Raspberry Pi Telescope Control

I have a Raspberry Pi which I received as a vExpert gift from SimpliVity a couple years ago. Over the 4th of July weekend I started tinkering with it to use it to interface with Stellarium in order to remotely control my telescope.

raspberrypi

I had a spare 8 GB SD card and I installed the Raspbian image on the card, booted, and configured the Raspberry Pi.

I also had an old USB to Serial adapter (which actually does not work with Windows 7/8, but the Raspberry Pi recognized it without issue) which is connected to one of the USB ports on the Raspberry Pi.

usb-serial

Once the Raspberry Pi was configured I used apt-get to install the subversion package.

sudo apt-get install subversion

This was needed to pull the telescope server software from SourceForge.

svn co https://svn.code.sf.net/p/stellarium/code/trunk/telescope_server

Then I compiled the Telescope Server by running make in the telescope server src directory. This created three binaries: TelescopeServerDummy, TelescopeServerLx200, and TelescopeServerNexStar. Since I have a Celestron mount, I use the TelescopeServerNexStar. To start the telescope server run TelescopeServerNexStar TCPPort SerialPort. Replacing TCPPort with the port I want the Telescope Server to listen on and SerialPort with the USB to Serial device entry.

TelescopeServerNexStar 5000 /dev/ttyUSB0

Once started the Telescope Server started receiving RA and DEC position information from the telescope mount.

telescope-control

Then I configure the remote telescope connection in Stellarium. To open the telescope configuration use Ctrl+0 and configure the telescope. Select External software or a remote computer and enter the IP Address of the Raspberry Pi and the TCP port the Telescope Server is listening on (in my case 5000).

configure-telescope

Then hit connect to connect Stellarium to the telescope server running on the Raspberry Pi.

scope-setup

Once connected, I can then select an object in Stellarium (the Moon in this case), press Ctrl+1, and the telescope slews to the selected object.

stellarium

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate this weekend and I was not able to try it out in the field. Hopefully next weekend. Also going to try to see if I can get the Raspberry Pi to control one of my Astrophotography cameras, if not it looks like a lot of folks are doing some cool Astrophotography with the Raspberry Pi camera board.

3 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Telescope Control

  • September 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm
    Permalink

    Hi,
    Tying to install telescope server as described here.
    Succesfully connected USB pi serial cable, it recornises Phoeinix device
    Copied files using
    svn co https://svn.code.sf.net/p/stellarium/code/trunk/telescope_server

    Ran Make, got the three executables in SRC dir
    However when ran:
    pi@Rasptel:~/telescope_server/src $ TelescopeServerLx200 5000 /dev/ttyUSB4
    got:
    bash: TelescopeServerLx200: command not found
    Tried the dummy and nextstar versions with same result
    Probably doing something really stupid, any ideas
    Any help appreciated

    Reply
    • September 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm
      Permalink

      Max,

      Since the compiled binary is not in the path you have to tell it to execute from the current directory using ./

      So try this: ./TelescopeServerLx200 5000 /dev/ttyUSB4
      or the full path: /telescope_server/src/TelescopeServerLx200 5000 /dev/ttyUSB4

      Also make sure the binary is set to be executable: chmod +x /telescope_server/src/TelescopeServerLx200

      Hope that helps.

      Hersey

      Reply
  • September 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm
    Permalink

    Hersey,
    Thanks, all good, can control from Stellarium

    Thanks for your help
    Max

    Reply

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