Jump to content


Photo

Does CGE Have A Future?

  • Please log in to reply
98 replies to this topic

#76 Alph

Alph

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1761
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Melmac

Posted 15 February 2009 - 10:13 PM

I would like to see what would happen if Scott L. got off his butt and either redid the gemini system or offered a completetly new GoTo solution for the G11.



The Gemini controller is much more advanced than the Nexstar controller and maybe that's where the problem lies. Most folks are not that computer savvy to learn how to use it.

#77 Strgazr27

Strgazr27

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 7104
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2004
  • Loc: StonyHill Observatory

Posted 16 February 2009 - 06:47 AM

The Gemini uses an archaic step menu controller that looks like a video game from the 80's ;) But your right it is a pretty powerful tool. All the more reason Scott needs to update the system so that all that power can be put to use. Between the MI-250 and now my current G11 I have it down but your correct, Gemini is a great tool.

#78 MichaelW

MichaelW

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Cartoon City, Nirvana

Posted 16 February 2009 - 11:48 AM

FWIW, I kinda hope they keep the CGE the way it is.......Solid, dependable and affordable.

Ok, that is just silly, Bobby. I don't think anyone was suggesting they make the mount not solid or not dependable or not affordable. I would submit that, that is suggested without saying and why the discussion was around a gap in the line up.

I enjoyed my CGE and was very pleased with it. I am in a position to be shopping for a new mount as should be apparent from my comments. The CGE is a front runner, even in it's current form, after a trip to the Doctor. The CGE-Pro is a contender for the imaging points. A new and improved CGE with everything the same but with USB and some meridian control would be a no-brainer for me. And to clarify, Would I pay $500 more for better out of box PEC and smoother operation and a no tools setup. Yes. ;)

#79 Kolenka

Kolenka

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1181
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Seattle Area, WA, USA

Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:13 PM

I would like to see what would happen if Scott L. got off his butt and either redid the gemini system or offered a completetly new GoTo solution for the G11.



The Gemini controller is much more advanced than the Nexstar controller and maybe that's where the problem lies. Most folks are not that computer savvy to learn how to use it.


I'd consider myself plenty tech savvy, considering computer code I write puts food on the table. But, as much of a geek that I am, I don't want to fight a controller while under the stars that much. The NexStar and Autostar II handboxes provide very nice touches that the Gemini can't do with its handbox design (shortcuts to common catalogs, and quick number entry for example) which make finding and slewing to targets quick and easy.

#80 Strgazr27

Strgazr27

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 7104
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2004
  • Loc: StonyHill Observatory

Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:13 PM

Michael,

Ok, that is just silly, Bobby. I don't think anyone was suggesting they make the mount not solid or not dependable or not affordable.


I didn't say anybody was ;) My point was, sometimes some of the good points about the CGE are lost or sacrificed when a mount is updated to include bells and whistles. KISS is still one of the best concepts going ;)

A new and improved CGE with everything the same but with USB and some meridian control would be a no-brainer for me.


As far as USB I would ask "For What?" Certainly not motor cables. You also loose the locking ability of RJ connectors not to mention having to use expensive USB repeaters to go over 12' if your looking to control the mount remotely.

I agree that having to fumble with an allen key in the dark to do polar alignment adjustments is a dumb engineering thought but it also offers a solid method. I can adjust the AZ or ALT with a CGE fully loaded using an allen wrench, something that just wasn't possible with my EQ6 and it's "tool less" knobs.

As for the meridian control........If a Paramount ME has to do a flip ;)

Would I pay $500 more for better out of box PEC and smoother operation and a no tools setup. Yes.


Adding $500 to the cost of a CGE would only put it further out of reach. The CGE sits at a price point where a lot of people will go one step further up the ladder to get the improved performance of a higher priced mount, especially if buying used. A used MI-250 with GoTo or a TAK NJP can be had for around $5000 and both will walk all over a CGE from a performance and build quality standpoint. This brings up a good point though. If celestron took a little bit of time and did a rigorous QC on every CGE manufactured that included properly setting up worm mesh you'd see a big improvement in performance at a minimal cost. Improving PE by upgrading gears etc. can add significantly to the price. Quality gears cost money, even when purchased in quantity.

The best thing Celestron could do is drop the price of the Pro to $4000 for a mount only package. At that point I don't think they could build them fast enough ;)

CS

#81 CounterWeight

CounterWeight

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8167
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Palo alto, CA.

Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:44 AM

Bobby - laptops and desktops for that matter stopped shipping with serial and ports some time ago - we all know this. You ask USB 'for what' - I assume you are kidding here...

ummmm how about all your other computer periphs - you do use USB? I am not saying it is a requirement for data throughput to the mount, but really, I ask 'serial - what for?'

Just curious as you must purchase something extra to get any 'modern' computer to talk to these mounts... not as if it would be a brain breaker to have included it (USB -even slow USB) in design cycle, at least for computer connection... And of course it is not included and last I looked was abs ridiculous expensive to buy the dongle from Chinestron... (thankfully others have this for sale far cheaper with Vista drivers) and then there's the Vista issue with the drivers... this isn't a MS issue or a computer manufacturer issue, it is a mount manufacturer issue.

#82 Kolenka

Kolenka

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1181
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Seattle Area, WA, USA

Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:26 AM

There is a downside to making it USB: Proprietary drivers.

Right now, I've got the option of getting a Linux/Mac friendly serial adaptor and using that to talk to the CGE. If they built a USB port into the electronics pier, a couple things happen.

1) They need to go with a more expensive chipset which would raise the cost a bit. This probably isn't that big a deal.
2) You introduce driver issues as either the mount vendor now has to write them, or they pick a single serial device chipset which may or may not have driver support at the right time.

Right now, there /is/ an advantage to using serial, despite the age. It is simple, and avoids going down the rabbit hole of operating system dependence.

#83 CounterWeight

CounterWeight

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8167
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Palo alto, CA.

Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:57 AM

I could not disagree more, but that's just me.

The fact I need to buy a dongle and contend with even more esoteric driver issues I find ridiculous and really cannot think of a parallel in any of my other interests. That NO computer I can buy will work 'out of the box'...

We are talking ZERO. I think if every other manufacturer of every other gadget available even very inexpensive ~$15 can do it - mount manufacturers at several thousand $$ per pop could pull it off.

We need to stop making excuses for them. Interesting that we require so much of all our software and gadget providers and yet when it comes to this hobby - we just make excuses for them. I suppose it could be even more ridiculous... thank goodness it doesn't use two cans and a string :)

pull harder I'm having trouble getting M42 :)

#84 Charlie Hein

Charlie Hein

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 12308
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2003
  • Loc: 26.06.08N, +80.23.08W

Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:35 AM

I don't want to fight a controller while under the stars that much. The NexStar and Autostar II handboxes provide very nice touches that the Gemini can't do with its handbox design (shortcuts to common catalogs, and quick number entry for example) which make finding and slewing to targets quick and easy.


One way to beat that is to carry a small laptop or PDA with your favorite planetarium software loaded on it and drive the scope from the laptop or PDA. That would give you "point and click" slewing to your target. It doesn't get any easier than that.

Once I caught on to how the Gemini system actually works I honestly haven't found the menu structure getting in the way of finding targets at all. Admittedly, for a casual visual observer who only brings a telescope and mount out into the field it would be nice to have a section of the menu that references the common names of non-stellar objects so that those folks could find things easier.

However, after having worked with the Gemini now since November of last year, I really don't think that the system was ever designed with that kind of user in mind at all - and that's perfectly okay by me. It is designed very well indeed for the way I use it.

I use the G-11 primarily as an imaging platform. I always have at least one computer with me out in the field, even when I'm not imaging. My choices for targets are generally planned out well in advance, so I almost always know the designations of the objects I want to look at before I even get outside. Once you know the menus and also your destinations, getting there is a snap.

It's not often mentioned, but one advantage the "80's video game" design brings is that the Gemini handbox is about as tough as it can be - I think that it would be very hard to damage it in the field even dropping it onto concrete or pavement from a reasonable height. I believe this because I've done it more than once. That handbox is way tougher than my old SynScan handbox or any Meade or Celestron for that matter.

But I'm way off topic now - this thread is actually about the CGE. I came very close to buying the CGE when choosing the next step up from my Atlas mount. There's a lot of things to like about it.

I thought that the rumors about the CGE being discontinued were just myth. Is there official confirmation of this?

Charlie

#85 Kolenka

Kolenka

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1181
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Seattle Area, WA, USA

Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:35 PM

I could not disagree more, but that's just me.

The fact I need to buy a dongle and contend with even more esoteric driver issues I find ridiculous and really cannot think of a parallel in any of my other interests. That NO computer I can buy will work 'out of the box'...

We are talking ZERO. I think if every other manufacturer of every other gadget available even very inexpensive ~$15 can do it - mount manufacturers at several thousand $$ per pop could pull it off.

We need to stop making excuses for them. Interesting that we require so much of all our software and gadget providers and yet when it comes to this hobby - we just make excuses for them. I suppose it could be even more ridiculous... thank goodness it doesn't use two cans and a string :)


Not that I disagree that it is absurd that they haven't done it... but as a non-Windows user, I am also kinda glad. How much support does the Linux/Mac guy get from the mount vendors? ZERO. I'm actually surprised the Argo Navis actually even has Mac instructions, despite being a serial port device too.

Right now, I know I can connect up to a mount that uses a serial port connection and control it via a third-party app (or write my own if I have to). The moment they switch to a proprietary USB protocol, or proprietary internal USB->Serial chipset, I'm screwed. Because now I am suddenly beholden to Celestron/Meade/etc for drivers to run the bloody thing.

There is no USB standard for serial devices, or for mounts, and ASCOM isn't gonna come to the rescue here. You will have a wonderful soup of drivers for years until they sort it out, and expect bugs that currently aren't as big of a problem. If Meade can't get Vista drivers sorted out for the LPI in a timely manner, etc... why should I trust them to get it right consistently for mounts?

This isn't about me making excuses for them, it is about making sure I don't get lost in the shuffle as a 'second-class consumer' for functionality that works for me today, but may not tomorrow if they go USB.

If they went USB, I'd demand that the USB protocol they use be open and free so we aren't beholden to their drivers, and can support the mounts in 3rd party apps as we see fit. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to go right back to running the mount via a Handbox and not via my laptop.

#86 Chris Rowland

Chris Rowland

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 586
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2005

Posted 17 February 2009 - 03:06 PM

I'd rather ask why the computer manufacturers fail to put serial ports on laptops. It isn't difficult.

As a developer of the ASCOM driver I find supporting USB a nightmare. Some USB drivers don't work, some only work with some operating systems, some will work with one application and not another. Serial ports - and PCMCIA adaptors - just work.

Would fitting a USB port into the HC help? Maybe but there will be a number of challenges.
Drivers will be more difficult to write. I've used USB and anything more complex than emulating a serial port gets complex and needs much more support from the HC developer.
The HC software will be more complex; USB needs more setup and software in the HC. The developer might be doing this instead of something else, sync or precise goto maybe.
When the HC was designed USB was a lot less pervasive than it is now.
Th drivers in the HC and supplied would need updating as new operating system versions come along. This isn't trivial.
Celestron aren't a software company, I think we'd all rather they concentrated on providing good, bug free, scope firmware.

Personally, if we move away from Serial, I'd go for Ethernet. It's a little more expensive in hardware and support software but you would potentially have a scope that could be controlled from a browser.

Chris

#87 MichaelW

MichaelW

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Cartoon City, Nirvana

Posted 17 February 2009 - 05:37 PM

I'd rather ask why the computer manufacturers fail to put serial ports on laptops. It isn't difficult.

5v VS. 12V. Green vs. Non-Green. Many laptops don't have the reserve to last powering 12v to a device. ;)

I hear what you are saying Chris but from a end user standpoint, what you are saying is greek and borders on gibberish to the casual user. (Not dissing what you said by the way).

I know about the USB issues and Serial is so clean to talk to but until a replacement comes about I would think the hardware guys will have to support the interfaces that are being sold, in the millions. Particularly when the serial, despite its simple beauty, isn't being supported by the computer assemblers. Quite frankly I'd like to see the basic parallel come back or HP-IB or some other always worked system.

As a side note, I think serial died because of the OS and not the hardware. Windoze likes to "own" everything and serial ports don't work well being owned and turned on and off whenever.

So I guess I agree with you but what is the answer? Maybe having the mount mfg's provide a serial/USB cable as part of their package and provide their own set of drivers based upon the mount requirements.

Ahh what do I know?

#88 Kolenka

Kolenka

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1181
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Seattle Area, WA, USA

Posted 17 February 2009 - 06:04 PM

I don't think anyone has brought up any bad points on the Serial vs USB argument here (ignoring the earlier argument that someone debating against USB is an 'apologist').

It isn't an easy problem. No matter what solution you pick, you introduce problems for some segment of your market. Right now, keeping the status quo requires no effort on their part, and it isn't like people are locked out from communicating with the scope (although you do need a dongle).

Go USB, and you risk locking out customers in a low-volume market. Include a serial dongle, and you risk wasting your money on parts people may not even want or need (granted, not enough to matter in a lot of cases). Go ethernet, and suddenly your code gets even more complex to handle TCP/IP (and maybe even forced to run some flavor of Linux/etc on it). USB does have one huge advantage over ethernet as a connection: core USB support is getting built into a lot of embedded CPUs these days.

My only real complaint with USB is that unless third parties work with the vendors on an open protocol, and hold the vendors to it, we will just get a mess out the other end.

#89 Strgazr27

Strgazr27

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 7104
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2004
  • Loc: StonyHill Observatory

Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:08 PM

Bobby - laptops and desktops for that matter stopped shipping with serial and ports some time ago - we all know this. You ask USB 'for what' - I assume you are kidding here...


One should never assume. No I am not kidding actually. I am curious though as I just built 2 machines and both MB's had serial ports on them. One can also buy, very cheaply, a serial add on card.

ummmm how about all your other computer periphs - you do use USB? I am not saying it is a requirement for data throughput to the mount, but really, I ask 'serial - what for?'


Yes I do use USB for all my COMPUTER peripherals but the last time I looked my mount wasn't considered a desktop peripheral ;) Why serial you ask? Maybe it's the ease of programming for it. Not needing a driver for it. Unequaled compatibility. Not hampered by 12' cables and the need for expensive repeater cables.

Just curious as you must purchase something extra to get any 'modern' computer to talk to these mounts... not as if it would be a brain breaker to have included it (USB -even slow USB) in design cycle, at least for computer connection... And of course it is not included and last I looked was abs ridiculous expensive to buy the dongle from Chinestron... (thankfully others have this for sale far cheaper with Vista drivers) and then there's the Vista issue with the drivers... this isn't a MS issue or a computer manufacturer issue, it is a mount manufacturer issue.


I'm sorry you feel so upset about the situation. I'm sorry to tell you though that your Vista issues ARE MS issues. Have you wondered why MS is starting to act like Vista is the "Red headed step child"? Why serial you may ask? Well you just answered that question yourself with your above rant. I've never heard of a "Driver" issue with serial ports or OS compatibilty issues with it either.

As far as the "dongles" go I assume you mean a serial to USB cable? I paid $9 for mine and it worked fine. Than again, I satyed away from the "Kool Aid" and never went to Vista. XPPro works perfectly fine for me.

#90 Lord Beowulf

Lord Beowulf

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1342
  • Joined: 13 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Cedar Park, TX

Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:33 PM

Personally, if we move away from Serial, I'd go for Ethernet.


Hah! I was considering dropping my :penny::penny: on this yesterday, but held off. Ethernet (i.e. 10/100-base-T) is certainly a great way to go. Sockets are pretty easy to program on any OS these days, and little net modules aren't all that expensive (though typically more than the cost of a USB to serial adapter, on whichever side of the cable you choose). At any rate, it would definitely resolve some of the concerns related to USB drivers, although it might require a bit more savvy for those connecting to it, especially if they have to switch between that and a normal network connection. Still, longer cable lengths, locking cords, etc. would address a number of the other complaints mentioned as well. Of course once you take that step, why not just embed Wi-Fi?!! :D

Beo

#91 MichaelW

MichaelW

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Cartoon City, Nirvana

Posted 24 February 2009 - 02:32 PM

I sent an email to Celestron to get a straight answer about the future of the CGE.

I got this email:

The CGE is still offered. It will likely be discontinued, as the CGE Pro has succeeded it.

Since it has been succeeded, it's a good year to pick up the CGE. I've heard of them bieng sold for less than 2500.

We will support the mount for years after it is discontinued.

Clear skies,
Name removed
Celestron Technical Support

There it is direct from Celestron. The CGE does not have a extended future in Celstron's lineup. So a great time to get some great prices on the CGE and C will continue to support it.

So the speculation is over and there will not be a change to the CGE to update the mount.

#92 Kolenka

Kolenka

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1181
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Seattle Area, WA, USA

Posted 24 February 2009 - 04:26 PM

As far as the "dongles" go I assume you mean a serial to USB cable? I paid $9 for mine and it worked fine. Than again, I satyed away from the "Kool Aid" and never went to Vista. XPPro works perfectly fine for me.


I've got two dongles that work fine in Vista and Win7. One won't work with the CGE for upgrades, or for the programming cable, but that is the dongle's fault. Both work great on the Mac via Starry Night to control the CGE as well.

As for the topic...

While I am sad that this means the G11 is now alone in its class, I've been very pleased with the CGE so far. The one I got will probably be kept around until it dies. :)

#93 DaveJ

DaveJ

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1726
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2005
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:24 PM

I sent an email to Celestron to get a straight answer about the future of the CGE.

I got this email:

The CGE is still offered. It will likely be discontinued, as the CGE Pro has succeeded it.
Since it has been succeeded, it's a good year to pick up the CGE. I've heard of them bieng sold for less than 2500.
We will support the mount for years after it is discontinued.
Clear skies,
Name removed
Celestron Technical Support

There it is direct from Celestron. The CGE does not have a extended future in Celstron's lineup. So a great time to get some great prices on the CGE and C will continue to support it.

So the speculation is over and there will not be a change to the CGE to update the mount.


Actually, that isn't an answer at all! With the qualifying words, "...will likely be discontinued..." the person that answered the question has provided ample wiggle-room so that anything that happens is covered. Now, if they'd said "...is definitely discontinued..." then you'd have a definite answer. But they didn't say that. We're right back to where we were, in my opinion.

#94 Astronomics

Astronomics

    Vendor: Astronomics

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 4800
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Right Here

Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:14 PM

The CGE is still in production and should be for quite some time. Celestron originally got rid of it, then thought better when they looked at the gaping hole they created in their lineup. I would suspect they will give the CGE a year and look at sales to see if it is worth keeping around. I for one hope the answer is yes.

#95 Bowmoreman

Bowmoreman

    Clear enough skies

  • *****
  • Posts: 9162
  • Joined: 11 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Bolton, MA

Posted 25 February 2009 - 07:26 AM

The way this seems to be playing out pretty much ensures that those of us WITH CGE's will actually have our "investment" maintain more value this way; especially so if the "hole" in the line does formally come to pass...

If/when they finally do replace it, it will almost certainly be at/above the $3K mark, pretty much ensuring that used CGEs in good condition should stay around $2-2.2K... - where there's nothing else that can compete IMO...

I'm ok and reconciled either way... until I get my AP900 or 1200... ;)

clear enough skies

#96 Jeff55

Jeff55

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 564
  • Joined: 14 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Boston MA

Posted 25 February 2009 - 09:48 AM

OK I'll bite...so where can you buy a CGE for less than $2500.

#97 CounterWeight

CounterWeight

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8167
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Palo alto, CA.

Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:29 AM

They are starting to go 'used' here and elsewhere for less than $2.5k. Dealer prices are pretty varied, lowest I've seen is ~$2.7k for new and near new (demo's)

#98 Arbacia

Arbacia

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1057
  • Joined: 18 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Madrid, Spain

Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:12 PM

Respect to the conection of the serial cable to a Laptop, a friend is using a USB-TTL cable. I will try it soon

Data sheet 1 (PDF)
data sheet 2 (PDF)

other link

#99 t.r.

t.r.

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4452
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2008
  • Loc: 1123,6536,5321

Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:19 PM

Something is definately going on, several dealers are now advertising a lower price for "demo" units @ $2680 and they have "several" demos each...the push to sell is on...why now?








Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics