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Need help with Nexstar+ Hand Contoller on older GT mount

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#1 wa5dxp

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:02 AM

I have two older Nexstar GT mounts (with latest software updates) and one LCM hand controller, so I ordered a new Nexstar+ hand controller (GEM) from B&H as it was the only one I could locate, and when I hooked it up to the older mount it recognizes the

older GT mount as ADVANCED GT, and I think it scrolled something about all the features not being available or something like that.  My eyes are not the best.

 

After you hit ENTER, it asks you to move mount to both index marks, which do not exist on this old early version GT mounts.  The two early GT mounts I know do work with the Nexstar+ (LCM) or the Nexstar+ (NXS) hand controllers.

 

Do I have to flash the hand controller to an older software that does not use INDEX MARKS or is there a way to use it as is?  I am not familiar what the index marks are that it is asking for, is that something on the new mounts missing from the older mounts?

 

I would like to be able to use the GEM controller with the old mounts, as I think it has a larger star database than the older controllers.  Last night I was trying to find a star in LIBRA (Zuben Elakrab) or gamma Libra and could not find it on the LCM hand controller.

 

Any help appreciated on using the newer hand controller with the older GT mounts.  I do have the software flash program to update the hand controller and the correct cable if it's necessary.

 

Thanks for any instructions/help/suggestions.

 

Jim

 

 



#2 Geo.

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:16 AM

You have to flash it to use with Alt/Az mounts using HCupdate. HBXs marked NXS are ready to control the GT and LCM.



#3 wa5dxp

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 05:55 PM

Hello George;

 

In the LCM hand controller, I have the following software:

 

HC: NXS 5.20.7137   which works perfectly.

 

The hand controller I bought by mistake has the following:

 

HC: GEM 5.29.6225

 

I was unable to find the NXS 5..20.7137 software on the Celestron site.  Would anyone know where I could download this version?

 

If not, could I copy the software from the NXS hand controller and install it in the GEM hand controller?

 

I know the 5.20.7137 was on the web somewhere, as I used it before to update a hand controller, but cannot now find it.  Would anyone know where I could find a copy?  I tried to leave a ticket with Celestron technical support, but for some reason I cannot enter all the requested information and the screen does not display correctly, and when you try to enter the info in the blanks the screen resets to the beginning for some strange reason.

 

The version 5.20.7137 is not listed on the Celestron Hand Controller version history page.



#4 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 01:41 AM

Hi,

Follow these instructions from my website:
https://www.nexstars...NexStarPlus.htm

Pay particular attention to the 'additional note' towards the bottom explaining about selection Alt Az as the mount type.

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
https://www.NexStarSite.com

#5 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 01:47 AM

General note for any other NexStar GT owners who find this thread - the majority of the NexStar GTs on the planet are NOT compatible with the NexStar+ hand control. Just those manufactured starting 2012. These were generally sold through specific retailers like Costco and Orion.

All older NexStar GT mounts are only compatible with the NexStar GT specific hand control and the version 4 hand control.

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
https://www.NexStarSite.com

#6 wa5dxp

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 08:01 AM

Hello Mike;

 

Thanks for the instructions.  I have the following software in my old GT mounts I bought used from Wing and Sons, and all had the Nexstar+ hand controllers that work just fine.  Due to my stupidity and accidentally got the polarity reversed, I managed to fry one.  

 

HC: NXS 5.20.7137  and one had  HC: LCM 5.20.7137

 

Both mounts have the following software:

 

MC: 5.21    5.21

 

So will try to install the older 5.20.7137 software into the new handset purchased from B&H.



#7 wa5dxp

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:03 AM

Hello again Mike;

 

Still no luck.  I downloaded the USB drivers, and it installed COM 10 into the computer.

 

I ran HCUPDATE with handset connected, and I got to the INITIALIZE screen.  Then HCUPDATE tells you to hold down the back and info buttons while powering on the mount, and it is supposed to go into the TRANSMIT DATA mode.

 

However, with the handset connecte to computer and screen reading INITIALIZE and powering up the GT mount as instructed, the handset

goes into the regular power up mode and reads ADVANCED GT and tries to go into the alignment mode, after it asks for which language and ENGLISH is selected with the 0 key.

 

I can't seem to get it into TRANSMIT DATA mode.  I wonder if there are any steps I'm missing?

 

(when trying various things I was able to get the HCUPDATE program to download the binary for GT 4.04bin and it's in the HCUPDATE directory, and I think that's what needs to be uploaded to the handset, not sure).



#8 mclewis1

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 10:16 AM

You can't use the HCupdate utility on the hand controllers with v5.xx firmware ... those are NexStar+ model hand controllers and require you to use the CFM utility instead of HCupdate. HCupdate only works for V4.xx hand controllers.



#9 Geo.

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 10:58 AM

My bad, Mark's correct. IIRC CFM will not run on WinXP. Also it's a Java app. Java leaves your PC with a lot of security holes and Win10 doesn't always play well with it.


Edited by Geo., 12 January 2019 - 11:01 AM.


#10 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 07:12 PM

Hi again,

The instructions I linked to above explain the use of Celestron Firmware Manager, not HCupdate. And be sure to check the mount type seeing as I suggested.

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
https://www.NexStarSite.com

#11 wa5dxp

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 04:40 AM

OK, I ran CFM and it worked ok, updated the handset 11 files to the latest firmware for that GEM it appears, but when hooked up to the GT mount still got the ADVANCED GT and asking to put the mount on the index marks.

 

Good news is that I found another Nexstar+ handset that I had bought some time ago from Wing and Sons and it had the latest software for the mount, so now I am set with handsets for the two GT mounts.

 

HC update would still not work correctly, could not get into the TRANSFER DATA in initialize, kept saying I had to connect the handset to the mount, hold the two keys down, and power the mount up first in order to do the older software transfer to the handset.  When you powered up the mount, it went into the normal startup asking what type of alignment you wanted.

 

I guess I'm stuck with the $108 GEM handset.   Lesson learned.

 

(The CFM worked just fine with WIndows XP, updated 11 files automatically and then said the handset had the latest firmware.)

 

 

Thanks for trying to help.  I'm probably doing something wrong.



#12 mclewis1

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:20 AM

I think your problem is pretty simple and an easy fix ... 

 

Your GT mount is not a GEM/EQ style mount, it's an Alt Az mount and as such it requires the NXS firmware.

 

There are two "families" of NexStar+ hand controller firmware, the GEM 5.xx stuff for all the EQ mounts (ASGT, AVX, CGEM, CGX, CGE, CGEPro) and the NXS 5.xx stuff for all the NexStar Alt Az mounts (GT, LCM, 5/8i, SE, Evolution, CPC, GPS, etc.).

 

Mike has mentioned the issue to you in his last post ... you must check/select the mount type when you are running CFM.


Edited by mclewis1, 13 January 2019 - 09:22 AM.


#13 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:34 PM

OK, I ran CFM and it worked ok, updated the handset 11 files to the latest firmware for that GEM it appears, but when hooked up to the GT mount still got the ADVANCED GT and asking to put the mount on the index marks.

 

Good news is that I found another Nexstar+ handset that I had bought some time ago from Wing and Sons and it had the latest software for the mount, so now I am set with handsets for the two GT mounts.

 

HC update would still not work correctly, could not get into the TRANSFER DATA in initialize, kept saying I had to connect the handset to the mount, hold the two keys down, and power the mount up first in order to do the older software transfer to the handset.  When you powered up the mount, it went into the normal startup asking what type of alignment you wanted.

 

I guess I'm stuck with the $108 GEM handset.   Lesson learned.

 

(The CFM worked just fine with WIndows XP, updated 11 files automatically and then said the handset had the latest firmware.)

 

 

Thanks for trying to help.  I'm probably doing something wrong.

HCupdate will NOT work with the NexStar+ hand control.

 

Please read carefully this article:

https://www.nexstars...NexStarPlus.htm

Specifically this statement:

"Use Mount Type if the hand control comes up with the wrong firmware, for example, one of the equatorial models (Advanced GT, CGEM, etc.) when you have an alt-az model (CPC, NexStar SE, NexStar SLT, etc.). After choosing the correct telescope type (Alt Az or Equatorial), be sure to set the option in the bottom section of the window to Always do what I selected this time."

 

This is to be accomplished inside of CFM and Mount Type is found on the NexStar+ menu inside CFM (though there was a recent update to CFM which I haven't checked yet and this menu name might have been changed).

 

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



#14 wa5dxp

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 09:28 PM

I received this information today from Celestron Technical Support for instructions on how to re-program hand controller to Alt-Az:

 

 

Once you have CFM software and driver downloaded, follow these steps:

 

Connect the hand control to the mount.

 

Connect the hand control to the PC.

 

Turn on the Mount.

 

Open CFM.jar

 

Wait for CFM to detect your devices

 

Click Nexstar+

 

Select the correct mount type (Alt-AZ)

 

Click on Seek devices

 

Click on Update

 

Restart mount.

 

 

 

The handset is now acting like the original handset with one exception,

it is asking you to start with the mount on the index marks which are not present on my older GT's.  If these clouds ever go away will give it a whirl.



#15 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 10:40 PM

Which is pretty much what we've been telling you ;-)

So for the GT mount, when it is prompting you to align the index marks, assuming you have not rigged up a wedge to tilt the mount over for polar (EQ) alignment, you should just level the optical tube.  You can even create your own index marks:
- level the tripod
- attach the mount and optical tube
- level the optical tube
- looking down on the mount, place some masking or other light colored tape on both sides of the joint where the fork arm meets the optical tube holder
- using a permanent marker or a pen, draw a straight line across both pieces of tape
IndexMarks.png

Note that for most types of alignment (in alt-az mode), it isn't truly necessary to start at the index marks.

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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