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Synscan Firmware help


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I bought an Orion XT10G used a couple weeks ago. When I do an alignment, it will say successful, and then the thing begins to just go in circles and won’t stop until I turn off tracking. I checked the Motor Control firmware and it reads 2.14.91. Everything I see on Orion and skywatcher Synscan says it should have 2.09. I have attempted to “update” the firmware with the correct 2.09 and it keeps telling it is not the correct firmware for the motor……. 

Any ideas how to fix this? This was the reason the person was selling it, was because it would just go in circles after alignment. It even does it if you just do the point and track. I was hoping it was a power issue, but apparently not . 

 

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7 hours ago, Blackwolf277 said:

I bought an Orion XT10G used a couple weeks ago. When I do an alignment, it will say successful, and then the thing begins to just go in circles and won’t stop until I turn off tracking. I checked the Motor Control firmware and it reads 2.14.91. Everything I see on Orion and skywatcher Synscan says it should have 2.09. I have attempted to “update” the firmware with the correct 2.09 and it keeps telling it is not the correct firmware for the motor……. 

Any ideas how to fix this? This was the reason the person was selling it, was because it would just go in circles after alignment. It even does it if you just do the point and track. I was hoping it was a power issue, but apparently not . 

 

Hello and welcome to SGL. What are you using to power the mount ? Erratic mount behaviour can sometimes be a sign of an unsuitable power supply. 

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The only firmware that has a 2.14 reference is for an allview mount - the correct version for your scope is 2.09 as you state.  It would therefor seem that the previous owner somehow managed to write the incorrect firmware to the PIC microcontrollers on the motor board.  Now as the firmware updater checks which motor board it is being connected to and what software you are uploading it naturally reports the discrepancy.  The only way I can think of to overcome this is to directly copy over the existing firmware by re-programming the PICs  using a PIC programmer.   If you can post up a picture of the motor boards, If its an MC004 board it can be programmed in situ without the need to remove the PIC using the ICD2 header

mc004 front.jpg

A PIC programmer such as the Micochip PicKit2 would do the job 

I can only speculate that either the previous owner needed to replace the boards and was either supplied or ordered the wrong ones as I can't see how he could have over-write the original 2.09 firmware with the 2.14 all view version, unless he directly re-programmed the PICs with the wrong firmware....  I have attached (fingers crossed the forum software permits it)  the correct firmware in HEX format for the MC004 board.  If you have or know someone with a programmer it should be straight forward to re-program.

 

MC004d.hex

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I guess maybe I should make sure I am reading this correctly, because the app and the hand controller show it as one thing and the Firmware Loader show it as something different. Also, I am using the cord from Orion that plugs into a wall socket for power. 

 

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16 minutes ago, Blackwolf277 said:

I guess maybe I should make sure I am reading this correctly, because the app and the hand controller show it as one thing and the Firmware Loader show it as something different. Also, I am using the cord from Orion that plugs into a wall socket for power. 

 

02.0E.91 is the same as 2.14.91 (0E is hex for 14).

 

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If you are still in contact with the previous owner, see if you can get some back history on it, and ask if the board had ever been replaced.  I've flashed 2.09 firmware directly to the PICs on MC003 and MC004 mother boards so it is possible to resolve this issue as mentioned above.  But it does require the PICs to be reprogrammed by a programmer and not through the bootloader and Synta software.

The 2.14 firmware is used with the MC003, which is probably why its reporting (correctly) that this firmware is right and the version (2.09) you are trying to use is wrong.  I can't see anyway of resolving the issue without having the PICs reprogrammed.

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11 minutes ago, StevieDvd said:

There is also a more updated firmware load program, perhaps that may help.

There is? That is the one I downloaded from the Sky watcher website with all the firmware. Where is the newer one at? 

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3 hours ago, malc-c said:

If you are still in contact with the previous owner, see if you can get some back history on it, and ask if the board had ever been replaced.  I've flashed 2.09 firmware directly to the PICs on MC003 and MC004 mother boards so it is possible to resolve this issue as mentioned above.  But it does require the PICs to be reprogrammed by a programmer and not through the bootloader and Synta software.

The 2.14 firmware is used with the MC003, which is probably why its reporting (correctly) that this firmware is right and the version (2.09) you are trying to use is wrong.  I can't see anyway of resolving the issue without having the PICs reprogrammed.

The guy I bought it from was the second owner. He didn't know if the board had been replaced or not and claims he never did anything with the firmware.............. I tried the new Firmware loader and the other file you posted. Still no go.  What do I need to reprogram the board, or is that something I need to have someone else do? I am very mechanically inclined, and do alright with like rooting phones, but have never programmed chips before or anything like. I would really like to have this thing working correctly and seriously appreciate all the help from all of you.

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5 hours ago, Blackwolf277 said:

The guy I bought it from was the second owner. He didn't know if the board had been replaced or not and claims he never did anything with the firmware.............. I tried the new Firmware loader and the other file you posted. Still no go.  What do I need to reprogram the board, or is that something I need to have someone else do? I am very mechanically inclined, and do alright with like rooting phones, but have never programmed chips before or anything like. I would really like to have this thing working correctly and seriously appreciate all the help from all of you.

Programming a PIC is not difficult when you have the right tools.  You need a PIC programmer such as the PicKit2 or Pickit3.  This will come with the software required to load the HEX file and write it to the PIC processor.  The MC003 has an in circuit serial programming option as mentioned, and you connect wires between it and the programmer.  You will need to trace what pin / pad goes to which pin on the programmer.  It's basically  +ve, Gnd, MCLR, and two programming pins.  The programmer applies around 12v to one pin which places it into programming mode and then the HEX file is loaded.  The actual process takes just a few seconds.

You may find this video helpful.  It actually has the pin outs for the 16F886 that the PIC uses.  You will need to reprogram both PICs (can't remember off the top of my head if MC003 has one pic on each board, or two on one board)

If you are not too sure or confident then try and find a local electronics club that might do this for you for a small donation.

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Just to add a disclaimer - whilst this is straight forward, and should place the 2.09 firmware on the board  I accept no responsibility should you end up bricking the boards.  In reality it's a simple process, but as the IDC pads are through hole it is possible to place the wires on the wrong way depending on which side of the board is used to make the connections, hence the need to use a digital meter to confirm which pad of the  IDC goes to which pin of the microcontroller.

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1 hour ago, malc-c said:

Just to add a disclaimer - whilst this is straight forward, and should place the 2.09 firmware on the board  I accept no responsibility should you end up bricking the boards.  In reality it's a simple process, but as the IDC pads are through hole it is possible to place the wires on the wrong way depending on which side of the board is used to make the connections, hence the need to use a digital meter to confirm which pad of the  IDC goes to which pin of the microcontroller.

Oh boy……. Ok. I live an hour and half from any kind of town big enough to have any kind of repair place. So I guess I am on my own. I will order a Pickit, won’t be here till Monday, when I have to leave for work for a week. So I am sure I will be back with more questions then…..

 

I would be happy to mail it to someone that knows what they are doing and pay them to do it, I would be way more confident in that! Lol

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Just replied to your PM.  It's a shame you are not in the UK otherwise I would have offered to do the job myself.  I have given you a couple of options, let me know if the will help

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If you opt for replacement PIC's and need to remove the old ones, it can be done using a dremel with a small cutting disk and carefully cut the legs off at the part where they enter the package.  If done right the body drops away leaving the legs still soldered in place.  Then apply some flux and carefully apply heat from a soldering iron to the pad and the leg should come away cleanly without damaging the pads or traces.  To solder a PIC programmed with the 2.09 firmware, ensure the orientation is corrected, place it on the board and solder pin 1 and pin 15 (opposing diagonals) - check to make sure all the legs line up with the pads and then apply some flux and solder the remaining 26 legs.  Once you are happy with the soldering, clean the flux away with some IPA (alcohol) and an old tooth brush

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For anyone else following this thread, we've been having some PM discussion and @Blackwolf277 is going to send me his MC board for me to either reprogram the PICs on board, or replace them with newly programmed PICs if ISCP fails.  There are lots of logistics to sort out as we are 4397 miles apart  according to google ! which might delay things, but fingers crossed, placing the 2.09 firmware on the micros will resolve the issue.  If it doesn't then at least it will remove that form the equations and the OP can investigate other possible causes such as encoders etc... but I'm fairly confident the 2.09 firmware will resolve the issue.

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Just a small update.  I receive the board this morning and have replaced the old PICs with two new ones programmed with the 2.09 firmware that the OP was attempting to load in place of the 2.14.  Regretfully I was not able to test the repair as I was sent just the PCB, but that was as much my fault as the OPs... Fingers crossed that it resolves the issue and hasn't made it any worse.   

 

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While we are waiting to see if this fixed the problem.. I have been wondering, will my Orion XT10G scope fit a Skywatcher 250P Synscan GoTo Collapsible tube base? I see there are options to buy new or used Skywatcher bases, so had me wondering if all else failed about just putting a new base under it. Also, with the new Skywatcher base, I would have a warranty on the technical stuff. I figured they were both made by Synta, and appear to look the same, maybe it would fit. 

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8 hours ago, Blackwolf277 said:

While we are waiting to see if this fixed the problem.. I have been wondering, will my Orion XT10G scope fit a Skywatcher 250P Synscan GoTo Collapsible tube base? I see there are options to buy new or used Skywatcher bases, so had me wondering if all else failed about just putting a new base under it. Also, with the new Skywatcher base, I would have a warranty on the technical stuff. I figured they were both made by Synta, and appear to look the same, maybe it would fit. 

Personally I have no idea.  If all the electronics are in the base, and the XT10G has the same means of connecting to the mount (and the axis point are the same) then I can's see why not.  It would be no different to fitting a different OTA to an HEQ5 or similar.  All the drive train is in the mount / base and the firmware in the controller for the base would relate to it so in theory it should work. 

Maybe drop FLO (in the UK) or your nearest telescope main dealer an e-mail asking that question.  Chances are the may have both scopes in stock so could confirm the swapping of OTAs works

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update on the topic, got the board back and although it showed the correct firmware, it still did not work…. Malc-c did fix the firmware problem, but apparently there were other issues somewhere. I bought what was supposed to be a used Skywatcher base, that turned out to be new never assembled. It was to narrow for my Orion scope by a little over a half inch. So I pulled all the electronic off it and installed on my base. I now have a perfectly working base with all new and updated motors, encoders, boards and controller and also wifi which it didn’t have before. So it all worked for the better in the end. I now have a basically brand new scope. 

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