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Autostar II Replacement Solution for the Android community (2+ billion users)

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#51 naji

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Posted 05 July 2021 - 09:39 PM

A quick Update:

 

1. I reached the conclusion that the Bluetooth solution is not going to work. My adapter requires flow control signals to function correctly and the LX200GPS does not have those signal.

 

Exciting news:

1. Ordered and received a RS232/Wifi adapter

2. Configured it into STA mode (connected to my home wifi network with a static ip)

3. Configured the RS232 to 9600, etc..

4. Utilizing a terminal SW I was able to connect to the Wifi Adapter and control the LX200GPS and receive all the appropriate responses back.

5. Since I am using the 12V from the mount on Pin 1 of the HBX to power the Wifi Adapter, you are going lose the Opening "Welcome" text from the mount until you connect to the wifi adapter. We can always use an external power source and then it should function as the AS2

6. There is an AP mode for the wifi adapter (you connect to the served Wifi from the adapter) but in this mode we lose Internet connectivity, which means that the Weather Interface (a nice to have) will not function.

7. Regardless of what mode we chose, the code to control the mount would be the same...

8. Now the fun begins, I have to strip the BT code out and put in the Wifi

 

STA Mode:

You are home and you setup your mount where you phone can easily connect to your WiFi

You are in Observatory where you have Wifi Available and can easily connect to it

You are in remote location but have a Wifi Router setup 

 

AP Mode:

No Wifi available or can connect to

All the STA mode scenarios but you prefer AP mode

 

If you have an opinion on which connection mode is preferred (STA, AP, both), then please chime in. 

 

Cheers



#52 bradh23

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Posted 06 July 2021 - 08:52 PM

For me I would prefer the STA mode. My observatory has wifi already. What wifi/RS232 adapter did you order? Brad.

#53 naji

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 05:47 PM

Update for WiFi Implementation:

 

1. Figured out how to communicate with WiFi/RS232 adapter from ASIIE

2. Stripped out the Bluetooth Code

3. Added the logic for all the buttons, which means I can now control the mount over WiFi

4. Work in progress: Coding the logic to process the incoming string from the mount to display correctly

 

Cheers



#54 naji

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 07:45 PM

WiFi is here:

 

How to enter wifi adapter ip & port number in the ASIIE:

https://youtu.be/xEuErov43Ig

 

Demo, connect / disconnect and control mount:

https://youtu.be/qZoiMEs2IOQ

 

Scrolling text in wifi mode:

https://youtu.be/X5wx8_Hb93I

 

I still have to take care of a minor bug, add the GPS and maybe the Weather interface and tidy up the UI.

 

Screenshot 20210710 173529
 
Cheers


#55 bradh23

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 11:12 AM

Looks like its working well.

 

Text scrolling still looks slow compared to AS2. I wonder why the difference if AS2E is just processing the same commands as they come in? Its not like the phone hardware is slower than the actual hand controller - should be the other way around. I would have expected AS2E to be able to scroll faster and smoother than the AS2. One of my gripes with the AS2 hardware is that the text display becomes very sluggish and hard to read in cold weather - temperatures below 0C (32F) cause the liquid crystal to respond slowly. I've always wondered my Meade (and Celestron too for that matter) didn't go with red LED displays instead of LCD? Maybe because they were headquartered in warmer parts of the world but most likely because LED parts would have been more expensive. In the 70s, LED dot matrix displays were still common but by the 80s LCD became so cheap to manufacture that it displaced dot-matrix LED displays. Anyhow, the AS2E promises to solve all that with its superior phone display (especially those that have an OLED). Hopefully a solution to the slow scrolling will present itself eventually.

 

Naji, let me know when you are ready to release another beta version for testing. I can still test it over the cable connection.

 

Keep up the good work!

 

Brad.



#56 naji

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 01:21 PM

Hi Brad,

 

Thanks for the feedback....I wish I started with WiFi vs Bluetooth. It took me a couple of days to get Wifi going vs weeks on Bluetooth and then to conclude at least the adapter I have will not work. 

 

I'm liking the WiFi solution especially when the adapter is configured  in STA mode. I kept the adapter in DHCP mode and configured the router to assign the same IP address to the MAC address (address reservation). I can control my mount from anywhere,  over my home network, and to push it further I can open it up to the the internet, if there is a good reason to do so.

 

I'm pleased that I got wifi working. 

 

I will work on the scrolling text issue. I created a separate app that all it does is scroll text in a loop. The app has a slider control to increase/decrease the speed of the scrolling text. I will post it to the ASIIE Google drive and send you a share request to try. Let me know the slider value  or range min/max that you believe is acceptable and I'll see if I can match the performance in ASIIE. Personally, I rarely use that function so another perspective is very much welcomed.



#57 MikeBY

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 05:00 AM

Here is a crude video I did this morning. Still work in progress and testing/coding continues but at least you can see it in action.

I'm thinking of using the phone's date/time in the Setup Date n Setup Time section and wondering if there is a use case for not doing so.

https://youtu.be/e30e9IO1ydQ

There is a strong use case for using the android phone's date/time, timezone and GPS location data.  Android phones are much more reliable

and faster at getting location data than the unreliable aging GPS units in many of Meade's older GPS enabled mounts.  It also insures that the same

data source is used for android planetarium apps. 
Have you designed this in a way that hooks are available to drive your controls from a planetarium app on the same android device? 



#58 naji

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 10:07 AM

Hi Mike,

 

I've only used Skysafari in the past. I'm guessing here, but most planetariums control the mount using meade RS232 command set which is completely different from the HBX command set and much more comprehensive.

 

Once, I'm done with this implementation of having the ability to replace the ASII with an Android phone, I might start working on a RS232 version supporting OTG and WiFi, if there's a good reason to do so.

 

Another approach is to use a hybrid approach; Wifi for HBX and OTG for RS232 to just updated the GPS coordinates and date/time. Then you can have the planetarium control the mount. 

 

In my opinion its a lot easier for the planetarium software to do the full task since it should not be that difficult to add that functionality...



#59 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 05:56 PM

Gday Naji

Once more remember,

Once you have aligned or unparked, you should not be changing the location or date/time data

as you risk upsetting the internal clocks

By all means ise external means to set it on booting, but after that, be careful what gets done.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#60 spames

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 03:46 PM

Naji,

YouTube video looks good. 
Any time line on when a new download release date will be?

Good work.

 Thanks Steve



#61 Robert H.

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Posted Yesterday, 07:20 PM

Naji,

 For us tech challenged, will you be selling this in the Google play store as an app?  I'm sure I would not be able to load it on my phone or tablet otherwise.  Also, which wifi adapter do you recommend?

 

Amazing work!

Robert




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