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Hi,

I currently have a USB Serial port based on Prolific chip set to connect my handset to PC.

To date these have proven reliable all the time.

Following the purchase of the PegasusAstro FocusCube, it's updated serial driver is clashing with the prolific driver and prevents me controlling the 'scope :(

There are plenty of alternatives out there, and many don't work from threads in various forums over the years.

Can anyone recommend an alternative adapter that they have found reliable, just to save me the time and money of the trial and error path :)

Thanks 

 

 

 

 

 

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The firmware developer at Celestron posted that since Prolific updated the driver, they've been seeing issues too. He recommended this one instead:

Tripp Lite Keyspan Usb High-speed Serial Adapter 230kbps Pc/mac

Not the cheapest - but this is astronomy 🙂

(If you get a TeamCelestron login, the post is here : USB to Serial adapters )

Hope it helps

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An adapter based on the FTDI chipset is the one I'd recommend. I have a couple of these  by Startech and have had no problems. They are a bit more expensive than some others.

Alan

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There's been a lot of fun with the Prolific USB serial chipset in recent years.  It was commonly pirated and at one point Prolific put out a driver that would only work with the genuine article, which all got a bit messy when people who had bought kit in good faith found it no longer worked.

The FTDI chipset always seems to have been reliable, so I'd be tempted to go with Alan's recommendation.

James

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The Tripp Lite has a Texas Instruments chipset, so either should be fine as it gets away from the Prolific 🙂

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I have used a lot of these cables over the years and the FTDI chipset seems to be more reliable.  The Skywatcher cable linked above is based on a Prolific chipset so you 'may' still have the same problem.

My goto FTDI cable is https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00QUZY4L0. Good quality at a decent price.

As always YMMV and you 'may' also have something on your system that will break the FTDI drivers. 

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Search ebay, they do  have just about any usb adapter under the sun.....both chinese and US products too!

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18 hours ago, brickman7 said:

Search ebay, they do  have just about any usb adapter under the sun.....both chinese and US products too!

Yeah - I know.

I did that before, I now need feedback form people who have purchased various types with success; as I said I want to save the costs of trial and error :)

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On 01/10/2018 at 18:04, dhb368 said:

 

My goto FTDI cable is https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00QUZY4L0. Good quality at a decent price.

As always YMMV and you 'may' also have something on your system that will break the FTDI drivers. 

Yeah - lets start with Windows 10 :)

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Astronomy simply has to enter the modern world of computing and technology soon especially as ever more of us turn to Electronically Assisted Astronomy (EAA) due to severe light pollution in our urban back yard. It's just not practical for me to travel to dark sky sites on a regular basis and EAA has rekindled my dwindling enthusiasm.

In recent times I have wrestled with incompatibility problems between USB3; USB2; Serial to USB2; and the fact that Celestron Nexremote wants to run in Windows8 compatibility mode. Also discovered that 802.11n wireless is just too slow for high data transfer.  Then having solved computing and connectivity challenges faced a raft of problems like the need to support that with substantial watt-hours of power. Many of the issues arise from telescope manufacturers favouring  backwards compatibility with Windows 7/serial ports rather than looking to the future.

It has cost me shedloads of money, but I now remotely control  an end to end 4k Ultra High Definition imaging system that has zero dependence on old technologies. With Sony and Samsung already demonstrating 8k display technologies I believe 4k UHD will soon become the defacto standard for cameras, computing and display and prices fof that specification will plummet.

The question then is will telescope manufacturers respond by providing sufficient electronics support, ports and technology to support the higher levels of data transfer required and modern communication standards? Frankly, modern USB3 and 802.11ac wireless simply don't like 'Serial to USB' which is the backbone of much telescope communications. When was the last time PC World sold a laptop with a serial port? I am now using USB3 and Thunderbolt display port in my set up.

 

 

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My beef is with backwards compatibility.

I have a Skywatcher Virtuoso mount and a Celestron Cosmos 90 WiFi mount.

The Cosmos mount is WiFi control, with an optional handset, but the manual mentions companion tablet/phone software not available on the Celestron website or available on Google Play for Android devices. Fortunately the "SkyPortal" app does the job. The alignment software is a pain to use, and the tablet/mount WiFi communication can drop out at any moment, leaving the mount slewing at full speed and no means of stopping it, except for killing mount power and going through the re-alignment process again.

The Virtuoso mount will take a Synscan GoTo handset (borrowed from my Skymax Mak system). About a year ago, I read that it was possible to substitute the handset by using a Bluetooth dongle (with a 12V to 5V regulator and a couple of level-shifting resistors), and a "Virtuoso" Android app available free on Google Play. I made up my Bluetooth adaptor, installed the app, and this gave me good remote-control for the mount. Since installing the app, it has disappeared from Google Play, and I have not found an obvious replacement. The installed version works fine on my tablet, but I have no way of re-installing it on the tablet, or using it on any successor device. The (currently available) "Synscan" app assumes a dedicated Skywatcher WiFi connection, but does not support Bluetooth. With the modern trend of software installation from "The Cloud", instead of a "Setup xxx.exe" program downloaded to hard disk, it is very easy to be left with excellent hardware, but no available software to control it.

I have been to EMC test facilities, using state-of-the-art test equipment, driven by desktop PCs running Windows 98, because the manufacturers of the PC-installed control cards have no financial interest in providing driver software compatible with Windows 2000/NT and above. The test data has to be transferred to more modern machines to generate the reports.

On my hard drive, I have some video files, recorded in 1999, using an early digital webcam-type device, on a long-gone laptop running Windows 98. I do not have the original recording/replay software, and I have yet to find any of the modern players that can understand the "unknown" .avi format. And then there are legacy files stored on 8", 5.25", 3.5" & 3" floppy disks ......  

Rant over,

Geoff

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Compatibility is the bane of technology.

Unfortunately we all demand connectivity with the latest phone/tablet devices that invariably have a short life. A year or two.

Fashions change in the consumer world. There is a long list of obsolete/forgotten interface methods.
IEEE488, parallel, firewire to name a few.

Then we buy astro kit that we hope will last for years. I use an AWR motor drive & handset on my mount. This uses RS232 comms to the computer.
The kit is 10+ years old and nowhere near end of life - thanks to good design and construction by AWR.
I fully expect to be using this kit for quite a few years.

In my work, I use machine to machine, and machine to computer comms.
Nobody in their right mind is going to spend five & six figure money on machinery that cannot talk in a year or two.

Laboratory instruments and test equipment have a long life.
It is expected that they will continue to communicate with new computers.
At work we use (high quality) instruments designed and built in the 90s. With a bit of effort they will speak Windows 10.

Then of of course there is the question of whether the communications link is being used in it's intended application.
RS232 is fine to 10M cable run and runs slow data - unless you spend on additional hardware circuits.
USB was only ever intended for short runs between 'technology' items. Computer to printer, memory stick, etc.
5M is the maximum maximum cable length if you are lucky. Watch for electrical interference issues if you skimp on cable.
Consumer grade USB circuits and hardware are OK at room temperature and in the dry.
Sub zero or covered in dew is a very different situation.

Long may the annual fashion changes on consumer equipment continue.
Solving these issues is part of my work and helps to get me through the supermarket checkout.

A few years ago at work we gave out USB memory sticks as a freebie.
One customer said thank you, quickly followed by the question what is it?
Only a couple of years later when we asked customers for backup data from old machines using floppy drive they said it could not be done as none of their office computers could read a floppy.

There is a saying somewhere about keeping some of the people happy for some of the time?

David.

 

 

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The best bit of upgradeable technology is the old GPO phone line, designed for DC on/off-hook, 25Hz @ 60V+ ring power, and 300 to 3300Hz audio; being used to stream tens of Mb/s, with just an interface box at each end.

Geoff

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On ‎26‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 18:24, noah4x4 said:

When was the last time PC World sold a laptop with a serial port? I

Bought one a couple of months ago, most of the larger laptops have them, it's just the move towards extremely thin laptops that aren't thick enough to accommodate the serial socket.

Dave

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5 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

it's just the move towards extremely thin laptops that aren't thick enough to accommodate the serial socket.

... and most do not have +- 12V to 15V supplies internally for "proper" RS232 signalling.

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I seem to recall that USB hung around for a while before suddenly becoming flavour of the month.

Now it has a proliferation of tiny delicate plugs that disconnect if you breath on them, no use for astro'.

Dave

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And an after thought if you want to buy a new Mac Thunderbolt sockets are supposed to support Ethernet.

Dave

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