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By Ade Turner
I’ve been using my 8’ Edge HD on an Evolution mount for a couple of years now and I added a wedge to it a few months back. Using SkyPortal with StarSense I’ve never really had any major issues getting it aligned.
Last night I was setting up to photograph Mars and went through my normal procedure. StarSense took its images but, after confirming success with the third plate, instead of just winding up a bit and parking it proceeded to pitch the ota towards the north well below the horizon.
Fortunately nothing snagged. I skipped the ASPA and instructed it to goto Mars and was surprised to find it was spot on (better than usual actually).
Anyone any ideas why it took that nose dive? Thanks.
By Arshad Wali Muhammad
Hi. I have Celestron CPC 1100 EdgeHD with Starsense and WiFi Module. During the alignment process, WiFi module stops responding, whereas my tablet or iPhone is connected to the WiFi module, the SkyPortal message pops up that connection is failed and scope isn’t responding? Can anyone help me how t fix this urgently ? It was working fine yesterday but now I can see this message. I though it’s a power issue, so I disconnected the power tank and connected the scope directly to the electricity through supplied adapter, but failed.
I have been lucky enough to have been purchased an 8SE for my birthday. Shameful to admit but this was 2 years ago and my competence has not increased much. Partly because I don't get a lot of time to play!
Every now and then, I take the scope out in earnest for some star based escapism. The trouble is, my lack of scope skills means that I dont escape very far!
I have never got on with the hand control of the 8SE. I have watched a lot of videos and read the instructions and the three star align process fails me most times. I read a post on here about making sure that the two 'index' stickers are aligned when attaching the OTA, which I have done.
I have done what I can to make sure that the settings are all correct, including time, location etc.
To overcome these frustrations, I purchased the WiFi attachment to be used with the SkyPortal app.
This configuration has been a lot more successful! I manage to align the scope using three stars each and every time - progress at last! I have slewed to the ring nebula, hit Andromeda without any problems. I'm finally getting to enjoy the cosmos!
However, all is not perfect. I slew to Andromeda, have a 5 minute gander at it and then use the 'best tonight' database to slew to something else. This is where it goes wrong. The scope slews to the earth. The on-screen scope location cross also shows it to be pointing at the earth, yet I told the scope to go to Vega. It tried to slew 360 and I had to stop it before the eyepiece smashed into the aux cable. Why would the scope do this? Handset software out of date? Scope set up incorrectly?
If this sounds like a classic dumb dumb error, please let me know. I'm starting to think my scope is faulty and my lack of experience means I have no way of telling.
Thanks to any helpful tips in advance.
By Craig Shaw
I have searched SGL for a tutorial incase this has been covered so forgive me if it has. I've also searched the web in general and couldn't find a full tutorial to do this, so i have collated a couple of tutorials that make it work.
I have managed to get SkySafari to work with a £32 ish Raspberry Pi3 and the cable that came with my scope with a usb to serial converter - the same things you need for connecting to a PC. It allows me to control the scope using the SkySafari Plus app on my tablet or phone AND it creates a wifi hotspot on the Raspberry Pi so it doesnt have to be on a network to work. This also turns the pi into a natty mini wireless router which is handy if you travel since it gives you a private wireless network when plugged into hotel wired internet ?
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE THAT MAY OCCUR TO YOUR HARDWARE BY FOLLOWING THIS POST OR ANYTHING LINKED TO THIS POST
It takes about 30 mins to do the tinkering, make sure you use the latest LITE version of raspbian.
Raspberry Pi 3 Portable power to it (preferably) Raspbian Lite Image file Appropriate cables to connect your Telescope to it via USB Computer connected to network Network cable to connect Raspberry Pi for initial setup A GoTo / Push To etc telescope mount compatible with SkySafari Plus / Pro A nice case for the Raspberry Pi
You need to know a little about accessing the Raspberry Pi by SSH.
For windows, use Win32 Disk Imager to burn the latest Raspbian LITE image to a micro sd card. Open the card on the pc (called boot) and make a blank file on it called 'ssh' - no file extension. This enables ssh access automatically.
Stick it in your Pi and plug it into your network router and a power source.
Find its ip address - i log into my router by typing its ip address into a web browser and look at connected devices, there are other methods though.
I use a program called Putty to ssh.
There are many tutorials on how to do the above and it isnt as hard as it first seems.
I used 2 tutorials to do this and i will link to them directly as the original authors explain it better than me. The first one is muuuch longer than the second which is just 3 steps so bare with it.
When the first tutorial suggests a reboot after the upgrade, DO IT! Then ssh back into the Pi and continue.
Don't bother rebooting after tutorial 1 either.
Tutorial 1 - Turn Raspberry Pi into a portable wifi hotspot
See 'CONNECTING' after doing step 2 in the next tutorial to actually connect to the scope as what you have just done changes it a bit.
Tutorial 2 - Make it talk to SkySafari App and the 'Scope
You can now unplug the pi from your router. Plug your USB to serial adapter into the pi, your telescope cable into that and connect it to your scope as you would do with a pc (mine is into the AutoStar hand box) and use it as a stand alone adapter just like the £200 SkyFi adapter!
To connect SkySafari to the pi you simply connect your tablet or phone to the pi's network like you would any other wifi network, i called mine Scope, connect using the security key / password you made up in tutorial 1. Open SkySafari and follow step 3 in the second tutorial but with IP address 192.168.0.10 - the port is still 4000 (unless you changed it)
If you are at home and your cable is long enough to reach your router you can plug the pi into that and use your home internet too - which you cant do with the SkyFi adapter!
I am going to shorten my serial cable to make it a neater package, i can always solder new plus to make an extension if i ever need one.
I am also working on finding out how to make it share usb internet so a 4g dongle can be plugged into it when out and about since when you connect to the pi's wifi in the field you will not have internet on the device connected to it.
Also the Pi could possibly be used for imaging or tracking, someone on here will probably know more on this.
As we all have experienced, in the Direct Connect mode, the Wifi coverage between the Skyportal Wifi Module (or SkyQ or Evolution Mount) to the iPad, iPhone,or Android phone/tablet running Skyportal or Skysafari is not very good, especially in heavy Wifi environments. You can't go very far (<20 feet) from the mount with your mobile device. Also, if you are around others using their mounts via Wifi, they can accidentally take control of your mount. To get around this, others have used Access Point mode to connect to their home networks which is fine if you are at home. I needed a way to control my scope from inside the car (or shelter) when out in the field sitting in front of a monitor/laptop using an imager attached to the scope. My solution was using my Verizon phone as a Mobile Hotspot which allows me to move over 100 feet from the mount and access the internet at the same time from my mobile device (iPad running Skysafari 5 Plus). Your phone's Mobile Hotspot acts like an Access Point. I use the Skyportal Wifi Module with my SLT mount and I also have an Evolution 8. Here is how to use your cellphone as a hotspot and control the mount. Instructions are with Skysafari but is basically the same with Skyportal.
1.) You must have a Cellphone plan that allows you to use your phone as a Mobile Hotspot. Your phone settings for Mobile Hotspot will allow you to enter a SSID and Password. Do this and activate the phone's hotspot. Keep it near the mount.
2.) Start with the switch on the Skyportal Wifi Module or the Evolution mount in Direct Connect mode and turn on your mount. Go into your iPad or Android mobile device's Wifi settings and connect to SkyQLink-xx or Celestron-xx .
3.) Start up Skysafari, choose Settings (Gear icon)>Setup (In the Telescope section)>Communication>Configure Access Point ("Use Direct Connect" needs to be checked).
4.) Choose OFF or WPA (doesn't seem to matter with Verizon Mobile Hotspot). Enter the SSID and Passphrase (password) of your phone's Mobile Hotspot). "DHCP Client" should be enabled so that your phone can provide the IP address.
5.) Tap on "Send Configuration to Wifi Module". This will upload the parameters you just set to the Wifi Module of the mount. A confirmation will pop up saying it was successful.
6.) Go back one screen and choose (check) "Use Access Point".
7.) Exit out of Settings
8.) Turn off the mount and slide the switch on the Skyportal Wifi Module or the Evolution mount to the Access Point position.
9.) Turn on the mount. The mount will connect to your phone's Mobile Hotspot (I was able to see it connect in my phone's hotspot settings and it was called "Connected Device"). If not, make sure the SSID and Passphrase were entered exactly correct.
10.) Connect your mobile device (ipad, Android, etc) to your phone's Mobile Hotspot. Now both your mobile device and the Mount is connected to your phone's Mobile Hotspot. It's as if you were both connected to your home's Access Point.
11.) In Skysafari or Skyportal, tap Connect. As long as the phone is near the mount, you can now control the scope from your mobile device as usual from a greater distance and surf the web.