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Can't connect Sky Safari 5 Pro to Servocat USB via SkyFi 3 wireless

I am not able to connect to the telescope from Sky Safari. I get a message that says "Sky Safari can connect wirelessly to the Sky Fi 3, but your telescope is not responding." I have been able to control the servocat from a Mac OS X desktop system via USB connection from the Mac to the ServoCat. I am connecting from SkyFi 3 USB "A" port to the Servocat USB "B" port.

Found old thread about doing this with modified serial cable, but would rather go with USB connection to ServoCat. I have used this connection successfully with a cable between mac and servocat, but can't effect the wireless connection using the scope connection button in Sky Safari 5 Pro.

Any ideas about what I am doing wrong here?

25 comments

  • 1
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    Bill Tschumy

    John,

    I got your log files.  It looks like the problem is that we are getting back "```````" (backquote) characters rather than what we expect.  I will have to see if the guy that wrote the firmware has any ideas.  There is probably some incompatibility between the ServoCAT and the SkyFi 3.

    I'm going to have Keiron contact you about a return.

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    Are you using the same USB cable to go from SkyFi 3 to the ServoCAT and as you used with the Mac?  Are you sure you have chosen the same settings (Scope Type, etc)?

    We haven't heard of any problems with SkyFI 3 and the ServoCAT, but it is also not clear that anyone has tried it before. There could be some incompatibility we are not aware of.

    You should also make sure the SkyFi 3 is updated to the latest firmware.  We have been making changes to support less common USB chip sets.  You can download the latest firmware here:

    http://www.skysafariastronomy.com/skyfi-3-professional-astronomy-telescope-control.html

     

     

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Bill, thanks for the response.

    Yes, I am using the same USB cable for the SkyFi3 to Servocat connection as I used for Mac to Servocat. I know this to be the case, because the Servocat on the Obsession 18UC requires a right-angle connection on the USB "B" connector, which was supplied by Stellar Cat, and is the only one like that I have. The SkyFi 3 is indeed updated to the latest firmware. It came with the latest firmware.

    Note that I am not the only person to have this problem. There is a relatively extensive thread on the Servocat yahoo news group indicating the same symptoms from 2014, with SS4. Only one of a dozen or so people got the setup to work, and it's not clear what made him successful.

    Finally, let me note that the page you referred me to in your last email, where one can download the firmware, contains a note about how to connect to servocat with SkyFi. That note is only relevant to (I believe) "Gen 2" servocats, which had an RJ-11 serial connector for computer interface. The current "Gen 3" servocats do not have that connector. It has been replaced by a type "B" USB connector. Also, the SkyFi in the note is an earlier version. I can't tell if that earlier version had USB or not. I do note that the "current" SkyFi 2, which has USB, has a different version of the firmware, where a change note for version 2.3 specifically addressed USB support for Servocat Gen 3, which didn't previously work. Has that update been applied to the firmware in SkyFi 3? If not, any chance I could exchange my SkyFi 3 for this earlier version?

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    The firmware for SkyFi 3 is totally different than that for SkyFi 2.  The version numbers are not compatible.

    SkyFi 3 has only been available for around 7 months.  Any posts back in 2014 are irrelevant to your problems.  I keep in regular contact with Gary and as far as I know, the only problems with SkyFi 2 are when people hook it up incorrectly.  I always direct those people to Gary since he knows all the version of ServoCAT and how they are to be connected.

    Let me contact Gary to see what he has to say about SkyFi 3 and ServoCat.

    I believe we are out of stock on SkyFi 2 so exchanging one might be different.  I may have a couple that I keep aside for replacements, but I'd rather not give you one of those if it can be avoided.

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Bill,

    Yes, I understand that the firmware is different in the SkyFi 2. That's the point. The release notes for that version confirm that there was in fact a problem connecting to Gen 3 servo cats, and now it's fixed (see Rev 2.3).So I don't think it's true that "the only problems with SkyFi2 are when people hook it up incorrectly." Was that same fix applied to SkiFi 3 firmware?

    I can understand that you don't want to give up any limited supply of earlier versions. On the other hand, I'm sure that you can understand that I don't particularly enjoy having paid $200 for something that doesn't work. So how about a return for a refund? I understand that compatibility with many different mounts can't be an easy situation. But it's not easy for customers, either. And when one sees a checkmark beside one's own equipment, I think it should actually work as expected.

    PS, maybe the 2014 posts are irrelevant, but the error message is identical. Also, there is a message from August, 2016, with the same problem. Not clear which version of SkyFi.

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    We can certainly give you a refund if we can't get that resolved.  I've emailed Gary to see what he knows about this.  Give me a day to sort this out.

    You can't really apply the "same fix" because they are totally different code bases written by different people.  The SkyFi 3 firmware person has it working with all the USB mounts he has tested with (3 or 4 manufacturers).  However, we don't have a Gen 3 ServoCAT. to test with.

    Could you send me a scope log file showing the connection failure.  Maybe that will provide some information.  See the bottom of this page in the manual for how to do so.

    http://www.skysafariastronomy.com/support/manual/scope_setup.shtml

    Also if you have "Set Time & Date" turned on, you might try turning it off.

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Bill,

    Have tried "Set Time & Date" both ways, same result.

    Scope "dummy aligned" since it's daytime. Test GoTo's worked fine. Mode set to Catalog->From Planetarium (I have also tried to do this without selecting "From Planetarium" until after connection, based on the "how to connect servocat" note on your website -- of course, it doesn't connect that way, either.)

    All factory default settings on SkyFi for attached log file (using "press and hold red button" method).

    Actually, I see that I can't attach the log file. The file name is

    "SkySafariScopeLog-2017-02-06-11-56-51.txt" i.e. just now, and the contents are:

    Sent ASCII at 2017/02/06 11:56:51 with error 0:
    v
    Received ASCII at 2017/02/06 11:56:51 with error 0:
    ``
    Sent ASCII at 2017/02/06 11:56:51 with error 0:

    Received ASCII at 2017/02/06 11:56:51 with error 0:
    ````````

     

    The result is

     

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Just for completeness, the Scope Type is set to "StellarCat ServoCAT" and the mount type to Alt.Az. GoTo. Readout rate is set to 1 per second. Using 2 per second also gives the failure message above.

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Bill,

    Any new info? I head from Gary Meyers, and he had no idea why there was a problem. If there is no progress being made, I'd like to arrange the return & refund.

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    When I emailed Gary he suggested you contact him directly and he will help you out.  It is still not clear that there is not a problem with SkyFi 3, but you should work with Gary to make sure you are connecting everything correctly.

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Bill,

    I have corresponded with Gary, and I am connecting correctly, after doing the alignment, etc. His response to me is pasted below. So it is clear to me that there _is_ a problem with the SkyFi 3, and I would like to arrange a return for refund.

    John

     

    On 8 Feb 17, at 2:27 PM, ServoCAT <techsupport@servocat.com> wrote:
     
    Hello John,
     
    My apologies for note answering this – somehow it got in to the list of emails but overlooked – obviously by a good number of days. Again my apologies. 
     
    I heard from Bill at Sky Safari that he had a customer trying to do this – I assume that was you ... there’s not a great deal more I can suggest to do. The only requirements are that you finish the alignment before trying to connect. Nothing else is needed. You are using the USB cable to connect ... all that you describe sounds good. I understand from Bill there might be an issue with the SkiFi3 model... I’d guess he’s been back in touch with you regarding this ... please let me know what comes of it. 
     
    regards,

    Gary Myers
    StellarCAT
     
     
     
  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    John,

     

    We can certainly offer a refund.  However, I would appreciate it if you could capture a log file of the connection failing.  That might help us fix the problem for you or others.  It an earlier posting you included part of a log file.  Interestingly, that one didn't show any errors so I'm not sure what the connection would have failed.

    Since you can't attach files in this forum, you can email the file directly to me at "btschumy at simulationcurriculum dot com"

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Bill,

     

    I just sent you a bunch of log files (at your email), including the earlier one. All of them are the same, all the log files I collect, including one using a mac laptop, are 227 bytes long. That's all of it.

     

    John

  • 0
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    jcsommerer

    Thanks, Bill. Just for the record, I tried it again this morning, with a new USB cable. No joy.

    John

  • 0
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    Cstarks

    Has there been any progress in resolving the apparent "incompatibility between the ServoCAT and SkyFi 3", if that is what it is?  I have no problems at all using my ServoCAT/Argo Navis/Sky Safari 5 Pro on iPad Mini 4/SkyFi 1.  It is a delight to use.  However, I know someone who has the SkyFi 3 and he is unable to make the connection as described above.

    Charlie

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    No, we haven't gotten it resolved yet but are working on it.  Thanks for letting me know there is another with the same issue.

  • 0
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    Brian Carter

    Hi Bill.  I e-mailed support over the weekend with the same problem.  The return e-mail requested that I respond to this thread to let you know I was having the same issue.

    I only recently installed a servocat, but have been using the SkyFi for quite a while.  It always worked perfectly with my Sky Commander DSCs and Sky Safari.  However, plugging it into the Servocat produced the same error message as above.  Sky Safari on my Macbook Pro works fine with Servocat if I use the USB, so it doesn't appear to be a problem of the Servocat/USB connection, or Sky Safari.  It does appear to be some kind of firmware update.

    Being able to see on Sky Safari where my scope is pointed has seriously changed my observing habits, I really don't want to go back.  So hopefully you guys can get a firmware update soon, I really enjoyed using the SkyFi.

     

    Thank you!

  • 0
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    Cstarks

    Hello Bill,

    Just following up to learn if there has been any progress with the issue on this thread. 

    Charlie

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    We are making progress.  The person working on the SkyFi 3 firmware is close to getting this fixed.  Sorry for the delay.

  • 0
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    Cstarks

    Bill,

    There is a section in the SkyFi 3 hardware webpage regarding Firmware.  There are instructions on how to go about upgrading the firmware.  In particular, step 3 contains an error, I think.  It reads,

    3.  Go to http://10.0.00.1 in a browser.

    It should say, Go to http://10.0.0.1 in a browser. 

    The extra 0 in the address causes the browser to attempt to enter into a search for it, which it cannot do at that point because it is connected to the SkyFi 3.  When changing the address to 10.0.0.1, the process functions normally and the browser opens up the SkyFi 3 s/w, allowing for all sorts of choices, including firmware upgrade.

    Charlie

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    Charlie,

    You are absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing out the typo.  We will get this fixed.

  • 0
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    Simon

    Any more news on the fix?

    I know of a few people with the same problem.

    Regards,

    Simon

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    Sorry, I thought I had notified everyone that was waiting on this fix.  I guess I missed this thread.

    The new firmware is available and can be downloaded from:

    http://www.skysafariastronomy.com/skyfi-3-professional-astronomy-telescope-control.html

    Scroll down to the middle of the page to see the download link.

  • 0
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    Simon

    Thanks It works now with my tablet

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl1A81RL6kg

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    Good to hear.

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