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How to "fix" WiFiScope (to lash up Sky Safari to Blue Stacks)

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#1 EmeraldHills

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Posted 07 July 2021 - 05:00 PM

For several months, I've been using WiFiScope.exe, a little free utility from the developers of Sequence Generator Pro

 

https://www.sequence...oad/wifi-scope/

 

to operate Sky Safari pro within the Android emulator, Bluestacks, in Windows, to control an Ascom scope. It's been working great. But little by little, it seems that WiFiScope has become completely "broken." This is manifested by the fact that, once activated, we can't GET to WiFiScope to click the activate button. (I think it's called "Open.") Has anyone else experienced this behavior? And, if so, has anyone developed a work-around or fix?

 

This has become serious enough that I reinstalled Starry Night again last night to see if anyone had updated it. Sadly, they hadn't. It still doesn't seem to "think like I think." I'd love to recover use of Sky Safari.

 

Thanks in advance for any help or ideas.

 

Doug



#2 synfinatic

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 10:03 AM

Hey Doug,

 

So I too had problems with WiFiScope... except for me it would crash every few minutes.  Drove me nuts.  Anyways, I gave up trying to get it to work and so I wrote Alpacascope which works with ASCOM via Ascom-Remote (the Alpaca gateway for ASCOM).

 

Anyways, Alpacascope isn't really in active development right now (been busy on other projects) so I can't promise a pretty GUI anytime soon, but as far as I know it has worked for everyone who has tried it.  If you have questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer.


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#3 EmeraldHills

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 10:15 AM

Wow... I've heard of this (Alpacascope) but for some reason, I thought it ran only on Rasberry Pi units. I downloaded your Alpacascope and will try it tonight. Wow. Aaron. Thank you so much!



#4 EmeraldHills

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 09:21 PM

Hi Aaron. Boy - you wrote this Alpacascope thing as a labor of love - and you didn't want to have to support it. But wow... I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

https://www.loom.com...5517b560776ac6e

I don't suppose you'd take a look at the above video and try to tell me what I might be doing wrong please, but I'm so sorry to have to ask!

 

Hey Doug,

 

So I too had problems with WiFiScope... except for me it would crash every few minutes.  Drove me nuts.  Anyways, I gave up trying to get it to work and so I wrote Alpacascope which works with ASCOM via Ascom-Remote (the Alpaca gateway for ASCOM).

 

Anyways, Alpacascope isn't really in active development right now (been busy on other projects) so I can't promise a pretty GUI anytime soon, but as far as I know it has worked for everyone who has tried it.  If you have questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer.



#5 synfinatic

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 02:50 PM

Hey Doug!

 

No worries.

 

So I watched your video... that actually helped me understand your problem a lot.

 

So the short version is you need to run ASCOM Remote Server (which I see you are running at 45 seconds into your video) AND my software: AlpacaScope and then tell SkySafari/etc to talk to AlpacaScope.

 

Basically, ASCOM Remote Server is a gateway between ASCOM (which talks to your mount and other hardware) and exposes it as an Alpaca service.  When you run AlpacaScope it should automatically discover ASCOM Remote Server (it uses the port 32222 to discover that ASCOM Remote Server is listening on port 11111) and open up its own port for SkySafari (default is 4030).   FWIW, SkySafari has an "auto detect sky-fi" feature, which AlpacaScope supports so you should just be able to enable that and ignore the TCP/IP settings. :)

 

AlpacaScope by default speaks the Celstron NexStar protocol, so you should tell SkySafari it is "Celestron NexStar/Advanced GT".  It shouldn't matter what kind of mount you actually have.  You can also try the LX200 protocol if you wish/have issues with nexstar.

 

Basically:

  1. Your mount speaks ASCOM. 
  2. ASCOM Remote Servers converts ASCOM to Alpaca
  3. AlpacaScope converts Alpaca to NexStar (or LX200)
  4. SkySafari speaks NexStar.

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#6 EmeraldHills

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 08:59 PM

Aaron, how did you ever figure all this out?



#7 synfinatic

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 01:58 PM

Oh, you know how Superman can fly and is super strong?  Well my super power is learning new things. :)

 

LMK if you get it working or if you need more assistance!


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#8 EmeraldHills

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 09:18 PM

hilarious.

I'm on a road trip now - but I'll try it when I get back home again. Thanks again.


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#9 EmeraldHills

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 07:00 PM

Still can't get it lashed up.

I start the ASCOM server. (I actually use GS Green Swamp server, but it's the same thing.)

Then I start ASCOM Remote Server

Then I start your Alpace Scope- and your software doesn't complain. It just ...vanishes.

But SkySafari won't connect to the chain. Rats.

 

Is it easier if I just give up and try to use Cartes du Ciel? It's just not as fun.

 

I downloaded a trial version of SGP and I can't find WiFiScope capability in it yet.



#10 EmeraldHills

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 07:13 PM

Jared said, "Is the WifiScope icon on your taskbar somewhere?  Does it look like it's running other than not being present? 

If you use a laptop docked with a monitor windows can occasionally be a little weird about window positioning. 

 

Assuming the icon is there can you hover over it and when the preview pops up can you right click to Move or Restore the window?

 

Jared"

 

I said, "Yes - it's there in the task bar and appears active - except... in another dimension of the Twilight Zone. Using a laptop - with the native screen.

Whoa... hallelujah. "move" brought it back on the screen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

That's a CRAZY simple response.

Wow - thank you!"

 

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

 

Thank you CloudyNights!


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#11 synfinatic

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:00 PM

Sounds like you got WiFiScope working!  That's great to hear.

 

Anyways, if you're open to telling me how you are starting Alpacascope I would find that useful to understand what is going on so I can either fix the issue or provide better documentation for next time.



#12 EmeraldHills

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:06 PM

Thanks so much, Aaron. You're very kind.

I double-clicked the executable? Is there something else I should do?



#13 synfinatic

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:43 PM

Nope, that's correct :)

 

So assuming ASCOM Remote Server is running, I would expect one of two things happen:

 

1. When you double-click alpacascope, a terminal box pops up and it runs for a few seconds and shows this before quitting:

 

alpacascope-exit.png

 

2. When you double-click alpacascope, a terminal box pops up for about 1 second and disappears before you have a chance to read anything, but you'll see an error like:

 

172.16.1.115:11111 GET /api/v1/telescope/0/connected
ERROR - ClientId: 1, ClientTransactionID: 1 - Device telescope/0 did not start correctly and is unavailable: Device ASCOM.CPWI.Telescope is unavailable - it threw an error while being connected: could not communicate with CPWI, request =/mount/reconnect

 

In the ASCOM Remote Server console.

 

 

Does either of these sound like what you're experiencing? 

 

FWIW, the first case means it can't automatically discover (find) ASCOM Remote Server running on your computer for some reason.  I assume you're running them on the same box?  Have you changed any ASCOM Remote Server settings?

 

The second case means that it found ASCOM Remote Server, but your telescope mount is not configured in ASCOM Remote Server.  You'll want to click the "Setup" button and configure your telescope and other accessories.  This is mine for example:

ascom-remote.png

 

 

The important thing is your telescope mount you want Alpacascope to use is set to Device Number 0.



#14 EmeraldHills

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:58 PM

Earlier, a few days ago, it was saying it failed. But then when you sent me the extra help, I got it sorted out - and it no longer fails.

 

This extra information helped. Now it says:

Device Telescope 0 (ASCOM.GS.Sky.Telescope) connected OK and is available
ASCOM Remote Alpaca device listening URI: http://127.0.0.1:11111/api/
Listening for IPv4 discovery broadcasts on port 32227.
IPv6 discovery not enabled.
Server started successfully.
ERROR - Device Focuser 0 (ASCOM.Celestron.Focuser) failed to connect and is NOT available: Connect failed, no port defined and no Celestron scope detected
Device Telescope 0 (ASCOM.GS.Sky.Telescope) connected OK and is available
ASCOM Remote Alpaca device listening URI: http://127.0.0.1:11111/api/
Listening for IPv4 discovery broadcasts on port 32227.
IPv6 discovery not enabled.
Server started successfully.

 

---

 

Is that ok?

 

I don't have my focuser attched - so I wouldn't expect it to find that until I actually hook it up.



#15 synfinatic

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 10:28 PM

That sounds about right.  If you launch Alpacascope does it stay running?



#16 EmeraldHills

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 10:37 PM

It seems to launch ok - but I can't tell if it's running or not. Maybe Wednesday night i can actually get the mount and OTA out under the stars and attempt it then for real -- rather than with the "simulator." It's supposed to be clear.



#17 synfinatic

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:48 PM

You should be able to connect to Alpacascope via SkySafari assuming the console box doesn't close/crash.  There's no pretty UI or anything like that if you're looking for it :) 




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