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Celestron Electronic Focus Motor For SCT and EdgeHD

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#26 beammeup

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 03:47 AM

I ordered one. I got all the drivers and software downloaded. So it looks like they did their homework on this one. You can use the hand controller, the ASCOM driver, the PWI program, or the Celestron Focus Utility Program. You can adjust for backlash and it has 3 speeds on the HC (RATE 1: 8°/sec RATE 2: 32°/sec RATE 3: 128°/sec). I was about to buy a Feather Touch so glad that this one came out.

 

 

Setup Docs.

https://celestron-si...ng_BookletF.pdf

Manual
https://celestron-si...M_English_F.pdf

Thank you for the links...


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#27 Paul Skee

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 12:19 PM

Anyone notice the links to the software and documentation were taken down, premature release?



#28 vlxjim

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 04:38 PM

Anyone notice the links to the software and documentation were taken down, premature release?

 

Yeah last night I tried to go there to download on another computer an found the link had been taken down. 



#29 lenrabinowitz

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 05:21 PM

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



#30 dcollier

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 12:48 PM

The links have been restored.

 

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

 

Dave



#31 3snows

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 02:16 PM

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

The Pegasus Astro FocusCube https://pegasusastro...ucts/focuscube/ has the capability to do that but I do not believe they sell the adapters separately.  I am going to ask.



#32 dylanodonnell

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 05:04 PM

Hi all! 

 

Just wanted to jump in to say I've been beta testing this focuser for about 6 months now and it works great :) I'm using the ASCOM driver with sequence generator pro on the 11" Celestron RASA which is known for it's very precise and small focus range which is difficult at best with manual focussing. The individual steps are so small that even setting the fine focus to a range of 3-5 works great for a tight focus. 

 

Ironically I can't order another yet because I'll be getting at least 2 more for the other OTAs I have :) 

 

Dylan. 

 

PS .. here are 2 images I've taken with this focuser recently .. (feel free to zoom right in and see it warts and all) 

 

https://www.reddit.c...la_running_man/
https://www.reddit.c...r_skull_nebula/


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#33 Noah4x4

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 06:02 PM

Picking up on an earlier thread.....

 

I posted a question in TeamCelestron requesting updating of the Firmware Update History on the Celestron software site. It has since been updated as at 05/01/19 and the latest firmware release for the HC's does mentions HC support for the new focuser, as well as some bug fixing relating to GPS etc. 

 

Seems like a firmware update is desirable....

 

http://software.cele...llers/?dir=CFM 

(Open directory, then CFM folder to find latest update history).


Edited by Noah4x4, 07 January 2019 - 06:06 PM.

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#34 andicus

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 10:06 PM

The Pegasus Astro FocusCube https://pegasusastro...ucts/focuscube/ has the capability to do that but I do not believe they sell the adapters separately.  I am going to ask.

Just a suggestion...  If you're looking at a Pegasus system, and you plan to use it on more than one scope, I would suggest the separate DMFC and motor setup (a $35 difference from the cube for the SCT version).  Then you just need a separate motor for your second scope, and only have to change cabling.

 

I don't know the price difference between a separate motor and a bracket, but I thought the convenience would be worth the extra money.

 

The other thing I'd add is that if you get the FocusCube and you want manual focus control, you'll have to pay an extra ~$74 for the hand control.  With the DMFC, you already have that as part of the controller.



#35 beammeup

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 04:00 AM

Just a suggestion...  If you're looking at a Pegasus system, and you plan to use it on more than one scope, I would suggest the separate DMFC and motor setup (a $35 difference from the cube for the SCT version).  Then you just need a separate motor for your second scope, and only have to change cabling.

 

I don't know the price difference between a separate motor and a bracket, but I thought the convenience would be worth the extra money.

 

The other thing I'd add is that if you get the FocusCube and you want manual focus control, you'll have to pay an extra ~$74 for the hand control.  With the DMFC, you already have that as part of the controller.

The reason I like the Celestron Motor focus is that it's a direct (straight) connection, you do not get a sideways "pull" on the focus axis shaft  like you do with the Pegasus focus cube (belt), and with some of the other focus motors.


Edited by beammeup, 08 January 2019 - 04:01 AM.


#36 3snows

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 07:18 AM

The reason I like the Celestron Motor focus is that it's a direct (straight) connection, you do not get a sideways "pull" on the focus axis shaft  like you do with the Pegasus focus cube (belt), and with some of the other focus motors.

 

Just a suggestion...  If you're looking at a Pegasus system, and you plan to use it on more than one scope, I would suggest the separate DMFC and motor setup (a $35 difference from the cube for the SCT version).  Then you just need a separate motor for your second scope, and only have to change cabling.

 

I don't know the price difference between a separate motor and a bracket, but I thought the convenience would be worth the extra money.

 

The other thing I'd add is that if you get the FocusCube and you want manual focus control, you'll have to pay an extra ~$74 for the hand control.  With the DMFC, you already have that as part of the controller.

I agree with both comments.  I wanted an electronic focuser for my refractor mainly and went with the FocusCube due to it's low profile design.  The focuser for the SCT was an afterthought and now that Celestron has one that is powered from the mount and controlled by the HC, that would be the route I take for the SCT.

 

I choose the FocusCube cause I can't stand those DB9 cables / connectors.  Too 80's for me smile.gif



#37 andicus

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:57 AM

The reason I like the Celestron Motor focus is that it's a direct (straight) connection, you do not get a sideways "pull" on the focus axis shaft  like you do with the Pegasus focus cube (belt), and with some of the other focus motors.

I hadn't thought about that.  Has it been shown to cause any issues?  I wouldn't expect so, but it's an interesting point.

 

I agree with both comments.  I wanted an electronic focuser for my refractor mainly and went with the FocusCube due to it's low profile design.  The focuser for the SCT was an afterthought and now that Celestron has one that is powered from the mount and controlled by the HC, that would be the route I take for the SCT.

 

I choose the FocusCube cause I can't stand those DB9 cables / connectors.  Too 80's for me smile.gif

 

I was concerned about the DB9 connector, as well, but the latest version uses a cable with RJ45 connectors on each end.  I received mine in December, and it is the RJ45 type.

 

I didn't realize you had already purchased the cube.

 

I'll be interested to see how people like the Celestron version.  Be aware, however, that it's not a stepper, but a servo motor.   As I've stated elsewhere, I'm not a fan of Celestron with servo motors due to previous encoder issues with my (and others) CGEM.



#38 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 05:50 PM

The ASCOM driver is available on the Support and Downloads tab (right below the picture) on Celestron's page:

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

 

The Windows utility is listed there as well but it links to the same download as the ASCOM driver.  It is possible they built a little shell around the ASCOM driver so that might be correct but the manual seems to indicate it is a separate utility.

 

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

FYI - the link for the Windows focuser utility now correctly downloads the actual utility rather than the ASCOM driver.



#39 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 05:52 PM

 

I'll be interested to see how people like the Celestron version.  Be aware, however, that it's not a stepper, but a servo motor.   As I've stated elsewhere, I'm not a fan of Celestron with servo motors due to previous encoder issues with my (and others) CGEM.

Celestron has been using servo motors with little trouble since at least the original 1999 NexStar 5 but I will concede something went wrong with a batch for the CGEM.

 

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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#40 andicus

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 11:25 AM

Celestron has been using servo motors with little trouble since at least the original 1999 NexStar 5 but I will concede something went wrong with a batch for the CGEM.

 

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

I agree that I wouldn't expect a problem with the motor. 

 

I guess the biggest frustration is that it is only an issue with the encoder wheel, yet Celestron would never make that part available separately.  So a $20 part (actually, just the wheel, so probably less) fails and you have to replace the whole motor at >$150.  It also would've been nice if there was some sort of extended warranty assistance for what appeared to be a manufacturing flaw.



#41 markm75c

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:26 PM

Cant seem to find a vendor that has this in stock.. has it been pulled temporarily?

 

Also i assume the 8SE is covered in compatibility correct?


Edited by markm75c, 09 January 2019 - 02:27 PM.


#42 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 06:44 PM

Cant seem to find a vendor that has this in stock.. has it been pulled temporarily?

 

Also i assume the 8SE is covered in compatibility correct?

Hi Mark,

 

It is brand new so I don't know if any vendors have received initial shipments yet.

 

According to Celestron:

"The focus motor is compatible with all SCTs from 6” to 14” in aperture that have been produced since the year 2006."

They don't qualify how one would tell the difference between the >=2006 and prior but I think it would be any of the SCTs with the raised rounded-corner triangle on the rear cell (vice the flat rear cell).

 

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



#43 Koinonos

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:08 PM

How does one use the manual focus knob if you want to do some visual astronomy?

Should I assume that only way is to focus the motor using the hand controller somehow?

#44 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:19 PM

How does one use the manual focus knob if you want to do some visual astronomy?

Should I assume that only way is to focus the motor using the hand controller 

Correct, you must use the hand control or an external computer to focus.  That is the big drawback of this focuser, it mounts right onto the focusing knob (after removing the rubber cover) and there is no easy way to remove it out in the field should you need to resort to manual focus. 

 

Those who only use SkyPortal/SkySafari in place of the physical hand control may not be so interested although it is likely the physical hand control could control the focuser without disrupting SkyPortal/SkySafari.

 

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



#45 andicus

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 11:37 PM

Correct, you must use the hand control or an external computer to focus.  That is the big drawback of this focuser, it mounts right onto the focusing knob (after removing the rubber cover) and there is no easy way to remove it out in the field should you need to resort to manual focus. 

 

Those who only use SkyPortal/SkySafari in place of the physical hand control may not be so interested although it is likely the physical hand control could control the focuser without disrupting SkyPortal/SkySafari.

 

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

And that is actually what gives this system a plus over a stepper setup.  Gross focus changes won't be too bad, as this system can rotate up to 128°/sec.  I checked with my Pegasus focuser system, and can get about 10°/sec.  It's heavily geared, and then further reduced with the pulley/timing belt.  Since, as you say, it's not easy to remove in the field, you're pretty much stuck with those speeds.  So, advantage servo setup, in this case.  Of course, there is the disadvantage of fine adjustments, if they're correct in the slowest speed being 8°/sec.

 

Actually, Michael, as you've looked at so many aspects of these scopes, would you happen to have any data on the change required in focus on an 8" EdgeHD with and without the f/7 focal reducer?  I.e. approximately how many turns?  I seem to recall it being quite a few, but I'm not sure if that was due to also switching to my NexImage Burst + Powermate, or if it was simply FR vs no FR.  I'm thinking on the order of at least 6-7 turns, which is going to take about 4 or 5 mins with my stepper.  Yikes!  I'd find out, myself, but weather conditions are still punishing me for buying new gear.



#46 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 11:41 PM

Actually, Michael, as you've looked at so many aspects of these scopes, would you happen to have any data on the change required in focus on an 8" EdgeHD with and without the f/7 focal reducer?  I.e. approximately how many turns?  I seem to recall it being quite a few, but I'm not sure if that was due to also switching to my NexImage Burst + Powermate, or if it was simply FR vs no FR.  I'm thinking on the order of at least 6-7 turns, which is going to take about 4 or 5 mins with my stepper.  Yikes!  I'd find out, myself, but weather conditions are still punishing me for buying new gear.

Nope - don't have that knowledge floating around anywhere.

 

But I bet someone will chime in :-)



#47 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:19 AM

Correct, you must use the hand control or an external computer to focus.  That is the big drawback of this focuser, it mounts right onto the focusing knob (after removing the rubber cover) and there is no easy way to remove it out in the field should you need to resort to manual focus. 

 

Those who only use SkyPortal/SkySafari in place of the physical hand control may not be so interested although it is likely the physical hand control could control the focuser without disrupting SkyPortal/SkySafari.

 

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

I am not sure if this is a major issue. Depends on the wider functionality of the device and the supporting software and details in the public domain are currently imited.

 

My first point is for Astrophotographers that sit with laptop at the scope that switch to visual it isn't a problem to use a Nexstar + HC instead of twiddle the regular focuser as both are within reach. The challenge here is a question of remote control of the focuser from a distance when you cannot reach the Nexstar + HC and/or compatibility with the APPs. But consider this...

 

I have a wireless MKIT20-WL Autofocuser, but came to realise the non-wireless version was actually the more flexible for my purpose. I no longer use its wireless receiver. I simply affix its Hand Controller at the scope where its tangible buttons can be used to adjust focus in visual mode when using an eyepiece. This HC is then connected by USB cable to a Intel NUC at the scope which I remotely control from indoors (see EAA Forum). I can then alternatively adjust focus from inside my warm 'Mission Control' using FocusMax (or SGP or Maxim DL etc). Works independently of software like Infinity and Sharpcap. The fact that I might use SkySafari to control other scope functionality (like GoTo) is irrelevant.

 

The new Celestron Focuser instead uses the regular Nexstar + HC which (like my Focuser HC) is located at the scope. The relevant questions therefore are;

 

1.  If aligned with SkySafari/wireless will the Nexstar + HC Focuser buttons still work?

 

Like Mike Swanson, I suspect yes, as the regular direction buttons and <Menu> still work after alignment with an APP (but don't try GoTo except in the APP). If so, there would be no issue with controlling focus when sat at the scope whether doing AP or visual.

 

2.  Will Focus adjustment be added to SkySafari?

 

Frankly, I doubt it, and with no tactile feedback from a Tablet screen buttons I think it would be frustrating.

 

3. Begs the question; can a Nexstar + HC be controlled remotely?

 

The answer is yes (Stellarium, NextRemote etc), but it can be tricky and it will need an item of Windows software similar to FocusMax to control focus (unless SGPro or Maxim DL compatible etc)  . I would be astonished if Celestron has not thought about challenge (3). However (1) should resolve the problem for those that are always outdoors whether visual or AP.  But if it doesn't offer remote capabilities (3), it will not (IMHO) be a game-changer. 



#48 3snows

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:46 AM

3. Begs the question; can a Nexstar + HC be controlled remotely?

 

The answer is yes (Stellarium, NextRemote etc), but it can be tricky and it will need an item of Windows software similar to FocusMax to control focus (unless SGPro or Maxim DL compatible etc)  . I would be astonished if Celestron has not thought about challenge (3). However (1) should resolve the problem for those that are always outdoors whether visual or AP.  But if it doesn't offer remote capabilities (3), it will not (IMHO) be a game-changer. 

It appears the focuser has both ASCOM drivers and a Windows client.  It can also connect directly to your PC so remote focusing should not be a problem using either the Celestron client or any ASCOM third party SW like APT.  I would use TeamViewer much like a do now for remote focus with my Pegasus focuser.

 

For me though, the elimination of vibration while at the scope and focusing is what I'm really after.  I primarily use an SE mount for visual and manual focus is difficult due to the vibration that it creates.  



#49 davidparks

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:44 AM

Order Placed:  no brainer because I don't like separate controllers, preferring the motor and controller to be one unit, and don't even get me started on out-dated 9-pin serial cables/connectors....fingertap.gif

 

Easy enough to understand that the focuser can be connected to the AUX network of devices (Starsense, GPS, Skyportal, etc), and operated with the HandControl, using the new FOCUS menu option.

Equally easy enough to understand that the focuser can be connected to a computer via USB to be controlled via ASCOM.

 

Surprisingly, interestingly, according to the manual, it can also be controlled via PC/ASCOM when connected to the AUX port, and HandControl is connected via USB.   This would mean ASCOM sees the mount and focuser on the same COMM port?

 

Since the HandControl can be replaced by NexRemote (minus the Starsense features), and SkyQLink/SkyPortal Wifi Dongle (eliminating the USB cable from computer to HandControl), can the focuser still be controlled through ASCOM when it's connected via AUX port?   This would also answer the question about SkySafari being able to control the focuser, not that they would even be interested in doing so.

 

On a tangent, wouldn't it be nice if NexRemote included Starsense operation cool.gif


Edited by davidparks, 10 January 2019 - 11:47 AM.

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#50 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:19 PM

 

The answer is yes (Stellarium, NextRemote etc), but it can be tricky and it will need an item of Windows software similar to FocusMax to control focus (unless SGPro or Maxim DL compatible etc)  . I would be astonished if Celestron has not thought about challenge (3). However (1) should resolve the problem for those that are always outdoors whether visual or AP.  But if it doesn't offer remote capabilities (3), it will not (IMHO) be a game-changer. 

Hi Noah,

 

Celestron already released a small Windows application for controlling the focuser directly and also an ASCOM driver to control it remotely from many other apps already on the market.

 

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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