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johninderby

Starsense Explorer Stand Alone Conversion

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1 hour ago, markse68 said:

Apparently some phones don’t have real gyros just using accelerometers to approximate a gyro but iphones do as i’m sure premium android phones do too. A good IMU is an important part of the tracking as it’s required between the slower plate solving 

My old iPhone 6 has been repurposed as my Astro phone as it was the only way I could get a reliable link between SkySafari on the phone and my Vixen GPD2 Skysensor 2000 setup.  The Huawei would work fine for part of the evening and then randomly crash and refuse to work with SkySafari again or would sometimes work all evening whilst other times it wouldn't work from the outset. My experience has put me off the brand to be honest. Next phone will be back to a Samsung.

I've needed to get an iPhone case with a battery pack built in as the internal battery is shot, but apart from that it's been a reliable setup.

However, for some reason the iPhone 6 doesn't support the horizon drawing function in the Observer Pro app, that lets you trace your local horizon and export it for use in SkySafari.

I think that's something to do with the Gyros but it works well enough for the SSE app, though I think I need to do a lazy Susan bearing upgrade to my OO UK dob base as fine tuning position in Az is sticky to say the least.

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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

I bought a new rugged outdoor phone for use with Starsense and Synscan. Not expensive but with Android 10 and outdoor oriented features.but with rubber armor and shockproof and is supposed to withstand being dropped onto concrete from 1.5 metres. Also water and dust proof and can be used as an underwater camera down to 4 metres.  Has an 8000 mah battery so will keep going for ages withput a recharge. Twice as thick as a regular smartphone due to the battery but not that heavy and the rubber armor makes it easy to hold.

Hopefully it will be “John proof”. 😁

EDIT:  OUKITEL WP5 Pro from Amazon

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How are you finding this phone John? 

I almost pulled the trigger on one last week as there was a very good deal on Amazon making it only just over £100 but I read some reviews complaining about the GPS performance so I held off.

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No problem with the GPS. Did take a few times initially to calibrate as when first turned on gave the compass position as 180 degrees out but that was indoors. Once calibrated has been fine.  Just waving the phone in a figure eight pattern is how it is calibrated. Now spot on.

Edited by johninderby
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Just ran GPS Test indoors on the phone.

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Edited by johninderby

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25 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Just ran GPS Test indoors on the phone.

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Looking good John, that's a nice interface, what app is that or is it one of the manufacturers built-in apps on the phone?

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19 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

Looking good John, that's a nice interface, what app is that or is it one of the manufacturers built-in apps on the phone?

It’s GPS Test by Chartcross on Google play store. Free app. 👍🏻

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4 hours ago, johninderby said:

It’s GPS Test by Chartcross on Google play store. Free app. 👍🏻

Thanks John, found it.

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14 hours ago, AdeKing said:

I think I need to do a lazy Susan bearing upgrade to my OO UK dob base as fine tuning position in Az is sticky to say the least.

Oh my! Don't do that, please. Your Dobson will became a "finger spinner" toy, totally ruining the experience. Just disassemble the base and see what's wrong. Usually that's just dirt. The only thing the Dobson mount has in common with the fork mount is the look. In fact, it's just a stand for the OTA helping to reposition it at various angles. Any ball bearings addition would convert that ingenious super sturdy mount into a flymsy wooden fork.

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We have once figured, that the absolute maximum accuracy of the CSSE pointing with a modern smartphone is about 1 arcmin. Which corresponds to 1.2 km GPS/GLONASS error at London latitude. So, I wouldn't even bother striving for a sub-kilometer fix. Also, I wouldn't trust Russian GLONASS  much (GNSS displayed in the top left corner of your app) as their satellite group is known for systematic malfunctioning.

Edited by AlexK

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On 19/10/2020 at 10:49, markse68 said:

I’ve written to Celestron to ask them to release a license only package. I’m sure they’d love to keep selling us their cheapo scopes but it’s a bit wasteful and a licence package would be money for nothing for them

That's so naive 😇 (no offence).

Celestron is selling it bundled-only exactly to improve their profit on this tech. The figure of the investment into the app development and support divided by the number of users willing to DIY a properly working phone cradle is much more than an average amateur will be willing to pay for the basic planetarium app (you can find a much better planetarium/star charting app for free). Their marketing department has figured that offering a new product line (CSSE telescopes) targeting a specific market niche instead of a primitive accessory and a basic functionality app would be the best way to monetize on the open source Plate Solving tech which can be hijacked by a competitor any moment now (and that's our best hope, not the Celestron's charity). They wouldn't ever consider undermining their profits from these cheap to make telescopes by selling the bare app until they sell all what they have calculated have to be sold to cover the expenses and then some to please their investors (several years easily). Because the app allows to bump the price of these very cheap telescopes, which probably nobody would ever buy for that price if at all. Bare capitalism. 🤑

Surely, seasoned amateurs have already figured the true value of that new line, but Celestron doesn't actually hide the fact that this line is dedicated for the very beginners who yet to learn constellations, so can't reliably point any telescope to anything but the Moon (some can't), can't see the price of a GoTo system attractive yet or not willing to learn its technical complexities, and might have no idea yet what a good telescope actually is...  🤔

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1 hour ago, AlexK said:

 

That's so naive 😇 (no offence).

Celestron is selling it bundled-only exactly to improve their profit on this tech. The figure of the investment into the app development and support divided by the number of users willing to DIY a properly working phone cradle is much more than an average amateur will be willing to pay for the basic planetarium app (you can find a much better planetarium/star charting app for free). Their marketing department has figured that offering a new product line (CSSE telescopes) targeting a specific market niche instead of a primitive accessory and a basic functionality app would be the best way to monetize on the open source Plate Solving tech which can be hijacked by a competitor any moment now (and that's our best hope, not the Celestron's charity). They wouldn't ever consider undermining their profits from these cheap to make telescopes by selling the bare app until they sell all what they have calculated have to be sold to cover the expenses and then some to please their investors (several years easily). Because the app allows to bump the price of these very cheap telescopes, which probably nobody would ever buy for that price if at all. Bare capitalism. 🤑

Surely, seasoned amateurs have already figured the true value of that new line, but Celestron doesn't actually hide the fact that this line is dedicated for the very beginners who yet to learn constellations, so can't reliably point any telescope to anything but the Moon (some can't), can't see the price of a GoTo system attractive yet or not willing to learn its technical complexities, and might have no idea yet what a good telescope actually is...  🤔

Like you say it’s aimed at beginners- beginners who would never consider buying a standalone license and doing it cheaper. How would selling a number (a license code) to me impact on beginners scope sales given i have no intention of buying their beginners scope? Sure some of us have bought their package just to get the license but many many more would likely buy a license or standalone cradle/license bundle that otherwise wouldn’t have and that would all be extra profit to celestron. How is that charity? it’s a currently untapped market 🤷‍♂️

Mark

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like the old saying goes Mark, don't ask don't get... You never know they might well already have something in the pipeline on a standalone so worth asking :) 

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2 hours ago, DaveL59 said:

like the old saying goes Mark, don't ask don't get... You never know they might well already have something in the pipeline on a standalone so worth asking :) 

Quite- and like the celestron guy said on that thread, if there was enough demand they might consider it. How would they know if there was a demand unless we tell them 🤷‍♂️

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Celestron is monitoring many astronomy forums for feedback and ideas (unofficially). I've been talking with their software lead in charge for the CSSE app on one of them. He has confessed (between lines of course) that they are not planning a standalone app release any time soon. So their plan is to force us into buying crappy scopes as the temptation momentum is high enough. They even have a procedure to disable at some point those cheaters buying and reselling these scopes to obtain the code, and to re-enable legit owners. 

Mark. No alternatives means larger sales for these telescopes. If the margin for an app would be $10 and it's $20 for the bundle it's a nobrainer marketing decision. Such a struggling company as Celestron would go all in even for less having this monopoly.

The number of CSSE DIY adapters in the wild (f.w.i.w. on 3 forums) is about a dozen and they are all covered with the cheapest CSSE scope model already :) $200 is not breaking a bank actually if the plan is to cut a corner or two on constellations learning time. And Celestron is already in the trap, they can't sell the standalone solution for $100 for example, as that kinda too much considering that for $100 more you can get it with the telescope, eyepieces, tripod, fork, red dot :D 

Yes, the CSSE is definitely the best celestial pointing aid for under a grand, but I'm personally, for example, can beat it on multiple bases with Telrad or better yet QuInsight any time. So not really looking forward to shell out ~$100 for a standalone option. $40 - maybe, but Celestron is not interested either no doubt.

Edited by AlexK

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i was a bit bored today so after servicing some binoculars  I designed a mount for my phone for the starsense explorer i don’t have yet. guess that means I’ll have to get it now if the mount works out ok 🤦‍♂️

It’s to take that prism I found that seems to work ok and it’ll mount on the picatinny rail I usually mount my red dot on with a cheapo picatinny to air rifle dovetail adapter from ebay. I looked up the spec of the camera on my iphone and it’s on par with the best low light androids I think so should be up to it.

I”m a bit unclear but think I read it works ok on equatorial mounts so no need to worry about keeping phone dead flat? I haven’t allowed for any levelling ball head or anything...

Mark

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7 hours ago, markse68 said:

i was a bit bored today so after servicing some binoculars  I designed a mount for my phone for the starsense explorer i don’t have yet. guess that means I’ll have to get it now if the mount works out ok 🤦‍♂️

It’s to take that prism I found that seems to work ok and it’ll mount on the picatinny rail I usually mount my red dot on with a cheapo picatinny to air rifle dovetail adapter from ebay. I looked up the spec of the camera on my iphone and it’s on par with the best low light androids I think so should be up to it.

I”m a bit unclear but think I read it works ok on equatorial mounts so no need to worry about keeping phone dead flat? I haven’t allowed for any levelling ball head or anything...

Mark

 

I would think you also need to allow for alignment of the phone so that the target is centred on the app, your finderscope and your actual scope view, in the same way you align the finderscope to scope view.

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8 minutes ago, StevieDvd said:

I would think you also need to allow for alignment of the phone so that the target is centred on the app, your finderscope and your actual scope view, in the same way you align the finderscope to scope view.

you do that in the app from what i understand?

Mark

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hi Mark

I'd be worried about the phone sliding out as you elevate the scope, unless there's another means to secure it or the pic is a cutaway of a repurposed phone case.

Yep, alignment is done via the app so no adjusters required on the mounting. A quick test I did the other night on the TAL-1 seemed to work fine with my phone and that included the usual flip from pointing NW to get location and then the flip & rotate around to Mars in the E. That said mine is a note-10+ so may have more sensors but it did seem to work just fine. The app seems happy to scan and locate even when at a tilt so having the phone level is more aesthetic it seems. It also didn't seem phased by me rotating the OTA to get the focuser where I could use it 🙂 

Edited by DaveL59
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2 minutes ago, DaveL59 said:

hi Mark

I'd be worried about the phone sliding out as you elevate the scope, unless there's another means to secure it or the pic is a cutaway of a repurposed phone case.

Yep, alignment is done via the app so no adjusters required on the mounting. A quick test I did the other night on the TAL-1 seemed to work fine with my phone and that included the usual flip from pointing NW to get location and then the flip & rotate around to Mars in the E. That said mine is a note-10+ so may have more sensors but it did seem to work just fine. The app seems happy to scan and locate even when at a tilt so having the phone level is more aesthetic it seems. It also didn't seem phased by me rotating the OTA to get the focuser where I could use it 🙂 

It should be a tight fit Dave and the camera lens protrudes and should locate in the hole for it (to see the prism) so i think it’ll be quite secure- if i got the measurements correct 😉 🤞 In the interests of neatness I haven’t got any stray light shielding- if it’s a problem I’ll make an add on dew shield for it

Mark

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Looks very neat 🙂 Similar to the rig John knocked up with a cut-down diagonal. For me I added the shielding as too many neighbours where I've no control of light from their windows plus I thought it might give some dew shielding on the more moist nights. 

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38 minutes ago, markse68 said:

you do that in the app from what i understand?

Mark

I sit corrected and registered it in the far recess of my brain. 🤔

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19 minutes ago, StevieDvd said:

I sit corrected and registered it in the far recess of my brain. 🤔

I can see why you thought it Steve- the complex phone holder Celestron made with its rack and pinion sliders could suggest just that but I think they’re just to make the holder universal for any phone- by tayloring it to one phone (mine ;) ) it all gets much simpler :)

Mark

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