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Nexstar 6SE Lesson Learned: Always check handset to ensure it works prior to observing!

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#1 jpcampbell

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:49 AM

Last Tuesday was one of the best evenings we've had to observe here in quite some time. There were occasional clouds, but the sky seemed more transparent than usual and I could see some stars up to mag. 4.00, which is the best I can manage under my skies. On poor nights, which is most nights, the best I can manage is about 3.50-3.75. So I was excited to get started. My first night out since May 8. I had managed to Moon during the day on the 13th, but that's it.

 

Just about every night I've been using my 6 SE I've always plugged it in prior to the session and made sure it was working. On Tuesday I forgot to until I was ready to get started and lo and behold, I got the infamous "Bootloader Invalid Pkg: 0080". I'm a systems admin so I knew right away there was nothing I could do on the night since I had not yet bothered to get the serial to USB cable and I had no way to update the firmware, which is the only fix for this problem. My main scope was out of commission for the night and the Meade Mini was called into action, but I lost time in the process of re configuring the setup on the balcony and my objectives for the night could not be met. I figure I lost about 30 minutes of precious observing time on what was a very good night to observe. Handset works now, but I had to learn two lessons:

 

  1. If you have a GOTO Celestron scope, you should probably get the serial to USB cable as soon as you get it because this error can happen at any time and without warning. Had I bought one prior to needing it, it would have taken me maybe 20 minutes to update the firmware for the first time. Don't wait until you need it to buy it.
  2. I figure you should always turn on the handset at least an hour prior to observing. That way if you get the dreaded boot loader error, you can fix it quickly. Also, while many will say don't upgrade the firmware until you need to, I'd say if you're new to the process of upgrading Celestron firmware, you should probably do it once at a time when you know you won't be observing for a day or two, giving you time to learn the process and recover from any unforeseen errors. It was a simple process for me, but might not be for others.

The Boot Loader error is well covered in this thread:

https://www.cloudyni...r invalid pkg

 

Have to say I was very glad for the manually powered Meade Mini 114. Without it, the night would have been a total loss.


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#2 CharlesC

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:37 PM

I've only seen that happen once in six years and it was at home.  I always take my laptop to field and have the cable. The upgrade software is installed on laptop.  I also have a backup handset that I got on ebay for $20, but good going price is $35 if you shop around a while on ebay. 

 

A bigger threat is forgetting a item that stops you in your tracks.  I always do a setup sessions at home and make sure everything is stored in my plastic briefcase.  Forgetting an critical item has happened to me a couple times in the field and resigned to binoculars.


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#3 TrustyChords

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 01:44 PM

Do you know why this error occurred? Generally speaking a bootloader error shouldn't ever occur spontaneously unless something in the hardware or firmware changes. Did you update something prior?



#4 junomike

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 02:07 PM

I always have a spare Celestron  HC ready  as they are cheap (used = $40 - $50).



#5 jpcampbell

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 03:48 PM

Do you know why this error occurred? Generally speaking a bootloader error shouldn't ever occur spontaneously unless something in the hardware or firmware changes. Did you update something prior?

No idea. It was working fine when I last used it and I had not done any updates to the HC and have never disconnected the HC. But reading through the Nexstar forum I'm certainly not the only one this has happened to, nor does it seem to be that uncommon judging from Google search results:

https://www.google.c...wiz.bRPlo4fFWfY

 

Not a big deal though. It was fixed easily enough, but I could have saved myself some hassle had I just picked one up and been prepared.


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