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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Jim Meadows
member


Reged: 09/12/13

Loc: MS
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: munchmeister]
      #6209515 - 11/22/13 01:59 PM Attachment (30 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

SO...to the people that have used the Celestron StarSense ....is it worth it? Would you recommend buying one?



For me, unequivocally, yes. I could not wait to get one and I have it installed on my NexStar 8SE, which is an alt az mount. I am up and running in the advertised 3 minutes and don't even have to touch the hand control once it starts. For me, it is well worth the money. I've struggled with the frustrations of polar alignment, crawling around on my hands and knees trying to see through the damned polar alignment scope, getting nowhere. So, I went to the simplicity of an alt az, NexStar and mounted the StarSense as soon as it was available. Now, I'm out there much more often, slewing around and showing off the sky to family and friends.




I agree! Especially for the 8SE mount. I leave my C5 telescope and the SSA mounted on my SE mount as a grab and goto scope. I can pick it up, go outside connect the battery pack, turn it on and in under 3 min be viewing with better goto's than the SE HC with 2 star align. You can also add more calibration points as well for even better centering. I typically add calibration points as I slew to my first few selected objects. It is great for visual viewing - puts the object nicely in FOV every time.

If you have a GEM you may find some issues when using the SSA, especially if you have a CG-5 mount. I have an AGT CG-5 that would not work with the SSA with the SSA camera plugged into the splitter that you add to the CG-5 to support the SSA. I have been working with Team Celestron to trouble shoot my CG-5 along with others as well. It seems only some of the CG-5's don't work. What I found did make it work with my CG-5 mount was plugging my SkySeek GPS module into the splitter and the SS camera into the GPS module. I now use my C8 on my CG-5 mount with the SSA and love it as much as I do using the SSA on the SE mount. Plus with the GPS attached to the CG-5 I get time and location automatically. Another person tried their GPS module with the CG-5 and it still did not work - so it is not clear why that makes a difference on mine.

I start my CG-5 set up with a polar scope to get a fairly good starting point, add my C8 and accessories, turn on the mount and then let it auto align while I complete my other set up tasks, and then it is ready to go. I add calibration points as I go to improve the pointing accuracy. No more bending over, trying to find the fainter calibration stars, etc. Just be aware the ASPA is not functional yet with the SSA, so I use the original CG-5 HC when I am imaging to get better tracking. But the GoTo pointing accuracy is very good with the SSA on the CG-5, especially for visual observing. When they get the ASPA working with the SSA I will probably start using it all the time on the CG-5 mount.

I definitely agree though it is hard to beat the simplicity of the Alt-Az SE mount when used with the SSA. No need for a finder scope. I do have a laser mounted to show others were it is aiming in the sky :-) Here is a shot of my C5 and SSA on my SE mount ready to grab and take outside, turn it on and start viewing in 2-3 min!

Jim

Edited by Jim Meadows (11/22/13 03:34 PM)


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Jim Meadows]
      #6210028 - 11/22/13 06:41 PM

To those that have a working SSA. Can you slew to NGC7293. When I input 7293 in the NGC menu and press enter it changes to NGC7294 and slews there. My slew limits are 90 and 0, the Helix is visible above my horizon, and time and location data is correct (CN16 GPS).

Trying to figure out if it a database error or pilot error.


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Charlie B
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Sterling, Virginia
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Stew57]
      #6210166 - 11/22/13 08:14 PM

Quote:

Trying to figure out if it a database error or pilot error.





I think that its not in the database. I can only slew to it by using the RA and DEC position, but that works fine.

Charlie B


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Charlie B]
      #6210178 - 11/22/13 08:22 PM

Thanks
They have been working on database fixes. just wanted to make sure it wasn't me.


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Jim Meadows
member


Reged: 09/12/13

Loc: MS
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Stew57]
      #6211467 - 11/23/13 02:02 PM

I ran into a DB problem with M2. If you select it you will see the Dec is 0 0 0. Should be about 45'. RA is OK. I told TC about it and they said it would be fixed in a future release. Hopefully the DB will be cleaned up in the next release.

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dragonslayer1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Jim Meadows]
      #6211512 - 11/23/13 02:19 PM

Now it is supposed to auto align and do ASPA as advertised, am I right? Thats the way it is advertised? (Not wanting to take a shot or anything, just to be clear)... Now my understanding is for most ALT/AZ it works great? But with GEM some have issues and others don't? On some CGEM's it aligns and ASAP as advertised (re. Charlie B.) and some others have align issues. Some with CGEM and CGE PRO it aligns fine but the ASPA doesn't work?
You wonder how many were sold world wide and how many have issues... For me, without ASPA and viewing with Mallincam all the time I can't see where it could be of use? For any camera viewing with any length of integration you really have to have ASPA, unless your ALT/AZ... ???
Kasey


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OneDaveT
sage
*****

Reged: 10/24/11

Loc: IL, USA
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6211564 - 11/23/13 02:41 PM

Quote:

Some with CGEM and CGE PRO it aligns fine but the ASPA doesn't work?




Well if you consider it locking 75% of the time during auto calibration, and being consistently 15 arc minutes off on goto's "fine", then ok....


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Jim Meadows
member


Reged: 09/12/13

Loc: MS
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6211612 - 11/23/13 03:08 PM

Quote:

For me, without ASPA and viewing with Mallincam all the time I can't see where it could be of use? For any camera viewing with any length of integration you really have to have ASPA, unless your ALT/AZ... ???
Kasey




Kasey,

The SSA works fine for me for visual observations, but until they get ASPA working I use the CG-5 original HC for use with my Mallincam.

Jim


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hrgreen
member


Reged: 02/02/13

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: hrgreen]
      #6212574 - 11/24/13 03:53 AM

Friday was the first chance I got to audition the SSA since I worked on the dovetail. There was about 90% cloud cover, so I pointed the CGEM with the IPad compass, and was amazed that I got an Auto Align on the first try. Calibrated the camera for what I believe may be the last time, as target centering now seems consistent.

Hal


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dragonslayer1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/25/12

Loc: SLC, UT
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: hrgreen]
      #6212986 - 11/24/13 10:55 AM

Hal, thats great to hear,
Would be interesting to hear if your ASPA works as well?? Thank you, Kasey


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milby
super member
*****

Reged: 03/11/12

Loc: Indiana, USA
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: dragonslayer1]
      #6214932 - 11/25/13 11:42 AM

well, I'm on my third SSA unit.

The first was clearly defective. Nothing ever came up on the HC screen but blank orange.

The second and third both lock up on alignment after 1-2 exposures. Both were manufactured November 7th, 2013.

I suppose it's the CGEM mount.


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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: milby]
      #6217305 - 11/26/13 02:13 PM

I just want to add a bit to this discussion regarding the pointing and the ASPA when using the SSA with my AVX mount.

Every single time I was disapointed in the pointing after doing the auto align it was after a period of time where I had the camera dismounted from the OtA for a few days and I had other equipment on the OTA including different visual backs. Each time as I walked away to get my other hand controller while cursing the SSA I remembered that I needed to re-calibrate the cameras coordinates. I then would go-to Vega, center it in my crosshairs, then go into the SS menu and calibrate. Then on the pointing was very very good.

Pertaining to the ASPA I have this information to provide. Not using the SS at all (using Nexstar+HC) I did a 2+4 and an ASPA. I found that it was quite a bit off at about 10 arc/minutes of drift over 5 minutes of testing using PEMPRO.

Giving up on ASPA because I didn't want to constantly repeat the procedure to fine-tune the pole alignment I stuck it out with PEMPRO and got my alignment under an arc minute in both axis. Calling that good enough I re-did the 2+4, messed around for a bit then went to bed.

The following night I wanted to test the ASPA with the SSA camera and controller. Knowing that my drift was under an arc minute I did the auto align then added 6 reference points to bring the total model up to 10. I then used the pole align using the mounts software and it slewed over to.. gosh I think it was vega again though I don't why it would pick that star. Anyways, instead of the standard ASPA feature where it asks you to center the star using the HC first then slews away and back then asks for physical adjustments, this procedure skipped straight to physical adjustments. When sighting though the eyepiece using my reticle I was very pleased and surprised to find that vega was so incredibly close to center that I struggled to center it because the physical knobs on the mount are not precise enough and I found myself overshooting. I meant to re-test to see if the corrections brought me even lower on drift by using PEMPRO again to confirm but clouds started coming in, it was getting too cold for what I was wearing, and I was just tired.

What can I take away from this? Only that having the polar alignment very good to start with resulted in SSA showing only a very slight adjustment was needed. Does this mean that had I not had an accurate pole align to start with that SSA would have been able to correct with equal precision? That is what I don't know. That is what I need to determine when I get out there next. Supposed to be cloudy and rain the next few days but clear for the weekend so we'll see what happens.


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #6217343 - 11/26/13 02:35 PM

If one has to align, calibrate center, then align at every use, there is no time savings using the SSA. I have mounted my SSA on the mount itself to avoid that problem. It still is not a great time saver for me yet as the auto align freezes up, manual align works every time and pointing is quite accurate. I used the old HC, aligned and did an ASPA. Switched to the SSA, aligned and did an ASPA. The ASPA is off quite a bit for me. I tested each with a drift align. I know others are reporting that ASPA is working for them.

I am hoping they get the ASPA fixed for everyone and the auto align also. Mounting the SSA on the mount saves one headache though.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: Stew57]
      #6226340 - 12/01/13 02:55 AM

Right after an alignment my goto's in the north are usually good but in the southern half of the sky they are always poor.

For troubleshooting purposes I am trying to find out if any one else is having this problem or if it's just this CGE mount.
If your having poor goto's in the southern half of the sky I would appreciate if you would let me know and what mount your using.
Thanks,
Neilson


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JeffBosworth
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: neilson]
      #6226495 - 12/01/13 07:59 AM

I was finally able to put my SSA to the test last night. I have dutifully downloaded and installed all the updates. I have it on a CGE Pro mount.

The first few attempts were frustrating. The mount would slew properly to different areas of the sky and the SSA would take an image and solve - except on the third slew it would hang in "acquiring" mode. I tried "rebooting" the mount and doing the align again several times only to get the same result.

Then I tried a manual align. After two attempts it reported aligned but gotos were way off. Shut it down again (getting really angry now) and tried the auto align one more time. Ha! It slews to 4 locations in the sky gets images, solves the plate, and poof I am aligned. Attempt a few gotos with lousy results but realize I haven't done a camera calibration yet. I go through the camera calibrate routine using Altair, "reboot", and now it's a whole different story. Alignment goes fine and gotos are spot on! I didn't attempt additional calibration stars since the gotos were adequate for my evening viewing.

BTW, I then connected it to Starry Night and happily slewed the scope around with that all evening.

Nielson: All of the gotos I did after successful alignment were pretty much in the northern half of the sky. Due to lights and trees there isn't much I can see towards the south sou I didn't note any goto issues in the southern sky.

I was just asked to write a review of the SSA for a website. Since it has been months since purchase and it is only now that it is finally working close to its advertised capabilities (for GEM users anyway) I am not sure what I'm going to write. I don't want to downplay the efforts of the TeamCelestron crew. But I have been generally unhappy with the rollout of this device.

I have some thinking to do...

Jeff
Altair IV Obs


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186vett
member


Reged: 01/29/13

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: JeffBosworth]
      #6227768 - 12/01/13 07:23 PM

So Folks, a simple Yay or Nay on the StarSense! Have the VX mount, really pleased, but , is this worth the price?
Thanks All-Jerry


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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: JeffBosworth]
      #6229223 - 12/02/13 02:03 PM

Quote:

I was finally able to put my SSA to the test last night. I have dutifully downloaded and installed all the updates. I have it on a CGE Pro mount.

The first few attempts were frustrating. The mount would slew properly to different areas of the sky and the SSA would take an image and solve - except on the third slew it would hang in "acquiring" mode. I tried "rebooting" the mount and doing the align again several times only to get the same result.

Then I tried a manual align. After two attempts it reported aligned but gotos were way off. Shut it down again (getting really angry now) and tried the auto align one more time. Ha! It slews to 4 locations in the sky gets images, solves the plate, and poof I am aligned. Attempt a few gotos with lousy results but realize I haven't done a camera calibration yet. I go through the camera calibrate routine using Altair, "reboot", and now it's a whole different story. Alignment goes fine and gotos are spot on! I didn't attempt additional calibration stars since the gotos were adequate for my evening viewing.

BTW, I then connected it to Starry Night and happily slewed the scope around with that all evening.

Nielson: All of the gotos I did after successful alignment were pretty much in the northern half of the sky. Due to lights and trees there isn't much I can see towards the south sou I didn't note any goto issues in the southern sky.

I was just asked to write a review of the SSA for a website. Since it has been months since purchase and it is only now that it is finally working close to its advertised capabilities (for GEM users anyway) I am not sure what I'm going to write. I don't want to downplay the efforts of the TeamCelestron crew. But I have been generally unhappy with the rollout of this device.

I have some thinking to do...

Jeff
Altair IV Obs





Jeff....us CGE PRO owners need to know how this works in the south and...
Does it work the ASPA routine?

Please test thoroughly ...much appreciated.


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: JeffBosworth]
      #6230093 - 12/02/13 07:55 PM

Quote:


I was just asked to write a review of the SSA for a website. Since it has been months since purchase and it is only now that it is finally working close to its advertised capabilities (for GEM users anyway) I am not sure what I'm going to write. I don't want to downplay the efforts of the TeamCelestron crew. But I have been generally unhappy with the rollout of this device.

I have some thinking to do...

Jeff
Altair IV Obs





I don't envy you your task.


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JeffBosworth
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: WesC]
      #6230154 - 12/02/13 08:30 PM

WesC:

By "south" do you mean southern hemisphere? If so, last I heard there were still issues with SSA working properly in that hemisphere. Check with TeamCelestron on that - if you haven't joined, you should. It's free and a much better source of timely and more objective info on this and other Celestron stuff than other forums.

ASPA is NOT working on GEM's according to Celestron's primary SSA programmer. He said that they are working on it and will announce it when ready. However, I did hear of one CGEM user who was able to get ASPA to work but it sounded somewhat convoluted in its application.

I am just happy that the SSA finally chose to work well on my first really good night for observing. 5 or so months of frustration - with patience of a saint - has more or less paid off.

To you alt-az mount people, SSA is worth it for sure. Some pretty cool tech in that $300 accessory. And, I do think that Celestron will get it working flawlessly for GEM users soon. Otherwise, we're all going out and resurrect Meade by buying their Starlock mounts!!

Jeff


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Celestron StarSense new [Re: JeffBosworth]
      #6230667 - 12/03/13 01:52 AM


My CGE classic is having good goto's when pointing towards the north but when I try goto's towards the south half of the sky they are poor. About 24 arc minutes off, just outside my 40mm eyepiece on an Edge 9.25. I have been doing testing given to me by Team Celestron who's working on the problem. A few of the CGE classics (not Pro) have different chips and are having some problems and they are working on them. If you have this problem let me or Team Celestron know about it.

Neilson


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