Go to without wifi?

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Go to without wifi?

Postby Newbie Jimmy » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:23 pm

Hi,
Total beginner here so please excuse the totally silly question

Basically I'm looking to buy a go to telescope, to begin with to use in my garden but eventually to take further afield.

In my garden i have a strong WiFi signal, so the go to functionality will be great to get me started on what to look for in the night sky

However, because i have a lot of lights outside my house I'd like to eventually take this further afield.
Obviously my WiFi wont work away from my house, and I'm a bit loathe to use any data on my phone, so my silly question is can you use a go to telescope in the same manner you would use a normal refractor/reflector telescope? IE without the motor and WiFi etc and using manual focus?
Jimmy
Last edited by Newbie Jimmy on Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Go to without wifi?

Postby Aratus » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:35 pm

There are plenty of telescopes that don't use 'wifi' and they are cheaper too. A non-wifi 'goto' telescope is still computerised and motorised. It will include a handset which will enable you to align the telescope - even in the middle of a field - and you can position the telescope to any object above the horizon using the same handset. Please don't worry about having a wifi signal to use a motorised telescope. Newer telescopes have re-chargable batteries, but they can easily run off manageable external 12v batteries too.

Generally speaking - I am left struggling to understand why anyone wants to operate a telescope using a wifi - unless perhaps they are trying to operate it from a distance. For most people it has no advantage, and is yet one more thing to that you need to get working, and one more thing that can fail.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Go to without wifi?

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:05 pm

Aratus wrote:Generally speaking - I am left struggling to understand why anyone wants to operate a telescope using a wifi - unless perhaps they are trying to operate it from a distance. For most people it has no advantage, and is yet one more thing to that you need to get working, and one more thing that can fail.

I can kind of see the point in that the wired handsets I've used (Meade and Skywatcher) are relatively limited in their functions (they don't have decent search capabilities meaning, for example, that you have to scroll through all the lists of named stars), I'd expect a smartphone app to be better able to select targets for your GOTO.
For the OP, as far as I can tell, mounts that use a WiFi link set up a local WiFi network, so you're not dependent on being in your own home location.

The downside of using a smartphone as a controller I've heard is that you're likely to have to look at the screen to find the buttons, rather than being able to do it by feel s you can with a 'proper' handset.
There was a review of a Skywatcher wireless mount in (I think) January's edition of Astronomy Now magazine.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: Go to without wifi?

Postby Newbie Jimmy » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:28 pm

Hi, thanks for your replies

So you are saying that a Go To telescope doesn't need WiFi? Sorry again for the ludicrous question but without a WiFi connection to a phone or computer, how can the telescope know where anything is in the night sky?
I understand the concept of a motor and that it allows the tracking of stars etc, but am struggling with the workings of a non WiFi enabled star pinpointing system.

Do you have any examples of telescopes you would recommend please?

By the way I'm very excited about the prospect of a new hobby, and am grateful to have found this forum :)
Jimmy
Last edited by Newbie Jimmy on Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Go to without wifi?

Postby Aratus » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:52 pm

Newbie Jimmy wrote:Hi, thanks for your replies

So you are saying that a Go To telescope doesn't need WiFi? Sorry again for the ludicrous question but without a WiFi connection to a phone or computer, how can the telescope know where anything is in the night sky?

Si


The goto telescope has its own built in computer that once it knows where it is (you either tell it or use a built in GPS), and how it is oriented, can slew to any object in its database. I've used one for the last 14 years.

Examples? almost any Celestron series. For instance VX, SLT, CGEM, CGX, CPC, Edge or SE series. I'm not so au fait with Meade, but most of them are non-wifi goto. Starwatcher, again, most of their goto series do not feature wifi.
You might start by looking at an old fashioned Celestron SE. They are dropping their prices right now.
https://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series.html

As Gamily2 says, the handset is a little basic. You can input Messier or NGC numbers easily enough. Scrolling through star names is a bit of a bind though, as he reports. It is perfectly serviceable nevertheless. The wifi ones have a better handset -true - but it is not the exciting breakthrough that would make me get one :) !

EDIT: You can get a wifi module as an 'add on' for the Celestron series, if you wanted the option of using either a handset or smartphone. The other makes probably make them too.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Go to without wifi?

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:58 am

As to how the scope knows where it is...

When you set it up, it asks you enter your latitude, longitude and date and time, then you align it with two known stars from a list it suggests.
It then knows the position it's pointing at, and from its internal database it knows how far to move in each axis when you put a new target in.

Some come with GPS modules that give the scope the date/time and location, and some have sensors that can accurately centre the alignment stars (or similar). These can be very useful for beginners, as they can make it easier to find targets if you have less experience, or if your skies aren't great; but if you have dark skies, you may find that a little more experience makes them redundant.

If you have a local Astronomy Society, you may find someone who can help you get started.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: Go to without wifi?

Postby Aratus » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:19 pm

Agreed. I'm pretty sure that even a 'wifi' telescope has exactly the same computer on-board as a none wifi telescope. The only difference is that it interfaces with a smart-phone, which allows more modern software to control the telescope - and a better display. Although the wifi doesn't impress me, even I have to admit that a standard handset is pretty old technology! It is pretty 'un-cool' by modern standards! :D

I would look at those Celestron SE series telescopes with the price reductions though !
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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