Page 1 of 1

Controlling a telescope

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:33 am
by tawalker
A bit of a "blue-sky" post here - pun half-intended ;)

Close to the top of my list of "things I'd like to do someday when I have time", is "learn astronomy". In particular, I've always been interested in the idea of telescopes which can be computer-controlled via an interface/protocol such as INDI.

Now I'd imagine that in most cases, you would have your INDI-compatible telescope connected to a computer directly (it seems that serial (RS232) interfaces are still popular for telescopes). However, I can imagine that in some setups, you might want your telescope set up permanently somewhere (e.g. your garden, attic, whatever), but you might also want to be somewhere else than right next to the instrument - for instance, in the (warm) house on a cold night!

To my point: has anyone thought of using a Raspberry Pi as a remote-control for an INDI telescope? I don't actually have one of the latter, so it might be a silly idea - for one, INDI works over TCP/IP, so for all I know, one could control the instrument "directly" over the network without needing another computer in the way.

For that matter: I wonder if the Pi has enough "grunt" to run xephem?

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:46 am
by scep

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:44 am
by tawalker

Re: Controlling a telescope (and/or running xephem)

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:53 pm
by tawalker
Having said that, though, one question still stands (and I searched the forum for it this time ;) ): does anyone think it would be possible to compile and run xephem on the Pi? (I might give it a try myself - my Pi is running Arch/ARM - although the AUR package for xephem is outdated, and compiling the application "manually" is quite a job...)

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:48 pm
by bdsmith
I'm also thinking of trying this (a friend is planning to build a RAT - Remote Access Telescope). INDI consists of two halves: the server side that resides in a computer that is hooked to the telescope, and the client side that resides in the computer that is running user apps, like Kstars. These two halves can communicate with each other a network or Internet, so the user can be running the apps to remotely access from the telescope. Or these two halves can be in the same computer so that the user can be running the apps in the same computer that is controlling the telescope nearby. Using a Pi as a INDI server, hooked to the telescope, would seem like a good use, using the PI's strength as a small, Linux-based embedded computer. Running the INDI client and its apps on, for example, your laptop, allows you to access your scope remotely, or sitting on a table while you sit out in the cold with your scope (and, you could tell your friends how to access the scope, so anybody could access it from anywhere over the net.)

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:32 pm
by robcander
The following site may also be of interest where they mention using a Raspberry PI running a remote INDI server:-

Robert (Anderson)

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:01 am
by DrMistry
I've built XEphem and it runs very nicely indeed on my moderately overlocked Razzer and at least one of the education-oriented distros come with it preinstalled.

I've not tried telescope control yet (but I will this weekend when my RS232 level regulator arrives) or any astro-imaging apps, but things are looking pretty good so far. I'm not convinced about replacing the mount circuitry and logic in my LX200, it works very nicely for me so I'm more interested in augmenting the existing AutoStar handset with a handy dandy portable unit rather than lugging a laptop out to my observing site. I could see the uses of a temp sensor and dew heater controller being hooked up though, that would be very lovely indeed! :D

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:19 pm
by peter.polakovic
robcander wrote:The following site may also be of interest where they mention using a Raspberry PI running a remote INDI server:-

Robert (Anderson)
Actually we've tried only USB devices (QHY5 and SX Lodestar) and simulators but it should be possible to connect telescope mount directly (with some 3.3V/5V logic level converter) with some linux equivalent of EQMOD as well.


Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:43 pm
by DrMistry
I've just had my Pi outside in the garden, controlling my LX200 8" using XEphem - it took a little jiggling and wiggling, but using a USB-RS232 dongle was fine. The main problem I encountered was that I hadn't built all INDI drivers I needed (indi_lx200classic). I haven't tried any on-Pi imaging yet with my Meade LPI or DSI, but I normally don't anyway - I use a Canon DSLR for imaging. I would like to build a dewheater controller via GPIO and a bulb shutter trigger also via GPIO but there's plenty of time for that on cloudy nights and weekends!

Best regards,

Re: Controlling a telescope

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:45 pm
by knro
There is now an official INDI Library package for the Raspberry PI including 3rd party drivers for CCDs (including DSLRs), focusers, filter wheels, EQMod...etc. You can find details here: ... ry-pi.html