Software-- Palm

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Subject: Astronomy Software for the PalmPilot and Handspring Visor   Top

From: Scott Rosenberg <> Date: Feb., 2002

I remember seeing a post asking about Palm software. I came across these 3 programs.
Note: these links should open a new browser window over this one.


Subject: LX200 and Palm Software   Top

From: Michael Boni < >Date: Feb 2002

For those of you with Palm Pilots, I have been using Planetarium for a short time, and rather like it.

Find it at <>
Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

One nice feature is the ability to define your own list of objects. The software already has the Messier objects and a small selection of NGC catalog entries, but I defined a list of the 33 LX200 allignment stars.

Just load the following text into the Palm Notepad and Planitarium can import them from there. (The 13 at the end makes them appear as a large square on the screen, so they are quickly spotted among other stars/objects.)

Planetarium Objects LX200:

Achenar, *13; Eri, m0.5;01h37m;-5714';1;13
Acrux A, *121;Cru, m1.3;12h26m;-6306';1;13
Albireo, *223;Cyg, m3.1;19h30m;+2758';1;13
Alcaid, *140;UMa, m1.9;13h47m;+4919';1;13
Aldebaran, *33; Tau, m0.9;04h35m;+1631';1;13
Alnilam, *50; Ori, m1.7;05h36m;-0112';1;13
Alphard, *95; Hya, m2.0;09h27m;-0839';1;13
Alphekka, *165;CrB, m2.2;15h35m;+2643';1;13
Altair, *226;Aql, m0.8;19h50m;+0852';1;13
Antares, *177;Sco, m0.9;16h29m;-2626';1;13
Arcturus, *147;Boo, m0.0;14h15m;+1911';1;13
Betelgeuse, *56; Ori, m0.4;05h55m;+0724';1;13
Bogardus, *58; Aur, m2.6;05h59m;+3713';1;13
Canopus, *63; Car, m-0.7;06h24m;-5242';1;13
Capella, *42; Aur, m0.1;05h16m;+46.00';1;13
Castor A, *78; Gem, m1.9;07h34m;+3153';1;13
Deneb, *232;Cyg, m1.3;20h41m;+4517';1;13
Denebola, *114;Leo, m2.1;11h49m;+1434';1;13
Diphda, *8; Cet, m2.0;00h43m;-1759';1;13
Enif, *238;Peg, m2.4;21h44m;+0953';1;13
Fomalhaut, *247;PsA, m1.2;22h57m;-2938';1;13
Hadar, *144;Cen, m0.6;14h03m;-6024';1;13
Hamal, *17; Ari, m2.0;02h07m;+2328';1;13
Markab, *249;Peg, m2.5;23h04m;+1512';1;13
Mira, *20; Cet, m2.1;02h19m;-0259';1;13
Polaris, *19; Umi, m2.0;02h31m;+8916';1;13
Pollux, *81; Gem, m1.1;07h45m;+2802';1;13
Procyon, *80; CMi, m0.4;07h39m;+0514';1;13
Regulus, *100;Leo, m1.4;10h08m;+1158';1;13
Rigel, *41; Ori, m0.1;05h14m;-0812';1;13
Sirius, *67; CMa, m-1.5;06h45m;-1643';1;13
Spica, *138;Vir, m1.0;13h25m;-1110';1;13
Vega, *214;Lyr, m0.0;18h37m;+3847';1;13


Subject: Palm/WinCE Astro and Control Software   Top

From: Renato <> Date: Sept., 2002

The group might be interested that there is a new range of Win-CE devices available like the Cassiopea 125, they have 65k colour on a TFT screen, 32MB Ram and can be upgraded with a 1GB Hard drive by IBM that fits into the flash card socket, they come with a PCMCIA adapter in the cradle,.... So in future you might not need to take a laptop to the field. Imagine you do everything on a palm PC, controlling the telescope, capturing images, browsing the web,...

>My real question however is in regards to The Sky. I read on the net that
>there is a version of 'The Sky' for Windows CE palm computers. They also
>state that it CAN control the LX200 scope! Imaging that! No more Laptop!
>Of course, when doing CCD the laptop is still necessary. Has anyone here
>used this application at all? I'd love it if they released a version for
>the Palm.. unfort I didn't get a Win CE machine.


Subject: Palm Control of LX200 --part 1 of 3  Top

From: Michael Boni <> Date: Dec., 2002

For those of you who have a PalmOS device, a new version of Planetarium has just been released at <> The new version includes the ability to talk to a LX200 via a serial cable.

Note: don't forget to get (and import) the list of 33 LX200 alignment stars from the Planetarium website.


Subject: Palm Control of LX200 --part 2  

From: Alan Jones <>

> Does anyone have the schematic of how to hook the LX200
> to the PalmPilot cradle?

You can try this link for a Palm V...don't know about the Pilot:
  Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

Here's a schematic of the Palm V connector:
  Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

And finally, this place has serial cables for the Palm (although I can't seem to get anyone to respond to inquiries):


Subject: Palm Control of LX200 --part 3 of 3   Top

From: Donald Winspear <>

The updated version of Planetarium uses a different record layout for the information on LX200 alignment stars. Just yesterday, I updated the list and uploaded it to Andreas. I don't know if he has actually posted the information on his website yet. What you should know about the new updated list for the alignment stars.

  • The source for distances is SkyMap Pro 7.0. The author, Chris Marriott, has admitted that some of the distances are questionable, at best. Especially the more distant stars.
  • The new list has improved RA/DEC information for each star.
  • The constellation name is included in the information field.
  • The default is for the alignment star object NOT to show. It's very easy to change by tapping the box by the star name.
  • The "*number" that follows the star name refers to the star number in the LX200 database and corresponds to the input for the LX200 hand controller. For example, a user wanting to slew to Achenar would press "Star" and then enter 13 on the keypad.

If you are interested in this file, I can email it to you. Or to anyone who requests it.


Subject: Planetarium for Palm Pilot  Top

From: Daniel Hadad <>

I don't know if everybody already knows about this but...

I got a Palm Pilot for Christmas and found this great Planetarium program on the web-- it even can control a telescope or hook up to a GPS receiver! It has several object databases, a cool compass view which can give you rise/transit/set times for any object. It even looks great under backlight in the dark-- not too bright!

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

If you have a Palm already I highly recommend it. It seems really useful too for showing the sky to others. I've had people over at my house to look at Saturn and Jupiter and was able to hold the Palm against the sky with the constellation outlines drawn in to point out the constellations! It was real hit!

You can even track your favorite objects in the compass view so that you'll know exactly when they transit. It also provides a twilight summary for the current day, giving you rise/set times for the sun/moon, the length of day/night and times for civil, nautical and astronomical twilight for today.


Subject: Operating LX200 w/ Palm Planetarium -- Success   Top

From: Tom Wideman <> Date: Dec., 2002

A while back I posted in hopes of getting an exact pin-out for the cable to connect the LX200 to a Palm organizer, running Palm Planetarium for telescope control. I did a little more research and received a helpful email from Alan Jones, and have made a cable that does just what I need.

If one looks at the Planetarium documentation, the recommendation is that a "normal" LX200-to-computer cable be used with a null modem adapter and a gender changer. I wanted to use existing Palm hardware (specifically the Palm HotSync Cable, Palm #10104U, Office Depot #218768, $19.99) for the Palm end and make a simple cable to connect the HotSync Cable to the scope.

As usual, I turned to the web page of the god of LX200 connections, Bill Arnett for the basic data:

Note: should open a new browser window over this one.

For purposes of this article, all pin numbers referenced are described on that page. As the LX200 pin-out is numbered, well, weird, to put it nicely, I strongly urge you to look at that page and familiarize yourself with the numbering system.

What I will describe is a cable that connects the Palm HotSync Cable to the LX200, which does NOT require the use of any gender changer or null modem adapter. This is done simply by switching the PC Transmit Data and PC Receive Data wires in the DB9 (i.e., swap 2 and 3 under the "DB9" column in Bill's Pin-outs chart).

Only three parts are needed (in addition to the Palm HotSync Cable): an RJ11 connector (i.e., a telephone wire end), a length of standard telephone wire (length up to you, within reason I suppose), and a male DB9 connector (I used one with strain relief, which was important in my mind).

Crimp the telephone wire into the RJ11 connector with the black wire to your left (when looking at the above web page, the picture on the left under "LX200 RS232 Port shows the orientation I'm describing). As such, the black wire will connect to Pin 4 on the LX200 RS232 port. I'll throw in another reminder here to check the above web page to see where "Pin 4" really is. Since the RJ11 is actually a 4-wire connector, the "outside" two connections (LX200 Pins 1 and 6) will not have any wire going to them. If you're using a pre-made telephone wire (i.e., cutting off one end of that extra phone cord you got with your last modem or something) simply note which end yields the above result and cut off the other end. The wires should go black-red-green-yellow from left to right when the RJ11 is inserted into the LX200 RS232 port.

Strip and prepare the other end for connection to the DB9. Connect the black wire to DB9 Pin 5, the green wire to DB9 Pin 3, and the yellow wire to DB9 Pin 2. The red wire is not used and can be cut off.

The end result is the following:

LX200 DB9
Pin Pin Color
----- ----- ------
4 ----- 5 BLACK
2 n/a RED (not used)
5 ----- 3 GREEN
3 ----- 2 YELLOW 

Of course, these colors only work if the flat telephone cable is inserted into the RJ11 so that the black wire touches LX200 RS232 Pin 4 (a final reminder to check the picture on the web page to see where Pin 4 really is -- a hint, they're numbered 1-4-2-5-3-6 from left to right and 1 and 6 are not used in this project).

Assemble the connector housing and plug the Palm HotSync Cable into the DB9 connector. Plug the Palm into the Palm HotSync Cable and the RJ11 into the RS232 port on the LX200. (As an aside, I don't hot-plug anything. I don't know if hot-plugging the RS232 is OK, I think I've probably done it and gotten away with it, but I like to err on the safe side and not do it.) Fire up your LX200 and your Palm Planetarium (assuming you've already installed the Telescope control plug-in bit) and you're off and running. The options to control the scope are under the Telescope icon. I thought controlling my LX200 with my laptop was cool -- I think controlling it with the little Palm is downright awesome.

A final disclaimer -- this worked great for me, but you need to double-check your handiwork and make sure you haven't built something that will fry either your LX200 or your Palm. I'm not responsible for anything (as my wife will tell you). Wrong hookups can cause smoking electronic bits, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and possibly premature hair loss. Use caution.

As an aside, I've hooked up my GPS (Garmin III+) to the Palm for use with Palm Planetarium, using my standard GPS-to-computer cable, the Palm HotSync Cable, and a gender changer and null modem adapter. Works great.

I've tried to make this simple (it really is a simple project, I just like to make sure I don't fry my scope when playing around with this stuff). I hope it helps others out there that want to do the same.


Subject: Palm/GPS Use with LX200   Top

From: Allan Gould <> Date: Mar 2002

Here is the Planetarium/GPS/Palm information clipped from Andreas Hoefer's web page

You can connect any GPS to the serial port that provides NMEA output (for profis: The GPGGA and GPRMC sentences are decoded). You will need a special cable to connect the GPS to the Palm. Please contact your GPS dealer for this. It has been tested with the following units:

Garmin eTrex
Garmin GPS12 Map
Magellan Rand McNally GPS
Garmin 90 GPS

If you have successfully connected any other type, please let me know so I can add it to this compatibility list.

Installation ------
In order to use the GPS feature you need to install the file GPSNMEA.prc on your Palm. Please download it from the download page.

To get the coordinates from the GPS, enter the Location screen by selecting the menu item Options/Set Location or by tapping on the location text. If the file GPSNMEA.prc has been installed correctly, there will be a "GPS" button. When you tap on this button the Palm opens the serial port and waits for data from the GPS. You can tap the "Cancel" button to abort this operation. As soon as some valid data has been received, the coordinates are copied into the Location screen.


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