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CGE Nexstar

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#1 naji

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 11:50 PM

Just got a CGE mount in very good shape for free. The HC is version 3.01 and MC 5.02. I do not think this HC can be upgraded.

 

Researching an upgrade path, Celestron mentioned that any HC manufactured after 2017/2018 should work with CGE mounts, due to hardware changes in the HC.

 

There are a lot of used HC on ebay and occasionally here, but not sure how to know the manufacturer date to know they will work... 

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and  not sure what features/enhancements does the upgrade brings.



#2 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 12:33 AM

Hi Naji,

 

Correct, HC 3.01 is not user-upgradeable.

 

The "after 2017/2018" guidance is in regard to the NexStar+ hand control (the one with the Celestron logo on the button in the lower left and the button on the upper right is labeled "BACK").  There is no easy way to tell a "good" NexStar+ HC from a "bad" one.  Celestron added a couple of resisters to the circuit board and I suspect they are surface-mounted micro-resisters, not easy to tell visually.  I'm sure the revision number on the circuit board is different, but I don't know which revision number is the minimum to be compatible and most vendors would not open the HC to check anyway.  The odds are that any used NexStar+ HC will be older than 2017, so the best advice would be to purchase a new one from a high-turnover dealer.

 

The way you can tell if a specific NexStar+ HC is good once you get it is the behavior when using it on a CGE mount.  The problem you would look for is "no response" errors.

 

All that said, the version 4 hand control is 100% compatible with the CGE mount.  Those are also available on occasion on eBay and here.  Although the version sold for the GEM mounts was part number 93997, any version 4 HC will work if loaded with the GEM firmware.  Version 4 HCs were also sold as part number 93998 (larger alt-az mounts like the CPC and SE) and 93996 (smaller alt-az mounts like the SLT and LCM).  Search on ebay.com for "nexstar* hand controller".  Regardless the mount in the description of the eBay advertisement (CPC/SLT/LCM/etc.), any version 4 HC works with the CGE once it is loaded with the correct firmware.

 

My instructions for loading/upgrade HC firmware can be found towards the bottom of this page:

https://www.nexstars...om/Firmware.htm

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
https://www.NexStarSite.com



#3 naji

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 10:05 AM

Thanks Mike for the valuable information. Im also going to check out your site.

 

Cheers



#4 mdbradshaw

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 10:06 AM

We keep at least 1 V4 hand paddle in the workshop at all times, because it's the best/only way to check and upgrade the motor control of the earliest mounts, the CGE and AGST/CG5 (and maybe early CGEMS?).  If you have a CGE, it's well worth the effort to find a good clean V4 paddle, then upgrade the mount to MC 5.20/5.20 and the paddle to GEM 4.22 (which is as high as the V4 can go).

 

Also, in Mike's link you'll eventually see that you need different software from Celestron to upgrade the early equipment, just be aware of that right away.  It's still free and easy to use, but the standard CFM won't work, you need the older HCUpdate and MCUpdate programs.  Mike's page makes this clear, but it's 3 or 4 clicks in and I wanted to warn you :)



#5 naji

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:12 PM

Hi Michael & Mike,

 

I made two cables today one to connect with the HC and another to the PC port on the mount. I was able to communicate from laptop to the mount using both cables using NexRemote.

 

I also, updated the MC to 5.20 using the cable to the mount.

 

So far so good... for the life of me i can not get stellarium to talk to the mount; and I can not connect using the Celestron ASCOM driver either....

 

Any feedback...



#6 mdbradshaw

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 11:03 PM

Hi Michael & Mike,

 

I made two cables today one to connect with the HC and another to the PC port on the mount. I was able to communicate from laptop to the mount using both cables using NexRemote.

 

I also, updated the MC to 5.20 using the cable to the mount.

 

So far so good... for the life of me i can not get stellarium to talk to the mount; and I can not connect using the Celestron ASCOM driver either....

 

Any feedback...

I don't spend much time connection to planetarium programs, but increasingly when I try to get a new scope in the shop communicating to Stellarium, it fails, but when I try Cartes du Ciel it seems to work every time.  I'm not saying one is better, or that one communicates better, but it seems to me that CdC is more idiot proof, which is what I need when I have a new scope in and I don't want to spend more than 15 minutes figuring out a communication scheme.

I will say that I've never tried to hook any of my CGEs to a program, so I don't know how well they behave.



#7 mclewis1

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 11:54 AM

The CGE works just fine with a whole host of mount control apps ... both via an ASCOM scope driver or those with native Celestron mount control capabilities.

 

As far as troubleshooting I agree with Michael B ... CDC with ASCOM and the Celestron unified telescope driver is as about as bullet proof a configuration as you can find (I use it virtually every clear night with either a v4 physical hand controller or via NexRemote and the PC Port serial connection).

 

USB-serial adapter driver should create a com port#, this # is visible in the Device manager window. The number can also change when you change the USB port you plug the USB-serial adapter into.

ASCOM driver should offer you a configuration option when you first fire up CDC and select the appropriate ASCOM connection option. The com port # goes into that configuration. This works through the hand controller serial port without any additional software.

 

The PC Port serial connection is only functional if you first run NexRemote (and configure it with that physical com port number). CDC with ASCOM or other scope control apps will work through NexRemote if you enable the virtual serial port (and this com port number is used when configuring the scope control app).


Edited by mclewis1, 28 March 2020 - 11:56 AM.


#8 naji

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 01:24 AM

Thanks for the info, looks like i need to enable the virtual port and try again.

 

Will advise..



#9 naji

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 03:48 PM

The CGE works just fine with a whole host of mount control apps ... both via an ASCOM scope driver or those with native Celestron mount control capabilities.

 

As far as troubleshooting I agree with Michael B ... CDC with ASCOM and the Celestron unified telescope driver is as about as bullet proof a configuration as you can find (I use it virtually every clear night with either a v4 physical hand controller or via NexRemote and the PC Port serial connection).

 

USB-serial adapter driver should create a com port#, this # is visible in the Device manager window. The number can also change when you change the USB port you plug the USB-serial adapter into.

ASCOM driver should offer you a configuration option when you first fire up CDC and select the appropriate ASCOM connection option. The com port # goes into that configuration. This works through the hand controller serial port without any additional software.

 

The PC Port serial connection is only functional if you first run NexRemote (and configure it with that physical com port number). CDC with ASCOM or other scope control apps will work through NexRemote if you enable the virtual serial port (and this com port number is used when configuring the scope control app).

Made progress today. I enabled virtual port on NexRemote and now ASCOM, CDC, and stellarium are working as expected. 

 

I still need some clarification. I'm connecting the HC to COM 3. I enable Virtual port to whatever. In all three application, Im not seeing the virtual port, and when i select com3 everything works fine.

 

The other challenge i had, when i enable the V port and hit OK, the program closes/minimizes. And i can not use Nexremote to control the mount.

 

So what worked for me, i started with HC and did initial setup and two point alignment, then i launched nexremote and enabled v port, then all three apps worked.

 

Is this the correct process?

 

Note: when launching Nexremote I keep getting the following message:

 

Virtual Serial Port ActiveX Control is not registered in this system.

 

Im running Windows 10...


Edited by naji, 29 March 2020 - 03:50 PM.


#10 mclewis1

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 07:12 PM

Naji,

 

I've not seen that error message. I assume it's an error caused by a problem when the device driver is installed. The USB serial driver also enables the virtual serial port capability and some of the required components to do this are in the OS. It sounds like the driver is missing something during the install. I'd make sure you are using an up to date fully featured device driver for your USB-serial adapter. 

 

I think the reason why the shared com port is working is the ASCOM Celestron unified telescope driver, it has a hub (shared port) capability built into it. I assume that Stellarium is configured to use the ASCOM driver too?



#11 naji

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 03:33 PM

I tried a different Win 10 laptop and although I had to install Nexremote in Win 7 Compatibility mode ( which I find interesting that Celestron has not updated their software), it seems everything is working fine now, and Im not getting the message noted earlier, and I can still use Nexremote. Now I have to trouble shoot the first laptop...

 

If I bypass going through the HC and go directly to the mount, what firmware version should I choose in Nexremote. What is the preferred connection method (if it matters) that provides a better performance for imaging and should I upgrade the HC. On my other two mounts, I do not use the HC.

 

Thanks for all the help it is greatly appreciated; Im a newbie when it comes to Celestron, but I had a Meade 14" LX200GPS for around 15 years, and last year I purchased an EQ6-R Pro for an ES102FCD for imaging.

Once, I figure the CGE mount, Im going to move the ES102 on it and try some imaging with it. 

 

Cheers, and Clear Skies



#12 mclewis1

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 06:07 PM

Naji,

 

Even though there are a few different options for connecting to and controlling a CGE from a PC you won't find any real difference in terms of accuracy for goto pointing and the like.

 

Most folks will connect a PC through the hand controller as it's the simplest method and only requires that app plus ASCOM software combo. Where NexRemote can be helpful is is if you had a bad hand controller (buttons etc. but if the serial port still works), or a downlevel hand controller like your v3 and then the addition of NexRemote gives you a more functional mount since it's a v4 hand controller.

 

The PC Port can be helpful if you don't have a physical hand controller. Then you can with the appropriate PC Port serial cable connect the mount direct to a PC with no physical hand controller connected at all. This is where you have to have NexRemote running.

 

If you do run NexRemote just choose CGE as the mount type and 4.22 as the firmware.

 

When imaging you want good accurate gotos, a good extensive database of objects and an easy to use interface. For most folks that means an external control app like CdC or Stellarium. Running NexRemote gives you the hand controller functionality on the PC and so there also are a few additional functions that can be helpful (like Precise Goto), but generally when you run an external control app like CdC you won't use NexRemote much if at all after doing the initial alignment. 

 

When you are imaging you probably also want to autoguide. There you have a bunch more options to choose from ... but most of the time it's best to start off simple, and do everything through the physical hand controller, note though doing this requires running everything through a single serial com port and that means all the software needs to be running properly.



#13 naji

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 10:36 PM

Hi Mark, 

 

I believe I resolved all issues with Laptop and NexRemote. I ordered an ADM CGE dual saddle and when it arrives, I'll be able to mount my imaging train on it for a test drive.

 

I really appreciate the support and advise. I'm hopefull that I can put this mount to good use.

 

Cheers


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