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Celestron hand controller cable extension

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#1 tomwall

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 10:24 AM

I'm interested in being able to use my hand controller to control my AVX from about 30 feet away. This way I run imaging from my car or house. I've searched for posts on this topic and I've only come away more confused and in fear of frying the controller.

 

So... has anyone figured this out?

 

Afterthought:

Why hasn't Celestron moved to a standard USB plug... like EVERYONE else?

 

Thanks,

Tom,

Tucson


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#2 Dynan

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 11:29 AM

I got these and it works for 50 feet:

 

https://smile.amazon...1?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

https://smile.amazon...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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#3 wrnchhead

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 11:31 AM

I think the R&D of our esoteric interests are a little behind the curve when to comes to things like this but with as many fried motor boards as I have heard about I can’t help but think it’s kind of the set up!

#4 Geo.

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 12:02 PM

Fairly easy to connect the HBX cable with a RJ12 cable and a female to female RJ-12 6P6C straight connector. 

 

Hdbox.jpg

 

https://www.amazon.c...56FJRDCG0PM2BY1


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#5 tomwall

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 06:06 PM

OK Dynan and George, you have convinced me.

 

Just to be clear though, this will work the old hand controllers that have the "M" button on the top left. Also, the newer Nexstar+, that still has the older plug socket at the base of the handset. Finally, that it would work with the newer handset that comes with a USB socket at the base of the handset. That is the one that came with my AVX.

 

Remember that both astronomers and cowboys cry when their mounts die. Not pretty.  ;-)

 

Tom,

Tucson



#6 Dynan

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 09:51 PM

As I said, those exact items work for me for 50 feet. If you get a reverse set, that could mean serious trouble. As shown above, get a straight through cable and use a magnifying glass if necessary to verify the conductor colors. You'll be connecting to your mount with the 6P6C cord extension.

 

The USB/Serial socket on the bottom of all hand controllers will connect to a computer, IF you're using computer control for slewing, guiding, or tracking. Separate deal entirely from extending the curly HC cord to the mount.


Edited by Dynan, 25 December 2018 - 10:17 AM.

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#7 tomwall

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 09:41 AM

Thank you, Dynan. This puts my mind at ease. There is a good computer/tech store in town. I'll take these posts to them and they'll get me the proper gear. I'll write more when I get set up.

 

Thanks Again,

Tom,

Tucson


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#8 mclewis1

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 10:51 AM

Tom, You simply want an extension wired straight through on all 6 pins.  As George has described the cabling used on the HC cable and the socket on the mount is called RJ12 (and not what many folks think is RJ11 which uses 6 pin connectors but only 4 conductor/wires in the cable).

 

If you use RJ12 flat cable for the extension (a most popular option) then look for RJ12 6P6C (6 pin, 6 conductor) products (the cable and the coupler) wired straight through ... and stay away from any of the older (but unfortunately still widely available) RJ12 telco phone extension cabling or couplers as they are usually wired as crossovers (pin1 to pin 6) and not straight through. 

 

George has given you all the correct wiring (pin outs) with the graphical representations (the wire colors).


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#9 Todd1561

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 02:25 PM

Be careful. I extended the controller on my NexStar 6se with a standard 10’ RJ12 straight through cable and it worked but I was having an issue occasionally when I would use both the up or down and left or right arrow buttons at the same time. This would cause the Altitude degree value to reset to zero with no warning. This would also happen when my StarSense was doing it’s auto align and moving in both alt and az at the same time. Then it would start moving past zenith because the altitude value had reset. Very odd behavior that took me months to track down. Returning to stock cable length eliminated the problem. I also confirmed this with a second longer cable, exact same symptoms. So I concluded the system wasn’t designed to work with a long length of cable between and HC and mount. Instead I now use a long USB cable to reach the distance I need and leave the HC next to the mount.


Edited by Todd1561, 25 December 2018 - 04:08 PM.

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#10 tomwall

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 11:38 PM

Todd,

I like the idea of using the USB from the base of AVX hand controller. My camera (asi224, just like yours) could also come over to the computer. However, how do you align your scope? 

1) Align at the scope, then use Stellarium to move to targets. 

2) Align the SE with Nexremote (only two stars needed, AVX uses 2+4=6) and continue using NR to aquire targets.

 

Just curious. I'll get all this stuff figured out eventually.

BTW: I like your blog page.

 

Tom,

Tucson



#11 Todd1561

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 08:00 AM

Thanks Tom. I use StarSense so I basically just have to hit one button to kick off the alignment process and that’s all I do at the mount. Then I can control everything via RDP with a combination Stellarium, stellariumscope and sharpcap. My setup is a little strange. I place my 6se out on my porch roof and run the camera USB, HC USB, 12v power lines for mount and heater, and remote focus wire back thru a window to my control laptop. It’s about 10’ distance. I can control everything from there or RDP into it with another computer elsewhere in the house. The latter is what I usually do. So in my case having the HC outside isn’t a big deal. Although, it is nice for adding additional StarSense alignment points which can only be done from the HC.
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#12 tomwall

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 10:45 AM

I plan on doing something similar. I have run my hand controller and camera from my scopeside laptop. This works out very well. However, it leaves me outside while viewing. 

 

My solution was to connect my scopeside laptop to Team Viewer and move into the house. To control my target GOTOs, I added Stellarium. Then, I could sit inside and use Stellarium to select my targets. The only problem with this was that I couldn't slew the camera view to center my targets. 

 

If I could slew the scope (or sync to a nearby star) this system would work well. This is the main reason I want to be able to use the hand controller. Finding another way to slew the scope would also work well.

 

Question: Would Stellariumscope (or anything else) give me this functionality?

 

*I'm going into town today to get that cable that George mentioned. Thank you for that great diagram.

 

I'm hoping that by obsessively running this to a successful conclusion that it will help others who have beginner level equipment. I still can't believe the pictures I'm getting from this inexpensive camera.

 

Tom,

Tucson



#13 Todd1561

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 04:43 PM

Yep switching to using Stellarium with ASCOM via Stellariumscope will give you a virtual hand controller to nudge the scope around. I use this all the time, my gotos even with StarSense aren’t accurate enough to do without it.

#14 Todd1561

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 04:48 PM

Or you could use a planetarium program that natively talks ASCOM like cartes du ceil. Stellarium doesn’t which is why you need to use stellariumscope. Either way you’ll get a simple virtual HC with directional buttons and a slew speed selector.
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#15 Todd1561

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 05:02 PM

Keep in mind George’s cable is extending the HC, that’s what I did and had issues. You have a different mount so maybe it’ll be fine, just a heads up. If you’re planning to use teamviewer or RDP or some solution that leaves a computer scope side then you don’t really need an extension. Just leave the HC at the scope and control everything remotely as I describe above.
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#16 nic35

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 08:40 AM

TomW:

 

If you use Cartes du Ciel you can slew to targets using your current setup.  I actually think that stellarium has the ability to do slews, but you need stellarium scope installed on the laptop.

 

If you are using sharpcap for image capture, I'd  suggest trying out its plate solving function for centering objects.  Quite easy once set up on the laptop. 

 

I use a similar setup, but with Microsoft remote desktop instead of teamviewer.

 

john


Edited by nic35, 28 December 2018 - 08:42 AM.

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#17 mclewis1

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 09:22 AM

If you use Cartes du Ciel you can slew to targets using your current setup.  I actually think that stellarium has the ability to do slews, but you need stellarium scope installed on the laptop. john

With Stellarium you have two connectivity choices ... with the StellariumScope app and it's Celestron scope driver or with the newer versions of Stellarium on it's own with the native Celestron scope control capability (telescope control plug in). Both software options use the same physical connection to the hand controller.

 

StellariumScope gives you more functionality but is more complex, the native telescope control plug in is more basic but there is less software involved.


Edited by mclewis1, 28 December 2018 - 09:24 AM.


#18 mclewis1

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 09:24 AM

I think Nic35/John and I are overlapping our posts and thoughts ... lol.gif


Edited by mclewis1, 28 December 2018 - 09:27 AM.


#19 tomwall

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 06:24 PM

Todd:

I thought I lived in a big city. I was wrong! One store had the proper 12' cord, but no coupler. The other store had yards of the wire ($.15/ft), but no couplers and I'd need to do my own crimping on of the end connectors. I'm going to put that option on hold for now. I'm going to play around with Stellarium a bit more to see if I can make do with simple. My Celestron,102mm/f9.8 (f5 with a .5 reducer) is suppose to give me a fov as big as my ES152mm/f6.5 (f3.25 with a .5 reducer). I'll try it tonight.

 

Mark and Nic:

I'm first going to try Stellarium again. I can fine tune the alignment by using a defocused star and a 9mm eyepiece. I'll additionally select a sync star in the middle of the quarter of sky I'm working in. I'm hoping that will be accurate enough to bring my target into the less than .5 * fov I can get with my camera using this scope. I'll be using my least expensive mount... Celestron GT. My C8" and M10"  (using my SE, AVX mounts, respectively) are only able to get about a quarter of a degree field of view using the .5 focal reducer.

 

For slewing, I'm going to try to slide the S. fov about a tiny bit and use the "alt 1" command to tell S. to recenter to where I moved it. Alternatively, I could just click on a close by star and use the normal command of "control 1".

 

If that fails to accurate enough, I'll beat my head against the wall and try to get Stellarium Scope or Cartes du Ciel working. Getting plate solving to work would be wonderful.

 

All this being said, my primary goal here is to get the simplest, workable solution and using the least expensive equipment... the kind of stuff an average guy with a family can afford. I thank all all for your help figuring this stuff out.

 

Tom,

Tucson


Edited by tomwall, 28 December 2018 - 06:26 PM.


#20 iam1ru12

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 02:25 AM

Tom,

Do you always use an eyepiece when aligning and then switch to a camera?  Do you use a diagonal with thr EP and not with the camera?  I’ve never had success aligning the mount with an EP and then switching to a camera.

 

I found keeping the computer at the scope the most efficient option.  In my case it’s a headless mini computer with a 25ft HDMI cord connected to a monitor inside my camper or canopy/control room.  I mount my iPad on th scope and use it as a second screen using the app Duet to extend the windows screen on to the iPad.  I can do all my alignments and focusing that way.  

 

I also use the Celestron NexRemote software which basically gives me a virtual hand controller on the PC.  With a good alignment routine using the cross hairs retinal mask in SharpCap, my CPC 1100 nails slewing to targets all night long.  Granted I use the precise goto option when slewing to a target using the small FOV of my camera.  I use the serial to USB adapter to plug my handset into the computer.

 

However, if I’m running both my CPC 1100 and my AR102 atop my CG-5, I’ll use RJ12 cable to run the other mount’s handset to where I’m at.  So far, I’ve never had any problems with my CG-5 and using the extended cables but I’ve always used the 6 wire and 6 straight thru pin connectors.

 

-Mike



#21 tomwall

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 07:00 PM

The first thing I want to say is that you guys are great and I've learned so much.

 

The Goal:

I wanted to be able to use my telescope and camera from inside my house.

Additionally, I wanted to be able to do this using my least expensive gear and free software.

 

Outcome:

Success! :-)

 

How?:

I used my Celestron 102mm, f9.8 (f5 by using my focal reducer) refractor telescope. My mount was the Celestron alt/az GT. This is a nice, but inexpensive rig. An SLT mount or a similar Meade rig should work just as well.

 

I first performed a normal alignment using an eyepiece. Next, I connected my camera to my laptop and opened up the camera software. I use Sharpcap or ASICAP. I then recentered my last alignment star using the camera and redid that alignment so that it was as perfectly centered as was possible. I could also go back and redo the other alignment star, if I wanted to.

 

I'm now at the point where I choose the part of the sky I want to work in. For this inexpensive rig, I keep my targets in the same quadrant of the sky. On my better mounts, that's not necessary. Anyway, I select, goto, and sync to a star near the target I want to photograph. 

 

If I want to stay outside and by the scope, I'm ready to go. However, I want to get inside, where it's warm.

 

I start up Team viewer and Stellarium on my computer that stays at the scope (hooked up to the camera and telescope). I use Stellarium to control the scope through the cord at the bottom of the hand controller. I go inside now and run things wirelessly through Team Viewer.

 

That's about it. My GOTOs will not always be perfect. To compensate, I just select a very nearby star and go to it. That gets me to the proper framing.

 

I'm sure this isn't as clear as it could be. If anyone has any questions, just ask. 

 

Tom,

Tucson


Edited by tomwall, 31 December 2018 - 07:02 PM.


#22 Stargazer3236

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 09:25 PM

I have never had a problem with my ZEQ25 mount, when getting the DSO in question near the center FOV. I make sure I do a nearly precise polar alignment and one star align. I do Sync to target on a  nearby star. I also use my ASI294MC and with binning at 4x4, I can't miss getting the  object near the center of the FOV.


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#23 Dynan

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:20 PM

OK. I'm pushing the envelope here. I've been using a 25' 6P6C extension on my CGX for months now. Even hooked 2 together for 50' with great success.

 

I now purchased a 100 foot 6P6C cable to see if I can run it to my 'comfort zone'. (I LIKE being with the hand controller no matter how far I am from the mount, or what computer program I'm using...like Stellarium, etc.)

 

I post the results next outing. 


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#24 tomwall

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:41 PM

Dynan,

I haven't checked this thread for a couple of days and I missed your post. I was able to locate the  proper cable, but they told me I'd need to crimp my own clips on the end. I gave up. 

 

Could you tell me more about the cables you've purchased?

 

Thank You,

Tom



#25 Dynan

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 02:08 AM

Here's the 100 footer I bought that works perfectly:

 

https://smile.amazon...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

(See my comm test for my pier with the 100 foot 6P6C and 100 foot Cat 7: https://www.cloudyni...ound/?p=9123348

 

They USED to sell 25 foot lengths, but they seem to be only 12 foot now.




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