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Problem with Starsense for Skywatcher


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Hi,

I purchased a Starsense for Skywatcher a couple of months ago and have it connected connected to an HEQ5 Pro mount.
 

Everything seems to work correctly except for two issues which may be related:
When the Hand controller is first turned on, the autoguiding rates in the controller are both %00
I set them to %50, however this setting is not saved upon powering off and then on again, and has to be set each power up.

Note that in the hand controller the rates are shown as %50, not 50%, not sure if the  per cent sign should be first?

The mount will connect to PHD2, but will not calibrate, or guide as the mount does not respond to guide commands, so the calibration never completes correctly. PHD2 issues commands, but the mount does not respond.

All other functions seem to work perfectly

The Starsense firmware is the latest from Celestrons site upgraded via CFM.

The Celestron Ascom driver was obtained from Celestrons site version 6.1.7059.13738
 
Is it possible my unit is faulty?
I have emailed Celestron tech support, but they have not bothered to reply.
 
Have you autoguided with the Starsense controlling a Skywatcher mount?


Any ideas?

TIA

Gary

Edited by gazza
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Just a possibility......

In the Celestron version of Starsense to 'talk' to a PC you need a PL2303 serial to USB driver as the hand controller is natively serial even if it has a mini USB port. Windows 10 does not natively have this driver. It can be downloaded from the Prolific Technologies website. 

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5 hours ago, gazza said:

Hi,

I purchased a Starsense for Skywatcher a couple of months ago and have it connected connected to an HEQ5 Pro mount.
 

Everything seems to work correctly except for two issues which may be related:
When the Hand controller is first turned on, the autoguiding rates in the controller are both %00
I set them to %50, however this setting is not saved upon powering off and then on again, and has to be set each power up.

Note that in the hand controller the rates are shown as %50, not 50%, not sure if the  per cent sign should be first?

The mount will connect to PHD2, but will not calibrate, or guide as the mount does not respond to guide commands, so the calibration never completes correctly. PHD2 issues commands, but the mount does not respond.

All other functions seem to work perfectly

The Starsense firmware is the latest from Celestrons site upgraded via CFM.

The Celestron Ascom driver was obtained from Celestrons site version 6.1.7059.13738
 
Is it possible my unit is faulty?
I have emailed Celestron tech support, but they have not bothered to reply.
 
Have you autoguided with the Starsense controlling a Skywatcher mount?


Any ideas?

TIA

Gary

So you're trying to guide with the starsense camera?

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I'm only using the Starsense camera itself for alignment, I have a seperate guidescope fitted with an ASI224. The hand controller is the Starsense  Handcontroler, hooked up  to a PC with a USB cable. I'm trying to pulse guide using PHD connected to the ASI224, and the Starsense hand control via the Celestron Ascom driver. The camera and mount connect to PHD, but when PHD issues calibration commands, the mount does not move......

cheers

Gary

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8 minutes ago, gazza said:

I'm only using the Starsense camera itself for alignment, I have a seperate guidescope fitted with an ASI224. The hand controller is the Starsense  Handcontroler, hooked up  to a PC with a USB cable. I'm trying to pulse guide using PHD connected to the ASI224, and the Starsense hand control via the Celestron Ascom driver. The camera and mount connect to PHD, but when PHD issues calibration commands, the mount does not move......

cheers

Gary

I would have thought that connecting the guide camera directly to the mount's ST4 port rather than pulseguiding would have been a more efficient way to autoguide, no need to translate Celestron commands into Skywatcher codes through the Starsense interface.

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  • 2 months later...
On 14/03/2020 at 10:13, gazza said:

Thanks, but the driver is loaded. All other functions work via pc as they should, guiding doesn't though..

Gary

Hi Gary,

I realise this is very old but I’m having exactly the same problem with my Star Sense for SkyWatcher. Did you resolve the issue or have you abandoned it?

Thanks Shaun

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I never did resolve it. I thought I had, but I was mistaken.  Ultimately I returned the unit to the vendor for a full refund. The Starsense worked for pointing using the Celestron unified driver/Ascom, but I was never able to guide. PHD logs showed that PHD was sending correct commands to the mount, but it was not responding. If I remember correctly, the initial pulse setting in PHD was 800ms, the mount would not respond. I did get the mount to move manually using both 200 and 100ms pulses (using manual guide in PHD), but the mount would not complete calibration. It looked like the electronics were somehow not able to respond adequately to the guide commands. I contacted Celestron support, but never got an a reply from them. I also posted on Teamelestron, but they were unable to help. The Starsense worked fine for everything but guiding. If you can, return it for a refund and go back to EQmod.

 

Sorry to pass on the bad news

Gary

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  • 7 months later...

First of all StarSense is an alignment tool. There are Celestron and SkyWatcher flavours. It connects by the ST4 port to the mount, it does not /need/ a laptop. It does have a USB port but that is /only/ for firmware update. With the firmware updated and its camera focussed (which is a royal pain) it can align and calibrate the mount in 15-30 seconds. Seriously, it can be that fast but it does have to be focussed. As such is it a very valuable tool for aligning the mount. The only way I could focus it was a boring iterative process of screwing the lens in an out a little at a time to find maximum stars, it took all night.

It can be operated by software, Celestron provide apps for laptop (USB) or fondle slab (WiFi). If USB then that is the one on the StarSense handset. I do not know about the StarWatcher version. The iPad app has poor controls, very jerky, but that may be the WiFi. The Celestron laptop app "CPWI" is very good.

It does not star guide as such but during the course of a night it will occasionally go into plate solving mode and realign/recalibrate. Thus StarSense should be left connected during the course of the night. It aligns by plate solving. Thus it maintains accurate tracking, but it does not guide the mount on a star, you would need an additional star guider for that. 

I have tried to get images out of it but to no avail, its USB port does not transmit image data. Its ST4 port is only for guiding the mount. If it did have a proper camera output that would be a great boon for focussing; there's a missed trick here. But using it as a guide camera might interfere with its auto-recalibration routine; it's a one-purpose device.

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On 14/03/2020 at 11:01, gazza said:

I'm only using the Starsense camera itself for alignment, I have a seperate guidescope fitted with an ASI224. The hand controller is the Starsense  Handcontroler, hooked up  to a PC with a USB cable. I'm trying to pulse guide using PHD connected to the ASI224, and the Starsense hand control via the Celestron Ascom driver. The camera and mount connect to PHD, but when PHD issues calibration commands, the mount does not move......

cheers

Gary

How are you connecting the mount for control with phd, you say it's unresponsive to guide pulses and doesn't complete a calibration.. it won't guide until it's calibrated, where are you pointing for calibration?.. doesn't sound like it's connected.. I take it you're imaging as you're trying to use phd?.Why do you need a starsense anyway, as if you use a platesolve software your pointing will be far more accurate in a shorter timescale

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On 14/03/2020 at 11:12, Cornelius Varley said:

I would have thought that connecting the guide camera directly to the mount's ST4 port rather than pulseguiding would have been a more efficient way to autoguide, no need to translate Celestron commands into Skywatcher codes through the Starsense interface.

Pulse guiding is far more efficient,  1 calibration so no need to recalibrate on every target or after a flip as you do with st4

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21 hours ago, jefrs said:

First of all StarSense is an alignment tool. There are Celestron and SkyWatcher flavours. It connects by the ST4 port to the mount, it does not /need/ a laptop. It does have a USB port but that is /only/ for firmware update. With the firmware updated and its camera focussed (which is a royal pain) it can align and calibrate the mount in 15-30 seconds. Seriously, it can be that fast but it does have to be focussed. As such is it a very valuable tool for aligning the mount. The only way I could focus it was a boring iterative process of screwing the lens in an out a little at a time to find maximum stars, it took all night.

It can be operated by software, Celestron provide apps for laptop (USB) or fondle slab (WiFi). If USB then that is the one on the StarSense handset. I do not know about the StarWatcher version. The iPad app has poor controls, very jerky, but that may be the WiFi. The Celestron laptop app "CPWI" is very good.

It does not star guide as such but during the course of a night it will occasionally go into plate solving mode and realign/recalibrate. Thus StarSense should be left connected during the course of the night. It aligns by plate solving. Thus it maintains accurate tracking, but it does not guide the mount on a star, you would need an additional star guider for that. 

I have tried to get images out of it but to no avail, its USB port does not transmit image data. Its ST4 port is only for guiding the mount. If it did have a proper camera output that would be a great boon for focussing; there's a missed trick here. But using it as a guide camera might interfere with its auto-recalibration routine; it's a one-purpose device.

A point to note for any new Starsense owners who read this - the Starsense plugs into the AUX or hand controller port, not the ST4 guider port. It also shouldn't need any focus adjustment out of the box.

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