How do I use SkyQ Link with my wireless-connected Windows computer?

Here are the basic steps to use SkyQ Link PC in both direct and access point modes:

 

Before plugging the SkyQ Link module into your mount, be sure the switch is in the upper or direct connect position. Plug the module into the hand control port, then turn on your mount. (Note: If your mount has an AUX port, you can connect the module there instead, leaving your physical hand control plugged into the hand control port. When using SkyQ Link with a NexStar 4SE or NexStar 5SE, you must leave the hand control plugged in.)

 

The power light will glow steadily, while the mode and transmit lights will flicker.
 

Next, click on your wireless connection icon on the taskbar in Windows. Your SkyQ Link will have a unique network code with two alphanumeric digits, like SkyQLink-6c. Connect to the network. Now the power light will be steady, the mode light will flicker and the transmit light will be dark.


SkyQ Link wireless connection
 

Open SkyQ Link PC.

SkyQ Link PC icon

Right-click on the program's window, which looks like the SkyQ Link module itself. 

SkyQ Link PC GUI

Choose the settings option. A small square window will pop up with three lines. (This window may also already be open when the app opens.)  SkyQ Link IP should have the entry 1.2.3.4 TCP Port should have the entry 2000. COM Port should have a valid entry for your computer, such as COM 5.

 

Setings for direct mode 


Click "Connect." The SkyQ Link's power light will now glow steadily and the mode light will flicker. The virtual module on your screen will show a green dot in the lower left corner, indicating that there is a connection. (If you don’t get a connection, double check the settings and ensure your PC is connected to the SkyQ Link.)
 

Now start NexRemote. Select the same valid COM (PC) port that you used previously in the settings window for SkyQ Link PC. Choose the mount model and the firmware version.  Settings shown below are for the LCM mount and version 4.21 of the firmware for this mount. 


NexRemote settings

Leave virtual port as None and click OK.  The message “Initializing firmware…” will display and NexRemote will look like the real hand control, showing the mount name on its display.

Now the upper left of the SkyQ Link PC program module will show green indicating a connection with NexRemote. Press one of the arrow keys on the virtual hand control. The mount should respond by moving in the correct direction. Both red indicators on the right side of the virtual model will flash. The transmit lower indicator light on SkyQ Link will also flash.  These lights indicate that data is being sent and received.

SkyQ Link PC connected and transmitting

(If NexRemote does not connect, close it and try again. Then repeat the steps suggested above if the SkyQ Link PC does not connect with the mount.)


Exit NexRemote before proceeding to set up the access point mode.

Before starting on the access point mode, find an open IP address on your local wireless network to assign to SkyQ Link.  You may already know of an open address, be able to get one from your local network administrator, use a network discovery application (such as Fing), or try an address until you find an open address using utilties in Windows command line such as Ping.

Pinging an available IP address will show “Request timed out,” while an unavailable address will show a message such as “Destination host unreachable.” Pinging the IP address used by your computer will show “Bytes=32” and other packet information.

 

To set up your SkyQ Link module in access point mode, start by right-clicking the SkyQ Link PC interface and choose “Configure SkyQ Link Settings.”  A new window called SkyQ Link Configurator will open, displaying the IP address for the direct connect mode. 

Configurator window and the IP address

Click the button below, "Check Conection." Information on the connectivity will appear.

Read the settings

On the left of the window, click "Read Settings." It will read any previously existing information that has stored for an access point.  There may be no information or it may be wrong, in which case you need to change it.

Read settings

Once you have entered the proper information for your network name (SSID, here it's ASTROBOY), security passphrase (here ORIONNEB1954), SkyQ Link IP (here 10.10.20.110), Gateway IP (here 10.10.20.1) and network mask (always 255.255.255.0), save it to the module by clicking “Write Settings.”  Then, click “Reboot” to associate with the wireless network using these settings.

Finally, type in the SkyQ Link PC IP address (example 10.10.20.110) in the SkyQ Link Current IP box on top of the configurator. Turn off the mount and module. Flip the switch to the access mode and wait at least 15 seconds. Then, turn on the mount and module. Now click “Check Connection.”  The module will connect to your network and the information will be displayed in the right-hand window.


You can now close the configurator and break the connection.  The smaller SkyQ Link PC settings window will appear.  Verify that the settings in this window are the same for the SkyQ Link IP as they were in configurator and press “Connect.” The virtual module will show a green dot to the lower left.

Launch NexRemote.  As before, make the settings for COM port the same as the module. Click OK, and NexRemote will connect to the mount and display a message like “LCM Ready. Press ENTER to begin alignment.”

NexRemote is connected

Press an arrow key and your mount should move. The red lights on SkyQ Link PC will flicker while the two left-side lights will glow green.

If you plan on using SkyQ Link PC on the same network and with the same IP address the next time you use it, simply plug the module into your mount with the switch in access mode, power on the mount, connect your computer to the wireless network, start the SkyQ Link PC app, verify the entries in the small settings window that pops up and click “Connect.”

 

Updated 12/16/13