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Nexstar HC/Power Problem

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#1 dragpeace

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:25 AM

I've had a strange problem. I have a Nexstar 8se and it's worked reasonably well, but the old hand controller was always quirky and eventually just died. I ordered a new HC, plugged it in, and managed to update the firmware with no issues. When in use, I only ever have the scope plugged into a power outlet. I then took it outside and everything seemed to work fine, until I turned it off for the first time. When I went to turn it back on, I got nothing. Since then, it's as though the scope is dead. I plugged the old HC back in, and when I turn the scope on, I get a flashing red screen (which is all I would expect from it, given that it died), so it's getting power. Plug the new HC back in, and I get absolutely nothing. Has anyone seen something like this before? Could it be a bad HC? It's very frustrating. :(

#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:34 AM

Hi dragpeace:

It does sound like a bad handset. That would be quite the string of back luck! Never seen two go bad one after the other like that!

How long ago did you buy the handset? Can you send it back for a replacement?

Something to try is to put brand new batteries in the base and see if it works. Sometimes the power supply is making poor contact and not supplying enough power. Or the power supply could have gone bad and the voltage is low. One handset may be more sensitive to the power level than the other. Its at least worth a try to verify the situation using fresh internal batteries.

-Dan

#3 dragpeace

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:40 AM

Dan - I'm going to get batteries today and give that a try. The first handset worked for 4 years, but slowly got quirkier and quirkier. Finally, it wouldn't do anything at all, include updating the firmware. So, we got the new HC and it looked like all was terrific until I turned the scope off for a minute! It's been dead ever since. We were just about to look at Mercury, last night. Two handsets makes me wonder if it's something with the scope. I'll report back later today, when we have batteries. I bought the new HC from OPT, so I've contacted them for advice. We waited two months before installing it, which may not help (just got busy!).

#4 mclewis1

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:54 AM

What are you using for the "plugged in" power supply?

#5 dragpeace

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:10 AM

What are you using for the "plugged in" power supply?


The power chord that came with the telescope, plugged into a wall outlet. I've also ensured it's a good fit (spread the pins slightly).

#6 Tel

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:57 AM

Hi Dragpeace,

Assuming you are using the new HC in the mount arm socket, have you tried by plugging it, alternatively, into the AUX socket on the base of the mount ? If not, it might be worth considering but of course the usual word of warning with which I'm sure you're fully aware :

DON'T plug it into the adjacent Auto Guide socket !

Hoping this helps,
Best regards,
Tel


Edit: Also try the old HC in the AUX position for a direct comparison.

#7 mclewis1

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

What are you using for the "plugged in" power supply?

The power chord that came with the telescope, plugged into a wall outlet. I've also ensured it's a good fit (spread the pins slightly).

Celestron didn't normally (but it's not unheard of) include a power adapter with the scopes but many dealers regularly bundle a 12v power supply with the scopes they ship. Over time some of these power supplies can become a problem.

Can you provide a little more detail about the unit?

Is it labeled Celestron?
Is it a "wall wart" style unit (box that plugs directly into an AC outlet) or does it have an AC power cord (in addition to the 12v DC cable going to the scope)?
Power specifications ... 12v XXXXma?

The reason for these questions is to try and ensure that the power supply itself isn't causing a problem (either temporary or permanently damaging the scope). Powering your scope from an alternate source (batteries for example) will be a very useful thing to do in trying to determine what's causing your problem(s).

#8 dragpeace

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

Hi Dragpeace,

Assuming you are using the new HC in the mount arm socket, have you tried by plugging it, alternatively, into the AUX socket on the base of the mount ?


Tried this - same result. New HC is dead, old one just flashes red.

What are you using for the "plugged in" power supply?

The power chord that came with the telescope, plugged into a wall outlet. I've also ensured it's a good fit (spread the pins slightly).

Celestron didn't normally (but it's not unheard of) include a power adapter with the scopes but many dealers regularly bundle a 12v power supply with the scopes they ship. Over time some of these power supplies can become a problem.

Can you provide a little more detail about the unit?

Is it labeled Celestron?
Is it a "wall wart" style unit (box that plugs directly into an AC outlet) or does it have an AC power cord (in addition to the 12v DC cable going to the scope)?
Power specifications ... 12v XXXXma?


I can't remember if the power cord came in the box or if I ordered it separately, but it is a Celestron unit. On the unit:
CELESTRON
SWITCHING POWER SUPPLY
MODEL:SM030CU120250
PART NO.18778
INPUT: 100-240V~
50/60Hz 800mA
OUTPUT: 12.0V = 2500mA
MADE IN CHINA

It is one cable from the outlet to the unit (you plug it into the unit) and then the unit has an attached cord that goes to the scope.

I'm going out to get batteries in a few minutes. I'll report back! I really do appreciate the help!!

Graham

#9 dragpeace

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

Ah ha! I put a nice new set of batteries in the scope and it all came to life beautifully. So, the issue is the main power supply. Now, is it the cord, or is it the actual scope? I'll order a new cord and see if that makes a difference.

Does anyone have a recommendation on a power cord? Is the Celestron cord the way to go?

Graham

#10 Tel

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:33 PM

HI Graham,

Just out of interest, does the old HC now also work ?

Best regards,
Tel

#11 dragpeace

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:58 PM

Just out of interest, does the old HC now also work ?


Great question! I immediately wondered this, myself. I plugged it in and it comes up, but has the exact same problem that caused me to get the new HC. It comes up with the "Initializing..." message. In the past, we could get it out of this state by reloading the firmware, but it would always revert back to "Initializing..." before we could ever get through one Goto, and often before we could align it. Now, could this have been because of a power supply issue? That's a question I can't answer!

Edit: I should add that the old HC started out working fine, although it would occasionally switch back to asking us to align the scope. It got quirkier and quirkier as time went on, often bringing up the "Initializing..." message before starting to work. It finally just stuck on "Initializing...".

I really would like a recommendation on a power cord, if anyone has one. I'm paranoid now! ;)

Graham

#12 Tel

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:33 PM

Hi Graham,

It sounds as if your purchase of the new HC wasn't at all in vain. May I wish you all success with the new one.

As to a new cord/transformer recommendation, I'm sorry, I can't provide one, living here in England and thus not au fait with what's available to you in the US.

By the way, if you get the opportunity, it would also be interesting to put a volt meter across the old, failing unit, just to see what its output is. :idea:

Best regards,
Tel

#13 Midnight Dan

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

Glad the fix is as simple as a power supply issue!

For an AC power cord, I'd get the celestron. If you're looking for a cord to go from a DC supply to the scope, here's one:
http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_cc14.htm

-Dan

#14 mclewis1

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

I really would like a recommendation on a power cord, if anyone has one. I'm paranoid now! ;)

Graham,

First off I'm surprised the power supply has a problem, you have what I would suggest is the best Celestron model ... but it certainly could have failed in some way.

You want a regulated 12v power supply that is rated at at least 1500ma and preferably a bit more - 2 to 3 amps (2000 to 3000ma). More amperage is not a problem as the scope will only draw what it needs but too little amperage will make the supply work too hard and the voltage will drop, which will indeed really bother the scope.

So a regulated 12v 2-3 amp power supply with a 2.1mm x 5.5mm power connector is what you're after. I personally would buy another similar Celestron power supply (the model #18778), they are IMHO a very good buy at around $20 ... and certainly not prone to failures.

#15 dragpeace

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

I've ordered a new power cord and will report back when I have it, just to update the thread. I'm surprised the cord failed, but it certainly seems to be the likeliest option.

I appreciate everyone's very helpful advice. The folks on this site are remarkably helpful and friendly! :)

Graham






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