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TheSkyX and Celestron Scopes

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vortex388 Posted: 03-31-2017 1:09 PM

Have there been any efforts to interface to the Celestron SkyQ interface for telescope control?  Celestron hand controllers are now coming with micro USB ports for communication.  Not sure how all this factors in, but the serial interface is becoming antiquated, and I would prefer not to run my telescope with an iPad if I can help it in the long run.  Your software package is the most complete all around observatory suite, and I would prefer to stick with it for future expansion.

 

V/r,

Wyatt

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See Using TheSkyX with Celestron NexStar Mounts, then let us know if you still have unanswered questions.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Ok, what about with the SkyPortal WiFI module??

The only reason to connect to the hand controller is for alignment routines.  The SkyPortal Wifi module and SkySafari work without any serial ports whatsoever, it's over wifi and doesn't even require the hand controller to be connected.  NexRemote is an ages old program and obsolete.  None of the alignment routines are in NexRemote to properly emulate a current hand controller.  Why can't TheSkyX do the same thing?

 

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vortex388:

Why can't TheSkyX do the same thing?

The protocol is proprietary and Celestron has not/will not release it to us (we've asked). I'll ping them next week at NEAF and see if they might have changed their minds since we last approached them.

Richard

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vortex388:
Ok, what about with the SkyPortal WiFI module??

Well, Celestron's site says "the SkyPortal WiFi Module (formerly SkyQ-Link)", and as noted in the post to which I previously linked, "References to Celestron's SkyQ Link product apply to any wireless connectivity option they offer (to date)."

vortex388:
The SkyPortal Wifi module and SkySafari work without any serial ports whatsoever, it's over wifi and doesn't even require the hand controller to be connected.

Similarly, when TSX (TheSkyX) is used with Celestron's SkyPortal WiFi Module, the communication is over WiFi, and the physical hand controller is not required. The only "serial ports" involved are virtual COM ports (smoke and mirrors, if you will).

vortex388:
None of the alignment routines are in NexRemote to properly emulate a current hand controller.

The StarSense AutoAlign accessory isn't supported, but one- and two-star alignment methods are available in NexRemote.

vortex388:
Why can't TheSkyX do the same thing?

TSX makes use of Celestron's publicly-documented communications protocol to control their mounts, such as by issuing a command to slew to a specific coordinate. Celestron's own SkyPortal mobile app uses a proprietary (unpublished) communications protocol, which reportedly provides some additional capabilities (such as direct control of the mount's motors).

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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So I have two run two additional pieces of software on a PC to make this work, which is clunky. In addition, what if I had a Mac?  Another hocus-pocus 'hope it works in VMware' situation.  NexRemote will never be updated, CGE Pro users have to use at least an All-Star Polar Alignment for accurate tracking.  StarSense is another level, but could be supported as well.

Celestron's SkyPortal application is not Celestron's at heart.  It is Simulation Curriculum's SkySafari with Celestron's badging on it.  Sounds like collaboration has taken place with SC and Celestron to get the alignment routines and COM port layer in the application.  This is what should happen with your application in my honest opinion.  Why should I have to ensure three pieces of software are running before I can interface your software to a CGE Pro wirelessly?

Bottom line here is that there is a reason, and its not a technical one, that this hasn't been done.  Some of us are not fortunate enough to buy a Paramount mount and receive 100% support, some of us have to settle for a lowly CGE Pro.  You might gain more support for TheSkyX if you actually did got the interface to work through your own application.  It is in fact why I have used SkySafari since the SkyPortal wifi module was released, and not continued on with TheSkyX.  I have waited a couple of years to revisit, but obviously nothing has changed.  Are we not a serious enough customer base to advance your software, for whatever reason, to allow us the seamless wireless interface that another company can provide? 

I'm sorry, but as a tech company you must evolve with technology. SC has my confidence for now.

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vortex388:
Why should I have to ensure three pieces of software are running before I can interface your software to a CGE Pro wirelessly?

Because that's the method Celestron has made available. Your comments would more appropriately be directed to them. Hopefully Richard will soon be successful in getting their cooperation on this front.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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By email 2017-04-01 04:17Z (How do I reply to a post on the Software Bisque Forum?):

vortex3888:

Apparently this has been looked at before. They have some sort of agreement with simulation curriculum it appears because sky portal is not their application.

Sent from my iPhone

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Yes, Celestron has/had an exclusive agreement with the Sky Safari guys.

This may have lapsed, and there is new management there now. I will make another attempt to see if we can't add support for TheSky for iOS. Everyone is acting in good faith here I assure you. I will speak to them next week when I see them in person.

Richard

 

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Not just with iOS but OS X, the iPad is not what I would consider a long term solution. The rest of the TheSkyX software suite is through OS X, so that's the direction I'd really like to see.  Simulation Curriculum started out on iPad, now it's capability is on both platforms equally, both iOS and OS X platforms do all forms of alignment and control routines, 1-star, 2-star, all star polar, and StarSense. I hope that is what we can see and can get an agreement done, I hate to see bureaucracy get in the way of a quality product.

Thank you for your efforts!!

 

V/r,

Wyatt

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Was there any progress noted with Celestron at NEAF?  I'm not so concerned about the alignment routines as much as being able to use StarSense and have non-clunky way to connect to the scope wirelessly.  If the StarSense routines cannot be used in TheSky, then have a way to hand off the scope to TheSky after alignment is done, with the wireless interface.  In addition, T-point should be able to take it from there or may actually be the ultimate solution for all alignments.  First and foremost needed is a seamless wireless interface to the SkyPortal adapter.

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vortex388:

Was there any progress noted with Celestron at NEAF? 

I'm afraid not. The specific person I wanted to talk to was not there, and has not responded to my emails (product development guy). The interfaces to these scopes is closed, and it seems they still do not wish to have them controlled by anything other than their own Sky Safari derived solution.

If Celestron changes their mind/policy, we'll be happy to add support for their mounts for our mutual customers who've made this choice.

Richard


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Posts 3,134
Software Bisque Employee

By email 2017-04-24 02:02Z (How do I reply to a post on the Software Bisque Forum?):

vortex388:

To my understanding the Celestron rep was not present due to being sick, however I don't know about the unreturned emails. I'll provide this input to Celestron, I am tired of an non-unified solution, it's tiresome as it start with my AVX mount and nearly 5 years later with a CGE Pro nothing has changed.

I'll address the technical group to try and get this kickstarted.
Thanks! 
Wyatt

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,342
Software Bisque Employee

vortex388:

To my understanding the Celestron rep was not present due to being sick, however I don't know about the unreturned emails.

Yes, I heard too he had the flu and he may yet respond now that he's back to work and get's some other things taken care of.

This discussion is starting to get uncomfortable to me. I may be reading this wrong, but I feel like you are making me defend Celestron's potential decision to keep control of their products... We are competitors, and yet we also cooperate on some projects. If they want to keep control of their telescopes proprietary, I cannot argue their right to do so, or make demands of them. Nor should I really be providing a blow by blow of any negotiations between the two companies on an open forum, and I already regret that.

All I can and will say is that we remain interested in adding their new WiFi scopes to the iOS app, if/when they are willing to work with us. 

Richard

 

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Posts 33

I'm not trying to get anyone to defend anything.  I simply want to have a seamless, non-clunky interface.  You have no competition when it comes to your software, it is hands down the best out there, especially as an overall package.  I just want to spur the discussion with Celestron and get the right people involved.

Thanks!

Wyatt

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