Southern Stars SkyFi Wireless Telescope Controller - WiFi Module
Southern Stars SkyFi is the only WiFi device on the market specifically designed for telescope control. It's battery-powered for field use; your scope, SkyFi, and iPhone all run off batteries, or from a 12V source. Unlike bluetooth devices, SkyFi requires no pairing, and no special drivers. It uses standard TCP/IP networking protocols. Because TCP/IP is the language of the internet, SkyFi can enable your telescope to be remotely controlled over the internet. This is a capability that bluetooth simply was never designed for. You can use SkyFi with your WiFi-enabled laptop or desktop computer, as well as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
SkyFi is very compact, barely larger than an iPhone. It can be easily attached to your telescope's mount or tripod; a strip of double-sided Velcro is included for that purpose. Southern Stars SkyFi accepts four AA batteries, and has a typical battery life of 8 to 12 hours under continuous use. SkyFi can also be powered from an external source, like a car battery or a wall socket. Power adapters for both AC (120V, 60Hz) wall socket input and DC (9-12V, 1.2A) cigarette-lighter socket input are available. Once powered on, SkyFi creates its own 802.11 wireless network. By default, this is an open wireless network called "SkyFi", but you can rename and secure it later on. Join this network from your iPhone, laptop, or other computer, and - voila! - you're ready to use SkyFi. As long as your computer or iPhone gets its IP address by DHCP, no additional network configuration is required.
SkyFi provides a standard DB-9 serial adapter to interface with your telescope. That means you can use your existing telescope serial cable - you don't need to buy (or build!) another. If you don't already have a telescope serial cable, Southern Stars can supply one at additional charge; please specify your telescope model when ordering. Finally, you'll also need a telescope control application running on your computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. SkyFi works seamlessly with our SkySafari software running on Mac OS X, as well as the SkySafari app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android.
Southern Stars SkiFi Telescope Compatibility...
SkyFi can wirelessly enable almost any telescope with a standard USB or RS-232 serial interface. Models that have been tested and are known to work with SkyFi include:
- Meade LX-200 Classic and GPS
- Meade LX-90, ETX, LXD, LX-400 ACF with AutoStar #497 controllers
- Meade Magellan I and II
- Meade ETX-LS
- iOptron SmartStar and MiniTower mounts with GOTONova controllers
- Celestron Ultima 2000
- Celestron NexStar 4/5/8, 5i/8i, GPS, SLT, SE
- Celestron CG5, CGE, CGEM, CPC
- Orion Sirius, Atlas, SkyView Pro, SkyQuest XTg
- SkyWatcher mounts with SynScan controllers
- Takahashi Temma 2
- Sidereal Technology SiTech controllers
- ServoCAT Argo Navis, Sky Commander, Losmandy DSC
- Astro-Physics GTO, Losmandy Gemini & Gemini 2, Vixen SkySensor 2000
- Tangent Instruments BBox, JMI NGC-MAX, Celestron AstroMaster, Lumicon SkyVector, Takahashi Super Navigator, Dave Ek Box
- Orion Intelliscope, Orion Sk
Support for additional USB telescope controllers containing the Future Technology FT232R and FT232RL USB-to-UART chipsets is coming in a free firmware update during the first half of 2012. This includes the USB SiTech and USB ServoCAT controllers.
Some Meade ETX models (60/80) ship with the Autostar #494 controller. To make SkyFi work with these scopes, you need to replace the #494 Autostar controller (which does not have a serial port) with the #497 Autostar (which does). Contact Meade to upgrade your controller.
For ServoCAT and Argo Navis users, this document contains cable pinout diagrams and setup instructions. For Starmaster Sky Tracker systems, this document contains the equivalent instructions.
The only models that do not work with SkyFi are those that have neither USB nor RS-232 serial ports. Such models include: Vixen mounts with StarBook controllers. The Vixen StarBook controller uses an ethernet interface, which is also physically incompatible with SkyFi. However, you can use an Apple AirPort Express (or other wireless router) to control the StarBook from the SkySafari iPhone app. This document
from Vixen explains how. You also need to configure SkySafari to communicate with the StarBook controller at 169.254.1.1 on port 80.
Southern Stars Product Number: SKYFI