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Tablet Recommendations for Control


Roger Studer
 

OK, so I'm exploring the possibility of purchasing the EXOS-2 PMC8. and looking at various tablets to control it with. Since I have never owned a tablet I could use a little guidance. Would 8" be preferred over 10" since it could presumably be held more easily in one hand? I see many of the 8" models still come with Windows 8 and only have 2 gb of ram memory, will this be satisfactory?


I know most people will be using a wireless connection between the mount and tablet and I may as well, but I have read that for a wired connection you need an RS232 to usb cable with a FTDI chipset. Are these cables available with mcro usb connectors? Several of the tablets, that I've looked at only have micro usb ports?.   


Devin Gingrich
 

I’m using a first generation surface pro that I forced windows 10 onto. It’s been great!


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Roger,

One thing to keep in mind which probably isn't explained fully in the user manual is that the ExploreStars application requires Windows 8 as a minimum to run and Windows 10 is preferred. Not that this applies here, but I have had several people inquire on CloudyNights about running the ExploreStars application on a old Windows 7 laptop. This speaks to the question about whether the ExploreStars application is a do-all type of program and it is definitely not.

The primary objective when creating the ExploreStars application was to create an effective, modern replacement for the hard cabled fixed hand-controller that is delivered with most if not all the other mounts out there. In our experience, the minimum recommended tablet size is 8". We are working on improving the displays in the ExploreStars app, but that wouldn't change the size recommended. If you want to use the tablet as a replacement for a laptop to connect to the controller via the ASCOM driver, then you will need to make sure it has enough memory to run the desktop programs that use the ASCOM driver.

If you search for micro-USB to USB adapters, you can find several available including this one that should work:

Couple this with a USB to DB9 Serial adapter (with FTDI chipset as you mentioned) and you should be good to go.

Jerry


---In ESPMC-Eight@..., <AstroLED@...> wrote :

OK, so I'm exploring the possibility of purchasing the EXOS-2 PMC8. and looking at various tablets to control it with. Since I have never owned a tablet I could use a little guidance. Would 8" be preferred over 10" since it could presumably be held more easily in one hand? I see many of the 8" models still come with Windows 8 and only have 2 gb of ram memory, will this be satisfactory?


I know most people will be using a wireless connection between the mount and tablet and I may as well, but I have read that for a wired connection you need an RS232 to usb cable with a FTDI chipset. Are these cables available with mcro usb connectors? Several of the tablets, that I've looked at only have micro usb ports?.   


Roger Studer
 

Thanks Jerry,

I'm really trying to envision, in my mind, how I would be using this setup. Unfortunately without ever having either an automated mount or tablet PC it's a little difficult. I would imagine a few nights in the field with it would make things much more clear. 

I currently use my windows laptop to run a very good astronomical program called Skytools 3 it calculates optimum viewing times for all of the objects in its database for any given time and location. It also is capable of telescope control using ASCOM, something I would like to experiment with if I purchase a goto mount.

Would PMC-8 have the ability to be connected to two devices at the same time? Say my laptop which would probably be some distance from the telescope and a tablet for use, similar to a hand controller, at the telescope? I have read that Ad Hoc networks can be more than two nodes. Could PMC-8 receive input from more than one source? Another possibility would be run a wired connection from my laptop to the mount and use a tablet wireless at the telescope. Would PMC-8 work with that setup?

The other possibility, as you mentioned earlier, would be to use a  a wireless connection to the laptop and a dumb box, connected to the ST4 port, at the telescope for fine tuning the position of the object in the eyepiece. I just really can't see that my slews are going to be perfect enough that they won't need some fine tuning. Just how slow would movement be through the ST-4 port? 

Roger

     


---In ESPMC-Eight@..., <hubbell_jerry@...> wrote :

Hi Roger,

One thing to keep in mind which probably isn't explained fully in the user manual is that the ExploreStars application requires Windows 8 as a minimum to run and Windows 10 is preferred. Not that this applies here, but I have had several people inquire on CloudyNights about running the ExploreStars application on a old Windows 7 laptop. This speaks to the question about whether the ExploreStars application is a do-all type of program and it is definitely not.

The primary objective when creating the ExploreStars application was to create an effective, modern replacement for the hard cabled fixed hand-controller that is delivered with most if not all the other mounts out there. In our experience, the minimum recommended tablet size is 8". We are working on improving the displays in the ExploreStars app, but that wouldn't change the size recommended. If you want to use the tablet as a replacement for a laptop to connect to the controller via the ASCOM driver, then you will need to make sure it has enough memory to run the desktop programs that use the ASCOM driver.

If you search for micro-USB to USB adapters, you can find several available including this one that should work:

Couple this with a USB to DB9 Serial adapter (with FTDI chipset as you mentioned) and you should be good to go.

Jerry


---In ESPMC-Eight@..., <AstroLED@...> wrote :

OK, so I'm exploring the possibility of purchasing the EXOS-2 PMC8. and looking at various tablets to control it with. Since I have never owned a tablet I could use a little guidance. Would 8" be preferred over 10" since it could presumably be held more easily in one hand? I see many of the 8" models still come with Windows 8 and only have 2 gb of ram memory, will this be satisfactory?


I know most people will be using a wireless connection between the mount and tablet and I may as well, but I have read that for a wired connection you need an RS232 to usb cable with a FTDI chipset. Are these cables available with mcro usb connectors? Several of the tablets, that I've looked at only have micro usb ports?.   


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Roger,

I understand your desire to have a flexible control system. The PMC-Eight ASCOM driver and ExploreStars application cannot run concurrently at this point. The closest thing I can offer you to be able to access the application and control the mount from 2 different machines is have your primary machine with the applications and ASCOM driver installed next to the mount, and then install TeamViewer on that machine and the second machine that is remotely located away from the mount. You would make a TeamViewer connection between the machines (this requires that both machines are on network and may or may not be separated but accessible over the Internet).

Creating a dumb switch box to fine tune position using the ST4 port is definitely doable (see attached) but the firmware would need to accommodate the setting of the speed for moving the mount. Currently the correction rate is 0.7x Sidereal or about 10 arc-sec/second.


Roger Studer
 

Hi Jerry,

Hmm, the team viewer idea probably wouldn't work because where I normally view from has no internet access. Using a dumb box at .7 x sidereal rate would be way to slow to center an object in the eyepiece. Unfortunately I'm not a programmer so even though your code is open source I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to modify the code to increase speed through the ST4 port. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Roger


hubbell_jerry@...
 

Hi Roger,

You wouldn't have to modify any code, it is just up to me to make the modification and allow the setting of the ST4 port rate in the ASCOM driver or the ExploreStars application. Once that is in place, the a simple switch box would work as you suggest. Having said that, it really isn't that hard to use the ExploreStars application as it is designed, i.e., a replacement for the standard mechanical hand controller. There are 2 interfaces, the standard keys and a virtual joystick that works fine when looking through the eyepiece and moving the scope to center the object. Just takes a little practice is all.