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SkySafari Pro + SkyBT + LX200 GPS Connection Fail (RS232 Mount Port Broken)

Dear team, I received for Christmas a nice SkyBT to connect my lx200 GPS with skysafari pro on my android.

But connection failed. ”skysafari pro can make a wireless connection to the scope but scope is not responding”.

I connected the SkyBT with a Meade #507 rs 232 cable in both rs232 ports, but none is giving a connection.

Settings for telescope in skysafari are set on meade lx200 GPS, lx600.

Can you please help how I can troubleshoot this further and hopefully come to a solution?

Thanks!!!!

21 comments

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    Bill Tschumy

    Did you star align the scope before trying to connect?  Meade scopes can't be controlled remotely without first being star aligned.

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    Frdt

    I did the auto alignment with GPS and 2 stars first. Then I connected the cable and the SkyBT, then I set up the Bluetooth connection and after that I tried to connect with skysafari with the above error message...

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    Frdt

    If I disconnect any part of the cable, the orange led disappears. When I click on connect in skysafari the green led stops blinking for a few seconds until I receive the above error message. My scope is LX 200 act GPS.

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    Frdt

    Tested with android phone and android tablet. In both situations settings in skysafari:

    - scope type meade LX 200 GPS, LX 600
    - mount type alt az go-to
    - connect via bt (fireflybp-5b20)
    - readout 4ps

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    Bill Tschumy

    Do you have "Set Time & Location" enabled in the Telescope Setup settings?  Most GPS scopes don't like being told where they are.  If it is ON, try turning it OFF.

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    Frdt

    Dear Bill, thanks for your answer but unfortunately the setting was off and I didn't enable it. Still same error.

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    Bill Tschumy

    Hmmm....   Another possibility is that you have another Bluetooth serial device paired with your Android device and SkySafari is confused about which to talk through.  if you go to the Scope Setup settings and tap the *already selected* "Connect via Bluetooth" option, it will bring up a picker allowing you to explicitly choose what bluetooth device to connect to.  Choose the one that starts with FireFlyBP.  See if that helps you connect.

    Sorry you are having problems.  Usually this just works.

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    Frdt

    Hi Bill, as mentioned in earlier posts I tried that already. With both androids I'm having. (Mobile and tablet). But always the same error... Thanks

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    Bill Tschumy

    OK, I didn't see that in this thread so I thought it worth a try.

    Have you ever controlled this mount previously from an external program?  There is always the possibility that either the #507 cable is bad or that the ports on the mount are bad.  If you can control the mount from something else then that would eliminate that possibility.

     

    When you try to connect, do you see any change in the flashing green light on the SkyBT?  It should be flashing green before trying to connect but then go solid green  before failing to connect.  If we see that we know you are actually talking to the SkyBT.

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    Bill Tschumy

    Also, you haven't changed the position of any of the red switches on the SkyBT have you?  All 4 should be pushed in the direction of the red on/off button.

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    Frdt

    Hi Bill, thanks a lot for all your help and time.

    I didn't change any of the 4 switches. They are in the direction of the red button

    When I try to connect the SkyBT is flashing green at 2/s. Then it is stable green for 2/3 seconds. Then comes the error and the green light start flashing again, but slower.

    It's a new telescope from last year and I never have used neither the ports, neither the cable (bought brand new too). I don't have any other program to test the cable or rs232 ports. But if I disconnect the cable the orange led stops. So I have the impression there is somehow s connection.

    Thanks again!

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    Bill Tschumy

    OK, then your Android device is definitely speaking to the SkyBT.

    I think the orange LED should only be flashing while data is being transmitted.  During normal operation while connected the green LED stays solid green and the orange LED flashes when we send something to the mount (or it responds).

    When do you see the orange LED on?  That might be a hint.

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    Frdt

    Hi Bill,

    The orange led is not flashing but continuously on from the moment the cable is connected to the rs232 port (even before I try to connect with the android). If I disconnect the cable the orange led is off. If I reconnect it's directly on again. But never flashing.

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    Bill Tschumy

    OK, the solid orange (or yellow) LED is a problem.  I have not seen that before and am not exactly sure what it means.  Here is what our manufacturer's docs say about this light:

    "The YELLOW LED blinks when data is transferred on either the RX or TX pins of the DB9 serial port. It is a physical monitor of the actual voltage, and is not driven by software in the module."

    I interpret this to mean that that light is on when there is a voltage signal on one of the pins.  It should not be on all the time and that means the mount is putting a voltage on the pin when there shouldn't be.

    So where does this leave us?

    1. It could be the SkyBT is bad, although I've never heard of a failure like this before in the 6 years we've sold it.

    2. Could be the serial cable is bad (or mis-wired) such that voltage from the mount is being put on the RX or TX (receive or transmit) pins when it shouldn't be.

    3. Could be there is something wrong with your mount.

    I know you said you didn't have any other programs to try to control the mount, but that would be the best way to verify the cable and your scope ports.  Are you on Windows (most Android users are)?  If so, you could download the free Stellarium and try controlling the scope from there.  I know that is a real bother, but I'm not sure how else to proceed.  You could also exchanged the SkyBT for another in case it is bad, but I sort of doubt that is the case.

    With the #507 cable, does it come with something called  "null modem adapter"?  This reverses the send and receive pins.  You definitely *don't* want to be using that.  Make sure there are no extraneous adapters in the chain.

     

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    Bill Tschumy

    Another possibility is we can give you a free copy of our Starry Night software (for Windows) and you can try controlling the scope with that.  That would also test things.

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    Frdt

    Waaaaauw. Thanks for all your support, Bill. Tomorrow I'm going to buy a serial to usb adapter and I will then do the test from Windows. I contacted as well the shop where I bought my telescope and cable to check with them if they did sell me a correct cable because l understand now that every brand has their own wiring order. I will keep you updated. Thanks a lot for the service.

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    Bill Tschumy

    Yes, every scope manufacturer uses a different pin wiring.  There is no "standard" serial cable as far as scope control goes.  But if you really got a Meade #507 cable, it should be correct.

    Let me know what you find.

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    Frdt

    hi Bill,

    Today the serial/usb converter arrived and i tried to connect to scope with my PC. But unsuccessfully. Neither Stellarium, neither Meade's autostar suite can connect to the telescope. This sounds like it is or the telescope port or the cable. Thanks for all your help. I am contacting now the shop where i bought the telescope and i hope to  have soon a solution.

     

    thanks,

    kind regards,

    Fred

  • 0
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    Bill Tschumy

    Fred,

    Thanks for sticking with this.  Hopefully you can get it resolved easily.  It does sound like something is wired incorrectly in either the cable or the mount.

    Bill

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    Frdt

    Dear Bill,

    I went to the shop where I bought my telescope. And they were really nice to help me (even I didn't buy the SkyBT with them). We did a lot of tests and we found out that RS232 port of my telescope must be broken as the cable was fine and the SkyBT on another telescope was working correctly. Thanks a lot for all your support over the last weeks. Bye!

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    Bill Tschumy

    Glad you were able to figure it out.  There are many links in the chain to control your scope and all of then have to be working.  Lots can go wrong.  However, once you get it set up it generally works fine from then on out.

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