A short review of the SimpleDream EQ3

I ordered my SimpleDream EQ3 off the Astro-Gadget website on March 7 2021 for $158. It was shipped March 12, and was delivered SmartPost on March 26, less than 3 weeks, all the way from Ukraine. Tracking information was provided in an informative email.

It took about 15 minutes to assemble.

The mounting brackets are bright orange! Assembly was pretty simple, following the users manual available on the website and sent along on a small CD. The unit works perfectly well powered with a Celestron PowerTank Lithium LT which provides 3A at 12V.

I used it manual mode for several nights, and loaded my Celestron CG-4 with an 80mm aperature refractor and then a 130mm Newtonian - with cameras. I found that the hand controller was perfectly servicable and the mount tracked pretty well. The above picture of the flame nebula was a 60 second exposure, and I actually touched the shutter to take it, since the mount seemed so stable. I am pleased with my purchase, since the motors have made it possible to use the CG-4 for short exposures, and because the Celestron motor set isn't easy to find and costs a similar amount. I also like the idea of being able to move the mount remotely, it offers the prospect of staying inside and warm, managing both mount and camera wirelessly. If I ever purchase a guide camera I will probably use it with a different mount.
I noticed that the imbedded website had a configuration page on the standard port 80, which asks for a username and password. I emailed Alexander at astrogadget@gmail.com and was given the credentials for that website. It appears to offer the option of joining the network created by another wireless access point, but there aren't any parameters related to the operation of the motors, so far as I can tell.
The owner's manual seems mostly accurate except for a few details. There is no password needed to join the access point created by the SimpleDream, when you power it up in WiFi mode (hold down the mode button when powering up). It's quite easy to join the SimpleDream network, enter the correct port into SkySafari Plus and provide the correct IP address for the access point created by the SimpleDream, but the arrows on SkySafari don't control the SimpleDream. I was able to execute a short range GoTo, after aligning on two stars, and using the buttons on the hand controller to move between them. I made my attempt with SkySafari Plus running under iOS 14.4. I selected the Meade LX600 Classic on a GEM mount. The SimpleDream beeps and a telrad symbol appears in SkySafari, when you connect. You can select Align, to align the mount to Polaris, without error. But the mount doesn't move in response to arrow button presses or any other command from SkySafari, and SkySafari doesn't respond when you use the SimpleDream buttons to slew it. After aligning on two stars, a short range GoTo does work! After the movement is completed, and this time the change is shown in SkySafari, the SimpleDream beeps.

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