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  • SkyFi III USB Wireless Telescope Adapter
  • SkyFi III USB Wireless Telescope Adapter
  • SkyFi III USB Wireless Telescope Adapter

SkyFi III USB Wireless Telescope Adapter


Overview

SkyFi III is our WiFi-to-Serial/USB adapter, designed for wireless telescope control. If you have a computer-controlled GoTo telescope, SkyFi III can use the WiFi capabilities built into your computer and your iOS or Android device to point your telescope in the sky. SkyFi III is the only WiFi device on the market specifically designed for telescope control, and it now includes a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery for up to 12 hours of field use!

SkyFi III includes both USB and serial ports - this means that it can control the latest USB-only telescopes from Meade as well as other telescopes with RS-232 serial interfaces. 

What's included

SkyFi III is very compact, barely larger than an iPhone. It can be easily attached to your telescope's mount or tripod; a Velcro belt is included for that purpose.

SkyFi III has a micro USB connector for external power. It can be powered or charged from a standard 5V USB port on your computer. The package includes a micro USB power adapter that accepts worldwide AC current (100-240V, 50-60 Hz). You can also power SkyFi III from a car battery using a "cigarette lighter" micro USB adapter (not included).

How it works

Once powered on, SkyFi III creates its own 802.11 wireless network. By default, this is an open wireless network called "SkyFi", but you can rename and secure it later on. Join this network from your mobile device, laptop, or other computer, and - voila! - you're ready to use SkyFi III. As long as your computer or mobile device gets its IP address by DHCP, no additional network configuration is required.

Use your existing telescope serial cable and plug directly into SkyFi III - you don't need to buy (or build!) another. If you don't already have one for your telescope, see here for our selection. 

Finally, you'll also need a telescope control application running on your computer or mobile device. SkyFi III works seamlessly with our SkySafari apps for iOS and Android devices, our SkySafari software running on Mac OS X, and our Starry Night software on Mac and via Virtual Serial Port on Windows.

Telescope Compatibility

SkyFi III can wirelessly enable almost any telescope with a standard USB or RS-232 serial interface. Models that work with SkyFi III include:

  • Meade LX-200 Classic and GPS
  • Astro-Physics GTO 
  • Meade LX-400 ACF with AutoStar #497 controllers
  • Losmandy Gemini 
  • Meade LX-600 / 800 / 80
  • Losmandy DSC 
  • Meade ETX-LS / LT 
  • Vixen SkySensor 2000 
  • Meade ETX 90-125
  • Vixen StarBook / Sphinx 
  • Meade LXD 55-75 / 650-750
  • Sky Commander 
  • Meade LX-90
  • StellarCAT ServoCAT 
  • Meade Magellan I & II 
  • Starmaster Sky Tracker 
  • Celestron NexStar 5i/8i, GPS, SLT, SE, Advanced GT
  • SiTech Controller 
  • Celestron AVX, CGE, CGEM, CPC Series
  • Takahashi Temma 2
  • Tangent Inst BBox Encoder Sys (and compatible) 
  • Bisque Paramount + TheSkyX 
  • Orion Sirius, Atlas, SkyView Pro
  • Celestron AstroMaster 
  • Orion SkyQuest XTg / StarSeeker / HDX
  • JMI NGC Max 
  • SkyWatcher mounts with SynScan controllers
  • Lumicon Sky Vector 
  • iOptron SmartStar / MiniTower
  • Orion Sky Wizard / IntelliScope 
  • iOptron 8407 / 8408 contollers
  • Takahashi Super Navigator 
  • iOptron iEQ45 with 8406 controller

The baseline requirement for Celestron support in SkySafari 4/5 is Celestron firmware version 4.0 or higher, which is basically everything sold since 2008. This excludes the older Nexstar GT series, the original Celestron Nexstar series and the Celestron Ultima 2000. Note, the GT hand controllers can possibly be replaced with newer versions that will then work with SkySafari 4/5. Consult a Celestron dealer for more information

Some Meade ETX models (60/80) ship with the Autostar #494 controller. To make SkyFi III work with these scopes, you need to replace the #494 Autostar controller (which does not have a serial port) with the #497 Autostar (which does). Contact Meade to upgrade your controller.

The only models that do not work with SkyFi III are those that have neither USB nor RS-232 serial ports. Such models include:

  • Vixen mounts with StarBook controllers

The Vixen StarBook controller uses an ethernet interface, which is also physically incompatible with SkyFi III. However, you can use an Apple AirPort Express (or other wireless router) to control the StarBook from our SkySafari iPhone app. This document from Vixen explains how. You also need to configure SkySafari to communicate with the StarBook controller at 169.254.1.1 on port 80.

Temperature Considerations

There is abundant literature on how the performance of Lithium Ion batteries decreases with temperatures that can be researched, but in general, Lithium-Ion batteries do not have a horrible performance penalty in the cold (unlike NiCad).  We estimate roughly 70% performance in freezing conditions.

Very Important:  Do not to charge a Li-ion battery when it is very cold.  This can damage them.

Warranty

Simulation Curriculum offers a 1-year limited warranty on all SkyFi III units purchased directly from us or an authorized reseller.

$189.95 USD