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Sky Safari 7 Pro (iOS), SkyFi 3, StarSense for Skywatcher, EQ6-R Pro - trying to make this work!!

Here’s some background: iOS 16.4.1 SkySafari Pro 7.1.8 SkyFi 3 v1.3.4 StarSense HC, Camera, converter box all updated (twice) with the current firmware New USB A to B mini for Canon camera Set up SS7P with SkiFi connection, EQ GoTo (German), Skywatcher SynScan, Auto-detect, then tuned off time & location, readout 4/sec, timeout 3 seconds. 1) Align scope 2) connect USB from SkyFi 3) turn SkyFi on 4) connect direct to SkyFi on WiFi 5) launch SS7P 6) scope - connect Error message: connection failure. SkySafari seven Pro can make a wireless connection to SkyFi, but the scope is not responding. Make sure it is connected and powered on. Also, check that your scope type is correct. I also tried it with the celestron German equatorial types with no luck Kent


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    My configuration is slightly different (SkySafari-7 Pro on Android phone instead of iPhone), but the problem is the same.  And the problem is an intentional marketing decision by Celestron to NOT allow wireless control of the StarSense for SkyWatcher system.  That's the bad news.  But there is good news.  If you can find an old Celestron StarSense HC with a real RS-232 serial connection on the bottom (it's a 4-conductor RJ modular phone connection) instead of the current SS HC with a USB connection, then you CAN wirelessly control your SkyWatcher mount with the StarSense for SkyWatcher system. 

    My guess is that Celestron Marketing told Celestron Software development to not allow wireless control with the SS for SW system.  And the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to accomplish that was by somehow blocking the USB remote connection in the SS HC.  But it turns out you CAN use one of the old SS HC's with a RS-232 connection.  The block doesn't work on the old SS HCs.

    I'm apparently lucky because I still have two of the original SS HCs with the RS-232 serial connections.  So I just plug a Celestron RS-232 cable into the bottom of the SS HC and the DB-9 end of the cable into the SkyFi-III and I have wireless control of the mount through SkySafari.

    NOTE!  Not only has Celestron made it so you can't use the newer SS HC with USB, but they've also blocked the use of Celestron's SkyPortal WiFi Dongle.  So you can't go that route either.  So far, the ONLY way I've figured out how to control StarSense for SkyWatcher wirelessly with SkySafari is the way I just described.  And since this method doesn't use Celestron WiFi, you can't do your SS auto-alignment through your phone and SkySafari either.  You have to do it the old-fashioned way -- using the slow clunky error-prone SS HC. 

    So my workflow is:
    1) Plug the SS for SW Interface box into the SW mount using a straight-through wired RJ45 Ethernet cable.  You can use the original coiled cable that came with your SW mount, or any straight-through wired RJ45 cable.  I wouldn't try a "flipped" RJ45 cable.  Might blow something up.
    2) Plug the SS HC (old one w/ RS-232) into the Interface box.  At this point do NOT connect the SkyFi-III to the SS HC (if you do, the HC will draw power from the SkyFi-III, turn itself on, and really mess things up).
    3) Plug a Celestron GPS (I usually use a StarGPS with Celestron adapter cable) into the Interface Box.
    4) Plug the SS camera into the Interface Box.
    5) Orient the scope to the proper start position (OTA level, OTA pointed 180° CCW from your cable center position so Cordwrap works properly).
    6) Power the mount ON.
    7) Follow the SS prompts on the SS HC and do a SS auto-alignment.
    8) After pressing ENTER after the alignment is finished, THEN you connect the SkyFi-III to the bottom of the SS HC using a Celestron RS-232 serial cable.
    9)Turn the SkyFi-III ON.
    10) Wait a minute, then connect your phone to your SkyFi-III.
    11) Finally launch SkySafari and tap the "Connect" button.  Because you're using a RS-232 serial connection and not Celestron WiFi, you won't even see a "Align and Connect" button.  All you'll see is the "Connect" button.  Tap it and within seconds the screen should spin around and sync with the mount's current position.  And now you're ready to go.  You can use SkySafari on your phone to wirelessly control your SkyWatcher mount.
    12)  Oh, I forgot that you need to configure SkySafari to "Celestron CPC" in the telescope/mount settings.  I'm sure there are other Celestron settings in SkySafari that will also work, but this is the one I've been using -- and it works.  Don't get confused and set a SkyWatcher or Synscan as your scope/mount.  Because you're using the SS for SW Interface box, you need to use Celestron settings, and not SkyWatcher/Synscan settings.

    Yeah, I know.  Pretty involved.  But it works.  The biggest problem is finding an old SS HC with the RS-232 connection.  I've been trying to buy another one for years and haven't been able to find one.

    And one last thing.  If you use an Android phone instead of an iPhone, you can also connect wirelessly using a SkyBT (or RN-270) Serial to Bluetooth adapter instead of the SkyFi-III.  But since you already have a SkyFi-III, just use that.

    Hope that helps,

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    Kent Dukes

    Hey Woody!
    GREAT information. I’m sure it’s no surprise to you. I’ve been unable to find one of the old hand controllers! Thought I had a line on one in a shop in England, but it turned out. It was a USB.

    I’m gonna keep looking. Hopefully I can beat you to the next one that’s available!

    Thanks again so much


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    Hard to believe it's so hard to find the older SS HC's, but it is.  I have two and only use them with my StarSense for SkyWatcher mount.  I don't use any HC with my two Celestron mounts as they work with Celestron WiFi and I use my phone running SkySafari to control them.  So breathe easier, I'm not currently looking for another old SS HC.  No competition from me.

    Good luck!


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