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GPS Unit for Orion Skyview Pro Goto Mount

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#1 gunfighter48

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 09:25 PM

Does anyone know of a GPS unit that works with the Orion Skyview Pro Goto mount? When I bought the mount I did a couple of online chats with their support techs and they said to use the Celestron SkySync GPS but I could never get it to work. I called their tech support number and this time the tech said it doesn't work with the SkySync GPS unit. The mount works great but I did want the GPS option and it's one of the reasons that I bought it over the Celestron AVX mount. Plus I have been buying Orion products since 2000 and have always been satisfied with their equipment and still am.

I bought the GPS unit from Hands On Optics, so I called them and they took the GPS unit back and refunded the entire price of the unit. I have nothing but great praise for them for taking back the unit. It wasn't their fault that I got bad info. I fully expected to have to sell it at a loss to recoup some of the $200 it cost me. I've bought a bit of stuff from them this year and they will be getting more of my business.

I am not happy with Orion's tech support. This wasn't a hard issue it either works or doesn't work with the mount, end of story. They need to get it together. I've done phone support in the past and I always knew what I was talking about and the issues with the product that I was supporting.

Now I'm wondering if there is any other GPS units that will work with the Skyview Pro Goto. It seems to be very close to several of the other mounts on the current market. Anyone know of any?

#2 gunfighter48

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:04 PM

Does anyone know of a GPS unit that works with the Orion Skyview Pro Goto mount? When I bought the mount I did a couple of online chats with their support techs and they said to use the Celestron SkySync GPS but I could never get it to work. I called their tech support number and this time the tech said it doesn't work with the SkySync GPS unit. The mount works great but I did want the GPS option and it's one of the reasons that I bought it over the Celestron AVX mount. Plus I have been buying Orion products since 2000 and have always been satisfied with their equipment and still am.

I bought the GPS unit from Hands On Optics, so I called them and they took the GPS unit back and refunded the entire price of the unit. I have nothing but great praise for them for taking back the unit. It wasn't their fault that I got bad info. I fully expected to have to sell it at a loss to recoup some of the $200 it cost me. I've bought a bit of stuff from them this year and they will be getting more of my business.

I am not happy with Orion's tech support. This wasn't a hard issue it either works or doesn't work with the mount, end of story. They need to get it together. I've done phone support in the past and I always knew what I was talking about and the issues with the product that I was supporting.

Now I'm wondering if there is any other GPS units that will work with the Skyview Pro Goto. It seems to be very close to several of the other mounts on the current market. Anyone know of any?


8/18/13 Update: I was browsing some of the online dealer sites and Opt Telescopes had the Orion GPS unit in stock, at least that's what the site says. So I ordered one tonight and I should know tomorrow if it truly is in stock. TelescopeS.NET in Woodland Hill, CA also says they have them in stock. Don't know how I missed them over the last 3 weeks of searching but glad I found them. Orion is not selling them anymore according to their tech support personnel. I'll report back if I get one and let everyone know if it works ok.

#3 frito

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:03 AM

mechanically the SVP is very similar to many mounts because its based on the Vixen Great Polaris mount, that being said the similarites stop there, when it comes to the electronics on a mount even though synscan (what orion uses) and nexstar (celestron) are both made by the same company in china they are different and never to my knowldge cross compatible. not sure why Orion might have told you that a celestron GPS unit would work on it, I'm not suprised it did not. your only hope is a GPS unit made by Orion or Skywatcher (outside of the US many products Orion carries made by Synta are sold under that name and are virtually identical)

if all else fails why not use a real GPS unit to get coordinates or do what I do, plan in advance of a trip and get the coordinates from online maps and save them to a tablet, phone etc. so once there you can easily just enter them. also unless you travel some distance away one does not need new GPS coordinates, in fact if your only doing visual with your mount you can travel quite a long distance and use your home coordinates and still get excellent goto performance, at least I do with my CG-5, the issue i have ran into is that i do AP with mine and rely on the mounts all star polar alignment scheme to polar align accurately and if i have really off coordinates in it will result in a bad polar alignment for obvious reasons, visual performace is still plenty acceptable however.

#4 gunfighter48

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 10:41 AM

Hi Dwayne,

I'm going to try the Orion unit that I just ordered from Opt Telescopes and if that doesn't work then I'll just buy a hand held GPS unit. The GPS from Opt is the Orion unit made for the Orion mounts so it should work.

I will be going to Eastern Washington (3 to 4 hours east of my home location) several times in the next few months to get to some really dark skies so it will be nice if the Orion unit works. I'll post again once I get it and see how it performs.

#5 frito

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:13 AM

yeah, once again though I'll reiterate that unless your doing astrophotography and are using the mounts polar alignment routine (if the SVP even has one, not sure, i know newer firmwares in the sirius and atlas mounts have it now) for visual use a distance that far off is easily compensated for by the mounts software during alignment, you will know your off when you do the alignment because the first few stars will be more off than usual but once the mount realizes what is going on after a few stars its easily compensated for in normal goto performance. i regularly travel a half hour south of my home location and do astrophotography and don't even bother to change my location from my home coordinates, its not far enough of a distance to matter, 3-4 hour drives away is far enough to matter but only for critical alignment applications like AP so i just make sure to look up the coordinates before I go or as a last resort i can use my phone or tablet to find out, just download a GPS app that does not require an internet connection, sky safari will not work because it needs an internet connection and GPS lock to use "current location" but if you manually setup a remote site into it then that is another way to store the coordinates so you have them with you in the field.

#6 Pauls72

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:25 AM

I have one of those GPS units with my Orion Atlas mount and it works just fine. Make sure your hand controller is at the current 3.35 level of firmware. There was a couple of levels of firmware that had problems with the GPS units.

First time you use it and when you change locations it seems to take a few minutes to figure out where you are. As other people have said, in most cases exact coordinates aren't that critical.

Is you have a smart phone, you can down load an app to get your coordinates. You can also go on a number of web map sites and get coordinates for locations.

#7 gunfighter48

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:09 PM

I have one of those GPS units with my Orion Atlas mount and it works just fine. Make sure your hand controller is at the current 3.35 level of firmware. There was a couple of levels of firmware that had problems with the GPS units.

First time you use it and when you change locations it seems to take a few minutes to figure out where you are. As other people have said, in most cases exact coordinates aren't that critical.

Is you have a smart phone, you can down load an app to get your coordinates. You can also go on a number of web map sites and get coordinates for locations.


I updated the HC and MC to the newest levels about a week ago when I was trying to get the Celestron GPS to work. I have to say the updates were very easy to do, once I got a rs232 to usb cable for my laptop.

I couldn't get the updates to work on Win 8 in my home computer. It didn't recognize the port settings. But they worked fine with my Win 7 laptop. So the HC is now Ver.3.35.

#8 rmollise

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:27 PM

If you already have a GPS, as in your cell phone, just use that. I wouldn't pay a lot of money for a GPS unit for a GEM--not if my reason for buying it were improving the mounts accuracy. A GPS will NOT improve your go-tos over what you will get if you plug in the position and time from your phone.

Being precise will not make go-tos better to stars and deep sky objects, it might cause some improvement with the Moon and planets if the time and position you enter manually is way off. All it really does, frankly, it save you from a few keystrokes.

#9 gunfighter48

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:07 PM

I will be heading for some areas with NO cell service. North Eastern Washington state is a large area. Much of it has no or spotty cell service. I just got the confirmation this afternoon that the Orion GPS was in stock and one is on it's way to me. At this point it's the principal of the thing. I'm a stubborn Swede. And I am going to get the GPS come h__l or high water!! LOL

But I do thank everyone for your advice and I did consider all opinions. I could get a cheap standalone GPS receiver but I'm not always rational when I go after something. Keeps life interesting. I'll post with the results when I get it and see how it works out.

#10 frito

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:52 PM

please do, others with your mount may want to know if it works with it or not, I think it will because the software is the same as other orion/skywatcher/synscan mounts so you should be good to go.

What I and Uncle Rod are trying to get at is a GPS unit that works only with a specific brand/type of mount is sort of a gimmick, its not a nessisary thing to have even without cell service. I do without any GPS at all and image in areas where i have zero cell service regularly. I just always make sure to plan ahead and get coordinates of the location i'm going to in advance, failing that as long as you know the local area most mount's have pretty extensive city databases built in and worse comes to worse you pick the nearest city to your location and that should work fine in most cases. then there is always the option if you are with other astronomers to ask them what the coordinates are at that location (one of many good reasons its worth joining astro club's)

all in all to me personally a mount having built in GPS or being able to have a GPS module plugged in at added cost is a virtual waste of money that could have been spent on something more useful but thats just me. to each his own and if thats what you want thats what you want, we're just pointing out that its not something that should ever be a deal breaker in our experienced opinions.

#11 rmollise

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 07:21 AM

I will be heading for some areas with NO cell service. North Eastern Washington state is a large area. Much of it has no or spotty cell service. I just got the confirmation this afternoon that the Orion GPS was in stock and one is on it's way to me. At this point it's the principal of the thing. I'm a stubborn Swede. And I am going to get the GPS come h__l or high water!! LOL

But I do thank everyone for your advice and I did consider all opinions. I could get a cheap standalone GPS receiver but I'm not always rational when I go after something. Keeps life interesting. I'll post with the results when I get it and see how it works out.


Have fun. Were it me I would just have googled the position of the place I'd have been observing at and written it down. All you need is to be within 60-miles. But, then, I'm cheap. :lol:

#12 gunfighter48

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:25 PM

Hi Uncle Rod,

I've had to be cheap for the last 30 years due to wife's doctor bills, she had Parkinson's Disease. When she passed away last June her life insurance paid off all our bills. Dept free for the first time in the 44 years we were married.

So I'm still working, not making great money but have enough to pay the few bills that I have. And I can indulge my passion for astro gear as long as I don't go toooooo crazy!! And this time around I'm getting what I want (and can afford - would love to have a 14" or 16" SCT but that's NOT going to happen). Doesn't always make sense but I've been sensible for many decades. Now it's my turn to go a little crazy(second childhood? :jump:). It's just drives one of my daughters crazy (I'm getting my revenge on her for all the years she's driven me nuts!!!!!!!) Anyway I do understand the points you and Dwayne are making, just going my own way this time. Like I said it doesn't always make sense! :lol:

By the way, I've enjoyed your website and blog for many years. Thanks for your efforts! :bow:

#13 frito

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:35 AM

Theres nothing wrong with going your own way on it, we just want to make sure you know that its not something that most of us find to be important, its useful yes but not important to us specifically. I do hope it works out for you and please do report how it goes so we and others know but do keep in mind that if it does not work out its by no means the end of the world and that is ultimatly what we are getting at with our commments.

#14 gunfighter48

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:13 PM

Ok, I got the Orion GPS unit today for the Skyview Pro Goto. I plugged it in and turned on the power and it worked as it should. The handset reports that it found the gps and then goes on to input the gps info, time , date, etc. The gps unit has a cord with a 6 pin mini-din connector and there is another cable that plugs into that one with a 6 pin RJ-12 connector that plugs into the hand controller. It also has a 6 pin mini-din to usb plug to use with a computer. There is a mini cd which has the SynScan GPS Instructions in PDF format, and GPS configuration program. But all you have to do is plug it into the handset and it works great. So now I'm happy, everything works as it should.

I had the mount out last night with my C102GT and it works great. I only did the one star alignment so it wasn't real accurate pointing but with wide angle eyepieces it did just fine. Tracking is very good, I had the moon it the eyepiece for over an hour trying out different eyepieces that I've bought since Jan/13 and it stayed in the center or the eyepiece. Even with heavy eyepieces there was no problems tracking. I'm very happy with the mount. :grin:

#15 frito

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:23 AM

good to hear! :)






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