New post
0

How To Connect SkyFi 3 + iOptron iEQ45, Should I Use The 8407 Hand Controller Or The Mount's Serial Port? (Answer: Read On!)

Hi Folks,

I've got a SkySafari & use it with a SkyFi 3 unit that connects beautifully to my Celestron CGX hand controller via USB. I'd like to try it with my iOptron iEQ45 (this is a pre-PRO model but with the 8407 hand controller). So, here's the question: what's the correct way to connect the SkyFi 3 to the iOptron mount? I apologize if this is dead obvious, but I found conflicting info in various places on the 'Net.

Do I connect the SkyFi 3's DB9 serial port to the RJ9 hand controller port (as per this illustration--this is the serial cable that came with the mount and is mentioned as being used to upgrade the hand controller firmware).

Or do I do it this way SkyFi's DB9 port to iEQ45 mount's DB9 port (again, cable is supplied with mount for upgrading the firmware on the mount's main board):

Thanks!

John

6 comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Woody

    John,

    The way in the second photo -- connect directly to the mount's DB-9 connector.  The first way is how most Celestron mounts connect serially.  But most other mounts (including iOptron) have their serial connections on the mount -- not in the HC.

    That connector on the bottom of the iOptron HC is for uploading firmware updates.

    Woody

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    John Craig

    Woody thanks so much!
    The info I found was rather, shall we say, vague ("use the serial port"--well yes, but both the HC and the Mount have serial ports). Great to have a definitive answer--and I assume I recognize your name from good info on the old iOptron forum on Yahoo, so a trusted source too!

    (Sorry about the shaky picture of the DB9 to DB9 connection, BTW.) I don't recall if I ever actually tried to update the firmware, but I think I may have once. There definitely won't be any more updates so I'll put the DB9 to RJ9 cable back in a bottom-shelf box.

    Clear skies--and more time under them--despite dang DST going into effect tonight...

    John

  • 0
    Avatar
    John Craig

    Incidentally, on the Simulation Curriculum site I found this apparently overly generalized or simply wrong statement:

    iOptron 8407 / 8408 contollers - yes, these are supported.  These go with the iOptron iEQ30/45, and ZEQ25 mounts.  RS-232 port is on the controller itself.  Plug the rs232 cable into the and hand controller rs232 port.

    A bit unclear but sure sounds like it's meaning to plug the cable into the hand controller. This may be right for some mounts, but apparently not mine.

    I'd hate to have burned out the SkiFi by hooking it up wrong.

    John

  • 0
    Avatar
    Woody

    John,

    Have you checked iOptron's website for firmware updates for your mount?  You might be surprised.  I believe they came out with several updates for obsolete equipment when the April 2019 GPS Week problem became apparent.  For some mounts I believe they were able to change the firmware to get around the problem.  But for other mounts, you have to install a brand new GPS board.  If you're handy, it's not that difficult and I believe iOptron is selling the new board for their cost.

    And yes, I'm the same "Woody" that was on the original iOptron Yahoo Group.  I no longer have an iEQ45.  I never got mine working smoothly (even after sending it back once) and when they offered to replace it with the PRO version (for a substantial fee), I jumped on it.  The PRO version has been MUCH better for me.

    Woody

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    Woody

    John,

    I can't speak for the 8408 HC as I've never seen one.  The closest I have is the 8407+ HC on my iEQ-45 PRO.  And the serial connection for that mount is also on the mount -- although it's now a 4-pin RJ plug.  The serial connection on my 8407+ HC is just for firmware updates -- same as yours as well as my old 8401 HC's.

    Either the new 8408 does have the mount serial connection on the HC -- or the SkySafari guys are confused and thinking it's like Celestron HC's.  

    The only mounts I own where the mount's serial connection is in the HC are Celestron mounts.  My Takahashi EM-11, all my iOptron mounts, and my Astro-Physics Mach1 all have their serial connections right on the mount.  I know that Losmandy mounts also have their serial connections on the mount.

    And yes, you don't want to blow up your HC.  Been there, done that -- on my iEQ45-Pro.  Accidentally used a 6-conductor modular coupler on my HC that was internally "flipped."  Both my HC cables were properly wired "straight-through" (I know because I made them myself and tested them myself).  But the darned commercial coupler was intended for Telco use and was flipped inside.  It turned out, half my couplers were straight-through and half were flipped.  And of course, there's no external indication.  And you can't visually check the plugs on couplers.  Silly me, I assumed they were all straight-through.  So I never tested them -- or labeled them.  That's now been rectified.  I threw away all the flipped ones, and labeled the straight-through ones.

    I believe that "adventure" cost me $175 for a new HC.

    Woody

  • 0
    Avatar
    Colin W MacDiarmid

    Woody, 

    I have a skyfi version II and an ieq45 pro (with latest firmware), and I'd like to connect them and control them with skysafari 4. I have a cable that came with the skyfi, which terminates in a male 9-pin plug with screws. I have another cable that ioptron supplied for firmware updates, that has a female 9-pin plug with screws (they both have screws!) and the other end is a 4-pin serial plug that connects to the rs232 port on the mount. I connect the 9-pin plus to each other and the other end to the serial port on the mount. I run skysafari and connect my mac to the skyfi network, and the skyfi is detected by it. I align the mount and connect and turn everything on, and hit connect, and nothing happens. times out with message " connection failure, can make tcp/ip connection to telecopes IP address but the scope is not responding. scope type etc is correct.

    If I connect via serial-usb adaptor right to the mac, I control the mount no problem (using the same ioptron serial cable and a keyspan serial-usb adaptor). But for the life of me I can get the skyfi to work. its impossible to get the company to take any notice of me. can anyone help me out? really desperate here about to chuck this thing and write off 200 bucks.

    on a related note, how to update skyfi firmware? I cant detect it via the update software either, but perhaps I'm connecting it wrong again.

Please sign in to leave a comment.