot to consider. Fortunately I was a network admin and the technology end of it doesn't phase me in the least. My requirements will grow I'm sure. For now I'm more of a Lunar photographer with modest needs...just my DSLR and my intervalometer for remote control of the camera's shutter. 

 

The most difficult aspect was actually having a place to do this. Now that we moved and I can do all of this right off my deck not even 8 ft away from my dining room, it opens up all the possibilities I didn't want to bother with at my last residence. 




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