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Stellarmate

Posted by Jason Matter 10/28/2018 06:35PM

Stellarmate

StellarMate Wifi Observatory Control COmputer


Comments:

  • neomonks [Prabhakar Kesava]
  • 10/29/2018 11:08AM
Excellent in-depth review., I’m considering to give this a try.
Thanks for your review.

I think I may have to try this. Seems like a new solution to an old problem.

Charles

  • tonycap [tony capestany]
  • 11/08/2018 07:35PM
Hey Stellarmate

This looks pretty good to try. I have looked at something like this but the expense didn't justify it for my observatory. The cost was over $1500 and it didn't appear to have local support. Who would provide support for this if needed? BTW, the screen shots and description are detailed.
thank you
tony

Great Review and hope to get to that level of sophistication someday as I grow in the hobby. Appreciate the pictures which added more clarity on what the solution provides.
Thanks

I recently purchased one of these. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised I am with this it. When I first started it up I merely plugged it in and logged onto it through another laptop with the VNC viewer. I played around with it for a couple hours then went to bed. The next day when I set it up on my Atlas EQ-G I could not connect to it remotely. I then plugged in a monitor, keyboard and mouse. It was booting up to an 'Emergency screen' and not going straight to the Desktop.

After sending an email via the StellarMate website, Jasem (the only customer service rep there is it seems), he was able to help me figure out what was going on. He emailed instructions on how to change two parameters in two different files. Once I made the changes it worked fine and I have not had any issues at all. It took more time than I was hoping, for him to reply but after I found out that he lives in Kuwait (and I live in CA) it made sense that it took so long. However, his customer service was very responsive.

Finally, the following Friday I set it back up and was able to get to the real business of becoming familiar with the device without any issues. If you are not familiar with Ekos there will be a learning curve to it. After I set it up, I connected remotely with my laptop with Kstars planetarium and kept nice and warm in my house.

After about an hour or so of playing around with it, I felt much more comfortable with the controls. I don't have a robo-focuser at the moment, so I have to manually focus my scope. Everything worked fine though. However, Kstars crashed on me a few times, but each time I got it running again I was able to connect to the mount and cameras without any problems. Kstars even knew the orientation of my mount, so I did not have to start all over each time it crashed.

I did subscribe to Ekos Live that is offered and it worked out just fine. I can't see Polaris from my current setup at home so I had to align my mount by using a plumb-bob and striking a chalk line on the concrete when the sun was right at the meridian. I did do a crude visual drift alignment when I set it up. After I tried the 'Align' feature I was giving the feedback that my mount was out of alignment by 14"+ in RA and almost a half a degree in DEC. Even so, I was able to get some decent images with nice round stars with a 5 minute exposure using the guiding software in Ekos.

The scope I was using that night is a Celestron EdgeHD 800 on any Orion Atlast EQ-G mount and ZWO ASI174MC Cool and a ZWO ASI 124 guide camera. Once I get a HyperStar lens for it I will be capturing images as often as I can. My other telescope is an Orion ED 80. I have had more success capturing images with it in the past but I going to set it up on my Orion Sirius EQ-G for observation after I get a HyperStar lens.

You talked me into one and I'm not into AP all that deep either. I found the alignment software section very interesting if it works successfully it is worth the price alone.
  • shadowoo2 [Jason Matter]
  • 01/23/2019 06:21PM
Terry Im glad you liked the review. Its definitely worth it just to get rid of the usb “umbilical” cord to your computer. Once your polar aligned you can move where ever you want and if your home you can do everything from your couch or bed. This might seem to negate being under the stars but when its 30-40 degrees outsude i prefer the heat. Plus if your on the field and forgot your computer power cable the rig will keep going and you can control it from any other smart device, even if its a friends. You just have to get used to the idea of using their software.

@shadowoo2

Thanks, I have a Raspberry pi with a 7'touch screen on it's way. I figured why mess with a little screen menu that has to be scrolled. I still need a powered usb hub I found a small 3 port one on ebay.
I am getting one because I'm getting older and I hate being cold. A trusted college in Chicago got one (ZWO) and he loves it. I have seen the menus in both and there isn't a lot of difference. You were saying that the enclosed guiding software works well? I found out from Jasem included PHD2 because he thought that others would like it included. Jasem offered to let me cancel my order from him and let me get it through OPT but I don't like opt's return policies. I'm waiting for mine because I want to minimize my trips to the Interweb you can't trust anything you get from there. I plan on using a dedicated laptop for controliing my Stellarmate.

  • shadowoo2 [Jason Matter]
  • 01/24/2019 01:29AM

@terrypaula

I agree PHD2 is a good guiding program and I use that exclusively. I have a good tutorial on my website www.theastrogazer.com. I would use a USB powered hub over an A/C powered hub. Ive used both and you get better power distribution through an A/C powered hub but you can risk a potential feedback short in your equipment if there is any type of surge. I had a powered hub fry my Lodestar board once. Maybe an inline fuse or rigrunner would prevent that but I was not using one at the time.


After trying once to use the dumbed down version of the Stellarmate, the ZWO ASIAIR with its proprietary whacha-ma-call-it, I found myself wondering why anyone would want one after this but I was still determined to give it a go. Here is my big problem I didn't want to buy a ZWO camera even though they make an excellent product and I certainly can't afford a color camera as nice as a T3i I am currrently using. ZWO has no focuser support, yet and no GPS support, yet. There are 2 big problems and a lot of yets. We seen the yets in this hobby before. But on the bright side the Stellarmate chip will fit in the ASIAIR's slot. Other then the name on the box they are the same thing as far as the hardware configuration. Inside both units is a Raspberry Pi 3b+. I am not all that sure what ZWO uses in the ASIAIR for polar alignment and guiding because I didn't get that far as I gave up in frustration by the EASY user interface and re-installed my Stellarmate on my mount. I'm not sure what others want but give me my Stellarmate. One last thing, the Stellarmate is less expensive then the ASIAIR. Yes I realize that this I have made more then one comment on the Stellarmate, I am going to try to write a review in the first time setup perspective using the manual. Still it's a great article.