Good morning everyone! I, like many others who are budding astrophotographers who use the ZWO ASIair Pro find that the WIFI functionality of the device leads us down a road of frustration. The ZWO ASIair and ASIair pro are well documented for having less than stellar WIFI range/performance and users are plagued with constant dropouts.
I purchased a RAVpower Filehub portable travel router (model RP-WD009) from Amazon for $33.99 (after a 30% discount). The RAVpower is a 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz capable device, that features a built in 6700mAh battery, built in USB and SD card interface. An ethernet port, and a USB C charging port. This device can operate as a "NAS" with it's built in in Filehub/media Server features and as a power bank that can recharge other devices like smart phones. The size is small and this device fits in the palm of my average sized hand.
After fully charging the device, I turned the device on, activated the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band with the mode selector on the side of the device, then connected to the device via WIFI on my laptop with the default password of "11111111". I opened my browser and navigated to 10.10.10.254, when prompted, I entered the username "admin" and left the password field blank, then logged into the device. I selected the Wizard icon to begin the setup of the device. In all this took about 3 minutes; all of the prompts were fairly self-explanatory, the device rebooted, I reconnected the laptop to the RAVpower RP-WD009 using the login credentials I created a few minutes before.
I then connected the ASIair pro to the RP-WD009 via a short ethernet cable, and strapped the RP-WD009 to one of the legs of my EQ6R-Pro tripod using a Velcro strap, I will spend some time designing and 3D printing a cradle that will more securely hold the device to the tripod. I then connected my Tablet to the RAVpower RP-WD009 via 5Gzh WIFI, launched the ASIair application and I was off-to-the races.
My 152mm Bresser Messier Carbon Fiber Maksutov-Newtonian (The predecessor to the ES Comet Hunter) sits on my patio in the back yard, and i did an initial WIFI range test, My home is approximately 2500sf and I had more than adequate signal strength in every room of the house using the 5Ghz band. I live in Miami and the house is constructed of concrete exterior walls. I was very surprised as the Comcast/Xfinity supplied Gateway/Router (XB7) has less 5Ghz signal strength in some areas of the house.
I decided I would spend the night capturing images of Thor's Helmet (NGC-2359), I set up a 5 hour job in the ASIair application, tweaked my focus and autoguiding and started the job just after 2100 EST. I checked in on it a couple times throughout the night for just about every room in the house with no issues, at about 2330 I decided I would leave the job to fate and went to bed. I woke at 0430 and made a cup of coffee, sat down at the dining room table, and checked in on the prior nights imaging. Low and behold, the job completed without a single hiccup!
Checking the battery status on the RAVpower travel router, after 9 hours of on-time the RP-WD009 still had 23% power (I estimate that the device would still have approximately 2 hours of batter power before shutting down). 11 hours of total run time is more than adequate for an imaging session in my opinion.
I couldn't be happier with this purchase, and I would recommend this device to anyone experiencing WIFI dropouts on their ZWO ASIair Pro!
ZWO left a lot on the table by not refining the WIFI capability of the ASIair Pro, especially considering that the issues have been well documented since the initial release of the ASIair, and a simple addition of a Medium Gain external WIFI antenna attached to the aluminum housing would be a simple and reasonably inexpensive revision to an "almost perfect device".
I hope this "rant" helped some of you along your journey in Astronomy/Astrophotography. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me here on CN!
Edited by sportfan1969, 05 March 2021 - 11:22 AM.