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Bluetooth Wireless Telescope Computer Interface. by Monroe Pattillo President, SFAAA. Goals. Eliminate cable between computer and scope Remove nighttime trip hazard of cable Reduce scope setup/teardown times Identify generic, standards based solution

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Bluetooth Wireless


Computer Interface


Monroe Pattillo

President, SFAAA


Eliminate cable between computer and scope

Remove nighttime trip hazard of cable

Reduce scope setup/teardown times

Identify generic, standards based solution

Validate solution with existing equipment

Document and disseminate solution to others

Telescope Computer Interface

Serial (not parallel)

Asynchronous (not char. or bit synchronous)

RS-232 (TIA/EIA-232E)

9600 bps, no parity, 1 stop bit

No handshake (not hardware, not software)

Classical three wire interface (TxD, RxD, Gnd)

Standards Based Wireless Technology Choices

Bluetooth (chosen for this validation)

+ small, inexpensive, low power

- addressing, range, no Internet routing

Wi-Fi (for the next solution validation)

+ range, addressing, Internet routing

- larger, more expense, more power

Bluetooth Product Selection Criteria

Bluetooth version 1.1 (compatible w/2.0 EDR)

Class 1 (Classes 2 & 3 are shorter range)

Support Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP)

Power - hardware interface vs external power

Adaptable to field power (12-18V DC)

Product open information and availability

Adaptable for telescope control


Serial Device Adapter





Virtual Cable

Bluetooth Application/Protocol Layers



2.4GHz Wireless

Bluetooth Interface

Bluetooth Interface

Paired Device

Paired Device

SPP Server

SPP Client









BlueConsole BC-02

Bluetooth 1.1, class 1, SPP, multipoint w/3.7

Very small, low power (can run on 9-18V DC)

Adaptable to external power (9V battery)

Product adaptable to telescope control

Adapting the BC-02 for use with Meade 8” LX-200 Classic

Adapt BC-02’s RJ-45 to LX-200’s RJ-14

Need simple, easy to reproduce solution

Need to dress it neatly to the LX-200

Approach: RJ-11 to RJ-45 to BC-02

Modify 1 ft phone cord, add RJ-45 coupler

Velcro BC-02 to side of LX-200

Wiring for the modified telephone cord

Use a stranded wire modular cord, not silver satin (foil over plastic)

Modified End

Yellow, Black, NC, Red

Unmodified End

Yellow, Green, Red, Black










Green not connected as that pin is power output from the scope

Bluetooth on PC

You’ll need Bluetooth 1.1 or 2.0 on your PC

Class 1 is long range, 2 is shorter, 3 shortest

Can be built-in, USB, or PCMCIA/CardBus

Install Bluetooth software on PC

No Bluetooth servers needed at PC end

Discover the BlueConsole BC-02

Pair with it (1234 is default pairing key)

Connect to the SPP Server in the BC-02

Try to set PC virtual COM port to COM1..4

Some old telescope apps only see COM1..4

The Solution

Velcro mounted to side of Meade LX-200 Classic

(mounted and cable tied clear of fork arms movement)


Connect coupler and cable to BC-02

Connect BC-02 cable to telescope

Attach battery to BC-02

Mount BC-02, cable, and battery to scope

Establish Bluetooth between PC & BC-02

Launch telescope control application(s) on PC

Enable telescope interface to virtual COM port

Icing on the Cake

I own an H-P iPAQ 2215 Windows based PDA

It has built-in Bluetooth

I installed a copy of TheSky Pocket Edition

Enabled Bluetooth on PDA

Enabled scope interface to virtual COM port

!!! wireless scope paddle + planetarium !!!

(simultaneous PC & PDA scope control using BC-02 3.7 firmware)

Contact Information

BlueConsole – BC-02

TheSky Pocket Edition (only for Windows based PDAs)

Monroe Pattillo


South Florida Amateur

Astronomers Association, Inc. (SFAAA)

Fox Observatory, inside Markham Park

Open to public Saturday evenings til midnight

NW corner of I-75-N/I-595 and FL-869/I-75-S

Next Projects

Create a similar solution based upon Wi-Fi

Improved range and addressing

Possibility of Internet routing

Slightly higher cost and package size

Create a poor man’s StellarCam

Windows PC based application and server

Source agnostic (video, webcam, files)

Format agnostic (BMP, JPEG, TIFF)

Stack and adjust images as they arrive

Result image accessed via web browser

Create Wi-Fi based control and imaging solution

Wired Ethernet Servers - RS-232 & Video

Concentration - Wired Ethernet to Wi-Fi