I contacted the poster and he suggested that a Stellarmate running Ekos using the INDI drivers for Sky Safari might allow me to adapt my GOTO system to use plate-solving alignment (making use of a small independently operating camera.) .
My ultimate goal would be a system which could plate-solve after each GOTO and correct the inherent "slop" in the system.
Question: Do you know of anyone using something similar in a big-dob ServoCat setup? Is Nexus DSC compatible with Stellarmate?
Ideas, opinions and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your reply and for your generous offer of support. I am not yet a Stellarmate owner. I was trying to gauge whether my application using my current equipment was likely to be possible. I have a limited understanding of the Stellarmate system, but with what I've been able to glean, I see that a driver/interface exists for Sky Safari(wifi). It seems that using this driver/interface, goto/slew/alignment commands from Sky Safari can be sent to Stellarmate and sync commands from Stellarmate can be received by Sky Safari.
Here is one point that I don't understand. On my system, Nexus DSC / ServoCat is functioning as a mount in that it receives goto/slew/alignment commands from Sky Safari via WIFI and then moves the scope to the target. In my current system, Nexus DSC acts as an adhoc WIFI network for connection to Sky Safari. Is it possible for Stellarmate to "see" the Nexus DSC / ServoCat as a mount and attach as a WIFI client, while still "seeing" Sky Safari through WIFI and acting as a host?
Question: How can this be set up such that the Stellarmate acts as an intermediary between Sky Safari and Nexus DSC / SevoCat?
If you have a Linux/Mac PC, or one of many SBC computers such as a Raspberry Pi you can freely install KStars and the INDI drivers to test them right away.
INDI/KStars on Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
Raspbian Buster with AstroPi3 script configuration
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Mount
Canon 600D Camera
Orion SSAG/ASI120mm @280mm Guide Scope
Waveshare Stepper Motor Board - DIY Focuser
Adafruit GPS Module
Generic Bluetooth Joystick.
Startech 7 port powered USB Hub.
Thank you again. Good information. The protocol I use for Sky Safari to communicate with Nexus DSC is indeed LX200.
Since Sky Safari (on an Android tablet) expects to connect with WIFI as a client and Nexus DSC expects to connect with WIFI as an adhoc network, is there going to be an issue with Stellarmate connecting as a WiFI client to Nexus DSC while also connecting to Sky Safari (on an Android tablet) as an adhoc network?
Thank you all for your kind advice. I'm considering buying a device on which to try driving Nexus DSC using the INDI protocols. Since I am a "noob" to Raspberry Pi, I'm strongly considering buying a Stellarmate dedicated device in order to start with a platform which I know is working out-of-the-box and then experimenting with adapting the configuration to my purpose.
Questions: I know Raspberry Pi 4 is in Beta for Stellarmate. How close is Raspberry Pi 4 / Stellarmate to stable for my use case? Any date for a (dedicated hardware )RPi4 / Stellarmate release? I see online some folks are getting tremendous performance boosts by booting from an SSD attached through USB3. Anyone have experience with that approach?
v1.4.6 for Raspberry PI4 was just released today and it's pretty stable. There are benefits to booting from SSD of course, but if you want performance, it might be better getting an x86-64 NUC and installing Linux on it with KStars/INDI.
TLDR: Connection to Mount (Nexus DSC / ServoCat) seems to be working. Camera recommendations for plate solving? Resources for triggering plate solving after each “GOTO”?
Long version: Thank you all for your gracious help. I took the plunge and bought an RPI4, a cheap SVBONY camera and a copy of Stellarmate OS. Not having used a single board computer before, the learning curve has been steep. I now have the Nexus DSC / ServoCat scope responding to “Goto” commands from either Kstars or Sky Safari. The setup was a bit different than I originally planned, but it is also simpler. It turns out that I didn’t need to use the Sky Safari driver within Stellarmate (although I did get it to work.) Sky Safari (through an Android tablet WIFI) connects directly to Nexus DSC / ServoCat (exactly as before).By connecting Stellarmate to the Nexus DSC hotspot and using “LX200 Basic” mount in the profile, I’m able to control the mount from Kstars. This arrangement updates the telescope position in Kstars when Sky Safari does a GOTO and likewise updates the telescope position in Sky Safari when Kstars does a GOTO.
I’ve spent a bit of time playing with the camera. I’ve been able to run a sequence of captures. The “Auto Detect” was great, being that SVBONY doesn’t show up in the dropdown list. It is “detected” as another brand. Probably pretty common for inexpensive Chinese made cameras. I did notice that the lightness of the images seem to vary greatly from one exposure to the next. Bad camera? Any recommendations for a camera that works well for plate solving within Stellarmate?
I guess my next goal is to try doing some plate solves. Eventually I would like to arrive at automatically triggering a plate solve and realignment whenever a goto is completed. I would imagine this would involve some scripting? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.