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

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#1326 mlord

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 08:17 PM

The GPS receivers recommended and supported here .. do not have long term memory, so any settings changes are lost at power off.

I have now implemented enough of the UBX protocol for GPS receivers in the HBG3, to be able to query and change internal settings.  The BE-182 modules actually do have on-board flash memory for retaining settings over power-cycles  I have yet to discover if they can retain GPS assistance data though.
 

Here is some info read out from the BE-182 module:

 

swVersion=ROM SPG 5.10 (7b202e), hwVersion=000A0000
  ext: FWVER=SPG 5.10
  ext: PROTVER=34.10
  ext: GPS;GLO;GAL;BDS
  ext: SBAS;QZSS

  GPS: sup=1,def=1,ena=1
  GLO: sup=1,def=0,ena=0
  BDS: sup=1,def=1,ena=1
  GAL: sup=1,def=1,ena=1
  Max simul: 3

 

So it is a Ublox-10 receiver (000A0000) with all of the latest fancy bells and whistles.

By default, it is configured for GPS+BEIDOU+GALILEO systems (USA+China+Europe).

It also supports the Russian GLONASS system, but can only enable three systems at a time.

I wonder if GLONASS would be an improvement on BEIDOU here?  Probably not.

 

I have the HBG3 firmware now enabling the AssistNow-Offline feature, which could be useful when the HBG3 is in "Access Point" mode and can get UTC time from the internet, which it passes along to the GPS module.  There's also a command/button-press to download full AssistNow-Online data (Ublox version of Assisted-GPS) and send that to the GPS.

 

I'm not getting consistent results from seeding my GPS with that data after power-on though.  I am indoors, but that shouldn't matter much, as the GPS does eventually acquire multiple satellites and get a good fix.  Just not as quick as I expect it to with the A-GPS data.

 

Mobile phone GPS receivers still have one up on us though, in that the phone can use cell tower information to send a rough initial position to the receiver, enabling it to achieve satellite lock much more quickly than us.


Edited by mlord, 08 April 2024 - 08:22 PM.


#1327 MarkEHansen

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 06:34 AM

I noticed with the latest firmware that just after the GPS status page, there is a page which says I can press/hold the button to save the GPS data.

I tried this, but after a power cycle, the GPS page still shows no location information (most times).

 

What does this "save" feature do?



#1328 mlord

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 07:25 AM

just after the GPS status page, there is a page which says I can press/hold the button to save the GPS data.

..

What does this "save" feature do?

Cloudy Nights actually does have a reasonably effective Search..This Topic feature, at top right on the web page.  So we could either clutter this discussion with even more repeats of things already discussed, or people could simply search before asking.
 

In this case, just put the two words save gps into the search box, and click the search icon there.  Among the results, is this one: https://www.cloudyni...post&p=13082808  And a later post builds on that functionality here:  https://www.cloudyni...post&p=13139022


Edited by mlord, 09 April 2024 - 07:31 AM.

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#1329 Ice Cube

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 11:01 PM

just received last week a brand new HGB3 assembled and tested by mlord.

this HGB3 was at the latest firmware as of last wednesday

 

on the second use of the HBG3 (this saturday while testing all my equipment for the solar eclipse) when attached to an EVO mount, the mount stopped responding to HBG3/nunchuck commands mid-slew.

 

slew commands from Sky Portal to the HBG3 still work in Direct Access and Access Point modes

and the Nextstar+ HC can slew the mount w/o issue.

 

figured it was a faulty nunchuck from amazon, so ordered two more nunchucks which arrived just in time from my return from the eclipse.

 

to my surprise, the HGB3 doesn't slew the mount with either of the two new nunchucks.

 

the HGB3 blinks BLUE three times on power up, and once when the nunchuck is connected.

the RED led stays lit once power is applied.

 

applied the latest update.  still no mount slew response when using the HBG3 w/ nunchuck

 

any tips on how to getting the nunchuck to work w/ the HBG3 would be appreciated



#1330 mlord

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 01:52 AM

to my surprise, the HGB3 doesn't slew the mount with either of the two new nunchucks.

... the HGB3 blinks BLUE .. once when the nunchuck is connected.

Okay, that BLUE blink means the Nunchuck was detected and works.

You just need to re-read the HBG3 documentation now: https://rtr.ca/hbg3/nunchuck.html

.. and then pay attention when you accidently push both buttons at the same time.  smile.gif

 

[EDIT: repaired the web link]


Edited by mlord, 10 April 2024 - 09:20 AM.

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#1331 MarkEHansen

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 06:11 AM

Using a Nunchuck with the HomeBrew Gen3 (HBG3): https://rtr.ca/hbg3/nunchuck.html


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#1332 Ice Cube

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 10:18 AM

Okay, that BLUE blink means the Nunchuck was detected and works.

You just need to re-read the HBG3 documentation now: https://rtr.ca/hbg3/nunchuck.html

.. and then pay attention when you accidently push both buttons at the same time.  smile.gif

 

[EDIT: repaired the web link]

thanks all.

since i don't have a focuser, i hadn't considered that a mode switch was even a possible issue!

 

all three nunchucks working great with HBG3 now!


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#1333 jmoflhrc

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 07:17 PM

Strange thing for me it feels like 8.43 has made my BN-180 GPS module very slow to get a fix if I'm able to get one at all.  Flashing back to 8.40 seems faster and works 100% of the time.  All weekend long I was away and of course forgot to bring a USB-C adapter to connect to my machine to flash back and fought with my setup to get a GPS fix.

 

What modules are people using for GPS?  

 

Thanks!



#1334 mlord

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 08:22 PM

v8.43 does nothing different than v8.40 to any GPS module, other than not putting it to sleep after it gets a fix.

 

Note that when a GPS has not been used in a while, it will take longer to get a first fix.  Subsequently it is usually quite quick again.


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#1335 jmoflhrc

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 08:41 PM

v8.43 does nothing different than v8.40 to any GPS module, other than not putting it to sleep after it gets a fix.

 

Note that when a GPS has not been used in a while, it will take longer to get a first fix.  Subsequently it is usually quite quick again.

Yeah I figured so much, been going back and fourth between versions tonight testing.  I'm going to get a different GPS module, this one seems suspect.  

 

Thanks!



#1336 gmiller123456

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 11:20 PM

Is there an updated schematic that includes the OLED?  The one linked from the website (https://rtr.ca/hbg3/) seems to be an old version.  Also, the schematic shows pin 3 of the RJ11 going to pin 3 of PWR, but there's no explanation of what pin 3 PWR is that I can find.



#1337 mlord

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 10:40 AM

Is there an updated schematic that includes the OLED?  The one linked from the website (https://rtr.ca/hbg3/) seems to be an old version.  Also, the schematic shows pin 3 of the RJ11 going to pin 3 of PWR, but there's no explanation of what pin 3 PWR is that I can find.

The only schematic I have ever drawn for this is the one you found.  The OLED, Nunchuck, and FRAM chip all connect directly (in parallel) to the I2C pins (GND,3V3,SCL,SDA) of the ESP32.  There are also now 5.1K pull-up resistors on SCL/SDA on the latest PCBs.

 

The 3-pin PWR device is the buck converter.  You already know that one of those pins is GND, and one is +12V from AUX.  The schematic shows the remaining pin as +5V from PWR to the rest of the circuitry.

 

Cheers
 


Edited by mlord, 12 April 2024 - 11:33 AM.


#1338 mlord

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 12:42 PM

For GPS, here's something I seem to have forgotten about over the last year:

The spec sheets consistently state "Voltage:DC 3.6V-5.5V, typical: 5.0V".

 

The HBG3 only supplies 3.3V on the 4-pin header for GPS.  This works fine, but if one wants to experiment, then connect the red (voltage) wire of the GPS module to 5V instead of the 3V3 pad.  Then see if you can repeatedly notice a difference over a few weeks of trials.

 

But do try and be scientific about it, eg. remembering that a GPS which has had a recent fix will typically re-acquire very quickly regardless of most other factors.

 

I had not previously tried this myself until now, because of concern that 5V into the GPS might result in 5V signalling out from its Tx line.  But I finally hooked that up to the scope here, and it uses 3.3V signalling even with the 5V input.  So it's safe to try, and I'll probably use 5V on the GPS header next time (if ever) I order more PCBs.

 

On a related note, today seems to be a "good" GPS day at my location.  My GPS receivers, both 3.3V and 5V, are acquiring reasonably quick fixes indoors here now.


Edited by mlord, 12 April 2024 - 12:43 PM.

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#1339 Ice Cube

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 03:07 PM

can HBG3 be plugged into an already powered up EVO mount?

 

just generating a setup checklist with the proper OoO for myself



#1340 fuadramsey

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 03:16 PM

can HBG3 be plugged into an already powered up EVO mount?

 

just generating a setup checklist with the proper OoO for myself

It's my understanding you should never plug anything into an AUX port on a powered Celestron mount. 



#1341 mlord

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 03:31 PM

can HBG3 be plugged into an already powered up EVO mount?

Only if you don't mind frying electronics in the mount, the HBG3, or anything else connected the mount.

 

The connectors are not hot-plug safe.  This means they don't have longer pins for Power/GND, so the connection order when plugging in is somewhat indeterminate, and Power may try to find its way back to GND via one of the lower voltage signal pins as a result. Frying stuff.

 

Examples of connectors which ARE hot-plug safe include any type of USB connector, or the Nunchuck connector.  Look at those very closely, and you may notice that each has two contacts that stick slightly further out than the rest, for Power and GND.

 

Ethernet cables use connectors similar to those on the HBG3 and other astronomy gear (not just Celestron .. most brands use the same connector style).  But ethernet is hot-plug safe, because of the extra electronics that make it so, in each and every device that implements ethernet.

 

Cheers


Edited by mlord, 13 April 2024 - 11:19 AM.

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#1342 mlord

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 05:01 PM

They don't actually have any to sell.

 

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

Well well.. this little item now actually DOES exist as a standalone product.

A friend of mine in Germany has now purchased one of them:

https://www.teleskop...er-mounts-15929

 

starsense skywatcher hub.jpg


Edited by mlord, 14 April 2024 - 09:16 AM.

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#1343 scopewizard

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 09:05 PM

Well well.. this little item now actually DOES exist as a standalone product.

A friend of mine in Germany has now purchased one of them:

https://www.teleskop...er-mounts-15929

 

attachicon.gif starsense skywatcher hub.jpg

It is in store in UK,

 

A friend of mine got it in the UK.

 

Sorry in Canada it it is the camera and Celestron 70000 Starsense Interference Box For Skywatcher


Edited by scopewizard, 13 April 2024 - 09:23 PM.

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#1344 Chayko

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 02:08 PM

I have a question on using the HBG3 + RELAY and the Celestron 94005 StarSense AutoAlign with my 6/8 SE Nexstar mount and wifi to Iphone

 

I understand that the HBG3 + RELAY can be plugged into either the hand control jack (Hc removed) or the aux port. 

 

***In changing HBG3 + RELAY and Starsense jacks locations between Hc, aux and relay ports power is always off. ***
 

HBG3 + RELAY Plugged into HC port works as it should including 3 blue flashes + connection

  -  If adding starsense auto align to aux port on mount, on startup I do not get 3 blue flashes or 

      connection. 
-  If adding starsense auto align to relay port on HBG3, on startup I get 3 blue flashes + 
      connection + functional StarSense Auto Align

 

HBG3 + RELAY Plugged into AUX port works as it should including 3 blue flashes + connection
-  If adding starsense auto align to relay port on HBG3, on startup I get 3 blue flashes +
      connection + functional StarSense Auto Align

 

So why does my StarSense auto align not work when plugged into the aux port with HBG3 + relay in Hc port?

 

thanks
 

      



#1345 fdboucher

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 02:36 PM

Well well.. this little item now actually DOES exist as a standalone product.

A friend of mine in Germany has now purchased one of them:

https://www.teleskop...er-mounts-15929

 

attachicon.gif starsense skywatcher hub.jpg

OMG! I almost can't believe this… I just ordered one… shall see if this goes through…

 

Thanks very much for the heads up!


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#1346 mlord

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 02:37 PM

.. why does my StarSense auto align not work when plugged into the aux port, with HBG3 + relay in Hc port?

That's one of the mysteries from Celestron, and a good part of the motivation in creating the Relay add-on: to solve silly issues like that!  :)

 

The SE mount uses high impedance signals on the AUX bus.  This means the Tx/Rx lines pass through 40-50K resistors inside the mount before they are connected to logic.  This also makes them highly susceptible to noise, and fussy about what combinations of things are plugged into AUX ports.

 

Others have observed similar failures to what you saw, with only Celestron-branded stuff plugged into the same SE mount.

 

I finally now have a decent digital oscilloscope here, and would love to have a look at an SE mount with StarSense connected, to see how weak the signals probably are..

 



#1347 nexStar2008

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 09:39 PM

I can't send private messages to you mlord, so if you can send me one that would be great, looking to purchase a HBG3. Thanks and apologies for adding clutter to your thread.



#1348 ajkrishock

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 11:34 AM

That's one of the mysteries from Celestron, and a good part of the motivation in creating the Relay add-on: to solve silly issues like that!  smile.gif

 

The SE mount uses high impedance signals on the AUX bus.  This means the Tx/Rx lines pass through 40-50K resistors inside the mount before they are connected to logic.  This also makes them highly susceptible to noise, and fussy about what combinations of things are plugged into AUX ports.

 

Others have observed similar failures to what you saw, with only Celestron-branded stuff plugged into the same SE mount.

 

I finally now have a decent digital oscilloscope here, and would love to have a look at an SE mount with StarSense connected, to see how weak the signals probably are..

 

So, the Homebrew Gen3 device, connected to the hand controller port, doesn't work with a StarSense camera connected to one of the other aux ports? Does the StarSense have to be connected to one of the Gen3 relay ports?



#1349 mlord

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 11:40 AM

So, the Homebrew Gen3 device, connected to the hand controller port, doesn't work with a StarSense camera connected to one of the other aux ports? Does the StarSense have to be connected to one of the Gen3 relay ports?

No, that setup works for some people.  It's not specific to the HBG3 -- other Celestron devices (eg. Focus Motor + StarSense) also fail in situations like that, but not for everyone.  It's just a random thing with Celestron accessories plugged into the SE mounts.

 

But yes, if you plug an HBG3-Relay into either port on the mount, it then gives two new AUX ports on their own electrically separate bus, which work with pretty much anything, including StarSense.  The HBG3 CPU acts as a packet router between the mount's AUX port and the two Relay ports, making them all behave as if they were on a single bus.  Except things actually work then!  smile.gif


Edited by mlord, 18 April 2024 - 11:47 AM.


#1350 mlord

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 02:34 PM

Well well.. this little item now actually DOES exist as a standalone product. [Celestron Interface Box for SkyWatcher/StarSense]

The SkyWatcher AZ-GTi mount I ordered finally is here.  Just tried it out with SkySafari, and wow.. what a kludge, having to run a SynScan phone app, and do alignment from the app, before SkySafari will connect to the mount.  Blah.

 

So, looking forward to getting a HomeBrew SynScan relay built/programmed now.  This would enable the SkyWatcher/SynScan mounts to be treated as if they were Celestron mounts, including then having SkySafari perform the alignments natively!




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