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CGE NextStar issues

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#1 tjensen

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:08 PM

Hi all,

I've got an older CGE mount and the hand unit was starting to get twitchy (intermitant loss of connection (like a broken wire)and poor button response), So I replaced it with a new NextStar+
Come to find out that there are issues with the new hand units on old machines... The old electronics cause a "no response" error to intermittently occur. It doesn't seem to affect anything, but there is a big annoyance factor.
I assume that a new control board from Celestron ($250)would solve the issue. But I'd rather keep the cash. Anyone know of a fix?
Thanks
Tim

#2 rmollise

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

The fix is probably to check all your connections/cables. The CGE is very prone to problems in this area. IOW, it's likely there's nothing wrong with either HC. ;)

#3 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

Hi all,

I've got an older CGE mount and the hand unit was starting to get twitchy (intermitant loss of connection (like a broken wire)and poor button response), So I replaced it with a new NextStar+
Come to find out that there are issues with the new hand units on old machines... The old electronics cause a "no response" error to intermittently occur. It doesn't seem to affect anything, but there is a big annoyance factor.
I assume that a new control board from Celestron ($250)would solve the issue. But I'd rather keep the cash. Anyone know of a fix?
Thanks
Tim


The problem (besides cost) of replacing the hand controller to eliminate connection issue's is that it will return. The cost is still up there but Gary bennet cables eliminate a return of the problem.

#4 tjensen

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:50 PM

Hey Guys,

Sorry... should have mentioned, I already have the Bennett mod installed. The old hand unit is definitely faulty... I can move the cable at the base of the hand controller and lose the connection. But when it works, there is no problem with it. Only the new one. First thing I did was check the connections too ;)

This "no response" error is documented on the Celestron web site as a compatibility issue with the electronics in the older CGEs. I have an email in to their tech support too but haven't heard back. I was just hoping that someone here might have run across this before and come up with a fix.

#5 Gary Bennett

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:20 AM

Hi Tim,
Did you try updating the Motor Firmware? New Hand Controllers often come with newer firmware that require the Motor firmware to to also be updated.

If you believe you have a connectivity problem (aka, "phone plugs") I have a kit that will cure that:
http://bendun.net/MO...NTROL-KITS.html

Gary Bennett

#6 EFT

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:59 AM

If the problem only occurred after getting the new hand controller, I don't think that a new motor board will help you in this case. A new board won't be any different than the one you already have. The problem is more likely in the internal cable connections somewhere.

#7 tjensen

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:16 PM

Thanks guys. I haven't tried to update the mount firmware. I'll do that tonight.
From nextstarsite.com regarding the new NextStar+ hand controller and CGE mounts:

In February 2012, Celestron introduced a new version of the hand control - NexStar+. This new hand control is distinguished by new labels on some buttons (for example, the bottom left button is now the Celestron symbol) and a "+" next to the NexStar label just below the LCD display. NexStar+ ships with all current Celestron computerized telescope mounts though existing stock at some dealers will still have the older hand control. Owners of compatible mounts with older hand controls can purchase this hand control at most Celestron dealers. The part number is 93988 for the fork-mounted (alt-azimuth) mounts and 93989 for the German EQ (GEM) mounts.

All of the computerized German EQ mounts are compatible with this new hand control, but, the CGE may have intermittent problems with this hand control depending upon the version of electronics hardware in the mount - the reported symptom is intermittent NO RESPONSE errors on the NexStar+ hand control.


Garry: your cables are the best. I have the RA/Dec kit installed. I'd love to put the others in too... especially to get rid of the current power jack. But I'm strapped for cash right now.

#8 tjensen

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:44 PM

Update: I talked to Celestron tech support and they basically said "yeah, that new remote isn't 100% backward compatible. It'll do strange things"

Apparently they made it "more powerful".

Sigh.....

#9 DaveJ

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

Update: I talked to Celestron tech support and they basically said "yeah, that new remote isn't 100% backward compatible. It'll do strange things" Apparently they made it "more powerful". Sigh.....


Are the older version of the hand controllers still available? I sure hope so! Honestly, from looking at the descriptions of the "+" controller and the layout of the keys, I prefer the older version.

#10 tjensen

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

Are the older version of the hand controllers still available?


The fellow I spoke with thought there were still some available. He was going to check into it and get back to me.

#11 cn register 5

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:48 PM

I thought the same way about the new HC but after using the AVX mount for a bit the new HC menu layout becomes pretty easy. I like having a dedicated Identify button for example.

And the sculptured HC buttons are really nice.

Chris

#12 tjensen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:34 AM

I like the design of the new hand unit too. I just wish it worked with my mount.

#13 BarryY

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:27 PM

I just tried a new HC (firmware 4.21) on an 8 year old CGE and was able to step through a two star alignment with no issues. Anything else should I consider here?

#14 mclewis1

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:38 PM

You should find your gotos a bit more accurate.
There's a new polar alignment routine that now allows you to use any star.
If you also do a MC firmware upgrade you'll have access to a customized slew speed capability.

Have a look at Mike Swanson's great website www.nexstarsite.com for more info on the firmware changes.

Download the CGEPro manual and use the hand controller section as well as the All Star Polar Alignment section in the Astronomy Basics part of the manual.

#15 BarryY

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:35 PM

Thanks Mark
The guy who owned the CGE had upgraded the motor control firmware to 5.14 which is compatible to the 4.21 HC firmware. That the same firmware configuration I have on my CG-5. According to Celestron, all the GEMs use the same firmware and the HC reads the version on the MC to initialized itself to that particular MC system.
I originally had downloaded the manual for the original CGE. I will takke your advice and look at the CGE Pro manual to compare the alignment procedures to my CG-5.
Barry

#16 mclewis1

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:20 PM

Barry,

Your exactly right about the firmware being the same. With your experience with the CG-5 you'll find the CGE will now operate virtually the same way with the exception of the real position switches on the CGE.

I also have both a CGE and CG-5 with the same firmware (in my case it's still 4.19) so I don't have to think about any differences.

When I want to try out a new firmware level I usually fire up NexRemote and run the virtual hand controller with a new firmware level. I do this before I perform an actual firmware upgrade.

#17 BarryY

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:47 AM

Mark
I'm thinking about buying this 8 year old CGE. This may give me a path to take my astrophotography to another level, i.e. step up to either a C9.25 or C11 EdgeHD. The guy replaced the cables with longer data cables (but still the ethernet style) and the mount has not had much use over its life. The guys is including an extra 25lb weight and the older GPS accessory. The only thing he does not have is the power cable but I can use my DC cable from my other set up.
Barry

#18 mclewis1

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:56 PM

Barry,

Got it ... that all sounds great.

I think the CGE is a great mid sized mount. I would definitely budget for the Gary Bennett cable upgrade at some point. Replacement Ethernet cables can temporarily help the reliability but the sockets age too and the best fix is Gary's completely new/different cabling setup.

Ideally the mount won't have been tinkered with too much. The worm adjustment takes some getting used to ... it's done with shims and some folks seem to mess this up. There's also a preload adjustment on one axis that often gets overlooked (it requires a large deep socket to adjust or very careful use of thin tipped pliers) and when it's loose it's sometimes mistaken for a loose worm/spur gear.

Overall I find it's a strong well built mount with great motors and gears. The area of most concern are the RA/DEC cables and the cabling of the electronics in the pier.

Besides the known RA/DEC cabling issues, I'd simply upgrade the HC firmware, lube both worm/spur gears, make sure all the connectors in the electronics pier are tight ... and then go imaging. The other thing to watch on a mount that's been transported are the home position switches. Normally they don't require any attention but if one comes loose or starts to fail you'll get some very strange slewing problems (stopping in the wrong place, etc.).

The mount likes good solid power, ideally a 12v 3-5amp regulated power supply (that actually puts out 13v+) or a solid battery with a good cable. The DC cable for the CG-5 can sometimes be made from wires that are a little too light for my liking ... it'll certainly work but you'll probably want to upgrade it at some point. I use a 5 amp Pyramid power supply with a short home made power cable (18 gauge wire), and with this setup my CGE can slew both motors at full speed simultaneously and there's no "drop" as the second motor kicks in which indicates to me that there's plenty of amperage.

#19 BarryY

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:45 PM

Mark
All excellent points. The guy with the CGE just ordered an HC which will have the 4.21 firmware. Do you have an idea of how much all the upgrades you had mentioned would cost? I want to make sure what I may be getting into and is it worth the investment. I've also heard about potential issues with the motor control board which can be a $300 expense. The CGE gives me the option of upgrading to the C11 HD. The alternative is to find a newer CGEM but limit meto a C9.25 HD.
Barry

#20 mclewis1

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:57 PM

Barry,

Since the HC is already taken care of the only other substantial expense would be Gary's cabling ($300-400 depending on how you want to do the upgrade). http://bendun.net/CG...GRADE-KITS.html

If the mount works fine the way it is with the existing cables you can just put Gary's cabling on the future things to do list rather than an immediate must have.

The rest is just a few tools and some lubricant (Superlube or the like). Things like worm adjustments, switches, and the like only need to be touched if there's a problem. Most things can also be considered future maintenance items ... something that you can get to at a later time.

If your not particularly mechanically inclined don't worry about things. Most things are actually pretty easy to do and if there's really an issue there are other folks who can handle that. (one example is http://www.deepspaceproducts.com/)

If you're planning to take the mount on the road to different dark sites on a regular basis you might consider getting a longer handled or T handled allen wrench to make the altitude and azimuth adjustments a bit easier (the longer handle gives you more leverage which makes the adjustments a bit easier when your doing them all the time).

#21 BarryY

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:30 AM

Mark
Thanks for the feedback on the prices. There has been much in discussions on the cables and connectors. My CG-5 has the same connectors but no problems. With another $300 - $400 on the horizon, its getting harder for me to justify looking at $2000+ to have future capability for C11. As my alternatives, I could upgrade to a C8 EdgeHD and use it with my CG-5, or look at the CGEM with a C9.25HD. Limitation of C8 HD is that I cannot use my Canon DSLR with Hyperstar.
Barry






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