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ASCOM remote focus controller phone app.

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#1 bmcclana

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Posted 23 October 2021 - 10:25 AM

Anyone know of a phone app that can connect to an ASCOM remote server to control an electronic focuser?

 

or

 

Any software developers out there want to make one?



#2 sbradley07

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Posted 23 October 2021 - 11:41 AM

When you say "ASCOM remote server" are you referring to Alpaca, or do you just mean a computer running ASCOM?  In either case, ASCOM is running on something, which in turn can run software to control the focuser.  If it's Windows, you can remote into it from your phone using Windows Remote Desktop.  If it's Linux, you can remote into it with VNC.  Both require a wifi network; either your home network (if reachable) or a stand-alone network with a mini router in the field.



#3 bmcclana

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Posted 24 October 2021 - 06:23 AM

Yes, ASCOM remote server is on a computer connected to the scope.

 

the hope is for a native app that would be configured to connect directly the ASCOM server (alpaca) and control the focuser.

 

I realize I can Remote Desktop to a computer that has a control app (I do this now) but that is a lot more buttons and non-optimized UI for a phone screen than a native app.

 

imagine being in SkySafari and needing to refocus.  Just swap apps and immediately have the 4-5 buttons you need to control the focuser….



#4 Bob Denny

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Posted 24 October 2021 - 09:39 PM

@sbradley07 have a look at this info on the ASCOM Initiative site. It may fill in some blanks. At least the initial story board should help, but there are more detailed tidbits there as well. ASCOM Remote translates from Alpaca to classic ASCOM on Windows. For example SS7 has built-in Alpaca support, so it can control (e.g.) a Planewave or Paramount via ASCOM Remote. The magic is that the function calls on Alpaca and ASCOM classic are one for one identical. 

 

Obligatory statement: Alpaca is not dependent on Windows in any way. The info I linked-to above should clarify. If not please feel free to ask questions.


Edited by Bob Denny, 24 October 2021 - 09:40 PM.


#5 sbradley07

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 03:22 AM

@sbradley07 have a look at this info on the ASCOM Initiative site. It may fill in some blanks. At least the initial story board should help, but there are more detailed tidbits there as well. ASCOM Remote translates from Alpaca to classic ASCOM on Windows. For example SS7 has built-in Alpaca support, so it can control (e.g.) a Planewave or Paramount via ASCOM Remote. The magic is that the function calls on Alpaca and ASCOM classic are one for one identical. 

 

Obligatory statement: Alpaca is not dependent on Windows in any way. The info I linked-to above should clarify. If not please feel free to ask questions.

I fully understand what ASCOM and Alpaca are.  It was not clear to me whether, when the OP said "remote server", he was referring to ASCOM Remote or just ASCOM running on a remote PC.  He subsequently clarified that he was talking about Alpaca.  Since SS7 is a native mobile app that supports Alpaca, is that the answer to his question?



#6 Bob Denny

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:31 AM

Ah sorry if I sounded condescending. I believe he’s wanting focuser control via Alpaca as a feature of SS7 itself and therefore SS7 being able to control the focuser of his windows-resident ASCOM focuser, probably part of a mount/focuser pair. Here he is looking for something handheld that speaks Alpaca. Currently SS7 has Alpaca telescope/mount control, not focuser control. His handle here makes me think he is one of the active beta testers, and a very good one.

#7 bmcclana

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 10:51 AM

Thanks Bob, yes I am the same person. smile.gif

 

You are right, looking for handheld focuser control to go along with the mount control in SkySafari. 

 

I am still figuring out all the terminology. I was thinking that the ASCOM remote server is the program sitting on the scopeside computer and Alpaca is the protocol it speaks to talk to other network based devices.

 

So maybe more succinctly would be to ask for an Alpaca communication enabled phone app for focuser control through either the ASCOM remote server or eventually a native Alpaca enabled focuser device driver/control program.

 

I put this request on the radar of the SkySafari team, but no commitment for them to implement anything. 



#8 hcf

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 11:20 AM

In case no suitable app is found, a hack would be to write a "bridge server" like alpacascope which would sit between Sky Safari and ASCOM (pretending to be a mount) and convert some of the mount commands to ASCOM/Alpaca focuser commands.

The user would then connect to a different IP/Port for the focuser bridge server from Sky Safari  and use the slew buttons/slew speed to focus (no feedback from focuser though).



#9 Bob Denny

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 11:23 AM

For others reading this (Brian gets it!) maybe this diagram from the About ASCOM and Alpaca pages will clarify.

05A1EBC0-BEEB-4E6D-BAC2-10CF7E43B85F.jpeg

 


Edited by Bob Denny, 25 October 2021 - 11:24 AM.



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