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Is SkyWire Still Available For Purchase? (Answer: No, SkyWire Is Discontinued)

Is the SkyWire capability still present in SkySafari6 and will it be present in versions going forward? I have no interest in using a wireless interface, it is flaky and unreliable. Can you please retain that option in versions moving forward? Creating a serial port from the iPad is the key, which the Lightning connector does in your most recent cable, but what about USB-C?

V/r,
Wyatt

16 comments

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    Keiron Smith

    Sorry, Wyatt, but SkyWire has been discontinued.  We are now offering SkyFi 3 for iOS/Android/macOS/Windows 10 wireless telescope control.

    SkyFi III Wireless Scope Control$199.95

    Thanks!

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    Vortex331

    I understand that SkyWire has been discontinued. That doesn't answer the rest of my ticket - does the application retain the capability despite the cable being discontinued, in PadOS, iOS, and Mac OS? Can it please be retained going forward?

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    Keiron Smith

    Can you please retain that option in versions moving forward?

    - Sorry, it is not a priority, we are not supporting it anymore.

    Creating a serial port from the iPad is the key, which the Lightning connector does in your most recent cable, but what about USB-C?

    - Sorry, it is not a priority, we are not supporting it anymore.

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    Vortex331

    Well, that being said, along with your terse manner, and the monetary investment I have made over several years my stance is clear - SkySafari is not a priority, I am not supporting it anymore and removing it from every device I own.

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    Keiron Smith

    I have apologized with every reply.  

    Again, sorry, we can not support SkyWire, we are not manufacturing it anymore, not selling it anymore, it can not be a priority anymore.

    Thanks for your understanding.

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    Keiron Smith

    Just to clarify, SkyWire works with SkySafari 6, on iOS, with lightning connectors.

    SkySafari 7 is in development, USB-C iOS devices will not be supporting SkyWire.

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    Vortex331

    I wouldn't consider the repetitive brief statements made a legitimate apology. If SkyWire is not a priority anymore, you're also saying that your customers that have already invested in the solution and your software are not a priority anymore, just because you don't have a third party company make the cable for you and sell it. You don't make Celestron telescopes, you don't sell Celestron telescopes, but you support the manufacturer in your application even for scopes that aren't made anymore. That mentality shouldn't change unless there is a legal reason behind not doing so.

    Your last reply starts to answer the questions I had originally asked, the following remain:

    • Will SkySafari 7 continue to support SkyWire, for those that have already invested in the solution, even if not a 'priority'?
    • How does MacOS factor into support for serial communication? Does the current version and will SkySafari 7 support serial communication with the mount?

    I understand the interface from software to the scope completely, the key is getting the data out of the controlling device in serial form, however that has to happen. That can happen in the software through emulation or on the hardware side, and transmitted out of whatever port can be used.

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    Keiron Smith

    We are partnered with Celestron, and they pay for the development that involves their current product support.  We discontinue supporting old mounts, including older Celestron, as we see fit.  The original Celestron 8 mount was no longer supported in SS4.  But, still works in SS3.

    If there is no SkyWire code maintenance required when developing SS7 for iOS, then by default, SkyWire may still be supported.  But, as it is not a priority, if it doesn't work by default then developers are not going to invest time fixing the code.

    SS7 on macOS will support USB-to-Serial connections.

    You may understand how it works but the time required to make it happen is not available for a product that we are no longer sourcing, manufacturing, selling.

    Admittedly, I like SkyWire, and am sad to see it coming to an end.  But, the list of things to do is very long.  

    As the tech world turns, old programs, and old hardware is let go - and that is what is happening with SkyWire.

     

     

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    Vortex331

    SkyWire's only purpose is to bridge the gap that exists with Apple mobile devices (iPad/iPhone) and periphreals, in this case creating a serial port for which to transport data through. With all of the negative comments about wireless communication, I can attest to exactly what they speak of. I have experienced it first-hand and it is quite frustrating when you're in the pressure-cooker to get set up and have a whole observing session squashed because of a technical issue. Having a wire would have cured this issue, therefore I want to avoid wireless solutions whenever possible. To be quite honest I don't consider a wire an old solution, it's just that wireless is easy but at the same time unreliable. That's the main reason that the general public has their home network as wireless only, because it's easy.

    As long as it will still be supported I'll deal whatever solution is necessary on my end to keep things going. Don't get me wrong, you've got a great product in what is basically a portable planetarium, do what you must to keep it going.

     

    V/r,

    Wyatt

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    Keiron Smith

    Thank you, Wyatt for your feedback - we will consider SkyWire for SN7.  But, I'm not making any promises.

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    Vortex331

    There are a couple of other question that I have regarding the serial interface itself:

    • I'm assuming that the inline box is where the serial port is created in SkyWire, correct? Basically from the Lightning connector, there's some hardware emulation that takes place in that little box to create a COM port, to which the Lightning connector interfaces.
    • Secondly, Celestron mentioned to me that something has to take place with the application and AUX bus. Since the AUX bus in Celestron mounts is TTL, conversion takes place in their WiFi SkyQ dongle, going from serial data to TTL. Your wireless interface goes straight into the hand controller, allowing the hand controller to do the TTL conversion. The question I have is with regard to TTL and the SkyQ interface and something called the 'drop-line' in the communication bus. Is SkySafari handling the drop-line when using the Celestron SkyQ interface?

    I'm just trying to figure the best way ahead with communication and what I need to keep on hand going forward. Obviously my newest iPad is not going to work presently for wired communication. I may have to consider keeping my Lightning port version for some time and use a Mac Mini with a serial cable. Grab and go situations require a fast setup time, discovered that this past week, and the ability to do it reliably. 

    Thanks for your help, please let me know when you can to the above.

    V/r,
    Wyatt

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    Vortex331

    Please let me know when you can about the drop-line. I have a possible solution that may work with the PC Port on the Celestron mount.

     

    V/r,

    Wyatt

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    James R Barnett

    As someone who has used both SkyFi and SkyWire since Sky Safari 4, SkyFi has always been flaky, fussy and unreliable.  Sky Wire is uber-reliable, simple, eliminates one battery dependency and is an all around superior solution for peaceful observing without hassling with configuring, re-configuring and troubleshooting in the field.  "Wireless" sounds to an astronomer like it was dreamed up by a non-astronomer device-addicted product planner.

    Please, please, please retain wired support in all future versions of Sky Safari.  Real astronomers who actually use telescopes want it, even if it's not as "cool" as wireless in the minds of the the masses.  I'd hate to have to go back to laptop control of my mounts in the field, but if Sky Safari truly goes wireless only, that's exactly what I'll do and suspect many other avid Sky Safari/Sky Wire users will do as well.

    Best,

    Jim Barnett

    (CN jrbarnett)

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    Robert Nielsen

    I will second the previous comment.   I love being able to plug in my connection to my mount, and not worry about possible battery or wifi or configuration problems.   It just works,  Please keep support for it, and reactivate the product if you can!

     

    Robert

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    Mario Wolczko

    +1.  And add a USB-C version.

     

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    Justin Morgan

    Hi @Keiron please add my name to the list of folks that would like to be able to purchase a SkyWire.  In his post above, James R Barnett makes some great points as to why we (your customers) like them and still want to buy them. They are naturally sold out from dealers everywhere and they're not even found on the used market, presumably because wired connections "just work" and people keep using them.

    The eventual switch to USB-C is a non-issue.  The vast majority of Apple's mobile products continue to ship with Lightning connectors. My newly purchased iPhone 12 Pro has a Lightning connector. So does the latest iPad, iPad Mini -- basically everything except for expensive iPad Air and iPad Pro models. That means an overwhelming volume of Apple devices shipping today still use Lightning, and of course there are hundreds of millions of older Apple devices that use it. (In fact I prefer to use an older Apple device to control my telescope since I don't want my newest iPad in a cold, exposed, dewy, dark environment way out in the wilderness -- and that older device is guaranteed to have Lightning.)  Maybe in 2-3 years USB-C might be an issue.

    Anyway, if you happen to find a spare SkyWire accidentally left unsold in a corner of your warehouse, please let me know.  I'd honestly like to buy it from you.  : )

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