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Dave Smith

SkyWatcher Synscan WiFi Adapter

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Dave Smith    1,380

I have recently purchased this in the hope that I could control my SkyWatcher 250P GOTO dob with SkySafariPro on my Samsung Phone. The provided handset does not seem to have a straightforward means of correcting an imprecise alignment without going through the whole alignment process again. In SkySafari the align button does this with just one press.

The unit itself is quite small (see pic) and plugs in place of the handset.

The app "Synscan" is needed from Android Play Store or the Apple App Store for any ALT-AZ mount. "SynscanPro" is needed for RA-DEC mounts.

As long as the phone or device is set to connect via WiFi and the Synscan signal is chosen that is very straight forward and will connect readily.

For me the "fun" started when attempting to connect via SkySafari. I did watch a couple of YouTube videos but the instructions given did not work for me. There are no instructions provided with the adapter but there are some within the Synscan App. (although not very obvious).

The Synscan app needs to be active and connected to the mount and before trying SkySafari needs to have carried out an alignment. (This isn't necessary for testing purposes)

The settings for SkySafari need to be as follows.

Firstly choose the Scope type i.e SkyWatcher SynScan
then the mount type - in my case Alt-Az GoTo

Select Connect via WiFi
IP address 127.0.0.1
Port Number  11882

SkySafari should then be able to connect to the mount via the Synscan App.

In my case it did not. Much hair tearing (not that I have much!) and a few hours later it did connect and then later did not. Over the next 24 hours I managed to get connection twice but many times no connection.

To cut a long story short it turned out that I had my phone using a battery saving mode and the two occasions it had worked was when the phone was connected to the charger. So out of battery saving mode and it works smoothly every time.

Advantages of using the WiFi adapter.

1. Obviously no lead. It works at distances greater than you would need - I went into the next room and could still control the scope.

2. Much easier to read than the one line at a time on the handset. Particularly useful when choosing alignment stars - you can see a long list straight away.

3. The buttons on the Synscan App have more directions to choose (see pic)

4. Within the Synscan App there is a cool feature where the scope will goto the direction you are pointing the phone (or other controlling device) and you can then have all objects nearby listed for potential goto.

5. The Synscan App does also work on my iPad but have not yet managed to get SkySafari to connect yet. (I haven't tried very hard at this stage)

6. The sync facility in SkySafari is great e.g. on an open evening a child grabs the eyepiece and moves the scope off target, one button push and it will return.

7. The obvious advantage of using a star chart to choose an object. e.g. for finding things like the double cluster or double-double when you cannot remember the ngc or ic number.

WARNING - Since getting the adapter to work on my phone I have not had the opportunity to test it under the stars. Should I find it does not perform as expected I will report back.

At this stage I am delighted with my purchase.

Dave

SW-WIFIadapter.jpg

Screenshot_20171204-114415.jpg

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NGC 1502    721

 

Hi Dave, well done for getting things sorted, and good that you’re delighted.

Hoping your next observing opportunity goes well, I’ll check back and see what you say.

But if you’re not careful, you may be asked to do a “me and my scope” talk at the club :icon_biggrin:

Ed.

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Dave Smith    1,380

Funny you should say that Ed. I'm on Wednesday evening if it is cloudy.

Dave

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stash_old    180

I think you will find that for some reason best known to Apple you need 2 Sky watcher Wifi adapters when using an Ipad and Sky Safari - Not done this myself but i am  reliable informed by someone who tests these items out!  Unless this is wrong now as something has changed!

Plus I seem to remember ,must be 3yrs ago since last used an handset , but by pressing ESC ESC you could realign an object and so not have to start realignment again -Again 3yrs since last used so might be wrong.

 

Clear Skies!

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Dave Smith    1,380
23 minutes ago, stash_old said:

I think you will find that for some reason best known to Apple you need 2 Sky watcher Wifi adapters when using an Ipad and Sky Safari - Not done this myself but i am  reliable informed by someone who tests these items out!  Unless this is wrong now as something has changed!

Plus I seem to remember ,must be 3yrs ago since last used an handset , but by pressing ESC ESC you could realign an object and so not have to start realignment again -Again 3yrs since last used so might be wrong.

 

Clear Skies!

Thanks for that. I have seen that as well, but where on earth you would plug a second adapter in, I do not know? The Synscan app does work fine on the iPad. In the instructions for an iOS device it says enter the IP address of the device that runs the Synscan App. I haven't a clue how to find that. Anyone any ideas? Not urgent for me but others may find it useful.

Dave

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stash_old    180
16 minutes ago, Dave Smith said:

Thanks for that. I have seen that as well, but where on earth you would plug a second adapter in, I do not know? The Synscan app does work fine on the iPad. In the instructions for an iOS device it says enter the IP address of the device that runs the Synscan App. I haven't a clue how to find that. Anyone any ideas? Not urgent for me but others may find it useful.

Dave

Where you put it - always a good one.  I dont know either but maybe Apple dont support ADHOC networks or UDP for "Security Reasons"  - would be interested from purely a techie reason as the Skywatcher WIFI adapter gets its power from the mount !!!!!!!  But I don't used Apples so no clue as it would have to present TTL UART circuits. Not seen any info anywhere on the HOW ????  Or it could be when using Sky Safari only as Itunes doesn't mention anything about 2 adapters

Edited by stash_old

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stash_old    180

https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115007331587-Skywatcher-AZ-GTi-Synscan-on-iOS-with-skySafari-5-Pro

 

I think the problem is Sky Watcher and SKY Safari are talking - bit of a mix up I think reading the above thread or maybe the Sky Watcher hits there own product and they are a bit miffed 

Edited by stash_old

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Stu    15,217

The problem is that you can't run the Synscan app and SkySafari on the same iOS device; something to do with Apple not allowing the one app to run in the background whilst SS runs up front.

You can run two iOS devices i.e. One with synscan and one with SkySafari, that works ok but is obviously cumbersome and expensive!

I have got round this one my AZGTi mount by using a Synscan handset and Skywire to the iOS device which avoids need two devices. It should also work with this wifi adaptor I guess.

You can find the IP address by going to settings and Wifi and tapping on the information symbol on the right hand side of the screen next to the wifi network. Obviously you need to be connected to the Synscan network for this to give the correct address.

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Stu    15,217
1 hour ago, stash_old said:

https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115007331587-Skywatcher-AZ-GTi-Synscan-on-iOS-with-skySafari-5-Pro

 

I think the problem is Sky Watcher and SKY Safari are talking - bit of a mix up I think reading the above thread or maybe the Sky Watcher hits there own product and they are a bit miffed 

That was the enquiry I raised with them. I think the basic problem is inherent to iOS rather than anything Skywatcher or the SkySafari guys are doing. Not really sure it is solveable unfortunately.

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stash_old    180
11 minutes ago, Stu said:

The problem is that you can't run the Synscan app and SkySafari on the same iOS device; something to do with Apple not allowing the one app to run in the background whilst SS runs up front.

You can run two iOS devices i.e. One with synscan and one with SkySafari, that works ok but is obviously cumbersome and expensive!

I have got round this one my AZGTi mount by using a Synscan handset and Skywire to the iOS device which avoids need two devices. It should also work with this wifi adaptor I guess.

You can find the IP address by going to settings and Wifi and tapping on the information symbol on the right hand side of the screen next to the wifi network. Obviously you need to be connected to the Synscan network for this to give the correct address.

So does that mean ,on the AZGTI, Skywire gives you the "Serial" link that the Synscan App can use instead of a network connection - but you connect serial(RS232) Skywire into the Handset serial port and then connect the normal handset to mount cable. I.E. Wired not wireless ?????? 

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Stu    15,217
9 hours ago, stash_old said:

So does that mean ,on the AZGTI, Skywire gives you the "Serial" link that the Synscan App can use instead of a network connection - but you connect serial(RS232) Skywire into the Handset serial port and then connect the normal handset to mount cable. I.E. Wired not wireless ?????? 

I hope I am understanding the question.

I think the AZGTi behaves the same way as other Synscan mounts. The handset connects to the mount as normal, then you plug the Skywire cable into the multi-purpose port and connect it to the iPhone. This gives serial connection and enables the phone to communicate. The key thing is that with iOS devices they cannot run two apps at once so you need the Synscan controller to control the mount as you cannot run the app alongside SkySafari.

SkyFi will (I believe) also act as the connection between handset and phone if you want to avoid cables. I'm not sure if the Skywatcher Wifi adapter will work in the same way but hopefully someone will check it out at some point.

Summary is that for iOS you need a handset to run SkySafari, you can't just use the Synscan app.

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stash_old    180

So in a nutshell you can't use Skywatchers Wifi and Synscan app with IOS(1x) if using Sky Safari.

Brilliant many thanks for the info 

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Dave Smith    1,380
2 hours ago, Stu said:

I hope I am understanding the question.

I think the AZGTi behaves the same way as other Synscan mounts. The handset connects to the mount as normal, then you plug the Skywire cable into the multi-purpose port and connect it to the iPhone. This gives serial connection and enables the phone to communicate. The key thing is that with iOS devices they cannot run two apps at once so you need the Synscan controller to control the mount as you cannot run the app alongside SkySafari.

SkyFi will (I believe) also act as the connection between handset and phone if you want to avoid cables. I'm not sure if the Skywatcher Wifi adapter will work in the same way but hopefully someone will check it out at some point.

Summary is that for iOS you need a handset to run SkySafari, you can't just use the Synscan app.

On my dob mount there isn't a multi-purpose port so if the hand set is plugged in then there is nowhere to possibly connect the wifi adapter. So I would agree with stash_old's conclusion.

However with an android phone or tablet all is fine :icon_biggrin:

Dave

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Stu    15,217
24 minutes ago, stash_old said:

So in a nutshell you can't use Skywatchers Wifi and Synscan app with IOS(1x) if using Sky Safari.

Brilliant many thanks for the info 

Yes, I believe that's correct 

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Stu    15,217
7 minutes ago, Dave Smith said:

On my dob mount there isn't a multi-purpose port so if the hand set is plugged in then there is nowhere to possibly connect the wifi adapter. So I would agree with stash_old's conclusion.

However with an android phone or tablet all is fine :icon_biggrin:

Dave

Dave, the multi purpose port is on the handset, can it not plug in there?

Agreed though, Android works in a different way and can have two apps running at the same time so works fine, iOS does not.

IMG_4919.PNG

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Dave Smith    1,380

OK I've plugged the wifi adapter in the handset but it doesn't power up so no go.

I'm not too keen to experiment much as I can use an android phone and don't want to risk damaging the wifi adapter.

Dave

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Stu    15,217
24 minutes ago, Dave Smith said:

OK I've plugged the wifi adapter in the handset but it doesn't power up so no go.

I'm not too keen to experiment much as I can use an android phone and don't want to risk damaging the wifi adapter.

Dave

Makes sense Dave, if youve got something that works then no need to mess around any more :) 

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JOC    1,438

Hi Dave, an interesting read - it's certainly within my budget (though probably after Crimble) and I'm all for something that's simpler to use - I won't touch Apple with a barge-pole so I am firmly in the android camp - my life should be easy with it.

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stash_old    180
1 hour ago, Dave Smith said:

OK I've plugged the wifi adapter in the handset but it doesn't power up so no go.

I'm not too keen to experiment much as I can use an android phone and don't want to risk damaging the wifi adapter.

Dave

:shocked: No don't do - Its not a good idea for reason explained else where (TTL signal,RS232 signals and voltages). If you want  Wireless Ipad/Iphone and sky Safari you will have to buy SkyFi(£160) - maybe others

Else it cheaper to buy an dedicated Android phone

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DaveTp    49

I'm very interested in this device - sounds cool!

did I read that if I had two iOS devices I could run SkySafri and Synscan app well enough to get Ss running (could use old and new phone)?

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Dave Smith    1,380

The Synscan app will run fine. I'm not so sure about SkySafari. It may be possible with two adapters but I don't know how.

Simpler to get an Android phone.

Dave

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Stu    15,217
2 hours ago, Dave Smith said:

The Synscan app will run fine. I'm not so sure about SkySafari. It may be possible with two adapters but I don't know how.

Simpler to get an Android phone.

Dave

I agree with Dave here, I think Android is the better/safer bet.

If you did try then I don't think two adaptors are needed, you would just need to connect the device running Synscan to the Wifi adaptor and then the SkySafari device to the same network. It may work, but don't hold your breath! :) 

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Dave Smith    1,380
27 minutes ago, Stu said:

I agree with Dave here, I think Android is the better/safer bet.

If you did try then I don't think two adaptors are needed, you would just need to connect the device running Synscan to the Wifi adaptor and then the SkySafari device to the same network. It may work, but don't hold your breath! :) 

There is a good chance that will work. I have just used my Android phone to connect to the mount wirelessly with Synscan App and then ran SkySafari5 pro on my iP9ad and it worked!!!

I have an old iPod touch but couldn't get Synscan app to run so you may need to be careful your old phone is not too old.

Dave

Edited by Dave Smith
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Dave Smith    1,380

But it doesn't work the other way round, I.e. with Synscan on the iPad and SkySafari on the Android phone. So nothing is certain.

Dave

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