I have a SkyWatcher 10 Dobsonian with built-in WiFi Goto. There is also a Raspberry Pi running indiserver mounted to the scope I control via WiFi over VNC that runs a WaveShare focuser via cable and the GoTo via USB cable to the SynScan hand-unit.
It all works, but this setup requires me to use the hand-unit for Alignment. If I do an alignment over WiFi with SynScanPro (Android tablet), the Pi indiserver will not connect the pointing driver because it believes the scope has not been aligned. Apparently, the SynScanPro app WiFi connection is post-hand-unit while the Pi USB connection is pre-hand-unit. Therefore, I suspect, the hand-unit doesn't know what the Android SynScanPro app is doing.
I should mention that I run only Unix variant hardware/software and and Windows option is, for me, no option.
I do not want to use the hand unit because:
1. It is outside in the cold in winter and hot in summer with mosquitoes the size of cattle.
2. Playing Ring-Around -the-Rosie with the scope with that short little coiled cord during alignment is tedious.
3. The hand-unit does not support 1 star or 3 star alignments. Both are preferable (depending on intended targets) to the 2 star hand-unit options.
4. I could use the SynScanPro for all the pointing, but I'd still need KStars/Indi for the focus motor.
There seem to be two possible fixes, though I am open to suggestions. One would be an indi driver that connects via WiFi rather than hardwire in much the same way as the SynScanPro app, thereby (hopefully) bypassing the connect/alignment issue. The other would be a wiring setup for the Pi that avoids the hand-unit and continue to use the same indi_synscan_telescope driver. The problem with the latter is I haven't found any wiring diagrams beyond the level of, "Plug this in and turn it on." I have a suspicion one could unplug the hand unit and create a usb cable to plug in where the hand-unit goes, but cannot find a wiring diagram that either supports this assumption or laughs in my face.
I thought I saw somewhere a method of using SynScanPro for the alignment via WiFi and then connecting the indiserver driver to the SynScanPro app via WiFi, but can't find the article again. That might work. It would require the Laptop, Pi and Andriod Tablet to all be on SynScan WiFi hotspot, but that might be OK. There wouldn't be THAT much traffic unless I tried to add camera video on later.
Another method I tested and worked was to run Synscan App Pro under Wine (but you could run it natively on a Android / Another Windows - too much kit defeats the object) and use the SynscanPro App as normal then connect Indiservers mount driver to the APP via UDP/TCP and the correct port (11880 or 11882 - sorry cant remember which).
Note this was on a Desktop not PI and the Synscan App falls other when you close it but other than that it worked fine. I asked SW if they would bring out a Linux version (as it uses QT) but they said no plans too!
So the order would be Connect SynscanPro to mount do alignment,starts and connect IndiServer driver to the Synscan App (which is still connected to the mount) carry on as normal
Really I would have hoped the alignment "BUG"/requirement would have been removed by now and you could do it all from Indi
Thank you for your reply! I'm glad it isn't just me.
The Wine approach crossed my mind, but there are usually so many work-arounds you have to deal with in any Windoze software that isn't plain and simple, it isn't worth it in regular use. I'm still freshly remembering my " work-around-fixes notes" from RegiStax6 under Wine. Hence, I switched to Siril. I think I would connect through my tablet SynScanPro (If I can find that HOWTO again) before I would go to Wine again. I seem to remember that 18xxx port being the same type connectivity for the Android SynScanPro from me limited memory of the process.
I am 100% with you on the requirement for alignment being a BUG and with your comment about too much "kit." Getting the job done with the fewest bits to setup and connect has always been my goal.
There are still issues with this methodology, as looking forward, having all the network hardware on a local private class D network precludes Internet plate-solving without some extra routing hardware and configurations. One could add a second WiFi adapter to the Pi, I suppose. That would, at least, simplify the routing. The port was 11882, by the way.
I am not sure why one would need internet for platesolving with ASTAP and local Astronomy.net available- hey work fine 99% time. If you are "in the field" no internet normally anyway (except by Phone tethering) so when at home just connect to your "local" network and then you have Internet - I am assuming you can reach your Home network Maybe one day all will be simple LOL. Good luck clear skies.
I hadn't tried the downloaded Astronomy.net data yet, as I have a very fast Internet connection. I did find that it was easier than I expected to get the SynScan unit to stop being a HotSpot and become just a DHCP WiFi client. That takes away my argument for having all the scope gear on its own network...except perhaps in a non-local environment. Even then, I might just chuck a WiFi router in the car and avoid any reconfiguration. I run everything on 110V AC with 12V transformers at the scope anyway. Away from home, I'll just add a big marine battery and 3000W inverter to the mix.
So far today, putting the Pi, Synscan and SynScanPro tablet all together on the same network was a breeze. Running the focuser through INDI is working. Skewing and Alignment is working from the tablet. I know it is -almost- right, because when I first start up, I get the barking about no alignment in the INDI control panel. Once I do a single-star align with the tablet and try to connect, that error goes away, but a new "Connection Refused" error comes up. I feel certain that is my last obstacle.
The really good news is that the dastardly hand-unit with it's curly cord are in a box in the corner and no longer plugged in, as is the USB cable from the Pi.
By the way, the issue I had with "Connection Refused" was due to a technical error known as "Fat Fingers." Everything works as expected with the indi_synscan_telescope driver talking to the mount through the SynScanPro app on the tablet. I'd be nice to lose the tablet after alignment.
glad you got sorted "I hadn't tried the downloaded Astronomy.net data yet, as I have a very fast Internet connection" - bet the Internet solve can't beat 4s local solving - thats total time from hitting the solve button
In the system there must be a component that do the stellar tracking, instruct the mount motor controller to rotate the mount following the stars. In the case of SkyWatcher system this component (surprisingly enough) is the hand controller itself. You can trade that hand controller to a software called SynScanApp runing on an Adroid/Ios device or a windows PC, but it plays the same role.
The mount itself is pretty dumb, just can rotate the motors at a given pace. That is why it is called a Motor Controller.
The hand controller/SynScanApp has a pretty high level interface, a computer can instruct the hand controller to slew to a given coordinate on the sky, and continue tracking from there, and can repeatedly report the position of the scope. All the tracking done autonomously by the hand controller or SynScanApp. That is why you need to do the initial alignment on the hand controller/synscan, and you cannot get rid of it later.
If you add INDI to the system there is two solution:
1. Use the hand controller/SynScan to do the tracking and connect INDI to it's high level interface. That is what indi_synscan_telescope driver do.
2. Let INDI do the hard work of all tracking and alignment process, and connect it to the low level interface of the motor controller. For that you need a totally different driver. In case of EQ mounts it is the indi_eqmod driver, in case of AltAz mounts there are two drivers: indi_skywatcherAltAzMount and indi_skywatcherAltAzSimple driver. For these you do not need a hand controller neither SynScanApp running anywhere. You can directly connect to your WiFi dongle connected to the mount or through a direct serial cable.
I try to do the same as you do, using a 10" Dobsonian mount with INDI. I've tried both method and I have problems with all of them.
The synscan driver mostly works, here is the thread with my problems:
It is about the goto not working as expected. Lately I'm trying to resolve this, it seems to be due to using the "sync" function in KStars causes the hand controller having different picture of the sky in Alt/Az and RA/Dec coordinates. The thing is that when you give a sync to a star the indi_synscan driver works in a way that it sends the command to the hand controller which has the same effect as the PAE (Pointing Accuracy Enhancement) function does natively on the hand controller, effectively offsetting the coordinates in the vicinity of the given star.
I'm in an experiment modifying the indi_synscan driver to send the goto command to the hand controller in RA/Dec coordinates instead of Alt/Az coordinates, this way at least plate solving->sync seems to work and I had successes centering deep sky object in the field of view.
Also please note that for serial connection there are two different thing, one is connecting the hand controller and the other is connecting the motor driver. Both has an RJ11 type connector, but be careful, the two thing is totally different. Not just the pinout is different, but the voltage leves are different!
The hand controller interface use standard RS232 voltage leves (+/-12V) and the provided RJ11->DB9 type serial cable can connect to a standard PC RS232 port or an RS232-USB converter.
The motor controller has TTL (+5V) level signals and to connect that directly to the Raspberry you need a different USB-serial cable commonly referred in astro forums as "EQMOD cable". I made one for myself from an FTDI232 cable. The pinout for both the hand controller and the motor controller connector can be found in the SkyWathser hand cotroller manual on the last page.
I'm starting to understand the architecture better. One of the problems now is that SkyWatcher has changed their interfaces on my model. It has built-in WiFi on the motor controller (no dongle required) and the serial connection is done through the HandUnit. This means they have completely changed the wiring. So far, I haven't found a detailed wiring schematic for these new changes and I am not going to chance putting serial voltage into what may be a TTL port. Frankly, I'd rather try sending data to the UDP port on the motor controller's WiFi as the SynScan APP does.
In the UK, they have a dongle that translates USB to TTL logic meant for serial control of the motor controller, but it is not available in the US yet. This makes me think there may be something different in the configuration...or they just need a FCC compliance certificate before they can sell it here.