New post
0

[### User Guide ###] How To Connect SS7 Plus & Pro To The Orion SkyQuest XXG and SkyWatcher SynScan Dob On Android OS

This How-To is for the Orion SkyQuest XX12G, XX14G, and XX16G with built-in WiFi or the external WiFi dongle. 

 

The SkyWatcher SynScan Dobsonians also use the same SynScan control system and Android App. I have successfully connected to and controlled both scopes using this setup method. 

 

If you are on Android 12 make sure you have SynScan or SynScan Pro 2.0.6 installed (I use Pro). Earlier versions of the app do not work with 12. If you are running Android 10 or 11 earlier app versions should be fine. Also set the battery settings to unrestricted in your device settings. It is required so the SynScan app will properly handle long running tasks. Set SkySafari for unrestricted battery as well 

 

 

Make sure you scope's base is level. I mounted a spot level on the base for this.

 

Manually put your scope in the "Home" position. For the XXG Dobsonian the optical tube should be level and pointed towards true North, not magnetic North. 

 

Turn power On to the Mount. Leave the Hand Controller plugged in. After initialization completes, set the correct date and time in the controller. Make sure to choose Yes or No when asked about Daylight Savings time. If the controller time is not exact don't worry, unless it is several seconds off it is fine. Once date and time are set place the Hand Controller in the cradle. Do not go through alignment, the SynScan app will handle that 

 

Open your device WiFi connection settings. Find the SynScan WiFi SSID and connect to it. Your SSID name may be different. 

 

Open the SynScan app installed on your device. In the settings go to Location. Use location sensor is on by default. Exit back to settings and choose Connect Settings. By default AZ/EQ Mode Mount is set to Prompt. If you have more than one scope with both Mount types don't change it. For the XXG series you can change it to "Use AZ" if desired. Also make note of the connection settings, you should set the read time and resend tries to the same in the scope preset in SkySafari. Once finished, push the Back Arrow twice to return to the main screen. 

 

Connect to the Mount by pressing "connect" at the top of the screen. After connecting you should see this. 

 

On the screen select "Alignment". Back in Step 2 the scope was placed into the Home position. This is called North Level Alignment. Select it from the choices given. 

 

Now you will Preform the Alignment procedure so SynScan knows where your scope is pointing to in the sky. At this time you need to have an eyepiece in the focuser. For alignment accuracy, this is important, an Illuminated Reticle should be used. One that is too large can make alignment less accurate. I use a 12.5mm for alignment. 

 

Next you will select two stars for Alignment. The Azimuth separation between them needs to be between 45 and 135 degrees, around 90 is best. The Altitude must be no less than 15 degrees above the horizon and no more than 60 degrees above the horizon. The two stars also must be separated by 10 to 30 degrees of difference in Altitude. There will be a list similar to this to make choosing alignment stars easier.

 

Once both stars are chosen choose Begin Alignment. 

 

The Screen will look like this.

 

Since the scope was placed in the Home position already, this step is done. Press the "Star Bar" to continue. The scope will begin to slew to the first alignment star.

 

When it gets there you will see this. Here you manually center the star in the Reticle crosshairs. NOTE: Always finish with Up, then Right when centering the target.

 

Then hit the Star Bar to proceed. The scope will slew to the second star.

 

Once it reaches the second target center just like with the first. Remember, finish with Up, then Right.

 

Then hit the Star Bar again. If Alignment was successful you'll see this.

 

At this point the SynScan Alignment is complete and you can open SkySafari. First you must set up your scope. Go to Menu > Settings,  scroll down to Telescope, and choose Presets. Here you will select Add Preset.

 

Choose Other Connection 

 

Choose your Scope. Orion SkyQuest XTg, XXg or, if using the SkyWatcher Dob, choose SkyWatcher SynScan. 

 

Mount type - ALT/AZ Go-To 

 

Connection Info - Enter As Shown for the Orion SkyQuest XXG. If using a SkyWatcher Dob the settings will be different. Make note of what the settings are in the SynScan app and enter the same settings here. You should still be connected to the scope, you can test if desired. 

 

Name it. Set the readout rate and timeout the same as in the SynScan app. Do Not select Set Time & Location, this is handled by the SynScan app. Save when done.

 

Now choose your new preset and on the pop-up choose Use This Preset.

 

Back on the star chart find Scope on the bottom toolbar, select it, and Connect. 

 

Once connected choose align. If your alignment star isn't the second one used in the SynScan app search for it, center it, and then align on it. If you have an issue here,  disconnect from the scope, find the last SynScan alignment star, center it, connect to the scope, and align on it. 

 

At this point, if the SynScan Alignment is accurate enough you can now use SkySafari to control your XXG Dobsonian or SkyWatcher SynScan Dob!

 

If it fails the alignment here, go back to SynScan and repeat the alignment. As long as SkySafari is within 10 degrees between where it thinks your scope is pointing and where it actually is pointing it will align/sync and your good to go.

 

If you want the documentation for the SynScan app it can be downloadeded here:

 

https://skywatcher.com/download/software/synscan-app/

 

The latest version of the SynScan or SynScan Pro app can be downloadeded from the Play store or directly from SkyWatcher USA here:

 

https://skywatcher.com/download/software/synscan-app/

 

Clear Skies!

5 comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Keiron Smith

    Excellent, thank you very much, Mike!

    This will be invaluable for our community!

  • 0
    Avatar
    Mike Atkins

    You're Welcome!

    Went through it a couple times after posting, think I found all the typos. Lol

  • 0
    Avatar
    Mike Atkins

    I'm adding this note here because I don't want to mess up the formatting above. Lol

    All, here's a little FYI for the above procedure. 

    SynScan and SynScan Pro 2.0.6 both work well, BUT, The SynScan apps still need to run in split-screen mode. If run in the background you may still experience issues losing the connection to the SynScan WiFi ad-hoc network. Split-screen mode will allow you to monitor a detail in the SynScan app.

    After you connect in SynScan, the text in the connect box will change from "connect" to AltAz Mount for the XXG Dobsonians. There is also a blue stripe above the label. 

     

    If it turns gray as in the below image,  just touch anywhere inside the SynScan window and it will turn blue again. 

     

     

    This is just a workaround until SkyWatcher irons out the last bug for connection issues  (No ETA - Don't Ask).

     

    If you want to periodically check for the latest version you can find it here:

     

    https://skywatcher.com/download/software/synscan-app/

     

    Clear Skies!

     

    Update. There are two workarounds. 

     

    The second one allows you to run SkySafari in full screen and background the SynScan app. All that you need to do is switch over to the SynScan app every 10 minutes or so and interact with the app in some way. So far, for me, all I've done is touch the screen. I can then switch back to SkySafari and continue on. 

     

    It's not the most convenient way but my during last session I was connected and using SkySafari for almost an hour. 

  • 0
    Avatar
    Mike Atkins

    Forgot one thing, this should work on all versions of SkySafari.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Keiron Smith

    Thanks, Mike!

Please sign in to leave a comment.