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Celestron Electronic Focus Motor For SCT and EdgeHD

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#326 BobinBend

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 01:59 AM

It’s still not clear whether or not Bob has the Focuser USB port connected. I think that could be key, the Celestron Focuser USB driver will work when the USB is in place. I have noticed that this driver is available for selection in third party apps even when the USB connection is not in place. This could be causing confusion.

Richard,

I guess I'm not sure what you mean by "...the Focuser USB port connected." The only connection I have from the focus motor (FM) is the AUX cable going to the AUX connector on my AVX mount. It's my understanding (maybe wrong) that this connection provides power to the FM as well as communication via the USB port since I also have a mini USB cable from my HC to my laptop. Does the FM have a separate USB Port?

Thanks,

Bob



#327 Rac19

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:22 AM

Richard,

I guess I'm not sure what you mean by "...the Focuser USB port connected." The only connection I have from the focus motor (FM) is the AUX cable going to the AUX connector on my AVX mount. It's my understanding (maybe wrong) that this connection provides power to the FM as well as communication via the USB port since I also have a mini USB cable from my HC to my laptop. Does the FM have a separate USB Port?

Thanks,

Bob

Hi Bob,

 

There is a USB port in addition to the Aux port as per the first image below. I am suggesting that you connect that to the computer in addition to or instead of the Aux connection then configure SGP to connect that way, with the Celestron Focuser USB driver. As I said, you could try the Celestron Focuser Utility first, then try SGP, making sure to exit the Focuser Utility first.

 

I noticed, while getting this image, the Celestron shows the Focuser Utility connected via the HC (see second image). I have never seen this work with my Evolution 8. Maybe it works with other models, perhaps it sort of works with your model ‘scope.

 

Regardless, I am pretty confident that the direct USB connection will work.

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#328 Rac19

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:27 AM

Hi Bob,

 

There is a USB port in addition to the Aux port as per the first image below. I am suggesting that you connect that to the computer in addition to or instead of the Aux connection then configure SGP to connect that way, with the Celestron Focuser USB driver. As I said, you could try the Celestron Focuser Utility first, then try SGP, making sure to exit the Focuser Utility first.

 

I noticed, while getting this image, the Celestron shows the Focuser Utility connected via the HC (see second image). I have never seen this work with my Evolution 8. Maybe it works with other models, perhaps it sort of works with your model ‘scope.

 

Regardless, I am pretty confident that the direct USB connection will work.

This is the connection that I think will work for sure. If the USB port on your computer can supply at least 900 mA (most can), no other connection is required.

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#329 BobinBend

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:33 AM

Richard, thanks. This was the clarity I was looking for. It looks like I need a special USB cable for the FM side of the connection. I'll purchase one and let you know how it turned out.

Bob



#330 Rac19

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 03:20 AM

Richard, thanks. This was the clarity I was looking for. It looks like I need a special USB cable for the FM side of the connection. I'll purchase one and let you know how it turned out.

Bob

I THINK that it is sometimes called a “Printer Cable”, USB A at one end and USB Bat the other end. You may have ine lying around.

 

I can see, in second image with the connection via the HC, that the mount likes like a CGX. As per post #308, the Com port is listed as “Celestron GCX” so there could be some history there. I know that only the direct USB connection works for me.

 

There is actually an exception, when using CPWI, but that’s another story.



#331 BobinBend

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 09:31 PM

I THINK that it is sometimes called a “Printer Cable”, USB A at one end and USB Bat the other end. You may have ine lying around.

 

I can see, in second image with the connection via the HC, that the mount likes like a CGX. As per post #308, the Com port is listed as “Celestron GCX” so there could be some history there. I know that only the direct USB connection works for me.

 

There is actually an exception, when using CPWI, but that’s another story.

Hi Richard,

Well I finally got a "printer" usb cable and was able to connect it per your diagram and it still did not work. So I finally went to the SGP forum and started searching for a similar problem. To my joy I found a post from someone having the identical problem. Someone else (who also experienced the problem) recommended calibrating the focus motor (FM) with the HC, not the Celestron Focuser Utility and then try SGP. Guess what, it worked! I don't need a USB cable from the FM to the laptop, I only use the AUX cable to my AVX mount and of course my HC has a mini USB to the laptop. I'm not sure why calibrating the FM with the focuser utility app causes the problem that it does. I'm using the USB driver provided by the Celestron website under the "Support and Downloads" page for the FM.

Anyway... thanks again for all your help! Here's the link to the SGP forum discussion I referred to above.

http://forum.mainseq...tor-issues/9357

 

Bob



#332 Rac19

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 10:47 PM

Hi Richard,

Well I finally got a "printer" usb cable and was able to connect it per your diagram and it still did not work. So I finally went to the SGP forum and started searching for a similar problem. To my joy I found a post from someone having the identical problem. Someone else (who also experienced the problem) recommended calibrating the focus motor (FM) with the HC, not the Celestron Focuser Utility and then try SGP. Guess what, it worked! I don't need a USB cable from the FM to the laptop, I only use the AUX cable to my AVX mount and of course my HC has a mini USB to the laptop. I'm not sure why calibrating the FM with the focuser utility app causes the problem that it does. I'm using the USB driver provided by the Celestron website under the "Support and Downloads" page for the FM.

Anyway... thanks again for all your help! Here's the link to the SGP forum discussion I referred to above.

http://forum.mainseq...tor-issues/9357

 

Bob

Hi Bob, glad to hear that you got it working. Not sure why the way it was calibrated was relevant, but you got it working that’s the main thing.


Edited by Rac19, 27 April 2019 - 10:50 PM.


#333 Clouzot

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 09:37 AM

Just got one for my 9.25 Evo. The manual is a bit "sparse" (to say the least).

 

Installation was a bit difficult. I removed my old faifthful Feathertouch, put a large piece of paper on the OTA to NOT forget to put the screw and washer back on the threaded shaft, and started having issues:

 

1- that orange plate was perhaps designed with an intent to harm (or at least to annoy). It pushes back the ball bearing that is threaded (along with the brass knob) on the focuser shaft (which is good) but if the alignment isn't perfect, it also prevents it from rotating freely.

 

2- even if the alignment is OK, don't over-tighten the three screws that hold the orange plate in place.

 

3- same with the two captive screws that hold the motor case onto the plate. If you do like I did first, you'll end up with a totally stuck motor focuser. I could rotate it by hand using the provided wrench, but the motor wasn't powerful enough. I had to disassemble the whole apparatus, and find a good position by trial and error.

 

Still, on my C9 (and, I suspect, on a lot of other OTAs as well) there's a substantial lateral play on the threaded shaft which makes it really hard to center things properly. I can hear my motor struggling when it rotates (however I could do a successful calibration). If anyone has a good solution to prevent a possible straining...

 

Last, shouldn't the back end of the motor tube have some kind of plug? The threaded shaft can be clearly seen there, and I'm a bit concerned about dust entering the OTA after some time.

 

EDIT: for those interested, I also forgot to mention that on a C9 it's incompatible with the current Hyperstar (v4) counterweight (the one that is screwed in lieu of the visual back), by a few mm. I guess I'll try and find someone that could machine a slightly modified counterweight: would someone know the correct thread pitch?


Edited by Clouzot, 20 May 2019 - 10:25 AM.


#334 Rac19

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 03:22 PM

In reply to Clouzot post #333.

 

I had very similar problems (identical really) with misalignment and jamming on my Evolution 8. Even with the screws unacceptably loose, it would still jam. The problem was only resolved when I took it back to the dealer who struggled with it for an hour or so and eventually replaced it under warranty.

 

I think that the design of unit contributes to these problems, The motor is bolted rigidly to the back of the ‘scope which requires a level of precision not present in the standard bearing/nut assembly. Loosening the screws can help but that was not enough in my case. The FeatherTouch (I think) has its own high precision bearing/nut assembly and other Focusers use timing belts/pulleys that sidestep alignment and precision issues.

 

I am happy with the Focuser now, especially the high speed for moving between standard and HyperStar positions. There is one spot, about halfway in, where there is a worrying pause but it hasn’t jammed so far,

 

An undocumented feature is that Celestron Focuser can function as USB Bridge, allowing you to control the scope without connecting via the HC.

 

EDIT. The washer story is interesting. My Evolution 8 didn’t have a washer, until I fitted one myself, so that I could use a vernier gauge to measure the physical mirror position. I notice now that the focus motor cones to a much more definite stop during calibration, a full two turns sooner than it did without the washer.

 

By the way, the open end means that I can still measure the physical mirror position while using the Celestron Focuser. Not essential, but it makes me happier. A plug would be useful of course.


Edited by Rac19, 20 May 2019 - 04:03 PM.

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#335 berniez

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 03:35 PM

Just got one for my 9.25 Evo. The manual is a bit "sparse" (to say the least).

 

Installation was a bit difficult. I removed my old faifthful Feathertouch, put a large piece of paper on the OTA to NOT forget to put the screw and washer back on the threaded shaft, and started having issues:

 

1- that orange plate was perhaps designed with an intent to harm (or at least to annoy). It pushes back the ball bearing that is threaded (along with the brass knob) on the focuser shaft (which is good) but if the alignment isn't perfect, it also prevents it from rotating freely.

 

2- even if the alignment is OK, don't over-tighten the three screws that hold the orange plate in place.

 

3- same with the two captive screws that hold the motor case onto the plate. If you do like I did first, you'll end up with a totally stuck motor focuser. I could rotate it by hand using the provided wrench, but the motor wasn't powerful enough. I had to disassemble the whole apparatus, and find a good position by trial and error.

 

Still, on my C9 (and, I suspect, on a lot of other OTAs as well) there's a substantial lateral play on the threaded shaft which makes it really hard to center things properly. I can hear my motor struggling when it rotates (however I could do a successful calibration). If anyone has a good solution to prevent a possible straining...

 

Last, shouldn't the back end of the motor tube have some kind of plug? The threaded shaft can be clearly seen there, and I'm a bit concerned about dust entering the OTA after some time.

 

EDIT: for those interested, I also forgot to mention that on a C9 it's incompatible with the current Hyperstar (v4) counterweight (the one that is screwed in lieu of the visual back), by a few mm. I guess I'll try and find someone that could machine a slightly modified counterweight: would someone know the correct thread pitch?

In another thread we had a discussion on calibration. I suspect your motor straining is related. Search for another thread involving this focuser calibration. Basically we found you must center the telescope focus knob before calibration. Meaning it should be set about 1/2 way in before assembling the motor focuser per the instructions. Then run the calibration.


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#336 Clouzot

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 03:49 PM

In another thread we had a discussion on calibration. I suspect your motor straining is related. Search for another thread involving this focuser calibration. Basically we found you must center the telescope focus knob before calibration. Meaning it should be set about 1/2 way in before assembling the motor focuser per the instructions. Then run the calibration.

I read that thread but I wasn't sure the 1/2 way trick was, in fact, to prevent motor straining and jamming. I'll try disassembling again!

 

 

I had very similar problems (identical really) with misalignment and jamming on my Evolution 8. Even with the screws unacceptably loose, it would still jam. The problem was only resolved when I took it back to the dealer who struggled with it for an hour or so and eventually replaced it under warranty.

 

I think that the design of unit contributes to these problems, The motor is bolted rigidly to the back of the ‘scope which requires a level of precision not present in the standard bearing/nut assembly. Loosening the screws can help but that was nut enough in my case. The FeatherTouch (I think) has its own high precision nut assembly and other Focusers use timing belts/pulleys to sidestep alignment issues.

 

I am happy with the Focuser now, especially the high speed for moving between standard and HyperStar positions. An undocumented feature is that Celestron Focuser can function as USB Bridge, allowing you to control the scope without connecting via the HC,

Indeed I had no issues with the FeatherTouch, installation was a breeze, and Starizona's MotorTouch (which I also have) works perfectly alongside. I wanted to test Celestron's motor for EAA, where its integration with my mount and the undocumented USB Bridge (which I heard of in one of your posts I think) would greatly facilitate remote control. I guess the FT price was not exaggerated, it's a fine piece of hardware.



#337 Rac19

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 04:43 PM

I read that thread but I wasn't sure the 1/2 way trick was, in fact, to prevent motor straining and jamming. I'll try disassembling again!

 

 

Indeed I had no issues with the FeatherTouch, installation was a breeze, and Starizona's MotorTouch (which I also have) works perfectly alongside. I wanted to test Celestron's motor for EAA, where its integration with my mount and the undocumented USB Bridge (which I heard of in one of your posts I think) would greatly facilitate remote control. I guess the FT price was not exaggerated, it's a fine piece of hardware.

On my last few outings, I have been very happy using the Celestron Focuser, doubling as a USB bridge, with CPWI, in a fully remote controlled EAA context.



#338 Clouzot

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 09:11 AM

So thanks guys, the mid-course trick helped. There's still a slight misalignment but the motor sounds like it's rotating freely now, with no audible strain.

 

Oh, another thing, but I know how to fix it: the Hyperstar counterweight (the version for Evo mounts, screwed on the 2 in x 24 thread at the back of the OTA) doesn't fit with the Focus Motor in place on my C9. I'll have a custom one machined if I can find someone that can make US-style internal threads (not easy in Europe...!)



#339 Renae Gage

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 09:42 PM

Does anyone make a computer controlled focuser with adapters so it can be used with differrnt focusing mechanisms?


Assuming that you are talking about a device that turns essentially turns the focus knob for you, you are asking the impossible. If two focusers are different shapes, they will not interact equally with a device that is made to fit one of the shapes.

There are devices (see FT/Optec) that sit between the computer and focus motor, so to speak, but you still need different focus motors for different focusers.

#340 starship2010

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 12:38 PM

Does anyone know the current estimated timeframe for Celestron's change in their electric focuser that will allow it to fit the 9.25" with the Celestron .7x focal reducer?

I'm thinking about the micro Feathertouch and then adding the Starizona's MicroTouch auto focuser.

Any reason to hold out for Celestron's version now that some of you are using their focuser?

Thanks for the help!

Jim



#341 sdrexler11791

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 12:59 PM

They have said June-July



#342 starship2010

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 01:16 PM

They have said June-July

 

Thank you!

I believe I will wait and purchase the Celestron.



#343 jtrezzo

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 05:27 PM

I'm going to go for this for my RASA 11. I have been having too many issues with my Rigel on the Feathertouch Micro, too much backlash and it has been missing focus every time after running autofocus. So I am assuming there is no temperature sensor for this? Is anyone using an external temp sensor that works with SGP? (if there even is one). It's not a dealbreaker but I'd prefer to refocus by temperature rather than elapsed time alone.



#344 tjay

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 10:34 PM

Will these work with Nexstar 8 GPS?

#345 starbuckin

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 12:06 PM

So it looks like you can't manually focus with this if you switch between photography and observing?



#346 synfinatic

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 12:10 PM

You can either use the hand controller to focus or loosen 3 screws to remove the focuser and then re-install the rubber handle.



#347 Rac19

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 03:45 PM

So it looks like you can't manually focus with this if you switch between photography and observing?

 

Even for optical observing I would prefer to use the Focuser. Once you have navigated to the Focuser control in the menu (and set the speed), you use just two buttons to move the mirror in and out by touch while looking through the eyepiece. Some advantages that I can see are much less vibration while focusing, easier movement between positions for different optical setups (standard, Barlow, HyperStar etc) and having numerical values for each position.



#348 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 01:13 AM

Will these work with Nexstar 8 GPS?

Hi Tom,

 

According to Celestron, no:

https://www.nexstars...nFocusMotor.htm

https://www.celestro...-sct-and-edgehd

 

though there has been speculation here that it might be possible to modify things to make it work.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
https://www.nexstarsite.com


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#349 Renae Gage

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 04:23 PM

attachicon.gif thumbnail.jpg
 
Just bought my C11 Edge used and it appears I don't have the "standard" focuser. When I remove the attached cover plate in the photo, everything you see comes off. What is left is way too skinny for the new focuser to attach to. Do I need to purchase the "standard" focuser for the C11 Edge so that this motor can attach to it?


Hopefully the former owner did not discard the original focuser and sent you all the parts. As for the Feathertouch Micro, yes...uninstall it and send it to me. I'll take care of it.
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#350 Dave Bush

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 11:38 PM

Even for optical observing I would prefer to use the Focuser. Once you have navigated to the Focuser control in the menu (and set the speed), you use just two buttons to move the mirror in and out by touch while looking through the eyepiece. Some advantages that I can see are much less vibration while focusing, easier movement between positions for different optical setups (standard, Barlow, HyperStar etc) and having numerical values for each position.

So let me get this straight.   I use the hand controller, not WiFi.  So...

 

Using the hand controller I initiate a GoTo and center/frame the object. Now it’s back to the menus to find the focusing menu and focus.  I decide to observe another object. Back to the menus to get to the database to find the object.  Once found it turns out that I need higher magnification so, pop in another eyepiece and, you guessed it, back to the menus to find the focus menu and focus.  

 

On on and on this goes all night.  

 

Pass




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