The other day I was working with one of the Bluetooth digital setting circles boards from FAR Circuits, and I was having a hard time getting the board to pair with my new Dell laptop running Windows 11. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the Bluetooth board to be discovered by Windows 11. I tried two other Windows 11 laptops and had the same problem. Then I tried a Windows 10 laptop and it paired just fine. So what’s the deal?
Well, after trying a bunch of stuff, doing a lot of Googling, and even enlisting Windows tech support, I finally stumbled upon the solution to this problem. For whatever reason, Microsoft decided to add a new Bluetooth setting in Windows 11 that changes the way that Bluetooth discovery occurs. You’ll find it in Settings -> Bluetooth & devices -> Devices in a setting titled “Bluetooth devices discovery.” This setting has two possible values: “default,” where only common types of devices will be discovered, or “Advanced,” where all Bluetooth devices will be discovered. This setting must be changed from “Default” to “Advanced” in order for the Bluetooth digital setting circles module to be discovered in Windows 11. Thanks, Microsoft.
I finally took a step into the 21st century and created a video showing how to set up and use my Digital Setting Circles ASCOM driver with Stellarium (a very popular planetarium program for PCs). The video is linked on my ASCOM Driver page, or you can watch it here.
At the request of a user, I updated my ASCOM Driver for Digital Setting Circles to include a couple of the northern constellations–Ursa Minor and Draco. These constellations were added because the user had a limited view of the sky and needed more northerly stars on which to align. However, in general it is better to choose alignment stars that are not so far north (or south).
The download link for the driver installation file has been updated on the ASCOM Driver page.
FAR Circuits is now making available an assembled and tested board for the Bluetooth Digital Setting Circles project. The board includes a preprogrammed PIC16F628A chip as well as a fully-configured RN-42 Bluetooth module. You’ll still need to solder a connector for your power source of choice, and you’ll need to obtain your own rotary encoders and connect them through the RJ-45 port included on the board.
Thanks to some help and testing from Pete Eschman, I’ve been able to restore support for Orion telescopes to my ASCOM Driver for Digital Setting Circles. Specifically, Orion Sky Wizard 2 and 3 and Orion Intelliscope platforms should now be working. Please let me know if you have problems using the driver with these platforms.
Orion itself gets no credit for this–they repeatedly ignored my requests for technical support on this issue, despite the fact that the ASCOM driver they published was a slightly-modified version of one of my earlier drivers.