Jump to content


Photo

Synscan Hand Controller upgrade problems

  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 Lane

Lane

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3591
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Frisco, Texas

Posted 30 May 2009 - 07:27 AM

I have an Orion Sirius with the Synscan HC, which until recently was running version 3.01. The other day I upgraded to 3.24 to solve a problem I was having involving running my mount from a computer. However the upgraded firmware messed up the hand controller's alignment process. I made certain that I wrote down the location and time zone information before upgrading and put it back in when I was done. But the alignment process pointed to the wrong place in the sky when I took it outside for a test. I calculated that is was about 8 hours off in RA but the declination was correct. I read on the web that others had experienced similar issues and had gone back to a lower version to resolve them. I tried 3.21 and it had the exact same problem. I then loaded version 3.12, and it worked perfectly. I would be curious to know if anyone else has had alignment issue after upgrading to 3.21 or 3.24 and if you found a better solution than just going back to an older version?

#2 neptun2

neptun2

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 858
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2007
  • Loc: Bulgaria

Posted 30 May 2009 - 07:36 AM

Did you make reset of settings after update to 3.24? Also is it possible that you select plus instead of minus while entering the timezone?

#3 RandallK

RandallK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1753
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Nanaimo, B. C. Canada

Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:12 PM

There's another post somewhere in this forum. Something to do with using the up key on the h/c instead of the down key to select the correct offset. Someone in our club is having a similar problem. Our time zone is PST but his controller indicates +8 (Somehwere in China) instead of the -8 offset. I haven't heard back from him yet.

#4 Skylook123

Skylook123

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7491
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:38 PM

After upgrading to 3.24, be sure to go through a setup and make sure the location and time values are correct. Use ONLY the up arrow on the number pad for changes; the down arrow causes only the screen to change, not the data in the hand controller.

Sounds like the time zone is off by the mount of a sign error on your setup.

3.24 is definitely the best way to go; many many faults fixed since 3.01.

#5 Lane

Lane

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3591
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Frisco, Texas

Posted 30 May 2009 - 11:01 PM

Thanks, but I did all that and it still did not work. I even did the "reset to factory settings" and then put all the information in again and it still never worked. It was like 3.21 and 3.24 just ignored the Time or the Time Zone and used some internal value instead. But it was only off in RA not Dec so definitely some kind of Time issue.

When I put in version 3.12 it kept my settings but changed the time zone from -6 to +6 so the RA was off by 12 hours, I quickly fixed that and it worked fine. But 3.21 and 3.24 were both 8 hours off, which makes no sense to me at all. Anyway 3.12 works great and also solves the PC connection issue I had with the old 3.01 version so I guess I will just leave it at 3.12 for now. Maybe I will try again when they release 3.25 in the future.

Anyone know what was fixed between 3.12 and 3.24?

It amazes me how much better the CGEM hand controller firmware is compared to the Synscan, especially when you realize they are made by the same freaking company. They need to let the CGEM programming team have a crack at rewriting the Synscan firmware.

#6 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15567
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:05 AM

After upgrading to 3.24, be sure to go through a setup and make sure the location and time values are correct. Use ONLY the up arrow on the number pad for changes; the down arrow causes only the screen to change, not the data in the hand controller.

Sounds like the time zone is off by the mount of a sign error on your setup.

3.24 is definitely the best way to go; many many faults fixed since 3.01.


I upgraded from .23 to .24 last night, and there were no problems of any kind, with my lat/lon, time-zone, etc. still being there after the upgrade.

#7 RandallK

RandallK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1753
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Nanaimo, B. C. Canada

Posted 31 May 2009 - 01:52 PM

I have V.3.24 and have been running it since it was released. This looks like a possible glitch in SOME of the hand controllers, or it is "operator" induced. I'm wondering if those who are having problems with the time zone difference try the GPS module to see if it "forces" the correct time. Someone in your club or someone you know might have one to try. If it doesn't or if you already use the GPS module, then there is something else causing the problem.

#8 Lane

Lane

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3591
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Frisco, Texas

Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:06 PM

I will give 3.24 one more try, I can always go back to 3.12 if it doesn't work. I am thinking now that the problem may have been because I tried to go all the way from 3.01 to 3.24. If you have never seen 3.01 I can tell you it looks different from 3.12, 3.21, and 3.24. So I am going to do a factory reset first to eliminate all my data then do the upgrade to 3.24, then reenter all my data after the upgrade.

#9 Coromandel

Coromandel

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 393
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2009

Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:34 AM

AFter these messages I have to wonder if there is a difference between the firmware versions for the Sky-Watcher and Orion mounts. A friend of mine looks after the SW goto mounts for his school and he's updated them all to v3.24 without even a single hitch. However according to some people the Orion mounts have at least one extra option in the handset setup that the SW mounts don't, which is an adjustment for the polarscope LED.

Has anyone with a SW mount had firmware problems or is it only those where it's been d/led from Orion or for an Orion version of the mounts? (Yeah I know they are the same mount just different colours and badges, but maybe there is an Orionified customised firmware.)

#10 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15567
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 01 June 2009 - 07:10 AM

AFter these messages I have to wonder if there is a difference between the firmware versions for the Sky-Watcher and Orion mounts. A friend of mine looks after the SW goto mounts for his school and he's updated them all to v3.24 without even a single hitch. However according to some people the Orion mounts have at least one extra option in the handset setup that the SW mounts don't, which is an adjustment for the polarscope LED.


I doubt it. I've used nothing but the SW versions off their website for my Atlas, since Orion is always a version behind. They have worked fine, including .24...

#11 rdegoutier

rdegoutier

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 123
  • Joined: 18 Feb 2008
  • Loc: White Rock, BC, Canada

Posted 01 June 2009 - 07:23 AM

Mine is Sky-Watcher version, and came with 3.24 right out of the box. It has the same reported offset problem. Only the UP key changes the offset; the DOWN key just changes the display. I spent several frustrating hours first time out before solving this by chance.

Clearly a bug in the HC, and consistently repeatable. To test this, go to the SETUP screen - Observ. Site, and change the "-" to a "+" using the DOWN (left) key. Press <Enter> to lock in the changes and then go back to the same screen. The offset will be back to a "-". HOWEVER, changing the offset amount, i.e. 8.00 to 9.00 is possible with the DOWN key, so it's kind of an obscure bug, affecting only the + and - values.

#12 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20320
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 01 June 2009 - 03:50 PM

"It amazes me how much better the CGEM hand controller firmware is compared to the Synscan, especially when you realize they are made by the same freaking company."

Yup, Nexstar is light years ahead of Synscan. However, Nexstar pre-dates Synscan by more than a decade, hence is much more robust and mature. I believe Synta, who now owns Celestron, becan development of Synscan before the Celestron acquisition was a gleam in the Synta chairman's eye. They has already sunk the R&D costs into developing Synscan from scratch, and it's also possible that Nexstar is royalty bearing (i.e., maybe Celestron pays royalties to another company for distribution of the firmware; also possible that the third party technology (if any) in Nexstar may not be transferable or assignable outside of Celestron, Inc.). There are several plausible potential explanations for two firmwares putatively under one corporate umbrella.

Ideally I would like to see Synta scrap Synscan, implement EQMOD compatibility into Nexstar, and use that firmware in all of its GOTO mounts. There must be a reason it hasn't happened. It would be cheaper to maintain one code base than two, after all.

I'm still on 3.21. IMO Synscan up to 3.21 was almost worthless. There were scads of catalog errors where you would select one item and the hand controller would flip you to a different catalog item. In order to update the hand controller, however, I have to pull an old computer out of the garage because of the retro-connectivity required by the hand controller. USB 2.0 is just too advanced for Synta I guess.

Regards,

Jim

#13 RandallK

RandallK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1753
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Nanaimo, B. C. Canada

Posted 01 June 2009 - 07:49 PM

With a USB to Serial cable you can update the firmware. It takes a little longer but I have updated this way on all release updates.

#14 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15567
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 02 June 2009 - 07:42 AM

There must be a reason it hasn't happened. It would be cheaper to maintain one code base than two, after all.


I agree it would be cheaper to standardize, but for whatever reason they have not done that.

For the NexStar HC to work with the SynScan mounts, you'd have to either issue a version compatible with stepper motors, or change the SynScan steppers to the servos as used in the Celestron versions.

EQMOD and NexStar are horses of a different color. EQMOD is made to work with the SynScan stepper system and MC board, and does not care pea-turky about the HC (though the latest SynScan HCs can work in pass-through mode with EQMOD via "PC Direct."

#15 Skylook123

Skylook123

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7491
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 02 June 2009 - 08:02 AM

I've been using the Synscan systems since the unupgradeable V2.05, and since I shifted to V3.01 I've upgraded to every version as they've come along. I've used a 10 year old laptop with a serial port, a desktop with a serial port, and a new laptop with a serial port. Never a wrinkle, every load worked fine on first try.

In the EQMOD development we've seen severe inadequacies in some USB-to-Serial adapters, where some chips can't handle the throughput in the rates/manner expected by the computer/hand controller ends of the interface. The internals in Belkin adapters seem particularly affected. I don't have the names of the "food" ones handy; there is a database file on the EQMOD Yahoo! group site of experience with many brands.

With all that said, I REALLY wish they'd get the Synta firmware up to the NexStar functionality, especially with the polar alignment feature. Even with all the upgrades, Synta is still fairly primitive in some aspects, and downright wrong in some alignment star and catalog RA/DEC values.

#16 rmollise

rmollise

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15567
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2007

Posted 02 June 2009 - 11:52 AM

In the EQMOD development we've seen severe inadequacies in some USB-to-Serial adapters, where some chips can't handle the throughput in the rates/manner expected by the computer/hand controller ends of the interface. The internals in Belkin adapters seem particularly affected. I don't have the names of the "food" ones handy; there is a database file on the EQMOD Yahoo! group site of experience with many brands.


I've not tried EQMOD with a USB - serial cable. I got tired of wrestlin' with that issue with NexRemote, which is the same way. Got on the eBay and bought a PCMCIA serial card for 20 bucks...never had another problem.
;)

#17 Skylook123

Skylook123

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7491
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 02 June 2009 - 06:43 PM

Yep, that seems to be the way to add a serial port.

#18 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20320
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:17 PM

That's what I will do! :foreheadslap:

I didn't even think about adding a serial port card to my laptop.

Thanks gents,

Jim

#19 Mike_C8

Mike_C8

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2008

Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:21 PM

Mine is Sky-Watcher version, and came with 3.24 right out of the box. It has the same reported offset problem. Only the UP key changes the offset; the DOWN key just changes the display. I spent several frustrating hours first time out before solving this by chance.

Clearly a bug in the HC, and consistently repeatable. To test this, go to the SETUP screen - Observ. Site, and change the "-" to a "+" using the DOWN (left) key. Press <Enter> to lock in the changes and then go back to the same screen. The offset will be back to a "-". HOWEVER, changing the offset amount, i.e. 8.00 to 9.00 is possible with the DOWN key, so it's kind of an obscure bug, affecting only the + and - values.


It seems this annoying problem has been addressed with version 3.25 (see the release notes: Skywatcher telescope fw download site ).

It amazes me that a bug this serious could go unaddressed for such a long time. I thought I was doing something wrong or my GPS was confused or ... .

What does this say about Synta and their quality systems?

Mike

#20 RandallK

RandallK

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1753
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Nanaimo, B. C. Canada

Posted 17 July 2009 - 11:10 AM

You get what you pay for. Just be thankful that your are getting updates from SYNTA. Even software vendors are reluctant to issue updates and sometimes don't...you have to buy the next version. I still believe that the Synta/SynScan is a great system for the price.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics