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New to me (used) Celestron Nexstar 9.25 GPS question and maybe tips?

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#26 Traffalger1698

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 04:07 PM

It won't help the US based OP, but I have just used a fantastic resource in the UK.

 

Orion Optics UK is a manufacturer of high end carbon fibre OTAs based near Stoke on Trent.

 

OOUK recently serviced my Celestron 8" SCT for merely £120. This entailed removing, cleaning and realigning both mirrors and corrector plate, tightening and lubricating focuser, replacing Phillips screws with easier to collimate Allen Key screws and factory recollimate. My scope has never been as good, far better than on original delivery five years ago. OOUK will service any make/model. It was a 400 mile round trip for me (twice) and the service took a week given they clean mirrors by soaking in a mild acid solution. They can regrind and recoat where necessary.

 

Surely there is a supplier in the USA that offers a similar resource? Much better than DIY.

Yea there is a number of those I know of in the US.  However being located in the north central part of the US everything is VERY far away.   I know of shops located on the west coast, east coast, and ones in the southern portion of the US. Nothing anywhere near me,  as far as I know.  It is not an issue of a few hundred mile round trip.  Were talking many hundreds of miles one way. The size and weight of my scope makes shipping prohibitive. I would likely pay just as much in shipping and servicing as I did for the used telescope to begin with.  I wish I had the option to send it to get professionally serviced and cleaned but I do not think that's really feasible.    


Edited by Traffalger1698, 27 September 2020 - 04:08 PM.


#27 Orion68

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 12:56 PM

I have the same Trendnet adapter that markb mentioned above. Celestron sent it to me for free if you can believe that. As he said, it works flawlessly.
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#28 Traffalger1698

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 02:57 PM

 

You don't really need a power tank unless you get a dew heater. The Talentcell lithium battery packs frequently recommended here on CN are all you need for the GPS scope for several hours. I run my GPS 11 without any issues whatsoever, and the talent cell also has USB outlets to power my tablet if necessary. They are the size of a paperback book and very light, and fairly inexpensive.

 

 

Can you link to me the battery pack you are talking about?  The standard plug for my scope is pretty massive.  (guessing more age related)  It did come with the standard Cigarette lighter adapter and I have told too much power could damage the electronics.   There seems to be only so many portable power options with the cigarette lighter adapter.   If there is a different plug that will work that could be a better option as well.  



#29 markb

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 04:07 PM

I bought mine two years ago, no age related issues (as can happen in units made with low quality cells).

 

I have no idea why your plug could be described as 'massive', as all Nexstar AFAIK us the 5.5mm x 2.1mm barrel plug that is one of the more commonly used sizes out there. 

 

If you mean the cigar lighter plug, designed for cars decades ago, you won't be using it unless you want to (powertank style units use this insanely antiquidated hookup method). You want something that supplies power output directly to the small plug on the Nexstar base, correct voltage and adequate amperage.

 

Just search 'Talentcell' on amazon. This is the one I've had for over 2 years https://smile.amazon...01584067&sr=8-1

 

The plug for the scope is shown in some photos there.

 

It packs plenty of amperage to run the GPS 11 for hours. It outputs power to the same 5.5mm x 2.1mm socket as is used on the nexstar, so the linking cable has male 5.5mm x 2.1mm on both ends.

 

The internal cells are good quality. My heavy drain, infrequent use is tough on many rechargables.

 

'Too much power'? One must differentiate between voltage and amperage.

 

Higher than designed-for voltage will absolutely fry things. Like using a 19v laptop supply, ooops.

 

But amperage is different, a properly designed and operating device will draw only what it needs to run. Insufficient amperage and related effects like voltage drops, can cause odd issues like losing syncs after slewing (AA powered Nexstars frustrated many users). A car battery could power a hundred or more Nexstars at once, I would 'guesstimate), but won't damage just one plugged in, provided the battery voltage was within specifications.

 

It's not 1970 anymore, no lead acid batteries and 1940s cigar lighter hookups need apply. Light, compact litium packs with (relafively) modern barrel plugs with do the job better.



#30 audioengr

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 07:51 PM

Get a 4.x compatible HC, upgrade it to 4.22 and the GPS will work again. It looks like you have the 2.2 'north and level' firmware, and those controllers won't upgrade.

 

If you are getting a correct location and GPS lock, the hardware is okay. The battery takes a bit to recharge, and infrequent use causes slow locks anyway.

 

Don't think about a battery swap for a while, and it does require mechanical skill and care. My battery-less GPS board works okay with slow locks.

 

I would try collimation before exploring further (disassembled scopes often lose the factory 'rotational' alignment that should make the optical and mechanical axes align). A rotational alignment forum search when you get to that point will help.

 

For now, assume the scope still has the factory adjustments in place, and think about collimation.

 

Remember, atmospheric movements make many nights disappointing. Where I live, population density and geography usually give me poor atmospherics and poor images.

 

On collimation, I've tried lots of methods, but the most fool proof I've used is 

 

Start with a Robin Casady daytime collimation

 

http://www.robincasa...ro/collimation/

 

Then make and use a Duncan Mask

 

http://alpha-lyrae.c...-a-duncan-mask/

 

In daytime, using a 3/8" chrome ball bearing stuck to metal with a supermagent 150 or so feet away (closer should be okay if needed).

 

More details at 

https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10506704

 

I've wanted to try a Duncan for months, and today was my first try. 30 minute learning curve and success. Great night results, too. Despite the county-spanning smoke...

I made a Duncan Mask from matt board and I'll try it tonight.  Thanks for the tip.



#31 Traffalger1698

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 10:14 AM

I bought mine two years ago, no age related issues (as can happen in units made with low quality cells).

 

I have no idea why your plug could be described as 'massive', as all Nexstar AFAIK us the 5.5mm x 2.1mm barrel plug that is one of the more commonly used sizes out there. 

 

If you mean the cigar lighter plug, designed for cars decades ago, you won't be using it unless you want to (powertank style units use this insanely antiquidated hookup method). You want something that supplies power output directly to the small plug on the Nexstar base, correct voltage and adequate amperage.

 

Just search 'Talentcell' on amazon. This is the one I've had for over 2 years https://smile.amazon...01584067&sr=8-1

 

The plug for the scope is shown in some photos there.

 

It packs plenty of amperage to run the GPS 11 for hours. It outputs power to the same 5.5mm x 2.1mm socket as is used on the nexstar, so the linking cable has male 5.5mm x 2.1mm on both ends.

 

The internal cells are good quality. My heavy drain, infrequent use is tough on many rechargables.

 

'Too much power'? One must differentiate between voltage and amperage.

 

Higher than designed-for voltage will absolutely fry things. Like using a 19v laptop supply, ooops.

 

But amperage is different, a properly designed and operating device will draw only what it needs to run. Insufficient amperage and related effects like voltage drops, can cause odd issues like losing syncs after slewing (AA powered Nexstars frustrated many users). A car battery could power a hundred or more Nexstars at once, I would 'guesstimate), but won't damage just one plugged in, provided the battery voltage was within specifications.

 

It's not 1970 anymore, no lead acid batteries and 1940s cigar lighter hookups need apply. Light, compact litium packs with (relafively) modern barrel plugs with do the job better.

4x compatible handset upgraded with no issue.  Now things actually seems to work well again thank you.  Your talentcell 1200mAh seems to no longer exist but there is a more expensive version that looks like it will work.  (I seen the one you linked once before it disappeared I want to say it was like under $50 the closest one I think is like 89 today)  I'll keep looking.  

 

Thanks


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#32 davebl

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 06:03 PM

When I go into Utilities on my Nexstar11 GPS and go to firmware I get the following info:

 

2.2  4.3  4.3

  2.2   2.2

 

I've been trying to figure out exactly what it's trying to tell me, but no luck. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

 

Thanks in Advance,

 

Dave



#33 Traffalger1698

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 06:47 PM

When I go into Utilities on my Nexstar11 GPS and go to firmware I get the following info:

2.2 4.3 4.3
2.2 2.2

I've been trying to figure out exactly what it's trying to tell me, but no luck. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

Thanks in Advance,

Dave


Well I believe the first number is the hand controller number 2.2 as mine was that number as well. Are you experiencing the 20 years ago date?

#34 davebl

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 07:32 PM

Yes, I don't remember the exact date but I think it was 2001. I'm not too worried about the GPS, I can turn it off and set the date and time manually. I've been on the Nexstar site and it appears that if I update the hand controller with V4 (if I could find one) I might have ti upgrade the motor control board as well. The scope is mounted in the Observatory at out local high school and really doesn't get a lot of use.

 

Dave



#35 Traffalger1698

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 07:38 PM

Yes, I don't remember the exact date but I think it was 2001. I'm not too worried about the GPS, I can turn it off and set the date and time manually. I've been on the Nexstar site and it appears that if I update the hand controller with V4 (if I could find one) I might have ti upgrade the motor control board as well. The scope is mounted in the Observatory at out local high school and really doesn't get a lot of use.

Dave


I was able to find a 4x hand controller on the classifieds here. The hardest part of updating for me was getting the right connections. I didn’t/haven’t upgrade the boards yet but have thought about looking into if it’s possible with my current equipment.

#36 markb

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 07:55 PM

Dave, great scopes and mount to have. Add a Starizona Landing Pad to make life far easier!

 

Handcontoller v 2.2, not upgradable.

 

You can use it for now,as is, if you turn off the GPS in settings or utilities, and manually enter time and lat/long.

 

Easiest way to get accurate time and location is off SkySafari running on a GPS enabled phone or tablet.

 

You will need a v.4.x or Plus controller to get to 4.22 for the GPS 'fix' for the rollover problem. Celestron controllers don't die like the competition's, so used ones are fine. My GPS11 work fine with Plus HCS but many have fussy issues  so a 4.x controller may be best. I like the Plus HC, so I'm lucky, so far.

 

The 4.3 are the Motor Board firmware numbers. 

 

I think the 4.3 was okay but a few tweaks were made going to the 4.06/4.6 final version. That MB version is firmware upgradable.

 

Go to nexstarsite.com to look up accurate information. https://www.nexstars...GPSFirmware.htm

 

Mike Swanson has the info you need, there and in his books.. You should think about getting his book, first edition I think???


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#37 Traffalger1698

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 08:00 PM

Add a Starizona Landing Pad to make life far easier!

 

 

+1 for the Starizona landing pad! I have it on my 9.25 it REALLY is nice!



#38 markb

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Posted 10 October 2020 - 08:47 PM

Just saw the OP'S last post.

 

Newish computers without serial ports need the inexpensive TrendNet usb to serial adapter off Amazon (many adapters seem to partially work but fail to complete the update due to poor chip command implementation, so stick to the TrendNet), and the Celestron update cable (or a home built, pin outs are floating around IIRC).

 

I updated five HCs last week before boxing them for my move west, including two for a fellow GPS owner. Piece of cake, 10 minutes each, but be aware the 4.x and Plus controllers use different update software from Celestron, check Mike's site.

 

NXS, or alt-az, Hand Controllers and GEM, polar mount, HCS are easily converted to the other type, making used controllers a safe buy regardless of type.


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#39 davebl

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 10:23 AM

Thanks for the info markb.

 

The landing pad is nice, but the scope is permanently mounted on a pier in the Observatory, so I'm good.

Your info confirms my suspicions that I had the non upgradeable handpad. The good news is that the MC board is newer than I thought, so if I do get a handpad the MC board should be OK.

 

Thanks again,

Dave



#40 12Bass

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 01:25 PM

...

Your info confirms my suspicions that I had the non upgradeable handpad. The good news is that the MC board is newer than I thought, so if I do get a handpad the MC board should be OK.

If it has socketed AT49F040s, your version 2.2 hand control can be flashed with NXS 4.22 using a programmer:  https://www.cloudyni...re-update-info/

 

Note that the MC will have to be updated to MC 4.06 for compatibility.
 



#41 davebl

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 03:19 PM

Thanks 12Bass,

 

I'll check the chip. Also, thanks for the link. Almost too much info. I love it that the knowledgeable ones out there are so willing to help. Did I mention their patience?

 

Thanks again,

Dave



#42 davebl

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 03:32 PM

So the HPad does have the socketed AT49F040s. I have a couple friends that are more knowledgeable than I in electronics and I'll see if they have any experience and equipment for flashing chips.

 

Thanks again,

Dave



#43 12Bass

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 06:43 PM

So the HPad does have the socketed AT49F040s. I have a couple friends that are more knowledgeable than I in electronics and I'll see if they have any experience and equipment for flashing chips.

 

If one of them has a programmer and PLCC32 adapter, flashing NXS 4.22 should be quick and easy.



#44 markb

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 11:20 PM

Is the hi/low split NXS 4.22 posted anywhere?

 

I would flash my old HCs but am not aware of anything available in flashable format.

 

The old files were posted on the defunct Yahoo group. I believe I read they were hosted somewhere, but they only went to 4.21.

 

If there is a link to the (bin?) files, please post it.

 

EDIT:

I thought I recalled Mike Swanson linking to or hosting the bin files, located here

 

https://nexstarsite.com/Links.htm

 

The 4.22 GPS fix HAS been added.

 

The location may not be obvious to those not familiar with the old Yahoo group

 

Thanks to whomever did the post of the 4.22 files!

 

Go to the links for Nexstar or Nexstar GPS file archives, then the Nexstar GPS folder, then Files folder, then the Andre Stuff folder. The bin files are towards the bottom (on my Google Drive view).

 

Burning chips is simple enough for the neophyte, using the directions linked above.

 

The PLCC chips can be a bit fussy to remove and insert. I found a chip puller can help on removal, and getting the chip parallel to the board, evenly started into the socket contacts helped with insertion

 

Note that MB version 4.x (or possible 3.x) may be needed to use the re-chipped 2.2 HC; I tried the chip swap (4.21 at the time) but the HC was not functional on the 1.1 or 1.6 MB firmware I had at that time.


Edited by markb, 12 October 2020 - 12:37 AM.


#45 12Bass

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Posted 12 October 2020 - 02:36 PM

The even and odd NXS 4.22 firmware files for flashing the pair of AT49F040s are available here: https://www.cloudyni...-3#entry9915986

 

Using a PLCC IC extractor to remove the AT49F040s is highly recommended, if not necessary, to avoid damaging the chips.

 

However, once you have all of the required hardware, the HC firmware flashing process is actually quite simple and only takes a minute or two to complete... then voila, you have a version 4 HC with NXS 4.22.  The only caveat is that, unlike a true v4 HC, the flashed v2 HC cannot be updated via the RS-232 connection due to some circuit differences, but it becomes in all other ways a fully functional NXS 4.22 hand control.  If there are any future v4 HC firmware updates, which seems somewhat doubtful, they will have to be flashed using a programmer using the same procedure.

 

I'm not totally sure that MC 4.03/4.3 is incompatible with NXS 4.22 hand control firmware, however, MC 4.06 is the latest and best MC board firmware and MC 4.06 should be flashed/used, as it fixes some bugs and works with all HC firmware versions.  MC 4.06 can be flashed using Celestron's MCUpdate program via a serial cable using the connection on the bottom of the hand control or via the PC port on the base (both of which require a special cable which can be either purchased or fabricated... I made both cables myself).



#46 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 12:00 AM

When I go into Utilities on my Nexstar11 GPS and go to firmware I get the following info:

 

2.2  4.3  4.3

  2.2   2.2

 

I've been trying to figure out exactly what it's trying to tell me, but no luck. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

 

Thanks in Advance,

 

Dave

Hi Dave,

 

The first 2.2 is the hand control (HC) version.  The two 4.3 are the motor control (MC) versions (each axis has a separate processor).  The first 2.2 on line two is the GPS connector bus version and the second 2.2 is the serial bus version.  

 

So, first off, you will need to update the MC to version 4.06 (will be displayed as 4.6 on your HC 2.2) in order to be compatible with newer hand controls.  Here are my instructions for that update:

https://www.nexstars...pgradeHowTo.htm

 

Next, the fact that you have serial bus version 2.2 means your mount will work fine with either a version 4 hand control or the current NexStar+ hand control.  NexStar GPS mounts with serial bus version 1 do not work with the NexStar+ running current firmware.

 

This page of my website:

https://www.nexstars...OddsEndsGPS.htm

see the article "Upgrading the Electronics of NexStar 8/9.25/11 GPS Telescopes" for a more in depth discussion. 

 

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


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#47 davebl

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 10:04 AM

Thanks Mike,

 

That's exactly the info I was looking for.

 

Dave




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