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Nexstar + and StarSense Firmware Updates.

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#1 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 06:17 AM

Thank you to everybody that contributed to the original thread, most especially to Davesterx and Gatesjunior that provided invaluable previously unpublished information. It has been a quest to pull this together (#41 posts in original thread!), but I think I can now post a definitive article regarding how to use Celestron Firmware Manager (CFM) to update the firmware for;

 

i)   NexStar + hand controllers via Windows 10.
ii)  StarSense Camera with StarSense HC via Windows 10.
iii) Motors for a few modern Mounts via Windows 10.

 

Please note that CFM won't update motors on older mounts such as the CG-5 and CGEM. In fact, you can't use their older MCUpdate software with the StarSense HC. You have to use the NexStar or NexStar + HC. But on some of the newer mounts where the motors can be updated via CFM (e.g. like the Evolution or AVX mount); that also requires use of the NexStar+ HC. So you might need to update via those mounts twice using BOTH NexStar + and StarSense HC’s for a complete solution (n.b. the repeat is required to update the StarSense HC).  However, whilst CFM won’t update (say) a CPC or NexStar SE motor; it will update their NexStar + HC’s and/or their StarSense (if applicable). Yep folks, it is all a tad confusing! This explanation will hopefully cut through much of the mystery…….

 

Celestron publish this diagram which shows the StarSense Camera separately connected to the laptop computer by a mini USB to USB cable. If you don’t have StarSense, obviously ignore that cable.

 

StarSense_Connection_Diagram.jpg

 

If you don’t connect this camera cable, my experience (e.g. with an Evolution; CPC and NexStar SE4) is that CFM will  still find the StarSense Camera via merely the HC to laptop cable(s) and later report that “All devices were updated”. This is probably FALSE and wider user evidence suggests that BOTH cables are required to update the StarSense Camera.

 

Note that for the very latest NexStar + HC you will replace the ‘USB to Serial Adapter/Celestron Programming Cable’ with a ‘mini USB to USB cable’. Note too that it is best to first update using the NexStar + HC; then repeat the process for the StarSense HC and Camera (where applicable). That should ensure that both of your HC’s; and your camera and your motor are updated (n.b. the latter is only possible where CFM updates for motors do apply; e.g. only later mounts - see above).

1. First step, before connecting ANYTHING; I installed the driver for my Trendnet TU-S9 ‘Serial to USB adapter’ into my Windows 10 laptop from the Trendnet supplied CD-ROM.

If using a later NexStar + HC with mini USB (output)  to USB cable then a different cable driver might be required - see post #11 for more information.

 

My Windows 10 then insisted on doing a ‘Windows Automatic Update’. This might be just coincidence, but it may have been required to update the Trendnet ‘Serial to USB adapter’ driver to Windows 10. You must install Windows 10 drivers for your specific cable if Serial output (or find a Windows 7 laptop etc.).

2. You then need to install the latest Java into your Windows 10 Laptop. Again, do this before connecting anything.  In my instance, Windows 10 then decided it wanted to do yet another automatic Windows 10 update!

 

3. I then downloaded Celestron Firmware Manager to my Laptop from the Celestron Site. Unzip it and run the executable jar file. Note that this won’t run without step (2). You might also find it a bit fussy and may need to use <’open with’….Java.>. But this too can be stubborn. If you can’t get it to work, try this;

 

a) Right click on your desktop. Select <new>; <shortcut>.
b) Browse and find the path to the relevant folder.
It will be something like <thisPc>; <documents>; <cfm_2.1.6050>; <cfm>.
c) This creates a shortcut on your desktop. Name that CFM
d) Click on that shortcut and CFM will open.

 

If that doesn’t work; try this (it’s the same procedure, but if your PC has dropped the folder elsewhere this more detailed route will help you find it);

 

a) Right click on your desktop and choose create new shortcut and then click the Browse button.
b) Browse to the C:\Program Files\Java\VERSION\bin\java.exe (When browsing your folders, VERSION is dependent on the version you have installed.  This is 64 bit Java, if you don't have 64 bit, just replace "C:\Program Files" with "C:\Program Files (x86)" you will know, because the Java folder will not be just in C:\Program Files, but you will see it under C:\Program Files (x86) folder when you browse.
c) Call the shortcut CFM
d) Right click on the new shortcut on your desktop and go to properties
e) Modify the top Target line and add this to the end of it with the following, just make sure you put a space after the existing last " in that line:
  -jar C:\CFM_2.1.6050\CFM.jar
(This is the folder you put the CFM Program in, so modify it accordingly)

f) Modify the Start In: line in the shortcut to your folder where you have the CFM installed.
example:  C:\CFM_2.1.6050

Now it will launch just by you double clicking it.

 

4. Connect the items as per the photograph (ignore camera if you don’t have StarSense).

    Follow the process below first using NexStar + HC. Then repeat for your StarSense HC.

5. Switch on telescope (don’t press anything on HC). Here, it should now enter Bootloader Mode rather than requesting an Align.

I believe that if you switch on before connecting the cables (etc.); CFM may prompt you to reboot holding certain HC keys to get into Bootloader Mode. But 5 should work automatically in a ‘plug & play’ type manner if you switch on after all cable connections are made.

6. Click on ‘<Seek Devices> in the now open CFM.

I believe that in some earlier versions of CFM you also had to PRIOR select Telescope, but not on the latest version of CFM.

7. For my Evolution CFM found HC; StarSense Camera and Motor (hence; 3 devices). When I later repeated this for the CPC and NexStar 4 it found only StarSense HC and StarSense Camera (2 devices); hence not their motor (you need MCUpdate for those).

8. Follow further instructions on screen; click on <update> in CFM. This downloads all available firmware updates for the identified devices.  In my instance, CFM applied six firmware patches to my Evolution Motor + StarSense HC + StarSense Camera. It installed fewer for CPC and NexStar SE4 (as it didn’t update their motors).

Phew,…..good luck! It worked for me.


Edited by Brian Risley, 09 December 2016 - 08:55 PM.

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#2 cray2mpx

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 09:38 AM

 

If you don’t connect this camera cable, my experience (e.g. with an Evolution; CPC and NexStar SE4) is that CFM will  still find the StarSense Camera via merely the HC to laptop cable(s) and later report that “All devices were updated”. This is probably FALSE and wider user evidence suggests that BOTH cables are required to update the StarSense Camera.

This is because there was no need to update the SS camera firmware (there was no newer version available than the one already loaded). While there had been a couple of firmware updates for the SS HC (since the initial release) the camera has not received an update since quite a while. If new camera firmware really needs to be flashed the SS camera MUST be connected both to the mount (actually to the HC, which is accomplished by connecting both the HC and the SS camera to the mount) AND directly to the PC via a mini-USB/USB cable.

 

Cray


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#3 roelb

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 06:07 PM

Some remarks/additions:

 

1. Quote: Note that for the very latest NexStar + HC you will replace the ‘USB to Serial Adapter/Celestron Programming Cable’ with a ‘mini USB to USB cable’.

 

Same for newest StarSense HC with mini USB.

 

2. CFM - download page: http://software.cele...pdates/CFM/CFM/

 

3. Quote: "I believe that if you switch on before connecting the cables (etc.); CFM may prompt you to reboot holding certain HC keys to get into Bootloader Mode.

                But should work automatically in a ‘plug & play’ type manner if you switch on after all cable connections are made."

 

When "Bootloader Failed", press MENU and OPTIONS (Celestron Logo) at the same time

=> "BOOT LOADER SERIAL "

      "User Keypad Entry"

Note: this error can be displayed after a complete crash of the HC software, as I have experienced :confused:

          (error: "Invalid Pkg: 0008")

 

4. When after "Seeking Compatible Telescopes" an error "CFM was unable to find a device" appears: 

    click CFM menu > Connections... > Select connection type > enter Serial Port Number: COM# > OK and REstart CFM !

 

5. All Nexstar+ HC's can be updated by WiFi if they have version 5.26 "or later" of the firmware installed.

    This is true for any mount with built in WiFi or WiFi accessory.

 

6. StarSense HC's can be updated by WiFi when they have version 1.15 (or later) of the firmware installed.

    This is true for any mount with built in WiFi or WiFi accessory.


Edited by roelb, 22 November 2016 - 06:43 PM.

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#4 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:35 PM

Great additional contributions, cray2mpx and rolelb. 

 

Now we have cleaned up this topic (e.g. compared to its predecessor thread) maybe it should become a "sticky"?



#5 Kate2015

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 03:55 PM

 

 

If you don’t connect this camera cable, my experience (e.g. with an Evolution; CPC and NexStar SE4) is that CFM will  still find the StarSense Camera via merely the HC to laptop cable(s) and later report that “All devices were updated”. This is probably FALSE and wider user evidence suggests that BOTH cables are required to update the StarSense Camera.

This is because there was no need to update the SS camera firmware (there was no newer version available than the one already loaded). While there had been a couple of firmware updates for the SS HC (since the initial release) the camera has not received an update since quite a while. If new camera firmware really needs to be flashed the SS camera MUST be connected both to the mount (actually to the HC, which is accomplished by connecting both the HC and the SS camera to the mount) AND directly to the PC via a mini-USB/USB cable.

 

Cray

 

Hi 

 

I use my Starsense with SkySafari Pro (iPad control), so I don't use the handcontroller.  On this basis presumably I can update the firmware for just the Starsense by connecting it to my computer and therefore don't need to bother with the update for the handcontroller via the mount?  Sounds like a daft question but you can never be too sure! 

 

Thanks



#6 gatesjunior

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 04:00 PM

 

 

 

If you don’t connect this camera cable, my experience (e.g. with an Evolution; CPC and NexStar SE4) is that CFM will  still find the StarSense Camera via merely the HC to laptop cable(s) and later report that “All devices were updated”. This is probably FALSE and wider user evidence suggests that BOTH cables are required to update the StarSense Camera.

This is because there was no need to update the SS camera firmware (there was no newer version available than the one already loaded). While there had been a couple of firmware updates for the SS HC (since the initial release) the camera has not received an update since quite a while. If new camera firmware really needs to be flashed the SS camera MUST be connected both to the mount (actually to the HC, which is accomplished by connecting both the HC and the SS camera to the mount) AND directly to the PC via a mini-USB/USB cable.

 

Cray

 

Hi 

 

I use my Starsense with SkySafari Pro (iPad control), so I don't use the handcontroller.  On this basis presumably I can update the firmware for just the Starsense by connecting it to my computer and therefore don't need to bother with the update for the handcontroller via the mount?  Sounds like a daft question but you can never be too sure! 

 

Thanks

 

I don't believe so.  Last I recall, you have to update through the hand controller with both connected to the scope.


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#7 skaiser

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 08:06 PM

 

 

 

If you don’t connect this camera cable, my experience (e.g. with an Evolution; CPC and NexStar SE4) is that CFM will  still find the StarSense Camera via merely the HC to laptop cable(s) and later report that “All devices were updated”. This is probably FALSE and wider user evidence suggests that BOTH cables are required to update the StarSense Camera.

This is because there was no need to update the SS camera firmware (there was no newer version available than the one already loaded). While there had been a couple of firmware updates for the SS HC (since the initial release) the camera has not received an update since quite a while. If new camera firmware really needs to be flashed the SS camera MUST be connected both to the mount (actually to the HC, which is accomplished by connecting both the HC and the SS camera to the mount) AND directly to the PC via a mini-USB/USB cable.

 

Cray

 

Hi 

 

I use my Starsense with SkySafari Pro (iPad control), so I don't use the handcontroller.  On this basis presumably I can update the firmware for just the Starsense by connecting it to my computer and therefore don't need to bother with the update for the handcontroller via the mount?  Sounds like a daft question but you can never be too sure! 

 

Thanks

 

I'm pretty sure when I last updated my evo 9.25  via WiFi, a couple months ago I had both the HC and starsense plugged in to the mount . ( both are newer ver with USB ports) Everything went smoothly. I have also used the Skysafari 5 Pro on a Ipad air, and have been extremely happy with its performance. 



#8 Noah4x4

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 07:12 AM

 

 

 

 

If you don’t connect this camera cable, my experience (e.g. with an Evolution; CPC and NexStar SE4) is that CFM will  still find the StarSense Camera via merely the HC to laptop cable(s) and later report that “All devices were updated”. This is probably FALSE and wider user evidence suggests that BOTH cables are required to update the StarSense Camera.

This is because there was no need to update the SS camera firmware (there was no newer version available than the one already loaded). While there had been a couple of firmware updates for the SS HC (since the initial release) the camera has not received an update since quite a while. If new camera firmware really needs to be flashed the SS camera MUST be connected both to the mount (actually to the HC, which is accomplished by connecting both the HC and the SS camera to the mount) AND directly to the PC via a mini-USB/USB cable.

 

Cray

 

Hi 

 

I use my Starsense with SkySafari Pro (iPad control), so I don't use the handcontroller.  On this basis presumably I can update the firmware for just the Starsense by connecting it to my computer and therefore don't need to bother with the update for the handcontroller via the mount?  Sounds like a daft question but you can never be too sure! 

 

Thanks

 

I'm pretty sure when I last updated my evo 9.25  via WiFi, a couple months ago I had both the HC and starsense plugged in to the mount . ( both are newer ver with USB ports) Everything went smoothly. I have also used the Skysafari 5 Pro on a Ipad air, and have been extremely happy with its performance. 

 

If you want to ensure BOTH have the latest firmware you need to have both the Starsense camera and Starsense HC plugged into mount (usually aux1 for camera) and BOTH independently connected to laptop as per the diagram.

 

My earlier comment confirmed  that if you forget  to connect the camera to laptop cable then CFM will falsely report that it has updated the camera firmware. The confusing bit is that you probably don't need a camera update yet, and some people are hence saying that this is the reason for this "false" response. This is true, but when the camera does require a FUTURE update you will need that seperate cable (which is mini-usb to usb). 



#9 tjbitt

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 07:22 PM

Hi all, I just received my Evo 8 with the non-usb HC. Everything seems to work, good direct wifi connection and SkySafari + all in order and works as it should. My HC version is 5.27.5150 and my MC version  is 7.11.5100. Does anyone know what the latest versions are? I have all the needed cables to update but just wondering if I should leave well enough alone for now or update to the latest versions. Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Tnx :grin: 



#10 Noah4x4

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 05:26 AM

Hi all, I just received my Evo 8 with the non-usb HC. Everything seems to work, good direct wifi connection and SkySafari + all in order and works as it should. My HC version is 5.27.5150 and my MC version  is 7.11.5100. Does anyone know what the latest versions are? I have all the needed cables to update but just wondering if I should leave well enough alone for now or update to the latest versions. Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Tnx :grin:

I updated my NexStar+ HC and Evolution Motor (also my StarSense Camera and its HC) in early September 2016.

 

My version for the NexStar + HC is NXS 5.27.5150 (so I guess you do have the most recent HC + version).

 

However my motor is 7.11.6165.  As that MC is a later number that yours, I guess yours may be an earlier incarnation.

 

If I recall correctly, there was an update to the Evolution Motor in August 2016. I believe that I did read somewhere that this fixed some GoTo issues largely arising south of the Equator. I perceive it has improved performance here near the zenith, but I am in the UK, sat directly on the Greenwich Meridian. But it is probably not necessary for most users. 

 

What most would suggest is "if it isn't broken, don't fix it". But I can't resist getting the latest updates simply to see what I am missing! The new Celestron Firmware Manager will simply report "all your devices are up to date" if you do attempt. See the first two posts in this thread for guidance.


Edited by Noah4x4, 06 December 2016 - 05:27 AM.


#11 Noah4x4

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 06:48 PM

If you have the NEW NexStar HC + with mini-USB it appears that you DO need to install a driver for the cable

 

You need to download a PL2303 driver from the internet - see post in this thread.

 

http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/559072-nexstar-hand-control-with-mini-usb-port-issue/#entry7581413


Edited by Noah4x4, 09 December 2016 - 06:55 PM.


#12 mclewis1

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 08:21 PM

You never have to install a device driver simply for a USB connection "cable". A cable should be by definition wire only, with no active electronics involved. IMHO too many folks use the term cable for active adapters simply because they look like a simple piece of wire/cable (they often have active electronics packaged in the connector housing on one end). Completely understandable but can be confusing to many never the less.

 

The PL2303 device driver is for the USB-serial adapter that is now built into the new hand controllers. It's need is just the same as if you have an external USB-serial adapter that has the PL2303 chipset connected to the older hand controllers.

 

 

Celestron should be straight up about all this information, perhaps including it with the new hand controller. Something that would explain the need for the PL2303 device driver and a simple USB connection "cable", with perhaps a simple graphic showing the old vs. new setups. It would reduce a lot of support calls and end user frustration ... and the need for Noah4x4 to create these great threads.


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#13 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 02:48 AM

McLewis1 - you are a star! Great clarification - just what we require.

The reason I started this thread is summed up in your last paragraph. Celestron should be upfront about this information. BTW, I used to write instruction manuals, so compiling this information should have been a routine task. But in a 40 year career, I have never had so much difficulty in extracting information; it was like pulling hen's teeth. It took over 40 posts in the original thread, then even after I thought I had consolidated what was essential it has taken another dozen posts in this - and still I doubt that we have everything! I don't think it is me....!

Folk's please add more technical information as it comes.....

Edited by Noah4x4, 10 December 2016 - 02:49 AM.

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#14 gatesjunior

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 08:07 AM

McLewis1 - you are a star! Great clarification - just what we require.

The reason I started this thread is summed up in your last paragraph. Celestron should be upfront about this information. BTW, I used to write instruction manuals, so compiling this information should have been a routine task. But in a 40 year career, I have never had so much difficulty in extracting information; it was like pulling hen's teeth. It took over 40 posts in the original thread, then even after I thought I had consolidated what was essential it has taken another dozen posts in this - and still I doubt that we have everything! I don't think it is me....!

Folk's please add more technical information as it comes.....

So, what I am use to seeing is that in the very top original thread, you would update it with a good link for people for the PL2303 driver for ease of install and verified consistency of the driver, version, etc..  Otherwise people do not always read through the whole thread to discover items added.  This way the very top item with instructions stays up to date.


Edited by gatesjunior, 10 December 2016 - 08:08 AM.


#15 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 12:41 PM

The OP cannot edit the top of the thread once we are onto a second page of posts. However, via the mods I did get an update added in post #1 (in italics) advising owners of the new HC that a driver might be required and to hence read post #11 for information.

#16 gatesjunior

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 02:44 PM

The OP cannot edit the top of the thread once we are onto a second page of posts. However, via the mods I did get an update added in post #1 (in italics) advising owners of the new HC that a driver might be required and to hence read post #11 for information.

Yeah, they need to adjust that, which I am sure is a setting.  At least for "sticky" threads.



#17 Brian Risley

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:03 PM

It is system wide, limit of the software that is the base of the system.  We have had other issues when we allowed more time to edit.

We can't fine tune a lot of things we would like to.

Brian


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#18 gatesjunior

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:30 PM

It is system wide, limit of the software that is the base of the system.  We have had other issues when we allowed more time to edit.

We can't fine tune a lot of things we would like to.

Brian

Understood, thanks for the update.



#19 nwcs

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:20 PM

Great thread! One question about something I saw referenced here a few times... updating via wifi? How is this done? For example, I have the AVX and I bought the SkyQ link 2. Both were purchased this month so presumably relatively recent firmware anyway. Would I put the wifi adapter into the mount in the HC slot as always or for this case put it into the HC and power up? It's the Nexstar+ with RS232. Then connect to the wifi in Win10 and then run the CFM updater?



#20 Noah4x4

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 06:45 AM

The lack of a prompt response from the many  hundreds of knowledgable CN'ers perhaps suggests this could be tricky. I don't actually know 'how' (or even if it is possible) as whilst I often do use WiFi/tablet to control my scope I update my firmware using ONLY the cabled procedure described in post #1 as that route does definitely work.   Maybe for the modest cost of a Trendnet cable that is your wisest bet?!  Here are some random thoughts;

 

Many telescopes and particularly HCs remain in the dark ages of cabled serial devices and early Windows versions. SkyQLink2 was designed to permit telescope control using Simulation Curriculum's  SkyPortal software or SkySafari using an IOS or Android device (e.g. NOT Windows). Even as recently as August 2016 there were some WiFi compatibility limitations (example no Android support for Starsense). I believe it is possible to remotely (WiFi) control a Celestron scope from a Windows PC, but you need additional software called SkyQLinkPC to make the WiFi module compatible with (say) NexRemote software.

 

I suspect this is because even if your HC output was mini-usb (which it isn't) inside it is still a serial RS232 device. So my guess is that to make this work with any Windows application a 'serial to usb' Windows 10 driver is necessary, but the question is how and which? Celestron Firmware Manager is a Windows application, and even the cabled solution does needs an externally supplied Windows10 driver.  So is SkyQLinkPC a solution? I really DON'T know. But I would be very surprised if you can simply plug in the WiFi module into either port and expect CFM to work without something extra to "translate".

 

I have tried "search" in Cloudy Nights and found some posts about WiFi firmware updates but no definitive answers. To be fair, this is no different to where we were three months ago as regards finding documented Windows 10 cabled solutions, hence why I started this thread and its predecessor. I suggest you avoid the WiFi route and stick with a cable unless one of our 'star contributors (like McLewis1) can offer a solution.  Frankly I wouldn't take the risk unless somebody posts the definitive WiFi solution for your specific mount.


Edited by Noah4x4, 29 December 2016 - 06:54 AM.


#21 nwcs

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 08:26 AM

That's where I ended up with, too. My HC is one with the mini USB port so I checked everything through that. This thread was fabulous for helping me (especially the link to where I needed the Pluggable drivers, who would know that?). I ordered StarSense so I'll benefit from this thread all over again.

 

I did see some references to the SkyQLinkPC and NexRemote. What I couldn't tell is if that would let me do more than just control remotely from a PC. But now that I'm StarSensing it soon I'll probbaly not worry about it. :)

 

So thanks for coming up with a set of instructions that made a lot of things easier!


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#22 Davesterx

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 07:55 PM

I haven't done updates wirelessly but as I recall, you must first set everything up (HC needs to be plugged in to update the HC!) so the PC can talk to the HC/Mount. Then start the CFM and this is where I don't know the next steps. CFM is supposed to be able to recognize that you're connected wireless and check and make any updates necessary. I know it is being done successfully but I don't know the particulars but the following link should get you started in the right direction.  

 

http://www.celestron...indows-computer

 

Dave



#23 nwcs

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 02:36 PM

I got wifi update to work pretty easily for StarSense:

1. Launch CFM and go to connections and set to wifi and restart CFM
2. Plug in camera to mount
3. Plug in StarSense to mount
4. Plug in the Celestron SkyQ link
5. Press the Celestron and 7 button and turn on mount
6. Connect your computer to the wifi off the mount
7. Connect both camera and handset to computer
8. Check connections and update

Ironically I couldn't get it to check any other way. I just bought the StarSense but wanted to check for updates. A direct connection without wifi just wouldn't recognize the controller no matter what I did.
  • richardsutor and Noah4x4 like this

#24 gatesjunior

gatesjunior

    Vostok 1

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  • Posts: 113
  • Joined: 17 Oct 2015
  • Loc: Michigan

Posted 03 January 2017 - 06:04 PM

CGX Mount Update:

 

Derik, from Celestron just sent me this response to my email regarding why the CGX mount was saying not updated/failed when attempting to update the new CGX Mount with the above procedures.

 

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

There have been no updates to the CGX firmware since its initial release.  I did not post the original release firmware to the website, because… well everyone already has that.

The current release of CFM supports the CGX, but because there are no files where they are supposed to be, it generates an error.   My bad.  I will get the original release software posted.     In the mean time, you already have the latest release for your mount.


derik


Edited by gatesjunior, 03 January 2017 - 06:04 PM.


#25 nwcs

nwcs

    Viking 1

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  • Posts: 511
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2013
  • Loc: Tennessee

Posted 07 January 2017 - 01:49 PM

This brings an interesting question. How will you know if there is an update available for your mount or starsense without periodically checking cfm and connecting to the mount?


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