2019-04-14 at 20:35 #457
sorry for not having any good support on the telescope control feature yet. This thread is actually the good place to discuss it.
In practice this means that you need a PC (or a rasberryPI) connected to the serial port of your telescope, and running the telescope server.
If you have windows, you can download a pre-build version: TelescopeServerLx200.exe.gz for LX200 compatible mounts (Meade) or TelescopeServerNexStar.exe.gz for NexStar and compatible mounts (Celestron, SkyWatcher etc..).
Stellarium+ expects the IP of this PC, and the port number you specified when starting the telescope server application.
We are fully aware that this is not the easiest way to interact with a Telescope, but the good news is that I am actually spending most of my time (and nights!) coding proper support for Serial over Bluetooth and Serial over TCP socket interface. With that, instead of a PC, you will simply need a small Bluetooth to Serial or Wifi to Serial interface connected to your telescope.
It actually starts working pretty well on my development version (I used it last night!) but it needs a lot of testing because telescope vendors have so many different hardware/protocol/firmware versions.
I am about to look for beta testers with telescopes for trying as many setups as possible, so if any one reading this is interested, please let me know.
May I ask you what your mount model /hand controller is, and how you’d prefer to connect to it from your phone?
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Fabien Chéreau.
2019-05-14 at 10:14 #516
FYI: since the initial posts on this forum, the Telescope Control code has been completely updated and now works fine with NexStar, SynScan and LX200 and compatible telescopes. They can be connected using Bluetooth, WIFI or other network connection.
The app was tested against a growing number of controller devices including:
– Meade Audiostar/Autostar using Bluetooth or TCP connection
– Celestron Nexstar+ using Bluetooth
– Sky Watcher SynScan v3 and v4 hand controller using Bluetooth or TCP connection
– Sky Watcher AZGTi WIFI mount, through android SynScan App
– OnStep controller using Bluetooth
Don’t hesitate to report success (or failure) with your own setup!
2019-04-22 at 18:20 #484Anthony HiscoxParticipant
It would be nice if we could have some kind of interface for programming our own “drivers”. I have a Celestron Nexstar 80GTL and I bypassed the RS-232 level converter in the hand controller and soldered in a HC-06 bluetooth adapter. I’m currently working on an Android app to send commands to the controller, including passthrough commands that go directly to the mount. I’ve also considered removing the hand controller entirely and replacing it with an Arduino Pro Micro and HC-06 to give me a USB PC port and Bluetooth to Android.
I’m looking for an app that can output the coordinates of a selected entity so I can move to it. This lets me handle things like Cord Wrap, and limits in movement so the scope doesn’t hit the mount, as well as hibernate and whatever else.
I’ve looked into modifying Sky Map now that it’s open source, but it’s not nearly as full featured as Stellarium. Also, I don’t have Plus yet but probably will soon. If you need any help Beta testing with the 80GTL that fits with my current setup (which is mostly the same from Android’s point of view as a RS-232 serial to bluetooth adapter) I’d be happy to help.
- This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by Anthony Hiscox. Reason: Corrected model
2019-04-22 at 19:04 #486
thanks for the message, first of all, when we are ready to release the next version with update telescope support, the nexstar protocol should work fine, so it should be easy to send regular commands to your (bluetooth-ified) hand controller.
For replacing the hand controller completely, the best would maybe be that you re-implement a subset of the nexstar protocol in your arduino so that you remain somewhat compatible with the nexstar driver of stellarium mobile +? You could then intercept the goto commands, and modify the behaviour according to your whishes.
My current driver assumes the mount is nexstar-compatible if it correctly implements the echo command, i.e. when receiving a ‘Kx’ command it should return ‘x#’ with x any byte value. From this point the codes sends many comands but the only required ones are the ‘e’ and ‘r’ commands, for getting position and slewing to a position.
Would that be a solution?
2019-04-22 at 22:25 #488Anthony HiscoxParticipant
This would work for an Arduino based solution, as well as passing commands to a properly aligned telescope via hand controller. Ideally things like Date/Time/Location would be set via the phone rather than an onboard GPS, and since I intend on mounting the phone to the eyepiece for the camera, leveling and pointing north for alignment could be automated.
Will your implementation be doing any sort of alignment?
I’m still working through any resources I can find, not sure how it all works yet. For example it looks like Time and Date can only be set with 2.3+ version firmware on controller, I have 1.2+. I’m new to astronomy as well and not a great programmer, so this complicates matters. Not sure if it makes more sense to do alignment on Android and only use the controller/Arduino for passing data directly to mount with Passthrough (0x50), similar to how auxremote (github) does it, given my 1.2+ firmware.
In the meantime I considered a localhost HTTP server on Android emulating the Telescope Server Stellarium uses to implement some of these features. Is this protocol documented anywhere, or should I just look at the source?
2019-04-23 at 08:36 #489
Be careful that without hand controller, the arduino would need to pilot the DC Motors directly, and there is no such thing as setting time/date/location for a DC Motor.
For the moment, Stellarium+ doesn’t help to perform stars alignment, even though it would be a very nice feature in the future. As far as I know nexstar serial protocol doesn’t allow to perform alignment from a third party app. It seems to me that apps doing that need to control the DC Motors directly and completely by-pass the hand controller.
In your case, I’d suggest you start with the easy path, and just keep your hand-controller for the moment.
For the Stellarium Telescope Server, I’d suggest you just use the nexstar protocol instead, which is more flexible.
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