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Home > Articles > How To > Advanced > 150' USB and RS232 Extensions

150' USB and RS232 Extensions
By Darrell Fichtl - 12/2/2004

I had planned to remote my 10" Meade LX200 GPS scope as soon as I moved into our new home that's being built. There's about 50 feet under the foundation through a 2" Pipe and then out to the corner of the backyard about another 50-75'

In preparation I purchase a USB extension from UncleSamsCams.com and a RS-232 extension from Mycableshop.com. Since I had been in data transmission with Pacific NW Bell before I retired I had some doubt that these devices would be functional.

Both cables were 150' to allow for any needed "slop." The USB extension for the DSI worked without a hitch although the Meade software does have a few problems. The DSI is very susceptible to static electricity. I discovered this when making the para focal with an eyepiece. I'd walk into the house to check the image then walk back out to adjust the camera. I'd feel just a small discharge in my fingers and the camera went off line and had to reboot.

The RS-232 extension also worked but I needed to iron out a few procedural quirks in the software. Unless powered up just right it'll buck up and say, "No ACK received." The ACK is the positive receive signal back to the originator, in this case, my computer.

Using the Meade software you can also use the remote handbox function. All you need to do is power up and everything can be controlled from the house.

The USB extension kit also comes with an USB expander that's at the telescope. With this I'm going to place and LPI on the finder scope.

The expander needs a 5V DC power but it also comes with a AC adapter. I chose not to run 110V to the telescope but rather bought a power supply on EBay that has 2 controllable outputs and one 5V fixed. I now have 12V for the mount, 9V for the motofocus and 5V for the USB expansion. All the power is run out on 3 -150' lamp cords.

I talked with Anacortes about stocking the 150' USB extensions but really don't know how many people are interested in this.

Experimentation is still continuing.

Darrell Fichtl

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