Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_comet_46p.thumb.jpg.9baae12eeb853c863abc6d2cf3df5968.jpg

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have experience with a celestron sky portal? The app says i need to purchase starsense auto align which costs a lot while the sky portal wifi module connects to wifi for one third of the price. Do they both accomplish the same thing? can I just get the lesser expensive one to accomplish connecting my telescope to my phone via wifi? Any experience or help would be much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i would love to have a sky portal, but nobody in the states has any in stock, and am pretty sure you dont need star sense to use it, i brought sky sarfira already to use with it. Just wish i could buy one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use SkyPortal for telescope control, but am not a fan.

I have a Celestron Cosmos 90 WiFi setup. The mount comes with the WiFi base station built in to the mount. Celestron produced this setup as a companion to a "Cosmos" TV series broadcast in the USA. The mount is designed to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet. The instruction manual refers to a "Navigator" app, but this does not seem to exist on the Celestron site or Google Play Store. Fortunately, the Celestron "SkyPortal" free app seems to have replaced "Navigator". To get the app to work with the mount, you have to persuade your tablet to ignore your home WiFi hub, and instead, lock on to the "SkyQLink-xx" network. The SkyPortal app will then connect when you press the telescope button at the bottom of the screen. Once connected, the display adds a circle + cross-hair target, showing where it thinks the telescope is pointed. It also adds a slider bar to select slewing rate and Left/right/up/down buttons to the sides of the screen. Then comes the tricky bit!

I have found that the biggest problem comes when attempting final alignment on a star. With your eye fixed looking through the eyepiece, it is almost impossible to find, and use, the virtual buttons. Unlike, with a conventional handset, with a tablet there is no tactile feedback; so you do not know if your finger is over the "button", until the mount moves.

I have 3, almost identical mounts, (1) Skywatcher Skymax with a Synscan handset, (2) Celestron Skyprodigy with starsense camera and associated handset, and (3) the Cosmos WiFi + 8" Samsung tablet. (1) is quick to align at dusk with "Brightest Star" 2-star alignment, (2) slightly faster, when darker, with more stars visible, as a fully-automatic self-alignment, and (3) has had very little use as I find it takes an age to achieve alignment, particularly when I know that I am centred on a particular star and the app refuses to accept it for alignment; {there have been many times that I have given up, and used (1) or (2)}.

I have added a "Kill power" switch to the mount, because there have been a couple of occasions when the mount has taken off at full speed at the same time as the WiFi link has dropped out.

The mount is designed to take an "optional hand control" but neither the instruction manual, nor the Celestron web site, have been helpful with further details.

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an early Celestron Evolution that suffers from flaky internal WiFi. I now turn off the internal WiFi  (via Menu in a Nexstar + HC) and instead adopt a SkyPortal external WiFi accessory with SkySafari Plus. Works superbly if a desire to control via a tablet does float your boat.

However, you ideally need one of the later SkyPortal external devices that emit the 'Celestron XX'  signal and have a Zentri chip. Early versions have the defective 'SkyQLink' signal and a Roving Networks  chip. Avoid the latter. You will need to use an APP like Net-Analyser to tell the difference.  Hence, avoid buying second hand (or risk getting the older weaker signal version). 

I suspect Celestron might have withdrawn old stock of the external SkyPortal accessory due to the problems with early models, which would also explain the current shortage whilst new modules are shipped to retailers.  

BTW, any Evolution's built since 2016 don't have the internal  WiFi issues. You also don't need Starsense to benefit from the SkyPortal APP, but it does provide a complete solution for those that want to adopt cutting edge technologies. 

 

Edited by noah4x4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have great success with skyportal wifi module and starsense.

Had a few teething troubles at first but now it works flawlessly every time and always very accurate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to resurrect a thread from a few months ago, but I've been meaning to update my impressions of the Skyportal device.

I bought one of the original devices when they first came out (back then it was called SkyQLink). Using it with an AVX mount and an iPad 2, I experienced the same sort of issues that others have reported, basically the wifi signal was not robust and performance was generally a bit flakey. It wasn't as bad as Noah's early Evolution, some nights it was usable, I really enjoyed using it, but the problems in the end pushed me back towards using the hand set. Somewhere along the way I bought a Starsense (which I am a big fan of) and used the hand set for a few years with that.

Last year I decided to try one of the new Skyportal devices, and I'm glad I did. The new device has so far proven 100% reliable, I have not had a single issue. Using alongside the Starsense eliminates pretty much all the ergonomics issues for me. I haven't used the hand controller since getting the SkyPortal. This is my set up procedure for imaging now:

  • My mount is on a pier and stays outside under a cover, so I don't need to polar align.
  • Power cycle the iPad so I know that only the SkyPortal app is running. This step might not be necessary on newer, more powerful iPads. Remember that scope control is a hard realtime task and the CPU on older iPads was not great at multi-tasking. My old iPad is sluggish/laggy even when browsing the internet, but as long as I power cycle it first, and don't run any other apps, it is nice and responsive controlling the scope.
  • Connect all cables and power up. Camera is attached to the scope and I use the camera rear LCD screen live view rather than an eyepiece.
  • in SkyPortal app, select 'Connect and Align'. Alignment takes a few seconds, less than a minute I would say. It involves four slews I think, and StarSense is plate solving the previous image while slewing to take the next one - pretty slick.
  • Select a bright star near my intended target, press goto, scope slews, star is always in the camera screen first time. I'm using an Edge HD 8 with a focal length of 2125mm so this is quite impressive I think. Focus using a Bahtinov mask.
  • Select my first target, press goto, scope slews, check target is in camera screen.
  • In Skysafari, I have my scope/camera details entered in as display parameters, so SkySafari superimposes my camera field of view over the view of the target. By comparing the stars shown in SkySafari with the stars shown in the camera screen, it is quick and easy to frame the object by slewing the scope a little or rotating the camera.
  • Once I'm happy with the framing, start PHD2 guiding. Wait a minute for guiding to stabilise, check framing again to be sure.
  • Start the intervalometer taking the planned sequence of images

In short, I'm very happy with the new version of SkyPortal alongside StarSense. Without the StarSense, as long as I was using the camera screen rather than an eyepiece, I think I would get along OK. If using an eyepiece, I think that some of the ergonomics issues would still be there.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My telescope is in an observatory and is aligned (home position) true north. When I turn ski portal the blue bullseye target is often set way off the direction in which the telescope is pointing why? I have used both an ipad (latest pro) and an iphone (7s).

 

A different issue, I have also noted screen flickering lately on both devices on the last two occasions?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your telescope might be physically aligned "due North", but until the APP has completed its software alignment  it has no recognition of your OTA position. It works that out from the alignment stars, and not the starting position/direction of your pedestal/tripod/pillar (which is irrelevant except for an ASPA polar align).  After the first software alignment star has been employed, the screen pointer in the APP will be closer,  but still not accurate until the software alignment has been fully completed.

Edited by noah4x4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently acquired a SkyPortal through Amazon UK, after doing a fair bit of research.

Initial impressions are fairly good - the device is simplicity itself to install, and wifi connection was instant. Mine is fitted to a NexStar 6SE, with SkyPortal installed on my Android phone. Setting up was slightly bumpy, as I found by trial and error that not all of the possible setup methods worked with my kit. However, one did work, so that's all I needed. There was also the occasional wifi dropoff, but I understand from Prof. Google that this may be due to the phone kicking me off if the screensaver closes the display. Suggested solutions here involve disabling certain memory/battery saver apps which could be causing this issue. next time I'm out I'll try disabling one app at a time to try & identify the culprit. I don't see this as a big issue, just something I need to look at.

Anyway, with the wifi running let's proceed to the alignment process. This is a three-star alignment (you can use planets if available), requiring you to centre an object in your spotterscope, then centre it in your observing eyepiece to align the scope (repeat for each of three objects). I used Vega, Capella and Mars, and the app reported a successful alignment. I then tried selecting various objects and getting the scope to track into position. The results were fairly accurate, though I think I need to tweak my Telrad spotter slightly to improve performance.

My only "con" is that it doesn't track objects (for example to take long exposures of DSO's) but I tend to restrict my astrophotography to the Moon and planets, so I'm not that bothered.  As I use video capture anyway, I suspect that a quick tap of the centring button will keep objects in view for sufficient time to grab loads of frames for processing.

One last thing - I find it easier to use the handset to move the scope in the alignment process. Just saying...

Alan S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Ulysses31
      Hi Everyone, need a little help choosing the right flattener/reducer for the William Optics Zenithstar73.
       I am after one that does both jobs so that rules out the dedicated Flat73 which is just a flattener!
      So I was wondering if I could get away with the Flat6 0.8 reducer which does say it works on scopes 70 - 80mm f/6  but doesn't list the ZS73 in the models list or do I need to spend the extra and get the Flat6A11?
      Can anyone shed some light on this have email 365 where I have seen the Flat6 but had no reply.
      Thanks in advance.
    • By Lachlan
      Hello everyone, 
      As you can probably tell I’m brand new to the community. While I’ve been passionate about space related topics for my whole life, I’ve finally taken the leap and I’m about buy a simple astrophotography rig. Ive done a fair bit of research and, like many, I’ve decided that the William Optics Zenithstar 61 APO refractor is best suited for my situation. I plan to use my canon 600D/T3i as the main imaging camera and I also plan to use the Skywatcher Star Adventurer as a tracking mount for this scope. However I have a few questions:
      1: I seem to be confused about how I should connect my DSLR to the Z61. As far as I’m aware, all I need is a T-ring and the WO Flat 61 Field flattener and I should be good to go. Is that correct? 
      2: will I need a dovetail bar to mount the Z61 to the star adventurer? Or can I directly mount the z61 to the base of the star adventurer? (This was demonstrated by Trevor Jones from astrobackyard with his Z61 and the ioptron Skyguider Pro.)
      Sorry for such a long thread; I’d just hate to finally get all my gear together and find out that some gear is incompatible. 
      Thanks for the help! 
    • By arsxenic
      Okay so I chose to take a year to decide which career to study, I've always been interested in physics and astronomy but I think I will go on and pick Chemistry. Any tips or ideas on what to do after?
    • By JAFULTON
      Hi guys and gals,
      I recently purchased a pair of Nikon Aculon 10-22×50 Zoom binoculars for around $179 and I'm pretty disappointed with them.  I live in Semi-rural northeast Texas and was looking for a good pair of binoculars for a casual stargazer like myself.  I thought these would be the perfect pair, I was wrong. The field of view is pretty small and the focus is annoying.  The view is like tunnel vision at 10× and too dark at 22×. 
      Do any of you individuals have any helpful suggestions on what exactly I should get that suites my individual needs?
      I am looking for something that won't break the bank (under $300), has a large field of view, would allow me to see the moons of Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy, starclusters, nebulae, and maybe some of the Messier Objects?  Also, without a tripod needed. I would like something  that is comfortable on the eye and easy to hold.
      Its asking a lot, I know. But I'm hoping some of you who are more knowledgeable on the subject would be able to help me out?
      Thanks.
       
    • By azathoth
      Hello, I'm very new to the practice of astronomy and my interest is with deep sky objects, I very much prefer "goto" type telescopes. Im just looking for a decent set up for visual observations of dso's and I have no idea where to start to look, please help!  
       
      ( 500$ budget )
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.