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Preemptive Firmware Updates?

Celestron equipment mount
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#1 ZeusB

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 05:27 PM

I am a recent owner of a new Celestron AVX mount and StarSense Autoalign system. Both are new, still in the box. I have read some comments that indicate firmware updates remedy many of the issues others are sometimes having with this equipment.

 

My question is this: Is it a good idea to update firmware prior to first light, or should I wait to see if there are problems with them to do so?

 

Thanks for your opinion.


Edited by ZeusB, 15 February 2019 - 05:27 PM.


#2 jmorales21

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 05:49 PM

Very interesting question. Here is what I do:

 

  • Test the equipment as it came out of the box. This will let you know if you will have to prepare an immediate return, or not.
  • Download and read the change log for all the missing patches and updates. If there is anything that you think will directly impact or affect your workflow, follow the instructions to install them.
  • If the equipment works well and the patches and updates do not address issues that you have experienced (or are related to your equipment or process), leave it alone, and enjoy your instrument.

 

Although the process to update firmware is usually solid, I would not install updates before fully testing the equipment in the first place. However, I probably would install most updates anyway before the warranty expires, just to be sure. Play by ear. Wish you the best.

 

Jose


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#3 mich_al

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 10:27 PM

Very interesting question. Here is what I do:

 

  • Test the equipment as it came out of the box. This will let you know if you will have to prepare an immediate return, or not.
  • Download and read the change log for all the missing patches and updates. If there is anything that you think will directly impact or affect your workflow, follow the instructions to install them.
  • If the equipment works well and the patches and updates do not address issues that you have experienced (or are related to your equipment or process), leave it alone, and enjoy your instrument.

 

Although the process to update firmware is usually solid, I would not install updates before fully testing the equipment in the first place. However, I probably would install most updates anyway before the warranty expires, just to be sure. Play by ear. Wish you the best.

 

Jose

 

 

Great advice!   I'd hold off ANY update until you are maturely  familiar with all aspects of the equipment and then ONLY if the update provides something you need (fix / enhancement).  Updating a mount just to have the latest version is overrated at best.


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#4 dghent

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 12:25 AM

The real answer is "it depends".

 

It depends on what the fixes are in the versions between what's currently loaded on your hardware and what is actually the latest available version. Sometimes companies suck and don't provide a change log so you can't determine that. But if they do, it's always good to read them over and analyze their contents. Sometimes the updates can be to support new products, or to fix/change functionality on a different product. But often they can fix real bugs. Sometimes these are bugs that may not be apparent to the user. Sometimes they are, or are changes to existing functionality based on previous user feedback. If you're lucky, there are changes which add new and useful functionality.

 

A lot of people here will tell you "Only upgrade if you have a problem!" or "If it ain't broke don't fix it" and their captive audience will sagely nod in return. But as a new user, you might not know that you have a problem because you lack prior experience to compare, or the problem isn't noticed by anyone but those with the most critical eye. For all you know, the people giving this advice are also the types who forward those virus warning chain emails, so really what good is their technical assessment? You could have a mount with a firmware bug that drives your scope into the pier when you're in the southern hemisphere, it's 4am UTC, you just completed a slew at 600x speed within the prior 20 seconds, and it's raining in Nairobi on a Tuesday and you wouldn't know it unless you hit those exact parameters. Wonky bugs like that exist. Firmware updates exist to fix them.

 

In light of that, I urge people to become informed about what the upgrade entails, to study the changes and to make an educated assessment themselves. You learn a little about the hardware (or software, as the case may be) on hand, and if you are unsure, you can usually contact the vendor to have them clarify things for you. And always follow the maker's instructions regarding blasting new firmware onto a device. Some make it foolproof, but others demand care. It depends.  But mindlessly running away from an update is not a good answer. Like many allegories in life, that's just being scared of what you refuse to see.


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#5 CharlesW

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 12:48 AM

I would hold off for a little while until you are intimately familiar with the hand control menus and have had a chance to read the update instructions, several times. 


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#6 ZeusB

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 10:52 AM

Many thanks for these responses. The mount has been unpackaged and set up, and the hand controller functions as far as I can tell.  I plan to see if the clouds over Chicago will ever part to determine if I have an obvious problem. I have not yet unpacked the SS.

 

I work nights, so it's a little frustrating not to be able to test the gear out when I have some time off. 

 

Again, thank you all for your input!



#7 bill5wjw

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 02:44 PM

Check the manufacturers' website often for the latest updates. Such upgrades only exist because of a discovered problem or for adding new features. If a firmware upgrade is listed for your model, install it.


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#8 WadeH237

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 10:39 AM

My general strategy for update is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

 

There are two scenarios where I do updates.  First, if there is a specific change in the update that I want or need.  It could be a bug fix for a problem that I am having, or it could be a new feature that I want.  Second, if I am doing a "from scratch" setup of my gear, I will usually take the latest updates to be the baseline on the new setup.

 

Once I have the system running the way that I want, I never take any updates.  More than once, I have picked up a single update because it had something that I wanted, only to have it trigger a complete rebuild of stuff because of dependencies between parts of the software stack.  So even if there is something in an update that I want, I will typically wait until I know that I have time to deal with any fallout from the update.  Essentially, this means that I do no updates during the summer star party season, no matter the reason.


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#9 rockstarbill

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 02:22 PM

There were massive changes made to AVX and CGEM firmware a few years ago. If your mount shipped with very old firmware then I'd update it.
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#10 bmurphy495

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 12:47 PM

I'm of the exact opposite opinion to most here. I regularly update my firmware on my AVX and Evolution mounts. 

 

B


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