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Buying StarSense but need to know please.

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#1 MickTaurus

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 12:49 PM

Hi, as title says! (this will be for my NexStar 8se).

 

What do I do with the original hand control, as I will be using the star sense HC.

 

Do I remove it or just leave it in situ?

 

Also should I try it out when I get it, or do a firmware update straight away?


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#2 5dave

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 12:53 PM

I would remove the old handset and store it for use if the StarSence fails. I would also check what version the firmware is and update if needed.


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#3 pkrallis

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:18 PM

Good advice from 5Dave but my original HC has sat idle for 3 years now.  They are long lived little critters. 



#4 MickTaurus

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:28 PM

Good advice from 5Dave but my original HC has sat idle for 3 years now.  They are long lived little critters. 

lol.gif



#5 Noah4x4

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:49 PM

Keep the Nexstar + HC as it might be useful, and not merely as a back up if the Starsense HC ever fails. It has some diagnostic and other functions not inherent in the Starsense version. For example...

 

A couple of years ago, we were suffering from the 'Starsense on wedge bug' (now fixed). For some months, Celestron wouldn't acknowledge its existence. Then, I tried something a tad bizarre. I plugged in both controllers; aligned with Starsense using the ASPA routine; then compared the axis and PAE data read outs from each HC <via Menu>. This data differed, ultimately proving the existence of the 'bug'. Celestron then completely recreated the Starsense ASPA routine from the bottom up and it now works fine. There are also  a number of menu functions in the Nexstar + that don't feature in the Starsense version.

 

I am NOT advocating anybody routinely plugs in both simultaneously, notably as if you attempted a GoTo on the second device your scope would 'lock up. Simply that on RARE occasions it might assist. For example, whilst Celestron were fixing the said 'bug' I had the fall back of the Nexstar + ASPA routine, and the Starsense HC temporarily returned to its box.  I might never plug it in again, but it is reassuring to have both.

 

EDIT - didn't answer OP's other question.

 

It is vital that your Starsense HC firmware is dated 2019 or later. New devices sometimes sit on wholesaler and retailer shelves for long periods before despatch. Mine had firmware three years out of date. Prior to 2019, there were some major bug fixes. Later updates tend to me more cosmetic. But you can check on the Firmware Revision History on the Celestron website. 


Edited by Noah4x4, 14 February 2020 - 01:54 PM.


#6 MickTaurus

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 02:41 PM

bow.gif

 

Thanks for that Noah, and 5dave.

I will check firmware when I receive the StarSence and report back if I have issues.



#7 carver2011

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 08:47 PM

Once you get past the learning curve you’ll be glad you bought the Starsense. For me it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I have a Evolution 8, and in all reality didn’t need Starsense. Doing 2 star alignments was easy. But I couldn’t resist the technology. Starsense is amazing. All I have to do is turn it on and a few minutes later I’m observing. It’s a crowd pleaser at outreach events when people see it slewing around. As Noah4x4 says , check the firmware version you have, and if it’s old, do and update. I bought my Starsense late 2018, and it’s firmware was 2016.
You might want to enjoy your new scope awhile before learning the Starsense, and use the NexStar hand control. I use mine when I just want to run outside for a quick planet view. I do a one solar system alignment.
Enjoy your new scope, it will give you many hours of enjoyment
Ed
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#8 Noah4x4

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:58 AM

Good advice from Ed; learn to use Nexstar + HC before adopting Starsense, although I think this step has already occured with the OP.  I mention because I didn't.

 

Then, when I upgraded from a Starsense Auto-Align (that I used for visual) to a Starsense ASPA Polar Align (for AP) that was then suffering from the infamous Starsense on wedge bug (now fixed), I found myself dependent on a EQNorth + ASPA + EQNorth process using the Nexstar + HC. But because I had never mastered a regular Nexstar + Two Star Align,  the learning curve appeared much steeper. I had to revert right back to basics having been spoilt with the ease of Starsense.

 

This challenge of changing devices can be particularly acute for owners of the Evolution that have never used any HC having kicked off with Tablet/WiFi. In the UK, there was a period where some Evolution bundles were not even supplied with a Nexstar + HC. Whilst a Two Star Align is easy (with hindsight), going back having bypassed it and having benefitting from tablet control somehow appears more challenging.

 

More generally, as you add devices, I think it's good practice to comprehensively learn each individually. Many folk try to embrace Scope, Starsense, GPS, AP etc at first light then can't identify why something is failing. Reading each instruction manual and adopting devices sequentially rather than simultaneously has much merit.


Edited by Noah4x4, 15 February 2020 - 02:01 AM.

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#9 MickTaurus

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:55 AM

I started with a NexStar 90 Mak, and then upgraded to 8se six months ago so yes I am familiar with the scope and HC.

 

I'm only doing visual, just did not know what to do with the 8se HC when I get the StarSence next week.

 

One for each hand maybe! wink.gif (no I'll store it).

 

Thanks Ed, and thanks again Noah.


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#10 MickTaurus

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:15 PM

Just realised I think.

 

I thought that the starsense HC plugged into starsense camera.  bigblush.gif

 

Am I right in thinking that I have to remove original HC, and replace it with the starsense HC?



#11 Noah4x4

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:32 PM

Just realised I think.

 

I thought that the starsense HC plugged into starsense camera.  bigblush.gif

 

Am I right in thinking that I have to remove original HC, and replace it with the starsense HC?

Absolutely correct.


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#12 MickTaurus

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:44 PM

Thanks again Noah. bigblush.gif bigblush.gif bigblush.gif



#13 orionic

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:16 AM

It is vital that your Starsense HC firmware is dated 2019 or later. New devices sometimes sit on wholesaler and retailer shelves for long periods before despatch. Mine had firmware three years out of date. Prior to 2019, there were some major bug fixes. Later updates tend to me more cosmetic. But you can check on the Firmware Revision History on the Celestron website. 

I tried updating my StarSense firmware a couple times in 2017, always got errors, and gave up.  The thing basically works, although I did get occasional "alignment error too large" errors. 

I suppose the following thread is the place to check for challenges & solutions in the update process:

https://www.cloudyni...updates/page-10

The occurrence of "bricked" mounts in that thread is very disturbing.  Is there a "risk free" way to do the update that we should know about?


Edited by orionic, 16 February 2020 - 06:17 AM.


#14 Noah4x4

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:29 AM

I tried updating my StarSense firmware a couple times in 2017, always got errors, and gave up.  The thing basically works, although I did get occasional "alignment error too large" errors. 

I suppose the following thread is the place to check for challenges & solutions in the update process:

https://www.cloudyni...updates/page-10

The occurrence of "bricked" mounts in that thread is very disturbing.  Is there a "risk free" way to do the update that we should know about?

The problem back in 2017 was an abundance of problems with not only Starsense, but with CFM. Also people were trying to download updates using the (then) flaky Celestron WiFi and using non-Windows computers. Things have much improved and you can safely update today using these original 'pinned' instructions I posted in December 2016.

 

The Starsense (and CFM) Firmware after 2017 has been almost completely rebuilt since then, including a significant number of bug fixes. "Bricked mounts and HCs " won't occur if you carefully follow these instructions. But if you don't or try ambitious stuff then you may inevitably have a spot of bother. 

 

1. First download the latest version of CFM on a Windows PC.

2. Next get the latest version of JAVA

3. Follow the original instructions that I posted in the pinned thread mentioned using an appropriate cable.

 

There are posts #2 and #3 in that thread from Cray2Mpx and Roelb that add more information. But I got Moderator Brian Risley to clean up my post to offer better clarity before it got 'pinned'.

 

4. WiFi might still be problematic if using older adapters - my advise is ONLY use cable from HC to Computer.

 

Your Starsense update will then be fine. I have been using this procedure for four years with zero problems. But if people want to depart from this and use WiFi or Apple Macs (or whatever), then they need to read the entire thread for variants. However, various updates followed to permit such variants. But the original guidance using an appropriate cable continues to have integrity. 


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#15 MickTaurus

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 11:19 AM

My StarSense arrived today grin.gif, surprised by the weight but at least it's not plasticky.

 

Just another question:

 

Should I set up with StarSense hand control first, or can use it with SkyPortal WiFi module and SkySarfai plus from the off?

 

Also brought a Aux Port Splitter.


Edited by MickTaurus, 21 February 2020 - 11:24 AM.


#16 Noah4x4

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 11:26 AM

It doesn't matter.

 

If you set up and calibrate it for HC and want to use SkyPortal later you will need to calibrate it again for SkyPortal. If you set up for SkyPortal and later want to use HC same. Each control device holds its own set up and calibration data.

 

Similarly with alignment points. If you add (up to) ten using HC they won't be accessible in Skyportal and vice versa. Each controller is independent. But can't be used together except for slew controls.


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#17 MickTaurus

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 11:35 AM

Thanks Noah, I was hoping you would drop by, but bang and there you are. bow.gif



#18 Gamewarden

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 05:25 PM

Noah

 

So I am having some accuracy problems with SS.

I do alignments with 3 different methods 1. Hand control 2. Skyportal and 3. CPWI.

 

So are you saying I will have to do a Calibration with each of these methods separately. Where is the calibration info stored I thought in the camera.

 

If this is the case it maybe the reason I am getting less then perfect alignments.

 

Thanks Mark

 

I have given up on the HC for now it is unreadable in this cold.

 

I am relying on CPWI and Sharpcap but I did calibrate the SS with Skyportal.



#19 Noah4x4

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:12 PM

Hi Mark,

 

I believe calibration data is retained seperately on SSD memory in HC or Tablet (or some similar solution!). You need to treat each as entirely different devices. Hence if you calibrated with HC, but not with tablet, then the tablet is not calibrated (and vice versa).

 

Yes, it could explain lack of accuracy on the uncalibrated device. But how are you centering your stars? That can be trickier than you think when squinting via one eye. Try using the 'doughnut' technique (defocus and use the large doughnut instead of tiny star). Then repeat in ever higher magnification eyepieces. 


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#20 Gamewarden

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:30 PM

Centring stars with 15 mm reticle  eyepiece, After finding in 30 mm ep.  I am going to try SS calibration through Cpwi and Sharpcap tonight. See what results I get. Having trouble locating other Nebula other than Orion with the small FOC of my ZWO 224 camera.



#21 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 03:10 AM

If you have not previously calibrated Starsense via CPWI that could explain your issue, albeit a narrow FOV won’t help.
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#22 MickTaurus

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 10:07 AM

Updated Starsense HC firmware from MacBook Pro using CFM finally.

First two times it got as far as step 5 of 6 and aborted, but third attempt success. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • CFM1.png
  • CFM2.png


#23 orionic

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 01:26 PM

Centring stars with 15 mm reticle  eyepiece, After finding in 30 mm ep.  I am going to try SS calibration through Cpwi and Sharpcap tonight. See what results I get. Having trouble locating other Nebula other than Orion with the small FOC of my ZWO 224 camera.

Last night I did this successfully.  Ran CPWI, used it to do a manual starsense alignment, using a single image (or you can repeat the process etc. - CPWI seems to offer some flexibility).  After that, did a successful plate solve (my first) with SharpCap.  I am doing this for EAA, using the ZWO 224 as well.  I feel this approach seems viable, although I'm just starting on the learning curve.  It's nice to have the power of StarSense, combined with the planetarium inside CPWI.
 


Edited by orionic, 22 February 2020 - 01:28 PM.


#24 orionic

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 01:34 PM

The problem back in 2017 was an abundance of problems with not only Starsense, but with CFM. Also people were trying to download updates using the (then) flaky Celestron WiFi and using non-Windows computers. ...

 

if people want to depart from this and use WiFi or Apple Macs (or whatever), then they need to read the entire thread for variants. However, various updates followed to permit such variants. But the original guidance using an appropriate cable continues to have integrity. ...

Thanks, you confirmed my desire to put this off another few years.  (1) I still am not aware of any loss of function in my 2017 (or earlier) StarSense relative to the updated version and (2) being one of those crazy Mac people I'm likely to get into trouble unless I put a lot of time into studying all the nooks and crannies of the software issues.
 



#25 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 02:19 PM

Thanks, you confirmed my desire to put this off another few years.  (1) I still am not aware of any loss of function in my 2017 (or earlier) StarSense relative to the updated version and (2) being one of those crazy Mac people I'm likely to get into trouble unless I put a lot of time into studying all the nooks and crannies of the software issues.
 

If not convinced, please read the Celestron firmware history at https://www.celestro...-update-history to learn about the many Evolution and Starsense bug fixes since 2017. A huge number of performance, mount and pointing errors were fixed including a complete rewriting of Starsense ASPA routines from the bottom up. But if you choose to ask for guidance then not take it that is your prerogative.

 

I posted clear firmware guidance for Windows users in the pinned thread. At that time, it was NOT possible to update via CFM using an Apple Mac, but people still tried and hence the thread grew like topsy. Apple and WiFi support came much later. If you follow the thread, you will find what you need to use those alternatives. 




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