View Full Version here: : SkySafari, SkySafari Plus, and SkySafari Pro for Android
22-12-2011, 08:54 PM
I think I can beat Bill and Tim to the punch. :)
23-12-2011, 11:02 AM
Dang. You did beat me. I was just coming here to announce it.
23-12-2011, 11:09 AM
Oh, by the way, here is the info about it on our web site:
25-12-2011, 02:07 AM
had the Beta 3 & Beta 4 running on my HP TouchPad (CyanogenMod Alpha 3.5), only trouble was a botched download/update with the Beta 3.
Bought the 'Pro' version - there's a 50% discount until January, i think - and it's REALLY good!
27-12-2011, 07:37 PM
I bought the pro version and have it installed on a Eeepad Transformer tablet and a Motorola Defy phone. It's working flawlessly on the phone, but caused some trouble on the tablet requiring reinstalling it a couple of times.
Interestingly it seems to perform better on the phone then the tablet. This may be to do with the Honeycomb operating system as it seems like rendering bugs to me.
Good service from the developers and a really good product.
28-12-2011, 02:18 AM
Been testing the beta and bought the Pro today. Hope to get this working with the Aircable Serial3 bluetooth to serial adapter I have. Just need to wire up the Aircable for power from the Feature port on the Gemini.
30-12-2011, 11:36 AM
I tried b4 seemed to work ok on my zoom connected to my telescope with WiFi but the rate slider to control the speed of my scope would stay at 100%.
I have now purchased the pro version but is very unstable many crashes so back to my Idevice. I am still happy with the purchase though I hope the program will get better in time.
30-12-2011, 12:36 PM
Ah yes, that could very well be a problem with the platform - or your phone, and not SkySafari as such. Given that there is no centralised body (such as Apple in its case) vetting everything that goes onto the Android store, it could be any one of the applications installed on your phone that isn't behaving, or causing SkySafari to do what it shouldn't. :sadeyes: I don't envy Southern Stars' job - or any other Android developer's, to make its application work without issue on this platform and on many various devices coming from different manufacturers and having to work alongside a plethora of un-verified apps. Open source is nice, but not when it comes to having to guarantee that your app will work as advertised.
31-12-2011, 08:27 AM
We just released SkySafari 1.0.1 for Android today. We have made big improvements in speed as well as fixing a couple of memory smash errors that can result in crashes. The full list of changes is here:
Hopefully this will address many of the problems folks have reported.
31-12-2011, 09:28 AM
Wow Bill... you fellas are on the ball :) When do you anticipate the new text file observing list import addition?
31-12-2011, 09:50 AM
It will be a couple of weeks. We are back on iOS and Mac, getting ready for MacWorld in a couple of weeks. A side reason for holding off the Android import is that the format is not compatible with the Mac (yeah stupid historical mistake). The new iOS version will have a compatible format and then everyone will be able to easily exchange files.
31-12-2011, 11:27 AM
Thanks Bill this is great news. I just love this app. I use it on ALL my devices, so I really have purchased it three times for my devices that I use.
Will give it another try soon if the weather improves.
01-01-2012, 07:52 PM
Just bought SkiSafari for my new Sensation XL. Its looking alright for just 2 bucks, its very good value. Although, SkySafari Plus on the iPad is GREAT!
03-01-2012, 07:49 AM
The Sky Safari Pro is the most amazing application for my android Galaxy S2
It has in depth notes and I downloaded the 500 megabytes data file with phenomenonal hi res pictures
Easy to use the money for the Pro version is so underpriced for what is delivered
Keeping the colour option on allows me to simply see the K and Meade stars by eyeballing the very accurate sky charts
I also can save any object easily and the massive database has more knowledge than I could deal with
Thrown with a night vision function too I am so happy I purchased this
It will become a best seller.
Buy it with confidence
04-01-2012, 02:55 PM
I've got the Pro version on Android. Can it control a Losmandy G11 running Gemini 2? Over WIFI?
04-01-2012, 04:01 PM
Logon - you need the Southern Stars SkyFi unit to do this. It talks to your phone via 802.11 and translates this to RS232 for your mount. Controlling the Gemini 1 was never a problem in iPhone or iPad, and I can't imagine that either Losmandy or Southern Stars have changed their protocols. We've been doing this on iPhones for a long time now,so the Android version should work just fine.
05-01-2012, 12:06 AM
Chris if the Gemini2 is connected to the say the home network and your android is on the same network, then could they not talk to each other?
It seems that skysafari does let u put in the IP of your mount. So any reason why this will not work? Unless there is a requirement for some special protocol on the mounts side.
05-01-2012, 08:35 AM
I imagine it'd work fine Fahim - if you're connected to your mount via ethernet to a hub (like Apple's AirPort or other equivalent) that incorporates an ethernet to WiFi bridge. In an observatory situation that's probably quite normal - but out in the field (or in my backyard with no observatory) it isn't. Not having a Gemini 2, does it let you nominate a port?
05-01-2012, 02:31 PM
Chris what services the Ethernet port provided is the million dollar question. From the G2 quick start guide it seems to provide a webhost so i would assume that would be on port 80 or 8080. Also mentions the Gemini Ascom interface can be setup to talk to the mount via the same IP simultaneously, so this might be on another port. Not sure what this port is though. Skysafari seems to need a host on port 4040, but again not sure what kind of service/protocol its expecting to find. And weather or not the G2 has that service to offer. But I am sure it could be added. Or perhaps the Ascom port could be used, if they talk a similar language. I dont have a G2 so cant really test it to see. But I would think that it would not be hard to add this as a option on the G2, but then I think they are currently focusing on adding more essential features right now.
Yes I agree in the field the ethernet interface is tricker to setup. You could buy a cheap WIFI router (20$) and connect both the mount and Android to it. The mount physically to a ethernet port and the Android via wifi. For the backyard as long as your in range of your home WIFI, you could also use a WIFI Ethernet Bridge/Access point. Personally I am not fond of putting my Telescope mount on a home network even behind a firewall. Next we will need antivirus software for our telescope mounts.
05-01-2012, 03:00 PM
I'm having thoughts that this probably won't work without SkyFi Fahim. Why should it? The SkySafari application, (either iOS or Android) I imagine, probably speaks its own Southern Stars specific protocol - app to SkyFi device. I could very possibly be wrong, but if I were the vendor I'd make sure that the wifi to rs-232 conversion smarts were in the SkyFi and not in the phone. All modern mounts use rs-232 to communicate over, so why go re-inventing the wheel for every mount out there - only a couple of which are fitted with ethernet?
05-01-2012, 06:08 PM
Chris, I concur the smarts to do the conversion maybe be in the Skyfi device. And I can very well understand that.
Bill if you are still around can you clarify this for us. Would Skysafari talk to any mount with an IP or is that module only for a Skyfi device IP?
Is there anything special about this Protocol or can it be updated by Skysafari to support other mounts which now come with there own Ethernet or WIFI built in.
06-01-2012, 12:08 PM
The SkyFi is just a "dumb" box that listens on a network port and sends the commands out the RS-232 on the other side. SkyFi doesn't know anything about specific mounts. That intelligence is all in SKySafari.
Yeah, in theory if the mount had it's own Wi-Fi then SkySafari could talk directly to it.
The Vixen StarBook uses an ethernet port for remote control. You can use that with SkySafari by setting up a router that is connected to the StarBook and then SkySafari sends commands by talking to the router. Just need to specify the router's IP address and port in SkySafari's scope setup. Here is a document that describes this.
06-01-2012, 04:24 PM
I would like to confirm what Bill has said in his last post. I have a Vixen Starbook goto system and I just connect a cheap small wi-fi router to it enter the IP address and control scope with either my IPad,Iphone or Xoom.
Works very well and my application of choice.
06-01-2012, 05:37 PM
I guess that from a marketing point of view it's a little surprising Bill, but good to know. Updates to drive new mounts and models are obviously easier to manage in software, so I see why in that regard. For a "dumb" device, the SkyFi still has plenty of comms smarts about it, hence the assumption. Thanks for the clarification. It's still valuable in remote field situations where it's otherwise impractical to run a wired network.
With an Apple AirPort in my office at home, it'd be great to run ethernet to a scope out in the yard or observatory, and still be free to roam around with SkySafari on the phone or iPad. The advantages of routing those pesky packets where you want them to go :) Very nice having that flexibility.
Fahim - question answered. :)
06-01-2012, 09:05 PM
There has been some talk of adding this small unit to G2 mounts, Netgear WNCE2001: http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&cp=4&gs_id=w&xhr=t&q=wnce2001&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1024&bih=483&wrapid=tljp1325844188513010&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=nsYGT4XSFMn7mAX709SoAg
I'm assuming that the combination of G2-WNCE2001-SkySafari will work nicely when at home and connected to the home wifi network. It's another story for offsite.
The RJ45 cable from netbook to G2 works well in the field, but I'll lose SkySafari... what's the solution there?
P.S. Old settings for G1 are no longer relevant with the G2, the hardware and software changes are night and day...
07-01-2012, 03:10 AM
Bill, thanks for the response, that is good news indeed. But I am still guessing that on the Telescope mount side there needs to be a host component, but i would suspect most mounts will come with this because the will need the same to talk to ASCOM etc. Skyfi deivce still actually has to have some smarts as it would hosts the service that converts from IP protocol on port 4040 to RS232.
Logan/Chris for field and home use instead of getting a WIFI/Ethernet Bridge device like the Netgear (which can only act as a client to a wifi network) you get a cheap wireless router, that supports bridge mode or WPS. I uses two ASUS N12 routers in this way. Both have some custom firmware called Tomato but even the current ASUS firmware can do this quiet well. I have one running as my mane home WIFI Access point for the house, and the other running as in bridge mode near the TV set. So the TV, Xbox, media players all which have Ethernet ports can connect via this bridge to the home network.
In the field you would switch the router to WIFI Access point mode. This way it will accept WIFI Connection from your Laptop, Android, IPhone, Ipad et all in the field. And you connect the Ethernet devices like the G2 mount or GigE camera's etc to the ethernet ports on the WIFI router. Creating a little wifi network in the field. If you can find one that supports 3g either via a SIM or 3g USB modem you even have internet out in the field for all connected devices.
Given your switching from Home Bridge/Repeater mode and Field Accespoint mode you dont want to mess with settings all the time on the router. Two options here, get two one for field one for home. They are fairly cheap i paid around $40 a year or so ago. Or just save the settings profile for both setups to a file on your laptop and restore the one you want to use as part of your setup routine.
Now of course the a router like the ASUS N12 is not small but it gives you more options than the afore mentioned Netgear. I would love to find router like this in the size of the Netgear. I think the Apple Airport router mentioned is one unit that can do this, but they are not cheap and only it think come with one Ethernet port. So if you wanted to add a GigeE camera etc you would also need a little network hub/switch.
I will look around and see if i can find something like the Apple Airport that is more cost effective and report back. The Netgear may have this ability to be Router/Bridge/AP, but i am not sure. Or it might be able to get this ability by adding custom firmware.
Edit: Did a bit of Googling and found this unit ASUS WL-330N3G. I am trying to work out if there is anything it cant do. Seems pretty nifty for a credit card size device. Only one ethernet port but thats all you need for the mount, you could add a little ethernet switch to extend it. But then you may consider a bigger WIFI router instead.
The benfit over the Netgear WNCE3001 or 2001 is that this can act as a Access point which is what you need in the field. It can also act as a Repeater or Ethernet bridge for home use. It also supports 3g USB modems so your portable network can have internet in the field if your in range of a 3g tower.
07-01-2012, 08:42 AM
The Apple AirPort Express (AU$119) only gives you a single ethernet port. It's the AirPort Extreme (AU$199) that gives you three free ethernet ports. I have one and love it to death. No fiddling. Simultaneous WiFi on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz - it's a great piece of kit. All WiFi and ethernet devices connected just work in a single homogenous network without any mucking about whatsoever. Beautiful.
09-02-2012, 06:57 PM
This is my first post to this group. I use Dave Ek's DSC. So far it's worked brilliantly for me using Cartes du Ciel. I was wondering if anyone here has done it for Sky Safari Pro for the Android? I'm not sure how to go about it. I have a Samsung Galaxy S which has wi-fi and bluetooth. It also has a mini USB port. I don't know what's required to get it to work. Any clues? --geoff
10-02-2012, 12:29 PM
just a bit of a warning,
I have skysafari pro for android, and love the program on my galaxy tab 7.7.
BUT. unless you jail-break (root) your android device, it will NOT detect or connect directly to an ad hoc wifi network device to run your telescope. (IE a Sky-Fi).
Android tabs can detect ad-hoc wifi systems, but this feature is disabled, and the only way to enable it is to jailbreak the unit.
I don't want to void my warranty and also have to upload all my purchased apps and books again, so rooting is out for me.
The only way round this, is to join them through a router - not very practical for a star party or deep sky trip.
So, if you are thinking of getting a Sky-Fi to use for telescope control (like I did), just be aware of standard android tablets inability to see ad-hoc wifi networks.
10-02-2012, 11:40 PM
Rider, why not set your Android to Hotspot mode and have the Skyfi connect to it?
11-02-2012, 07:52 PM
From what I understand the latest SkyFi 2.2 firmware adds a mode which supports connection to a wifi network. Currently it only supports WEP security but will be enhanced for WPA in the next firmware release. So as mentioned, you could use your unrooted android device as an access point (supported from Android 2.2 onwards I believe) and connect the Skyfi to that. Or if at home, connect everything to your wireless home network.
13-02-2012, 08:56 AM
That is a bugger, it works fine with the iPad, I got mine going last night.
01-03-2012, 04:35 PM
Ok, given that if I do root my phone the warranty will be killed, the Galaxy S has Bluetooth, can I use that instead? If so, How do I get it to talk to my Dave Ek digital setting circles box which has serial out? I do have a serial to USB adapter which I use successfully with Cartes du Ciel.
There is some info here:
but it relates more to goto. Hope someone can advise on push to for you.
08-03-2012, 04:52 PM
If your Android device can't connect to Ad Hoc networks (some can without jail breaking), then you have a couple of options:
1. Connect via bluetooth. The bluetooth adapter you have may or may not work. This page (http://www.southernstars.com/products/skysafari_android/scope_control.html) has a list of adapters that are known to work (although many others might).
2. We are about to release new SkyFi firmware that simplifies (and makes more robust) the ability to join an existing network. If there is an existing WiFi network where you observe (like your home), you can have SkyFi join the home network and then the Android device can also join that network and talk to SkyFi over it. No Ad Hoc network needed.
09-03-2012, 09:08 AM
I use a router to connect to my scopes:
galaxy tab 7.7 to skyfi..... then to HEQ6 or Ioptron Minitower.
I found it difficult to connect the Skyfi to the router with the current firmware until Bill stepped me through the process after I SOS-ed him via email. (thanks Bill)
Once set up, the system works very well, and I don't know if I'll bother with the new firmware.
The real trick is to assign a static IP address to skyfi, otherwise if you have lots of kit attached to the router, skyfi might have a different IP on the next occasion you use it and you will have to discover what it is.
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