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Badweather

Celestron Wifi Portal with Android feels like a bit of a downgrade

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I pulled this out of an observation report from last night.

Just wondering if this is typical behavior or perhaps I'm doing something wrong. Would like to hear other's that have similar experiences and what they did to nail it down.

Last night, 11/14/2017...

I decided I’d force myself (one more evening of high tech disappointment) to continue slogging through the change over to the wifi module “sky portal” even though I’m not very happy with several buggy aspects of its use.

1. battery life for my android is a concern now and necessitates the bringing of my phone charger out to the site. Small pain, extra cord, minor cursing.

2. I lose (and miss) never having to take my eye off the eyepiece and feeling my way to the slew controls. (This is maybe the deal breaker?)

3. Having to use my dark adapted eye to look at the android which means it needs to be so dim only my dark adapted eye can see it. Alternatively I can drag the patch back over and use my non-dark adapted eye to watch the eyepiece while I center the object. Big pain here I think.

4. Dropping the connection to the telescope all the time. This is the largest pain and maybe I can solve it maybe I can’t. If not, I have to seriously admit this is no upgrade.

5. I’ve noticed that i might be viewing M13 and then decide I’m going for M15 and instead of slewing the small distance, the telescope control now says “go the long way” and heads off north around the compass.

6. I can see the screen now where the HC sucked since my bad non eye patched eye requires I hold the HC further away than my short arms allow or use a magnifying glass. now android keyboard entry becomes a thing you must do without depth perception. This is because using an eye patch to achieve dark adaptation This will take some getting used to. And I know that voice to text is lame unless you spend some money on it.

7. You lose the zenith. This is another big deal, in FOCO’s LP’d skies I need every advantage I can get and losing the zenith and gaining having to worry about how close to the zenith an object is rpior to slewing to it, really might be number two most important deal breaker. Easy solution, find an extension cable so the profile of the wifi module is not blocking the star diagonal.

8. Slew control seems to go off into the wild blue more often then the one sticky button on the hand control. Periodically, when I press one of the telescope attitude control buttons I find it going off full blast and have to press the opposite control to stop it. Which really can't be that good for the gears.

9. Android must not be put into dark screen mode or placed on the charger until the telescope is done slewing to the target. I've noticed the scope just stopping mid journey because of this. Once you wake the phone up again, the slew continues and you end up at the object you selected. So, power sucking behavior for sure. If your android isn't fully charged prior to the evenings stargazing, you'll be fighting this all night.

10. You cannot use the HC while you're using the android for telescope control. using the HC scope control buttons tweaks its little mind and you will have to re-align.

Pros are:

1. I get to see all the stars I aligned with rather than just two of them the HC shows me. Not that big of a deal, I already knew I was using Capella, Fomalhaut, and Vega tonight.

2. I get a larger catalog of celestial objects than the HC if I purchase SkySafari Pro. This might be pretty cool. Probably the only reason I'm considering actually fighting this techno-monster. Besides the HC clearly needing an upgrade for the last decade or more, the slim catalog, or I have to start star hopping and using star charts.

3. Since I’ve made the leap to android instead of traditional paper star charts, perhaps note taking will improve? Only if talk to text works well. Cold weather means less notes for these arthritic hands.

So I’m not sure about this switch. I'm going to continue using it to delve into the possible pros, but there will have to be definite improvements to the quality of the experience. A number of the cons will need to simply cease to be in order for this to continue.

Losing the connection frequently significantly reduced the number of objects I was able to view this evening. I tried the wifi module in both modes, it works poorly in both with no discernible difference between either mode in regards to it dropping the connection every five minutes.

If anyone has had similar experiences  let me know please.

Particularly if they've been solved, and of course any details along those lines would be much appreciated.

Edited by Badweather
typo's

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I would stick to the handset for setup and alignment. Seems little in it for moving the scope via goto optoions as you do not look down the eyepiece until it has stopped. For centering you need your eye at the eye piece and so the handset is best.

Not sure how useful really the Android stuff will be, basically some actions are just not compatible with a tablet - fingers can find buttons that stick up without having to look. Catch is that is how things will move to. Nice to be at outreach and move the scope via a tablet however.

Voice control might be useful on a tablet, actually could be essential as in "Step left, Step Left, Step Left, Stop." Suppose a simple 4 button Left/Right/Up/down movement pad could actually be required with a tablet.

Skysaferi Pro is nice but too big, get the Plus.

Note taking is still best by book, or buy a half reasonable dictation machine. Does mean you have to sort it out afterwards. Paper book still seems to work best.

Slewing the wrong way may be essential, cable inside get wound up and the scope will have positions and end stops. Choice could be slew the long way around or rip out cables and wires.

Agreed: Cold night, tablet, power = problem.

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There's been a recent update to the android app it fixed something to do with the Moon. Edit that comment relates to Skywatcher.

Edit: I missed that this is Celestron.

Edited by happy-kat
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Hello Badweather,

I have the Celestron Cosmos 90 WiFi and drive it with SkyPortal on my 8" tablet (no handset provided). I have experienced problems 2 (I need tactile feedback from real buttons), 3, 4 (tablet reverts to home hub very easily), 5, 8 (I added a power "Kill" switch to the mount), and aspects of 9. I am struggling to find any "pros".

I have 2 other mounts with essentially the same drive mechanisms and overall shape. (1) Skywatcher Skymax 127, a 5" Mak. with Synscan GOTO; and (2) Celestron Skyprodigy 70, with built-in Starsense camera, modified to take the larger-diameter 5" Mak. Both of these get much more use than the Cosmos 90 WiFi. Life is too short, and clear skies too rare in this part of the world, to struggle with the overall WiFi/Tablet interface.

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11 hours ago, ronin said:

I would stick to the handset for setup and alignment. Seems little in it for moving the scope via goto optoions as you do not look down the eyepiece until it has stopped. For centering you need your eye at the eye piece and so the handset is best.

Not sure how useful really the Android stuff will be, basically some actions are just not compatible with a tablet - fingers can find buttons that stick up without having to look. Catch is that is how things will move to. Nice to be at outreach and move the scope via a tablet however.

Voice control might be useful on a tablet, actually could be essential as in "Step left, Step Left, Step Left, Stop." Suppose a simple 4 button Left/Right/Up/down movement pad could actually be required with a tablet.

Skysaferi Pro is nice but too big, get the Plus.

Note taking is still best by book, or buy a half reasonable dictation machine. Does mean you have to sort it out afterwards. Paper book still seems to work best.

Slewing the wrong way may be essential, cable inside get wound up and the scope will have positions and end stops. Choice could be slew the long way around or rip out cables and wires.

Agreed: Cold night, tablet, power = problem.

Hi ronin,
I easily solved the "I can't feel for the button" problem:

5a0e034587091_androidbuttonhack.JPG.0ab3f2d940cf492f2897a41b42f01801.JPG
 

But that's an easy one. Dropping the connection all the time can't really be normal.

Regarding SkySafari Pro versus Plus, have you run Pro on your phone and found it too much for your phone? Just wondering if you could elaborate on that.

my next experiment involves aligning with the HC and then connecting with the android and try and find out which computer is actually running the show or whether or not android will be allowed to share control after that.

I still use paper currently, but if I could get android to take notes, that might be ok.

I'm skeptical though. And I spent 15 years in IT.

as for slewing the wrong way, that may have been my fault.

But it begs the question, is the HC computer still really in control (I suspect yes)? And if so, why couldn't I just use the HC OTA attitude adjustment buttons and have it not mess with the alignment?

Which is why I'm going to set up using the HC next time and then try and connect using android.

11 hours ago, happy-kat said:

There's been a recent update to the android app it fixed something to do with the Moon. Edit that comment relates to Skywatcher.

Edit: I missed that this is Celestron.

Hi happy-kat,

No worries, thanks for replying!

4 hours ago, Geoff Lister said:

Hello Badweather,

I have the Celestron Cosmos 90 WiFi and drive it with SkyPortal on my 8" tablet (no handset provided). I have experienced problems 2 (I need tactile feedback from real buttons), 3, 4 (tablet reverts to home hub very easily), 5, 8 (I added a power "Kill" switch to the mount), and aspects of 9. I am struggling to find any "pros".

I have 2 other mounts with essentially the same drive mechanisms and overall shape. (1) Skywatcher Skymax 127, a 5" Mak. with Synscan GOTO; and (2) Celestron Skyprodigy 70, with built-in Starsense camera, modified to take the larger-diameter 5" Mak. Both of these get much more use than the Cosmos 90 WiFi. Life is too short, and clear skies too rare in this part of the world, to struggle with the overall WiFi/Tablet interface.

I've been having the same issue I think. The android prefers the home network with internet and drops the celestron-D and connects with my wifi frequently. Would be nice to figure out how to tweak this so it didn't do that. Probably have to kill the "connect automatically" feature.

I have to agree, if it gets in the way of observing, it's just not acceptable.

 

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