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Southern Stars SkyWire accessory for scope, turn your iPhone into a telescope controller

Item No. 792-11000
Manuf. No. Southern Stars SKYWIRE

Southern Stars SkyWire accessory for i-phone, i-pad, and i-pod to connect with scope, SKYWIRE

Southern Stars now offers two different telescope-control solutions for your Apple mobile device: SkyFi and SkyWire. SkyWire is the simplest way to turn your iPhone into a 21st-century telescope controller. This brand-new "Made for iPod" accessory adds an RS-232 port to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch - and lets it connect directly to the serial port on your telescope.

SkyWire requires zero configuration - just plug it into your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It doesn't need batteries - it's powered by the phone, and consumes almost no power when not in use.

SkyWire isn't just a "dumb cable". It is a true "Made for iPod" accessory that meets all Apple specs. Unlike other "iPhone serial cables" available on the internet, you don't have to jailbreak your iPhone to use it. It's the simplest, most reliable, and most affordable way to control a telescope from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

SkyWire accessory connected to an iPhone 4 running SkySafari 2.1. Click to enlarge. On shipping SkyWires, the sticker is on the back side of the connector!

Most telescope models will require an additional cable to adapt SkyWire's standard DB9 connector to a telescope-specific RJ-11 serial connector. If you already have a "PC serial cable" for your telescope, you don't need this additional cable from us. If you do need this cable, we can provide one for you - with free shipping if you order it with SkyWire!

Specifications

Really, SkyWire is pretty simple. Here's everything you wanted to know about SkyWire, including:

  • Weight: 40 grams (1.5 ounces)
  • Length: 1 meter (39 inches)
  • Connectors: 30-pin iPhone/iPod/iPad connector, DB9 male RS-232 connector.
  • Color: any color you like, as long as it's black.
  • Power Use: < 50 mA under continuous use; < 5 mA when not in use.
  • Baud Rate: maximum 57.6 kbps
  • Data Bits: 7 or 8
  • Stop Bits: 1 or 2
  • Parity: None, Even, or Odd
  • Flow Control: XON/XOFF, RTS/CTS
  • Modem control signals: CTS, RI, DTR, DCD, RTS, DTR
  • Certifications: FCC part 15B, CE, RoHS, MFi (Made for iPod)
  • iPhone compatibility: any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 4 or later.
  • Telescope compatibility: any telescope model with an RS-232 serial port.
  • Effect on battery life: At most, SkyWire uses an iPhone 4 battery 20% faster than an iPhone 4 running alone. This "worst-case" scenario assumes that both SkyWire and the iPhone are running continuously. When plugged in but not active, SkyWire consumes almost 10x less power, and should have near-zero impact on battery life. An iPad battery, with its much higher capacity, won't even notice a SkyWire connected to it!
Telescope Compatibility

SkyWire can connect to any telescope with a standard RS-232 serial interface. Models that have been tested and are known to work with SkyWire include:

  • Meade LX-200 Classic and GPS
  • Meade LX-90, ETX, LXD, LX-400 ACF with AutoStar controllers
  • Meade Magellan I and II
  • Celestron Ultima 2000
  • Celestron NexStar 4/5/8, 5i/8i, GPS, SLT, SE
  • Celestron CG5, CGE, CGEM, CPC
  • Orion Sirius, Atlas, SkyView Pro, SkyQuest XTg
  • SkyWatcher mounts with SynScan controllers
  • Takahashi Temma 2
  • ServoCAT Argo Navis, Sky Commander, Losmandy DSC
  • Astro-Physics GTO, Losmandy Gemini, Vixen SkySensor 2000
  • Tangent Instruments BBox, JMI NGC-MAX, Celestron AstroMaster
  • Lumicon SkyVector, Takahashi Super Navigator, Dave Ek Box
  • Orion Intelliscope, Orion SkyWizard
The only models that do not work with SkyWire are those that lack an RS-232 serial interface. Such models include:
  • iOptron SmartStar and MiniTower mounts with GOTONova controllers
  • Meade ETX-LS
  • Vixen mounts with StarBook controllers
  • These telescopes have USB or Ethernet interfaces, which cannot be physically connected to SkyWire.
Using SkyWire with Other Apps

SkyWire was the first in a family of serial cable accessories for iOS devices. It was specifically designed by Redpark Product Development to be used with our SkySafari iPhone app for telescope control. But it's also a true RS-232 serial port that can - in theory - be used with other serial devices. Redpark sells a similar cable that is licensed by Apple for hobbyists to develop such serial applications.

Please note that due to Apple's policy restrictions, you can only develop apps that work with Redpark's cable for your own personal use. Such apps cannot be sold on the iTunes Store. If you want to sell an iOS app which uses Redpark's serial cable, you'll need to develop your own "flavor" of the cable. Contact Redpark for more information.


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