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When Can We Expect Sky Safari To Interface With Explore Scientific PMC 8 Mounts?

I'd like to be able to use SkySafari with an Explore Scientific PMC-8 mount.

-Steve

26 comments

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    brent sprinkle

    i would second this.

     

    there is n indi driver for the pmc-8 system, can sky safari work through indi server to talk to the pmc-8 ?

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    Bill Tschumy

    Not to my knowledge.

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    Steve Siedentop

    Bill - 

    Any thoughts on when/if SkySafari integration with the PMC-8 will be on the table?

    -Steve

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    BA Sidewalk Astronomer (Rick Walker)

    Bill,

    Would truly love interfacing Sky Safari to PMC-Eight.

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    Gertvanlaar

    Bill, 

    Same question here, my new PMC-8 mount and controller are ready for this.

    Gert.

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    Darryl H. Ellis

    Me too. Just bought the mount this year. Using it with SS Pro would be ideal!

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    Joe Izen

    I would appreciate SkySafari support the ExploreScientific iEXOS-100 PMC-8 mount. SkySafari would have to learn the PMC-8 command protocol. Contacts at ES in their PMC-8 development team would be Dan Dickerson and Jerry Hubbell.

    What is the market opportunity for SimulationCurriculum?  1) The ES ExploreStars app doesn't run on older 32-bit iOS devices, but SkySafari does. 2) Some of us drive mounts that SkySafari mounts and we'd like to control our PMC-8 mounts in the same way.

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    Bill Tschumy

    This is on our list to get done in the next few months.

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    Joe Izen

    Fantastic!  Will the PMC-8 compatibility go into SkySafari 6 or will users need to wait for SkySafari 7?

    A related question. SynScan and other hand controllers have many functions that SkySafari probably could access but doesn't, e.g. polar alignment, 1,2,3, star alignment, periodic error correction. I appreciate that SkySafari is a StarryNight spin-off with features driven by a "virtual planetarium" mindset. What interests me about SkiFi3 as an observer is the potential to be better than a wire-free hand controller by interfacing to all the hand controller features.  The SN database is a plus, but it is the wireless handset functionality which interests me. Is a "wireless handset" technically possible for SynScan, or are options limited because of the command set for the serial port doesn't allow access to higher level functions?  




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    Bill Tschumy

    I think it will go in SS6, but I'm not necessarily the one that makes that decision.

    It would be difficult to support all the features in a HC.  The features change with each firmware revision and, of course, different mounts.  I think it would be a huge rats nest to go that route.

     

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    Joe Izen

    Bill, thanks for the quick reply. Is there any technical reason that SkySafari could support hand controller functions, or is it strictly a rat's nest issue?

    Phones have a GPS and hence precise time. Loading location and time manually into a hand controller is a big nuisance for observers. Polar and 1/2/3 star alignments is a much smaller, manageable support issue. Many of the hand controller commands deal with looking up and finding objects. These commands would be redundant with and inferior to  SkySafari commands.  I suggest  investing development time to include features that would be most useful to observers (GPS and alignments), which in turn would help with SkiFi sales.

    Is there a development kit and documentation (or could there be) for users who wish to develop applications that communicate with SkiFi?  This is the approach Explore scientific has taken with the PMC-8. 

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    Bill Tschumy

    We are limited by the command protocol provided by the hand controller.  But I think in general that most hand controller functions are supported.  Mostly it's the rat's nest problem.

    For most mount types we do use the phone's GPS location and time to set the hand controller when we connect.  You should not need to set it manually.  There are a very few mounts that don't support this

    SkyFi is just a wireless conduit.  There are no special commands you need to send to it.  A controlling app would just send the appropriate serial commands as specified in the hand controller's command protocol.

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    Darryl H. Ellis

    I currently have Sky Safari 5 Pro, and u have recently ordered the Nexus 2 and Encoder kit to use with my dob. However I will invest in the next version that supports integration with the PMC8 Exos2 mount.

    Darryl

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    Joe Izen

    Bill,

    If PMC-8 compatibility is integrated into SkySafari, will SkySafari speak directly to an iEXOS-100 PMC-8 WiFi access point provided by the mount, or will it communicate with a SkyFi3 which connects to the mini-USB port on the  iEXOS-100?

    Have you been able to confirm that PMC-8 will go into SkySafari6? I'd appreciate business decisions aren't your department, but I suspect you know the person who will decide. 

    Thanks!

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    Bill Tschumy

    Joe,

    I believe our plan is to talk to their Wi-Fi unit.  As for timing on when this will be available, all I can say is we hope in a couple of months.

    Bill

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    Richard Witzke

    Any progress on adding pmc-8 into SkySafari.  I purchased an iexos-100 for portability and would love to use it with SkySafari.

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    tony ward

    This is getting a little ridiculous now given the amount of time the Explore Scientific EXOS / PMC mounts have been on the market, their polularity and the fact Bill Tschumy quoted on May 9th that "As for timing on when this will be available, all I can say is we hope in a couple of months".

    I am moving from Meade to an EXOS / PMC mount and either this gets implemented pretty quickly or I'm off to pastures new. I've spent a lot of money on Sky Safari products over the years but enough is enough; I and many others feel let down - please start supporting these popular mounts or lose customers. Simple.

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    Richard Witzke

    I have successfully interfaced the iexos-100 to SkySafari using Wifiscope and Ascom as the bridge. So you run wired to the mount and use SkySafari wirelessly to control the mount. Follow the instructions and Select the basic (traditional) Meade mount as your mount type.

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    Richard Witzke

    Should have mentioned that I run wired from my laptop anyway to control camera and guiding. But at least you can use your iPad or iPhone to control your mount by tilting the device. Very handy.

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    tony ward

    Richard

    Many thanks for the post. Its much appreciated, however its not going to solve the issue given the fact the whole point of this mount is to simplify things; this would mean I need a windows laptop and my ipad to control the mount and my Sky Safari is on my Mac......

    I've moved away from a Meade LX90 setup that pretty much required my entire boot to cart it and all the bits around and moved to an 80mm refractor. I controlled the Meade with one iPad running Sky Safari. I'd like to do the same with the EXOS mount......otherwise it becomes a backward step.

    By all accounts, Simulation Curriculum have declined to proceed with native support..........

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    Keiron Smith

    Hi Stargazers, 

    As you may or may not be aware, Bill Tschumy has retired, and with that some of the projected timelines, like support for Explore Scientific scopes, have to be reconsidered.

    I will review native scope support this month, but I'm not making any promises at this time.

    Thank you Richard Witzke!!  Sharing our collective knowledge and experience is what this community forum is here for. 

    Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding.

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    tony ward

    Hi Keiron

    Many thanks for the response. It's heartening to know that you are looking into this but it is concerning that this appears to have been in abeyance for seven months. Please do try and resolve this as it would please an awful lot of people!

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    Chris

    Hey Keiron, any idea on if a replacement is going to be hired? If Simulation Curriculum was in support of continuing development of SkySafari when Bill was still working, why would his retirement change that?

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    Keiron Smith

    Hi Chris, 

    We are a small company.  Bill was almost singularly committed to the development of SkySafari.  With retirement his SkySafari development projects have to be picked up by other developers in the company, and each is already tasked with projects with deadlines.  Bill is also not so easily replaced.  We can not put just anyone to work in his place.  I'm not involved in the hiring process, so I can not comment further on that here.  But, as you have seen, we did release an update fixing all the iOS 13 issues, so we are always listening, and will work towards bringing new features and native scope support in the future.  But, for now, the workflow has to be balanced against the other company projects that we also have in the pipeline.

    Localization should come to life in 2020 - this is one of the most demanded request we have for SkySafari, to make the app more accessible to everyone in the world.

    Thanks!

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    tony ward

    Keiron

    The problem has been a lack of communication; I have seen many posts in respect of this and when this one in particular was last updated by Bill in May and only resurrected today when I posted, that is when issues arise. We really do get you guys are a small comany but many of us have been supporting you for some time and want to continue to do so. I work in a technical support role and know from experience that comunication is key. Companies live or die on communication so please endeavour to keep the community updated in respect of this and keep up the good work. Looking frward o the day I can pull out my iPad and control my EXOS 100 :-)

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    Chris Berthaut

    Wanted to see about bumping this thread up again. Been over a year since anyone asked or commented but still do not see the PCM8 mounts available in SS6. Any updates on roadmaps for adding this functionality?

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