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Connecting a second device to the PMC8 via wifi?


Steve Siedentop
 

Greeting all! 


I had a chance to spend some time with Scott and Greg at the Peach State Star Gaze and used the G-11 PMC 8 over the course of a couple of nights and enjoyed it thoroughly!


I am considering a mount upgrade and I have a question...I did my best to search through the messages for answers, but found none.  Please accept my apologies in advance if this has already been discussed at length.  Bear with me while I frame it.


My current imaging set up consists of an Intel Compute Stick running Windows 10 Pro, BackyardEOS and PHD2 along with all ASCOM drivers to control a couple of different mounts that I may use at any given time.  The Compute Stick connects to a second hand WiFi router, which allows me to connect remotely using an RDP client (Remote Desktop Protocol) from a variety of devices including my iPad, iPhone, Windows Laptop, or whatever else I have available.


I'd like to continue the same setup, installing ExporeStars on the Compute Stick for mount control using the WiFi ASCOM driver.  This would require another device to be on the WiFi network to allow me to control the ComputeStick remotely.


This leads me to my question...can I have more than one device connected to the WiFi network created by the PMC-8?  If not, any thoughts on options that would allow me to keep my current setup?


Thanks in advance for your help.


-Steve


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Steve,

The configuration you are asking about may be possible with the PMC-Eight WiFi module (Microchip RN-131) but has not been tested. It may require some configuration changes. I know that Chris Moses was working on this.

The ExploreStars application is really only meant to be a dedicated hand controller that can only be used separately from the ASCOM driver. That is, only the ExploreStars app, or the ASCOM driver can be used alone, not in tandem. I am not sure how you specifically wanted to use the ExploreStars application in your configuration.

You can continue to run either of them on your Compute Stick on Windows Pro and access them remotely. The best and simplest way to run the PMC-Eight is with a third party client through the ASCOM POTH telescope hub. You can connect the POTH to the PMC-Eight, and then connect any client you wish to use to the POTH. You don't mention what planetarium program you are running with your other mounts, but we have had good luck running Cartes du Ciel. We also use Maxim DL in our observatory with the PMC-Eight. 

Jerry Hubbell
Director Electrical Engineering
Explore Scientific, LLC.


Steve Siedentop
 

Hi Jerry - 

To date, I've just relied on the mount's hand controller, along with connectivity via ASCOM to control the mount for framing and focusing once an alignment has been performed.  I haven't used a planetarium application to control my mount.  Does something like Cartes du Ciel allow me to perform the equivalent of a 3 star alignment, replacing the need for the ExploreStars app?

Ideally, I'd like to run Explore Stars (for simplicity), BackyardEOS, and PHD2 on the Compute Stick and RDP into it with whatever I have available.  This would mitigate the need to have a separate device for telescope control, and the Compute Stick up top for camera control.  This, of course, is dependent on the ability of the RN-131 to handle wifi traffic from two devices.  My goal is to minimize the number of dangling cables on the mount.  

I was looking at the specs for the RN-131 chip and nothing suggests that it's limited to connecting to one device.  I found a post from Chris Moses mentioning that he was able to connect, but it locked up after a time.  The first culprit I would suspect is heat.  Has anyone tried sticking a heat sink on the chip, something like what you can find for the chips on a Raspberry Pi board?  I'm not sure if this would cause problems in the form of interference or not. 


-Steve



W. Christopher Moses
 

Yeah, I never got that to work reliably. Although, I never really tried to hard. Now that the weather, around here is lousy, I will probably play with it again and try to tweak some of the wifi boards settings