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SkyHack -- Things you shouldn't be doing with Celestron's SkyScout

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#26 FlyBD5

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 01:51 PM

Has anyone seen this? It seems there are much newer firmwares for the SkyScout. 

 

http://software.cele...dates/SkyScout/



#27 vegachicago

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 03:22 PM

Has anyone seen this? It seems there are much newer firmwares for the SkyScout. 

 

http://software.cele...dates/SkyScout/

Careful, the version one can only take version one updates, up to 1.30.22.  You cannot update a version 2 with any firmware except the 2.xx.xx  Same for the version three.  If you update to the wrong firmware you can brick it, and have a nice paperweight.



#28 10100111001

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 06:36 PM

Anybody made any headway on fixing the date problem?


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#29 GalaxyPiper

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 01:11 AM

This is an interesting thread that seems to have waned. I have acquired one of this devices off of ebay that was dead, with the red screen of death, for a nominal "exploration" fee.

Since then (a matter of days) I will be acquiring two more, one the GPS has a failure message, and the other apparently fully working.  

My plans for these devices are simply entertainment and puzzle pieces to see if I can can fix and make useful maybe for grand kids or maybe a cowboy that wants to hitch his luck on a passing star.

One thing that I have found out is that if you don't have the battery shields on the batteries, that unwanted magnetizem will creep in and make the GPS sensor unstable or prevent it from locking on.

These shields can still be had...also for a nominal fee if you are so inclined to replace the ones in yours that are missing.

http://www.highpoint...term=CEL-SS027X

I realize that these machines were made obsolete over night when Apple created the iPod. 

That is the paradigm shift that we are all swimming in right now.

But be that as it may...they are still cool, and for the younger set, indispensable to encourage to get the young minds out of the palm of their hands and into the night air and clear skies.

That's when it become priceless...

I'll update this when I have experimented a little more...


Edited by GalaxyPiper, 27 June 2017 - 01:12 AM.


#30 GalaxyPiper

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 02:22 PM

Ok, well, I have received all three now. One came in it's original box and contents, complete with a nice carrying bag, strap, a USB cable and some cheap in ear headphones. The other "Working" one that had a bad GPS was only because it did not have the battery shields (thin walled metal tubes that fit over the batteries.). One those were used it was working just as good at the other one. The Third one is still DOA. I may swap boards as a quick way to see if the problem can be isolated to one of them. Like others that have posted on here, these machines are battery hungry like I have never seen before. This can be minimised by lowering the display lights. Those red LED's are the culprit. I was able to double the battery life just by doing that. A fresh set of Alkalines will last about 6 hours, but with the red LED's glowing hot, that time is cut in half, or about 4 hours max.

This is 2007 technology at its finest. I like the female voice that is clear in describing the stars in the tutorials.Very professional.

For an evening of exploring, and a campout, this would be a nice introduction to the younger set for some harmless exploration and wonder.

If I get the last one working (it did not come with even a battery door) I'll post back!

$49.00 on ebay for a good working one, is not a bad deal for something that is 10 years old.

I have seen them for over $200.00, please, don't pay that. These machines are not supported anylonger so there is no point paying more than $50.00 that is complete.

The two non working ones I paid $9.99 each, and one fully worked, but did not come with anything else.

Laptops are down to the $200.00 range now, and would be more bang for your buck. Just FYI, and remember "Caveat Emptor", Let the buyer beware...


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#31 grnbrg

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:47 PM

I was impressed by one loaned by a friend, so I picked one up on EBay. I'm hoping to use it as a "Push-To" guider on my 6" newtonian.

I've spent a good part of the day hacking on it -- my hope was to update the year selection. Lots of mucking with binary edits, CRCs, and setting up my home webserver to impersonate software.celestron.com. smile.gif

The good news? I now have firmware 1.30.23 installed, and I can scroll the selector through 2017-2027. The bad news is that (as I feared) the year strings in the firmware were just for display. I can scroll through new years, but they are still internally interpreted as 2005 to 2015.

And the "Target" button doesn't work. Not sure if that's me, or if it arrived that way. smile.gif It guides to appropriate locations, though.

So. It's possible to flash a modded firmware. The process to get the new file loaded is fairly technical, as I wasn't able to get the update software to read the file from the disk, although I have some ideas there. There also doesn't look like there is an easy way to downgrade to a known-good firmware.


If anyone has any thoughts on what else to try to binary patch onto an existing firmware, let me know.



grnbrg.

Edit: Took the cover off, reseated the top daughterboard, wiped the contacts, and reassembled. "Target" button now works. So I'm pretty sure it arrived that way, and it wasn't the new, hacked firmware causing issues.

Edited by grnbrg, 11 September 2017 - 11:41 PM.


#32 vegachicago

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:11 AM

I was impressed by one loaned by a friend, so I picked one up on EBay. I'm hoping to use it as a "Push-To" guider on my 6" newtonian.

I've spent a good part of the day hacking on it -- my hope was to update the year selection. Lots of mucking with binary edits, CRCs, and setting up my home webserver to impersonate software.celestron.com. smile.gif

The good news? I now have firmware 1.30.23 installed, and I can scroll the selector through 2017-2027. The bad news is that (as I feared) the year strings in the firmware were just for display. I can scroll through new years, but they are still internally interpreted as 2005 to 2015.

And the "Target" button doesn't work. Not sure if that's me, or if it arrived that way. smile.gif It guides to appropriate locations, though.

So. It's possible to flash a modded firmware. The process to get the new file loaded is fairly technical, as I wasn't able to get the update software to read the file from the disk, although I have some ideas there. There also doesn't look like there is an easy way to downgrade to a known-good firmware.


If anyone has any thoughts on what else to try to binary patch onto an existing firmware, let me know.



grnbrg.

Edit: Took the cover off, reseated the top daughterboard, wiped the contacts, and reassembled. "Target" button now works. So I'm pretty sure it arrived that way, and it wasn't the new, hacked firmware causing issues.

Thank you for the update information.  I have 3 working but the date thing is still there.  However, they still are accurate and at least grab a GPS signal.



#33 scopenitout

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 08:22 AM

Fun to read what you guys are doing.

My own SkyScout "died" in a different fashion.

One day it caught me using Sky Safari on my Android smartphone. Depression set in and the SkyScout never again emerged from its cute little case.
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#34 Mossyrock

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 08:53 PM

Recently I purchased a SkyScout w/out doing any upfront reading. You already know the problems. Thought it worth mentioning that when I contacted them for info, Celestron customer service offered me a $100 credit toward any of their products. Got a new eyepiece!


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#35 jcrmsadas

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 04:25 AM

I have one, and I have lost the original CD. Does anyone have the usb drivers? I need those in order to update to the last firmware. My GPS is still working but put 2035 as the year... I imagine that this could be solved.



#36 starman876

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 09:13 PM

I will have to dig out my Sky Scout and see if it still works. Interesting thread. 



#37 jcrmsadas

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 05:24 AM

Could you look for the original cd and send me the software please?



#38 vegachicago

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:33 AM

I have an ISO image of the original disk.  You simply have to burn it.  Let me know if you know how to use it.  It is quite large though to download at 419,000 kb.


Edited by vegachicago, 22 May 2019 - 07:34 AM.


#39 vegachicago

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:00 AM

Could you look for the original cd and send me the software please?

Also, the drivers are here I believe:

 

http://software.cele...dates/SkyScout/



#40 jcrmsadas

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 04:37 AM

Also, the drivers are here I believe:

 

http://software.cele...dates/SkyScout/

Sadly no, these are just the updates to the last version of firmware for class 1, 2 and 3 (the .cel files) the .exe is the software to manage the conexion, but you need the usb drivers to connect the SkyScout to the PC



#41 vegachicago

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 09:07 AM

Can you download and burn an ISO image?  I can give you a link to my image if you know how to do this.  You will need CD burning software like IMGBurn which is free and a disk drive that can burn a disk.   Let me know so I can send you a link for the download.


Edited by vegachicago, 28 May 2019 - 09:08 AM.


#42 grnbrg

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 09:11 AM

I'll have to get mine out and retry it, but I strongly suspect the Sky Scouts are no longer functional at all.

 

They have (as previously explained in this thread) been unable to have the current date set due to the user interface not including recent years in the drop down menu.  However, the clock would be correctly set by the GPS.  Awkward, but functional.

 

However, on April 6th, the GPS epoch rolled over -- an internal "weeks" counter hit 1000, and "incremented" to zero.  Most GPS receivers made in the last few years have anticipated it, and are fine.  Older receivers though, get confused, and while their calculated locations are correct, the reported date is off by years.

 

The Sky Scout is probably in the latter category, and if it is, there is no longer any way to input the correct date and time, and therefore they will be of little use going forward.

 

 

grnbrg.



#43 vegachicago

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 10:10 AM

I'll have to get mine out and retry it, but I strongly suspect the Sky Scouts are no longer functional at all.

 

They have (as previously explained in this thread) been unable to have the current date set due to the user interface not including recent years in the drop down menu.  However, the clock would be correctly set by the GPS.  Awkward, but functional.

 

However, on April 6th, the GPS epoch rolled over -- an internal "weeks" counter hit 1000, and "incremented" to zero.  Most GPS receivers made in the last few years have anticipated it, and are fine.  Older receivers though, get confused, and while their calculated locations are correct, the reported date is off by years.

 

The Sky Scout is probably in the latter category, and if it is, there is no longer any way to input the correct date and time, and therefore they will be of little use going forward.

 

 

grnbrg.

Yes, you are correct. Fired mine up and gps location correct but now the time it reports is way off, November 17, 2035.  They are all truly dead now and totally useless.



#44 petersmeadelx6

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 03:53 PM

Not totally useless. I picked one up, not having known of the date limit. I can't lock onto any satellites but in manual entry mode, can still identify stars. On oddity is that it sometimes changes the "time" on me so I had to offset the hour by an extra hour, as if I was further west, for it to properly point to stats above. I prefer this to using my phone for star identification.



#45 Tamh

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 11:33 PM

I'm sorry if I'm beating a dead horse by posting again in this thread, but I'm really interested about the SkyScout, since I got a new one in a flea market.

 

My real questions is, how do you get around installing any upgrades?

I mean, yeah, this has been reiterated in the topic, that we had this GPS epoch issue. However, I used it with manual time and LonLat entry and it worked wonders.

 

At least I want to get the updated catalogs from the last firmware version.

Plugging this thing in my laptop yielded nothing: The driver doesn't work in Windows 10.

So, I tried using an old computer that had Windows 98, and got nowhere too (the driver refuses to be installed).

 

Am I out of options?



#46 GalaxyPiper

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 03:52 AM

I'm sorry if I'm beating a dead horse by posting again in this thread, but I'm really interested about the SkyScout, since I got a new one in a flea market.

 

My real questions is, how do you get around installing any upgrades?

I mean, yeah, this has been reiterated in the topic, that we had this GPS epoch issue. However, I used it with manual time and LonLat entry and it worked wonders.

 

At least I want to get the updated catalogs from the last firmware version.

Plugging this thing in my laptop yielded nothing: The driver doesn't work in Windows 10.

So, I tried using an old computer that had Windows 98, and got nowhere too (the driver refuses to be installed).

 

Am I out of options?

Unfortunately, this device has became an anachronism that came out in 2006 and was quickly replaced by the iPhone that came out a year later in 2007. Maybe if you found a computer with Windows XP as Vista replaced that platform in 2008, you might be able to mess with it or hack it. XP came after 98, so this would be the most accurate platform to use.

 

https://en.wikipedia...indows_versions

 

The date can be fooled by back dating to a year that has the same star pattern for this year. Since this is a leap year, you have to go back 28 years to get the same calendar to match up, so that would be 1992.

 

https://www.timeandd....html?year=2020

https://www.timeandd....html?year=2021

 

But since the device only goes back to 2005 and has a range to 2015 this might be a guess.So knowing what we have to work with 2010 might be the best year and just subtract the needed days between those leap years, one day for every leap year. 2020, 2016, 2012...so three days. So if using this date it would be 03/12/2010 as an example. But you also have to remember because of the odd and even dates on the calender's, this maybe off too.

 

The time also has too be looked at. Changing to Standard time use to happen in April, but in 2007 they changed it to happen in March as an Energy Act of 2005. So any date prior to 2007 would still be on Daylight Savings time so figure one hour back from the Standard time if you use the 2005-2006 dates, And that would not happen until April 5th.

 

https://en.wikipedia...e_United_States

 

Check with modern star charts to see if it is accurate. On some charts you can put in the location and back date for each year on the same date to see how much the stars have shifted. If you get it right, the stars will match, then you will have it dialed in.

 

But because planets move at different rates over time, it is not possible to point this at any planet and get any info out of it, because it will think it's looking out into deep space or another star.

 

As far as the GPS update, Celestron no longer supports the device, so a hack would have to be done.

And thinking about that, the GPS is only telling the device where it is on planet earth to get the stars to line up properly. It then uses that data to coordinate with a star map in its memory with whatever date and time you put in it. The device is simple, it is not getting any data from GPS other than that, and back when it was produced the Consumer version of GPS was within 10 feet, after the Government stopped downgrading the signal in 2000 making this device possible and the iPhone as well, and other consumer navigating devices.

 

Or you can do like you did, put the coordinates in manually.

 

It's a curious device that I think Celestron could bring back in a more robust version for STEM in schools, and for the young to prompt them too look up and explore the night sky.

But since Celestron has been bought out by a Chinese firm, that may not be likely.

 

Don't forget that it has a SD card slot, so maybe that might be a route in to upload and change data.

 

Best of luck with your new acquisition. If you discover something new with it, please come back and share with us.

 

Clear Skies, Bryan.


Edited by GalaxyPiper, 15 March 2020 - 04:15 PM.


#47 RobertBruce

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 12:02 AM

Hi Everyone it's been a long time since anyone posted and I was wondering  if we had any more news.

 

Thanks

 

Robert




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