Remote Device Control

KStars provides a simple yet powerful layer for remote device control. A detailed description of the layer is described in the INDI white paper.

You need to configure both the server and client machines for remote control:

  1. Server: To prepare a device for remote control, follow the same steps in the local/server setup. When you start a device service in the Device Manager, a port number is displayed under the Port column. In addition to the port number, you also need the hostname or IP address of your server.

  2. Client: Select the ToolsDevicesDevice Manager... menu item and you can add, modify, or delete hosts into Client tab. Add a host by clicking on the Add button. Enter the hostname/IP address of the server in the Host: field, and enter the port number obtained from the server machine in step 1.

After you add a host, right click on the host to Connect or Disconnect. If a connection is established, you can control the telescope from the Sky map or INDI Control Panel exactly as described in the local/server section. It is as easy at that.

Running an INDI server from the command line

While KStars allows you to easily deploy an INDI server; you can launch an INDI server from the command line.

Since INDI is an independent backend component, you can run an INDI server on a host without KStars. INDI can be compiled separately to run on remote hosts. Furthermore, device drivers log messages to stderr and that can be helpful in a debugging situation. The syntax for INDI server is as following:

$ indiserver [options] driver [driver ...]

 -l d     : Log driver messages to <d>/YYYY-MM-DD.islog
 -m m     : Kill client if gets more than this many MB behind, default 128.
 -d m     : Drop streaming blobs if client gets more than this many MB behind, default 5. 0 to disable.
 -p p     : Alternate IP port, default 7624.
 -r r     : Maximum driver restarts on error, default 10.
 -f path  : Path to fifo for dynamic startup and shutdown of drivers.
 -v       : Show key events, no traffic.
 -vv      : -v + key message content.
 -vvv     : -vv + complete xml.
 driver   : Executable or [device]@host[:port]

For example, if you want to start an INDI server running an LX200 GPS driver and listening to connections on port 8000, you would run the following command:

$ indiserver -p 8000 lx200gps

Secure Remote Operation

Suppose we want to run an indiserver with INDI drivers on a remote host, remote_host, and connect them to KStars running on the local machine.

From the local machine log onto the remote host, remote_host, by typing:

$ ssh -L local_port:remote_host:remote_port

This binds the local_port on the local machine to the remote_port on the remote_host. After logging in, run indiserver on the remote host:

$ indiserver -p remote_port [driver...]

Back on the local machine, start KStars then open the Device Manager and add a host under the Client tab. The host should be the local host (usually and the port number should be the local_port used in the steps above. Right-click on the host and select Connect from the popup menu. KStars will connect to the remote INDI server securely. The host information will be saved for future sessions.