For reviewing purposes, I skipped over the short Chapter 6, focused on Sky Portal operations, as I’ll do that chapter after I have a chance to connect to my tablet and test some of the operations. I thought of doing the same for Chapter 07, Connecting a PC, Mac, Tablet or Smartphone to Your Tablet, but it’s a short chapter, and easily dispensed with here.
Some of the highlights:
P.165 – Wired Connections for RS-232 Hand Controls…I knew that most of the wired connections used an USB to Serial adapter, and plugs in to the RJ-22 Jack (I thought it was an RJ-45, but apparently not!). However, one “new” thing in the guide is that there is a way to do a wired connection to a tablet or smartphone using SkyWire + Sky Safari with an iOS device. I had no idea there was an option for a physical wire connection. I might have skipped the dongle wifi if I had known that earlier, as there can be challenges maintaining connections.
P.165 – Wireless connections…As with the wired one, I didn’t know people had attempted doing it with BlueTooth but it sounds way more exciting than the wifi connection. Out of my abilities, most likely, but I’d be willing to buy one if it is ever perfected. I’ll stick with my wifi connection (SkyPortal module) although good to see the range of other options available.
P.168 – Software to Control Celestron Telescopes…I don’t have a lot of interest in this aspect, to be honest, and I have a copy of NexRemote that came with my scope back in the day. However, what I found incredibly useful was the suggestion that when any software asks you for your type of scope, if it doesn’t offer you an option for your specific model, it suggests using NexStar GPS or CPC…very useful to know! I also like the multiple refs to more materials on the author’s website.
P.169 – Troubleshooting Serial and USB Connection Problems…I have had problems with my wifi connection in the past, but I read the other connection section anyway. Interesting that NexStar Observer List software (NSOL) is only able to connect through the ports on the bottom of the hand-controller, not the extra ports on the mount. Under the Troubleshooting WiFi Connection Problems section (P.171), I was intrigued to see that when connecting to Android, it may note that internet is not available (yes, I’ve had this!). It says you have to say “YES” and “DON’T ASK AGAIN” or Android will block everything. Nice. I also didn’t know that I could connect both my phone and the telescope through my router at home (if I was in the backyard) and that connection works better. While that would be helpful at home, I’m curious if that method (called Access Point mode) would work with my iPhone set as a hotspot. Something to keep in mind for the future.
A good short reference chapter. Hopefully I won’t need the trouble-shooting part as much.