Topics

Smartphone Compatibility with PMC8

Darryl Ellis
 

Hi Jerry/Kent,

 

What is the possibility for adding smart phone compatibility to the Explorestars system in the near future?  Alternatively, are there plans to allow other providers to develop compatibility with their systems like Sky Safari?

In my opinion this capability will greatly increase the versatility and convenience of the PMC8 products.  I personally want to purchase an additional mount like the EXOS100, but hesitate due to needing another tablet when I have a $1000 phone in my pocket, lol.

I currently use a laptop control my Exos2 for imaging, but I wouldn’t want to lug it around for the mobile use I plan for the Exos100.

 

 

 

Darryl-

DHEllis59, Dover, DE
Astro Tech RC 6 w Pegasus Focus Cube,
Orion Starshoot II Pro Imager,
QHY 5 II Guide Camera and 30mm Guidescope,
Explorer Scientific EXOS GT 2 With PMC Eight Controller,
Orion XT8 with Nexus II DSC via Sky Safari Pro,
Celestron Luminous 31mm, Meade MWA 10mm, and 5mm EPs
Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars,
20/20 or better vision in both eyes due to recent cataract surgery!!!
"The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens" - Proverbs 3:19

Wes Mcdonald
 

Darryl

You can easily run your PMC8 from sky safari, but for now at least you need a windows tablet to be involved.  You connect via serial to the tablet using poth.  Then you run wifi scope.  You connect your PC to a wireless lab and also connect your phone to the lan.  Skysafari sends data to the wifiscope which is an ascom client and send these commands into the PMC8 via the poth and ES ascom driver.

I use an old router to set up my local lan connectivity.

Who knows, maybe the skysafari folks will one day support the PMC natively.  They certainly support lots of others.  

The thing I use it for is the UDLR arrows.  It's easier on Stellarium for me to designate the target and go to than it is in skysafari...but I also do it in safari.  And they have a nice search interface.

Wes



--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired

Darryl Ellis
 

Thanks Wes, but your solution requires I use a tablet in addition to my smartphone.

I'm trying to bypass having to use a tablet altogether and just want to use an app on my smartphone and it's Bluetooth it even WiFi hotspot capability to control my mount.

I currently use my phone with a Nexus dsc device to push to my son.  I would like to control my pmc8 mount the same way.

I applaud you on your workaround skills though.

Darryl

 

DHEllis59, Dover, DE
Astro Tech RC 6 w Pegasus Focus Cube,
Orion Starshoot II Pro Imager,
QHY 5 II Guide Camera and 30mm Guidescope,
Explorer Scientific EXOS GT 2 With PMC Eight Controller,
Orion XT8 with Nexus II DSC via Sky Safari Pro,
Celestron Luminous 31mm, Meade MWA 10mm, and 5mm EPs
Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars,
20/20 or better vision in both eyes due to recent cataract surgery!!!
"The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens" - Proverbs 3:19

Wes Mcdonald
 

Darryl

Work around skills...haha that's a good one 🤣.  I ain't smart enough to figure out an app.  Necessity is a mother!


Wes

--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

Since i created this forum first on Yahoo, people have been asking for a phone based app, and Sky Safari support.

Early on about 4 years ago prior to releasing the system, we approached Simulation Curriculum about supporting the PMC-Eight, but they have balked at the idea. They insisted that we make the PMC-Eight compatible to what they already have, namely the Meade or Celestron command language. As most of you know that would be impossible for a couple of fundamental reasons, mainly the architecture of the control system does not provide astronomy-centric commands like the Meade and Celestron controllers do.

They would need to include the functions that are in the ExploreStars app, or are in other ASCOM clients for doing astronomical mount functions. I don't think that will ever happen. Their app is really nothing more than a pretty front-end HMI to a traditional hand-held controller that does all the work. The ExploeStars app does all the functions of a traditional hand-held controller with a better interface.

We are going to work on a phone based version of ExploreStars at some point though which will probably meet most people's needs.
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!

Darryl Ellis
 

Jerry,

That is the optimum solution and actually the one I preferred.  Thanks for explaining the business reason behind the direction you are taking.  Personally, I thought it was something along those lines.

Regardless, I'm glad to hear that a smartphone compatible system is somewhere in the future of the pmc8, and I am happy to wait for it.

With highest regards,

Darryl
--

DHEllis59, Dover, DE
Astro Tech RC 6 w Pegasus Focus Cube,
Orion Starshoot II Pro Imager,
QHY 5 II Guide Camera and 30mm Guidescope,
Explorer Scientific EXOS GT 2 With PMC Eight Controller,
Orion XT8 with Nexus II DSC via Sky Safari Pro,
Celestron Luminous 31mm, Meade MWA 10mm, and 5mm EPs
Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars,
20/20 or better vision in both eyes due to recent cataract surgery!!!
"The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens" - Proverbs 3:19

S Johnson
 

Follow up question on the SkySafari compatibility.
Given they declined 4-ish years ago when PMC-8 was an emerging technology — would it be worthwhile to revisit the idea now that PMC-8 is broadly used?

Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 06:27 PM, S Johnson wrote:
Given they declined 4-ish years ago when PMC-8 was an emerging technology — would it be worthwhile to revisit the idea now that PMC-8 is broadly used?
We have been in discussions over the past year or so, but again, it is an issue of system architecture and what they would need to include in their application. The Meade and Celestron hand controllers do all the astronomical calculations for their app where the PMC-Eight does not do that as it is a more generic system. The ExploreStars and ASCOM driver in our design does this work so to even consider it, at a minimum they would need to make their app ASCOM compatible, or include the functionality that we provide in the ExploreStars application that they do not currently have in SkySafari.
 
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!

Joe Izen
 

I purchased SkyFi/SkySafari for my Sirius Atlas (127 mm refractor) and HDX-110 (C14) around the same time as I purchased an iExos-100 for my 80mm refractor. I’ve been learning to use both at the same time, and so features that I like with SkySafari have motivated some of the feature request I’ve made here such as the Polar Alignment capability. I’ve been impressed with the Sky Safari interface for looking up objects. I have been frustrated that Simmulation Curriculum doesn’t support the iExos-100 PMC-8, and I’ve told them so. If there is a point in discussions where a clamor from their users would be helpful, I’m happy to complain again. I’m good at complaining. ;-)

I had to purchase a dedicated Amazon FireHD8 to use my iExos-100. I’m finding I prefer using my iPhone 6S+ better than my FireHD8. For one thing, I always have it with me. I think you are taking ExploreStars in the right direction by porting it to phones. Would it be possible to do an “alpha” iOS release by just making an iPad-identical iOS release for iPhones? I understand the sizing would not be optimized for a smaller screen, but for those of us with larger screen iPhones, it would probably be useable until there was something better.

Best,
Joe

Wes Mcdonald
 

Joe

I use skysafari as a handset.  I haven't seen a polar alignment feature.  Where is it?

Wes

On Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 7:03 PM Joe Izen <joe@...> wrote:
I purchased SkyFi/SkySafari for my Sirius Atlas (127 mm refractor) and HDX-110 (C14) around the same time as I purchased an iExos-100 for my 80mm refractor. I’ve been learning to use both at the same time, and so features that I like with SkySafari have motivated some of the feature request I’ve made here such as the Polar Alignment capability.  I’ve been impressed with the Sky Safari interface for looking up objects. I have been frustrated that Simmulation Curriculum  doesn’t support the iExos-100 PMC-8, and I’ve told them so.  If there is a point in discussions where a clamor from their users would be helpful, I’m happy to complain again. I’m good at complaining. ;-)

I had to purchase a dedicated Amazon FireHD8 to use my iExos-100. I’m finding I prefer using my iPhone 6S+ better than my FireHD8. For one thing, I always have it with me. I think you are taking ExploreStars in the right direction by porting it to phones.  Would it be possible to do an “alpha” iOS release by just making an iPad-identical iOS release for iPhones?  I understand the sizing would not be optimized for a smaller screen, but for those of us with larger screen iPhones, it would probably be useable until there was something better.

Best,
Joe



--
Wes, Southport NC
PMC-8, ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG
Electrical Engineer, Retired