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Droogie 2001

AVX mount and ASCOM issue

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Apologies for the long post…but I was wondering whether anyone can advise me on a recent issue I have discovered with my Advanced VX mount.
 
I like many other users connect my laptop to the mount via the serial cable underneath the Nexstar + handset.
This is connected so that I can guide the mount with the Celestron / ASCOM software.
I recently started to experience issues with connecting the mount with PHD 2 (v2.5.0) however this issue is not exclusive to PHD v2. When the issue occurs it produces the same results in Nex-Remote, PHD v1 etc.
 
Basically after I have aligned my mount and I am ready to guide I will slew to a target to image. Once I finished imaging I move onto the next target however after I have slewed I find the N, E, S, W pop up hand control becomes unresponsive. In that if I click on any of the direction buttons nothing happens. If I then disconnect the mount via PHD and reconnect it will say the Celestron Telescope Driver could not connect to COM3.
If I unplug the serial cable (via a USB adapter) no effect. Even if I restart the laptop it still reports the issue. Which lead me to believe the issue is between the laptop and mount.
It was then by chance that I noticed that if I press any button on the NexStar + remote handset then I can reconnect the mount. However whilst it is connected the issue of the direction buttons can reoccur (though not all of the time.) On some occasions I have simply pressed the 'Back' button and the mount slews off on its own accord?!
 
These are the checks are have ruled out:
 
It is not a power issue. A fully charged Powertank all other slewing options work it is only ASCOM and when plugged into NexStar + handset that the issue appears.
It is not the Operating system as I tested this on another PC and had the same issue. Tried Windows 7 OS and Windows 10
I do not believe it is not the software itself (as detailed above)
I have reset mount to factory defaults.
I have tried to run through Celestron Firmware Manager again to sees if there is any new firmware but it reports it is all up to date.
Have updated the serial /USB adapter driver / have also downgraded driver as a test.
Have updated ASCOM Platform to v6.2
Have updated Celestron AVX ASCOM v6.0.5644
 
This problem seems to have occurred since I performed a Firmware update a month ago but I cannot be a 100% sure. The update went smoothly with no errors. I have only recently noticed the issue as the weather has been terrible and have not had much chance to image!
My current firmware is:
 
HC: GEM 5.28.5300 - app version
Nex Star+ 3.1.5075 - Boot version
MC: 7.11.5056 - app version
 I realise I still have the Serial / USB cable adapter as possibility as well as the serial cable itself.
After that it could be the hand controller? I will try and address the cables and adapter issue today however I have my suspicions on the handset.
 
Has anyone had a similar occurrence especially since latest firmware? Is there any way to downgrade the firmware or is a replacement handset required?
I have emailed Celestron Support desk but felt the SGL forms is another ideal place to raise this issue.
I realise ST4 guiding is also an option but I really need to get ASCOM working as it controls so many other areas. Also that fact that is was working perfectly previously means I need to solve this issue.

Any suggestions would be very helpful

Thanks

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To me this sounds like a cable and/or connector problem. I had a thing like this happening with a Vixen mount and it turned out that one of the very thin leads of a strand was touching a wrong contact in the serial connector. It may also be a broken connection, so the signal chooses a wrong pathway.

Maybe the connectors can be openend and checked. The metal housing ones are screwed together, so that is not a big deal. Moist in the connectors maybe a cause as well.

Edited by Waldemar

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Thanks for the response. I will be collecting a new Serial to USB cable tomorrow and after that I will test out the other telescope Serial cable.

Will post an update when I get the results back... 

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I am updating this thread as there is someone else appears to a similar AVX issue in this Sub Forum

I would recommend no one updates their Firmware at the moment.

BTW The Serial to USB cable was swapped and made no difference. Serial cable is on its way but doubt it will resolve the issue.
This means it is the Hand Controller or Firmware.

Celestron Support do not respond to a call logged a week ago. Very poor service...

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Tried a new serial cable and the issue is still there.

I have now changed and tested all components meaning that it is the hand controller, firmware or both.

Needless to say heard nothing back from Celestron...

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I can confirm that downgrading the HC firmware appears to fix the issue, I went back from 5.28.5300 to 5.25.4320 (the only other version I had on my computer) and now communications with the mount using ASCOM works :icon_biggrin:

I've attached an old version of CFM with the relevant files for those who don't have an old version left around on their computers. Ensure that CFM is set to work offline as soon as it's started so that it does not download the newer faulty firmware and it will load the older firmware over the newer version in the hand controller.

James

CFM_1.9.5030.zip

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Hi James.

You are a star. After a few tries I managed to downgrade to 5.25.4320.

As James mentions you must be offline to do this (off of the Internet entirely). The latest firmware will get automatically downloaded even if you say skip to newer version pop up. It will also download in offline mode if your are connected to the Internet. It is such a small file of 80Kb that you wont notice it has downloaded the latest corrupt version.
This happened to me a few times and I couldn't understand why it kept updating to the latest version.

If you check in \CFM1.9.5030\Packages\Plus and see APP_AAM_5.25.4320.cfm then you will be okay, if it shows  5.28.5300 then it has download the newer version and you need to delete the folder and unzip a fresh copy.
One other thing to note. Not sure if this will be the same for everyone but the downgrade also reset my mount back to its defaults so I had to input my Time Zone and Lat & Long back in. Worth checking after the update.
I tried all of the a couple of weeks ago but I was not aware of the Offline mode, so thanks James for resolving a lot of headaches.
Need to decide if I want to sent the replacement serial cable back to FLO as this is surplus to requirements...

Anyway still no response from Celestron. I do wonder if they have something wrong with their support system. I seem to get an error after logging the case however I do get an automated case email from them with all of my detailed text.
In either case to allow a piece of firmware to be out there from what looks like August 2015 with this issue is pretty poor in my mind.
Wont be upgrading my firmware for a long while yet.

 

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Not that's it relevant anymore I finally had a response from Celestron which is clearly incorrect as you can downgrade the firmware. What hope do customers have when their support team don't know their own product...

"Unfortunately, there is no way to downgrade to a previous firmware version...."

Anyway time to move on. All I can add is thank goodness for Forums like SGL otherwise I would be left with a mount that is half broken.

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At last I've had a reply from Celestron on this issue:

Quote

 

Hello Mr Screech,

Thank you for contacting Celestron. 

Despite weeks of public beta testing, it has become apparent that the current public release of the NexStar+ firmware has a bug which affects the use of the ASCOM driver and other third party software that uses the RS-232 port on the bottom of the hand controller. We believe that we will have a beta solution for this in a couple weeks and a new public release later this month.

In the meantime, I have emailed you an archive to downgrade the firmware in their Hand controller. Inside the archive is a copy of the latest verso of the CFM installation software pre-configured to use firmware files that also included in the archive. This version will install version 5.25.4320 of the NS+ firmware which was released in December 2014. 

Celestron apologizes for the inconvenience.


Regards 
Wil
Celestron 

 

This was sent to me yesterday but I have not received the email mentioned!

 

James

 

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I received this as a block email. I was in contact with the support guy Will. I had to confirm to him that you could actually downgrade the firmware as at first he said it was not possible.

Not sure why they mention weeks of public testing as I believed it was released in August 2015, this means 20+ weeks of testing!!

I believe that Celestron either did not know of the issue or just ignored it. I did ask why they were still publishing the firmware if it is corrupted so its hard to say if their answer addresses this?

All in all pretty poor. I think James you contributed to the solution in this email i.e. Downgrading. Though their instructions are not very clear and unless you place the CFM in offline mode I feel it will still update to the corrupt version. Anyway as far as I am concerned it is sorted and unless I feel the need to upgrade the firmware in the future I will leave it well alone.

Edited by Droogie 2001

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To be fair to Celestron, I have had an answer to another issue within 24 hours from Team Celestron - pretty impressive.

Peter

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I can confirm that there are issues with the latest firmware on the AVX mount and handset, and connection via serial. I'm currently trying to guarantee the behaviour process I'm seeing but it's intermittent and that is annoying when trying to troubleshoot.

The behaviour I'm seeing is:
With everything powered off, I connect up the cables between the SkyFi and the handset.
I power up the SkyFi, and I confirm I have connection to my wifi router.
I power on the mount and awaken from hibernation, entering the date and time, and the mount sits at the standard prompt on the screen, and has started tracking.
Trying to connect via SkySafari 4 on my tablet, I get an error that I can make the wifi connection but not to the mount itself.
Touching nothing else I tap the "2" button to get to the Stars menu, then I "back" out of that.
Attempting to connect again on the tablet, I immediately get the telescope connection and it appears stable for the rest of the session.

It's not cabling, as I've exchanged out all of the SkyFi cabling for other serial cables of the same type I had lying around, and after belling the cable to make sure I was putting the right cables on the right pins. 

My AVX mount went back for warranty repair (loud ticking in RA, spur gears moving radially, uneven worm/wheel interface) so I wasn't able to check the version numbers of the problematic firmware. I received the mount this morning, and all appears to be good. I did downgrade the firmware to the above version shipped with 1.9.5030 CFM bundle.

As it stands, I've obtained a StarSense camera with the StarSense handset, and that is not exhibiting the same issues, even after updating to the current firmware.  As an aside, the StarSense handset is definitely an awful lot faster internally than the NexStar+ handset, especially for things like "identify".

I've also applied for TeamCelestron membership for access to the beta FW for the StarSense so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

It is nice to see that Celestron have acknowledged the serial/ASCOM issue and have a workaround (albeit non-ideal) in place while resolving the issue.

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Just wanted to say thanks to all of you. I purchased an AVX mount in December  and have been fight this problem ever since. I gave up on Celestron Support in January when it became obvious they weren't even reading my emails before replying. It felt like they just wanted me to go away. I'm currently on vacation in Utah hoping to do some AP. I took my mount into the Moab library, downloaded the old firmware and I finally have access to my ASCOM software. Thank you!!!

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Glad to hear you got it solved. I was disappointed with the level of support I got from Celestron.

They seem to spend a lot on marketing but they need to invest some effort into their support service....

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Just wanted to thank James for this post. I have purchase a budget AVX mount and spent last night with all the same issues. I'm so glad I came across this post before wasting more time buying new cables etc... I will test it today and see how it goes 😀

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On 14/04/2016 at 19:45, Mitch Lee said:

Just wanted to say thanks to all of you. I purchased an AVX mount in December  and have been fight this problem ever since. I gave up on Celestron Support in January when it became obvious they weren't even reading my emails before replying. It felt like they just wanted me to go away. I'm currently on vacation in Utah hoping to do some AP. I took my mount into the Moab library, downloaded the old firmware and I finally have access to my ASCOM software. Thank you!!!

If it was Will Garcia, I found him pretty useless too...

 

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