SkyFi III USB Wireless Telescope Adapter - Firmware Update + Process

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    Quick-Start Guide:

    Click Here to View PDF

    Firmware:

    Please update the firmware in your SkyFi III. The new firmware is linked below and attached to the bottom of this KB article.

    SkyFi-1.3.3.pkg

    IMPORTANT!  Do not unzip the PKG file.  Leave it as it is.

    1. Download the file to your desktop Mac OS X or Windows PC computer.
    2. Turn the SkyFi 3 on and join its network from the Mac OS X or Windows PC desktop computer.
    3. Go to http://10.0.0.1 in a browser.
    4. Click the Firmware tab in the SkyFi configuration page and follow the instructions for updating the firmware.

    If further assistance is required regarding the firmware please submit a ticket request for assistance.

     

    Overview

    SkyFi III is our WiFi-to-Serial adapter, designed for wireless telescope control. If you have a computer-controlled GoTo telescope, SkyFi III can use the WiFi capabilities built into your computer and your iOS or Android device to point your telescope in the sky. SkyFi III is the only WiFi device on the market specifically designed for telescope control, and it now includes a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery for up to 12 hours of field use!

    SkyFi III includes both USB and serial ports - this means that it can control the latest USB-only telescopes from Meade as well as other telescopes with RS-232 serial interfaces. 

     

    What's included

    SkyFi III is very compact, barely larger than an iPhone. It can be easily attached to your telescope's mount or tripod; a Velcro belt is included for that purpose.

    SkyFi III has a micro USB connector for external power. It can be powered or charged from a standard 5V USB port on your computer. The package includes a micro USB power adapter (North American orders only) that accepts worldwide AC current (100-240V, 50-60 Hz). You can also power SkyFi III from a car battery using a "cigarette lighter" micro USB adapter (not included).

     

    How it works

    Once powered on, SkyFi III 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 mobile device, laptop, or other computer, and - voila! - you're ready to use SkyFi III. As long as your computer or mobile device gets its IP address by DHCP, no additional network configuration is required.

    Use your existing telescope serial cable and plug directly into SkyFi III - you don't need to buy (or build!) another. If you don't already have one for your telescope, see here for our selection. 

    Finally, you'll also need a telescope control application running on your computer or mobile device. SkyFi III works seamlessly with our SkySafari apps for iOS and Android devices, our SkySafari software running on Mac OS X, and our Starry Night software on Mac and via Virtual Serial Port on Windows.

     

    Telescope Compatibility

    SkyFi III 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 III include:

    • Meade LX-200 Classic and GPS
    • Meade LX-90, ETX, LXD, LX-400 ACF with AutoStar #497 controllers
    • Celestron NexStar 5i/8i, GPS, SLT, SE
    • Celestron CG5, CGE, CGEM, CPC
    • Orion Sirius, Atlas, SkyView Pro, SkyQuest XTg
    • SkyWatcher mounts with SynScan controllers

    Some Meade ETX models (60/80) ship with the Autostar #494 controller. To make SkyFi III 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.

    The only models that do not work with SkyFi III 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 III. However, you can use an Apple AirPort Express (or other wireless router) to control the StarBook from our 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.

     

    Temperature Considerations

    We don't have any hard data on this.  However there is abundant literature on how the performance of Lithium Ion batteries decreases with temperatures.  Li-ion batteries do not have a horrible performance penalty in the cold (unlike NiCad).  We expect/guess maybe 70% performance in freezing conditions.

    Very Important:  Do not to charge a Li-ion battery when it is very cold.  This can damage them.

     

    Warranty

    Simulation Curriculum offers a 1-year limited warranty on all SkyFi III units purchased directly from us or an authorized reseller.

    Comments

    • Avatar
      Luca Vanzella

      Hi,

      When you say "SkyFi III creates its own 802.11 wireless network", do you mean an "adhoc" wireless network like the older SkyFi unit creates, or an "infrastructure" wireless network, that the older SkyFi unit cannot create but can join?

    • Avatar
      Bill Tschumy

      SkyFi 3 creates a regular (infrastructure) network. It is **not** an Ad Hoc network. This works with iOS, Mac, Android and Windows. This was one of the reasons we came out with SkyFi 3

    • Avatar
      Luca Vanzella

      Thanks Bill. A good improvement.

    • Avatar
      Jamey Nyberg

      I just wanted to mention I updated my Meade Stella WiFi adapter with the SkyFi 1.3.3 update and it worked like a champ. The label on the front is still Meade's but the WebPage inside is SkyFi III. This seems to have fixed the lost connection issue I was experiencing. Thanks for the update.

      Is it safe to assume if a WiFi telescope adapter has the hourglass shape and all the ports, LEDs and button in the same places, the update will work on that device? I notice Orion sells a box that looks exactly like your SkyFi III and my Meade Stella WiFi adapter.

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