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Chris Rowland

Celestron StarSense Accessory

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Calibrate Centre is a once only operation (well until you move it).  It's an electronic equivalent to aligning a finder scope.

Select a star in the Star - named Star menu.

Press Align and you are told what the offset is, Follow the prompts on the HC, I think it's Centre the star, press Enter, do a fine alignment and press Align

It says Acquiring Image, then solving and finally solved with a new centre position.  Press Enter to accept it, then press Undo to back out of the Calibrate Centre menu system.  You may need to do a new alignment.

This may not be quite right, I just follow the HC prompts.  The only trick is to press Undo once the calibrate has completed.

Chris

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When I did my first alignment it was off by a small amount but it was still in the field of view of my 25mm EP. I did the calibrate step and then did a fresh alignment. Even after removing the SS camera from the scope and putting it back on subsequent nights it always brings up the selected object near the centre using a 25mm EP.

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Select a star in the Star - named Star menu.

Press Align and you are told what the offset is, Follow the prompts on the HC, I think it's Centre the star, press Enter, do a fine alignment and press Align

Chris,

That's exactly what I needed to know. The manual doesn't say to press Align. I still found the calibration a bit tricky since the chosen star didn't appear in the field of view of the eyepiece, but I was eventually able to centre on Polaris.

The StarSense worked extremely well in the cloudy conditions we had tonight.

Many thanks for your help.

Dewi

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When I did my first alignment it was off by a small amount but it was still in the field of view of my 25mm EP. I did the calibrate step and then did a fresh alignment. Even after removing the SS camera from the scope and putting it back on subsequent nights it always brings up the selected object near the centre using a 25mm EP.

I was able to centre on Polaris. It wasn't in the field of view of my 32mm EP, but it was the only bright star in that piece of sky so I was able to find it and centre it.

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Albeiro is a good calibration star, when it's around,  it's difficult to mistake it for anything else.  I use Betelgeuse or Procyon at the moment.

The prompts on the HC are likely to be more accurate than the manual because the prompts were written by the developer at the same time as the code.

Chris

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The prompts on the HC are likely to be more accurate than the manual because the prompts were written by the developer at the same time as the code.

But if you don't know you should press ALIGN, there are no prompts to follow on the HC.

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Albeiro is a good calibration star, when it's around,  it's difficult to mistake it for anything else.  I use Betelgeuse or Procyon at the moment.

The prompts on the HC are likely to be more accurate than the manual because the prompts were written by the developer at the same time as the code.

Chris

Castor is my favorite alignment star as it is a very close knit double star, so it is really obvious that you have got the right one (or two as the case may be).

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Guys, re the calibration, I get the starsense to do the intial succesful alignment as such, but i am having real issues with the calibration of the starsense with the scope. I do the centering, then the fine centering then once it has given me the info that the image has been done and to realign, i go back to the main menu, turn off the scope then do another realignment, however, when i ask it to go to a star after all this it sort of goes in the right direction and then stops, but i have nothing in the field of view, even on a 32 mm eyepiece. Any tips welcomed please and am i supposed to turn it off to do the second realignment?? thanks

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Yes to turning the scope off - back to the horizontal position for a full alignment. There must be something fundamental here as I know you have been having issues from the off! For me, the centre reference was simple and worked first time - well once I read the manual and did the sequence correctly. Does the readout tell you the offset and 'solution found' ? Do you press enter to accept? The fact that it seems to work sometimes and not others makes me wonder if there is an issue with it!

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When I went in to start the centering for polaris, the clock read +89 so not a great deal off, however, once i centered polaris as per the set up the clock then became +128, i pressed enter as basically there was nothing else i could do. When i carried out the second realignment i was hoping that once it had auto aligned that was it, so i slewed the scope to capella and it didnt even get near the eyepiece, the same with the moon. So i did this all again, five times in total and on every occassion it would never put anything near the eyepiece, what made it worse was having no finder scope as id let the starsense take that option. Sending the unit back, i may go for another or just settle for my trusty old handset to do a 3 star alignment. I was more peeved at the wasted time with the sky being so reasonable.

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Are you using Polaris as a calibration star?

That's so close to the pole that tiny errors in position could make a big difference in Ra and Dec and these will affect pointing everywhere.

Also, what software versions are you using?  The latest 8th January version doesn't need power cycling after centre calibration, it takes you to the align menu, you choose the option you want and off it goes.  No need to power cycle or set the mount to the align position.

Chris

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Polaris was not the only one I tried Chris, I also had the same happen with Capella. I also had the latest firmware in both the handset and the camera, I did try the option you mentioned in respect of not turning it off, when I pressed the auto align button again after doing the calibration on Capella the scope pointed downwards and was tracking my grass. Just to add as well Chris, when I do the initial alignment you are then told to go to a named star to do the scope/camera align, however, whatever star Id choose, the mount never came close to where I needed it. But the power cycle afterwards having not to have too so to speak, I never knew, I wonder if this is the problem..Polaris, followed by a power down is telling the system i am somewhere else as when I started at polaris it was +89 when I did the fine centering, the clock was +128, i wonder mmmmm.

Can I ask then, once a auto align is done and the fine centering is done, what you are saying is that I go back on the main menu, as i am getting confused as the auto align says to have the scope horizontal to the horizon, do you mean i do an auto align whilst the scope is centered on capella.

Edited by proflight2000

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At last it is all sorted, everything is aligning ok and stars etc are dropping right in the middle of my 8mm eyepiece. Thank you to everyone who helped on this, especially keith who i have sent gawd knows how many messages over the past week. What you said Chris worked, I did the auto align, once it was ready i went to Procyon and did a center then fine center, pressed align then when that was happy i did a new realign from that position, it sorted it out. Shame on celestron as i can find no info mentioning this as an amendment to their original manual. Thanks all.

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Total change in reply in response to your last message,  good to hear that it's working.

Chris

Edited by Chris Rowland

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At last it is all sorted, everything is aligning ok and stars etc are dropping right in the middle of my 8mm eyepiece. Thank you to everyone who helped on this, especially keith who i have sent gawd knows how many messages over the past week. What you said Chris worked, I did the auto align, once it was ready i went to Procyon and did a center then fine center, pressed align then when that was happy i did a new realign from that position, it sorted it out. Shame on celestron as i can find no info mentioning this as an amendment to their original manual. Thanks all.

Good news. Hope it all aligns correctly first time after being powered down.

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I tried out my SS on my new scope last night but it was not successful. I set the scope up to face North and had the marks in their home position. I did an auto align and then tried a calibration star but chose the wrong star I think (was supposed to be Aldebaran) - was not in my eyepiece and the biggest I have at the moment is 25mm (have ordered a 40mm) - searched and thought that I had it and aligned (not sure if it was Aldebaran). Powered off and on and did another auto align without putting the scope back to North etc (is this right). Asked the scope to goto Mars and it went in roughly the right place but Mars was not in the eyepiece and I had terrible trouble finding it. Have now reset the SS to factory defaults ready to have another go when the 40mm eyepiece arrives but might try again with the 25mm using Polaris having read this thread. 

Main question is when you power off/on and Autoalign again do you have to put the scope back to North etc or can you just do it from where it finished after the callibration star? Manual does not say. Also when am I supposed to press UNDO and where is it - do you mean BACK?

Peter

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Everyone,  PLEASE say what scope/mount you have and - for a fork mount - if you are on a wedge.  The alignment process is different for GEMs, Altaz mounts and Fork mounts on a wedge.

Also say what version software you are using. "The Latest" tells us nothing other than that you believe it it the latest.

UNDO == BACK.  They changed the name on the button but it does about the same.

As for Polaris, I wouldn't use it for calibration for the reasons I mentioned above and which see to be borne out by proflight's report but if your intent is to make the centre calibration as inaccurate and difficult as possible then that looks like a good way to do it.

As I've said before, the most reliable information on how to operate the HC will be shown on the HC itself.  Read and follow the instructions there.  Remember that the up and down buttons (6 and 9) can be used to scroll through the full message.  If that says to set the mount to a particular position then do so.  If it doesn't then don't.  Try not to over think this.

Chris

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Glad it finally worked Terry - now for some fun!

Keith (aka Radec)

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Thanks Chris

It's an AVX mount and I have just got the SS and the handset says the version is 1.07 13311 Nov 2013 according to the HS.

So I will recycle when calibrated to a star (not Polaris) without returning the tube to it's marks. Try again and see what I can do using either Procyon or Castor maybe. I did follow the prompts on the HS and hope I can see the calibration star this time with my 25mm eyepiece. If not I will await the 40mm EP and try again.

Peter

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Hi Peter, I have had the same trouble as you it seems, if it makes it any easier I will do a 1,2,3 on what I ended up doing after everyones contributions as such. I must add, I have left my finderscope on the scope as I had real problems trying to find the star when I was sent to it. anyways, for my pennysworth. and this is for my alt,az cpc 800.

1. Update the handset and camera firmware to the latest version

2. Place the scope facing where you wish with the scope itself horizontal to the ground, I had my scope facing south, south west.

3. Turn on the scope and let the handset goe through its setup. When it is ready press align, then choose auto align and press enter. The scope now moves looking for stars.

4. If all is ok and the starsense is happy it tells you it is ready.

5. At this point, if you have not yet aligned your camera with your scope do the following, Press Star, Press named star, then search for a good bright star you can use. I chose Procyon.

6. Once happy press enter and the scope should turn to the vicinity of the star you chose, I did find i was quite out and really needed my finderscope.

7. Once near or at the star, press align, the handset will advise on some information.. when you are ready press enter, at this point you need to use the handset control buttons to move the star into the center of your eyepiece, once happy press enter.

8. After pressing enter you will need to use a higher powered eyepiece and again using the handset controls move the star into the center. When you are totally happy press align.

9. At this point do nothing as the handset will calculate a few things, hopefully you will then get a message advising all is ok and it will advise you to realign the scope.

10. This is the nitty gritty bit. Dont move, or turn off the scope, press the back button until you are back in the auto align screen and then press enter, the scope will now once again move around the sky, if all has been good, the handset will advise that it is ready. From that point on you are free to go and look at what you wish, it should now be working.

I know this is long winded, but I hope by writing it down as such it may help others in the same boat as I was, again this was for my CPC so best wishes with other set ups.

Edited by proflight2000
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The 1.07 HC version is out of date, the current one is 1.10.  Things like needing to cycle power are what's changed most recently, the 1.10 version definitely seems to be better, especially for the AVX (I've got one).

Proflight doesn't say but what he describes is for aligning an AltAz mount. The GEMs need to start with the mount at the index positions.  I know it doesn't mention the index marks but it's where the starting position is.  The critical point is his (10) where you don't power cycle or move the mount.  The mount knows where it is because you haven't power cycled so can do the alignment from there and will go to the usual positions.  You can power cycle if you like but then you need to set the mount to the alignment position when prompted. Earlier HC versions need the mount to be power cycled.  The HC will say what to do.

Hope this helps,

Chris

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Everyone,  PLEASE say what scope/mount you have and - for a fork mount - if you are on a wedge.  The alignment process is different for GEMs, Altaz mounts and Fork mounts on a wedge.

Also say what version software you are using. "The Latest" tells us nothing other than that you believe it it the latest.

I have a Celestron 4SE. My version numbers are:

StarSense HC

Ver: 01.07.13311

Bld: Nov 7 2013

StarSense Camera

Ver: 01.01.13285

Motor Control

Mdl: SE 4/5

Azm: Ver: 5.20

Alt: Ver: 5.20

As for Polaris, I wouldn't use it for calibration for the reasons I mentioned above and which see to be borne out by proflight's report but if your intent is to make the centre calibration as inaccurate and difficult as possible then that looks like a good way to do it.

I had no idea that Polaris would be a poor choice of alignment star. I tried a number of other stars first, but none of them were in the field of view of a 32mm eyepiece. I eventually calibrated using Polaris because I knew where to find it and it's the only bright star in that part of the sky, so I could find it more easily without a finderscope.

I'll repeat the alignment with another star. The alignment does seem pretty good already. The only problem I've noticed so far is that Mars is consistently slightly out of the field of view of a 32mm EP. However, posts on teamcelestron.com suggest that the problem is with the algorithm used to predict planetary orbits, not with the alignment.

As I've said before, the most reliable information on how to operate the HC will be shown on the HC itself.  Read and follow the instructions there.  Remember that the up and down buttons (6 and 9) can be used to scroll through the full message.  If that says to set the mount to a particular position then do so.  If it doesn't then don't.  Try not to over think this.

That's all very well, but if you don't know to press Align after slewing to a star (that step is missing from the manual), then there are no instructions to follow on the HC.

My impressions of the StarSense so far:

Likes:

- It's worked first time every time for me so far. Last night, it calibrated during twilight when only a few stars and planets were visible to the naked eye. I find it much less fiddly than doing a SkyAlign and it gets me observing much quicker. It's particularly useful on a part-cloudy night.

Dislikes:

- I don't like the fact the StarSense camera replaces the finderscope. The lack of a finderscope made it very difficult to carry out the initial "calibrate center", and I don't like being totally dependent on the Goto.

- The mistake in the manual is pretty poor for an accessory that's marketed to beginners. How hard would it be to update the PDF manual on the website?

- I find the user interface clunky and confusing (though no worse than the user interface for the original NexStar handset). Most tasks require a confusing mix of Align, Enter and Back.

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Hi Peter, I have had the same trouble as you it seems, if it makes it any easier I will do a 1,2,3 on what I ended up doing after everyones contributions as such. I must add, I have left my finderscope on the scope as I had real problems trying to find the star when I was sent to it. anyways, for my pennysworth. and this is for my alt,az cpc 800.

1. Update the handset and camera firmware to the latest version

2. Place the scope facing where you wish with the scope itself horizontal to the ground, I had my scope facing south, south west.

3. Turn on the scope and let the handset goe through its setup. When it is ready press align, then choose auto align and press enter. The scope now moves looking for stars.

4. If all is ok and the starsense is happy it tells you it is ready.

5. At this point, if you have not yet aligned your camera with your scope do the following, Press Star, Press named star, then search for a good bright star you can use. I chose Procyon.

6. Once happy press enter and the scope should turn to the vicinity of the star you chose, I did find i was quite out and really needed my finderscope.

7. Once near or at the star, press align, the handset will advise on some information.. when you are ready press enter, at this point you need to use the handset control buttons to move the star into the center of your eyepiece, once happy press enter.

8. After pressing enter you will need to use a higher powered eyepiece and again using the handset controls move the star into the center. When you are totally happy press align.

9. At this point do nothing as the handset will calculate a few things, hopefully you will then get a message advising all is ok and it will advise you to realign the scope.

10. This is the nitty gritty bit. Dont move, or turn off the scope, press the back button until you are back in the auto align screen and then press enter, the scope will now once again move around the sky, if all has been good, the handset will advise that it is ready. From that point on you are free to go and look at what you wish, it should now be working.

I know this is long winded, but I hope by writing it down as such it may help others in the same boat as I was, again this was for my CPC so best wishes with other set ups.

Thank you very much. That's a very helpful list of instructions. It was step 7 that threw me (it's missing from the manual). Once Chris Rowland told me I needed to press Align, I was able to "calibrate center". Like yours, my camera was quite a way off and I really missed my finderscope.

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Thanks all. I looked on the Celestron site and could only find the same version that I have - I could not find 1.10.

My HC did say to power cycle so that's what I did. It did not tell me to set it to the Home position.

I'm hoping to try again tonight so I will do EXACTLY what the HC says. I have put a red dot finder on the tube behind the camera to help me find the calibration star.

Here's hoping!

Peter

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I'm having a headache of a time aligning , to a point iv given up, ( think it's my longitude and timezone innacuracy)

well going to give it another try tonight,

but seems like the starsense and gps module are ment for me

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