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Celestron StarSense Accessory


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I've been testing this for a few months and now it's started shipping can say something about it. It can be fitted to most Celestron goto mounts and automates the alignment process in the same way as

The starsense is a lovely little addition, the main crux was firstly make sure you have the latest firmware and secondly, when you do the initial calibration and all is well then you are told to find

Set mine up tonight - easy to fit on a CPC 1100   and was able to leave the finderscope on as well 1st mistake - it reported seeing too few start - this I solved by taking the lens cover off the front

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I'd have to agree matt, it isn't the kit itself, it is the lack of communication from celestron, they have not bothered to reply to three mails I have sent them. They remind me of Microsoft, send it out and get the people who buy it get it working. Must say though, it is a lot better than I ever did with my older handset. Don't give up twinkle, stick with it.

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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

Try here:

http://software.celestron.com/updates/CFM/CFM/

This version of CFM (1.7.33.25) has the 1.10 SS update. Not sure why Celestron haven't put this on their main site yet.

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Well I went out again last night with my secret weapon - a red dot finder scope attached to the OTA with double sided tape.

I followed the instructions on the HC to the letter as before and chose Procyon as my calibration star. It did not appear in the 25mm eyepiece but was able to centre it using the red dot finder. Did the realign by not powering off but going BACK to auto align and SUCCESS! 

I asked it to GOTO Castor and Jupiter and both were in the eyepiece but not quite centred. Asked to GOTO Mars but this was just outside the EP but easily able to get in with the red dot.

It's been a hassle but I hope that it's worth it - we'll see.

I will do some more calibrations in due course to improve the accuracy.

I have to say that I don't think that I could have done this without my trusty red dot finder.

Celestron really need to update their printed instructions to match reality and keep their web site up to date. I'm not going to update the firmware yet as long as it works. I have had bad experiences of updating firmware before.

Peter :hello2:

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Well I went out again last night with my secret weapon - a red dot finder scope attached to the OTA with double sided tape.

I've been wondering how to attach my red dot finder scope to either the OTA or the StarSense camera. Do you find that double sided tape attaches the finder scope securely enough? Would you be able to detach the finder scope again without damaging the paint on the OTA? What kind of double sided tape did you use? Where did you attach the finder scope to the OTA? How did you get the finder scope aligned? Did you centre the telescope on a star, then point the finder scope at the star, then carefully attach it to the OTA? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm very interested as I'm also frustrated by the inability to use the finder scope at the same time as the StarSense.

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post-35423-0-25864100-1397551145_thumb.jI used the red dot on my CPC as well. It's attached with double sided tape - the sort that is sold for car accessories to be stuck on like chrome badges etc. I removed it from my CPC and it left no marks whatsoever on the OTA where is was fixed.

I put it on the OTA of the 9.25 to the left of the SS (see pic) and it seems quite secure. 

I did a rough align during the day using a distant tree then finely tuned it at twilight using the Moon and then Mars.

I loved having a red dot finder on my CPC - they are so useful when searching in a "busy" starfield I find.

I think it cost me about £20 years ago and has repaid me many times over.

Peter

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Post #93 in this thread explains how to download the CFM and how it updates things.

Bear in mind that the CFM version is NOT the SSA code version.  The CFM version is irrelevant to the SSA version.

And running on 1.07 is asking to have problems.  It behaves a lot differently, especially in calibration.

I've fired off about three feature requests as a result of these recent posts (Improve Centre Calibration, Improve web site description for CFM, Don't use Polaris for centre calibration).

Chris

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Ok but if updating firmware is so important why don't Celestron provide the correct cables. They only provide the programming cable and who uses serial plugs these days? What's wrong with a programming cable that has a USB plug? I have just ordered a PC to camera USB cable which I saw on E Bay and I hope it fits because you can get several mini USB plugs. I got something called a B5 whatever that is! At the end of the day we are supposed to be Astronomers not computer wizards.

I hope updating the firmware does not mean that I have to perform the initial align/calibration all over again.

Peter

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I eventually managed to do the update after 4 attempts because it could not recognise the telescope and involved lots of moving the serial adapter to various USBs.

I'm sure that it would be less hassle if the scope came with a USB programming cable but it seems Celestron are stuck in the last century.

Thanks to all concerned for the assistance given to me in this.

Peter

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I'd have to agree matt, it isn't the kit itself, it is the lack of communication from celestron, they have not bothered to reply to three mails I have sent them. They remind me of Microsoft, send it out and get the people who buy it get it working. Must say though, it is a lot better than I ever did with my older handset. Don't give up twinkle, stick with it.

Are you the same proflight2000 who posted a rather abrasive message on TeamCelestron saying that you had sent it back?

Chris

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It was indeed Chris, and amazing isn't it that after waiting 4 days for someone from Celestron to reply to my mail they finally did, the power of the media. I believe that if a company sells an item it stipulates only requires the press of a button and in 3 minutes you will be like a professional astronomer really need to re visit the ideal that good software computer architecture needs to be fit for purpose (what it says on the box)

The manual in fairness was dire, it was only because you took the time to mention what you did that I took the starsense out of the return box and tried it again and thank you for that, but for 2oo quid plus for a bit of kit, i expect it to work, i dont expect to be one of celestrons guinea pigs whilst they have it on the market. However, I like Celestrons products and as a company I think they are top notch, but on this they could and should have done better.

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Just to confirm that I had the scope out last night and it aligned as before the update so no damage done by updating. It still is not good at finding Mars, it's a bit off but, thanks to my red dot finder, it's not an issue. I was going to do more calibrations but the seeing defeated me.

Peter

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i managed to align with 3 stars manully  sucsesfully  , bit of a pain, took about 5 mins...

but am now in 2 minds to get this now,

maybe when my eyesight starts to diminish , i may look into this again , as it looks a mint piece of kit

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I've always had trouble manually aligning my scope - you see a target star clearly until you look through the eyepiece and there are so many stars you're not sure which is which. A Rigel Quickfinder helped with that.

The Starsense accessory, whilst not yet being perfect (but at least it improves with every software release) has reduced my set up time from hours to minutes and I now have enough observing time left in a session to actually study some objects and be confident that I know what I am looking at.

I have to set up the scope from scratch everytime because I can't leave it out. The other evening I set it up after a break of several weeks, let Starsense do its stuff for about 5 minutes and the first object I asked for was right in the eyepiece. Planets are a bit off but that'll be fixed with a future release. The Rigel Quickfinder helps there, too.

I have a CG5 mount and my manual polar alignment is not brilliant but soon Starsense will be able to do that properly too then I'll be able to start some serious imaging, which is what I really want to get into.

If you haven't already done so I would recommend monitoring the TeamCelestron forum where the latest developments and testing are discussed. Posts on there, particularly from Derik and Chris, have greatly improved my understanding of how it all works and how to use it.

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Gents - just a note from my experience which may help someone.

I have a Nexstar 6SE, the SS and the GPS unit and rely on that for position & accurate time.

The other day, messing about with some settings in the handset during the day, I connected the SS to the mount (not using the GPS).

Last night, it was completely out of time (with the GPS connected) - position was fine, but that doesn't change much anyway!

Despite the time offset, the scope was fairly accurate considering - it aligned and found stars in the correct places. Respect for that!

After checking, if you switch the mount on without the GPS connected, the time source reverts to the 'saved site' and doesn't change when you then reconnect the GPS.

You have to go into the 'Time & Location' menu to reset the time source to GPS.

Just thought that might add to the collective experience - or am I the only one that didn't know that? :eek:

Radec

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Thank goodness I have held off getting the Starsense for now. It has been a good while since I last logged onto this thread and it appears that there are still many people who are having problems. I must say I do agree with you proflight2000. Putting a brand new piece of gear out to market before all the bugs have been fixed then letting the poor consumer be the beta testers for it does appear to be pretty poor. Fair play to Celestron though for setting up their forum where you can report problems and hopefully get them sorted.

In the beginning, I was as keen as mustard to get one for my CG5, but I had a last minute change of heart and judging by things it was a good move on my part. I'll leave it a little while longer I think.

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To be fair, that's what most manufacturers, software suppliers etc do. Celestron are no different in that respect. Mine worked first time and has continued to do so. Maybe as I said before it is certain mount models or types that have the issues. My only criticism is that the manual needs to be better laid out and re-released with each new firmware update as it is clearly now out of date.

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Had it up and running for a few days now and it is doing brilliantly, I especially like being able to realign there and then and a lot faster. What I'd like to do is see if it is possible to run the scope with the new handset via stellarium, that would then help me find the comets and asteroids etc. do handsets hold info on comets etc as I can't find anything.

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I finally got around to connecting my StarSense to my CG5 via the Aux splitter

Unfortunately it doesn't get past the initial synchronizing and fails with message 'Err: Model Num" - can't give any further diagnostic since handset fails to sync

My old handset still works, both with and without the Aux splitter

Any ideas ?

I received my star sense in Jan, could I have an old flakey firmware version?

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Hello proto star

I also have a starsense that i bought end of march this year fitted to a nextstar 8 se, I had the same problem from the start the dealer that I purchased both items from e mailed the celestron uk engineer who had not come across this num error before he got intouch with celestron in the states and the outcome at this moment in time is that the mount has gone back to celestron to be assessed and replaced, as a matter of interest when we returned the mount and camera to the dealer we tried another new starsense camera on my mount and it came up with the same num error, we then tried my camera on a nextstar mount they had on a display scope and it all worked, so the fault seems to be within the mount not the camera, most likely a dry solder joint ? .

I am still awaiting the return of the mount from celestron, this will be the second replacement mount, the first one also was faulty,how unlucky can you get !

If you require any more info please ask.

Adrian

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Hi Adrian

I've also posted on team Celestron page to see what they say .... I had a search, the error does crop up but there was no obvious statement as to how to deal with it

PS Proto Star is just the posting rank ;-)

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It looks like the initialization routine that the HC does when powered up is not recognizing one of the components. Could be a problem in hardware or firmware. I'm not a Celestron mount expert but that would be the logical conclusion. From reading stuff on other sites the various boards within the mount and any additional things plugged in e.g Starsense, GPS all respond with version numbers when queried on startup. Could be one component is not responding to the new SS HC in a way it expects. Please correct me if anyone has any in depth knowledge of how the CG5 works internally. It's a shame you can't take the splitter out of the equation as the problem could be there. Do you have any way of testing the connections? I don't know if it has any active components or if its just 3 connectors in parallel. Also - does the old HC work when connected via the splitter - try both ports.

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