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Struggling w/ StarSense

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#1 eMaX

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

Hi all,

 

I'm struggling with StarSense. I have a limited view of about 1/4 of the night sky due to buildings - I mostly see everything from South to West and a bit of North-West (not Polaris).

 

I've a C11 EdgeHD on CGX-L, and have StarSense mounted and the StarSense HC plugged in. I also have the Wifi Module and can control the scope with SkyPortal or SkySafari Plus.

 

The scope is roughly oriented towards north using a Compass. It is not yet polar aligned, and no successful HC based routine for Star alignment has been performed.

 

Option a: When I Do a "connect and align" using SkyPortal, the alignment follows very well through: The application is clever enough to orient the scope to where it actually sees stars (yes, I took the cap off...).

 

When it asks me for alignment, depending on what I can see, I can use Deneb or Mars for the calibration routine. What happens there that with the finder scope (I've a double illuminated cross hair both for the finder as well as for the eye piece) I locate the Star or Planet, then fine-tune the centering within the eye piece.

 

Question: I notice that the star keeps drifting within the eye piece, and I assume that this is because no polar alignment has been done. Is this right?

 

I quickly hit "Calibrate" on the SkyPortal application until it drifts off too much and then afterwards, it does its alignment and ultimately, goto works pretty well. Drifting remains, as I did not polar align.

 

Question: I notice there seems to be no way to save that alignment I just did within the hand controller. Is that right?

 

Question: I notice there seems to be no polar alignment routine in the SkyPortal application. Is that right?

 

So as a consequence, I appear to need to do an initial alignment and calibration routine with the Hand Controller. The issue here is that while the application was clever enough to look around to find stars in my somewhat limited situation, when doing it from the hand controller with automatic mode, it stupidly only locks in to like North-East or Up. It never tries anything else. Hence, an automatic alignment, that does work with the app, does not work with the hand controller.

 

Question: Is there a way to tell him to look somewhere else?

 

I know there is a manual routine. I use that to point roughly to the parts of the sky that the alignment from SkyPortal was using. Unfortunately when it is very cold outside (-10°C or less), the scrolling text on the red illuminated hand controller is hardly readable. I see something like I have to push up and right and then to push like an unreadable symbol, and I don't understand it. So what I do is to keep pointing to three or four directions, hitting enter several times until it finally tries to optimize what it found - and tells me that the alignment was insufficient.

 

Question: In one of those alignment routines, it says to orient the scope horizontally. What does that really mean? Because if I try, it'll next slew to see stars that might be lying on the ground.

 

Question: What's the real way to do a manual alignment? I RTFM, but I just don't get what buttons to push.

 

As a result, I'm unable to do a polar align, as that requires to be at least able to do one star alignment.

 

Bonus Question 1: When using the original hand controller, I can input time and GPS location. On the StarSense HC, I don't find such an option. How to input the GPS position? It has only a very small amount of cities.

 

Bonus Question 2: When using the original hand controller, I have an option to move to home position (the CGX-L has sensors for that), or also to move to a parking position (which I can program). How can I do these kind of set to home or park on the StarSense  HC?

 

Bonus Question 3: How can I concurrently use the HC and the Application? I want to basically set it up once using the HC (as this is apparently the only way to do ASPA), and then mostly forget about it and do it from the SkyPortal app.

 

If these questions are too much beginners question, bear with me. I've spent quite some hours out in the cold trying to figure things out. I think about moving the scope to a (not too distant) location where I see more of the sky and hope I'll be able to go through the very first star alignment so that something useful is saved in the hand controller - to then be able to polar align using ASPA. It would only be like 10 m distance.

 

Thanks!

 

 



#2 dcollier

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 11:06 AM

Hi-

 

Since you say you have a limited view of the sky you should be doing a StarSense manual alignment and point the scope to clear areas of the sky there does not need to be any bright objects in the field of view.  It would be best to do this with the hand controller.   When entering time and position 1. be sure you are set to correct time zone and DST setting.  When you get to the select city press the Logo Key and it will let you enter Lat /Long.  then  proceed with the manual align by pointing the scope to  different sections of the sky when prompted. do not worry about having any particular stars in the FOV.  once that is complete then goto a bright star using ht hand control and select Calibrate Center and follow the instructions on the HC. This will calibrate the GOTO function for your scope.  Then repeat the Manual align process as before.   You should be able to use you scope now and the GOTOs will work.  After all of this you can polar align with ASPA.   also you can save your manual align as a User auto align so it will repeat the alignment you just did automatically when you select user auto align.  BTW download the Updated Manual from the Celestron website.  The printed one contains some errors that will frustrate you.  Detailed Key presses are in the quick start section. It is also a good idea to update to the latest firmware for the StarSense. 

 

https://www.celestro...sense-autoalign

 

Also a better place get help is under Telescope Specific Forums  Celestron NexStar  Lots of StarSense users there.  Hope this helps, hang in there, you will overcome it soon.  This is not unusual. 

 

            -Dave



#3 eMaX

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 12:37 PM

Thanks Dave, highly appreciated. The "Logo" key is the lower left key on the HC?

 

Does it matter that the bright star will drift off relatively quickly?

 

Except for the Long/Lat settings, I think I've done most of it already. I'll need to figure out something like bringing a hair drier out and heating the HC - it seems once it is very cold, the LCD display doesn't display the scrolling text properly.

 

Thanks again, very helpful!



#4 dcollier

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 12:53 PM

Logo is on the lower left.   Drift does not matter.  It takes a picture and then plate solves it to get position at that instant.  In settings there is one for controlling the scroll speed you need to slow it down when cold so it is readable.   There is a menu tree in the back of the manual,  I find that helpful to learn the controller.



#5 eMaX

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:01 PM

Thanks a lot Dave! That makes me feel a lot better about that procedure. I'll try it.

 

The other thing I need to find in the hand controller is how to blow away clouds. :)


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#6 SoDaKAstroNut

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:54 PM

The other thing I need to find in the hand controller is how to blow away clouds. smile.gif

It's right next to the button for "Adjust ambient temp" but just below the "Adjust wind speed" button - very handy here in western South Dakota. wink.gif


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#7 eMaX

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 04:16 PM

Dave,

 

while it is snowing outside (plenty of stars - but drifting...) I took the time to do the firmware updates. It turns out to be pretty easy, yet I immediately managed to brick the StarSense HC. Took me another post somewhere on CN to find out that if that happens, I've to Push the logo key and "4" on the keypad when powering up. Then I was able to re-flash it using Wifi (I'm using access point mode, so I see the Scope in my network).

 

For the records, here's the before and after version of the different firmwares:

StarSense HC
  Ver: 01.16.16055      01.19.19003
  Bld: Feb 24 2016      Jan 3 2019
       22:06:33         14:09:10

StarSense Camera
  Ver: 01.02.13343      01.02.13343

Motor Control
  Mdl: AstroFi          CGXL
  Azm Ver: 7.13         7.15
  Alt Ver: 7.13         7.15

P:System
  Ver: 01.01.15218      01.01.19003

P:LISA
  Ver: 01.01.14072      01.01.14072

DBOBJ
  Ver: 01.01.14294      01.01.14294


Pretty interesting that a newly acquired scope, mount and HC is reported to have  a firmware that's 3 years old on the HC, and interestingly a wrong model descriptor on the motor control (AstroFi instead of CGXL). Maybe it's just cosmetic.

After this I have also found what you said to enter the actual Long/Lat values, and I made sure the time, date and DST are correct.

 

Also, after the HC update, I now have the option of Hibernate, go to Home, etc, which were missing before (no wonder, the CGX-L didn't exist in 2016).

I didn't find the option for the scroll speed, but will keep looking.

 

Let's wait for clear skies to re-try the alignment.

 

Thanks again!


Edited by eMaX, 08 January 2019 - 04:30 PM.


#8 dcollier

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:45 AM

The scroll speed is only on the NexStar and NexStar + Controllers it needs to be added to the StarSense.  Sorry about that.

 

         -Dave



#9 eMaX

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:22 PM

Thanks Dave.

 

I've in the meantime written up a bit more in detail what I've done for upgrading the firmware; compared to the other methods I found, I'm not using any USB cable, but the Wifi Module. Maybe it's going to be of help for others.

 

http://astromidi.com...e-on-starsense/



#10 Tank

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 01:22 PM

Keeping it easy

do a planetary align

-turn on

-enter time/date

-daylight savings time or not

-align using planetary select Mars

-see mars setting in the west

-pan to Mars, center and hit align

-will say successful 

 

Now you will have tracking and your goto should be accurate enough for rough goto  


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#11 eMaX

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:08 AM

Thanks Tony.

 

The difference really was to do the firmware upgrade. After that, even with quite some cloud cover, I was able to do an automatic star align even out of the corner of my house, where previously it would just stupidly point north and not go anywhere else. I was hoping that to happen as the star align with the (newer) iPad app had already worked.

 

All other alignments I wasn't able to do last night since the clouds came back and the "Adjust Wind Speed" button had been removed by the firmware update.

 

Best regards




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