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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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tscottt
newbie


Reged: 03/18/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #6067254 - 09/07/13 05:26 AM

I received my Starsense today, and tried it out under OK skies here in the western burbs of Chicago.

I had to drill and tap a hole in the rim around the mirror-cell of my AT-RC6 to mount the finder-bracket, but that went smoothly.

The Starsense itself worked just fine, once I plugged it in to my CGEM. I also have a StarShoot autoguider plugged in to the autoguider port. I also plugged in a serial-to-usb adapter to the new HC, just like I did with the old HC.

The alignment took about 3 minutes; then I had to calibrate it with one star, and let it align again. Apparently the calibration only has to happen when you move the StarSense relative to the OTA... which implies any time you remove/reattach it.

Anyway, it seemed to work just fine. I think my alignment was at least as good as when I did the 2-stars + 4 calib stars method. I was also able to control the scope with Stellarium.

The menus on the new HC are moderately to significantly different. I believe as I was scrolling through the various options, I did see the 2-star align method available. Interestingly, I couldn't figure out how to set my exact lat and long. Unless I missed something, the only option was to select from the city database built in to the HC. That could be a big problem to rural folks...

I was able to get up and running in a few minutes, and my autoguiding, computer control etc. worked just fine.

I really like the gizmo because I have a very significant astigmatism with my aging eyes. Also, I'm mostly into astrophotography (see the astigmatism comment), and having the scope do the hard work of seeing little dots in the sky saves me frustration in no small amount.

One thing that concerns me is that I had asked Celestron if the NexRemote software would work with the Starsense. They told me quite clearly "yes". Well... As I suspected it's a qualified yes. The NexRemote software, when coupled to the scope and its attached Starsense, works just like the old HC, and does not use the starsense. Technically, yes it "works" with the starsense attached, but it really needs an update to use the new functionality.

Overall, I am quite pleased.

-Scott
Oswego, IL


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C8er
super member


Reged: 09/15/12

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: tscottt]
      #6067262 - 09/07/13 05:40 AM

Hi Scott.

When it asks you for a city, if you hit the Option button (the button with the Celestron logo at bottom left on the HC) it will change to asking for latitude and longitude.

Also I don't think there is any 2 star align, just auto and manual starsense aligns, solar system align (but you can I think add calibration stars/objects to that, and quick align.

Cheers,
Chris.


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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: C8er]
      #6067270 - 09/07/13 06:03 AM

Chris beat me to finding how to set the location

I was able to fit the SS to my RC6 using the small dovetail adaptor that was already on my RC6. It was a tight fit but went in enough to hold.

The dovetail adaptor is fine on a Celestron ST80 so I get the impression that there are two sizes of the small dovetail adaptor, the Celestron one is a tiny bit bigger than the GSO one. It won't take more than a few strokes of a file to get the size down.

Chris


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tscottt
newbie


Reged: 03/18/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: C8er]
      #6067726 - 09/07/13 12:29 PM

Quote:

... if you hit the Option button (the button with the Celestron logo at bottom left on the HC) it will change to asking for latitude and longitude...

Cheers,
Chris.




Thank you for the help and clarification Chris!!


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palmer570
super member
*****

Reged: 09/04/12

Loc: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: tscottt]
      #6067813 - 09/07/13 01:24 PM

Quote:



The alignment took about 3 minutes; then I had to calibrate it with one star, and let it align again. Apparently the calibration only has to happen when you move the StarSense relative to the OTA... which implies any time you remove/reattach




The manual says you can remove and reattach without calibrating as long as the camera isn't jarred or bumped. Whether or not that's true... I haven't had the chance to even use mine once. Hopefully Sunday I will be able to get it out if the weather holds out.


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Carrera991
member


Reged: 10/27/12

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: palmer570]
      #6067881 - 09/07/13 02:10 PM

I must be a glutton for punishment... I exchanged mine, bad HC and all, for a new one this morning. Hopefully things will get better.

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tscottt
newbie


Reged: 03/18/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: palmer570]
      #6068216 - 09/07/13 05:31 PM

Quote:


The manual says you can remove and reattach without calibrating as long as the camera isn't jarred or bumped. Whether or not that's true... I haven't had the chance to even use mine once. Hopefully Sunday I will be able to get it out if the weather holds out.




I must be having a senior moment. How do you think one might remove and reattach the camera from the scope without doing far more to affect the alignment than bumping said camera? If the point is that small changes to the setting of the camera in its bracket...

-Scott


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palmer570
super member
*****

Reged: 09/04/12

Loc: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: tscottt]
      #6068467 - 09/07/13 08:21 PM

Was thinking the same lol. I think there is enough play between bracket and mount for it to be off slightly. Hoping to try it out tomorrow night and see how good it works and if I can remove and reattach it without having to recalibrate.

Maybe others that have had the chance to use it several times will chime in.

Edited by palmer570 (09/07/13 08:24 PM)


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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: palmer570]
      #6068861 - 09/08/13 03:15 AM

The need to redo the calibration will depend on how reproducible the StarSense camera can be replaced on the mount. This depends on the mount bracket, it's fine with the ones that I've tried.

I used the StarSense on a wedge mounted CPC1100 a couple of times last week, I fitted it by removing the normal finder and fitting the SS camera using the standard Celestron mounting bracket. I did a single calibration the first time. For the second session I just did a SS Auto align and that was it, no need to redo the calibration.

Chris


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: cn register 5]
      #6070444 - 09/08/13 11:28 PM

Tried again tonight with nothing but the SS plugged in (no CN16). It really is not much quicker if any than doing a 2+4. Using auto align or manual the pointing accuracy is about half of my standard 2+4. This was measured via where on the mallincam chip the object landed. If I add a calibration point where in the area of observation the gotos are about the same as a 2+4 or a bit better for that area, but much worse away from it. Does not matter how many points I add the pointing is worse except for the last area added. The ASPA seems to highly inaccurate. It makes no difference whether I add a calibration point near the star I am using for ASPA or not. Not a few minutes difference than the standard ASPA but degrees. I must be doing something wrong with the SS. The unit froze up a couple of times but I could back out. It froze up once needing a reboot. No slews to the ground or pointing below the horizon this time. There are objects listed that are below the horizon and if you choose to slew to them you will get no "object is below the horizon" warning. I did have on episode where I was manually slewing to add calibration points and the DEC would run away. If I had quit pressing the up button the mount would continue to slew up until I pressed the down button. If I pressed the down button again the mount would slew down until I pressed the up. I powered down and realigned and the did not happen again.

Being able to add a calibration point in the area you want is a nice idea. It needs to improve the pointing in that area without breaking the pointing model of the rest of the sky. I have no clue why the ASPA is so bad other than the pointing model is not that good. I tried with and without adding calibration reference point where the aspa star was. I tried to do an align and calibration reference points all over the sky, then do an ASPA. Still not close.


For me the unit is not ready yet and needs more beta testing. If there is an update out soon I will try again, otherwise I think I will try and return mine. Pretty disappointed.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Stew57]
      #6070780 - 09/09/13 07:20 AM

Hi,
I keep hearing people use the excuse that you can add a calibration point in the area you are working in as a good reason to accept their Starsenses inaccuracies. It is not. And here is a good reason. I go to quit a few stars each night and I don't think having to constantly add calibration points is a good thing. When I do my 2+4 it's accurate all night long, at each goto. Nexstar has a feature where you can add a star near the DSO you are working to improve accuracy but I have never needed it. And I am glad because on both my Meade mounts when you use that same feature it ruins the model in the rest of the sky, just like Stew is experiencing with his SS. I hope Celestron fixes this soon, as well as the lock ups. Having even one lock up is too many. If you are having to back out of one lock up you can no longer call this fully automatic. It should recognize it has locked up and back out of it itself. Then continue on or start over. Or better yet, it should not lock up in the first place. It would be nice if Celestron has a fix for both of these problems in a firmware update before long.
Having an accurate ASPA is a must. I count on it.



Neilson

Edited by neilson (09/09/13 09:01 AM)


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: tscottt]
      #6071218 - 09/09/13 12:20 PM Attachment (37 downloads)

I received my StarSense on 5 Sep and trekked to the Almost Heaven Star Party the following morning. I had only looked into the box and briefly through the manual, but everything looked easy. Of course, I forgot about Murphy.

The following evening after a long day setting up tents, telescopes, etc., I was ready to try the StarSense. I could not mount the device. It comes with two adapters, one for a celestron SCT and one for a finder shoe. Neither fit!

I gave up Friday and used the old handset on my CGEM. The next day, I dug through all my screws and adapters to jury-rig and adapter that worked fairly well.

I let the StarSense do it's thing after putting in location and time and, within 3 minutes, it was ready. I had it slew to Deneb, which was in the top left of my camera FOV. I centered Deneb, hit align and the offset calibration worked and I thought that I was ready. What I did not do was turn the mount off and on again and complete another autoalign, so my offset did not take. However, every slew was in the same place on my camera, so I believe that it worked as advertised.

The camera is built well and I'm happy with the purchase, operator error aside. Also, I tried, unsuccessfully, to use Sky Tools 3.

I've attached some images of the adapter that attached to my guide scope rings.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6071227 - 09/09/13 12:24 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

Here is a top view of the adapter.

This device is what I needed to keep from having to virtually lay on the ground and strain my neck doing the regular alignment. Those who find it easy to do 4 star alignments near the meridian, do not have equatorial mounts. I think the StarSense will save my knees and neck from a lot of strain.

Regards,

Charlie B


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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6071886 - 09/09/13 06:52 PM

Camera#1: Canon T1i (no reducer)
Telescope: Celestron EdgeHD 8" 2032mm FL 203mm Aperture
Image size in pixels 4752x3168
Pixel Size in microns 4.69
FOV in Archmin 37.71 x 25.14 Res "/pixel .48

Celestron SSA pointing test 1(After auto alignment only)
http://youtu.be/3VmimKkINTg

How long does it take from start to finish for the auto align routine to complete? With clear unobstructed views about 2minutes 21seconds. http://youtu.be/YwphjhsAXOs

How much longer does it take to add the other 6 positions manually(currently the only method available)? I think it is close to 5 minutes.

Is the pointing more precise after adding the additional points?
I think it is a "little" bit better but nothing that is going to knock your socks off. See this video: http://youtu.be/bRTI7mV4RlQ


I am going to cover polar alignment in a future video.

Edited by Whichwayisnorth (09/09/13 07:41 PM)


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Scotty H
super member


Reged: 11/15/10

Loc: Surrey,UK
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #6071983 - 09/09/13 07:51 PM

That's looking rather promising Michael. I see in your post it says after auto alignment only. Had you done the centre alignment calibration with the Canon attached at that point? Either way pretty impressive at that focal length

Scott


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C8er
super member


Reged: 09/15/12

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #6071987 - 09/09/13 07:52 PM

Hi,

Did the new firmware Celestron sent you to fix the lockups that you were having actually work? Others among us also were/are having lockups and have a major interest in that?

If I have the right person and that was you who reported those lockups here and posted those early youtube vidoes.

Cheers,
Chris

Quote:

Camera#1: Canon T1i (no reducer)
Telescope: Celestron EdgeHD 8" 2032mm FL 203mm Aperture
Image size in pixels 4752x3168
Pixel Size in microns 4.69
FOV in Archmin 37.71 x 25.14 Res "/pixel .48

Celestron SSA pointing test 1(After auto alignment only)
http://youtu.be/3VmimKkINTg

How long does it take from start to finish for the auto align routine to complete? With clear unobstructed views about 2minutes 21seconds. http://youtu.be/YwphjhsAXOs

How much longer does it take to add the other 6 positions manually(currently the only method available)? I think it is close to 5 minutes.

Is the pointing more precise after adding the additional points?
I think it is a "little" bit better but nothing that is going to knock your socks off. See this video: http://youtu.be/bRTI7mV4RlQ


I am going to cover polar alignment in a future video.




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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: C8er]
      #6072014 - 09/09/13 08:08 PM

I've not had any further freezes after Celestron came to the rescue. I am sure if there is a change to the software that needs to be made to resolve the problem that they are working on it.

Often when fixing one thing you might break something else. Further testing to make sure everything works as intended is currently being done before any patches are made public. In the mean time if you hare having issues all I can recommend you do is contact Celestron and let them know about it and see what they have to say.


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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: Celestron StarSense [Re: Scotty H]
      #6072016 - 09/09/13 08:11 PM

Quote:

That's looking rather promising Michael. I see in your post it says after auto alignment only. Had you done the centre alignment calibration with the Canon attached at that point? Either way pretty impressive at that focal length

Scott




You only need to calibrate the camera with the OTA once. I've done it about 10 times just to make sure. Do a normal auto align then add the other 6 points then go-to a star. Center star and then in the menu calibrate. SS will snap a photo and solve it then determine where the star is in relation to where it thinks it is and adjust coordinates. Super simple.

So yah, what you see in the videos is as close as it has been. What I would have to do is switch out hand controllers, and do a regular 2+4 alignment and see what the difference is. On my list.


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C8er
super member


Reged: 09/15/12

Re: Celestron StarSense [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #6072039 - 09/09/13 08:21 PM

Thanks for the videos Michael. Good to see you now have the thing working. I presume the firmware fix they sent you for the lockups did work in the end?

Watching your videos I have suddenly wondered if Celestron thought of coding this thing to ask us how many autoalign areas we want in total, anything from 3-13 for altaz mounts, and from 4-14 for Eq mounts, then we could have left the unit to choose, goto, and automatically solve all of the areas, not just automatically do the first 3-4 only and leave us to manually slew it and choose where to point for the up to 10 calibration areas.

It could have worked out a pattern so all the calibration areas were well spaced over most of the sky probbaly better than we can manually.

You would still need an option to choose and slew to extra manual areas of interest to be solved later but I'm sure that could have been managed.

Cheers,
Chris


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Ain Soph Aur
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/11/11

Loc: West Tennessee
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: C8er]
      #6072063 - 09/09/13 08:33 PM

Adorama is delivering my Starsense this Wednesday. Looking forward to testing it with the 8SE and CGEM DX! Fingers crossed

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