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HomeBrew Gen3 PCB: WiFi+BT+GPS+MUSB+Relay !

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#226 mlord

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 07:15 AM

To use the HomeBrew Gen3, or any other Celestron accessory, with a Synscan compatible mount (eg. SkyWatcher), one needs to first acquire the Celestron AUX box thingie, which they sell ONLY as part of a full StarSense AutoAlign kit for SkyWatcher/Synscan.  This is Celestron part number 94006:  https://www.celestro...-watcher-mounts

 

That kit includes a regular StarSense Camera and Hand-Controller, as well as the special AUX box thingie.

 

Some day, I may try and borrow one of those, and work out the Celestron-to-Synscan protocol translation that the box does.  But for now, Celestron own it.

 

Cheers


Edited by mlord, 29 March 2023 - 01:55 PM.

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#227 Mike_vs_Mosquitoes

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 09:00 AM

thanks to mlord , I tried the GPS on a Sky-Watcher AZGTI-X  last night and it worked well . so did the nunchuck . maybe 90 minutes in , it lost alignment and kept going the wrong way so I shut it off and took a break .

 

Next time I'll try without the hand controller using sky-portal and/or skysafari . I wanted to last night after my break  but I fell asleep !  Thanks again Mark !! 



#228 mlord

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 09:09 AM

thanks to mlord , I tried the GPS on a Sky-Watcher AZGTI-X  last night and it worked well . so did the nunchuck . maybe 90 minutes in , it lost alignment and kept going the wrong way so I shut it off and took a break .

90 minutes sounds about right for those AA batteries you were using..



#229 Mike_vs_Mosquitoes

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 09:16 AM

right..  they are showing 11.2 volts this morning but it got cold last night , about -8 C .  I need something bigger but still wish to avoid cord wrap .  



#230 mlord

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 09:38 AM

I use a DeWalt power-tool battery with a voltage converter, hanging from the moving part of the mount to prevent cord-wrap.

https://www.cloudyni...lescope-mounts/


Edited by mlord, 29 March 2023 - 09:39 AM.

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#231 Chote

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 12:51 AM

To use the HomeBrew Gen3, or any other Celestron accessory, with a Synscan compatible mount (eg. SkyWatcher), one needs to first acquire the Celestron AUX box thingie, which they sell ONLY as part of a full StarSense AutoAlign kit for SkyWatcher/Synscan.  This is Celestron part number 94006:  https://www.celestro...-watcher-mounts

 

That kit includes a regular StarSense Camera and Hand-Controller, as well as the special AUX box thingie.

 

Some day, I may try and borrow one of those, and work out the Celestron-to-Synscan protocol translation that the box does.  But for now, Celestron own it.

 

Cheers

Thanks.
Actually Celestron is selling only the interface box separately under product number 70000, but it is quite expensive at well over US100. Technically, I guess, it is a somewhat active interface.



#232 mlord

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 07:22 AM

Actually Celestron is selling only the interface box separately under product number 70000,

I cannot find any such product at the Celestron web site, nor when searching for it.  Do you have a link?
 



#233 Mike_vs_Mosquitoes

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 08:46 AM

found one in the UK here ;

https://www.microglo...er-p-20937.html

 

they call it an "Interference Box"     lol.gif



#234 mlord

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 08:53 AM

They don't actually have any to sell.

 

"We are waiting for the stock of Celestron 70000 Starsense Interference Box For Skywatcher."



#235 dlwmacgregor

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 09:46 AM

Why would it be for only a Skywatcher?

Aren't all Celestron AUX ports standard?



#236 dlwmacgregor

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 09:53 AM

They don't actually have any to sell.

 

"We are waiting for the stock of Celestron 70000 Starsense Interference Box For Skywatcher."

Don't they mean "Interface" Box?

Why Interference?



#237 dlwmacgregor

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 10:03 AM

That Microglobe website seams a little flaky.

 

On the "Contact US" page they say...

 

We alway protact your personal data accordingly to our Privacy Notice

 

Sounds like a typical Chinese website to me.


Edited by dlwmacgregor, 30 March 2023 - 10:03 AM.


#238 KenF9000

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 03:38 AM

Is this the cable that goes between the "Homebrew Gen3" and the Aux port on the scope - Thanks.

 

https://www.amazon.c...lv_ov_lig_dp_it



#239 Panotaker

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 05:42 AM

Here is my Nexstar 8 GPS working like a champ with the StarSense Camera and the external GPS and the wifi running everything from my iPad. I picked up a prebuilt relay board from mlord and it works perfectly. Before getting the relay board, I had to type in the time and date and do a two star alignment before I could use the scope. Now I just set the scope outside, and it aligns itself automatically. It works great and I highly recommend it.
Nexstarrelay.jpg
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#240 mlord

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 07:50 AM

Is this the cable that goes between the "Homebrew Gen3" and the Aux port on the scope - Thanks.

https://www.amazon.c...lv_ov_lig_dp_it

The product photo looks correct.  Any 6-wire 6P6C cable will work so long as the two ends are identical as with that one.

 

Cheers



#241 mlord

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 07:54 AM

Why would it be for only a Skywatcher?

Aren't all Celestron AUX ports standard?

They (mostly) are.  But Skywatcher uses a quite different interface.  So Celestron makes this box, with a microprocessor inside, that acts as a Relay/Bridge between Celestron AUX accessories and the SkyWatcher interface.  It performs some protocol translations for the motor controllers, and the StarSense hand-controller has special provisions in its (standard) firmware for dealing with that box.

 

Celestron does not sell the box separately, because then people would buy more SkyWatcher mounts instead of more Celestron mounts.  They created the box specifically to help them sell the StarSense AutoAlign system to people who already have SkyWatcher mounts -- because nobody with a SkyWatcher mount is likely to want to downgrade to a Celestron mount.  smile.gif

 

I may someday try and borrow a SkyWatcher mount and one of those interface boxes, and do a full reverse engineer of it all.  But it ought to be possible to manage without that too, as the SkyWatcher (SynScan) protocol is a known/published thing.

 

EDIT:  Back to the (mostly) bit: Older Celestron mounts have slightly different AUX ports -- eg. on the AS-GT mount and different again on the Nexstar GPS mounts.  And some AUX things use 3.3V signalling whereas most are 5V.  So I created my own little "box" called a HomeBrew Relay which adapts those or any others to the most modern AUX hardware version, and with WiFi+BT and some protocol conversion of its own to enable the SkyPortal/SkySafari apps to work.  That's what user Panotaker posted about just above.

 

Cheers
 


Edited by mlord, 01 April 2023 - 11:18 AM.

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#242 pbddict1

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 11:15 AM

I did search the thread... and didn't see this info, and wanted to confirm for anyone curious or wanting clarification. 

 

THIS DEVICE WORKS AMAZINGLY WELL WITH CPWI !!!!!

 

(I'm pretty stoked about this...)

 

Celestron PlaneWave Instruments (CPWI) Telescope Control Software is free, really nice to align (and All Star Polar Align as well), and has a lot of tools to configure your mount directly (far better than poking buttons and digging thought menus on the hand control).

 

No extra effort, no fiddling around... just connect the computer that you are running CPWI on to the HomeBrew Wifi SSID, and have fun!

 

1.png

 

I have some thoughts started about printing a new enclosure that would hug the center housing of my CGEM mount(maybe it secures in the polar hole), putting the guts from one of these $40 Amazon sourced Lithium jumper packs and a Homebrew in it with GPS, OLED, and the 3amp USB buck supply, and having a zero cord wrap, very short cabled, all in one mount support system... 

Gonna think on that for a bit...  


Edited by pbddict1, 02 April 2023 - 11:17 AM.

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#243 mlord

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 11:20 AM

I did search the thread... and didn't see this info.. THIS DEVICE WORKS AMAZINGLY WELL WITH CPWI !!!!!

The very first post (#1) of this thread says that already.  smile.gif

Note that one can also connect the HomeBrew Gen3 over USB for a wired connection with CPWI.


Edited by mlord, 02 April 2023 - 11:26 AM.

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#244 SieglindeFestkochend

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 12:59 PM

I have a NexStar 8SE and together with the HomeBrew Gen3a I have a problem:

 

  • The start of the telescope succeeds in 60% of the cases. The hand control then displays: "verifying packages - please wait" and then "scanning - please wait" and success: "NexStar SE".
  • In the other cases, the display is: "verifying packages - please wait" and then "seeking mount" and the error messages no answer 16 and 17.

 

I can't identify any circumstances that are reproducible, maybe the power supply is a factor, so the error more common when the power supply is slightly below the optimal value. The error can also occur with a suitable power pack or a large 12V battery.

 

Does anyone have any idea what is causing an error here, which does or does not appear every now and then?

 

I saw that the electronics of the NexStar SE reacted a little more "demandingly" and therefore the resistors in the Rx and Tx lines were sometimes 50K, 75K or 100K ohms, depending on the construction proposal. Could this be the reason for the susceptibility to errors?

According to my measurements, the Gen3a is two 100K and two 50K resistors. I believe Mark Lord's October 2022 version 4 schematic was more stable on the SE with three 100K and one 50K. That could possibly be tested with a 50K resistor in series... Mark, what could happen there?

 

It can also be a mistake in the soldering work or other inaccuracies in the assembly. I assemble a second Gen3a, then there is a new test.



#245 pbddict1

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 01:02 PM

The very first post (#1) of this thread says that already.  smile.gif

Note that one can also connect the HomeBrew Gen3 over USB for a wired connection with CPWI.

Well..ya made me look at my history..

 

Had i searched for CPWI instead of cWpi ... I'd not feel like a fool right now. 

 

My apologies... but at least it's complimentary... so other than thread bloat, no harm...

 

(beleive it or not... I did read this whole thread(albeit rapidly)... I guess I only retained the facts I was looking for at the time...)


Edited by pbddict1, 02 April 2023 - 01:05 PM.

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#246 dlwmacgregor

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 01:10 PM

Has anyone, in their communications with Celestron, received any indication (besides saying it will be addressed in the next Beta) that they will fix the Cord Wrap setting in CPWI?

The Cord Wrap setting works but the Setting in CPWI doesn't keep.

What I mean is, you go into Telescope Config and the Setting for Cord Wrap is always off, whether or not it has been set previously for the current session.

I suggested to Celestron that a graphic indicator on the CPWI Desktop would be useful.

I am using 2.4.3 Final.

The last communication I had with them was in February.

Doug



#247 mlord

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 03:35 PM

According to my measurements, the Gen3a is two 100K and two 50K resistors.

The Gen3 design uses a 1M pull-up for the RX(TX) signals, and 100K on the BUSY line.  Everything else is actively driven and not reliant upon random pull-ups.

 

The SE mount has perhaps Celestron's poorest version of AUX electronics.  There are other threads here on CN where people have similar difficulties using only Celestron branded accessories with those mounts.

 

Cheers


Edited by mlord, 02 April 2023 - 04:20 PM.


#248 dlwmacgregor

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 05:27 PM

 

The SE mount has perhaps Celestron's poorest version of AUX electronics.

 

Cheers

Mark, could you elaborate on that? I have an 8SE and 3 AUX accessories (WiFi dongle, StarSense and Focus Motor.

 

Thanks

Doug

 



#249 mlord

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Posted 02 April 2023 - 05:40 PM

Mark, could you elaborate on that?

People's success with them seems to me to be a bit random.  The SE mount I once had worked perfectly (of course!), but then I keep reading about people fiddling with the two AUX ports on the mount trying to get accessories to work.  As I said, there are other threads here that discuss people's problems with purely Celestron gear on SE mounts.  You'll have to search for those.

 

Meanwhile, this thread is for HomeBrew Gen3 stuff!
 



#250 SieglindeFestkochend

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Posted 03 April 2023 - 11:49 AM

Meanwhile, this thread is for HomeBrew Gen3 stuff!
 

In the other threads (all in one...) it was also about whether the circuit is compatible with the SE and there were adjustments that worked well with the SE. That's why I dared to ask the question about the resistors.

 

Would it be possible to get a schematic of the circuit Gen3a? Then I could go looking for what could lead to the unreliable operation on the SE.

 

Please don't take this as a quibble here, I'm very excited that the work on the Gen3 is being shared here.




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