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No More Tracking

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#1 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 12:12 AM

My previously perfect CPC925 refused to track tonight. I noticed it right away as the finder and eyepiece view was drifting when I started my alignment. The readout of the Alt and Az positions was not incrementing and the drift was the same when I powered off the scope so I know it wasn't moving. The clutches were tight. The regulated power supply showed 13.8 volt with hardly any draw. The hand controller moved the scope in all directions with no issue.

I did a quick SkyAlign alignment before the stars could drift too far and it said Alignment Successful but it still didn't track. I loosened and tightened the clutches and moved the scope by hand. I performed two Factory Resets with no change. I tried different Tracking Modes for grins but no change in behavior.

It was one of those perfect nights that don't come to often in Michigan but at least I got to watch the Milky Way rise.

Anyone have any thoughts or should it just be packaged up and sent to Celestron? What about refreshing the firmware?

Dave

#2 Digital Don

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:38 AM

Hi Dave,

I've heard of instances where the tracking mode apparently shut itself off, and other instances where users have inadvertantly turned tracking off.

Double-check that the tracking mode is set to Alt-Az, (or N/S Equatorial as appropriate), an the tracking rate is set to siderial.

Hope you get it sorted out!

Don:usa:

#3 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:16 AM

Every time I go into the Tracking Mode setup it shows OFF, so I change it to Alt-Az and hit ENTER. When I go back to Tracking Mode it says it's OFF again. What I can't remember is if it should normally show the tracking mode the scope is in or if OFF should be shown on the menu. It does show SIDEREAL for tracking rate. Can someone verify that?

#4 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:33 AM

I put the scope in EQ North tracking mode and it does "stick" in the menu. I then checked the Axis information and it is incrementing in one axis only, as it should for an equatorial setting. But, when I try to put it in Alt-Az, it always reverts to OFF when I go back and check the setting. So, it's either the hand controller or something in the scope telling the hand controller that it can't do Alt-Az tracking. Anyone else ever see this?

#5 Monadnock

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 08:32 AM

Have you tried updating the firmware version?...or if it's current (4.21, I believe] re-flashing it? You'll likely need an RS232 to USB adapter. Celestron recommends this one.

#6 dragonslayer1

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:45 AM

Just a FYI, just before I deforked my 9.25 I had upgraded handset and seem to remember that for one mode to stay locked in (alt/az?) the scope has to be aligned. Put it into just a quick or fake align and see if it changes,,
Kasey

#7 dragonslayer1

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:47 AM

PS for above listed issue I spent a lot of time with Celestron on the phone and 3 different people before they acknowledged it is just a firmware thing

#8 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

So, I've updated the hand controller to 5.21 and re-imaged all of the motor controllers to 5.14 but no joy. It will just not allow me to choose Alt-Az tracking mode. You can choose it in the menu but when you go back to the tracking mode menu it says OFF. If you do the same with EQ North or EQ South the chosen mode is shown when you return the next time. If I put it on a wedge it would probably work fine but that's not why I have this scope. It's purely for visual.

Looks like I'll need to call Celestron and find out how to send it in.

#9 Monadnock

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:12 PM

So it does in fact track in those modes?

#10 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:45 PM

Yes, I can hear the motor running and I can see the AZ incrementing when I look at Get Alt-Az in the Utilities (?) menu. I did notice that if I put it in EQ North setting and turn the scope off and back on that it does not retain the Tracking Mode EQ North setting. It always says OFF. But, every other setting int he hand controller is retained.

I don't know their software but it seems that there is some kind of error on the board that reports back to the hand controller to turn tracking off. As a computer guy I'm just speculating.

#11 dragonslayer1

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:34 PM

Try this and test it
Just a FYI, just before I deforked my 9.25 I had upgraded handset and seem to remember that for one mode to stay locked in (alt/az?) the scope has to be aligned. Put it into just a quick or fake align and see if it changes,,
Kasey

#12 Monadnock

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 06:05 PM

Well I'll just say I'm NOT a computer guy, so you may be correct. I was thinking your controller may have gone bad. Replacing that would be MUCH easier than having to ship the scope out, and the shipping cost and down time would likely be a wash. I always assumed the "brains" of the CPC were in the hand controller, and the boards in the base and arms were just for GPS and motor control. Definitely give Celestron tech a call on Mon. Hopefully, they'll have an easy fix for you.

Got a scope shop that sells CPC's nearby? If so, give them a call and see if they'll let you bring yer scope down and swap controllers for a quick sec. If the new one works, there's your answer. At that point, if it were me, I'd order a replacement through them even if its a few bucks more than your favorite E-store.



#13 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:00 PM

Try this and test it
Just a FYI, just before I deforked my 9.25 I had upgraded handset and seem to remember that for one mode to stay locked in (alt/az?) the scope has to be aligned. Put it into just a quick or fake align and see if it changes,,
Kasey


Sorry, no go on that one. Ya gotta know when to fold 'em.

#14 dwitek

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:05 PM

Actually I have another Nexstar+ hand controller I got as spare with the previously owned CGE I have downstate. Might need different firmware for the CPC. As long as they're not hardware dependent it should work. I won't be there till next weekend but I'll bring the CPC with me to test before sending. Thanks for jogging my memory, Monadnok!

#15 Monadnock

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:53 PM

No prob. I THINK they're the same controller, hardware wise. There are 2 different part #'s for the 2 different versions but I believe the fundamental diff is software. A quick flash and you should be all set.

If you can't find your other controller, PM me.

See what Celestron says on Monday. Gotta love how this stuff always happens on weekends. If it needs replacing, and the warranty is expired, who knows, Celestron may still hook you up. If they don't, and you don't want to leave your CGE without a controller, you can get one quickly from that "river" site. The new and improved + version too :cool:

#16 btieman

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 07:22 AM

You may also try a factory reset on the hand controller. Mine has gotten garbled up in the past to the point where it did very odd things until I factory reset it.

#17 Monadnock

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 08:38 AM

You may also try a factory reset on the hand controller. Mine has gotten garbled up in the past to the point where it did very odd things until I factory reset it.


He tried that already. First post ;)
I'm interested to hear what Celestron has to say regarding the issue. Again, I'm not a computer guy but it sure sounds like a software issue the more I think about it. I can't see how the controller being physically bad would cause this issue, though I hope he doesn't have to send the OTA in for service.

#18 dragonslayer1

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 09:38 AM

:tonofbricks:Am folding, LOL,
Kasey

#19 dwitek

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 02:33 PM

I'll post the progress for future generations, LOL.

#20 brucepech

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 08:45 PM

I have a similar but not identical problem with a fresh out of the box 11" CPC DeluxeHD. At first light last night, it was immediately apparent that the scope wasn't tracking in ALT-AZ mode during a non-auto, two star alignment. Like the OP, I did an on-the-fly alignment and a goto to Saturn. The goto was successful but Saturn rapidly drifted out of the eyepiece's FOV. To keep the planet in view I had to continually track it manually using the directional arrows. Judging by my Telrad, each subsequent goto was more and more off base -- probably because of my manually tracking the preceding target. Turning the scope off and on again, I noticed that the ALT-AZ tracking mode setting hadn't "stuck" although the tracking rate remained pegged to sidereal. Over the next five hours, turning the scope off and on coupled with successive, on-the-fly two star alignments resulted in acceptable gotos to the first object (M13, M91, M57, Albeiro, etc.) but subsequent failures because the scope wouldn't track without manual intervention.

This morning I did an indoor two star alignment with a planisphere. The scope appeared to track "Altair" for six hours, continually incrementing in both axes according to the Get Axis Positions utility and ending up pointing at the western horizon. However, checking the hand box afterward, it was immediately apparent that, after setting it to ALT-AZ, the mode immediately reverted to "Off" (Menu>Tracking>scroll to ALT-AZ>press Enter>press the Back button until I was at the introductory Alignment display>repeat until reaching Mode>LCD display reads "Off.") However, the North and South Eq modes remained on following the same series of steps.

So I'm well and truly baffled. This morning, the scope appeared to track my faux Altair indoors -- but wouldn't track outdoors yesterday evening. And, while the North and South EQ tracking mode settings remain on when set, the ALT-AZ mode immediately defaults to off. The Handbox is one of the new Nextstar+ models introduced in December which came with firmware version HC:NXS 5.26.2336 loaded. The motor control firmware is MC: 6.16 6.16. I haven't tried to load any other firmware versions -- and don't think newer ones have been issued by Celestron.

Has anyone (other than the OP)with the same Nexstar+ and firmware versions experienced similar issues? Is it possible that the firmware in some handboxes is corrupt while others are OK? Could it be a non-software problem? I've already looked at the other posts in this thread and none of the suggested fixes work -- although I don't have another handbox to try out.

Thanks for any insights or suggestions.

#21 astrovienna

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 11:29 PM

Do you guys get the same result when you use Nexremote instead of the hand control? That might narrow down the issues.

Kevin

#22 brucepech

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 02:13 AM

Since I just bought the CPC to complement my vintage 8" LX-90. I haven't explored Nexremote or other exotic options. I'm stuck with the handbox for the time being. But thanks for the suggestion.

#23 Monadnock

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:32 AM

Now you guys got me going. I recently replaced my perfectly functioning stock controller (Loooong story) with a Nexstar + controller. Mine, before alignment always defaults to off as well! After a 1 star mock alignment, and accessing the mode via the menu button, it shows tracking in alt-az mode. I used Betelgeuse as the alignment star because it's to the south right now. While I have no idea if it's tracking accurately, it is audibly tracking using both motors.

Is it possible we're all having a "duh" moment here and any visually confirmed tracking errors are simply due to poor alignments? It seems logical that the tracking mode is set to "off" if the scope hasn't been aligned yet.

ETA- I'm still using the stock motor firmware version. Scope manufactured in '11 or '12.

#24 brucepech

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:07 AM

I dunno Monadnock. I'm just familiarizing myself with Celestron handboxes. My old Meade Autostar 497 always tracked *during* a two star alignment. I set the "mount" (the same, or so I think, as Celestron's tracking mode) to ALT-AZ over a year ago and it's retained the setting ever since. When I align the Meade, the alignment stars remain in the eyepiece FOV while I center them; I don't have to keep chasing them with the Autostar's directional arrows. Since my Nexstar+ deletes the ALT-AZ tracking mode setting and reverts to off every time I set it, I'd have to do a mock alignment to get it to track before doing a real alignment -- which is counterintuitive since it'd have to be done every time the handbox is turned off and on between observing sessions. Moreover, unlike ALT-AZ, the EQ North and South tracking mode settings are retained by the handbox. Again, it seems coounterintuitive that ALT-AZ reverts to "Off" while the other modes don't. But, as I said, I'm new to Celestron products.

PS. I can hear the tracking motors whirring too after a mock alignment. I'm beginning to think that a non-sidereal tracking rate (even though the Handbox is set to and retains a sidereal setting) is the problem both in centering the alignment stars in the FOV during a real alignment and in the post-alignment drift of the goto target object.

#25 Monadnock

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 12:11 PM

Hmm. I've never actually taken note as to when the scope starts tracking. I normally use the 3 star alignment, or whatever it's called, and I assume that after the 3rd star is centered and ALIGN is pressed, it starts tracking.

If I'm understanding everyone's previous posts, and my own recent discovery, the CPC defaults to alt-az mode and shows "off" before an alignment. After the alignment it may show as being off, though I haven't seen it, but still tracks in that mode. Perhaps it showing as off is some sort of trivial software glitch? Not even sure if that makes sense. I'll have to look into it further after work.






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