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R26 oldtimer

RS232 to WIFI

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Hello to all dIYers !

Having just got my first Synscan goto mount (an AZEQ5 gt), and I like it very much. Although the controller is very nice, I wanted to use skysafari plus, on my phone, to control the mount.

The obvious way to do this, is the Skywatcher wifi adapter. I know it will be okay with my mount, and no chance of damaging it, but I consider it a bit pricey.

Then I found this: http://www.hi-flying.com/elfin-ew1x

It's an rs232 to wifi adapter which, as far as I can tell, does the same thing as the skywatcher equivalent.

What do you think? Is it a go or a non-go?

Serial-port-RS232-to-WiFi-device-server-module-Elfin-EW10-support-TCP-IP-Telnet-Modbus-TCP.jpg_200x200.jpg.0eafb44fd405c86f58297becf522622c.jpg

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How would you use a RS232 to wifi adapter? Modern laptops (and, I assume, smartphones) do not have a RS232 port.  But they often have built-in wifi.

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1 hour ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

How would you use a RS232 to wifi adapter? Modern laptops (and, I assume, smartphones) do not have a RS232 port.  But they often have built-in wifi.

I was under the impression that the mount to controller connection was rs232, and that the controller port on the mount had pins for Vcc, ground, Rx and Tx.

Am I lost somewhere? I thought I would use the RS232  wifi adapter instead of the SW wifi adapter (or in the place of) the hand controller

Edited by R26 oldtimer
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Am I wrong or does that say USB?  Not RS232 that the mount wants.

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25 minutes ago, John78 said:

This does exactly what you are wanting to do, effectively send serial over wifi and output that serial to the mount.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UK-NodeMcu-Development-Board-ESP8266-12E-WIFI-CH340-v3-USB-ESP12-ESP-12/263894490456?hash=item3d71565d58:g:VsMAAOSwkY9bfibJ:rk:3:pf:0

 

Okay, that's even cheaper, but how do you physically connect it to the mount? Does it need programming? Have you used it instead of the skywatcher wifi adapter?

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6 minutes ago, Gina said:

Am I wrong or does that say USB?  Not RS232 that the mount wants.

So is RS232 what the mount wants? Do you think that the device in my first post could be used instead of the SW wifi adapter?

Edited by R26 oldtimer
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Yes, most mounts want RS232 or rather the 5v or 3.3v version of it.  I don't know the SW device but it should do - check voltage levels required by your mount and that they match the device.

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The mount needs TTL serial, FLO website says use a lynx eqdir which is usb -> serial, there's no reason you can't use a nodemcu or any of the esp8266 iot things to go wifi -> serial instead.  I deployed exactly this to send serial from an AIS reciever to a navigation computer on a boat via wifi.

Yes you need to program the nodemcu, there are loads of tutorials around to do it - just search wifi serial bridge esp8266 or nodemcu.  I seem to remember the only issuette I had was windows didnt enumerate the serial port to a number that was nice to use - like 23 or something and it needed to be 1 - 8.

Edited by John78
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Dont use ESP for Wifi its very limited is range/power unless you have a mobile Access Point or very strong signal. Its not RS232 by the way its TTL Serial - very similar but the voltages involved are totally different - you will damage you mount if you use the wrong type / voltage. I think you mount  voltage requirements it can use 3.3 or 5v TTL - BUT DO Check first.  I am assuming you are not using your handset in anyway!

The simplest way to connect is to use a USB to TTL adapter that will allow you to connect to a PC etc - if you really want WiFi then you can add a RPI zero W (w for wifi) and plug the USB to TTL adapter into the RPI Zero and use SER2NET to convert WiFi signals(UDP or TCP) to the USB/TTL adapter (a simple configuration file) - Port numbers need to be correct ). So cost would be about £20 (Adapter and RPI). If you want this set up to be stand alone then you will need to make the RPI into an Access Point (google for instructions) else you will need to make sure the RPI connections to your LAN's Wifi.

The biggest issue using Wifi is the signal type (2.4 or 5ghz) and strength - its ok over " clear line of sight" short distances (3-8m or better with 5GHZ) other wise you will run the risk of dropped connections (although playing with retries and time outs can help)

If you really a DIY'ER then look at this site they sell TTL to WiFi devices (there are other Chinese Manu)  PLUS they provide Windows Virtual Com port driver software  https://www.usriot.com/products/wifi-modules/

I have not used Sky Safari in stand alone mode (nothing else being used) over Wifi - I normally use Synscan App Pro (connected to RPI Zero or RPI3 WiFi and Ser2net) in which case Sky Safari connects to TCP PORT 11882 (check might be 11884) on the device running Synscan App (on Android you can run both on the same device). Then Synscan app talks to any WiFi or Wired device via UDP port 11880 and the Sky Safari talks to Synscan App.

If you want to expand later maybe you should look at IndiLib project as this provides even more options - most of which work well. https://indilib.org

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Do not use this device to connect directly to your mount - I have read the manual and IMHO it uses RS232 voltage levels(18V others please check - it was a quick look!) not TTL 3.3 or 5v - these are upto 18V which will blow the board on your mount.

You could use your Handset and connect this device to the "PC" port as this (on V3 versions) is RS232 -  else bye bye mount board.

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5 minutes ago, stash_old said:

Do not use this device to connect directly to your mount - I have read the manual and IMHO it uses RS232 voltage levels(18V others please check - it was a quick look!) not TTL 3.3 or 5v - these are upto 18V which will blow the board on your mount.

You could use your Handset and connect this device to the "PC" port as this (on V3 versions) is RS232 -  else bye bye mount board. 

No, I don't want to fry the mount ?.

So it can't go directly to the mount instead of the hand-controller, but it will work once connected through the RJ12 port of the hand-controller? Then all I need is a RJ45 to RJ12 cable? I have a V4 handset.

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9 minutes ago, R26 oldtimer said:

No, I don't want to fry the mount ?.

So it can't go directly to the mount instead of the hand-controller, but it will work once connected through the RJ12 port of the hand-controller? Then all I need is a RJ45 to RJ12 cable? I have a V4 handset.

V3 handsets used RS232 to connect to a PC (via USB/RS232 adapter or a real com port)  to update Firmware and / or use direct connection in "PC direct mode Mode". There is now a "Synscan relay V4" firmware for just that but I dont know if you loose any other functions(I dont think so but others my know !) on the handset so as a test use the old "PC Direct Mode" function.   http://skywatcher.com/download/software/

Edited by stash_old

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I am going to bypass the handcontroller completely....

Mount to HC is after all 3.3v ttl serial, my estimate is that I 'll have a wifi adapter alternative done very soon.

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Just a thought for you that may save you some cash in the long run.....

I've got the SkyFi unit, which I've used to connect my mount directly to SkySafari Pro on my iPad via wifi,  it works great.

However, I'm also into astro imaging and needed to also connect my mount to a laptop running Ascom.   As a result, i'm also running Sequence Generator Pro.

Now this is a bit around the houses, but.... I can connect SkySafari Pro to Sequence Generator Pro, which in turn connects to Ascom and then to the scope.   So I can still drive the scope using my iPad.

 

Just wanted to point this out, in case you are looking to do something similar in the long run, it might save you some cash.

One last thing, if you don't have Sequence Generator Pro, you can accomplish the same result using Wifi Scope, which is free from the people that make Sequence Generator Pro.

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