Exploring the universe with a computer-controlled "GoTo" telescope just got a whole lot cooler! Because now you can drive the telescope wirelessly right from your Apple iPhone or iPod touch! All you need is the Orion StarSeek astronomy app (available exclusively by download from the iTunes App Store) and the StarSeek Wi-Fi Telescope Control Module, Serial/USB.
The StarSeek Wi-Fi module works by creating its own local wireless network, leveraging the Wi-Fi capability built into the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. When coupled to the serial port on your telescope’s GoTo mount, StarSeek Wi-Fi converts the Wi-Fi signal from the mobile device into serial commands used by the mount to drive the telescope automatically to any of more than 31,000 celestial objects in the StarSeek app’s database. You polar-align and initialize your telescope for GoTo operation using the standard procedures for your telescope. StarSeek works with all Orion motor-driven GoTo telescopes, including the Atlas EQ-G, Sirius EQ-G, StarSeeker GoTo and both SkyQuest XTg and XXg GoTo Dobsonian lines, as well as with many other GoTo telescope brands. It even works with many GoTo mounts equipped with a USB port!
Nearly all GoTo-enabled telescopes use serial commands to drive their electronics. StarSeek Wi-Fi serves as a Wi-Fi-to-serial adapter, plugging into the telescope mount’s serial (RS-232) port, which on some scopes is located on the mount itself and on others is found on the (cabled) GoTo hand controller. A short DB-9 serial cable compatible with Orion GoTo mounts is included with the StarSeek Wi-Fi. (The included cable will also connect to the serial cable supplied with many other brands of GoTo telescopes.) The local Wi-Fi network it sets up has a communication range of well over 100 feet, depending on conditions!
Unlike Bluetooth devices, StarSeek Wi-Fi requires no pairing, and no special drivers. It uses standard TCP/IP networking protocols. Once powered on, StarSeek Wi-Fi creates its own 802.11 wireless network. By default, this is an open wireless network called "StarSeek Wi-Fi," but you can rename and secure it later on. Join this network from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and you’re good to go!
The StarSeek Wi-Fi module is compact, barely larger than an iPhone. It can be easily attached to your telescope’s mount or tripod with the included hook-and-loop adhesive strips. StarSeek Wi-Fi runs on four on-board AA batteries (not included), and has a typical battery life of 8 to 12 hours under continuous use. It can also be powered from a 12-volt DC field battery or an AC wall outlet. An AC (120V, 60Hz) power adapter and DC cable with cigarette-lighter plug are available from Orion.
Compatibility of the Orion StarSeek Wi-Fi Telescope Control Module, Serial/USB
The StarSeek Wi-Fi Telescope Control Module and StarSeek iPhone apps are compatible with the Apple iPhone 4S, 4, 3GS, 3G, and original iPhone; iPad 2 and iPad, and iPod touch. Both the StarSeek Standard Edition and Pro Edition apps enable wireless control of the following Orion telescopes/mounts:
- Atlas EQ-G
- Sirius EQ-G
- SkyView Pro GoTo
- StarSeeker GoTo
- SkyQuest XTg and XXg GoTo Dobsonians
Orion StarSeek Wi-Fi Telescope Control Module, Serial/USB is also compatible with the following other brands of telescopes/mounts. Please note many of these telescopes/mounts will require either the RS-232 cable supplied by the manufacturer (often included with the mount), a custom serial cable with correct pinout arrangement, or a USB cable.
- Astro-Physics GTO
- Celestron NexStar 5/8, 5i/8i, GPS, SLT, SE
- Celestron CGE, CGE Pro, CGEM, CPC, EdgeHD
- Celestron Ultima 2000
- iOptron SmartStar w/ GOTONova controller
- iOptron MiniTower w/ GOTONova controller
- Losmandy Gemini
- Meade LX-200 Classic and GPS
- Meade LX-90, ETX, ETX-LS, LXD, LX-400 ACF with AutoStar controllers
- Meade Magellan I and II
- SkyWatcher mounts with SynScan controllers
- Takahashi Temma 2
- Vixen SkySensor 2000
- ServoCAT, Argo Navis, Sky Commander, Losmandy DSC
Take a giant leap into the future of telescope control! Point your GoTo telescope to any of thousands of celestial objects with a couple of taps on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Download the Orion StarSeek iPhone app from iTunes, and purchase the StarSeek Wi-Fi module. Then you’ll be all set to experience the night sky in a whole new — and much cooler — way!
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