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control Nexstar mount from ASIAIR Pro?

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#1 millsbob

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 09:30 PM

i have a Nexstar 6se and looking to buy an ASI224 and ASIAIR Pro to do some EAA and to run the mount from ASIAIR and/or Sky Safari on an iPad Pro instead of the hand controller. posting here instead of EAA because my question is specifically about controlling the mount.

 

the part that confuses me is i see that the ASIAIR Pro comes with a usb-RS232 cable to connect to the mount (or the hand controller?), but it ends in a db-9 plug. my mount's AUX, AUTO GUIDE, and hand controller all look like they want an rj-12.

 

do i need a different cable than the one that comes with the ASIAIR Pro, a USB-RJ11 cable? or an adapter from db-9 to rj-12?

 

or doesn't this work at all with my mount?

 

thank you for any tips!

 

mills



#2 wb2fcr

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 09:55 PM

I’ve controlled my 8SE mount from my ASIAIR Pro. You need to connect one of the USB ports on the ASIAIR Pro to the micro USB port on the bottom of the Hand Controller. 
 

I used the ASIAIR app on my iPad to move the mount. That’s all you can do is move it. No other control of menus, etc.


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#3 millsbob

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 10:13 PM

thanks -- but my controller doesn't know usb. it has an rj-12 jack on the bottom (looks like a telephone jack but has 6 pins).


Edited by millsbob, 13 January 2021 - 10:17 PM.


#4 wb2fcr

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 10:36 PM

I believe that’s what the older Hand Controllers had for a connector. Sorry I’m not sure how you would connect to the RJ-12 connector (or if it even work with the older Hand Controller) 

 

I’m kind of new to all this myself. 



#5 mlord

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 11:53 PM

i have a Nexstar 6se  ... do i need a different cable than the one that comes with the ASIAIR Pro, a USB-RJ11 cable? or an adapter from db-9 to rj-12?

Since you have a 6se, I assume the Hand Controller says "Nexstar+" on it (as opposed to Nexstar*).

That RJ-12 jack on the bottom is RS-232 on a non-standard connector.  So you'll need to buy or build a cable to adapt from a 6p6c RJ-12 plug to a DB9 serial connector.



#6 millsbob

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 12:20 AM

mlord,

 

thank you, and yes, it's the + hand controller, the scope is from 2014.

 

it's not hard to find adapters pre-built online, but i've no idea of the pinout...



#7 mlord

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 12:38 AM

Here:  https://nexstarsite..../RS232Cable.htm

hcserial.jpg



#8 skaiser

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:05 AM

mills

 once you get your Rj to Serial cable you need to do the following to use ASIAIR and Skysafari to control your munt.

 

Start AsiAIr
Start mount
Using HC do One Star Align or can do 2 star

Plugin AsiAir to HC via your RJ-Serial cable

in ASIAir click on scope Icon
TELESCOPE : Celestron avc/cgx/cgem/cgx   TURN on SELECT switch
SERIAL  USB      BAUD  9600

IN Skysafari
SETTINGS/ TELESCOPE /SETUP
Scope TYPE: Celestron avx,cge, cgem,cgx
MOUNT Type: Equatorial GOTO german
COMMUNICATIONS
Auto-detect skyfi  OFF
IP Address  10.0.0.1
Port Number 4030

Back On main screen select CONNECT
Can now control CGX via Skysafari

 

be careful not to issue commands too quickly from Skysafari.

For instance, when you select a object to GOTO in skysafari, there is a slight delay for the telescope to respond to the command.

take care


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#9 mclewis1

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:47 AM

Oh for goodness sake ... it's well documented in the manuals or www.nexstarsite.com

 

Since the ASIAIR comes with a USB-serial adapter you need the Celestron USB to HC serial cable #93920, less than $20, widely available, and even included with many mounts/scopes. 

 

Stay away from any similar looking cable that doesn't mention Celestron compatibility (including the almost identical Meade supplied cable).


Edited by mclewis1, 14 January 2021 - 09:51 AM.

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#10 millsbob

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 11:01 AM

whoa, Great information!!! thank you all!

 

mlord: thank you for the pinout! i will likely buy the celestron part below.

 

skaiser: thankyouthankyouthankyou for the detail!!! i tell it GEQ even though i'm on an alt-az?

 

mclewis: deep thanks for the exact part number for a dedicated hardware solution. sorry i didn't discover it on my own, but be aware that i Did spend 3 hours web searching, reading posts here, and even visited apparently the wrong parts of both the celestron site and nexstarsite.com before posting here. glad you had the information right at your fingertips.


Edited by millsbob, 14 January 2021 - 11:48 AM.


#11 mclewis1

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 03:46 PM

Bob,

 

Sorry, that comment wasn't aimed at you, I know it often takes some experience to find the right info (and much of it isn't created by Celestron themselves so it can be all over the place). It was more about the other responses ... and even then everyone did add something of value to discussion.

 

Normally you'd only setup autoguiding with a mount that's in EQ mode. For a normally Alt Az oriented SE mount that would mean the mount would be placed on a wedge so the AZ axis now becomes the RA axis and can track  like a gem style mount, this would now be appropriate for longer exposure imaging of deep space objects. Recently however various software products have added the capability to do some object tracking in Alt Az mode. It is a lot more complex for the software to do this (constantly correcting in all 4 axis with motions that don't follow the each axis). Initially this capability (autoguiding in Alt Az mode) was intended for solar system imagers to keep the planet (or small features on the moon/sun) accurately centered at high magnifications.

 

So it's common to see instructions for setting up an autoguiding configuration that include the need to be using EQ mode tracking. In fact Celestron even had a check in the firmware which would disable responding to autoguiding commands if the mount was in Alt Az mode (these commands are handled by the hand controller and so with some old firmware levels this functionality doesn't work).

 

There have however been so many recent changes to a wide variety of mount controlling software (like what's in the ASIAIR product) that I'm not sure what actually works and what doesn't. Tracking and autoguiding with an SE mount when it's on a wedge does indeed work, tracking and autoguiding with an SE mount in Alt Az mode does work in some configurations but it sure isn't a common capability with lots of good documentation.

 

To use a new capability like this it would be helpful to verify the specific functionality (and exactly how you intend to use it) with the software developer and see if there any limitations and some sort of existing write up on how to configure things.


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#12 Noah4x4

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 04:06 PM

If you order the 'Celestron' Serial to USB adapter cable in the UK don't be surprised if you instead receive a Trendnet branded equivalent in a plain plastic bag. It is less bulky, works exactly the same and requires the same PL2303 driver. I have a suspicion that the original Celestron part is no longer shipped to Europe, which is perhaps not surprising given shipping costs.



#13 millsbob

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 05:45 PM

mc, thank you for the heads up that it may not be all smooth sailing!

 

i didn't expect to be going the EAA route when this used 6se kind of fell into my lap (minus some money, of course, but still), but the admittedly scant ~10 days of usage i've had of it have me thinking it's the best path for my age and eyes, so i'm trying to make do without making too many crazy errors.

 

so your notes are Very welcome, as is all the hand-holding i'm getting on CN.

 

many thanks again to all.


Edited by millsbob, 14 January 2021 - 05:45 PM.


#14 mclewis1

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 09:18 AM

You can indeed do some very effective EAA type of work without a wedge or autoguider or much of anything else except your SE, and a suitable camera. The SE can usually (depending on the individual characteristics of your mount) track effectively in Alt Az mode for doing up to 15-20s exposures. Within that very generalized limitation the things you can do to enjoy EAA type of observing are ...

 

- mitigate the inevitable backlash in the gears of your SE (practice good setup procedures, have done the backlash feature in the hand controller)

- get really good at doing a good initial alignment (the better the alignment the better the tracking)

- use a good sensitive camera (lots of choices, just not something really old)

- use as short a focal length as practical for the objects you are interested in. Sometimes this can be using a smaller shorter focal length scope in place of the C6 on your SE (like a smaller refractor) and sometimes this can be just using a focal reducer on your C6. In both cases the added benefit is having an optically faster system (smaller f ratio) which means shorter exposures are possible (which takes pressure off of your tracking accuracy).

 

Spend time in the EAA forum, ask questions, and get as much experience as you can.



#15 millsbob

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 11:21 AM

mc,

 

thank you for the additional advice.

 

i've only begun to tinker with the backlash, and that as we're in a prolonged socked-in period here, plus i've just been going at it from the scant information in the manual. i'll do some thread-reading on that later today. the scope as i received it had all 4 values set to 0, and the directional arrows clearly behave drastically different with that setting.

 

re: camera: i was all set to get an ASI224, thinking i should start modestly and see how it goes, but then i was doing some modeling in telescopius and realizing that even though i have the red dot finder tweaked within an inch of its life  i may have a Deuce of a time even aligning the scope with such a tiny field of view on the 6se, even with a focal reducer. and much of the low-hanging fruit on the DSO tree would be out the window so to speak. so now i'm wondering if it would be crazy to start instead with something like the ASI294? which seems overkill for a beginner, but maybe actually easier?

 

my alignment was getting quicker over the ~10 sessions i had, but not necessarily better. i know i can improve that by using some higher power eyepieces and taking a bit more time. i also haven't even tried the tweaking abilities of the mount, replacing alignment stars, local syncing, nor Precise Goto. need to come to grips with all of that.

 

i have thought of the tradeoff between a focal reducer/corrector vs getting an st-80 or the like. maybe i should try it first with a focal reducer and see how i get on, but before i pursue either route, do you have a take on this?

 

thank you again for experienced thoughts!

 

mills


Edited by millsbob, 15 January 2021 - 11:23 AM.



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