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CG-5 ASGT Goto Problems

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#1 GaryML

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 01:49 PM

I've had the Celestron CG-5 Advanced Series Go To mount for about a month. I've used it about 6 times in my yard and it worked fine. I added the GPS unit for the convenience of the automatic time and location setting. That also seemed to work fine in my yard. For now, this is strictly for visual use. (I use it with a Vixen VMC200L 8" modified Cassegrain.)

Last night I made a long-awaited trip to my dark sky site about 60 miles east of my house. Set it up, leveled it with my bubble level (the internal bubble level is *way* off.) Centered Polaris through the hole where the polar scope can go. Fired it up using the A/C power at the site (and the Celestron A/C adapter for the CG-5). I let the GPS sync, did the two star alignment, and noticed the selected stars were much further off center than usual. Did a 3 star calibration. These were also way off center initially, and some were outside of the >6 degree FOV of the my finder. Tried slewing to some objects and it was *way* off--more than 10 degrees off. It was in the correct general area of the sky, but the objects were well out of the field of view of the finder.

I powered down, disconnected and reconnected everything, moved the GPS to a different tripod leg. After the 4th attempt at alignment (using different star with the 2 star alignment and at least 2 calibration stars), it still would not give me anything resembling accurate pointing. The controller showed the correct time for setup and the GPS coordinates matched the location of my site.

This thing worked fine for a month in my yard, but the computer pointing was useless 60 miles to the east. I looked over everything just now and everything seems normal -- GPS now shows correct time and correct coordinates for the house (different than the dark sky side) so clearly the GPS functions properly.

Controller software version is 4.13. I don't have the adapter cable nor do I have a Windows computer handy. I don't want to incur further expense in buying the cable or spend the time hassling with upgrading the firmware firmware unless this is a known bug corrected in later versions. It's still under warranty of course, but shipping to Celestron will cost time and money and I'll be without the mount for quite a while. This mount is a huge disappointment as the purpose for buying it was to make good use of my limited time with dark skies. Last night I spent most of my time trying to get the stupid thing to work.

Any ideas as to what the problem may be? :confused:

#2 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:31 PM

Hi Gary, I have the same mount, and occasionally it goes haywire. Everything seems fine one night, then nothing works the next. It turns out the haywire part goes away for me after resetting to factory defaults. If nothing else works, give it a try.

Jeff

#3 GaryML

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:56 PM

Hi Gary, I have the same mount, and occasionally it goes haywire. Everything seems fine one night, then nothing works the next. It turns out the haywire part goes away for me after resetting to factory defaults. If nothing else works, give it a try.


I reset it earlier today and will try it in a few minutes.

#4 GaryML

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 10:57 PM

Hi Gary, I have the same mount, and occasionally it goes haywire. Everything seems fine one night, then nothing works the next. It turns out the haywire part goes away for me after resetting to factory defaults. If nothing else works, give it a try.

Jeff


Ok, just tried it. First alignment star within the finder. Second alignment star was way off. I moved to it and aligned it. Did one calibration star -- also outside of finder. Moved to that and calibrated. Then tried Saturn -- way, way off - it missed it by about the length of my forearm.

This thing is broken and is going in for repair. Lasted less than one month. I've bought two Celestron products within the last year: a Skyscout that was DOA out of the box, and now this mount that malfunctioned within one month. So I'm done with Celestron. I'll need to buy a new mount and I'll sell this POS when it comes back from repair. Now to figure out what to get instead. No more cheap Chinese Synta junk; that's for sure. :flame:

#5 rmollise

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 07:11 AM

Hi Gary, I have the same mount, and occasionally it goes haywire. Everything seems fine one night, then nothing works the next. It turns out the haywire part goes away for me after resetting to factory defaults. If nothing else works, give it a try.

Jeff


Ok, just tried it. First alignment star within the finder. Second alignment star was way off. I moved to it and aligned it. Did one calibration star -- also outside of finder. Moved to that and calibrated. Then tried Saturn -- way, way off - it missed it by about the length of my forearm.

This thing is broken and is going in for repair. Lasted less than one month. I've bought two Celestron products within the last year: a Skyscout that was DOA out of the box, and now this mount that malfunctioned within one month. So I'm done with Celestron. I'll need to buy a new mount and I'll sell this POS when it comes back from repair. Now to figure out what to get instead. No more cheap Chinese Synta junk; that's for sure. :flame:


What do you do? First, _triple check_ all settings in the mount to include date, time, time zone, lat/lon, and DST status. Next, disconnect the GPS and enter your time/date MANUALLY.

If that does not work, examine your power supply/cable/connection, and ESPECIALLY the connector on the mount. If it is the least bit loose, get a jeweler's screwdriver and spread the pins on the mount side gently until it (the power connector) is secure. No joy? Try a 12vdc battery in lieu of the AC adapter if possible.

My rule on calibration stars? I keep adding cal star until the scope places a cal star in the eyepiece after a slew (12-mm at f/6.3 on a C8).

#6 GaryML

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:45 AM

What do you do? First, _triple check_ all settings in the mount to include date, time, time zone, lat/lon, and DST status. Next, disconnect the GPS and enter your time/date MANUALLY.

If that does not work, examine your power supply/cable/connection, and ESPECIALLY the connector on the mount. If it is the least bit loose, get a jeweler's screwdriver and spread the pins on the mount side gently until it (the power connector) is secure. No joy? Try a 12vdc battery in lieu of the AC adapter if possible.

My rule on calibration stars? I keep adding cal star until the scope places a cal star in the eyepiece after a slew (12-mm at f/6.3 on a C8).


Rod,

Thanks for your suggestions. I have tried all of your suggestions. The power connector is tight and I tried both A/C and a 12v battery. The hand controller is displaying the correct date, time, time zone and location. I will try the reset + no GPS permutation before I ship it back, but I don't have much hope of it working right.

I usually use more than one calibration star, but last night the fog was rolling in and I needed to do a quick check to see if the reset and battery vs. A/C made a difference. Just wanted to see if aiming was in the general ballpark. Previously, with two calibration stars the mount would place objects close to the center of the field of view of my medium-low power eyepiece (Panoptic 24 giving about 81X). Now it is clearly messed up.

I think maybe an encoder problem as the computer & electronics seems to be functioning properly. Maybe an encoder worked loose after some use and the car trip, or developed a defect.

#7 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 12:28 PM

I am very suprised to hear this as I just bought a CGE do to my satisfaction with my CG5. Great GOTOs easy to use, Three years running.

#8 neptun2

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 03:23 PM

I have seen many threads on CN where people do not want to update the firmware of their mounts. Why is that? I have always updated the firmware of my devices (including my pc's motherboard bios)and in many cases this has helped me resolve problems. I think that when you have problems with device with updateable firmware the update is one of the first things to try. I am not offending anyone. I am just curious why some people do not like to update.

#9 mclewis1

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 03:47 PM

Because you can sometimes make the product worse instead of better. Problems during a firmware load can leave a scope or mount down until you figure out how to get everything back to the way it was. Sometimes the new firmware itself will cause problems.

It usually isn't a matter of never do an upgrade, but rather choose carefully, know why you are doing it (just because it's new usually isn't a good answer), understand the upgrade process and perform the upgrade properly.

#10 sxinias

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 04:40 PM

Gary,

I wonder if the problem may be related to the CG5 mount (gear backlash, etc.). I have a CG5 mount I converted to GoTo with an iOptron Nova kit without GPS. your description of your problems matches my experience essentially 100%. I had difficulties that went away after I upgraded the firmware in my hand set. My mount worked great then....the same problems you are having. If you do solve your problem I would greatly appreciate knowing what was going wrong.

Joe
Sxinias Greece
Meade 2045LX3 SCT/DS2000 mount
Celestron C6S SCT/CG5-iOptron GoTo mount

#11 rmollise

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 05:01 PM


I think maybe an encoder problem as the computer & electronics seems to be functioning properly. Maybe an encoder worked loose after some use and the car trip, or developed a defect.


I doubt it. The encoders on these mounts rarely cause problems. Nevertheless, if you're sure you have checked ALL settings, and puttin' GPS out of the picture does not solve it, it should go back.

PS: Make sure you are centering the CORRECT ALIGNMENT STARS. Yeah, yeah, I know you are sure, but I was awful sure I was aligning my Sky Commander on Polaris, NOT Kocab. :lol:

#12 GaryML

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 10:30 PM

The mount worked great when I first got it and suddenly the goto is way off. That suggests that something broke. I've decided to send it to Celestron as I think I've covered the obvious things to check. That is what the warranty is for. If I had problems from the beginning then I would suspect my own inexperience was to blame.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. It helped to confirm that I do need to send the mount for repair.

#13 rmollise

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:58 AM

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. It helped to confirm that I do need to send the mount for repair.


Did you at least try it without the GPS connected?

#14 GJF

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:56 AM

Very interesting. This is the exact set of symptoms that I experience with my new CG-5 mount. I had originally determined that I was the problem, selecting the the wrong alignment star, etc. Now having been using the scope / mount for about a month I see the same thing as described, one night after two alignment stars and a calibration star it hits the goto's pretty precisely. The next night with the same setup the goto's are all over the place.

Hmmm........I think I may need to be sending mine back as well

#15 hfjacinto

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:11 AM

I experienced the same issues you did, in my case it was user error. I had set the date wrong. Did you also see if DST is turned on or off?

#16 neptun2

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:41 AM

I think that one of the firmware versions of syscan had strange bug with entering timezone. As far as i remember if you select the timezone to be east or west of gmt with down scroll key it is always set to east despite showing west on screen and when selecting with up scroll key the problem was not present. I have read that long time ago so please someone correct me if i am wrong.

#17 Jeff in Austin

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 08:32 PM

I just remembered another problem I had during the Summer months. Usually being excited to start observing, I just "estimated" where Polaris was based on what I remember from a recent night. Then I did a quick alignment based on the first 3 stars that I could see. Needless to say, between light pollution and the 8:30 sunset time, I would be waaaaaay off.

Not sure if this would help anyone, but thought I would share it anyway. In my case, the problem was between the hand controller and the astro chair. :crazy:

#18 GaryML

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:15 PM

I am out of town this week. When I return I will triple-check everything including a reset with no GPS and a full 4-5 star align. If it is still screwed up then I'll call for an RMA. I'll give a full report then.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

(Sent from my Palm Treo smartphone.)

#19 GaryML

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:14 PM

I didn't want to update the firmware for a few reasons:

You have to buy an extra part to do it (the cable). I really don't want to spend any more on a product that appears to be defective and I may not keep.

The update requires a Windows computer. I use a Mac. I do have some Windows computers in the house but I prefer not to use them unless absolutely necessary.

The update can cause problems itself and I don't want to be dealing with multiple problems at the same time.

I will update the firmware if there is some reasonable probability that it will fix the Go-to issue. I have updated firmware on many computers, cameras, peripherals and similar devices. But I don't want to just try unless there is a substantial probability that it will fix the problems. That is why I asked the question.

#20 neptun2

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:07 AM

I just remember one strange bug that i saw with my friend's heq5 synscan mount (it's same as cg-5 asgt as far as i know). I live at gmt+2 timezone which becomes gmt+3 during summer because of the daylight saving time. It sounds pretty logical to set the time zone of synscan to gmt+2 and daylight saving to yes. Every other device to which i have set time zone and daylight saving responds this way. But not the synscan. We needed to set gmt+3 and daylight saving to yes for it to work correctly.

#21 rmollise

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:03 AM

The update can cause problems itself and I don't want to be dealing with multiple problems at the same time.


Not really. A few people have had problems, but mostly these can be traced to difficulties with USB - serial adapters. The update software is very reliable, and I have used it to successfully update my HC on several occasions.

#22 rmollise

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:14 AM

I think that one of the firmware versions of syscan had strange bug with entering timezone.


It did, but the NexStar software used in the CG5 is completely different and never had that bug.

#23 averen

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 11:28 AM

I have a CG-5 with 4.16 on it. The pointing is pretty accurate but I have had it "freak out" once one me. For some reason the mount decided that north was south and vice versa! This was after it had been working just find for a couple of hours. I told it to go to M51...and it slewed to the south.

I set the mount back on it's index points and flipped the power switch and used my previous alignment...everything was spot on after that.

Not really sure what would cause your weird pointing problems. I would attempt to update the firmware before sending it back to Celestron. Sure you "shouldn't" need to...but if it fixes the problem it's a lot better than sending it back to Celestron for 6+ weeks.

Jared

#24 GaryML

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 09:20 PM

I have a CG-5 with 4.16 on it. The pointing is pretty accurate but I have had it "freak out" once one me. For some reason the mount decided that north was south and vice versa! This was after it had been working just find for a couple of hours. I told it to go to M51...and it slewed to the south.

I set the mount back on it's index points and flipped the power switch and used my previous alignment...everything was spot on after that.

Not really sure what would cause your weird pointing problems. I would attempt to update the firmware before sending it back to Celestron. Sure you "shouldn't" need to...but if it fixes the problem it's a lot better than sending it back to Celestron for 6+ weeks.

Jared


I had the "runaway slew" experience once with this mount. I did a power cycle and re-aligned and it seemed ok.

I re-read all the comments here, re-read the sections of Rod's book on go-to issues and trouble-shooting, and had a long talk with Celestron tech support today. What concerns me is the the amount of error is in the general range of 15 degrees, which is one hour of clock time. So I was suspicious of a clock setting error. But I tried it so many times with the clock settings/time zone/DST verified (from either GPS or manual entry with the GPS disconnected) that I eliminated user error on that setting. Also, the error wasn't simply on RA but also way off in Dec. Some alignment/calibration stars were close, but others were way off. (Yes, I might have aligned on a wrong star on occasion, but I did pretty good for the first three weeks.) Tried two power sources. Unplugged and re-plugged the cables. Tried everything suggested by Celestron. Still no joy.

So as I write these words a brown truck is driving the 118 miles between here and Torrance, California carrying my mount with the hand controller and cables to the Celestron repair facility by Monday morning. :(

I have ordered a cable and will upgrade the firmware if the mount comes back in working condition. I would really like to keep this mount as it has the right combination of stability, features and price for my needs. But if the mount is defective on return then I'll have to explore other options.

#25 GaryML

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 02:30 PM

This thing is broken and is going in for repair. Lasted less than one month.


Here we are 45 days after Celestron received the mount. Still not repaired and no indication of when they are going to get around to looking at it. I called twice and was told both times that I was "at the top of the list." I bought this thing on April 29, 2009, so it has now spent more time sitting on the shelf in the Celestron repair department than it has in my hands.

:rant:


EDIT: Celestron called me back about three hours after the call earlier today. They are promising to work on the mount this afternoon and expect to complete repairs and ship it back tomorrow.






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