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Celestron Electronic Focus Motor For SCT and EdgeHD

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#476 Clouzot

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 01:39 AM

Nrcapes, is it the case for all slew rates? Reminds me of the HC behavior where directions get inverted for speeds under 3 (or was it 4).

#477 nrcapes

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 10:32 AM

Nrcapes, is it the case for all slew rates? Reminds me of the HC behavior where directions get inverted for speeds under 3 (or was it 4).

I have slew rate at CPWI set to 9 and slew rate at SharpCap set to 3 degrees per second, which should always move the scope right with the right arrow. CPWI slew with right arrow moves scope right. SharpCap slew with right arrow moves scope left.



#478 glancey

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:28 AM

This post has become a catch-all for any and all things related to Celestron's focuser and CPWI. Everyone has had their different experiences, some good and some not so good. When I first posted my experience on August 3, I said I couldn't use the focuser with my camera software, Sharpcap and at the same time control the mount with CPWI.

 

This was especially problematic when you add in StarSense for alignment, which requires CPWI if you want to control remotely. Many posted their "solution" - connect this first and that second, wire up USB bridge and HC together, power up this before power up that. We've even seen some terrific wiring diagrams. Great, we are all experimenting, which is how things progress. 

 

But my challenge still remains. How to make the focuser, camera software and mount controls all work together? None of the solutions posted here have worked for me and I think it's time for Celestron to step up to the plate.



#479 Clouzot

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 02:52 PM

 

But my challenge still remains. How to make the focuser, camera software and mount controls all work together? None of the solutions posted here have worked for me and I think it's time for Celestron to step up to the plate.

That's still an open question, as all solutions are unsatisfactory (to say the least). Celestron has repeatedly stated that they would add that capability to CPWI, whose ASCOM driver will probably include the focuser as well as the mount. If you aren't a member yet, please sign up to TeamCelestron's forum and ask for the feature, so that it gets a higher priority in their backlog.



#480 beammeup

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:04 PM

What's the advantage of controlling the focus with Sharpcap rather than with CPWI?



#481 Clouzot

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:10 PM

Two advantages in my book:

- it's almost impossible to display both the Sharpcap UI and CPWI's focuser tab at the same time. Both programs were designed to be full screen. So you end up switching to CPWI to adjust the focus, switching back to SC to check how it looks, and ad libitum until you blindly find the right spot.

- benefit from Sharpcap's semi-auto focusing methods (Bathinov, FWMH single- or multi-star...) that rely on SC being able to control the focuser.


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#482 nrcapes

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:34 PM

At the risk of adding one more "I did it MY way" post, here is the ONLY way that I have been able to get a stable connection between CPWI, SharpCap, and mount (NexStar 6SE). If I do not do BOTH steps 2 and 3, I will get a CPWI  error, either immediately or later:

 

1) power off the mount.

2) disconnect USB cable from bottom of HC,

3) disconnect focuser from AUX.

4) hold down Logo and 7 buttons on HC while powering up the mount (brings up Boot loader).

5) connect USB to bottom of HC.

6) connect focuser to AUX.

7) Start CPWI and press Connect with HC radio button checked.

8) Start SharpCap and under Settings>Hardware select NONE for focuser and CPWI for mount.

 

CPWI now controls the mount and the focuser. SharpCap can also control the mount, but not the focuser.



#483 Rac19

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:01 PM

Two advantages in my book:

- it's almost impossible to display both the Sharpcap UI and CPWI's focuser tab at the same time. Both programs were designed to be full screen. So you end up switching to CPWI to adjust the focus, switching back to SC to check how it looks, and ad libitum until you blindly find the right spot.

- benefit from Sharpcap's semi-auto focusing methods (Bathinov, FWMH single- or multi-star...) that rely on SC being able to control the focuser.

Yep, I have suggested, in Team Celestron, that there should be an "always on top" in CPWI window for the Focuser, similar to the one for slewing, perhaps both in a single window. In am not sure that they understood the need for it. Another option would be to add focusing to the game-pad, on the second joystick, which I understand is in the works.



#484 shandypaul

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 07:19 AM

Hi there.

 

Just joined the forum. Apologies if this query has already been answered.

 

I have an Edge 8" HD OTA with a VX mount and a Nextstar starsense hand controller. Also attached is a starsense camera and the Celestron Focus Motor (which i have just fitted).

 

I can control the Focus motor VIA hand controller to PC as well as USB connection directly using either the CPWI program or using the

Focus Controller Program on the PC.

 

However I am unable to control the focus motor using only the Nextstar Starsense HC.  I have updated all the software using Celestron CFM software updater. (see attached file)

 

When I check the Hand Controller, it recognises the Star sense camera and mount but not the Focuser. I have checked all menus on the hand controller but cant find any menu specifically for the focuser.

 

The HC version is 01.20.19207 (displayed on the HC).

 

Could I ask if anyone else has had this issue and if so a solution for it?

 

Many thanks in advance. smile.png

 

attachicon.gif Focus motor.jpg

Just a follow up to my original question regarding control of Focuser using the HC only. 

 

I disconnected the usb to PC link cable from the bottom of the HC (even though it wasn't connected to the PC) and tried again. Once the HC had initialsed, I checked the menu and the"Focuser" menu appeared!.  The control of the focuser via the HC worked without a problem. I then switched off the power and re-connected the usb/pc link to the base of the HC an switched the power back on to see if the focuser menu had disappeared but it was still there. 

 

So whether disconnecting the lead corrected the issue i'm not sure but its working now. Hope this helps if other users have had a similar issue.

 

Paul e 


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#485 roelb

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 08:50 AM

I have slew rate at CPWI set to 9 and slew rate at SharpCap set to 3 degrees per second, which should always move the scope right with the right arrow. CPWI slew with right arrow moves scope right. SharpCap slew with right arrow moves scope left.

You can flip x axis in SharpCap. 



#486 skaiser

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 12:30 PM

I have been running different setup tests for using the Celestron Focuser with Sharpcap or APT.

 

With CPWI CPWI 2.2.3 , and  sharpcap3.2.6086.0-64bit

  USB 4 port hub connected to:
Hand Control
Focuser
ZWO camera

Mount Aux 1 connected to Hand control
Mount Aux2 connected to Focuser

Power up mount WITHOUT USB HUB connected to Laptop.
Then plug in USB Hub to Laptop

Start CPWI and Connect to mount via Hand control  Port
CPWI will now Control both the mount and the Focuser

 

Start Sharpcap
Connect to camera

  You can connect to Scope Control Via CPWI
  You can Connect to Focuser via "Celestron USB Focuser"
  (Note: You will probably get a ERROR .it may take 4-5 tries to connect to the Focuser BUT it will Connect!)

 

Once connected You now have control of the Focuser with Sharpcap and CPWI.

 

This works very solidly for me.

 BUT ,AGAIN,  it may take multiple tries to get the SHarpcap connection but it will connect.

 

Same connection procedure applies to APT

Hope this helps.



#487 Clouzot

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 01:20 PM

Thanks @skaiser. I can confirm this approach works, but not always. As soon as the focuser disconnects from SC (and boy does that happen, probably due to current peak loads over the USB connection), I can never get it to connect again. Small question though: is your 4-port USB hub powered?



#488 skaiser

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 02:12 PM

My usb3.0 hub can be powered, but I have not had to use it with external power.

But  ,power for the focuser should not be an issue, 

according to Celestron, the focuser automatically uses the highest power source , which in this case should be the AUX connection to the scope, unless the scope power is having issues.

 

One more thing to note.

Per Celestron your should always finish a focus move so that it finishes inwards against the mirror (CCW).

always finish with a backlash compensation IN ,  Plus ( Move In ) direction
With the Hand Control always finish SCROLL UP,  counter-clockwise,

There is a setting in the Focuser setup to automatically perform a Backlash move BUT

 I have found this is not active in Sharpcap until
you click on the SETUP button in Sharpcap after you have made connection.

Sharpcap will then Prompt you with

 "Already connected, just press OK"

Then you get the Celestron Setup screen where you can Enable auto backlash.

Press OK and from then on all Focuser moves will auto compensate for Backlash.


Edited by skaiser, 16 September 2019 - 02:58 PM.

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#489 Umasscrew39

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:45 AM

  Just to chime in.  I have been using the autofocuser via the ASCOM driver on SC for a few months, running it through my powered USB3 hub located on top of my C11 with few issues.  The only problem I rarely encounter is when SC suddenly freezes for no apparent reason and I have to reboot.  The reboot does not always re-engage the autofocuser but if I simply reboot a second time it works.    


Edited by Umasscrew39, 17 September 2019 - 09:37 AM.


#490 Clouzot

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:56 AM

   when SC suddenly freezes for no apparent reason and I have to reboot.    

I experienced sudden SC errors as well when the focuser is connected through its ASCOM driver (v1.4 here, as found on TeamCelestron). SC displays something about an ASCOM exception, stating that it has to close immediately. The focuser is indeed unreachable unless I reboot or disconnect the whole USB hub from the PC.

 

A bit frustrating when you're recording a large .SER video of Jupiter, or just reached the almost perfect stack of a faint galaxy.



#491 nrcapes

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 09:46 AM

A new wrinkle with CPWI. I just received my replacement StarSense yesterday and tested it last night.  It performed flawlessly with the HC and I got an excellent calibration with a 7mm illuminated crosshair EP.  Then I decided to test CPWI. Bummer!  It's StarSense auto was very poor and on going to a target it  was off perhaps 10 degrees.  I did multiple StarSense manual calibrations, all of which showed up as "Poor" in the panel that indicates quality.  Even worse, a goto to Polaris gave an error message that it could not slew "below the minimum slew limit of zero" even though I had slew limits disabled under "Configuration."  At that point the OTA was pointed about 45 degrees above the horizon, yet the panel on the lower left of CPWI set the Altitude was -48 degrrees. I did make sure that the OTA was level to the northern horizon before starting the StarSense alignments. This is a HUGE problem. I will also post this to Team Celestron.



#492 Clouzot

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 11:15 AM

You seem to be going from issue to issue @nrcapes undecided.gif

 

I first thought about an incorrect GPS location or time in CPWI (it defaults to California and PST and sometimes it's not apparent whether it accepted your custom location or not) but it shouldn't even have displayed a "poor" alignement, rather a "failed" one, as happens when using the HC with an incorrect time zone.

 

Let us know what Derik has to say about this.



#493 nrcapes

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 11:21 AM

You seem to be going from issue to issue @nrcapes undecided.gif

 

I first thought about an incorrect GPS location or time in CPWI (it defaults to California and PST and sometimes it's not apparent whether it accepted your custom location or not) but it shouldn't even have displayed a "poor" alignement, rather a "failed" one, as happens when using the HC with an incorrect time zone.

 

Let us know what Derik has to say about this.

I'm confused by your reply.  CPWI showed the correct date, time, and location.  Are you saying that this also has to be set in the HC? I can't do this because I am connecting to the HC in boot loader mode from CPWI. Anyway, it would seem pointless for CPWI to display date, time, and location and then not set it in the HC. I will see what Derek has to say.



#494 Clouzot

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 11:51 AM

No, the HC only serves as a pass-thru and isn't actively participating when you use CPWI.

The first times I ran CPWI, I entered my location but there was no utterly visible confirmation that it was indeed taken into account. And it wasn't, because once I closed that window, it silently defaulted to the US West Coast. That one window has changed since then, but I remember struggling for it to accept my location (a few presses on Tab, Enter, can't remember the exact keystrokes). To make sure CPWI really knows where you are, reopen the location window and have a look. CPWI saves the previous location and should display it immediately.



#495 beammeup

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 11:53 AM

I'm confused by your reply.  CPWI showed the correct date, time, and location.  Are you saying that this also has to be set in the HC? I can't do this because I am connecting to the HC in boot loader mode from CPWI. Anyway, it would seem pointless for CPWI to display date, time, and location and then not set it in the HC. I will see what Derek has to say.

I connect my AVX 8 edge and Starsense directly (wirelessly) with the PC & Sky Portal wifi module, no Hand Control or cables present at all.

 

CPWI detects the mount and Starsense camera wirelessly, I've not had any problems so far with alignments, I just wish it were possible to save "user auto align" settings with CPWI (as you can do with the Starsense HC), in order to save/recall auto align routines for partially blocked sky locations.

 

CPWI still freezes on me occasionally and seems to use quite a lot of PC resources, but has improved a lot in the latest version.

I find it much simpler and quicker to setup and use CPWI than Stellarium, (although I do prefer the Stellarium sky map), and with CPWI I can connect and use my Logitech Wireless Rumblepad to make small slew adjustments wirelessly up near the scope, much better than with HC, (it's easy to press the wrong button in the dark on HC and lose alignment! smile.gif ).

 

 

oLxfa.jpg


Edited by beammeup, 20 September 2019 - 11:59 AM.


#496 nrcapes

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 12:14 PM

I connect my AVX 8 edge and Starsense directly (wirelessly) with the PC & Sky Portal wifi module, no Hand Control or cables present at all.

 

CPWI detects the mount and Starsense camera wirelessly, I've not had any problems so far with alignments, I just wish it were possible to save "user auto align" settings with CPWI (as you can do with the Starsense HC), in order to save/recall auto align routines for partially blocked sky locations.

 

CPWI still freezes on me occasionally and seems to use quite a lot of PC resources, but has improved a lot in the latest version.

I find it much simpler and quicker to setup and use CPWI than Stellarium, (although I do prefer the Stellarium sky map), and with CPWI I can connect and use my Logitech Wireless Rumblepad to make small slew adjustments wirelessly up near the scope, much better than with HC, (it's easy to press the wrong button in the dark on HC and lose alignment! smile.gif ).

 

 

oLxfa.jpg

ok, I guess that shows that you do not need to enter the time, date, and location in the HC to use CPWI. I suppose it is possible that there might be a conflict between the HC information and CPWI if both are attached, since you don't have that configuration. I will see what Derek says.  Thanks.



#497 starbuckin

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 01:48 PM

I connect my AVX 8 edge and Starsense directly (wirelessly) with the PC & Sky Portal wifi module, no Hand Control or cables present at all.

 

CPWI detects the mount and Starsense camera wirelessly, I've not had any problems so far with alignments, I just wish it were possible to save "user auto align" settings with CPWI (as you can do with the Starsense HC), in order to save/recall auto align routines for partially blocked sky locations.

 

CPWI still freezes on me occasionally and seems to use quite a lot of PC resources, but has improved a lot in the latest version.

I find it much simpler and quicker to setup and use CPWI than Stellarium, (although I do prefer the Stellarium sky map), and with CPWI I can connect and use my Logitech Wireless Rumblepad to make small slew adjustments wirelessly up near the scope, much better than with HC, (it's easy to press the wrong button in the dark on HC and lose alignment! smile.gif ).

 

 

 

You can save your alignment points in CPWI. I do it sometimes, but obviously it changes quickly with the seasons, so now I just click on appropriate locations on the map. Once you add points and then hit 'end alignment', it always asks if you want to save it for future alignments.

 

I read on the beta forums that they were adding a 'dome' feature, that would allow  you to set your skyview in CPWI so that you could configure it to not look at blocked locations. I'm surrounded by trees myself, so am looking forward to this feature.

 

Starsense is supposed to figure out when there is obstruction, but it always points at my southern sky tree line and announces, "100 stars found". Uhh, no you didn't. I usually cancel the alignment at that point (its usually already found the other 3 alignment points) and then just add a few above the tree line.



#498 beammeup

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 01:52 PM

You can save your alignment points in CPWI. I do it sometimes, but obviously it changes quickly with the seasons, so now I just click on appropriate locations on the map. Once you add points and then hit 'end alignment', it always asks if you want to save it for future alignments.

 

I read on the beta forums that they were adding a 'dome' feature, that would allow  you to set your skyview in CPWI so that you could configure it to not look at blocked locations. I'm surrounded by trees myself, so am looking forward to this feature.

 

Starsense is supposed to figure out when there is obstruction, but it always points at my southern sky tree line and announces, "100 stars found". Uhh, no you didn't. I usually cancel the alignment at that point (its usually already found the other 3 alignment points) and then just add a few above the tree line.

Thanks for that, yes that is useful, not quite as good as with starsense HC where you can save slew positions, but as you said, you can use it for a while until the sky changes.



#499 Rac19

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 04:07 PM

ok, I guess that shows that you do not need to enter the time, date, and location in the HC to use CPWI. I suppose it is possible that there might be a conflict between the HC information and CPWI if both are attached, since you don't have that configuration. I will see what Derek says.  Thanks.

I have had the HC plugged in at times (for manual slewing and focusing) while using CPWI and haven't noticed any issues, that includes both the NexStar+ HC and SS HC. I think that it is similar to the SkyPortal app, the HC can be used for manual slewing so long as only the slew and slew speed buttons are pressed. It gets more complicated when the HC is used for focusing as well, more buttons have to be pressed, increasing the risk of pressing a wrong button.

 

I prefer to use a gamepad to the HC though, because it is simpler to use and there is no chance of pressing a wrong button. I understand that focus control will be added to the gamepad interface soon, which I am looking forward to. Another benefit is that I can use my Bluetooth XBox controller while moving between indoors and outdoors.

 

EDIT: I used the Logitech wireless game controller for some time but always seemed to have trouble getting tit to connect reliably. One issue seemed to be that it has two modes, "Normal" mode and "Rumble Pad" mode. From what I have seem CPWI looks for an "Xbox Wireless Controller" in Windows Device Manage and I constantly have a problem getting this to happen.

 

I now use the official Xbox wireless controller, which connects via Bluetooth. It has been very good, it connects reliably and CPWI instantly recognizes it. The way is shows up in the Device Manager is a little different, still as a "Xbox Wireless Controller" but under Bluetooth, not in the Device Manager root.


Edited by Rac19, 20 September 2019 - 07:06 PM.


#500 Jenz114

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 01:03 AM

Just throwing in my experience with the Celestron focus motor #94155 for more user data.

 

Bought the focus motor on Amazon, shipped and sold by Adorama, on August 28, 2019. Received and installed on my Celestron NexStar 8SE according to the included instructions. I updated the firmware on the hand controller for the first time since it was purchased new in 2017 without any issues. Attempting to run the calibration failed after the motor only turned the shaft a partial turn and appeared to freeze up with no further activity for several minutes. After trying a few different things unsuccessfully I found the suggested fixes here. In order to get the focus motor to calibrate and function with about 44 turns of travel, I had to reinstall the original orange cover plate in addition to the one supplied with the focus motor. The two captive motor mounting screws also had to be left completely loose, as any sort of tightening would instantly lock up the focus motor, only getting me a partial turn at best. I'm still going to tinker with it some more for a solution I like better, but for now it does function while manually moving the focus using the mount's hand controller (I haven't tried the goto focus position yet). It's also worth mentioning the focus motor is noisy and wobbles quite a bit with this solution.

 

I'm assuming the focus motor locks up due to an over-torque error in the servo motor. Perhaps torque limit changes in a firmware update from Celestron could fix this issue, though I've seen in this thread that this could create problems in other areas. So far I am hesitant to return the focus motor to Celestron for warranty work due to their requirement of paying for shipping both directions, and the fact it seems to work when it's unmounted.


Edited by Jenz114, 22 September 2019 - 01:03 AM.



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