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SkyFi 3 Wireless Telescope Controller - SKYFI3
SkyFi 3 USB Wireless Telescope Adapter
The Simulation Curriculum SkyFi III WiFi-to-Serial/USB adapter is designed to allow wireless telescope control. For computer-operated GoTo telescope owners, the SkyFi III uses your computer's or your iOS or Android smart device's built-in WiFi capability to point your telescope in the desired direction. The SkyFi III is the only available WiFi device designed for the specific purpose of telescope control. Now includes an integrated rechargeable lithium ion battery that offers up to 12 hours of use in the field!
SkyFi III has USB as well as serial ports to enable control of both the latest USB-only telescopes from Meade along with other telescopes featuring RS-232 serial interfaces.
Only slightly larger than an iPhone, the SkyFi III is extremely compact and attaches easily to your telescope's mount or tripod via an included Velcro belt.
For external power, the SkyFi III controller has a micro USB connector. It uses your computer's standard 5V USB port to power or charge. A micro USB power adapter that accepts worldwide AC current (100-240V, 50-60 Hz) is included with this package. The SkyFi III can also be powered using your car's battery via a "cigarette lighter" micro USB adapter (not included).
How It Works
As soon as you turn it on, the SkyFi III creates its own 802.11 wireless network. This is an open wireless network named "SkyFi" by default. However, you'll be able to rename and secure it later. Once you join this network with your mobile device, laptop, or other computer, you'll instantly be ready to use the SkyFi III controller! As long as your computer or mobile device receives its IP address by DHCP, no further network configuration is necessary.
If you already have a telescope serial cable, you can use it to plug directly into the SkyFi III. Another serial cable you have to buy (or build!) is not required.
Lastly, you'll need to have a telescope control application running on your laptop or smart device. The SkyFi III works in conjunction with both the SkySafari app for iOS and Android devices, as well as SkySafari software for Mac OS X. Starry Night software for Mac and (by way of a Virtual Serial Port) Windows is also compatible with the SkyFi III.
SkyFi III wirelessly controls nearly any telescope that has a standard USB or RS-232 serial interface. Models compatible with SkyFi III include:
- Meade LX-200 Classic and GPS
- Meade LX-400 ACF with AutoStar #497 controllers
- Meade LX-600/800/80
- Meade ETX-LS/LT
- Meade ETX 90-125
- Meade LXD 55-75/650-750
- Meade LX-90
- Meade Magellan I & II
- Celestron NexStar 5i/8i, GPS, SLT, SE, Advanced GT
- Celestron AVX, CGE, CGEM, CPC Series
- Tangent Inst BBox Encoder Sys (and compatible)
- Orion Sirius, Atlas, SkyView Pro
- Orion SkyQuest XTg/StarSeeker/HDX
- SkyWatcher mounts with SynScan controllers
- iOptron SmartStar/MiniTower
- iOptron 8407/8408 contollers
- iOptron iEQ45 with 8406 controller
- Astro-Physics GTO
- Losmandy Gemini
- Losmandy DSC
- Vixen SkySensor 2000
- Vixen StarBook/Sphinx
- Sky Commander
- StellarCAT ServoCAT
- Starmaster Sky Tracker
- SiTech Controller
- Takahashi Temma 2
- Bisque Paramount + TheSkyX
- Celestron AstroMaster
- JMI NGC Max
- Lumicon Sky Vector
- Orion Sky Wizard/IntelliScope
- Takahashi Super Navigator
The basic prerequisite for Celestron support in SkySafari 4/5 is Celestron firmware version 4.0 or higher. This is essentially everything sold in 2008 and later. This does not include the older NexStar GT series, the first Celestron NexStar series, and the Celestron Ultima 2000. It should be noted that it's possible the GT hand controllers with be replaced with newer models in the future that do work with SkySafari 4/5. For more information, feel free to email us and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Both the Meade ETX 60 and ETX 80 come with the Autostar #494 controller. Since this controller does not have a serial port, it is incompatible with the SkyFi III and you'll need to replace it with the #497 Autostar controller which does have a serial port.
The only telescopes that are not compatible with SkyFi III are those that lack both USB and RS-232 serial ports such as Vixen mounts with Starbook controllers.
Vixen's Starbook controller uses an ethernet interface, which will not work with the SkyFi III. To get around this, however, you can use an Apple AirPort Express (or other wireless router) to operate the Starbook via the SkySafari iPhone app. See the Files tab for more information. Additionally, you'll need to set up the SkySafari app to communicate with the Starbook controller at 169.254.1.1 on port 80.