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Problem aligning/calibrating Nexstar 6SE

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#1 ruzicka

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 01:33 PM

This is probably going to sound like a VERY stupid question/problem, but I have having problems aligning/calibrating my Nexstar 6SE.

 

I have had it now for months, but the night skies in Colorado have been awful here due to all the forest fires out west. So when I did think about trying to get the setup done, the stars were just too dim.

 

Along with my 6SE, I also have StarSense AutoAlign and the SkyPortal WiFi Module.

 

I completed the alignment process using the SkyPortal app on my phone. The app said that the alignment was successful. However, when I proceeded to do the calibration phase, telling the telescope to go to a specific bright star, it went WAY off course.

 

I also tried doing the alignment using the updated StarSense hand controller (after making sure the time, date, DST inputs were okay) and got pretty much the same result.

 

What stupid newbie thing am I missing here? (and yes, I remembered to remove the lens caps, etc first!)



#2 cneal

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 02:21 PM

It should be 24 hour time?



#3 mlord

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 02:39 PM

Along with my 6SE, I also have StarSense AutoAlign and the SkyPortal WiFi Module.

 

I completed the alignment process using the SkyPortal app on my phone. The app said that the alignment was successful. However, when I proceeded to do the calibration phase, telling the telescope to go to a specific bright star, it went WAY off course.

Please explain what you mean by WAY off course.  It is expected to not be dead-on before calibration, or not even in the eyepiece view either.



#4 PolyWogg

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 03:44 PM

Can I ask if you can align without StarSense and Skyportal, just the regular handset? I prefer myself to eliminate all extra variables before complicating my life. In particular, right now, you can't tell if:

 

a. It's the mount doing something odd;

b. It's the connection with StarSense or SkyPortal;

c. Starsense is doing something odd;

d. SkyPortal is doing something odd;

e. Settings in A,C,D are off somewhere;

 

etc.

 

I had a heck of a time my first 5y with my 8SE with an intermittent alignment process, and it wasn't until a relative expert helped me eliminate a couple of things at the beginning that weren't wrong to get to essentially level 2 where the first thing WAS wrong, and nothing after that would have ever worked reliably. The downside is that within a narrow band, things DID work, but not consistently. I could do excellent alignment Night 1 and 2, think I had it solved, and Night 3, nothing would work reliably at all.

 

FWIW, my "no fault" test is:

 

a. Tripod, Mount, OTA setup as normal, and as stable / level as possible;

b. 2-Star alignment and let the 6SE choose the two stars (use a phone to help you find where those two are if you don't already know);

c. Use phone to use direct GPS coordinates;

d. Once you get "success" after Star 2, tell it immediately to try to show you Star 1 -- if it is NOT dead on, and then the same for Star 2, you will never get anything good after that. Your alignment was "successful" but is still wrong. Usually because of up/right needs to be up/left or down/right on your handset.

 

In my case, my handset defaults are reverse from what factory standards are. FIVE YEARS I couldn't figure that out on my own, and I'm not normally that big an idiot. But I would never have found that without his approach above.

 

Good luck! It may not be "you"!

 

Paul


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#5 lkannard

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 04:25 PM

Do you have the OTA mounted upside down on the mount? The Celestron name on the dove tail should be right side up.

#6 ShaulaB

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 04:33 PM

+1 to everything Paul said. Learning to do a manual 2 star alignment is a valuable skill.

Make sure your batteries are fresh, or the power supply is reliable. Make sure the finder is aligned well. Use a 12mm eyepiece to center alignment stars (25mm plus a 2x Barlow).

#7 ruzicka

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 05:15 PM

By way off, when I select a star and press "go to", I mean that the telescope ends up way, WAY off.  We're not talking a few degrees here.  More like anywhere between 90 deg to 180 deg.  Azimuth and elevation are both wrong.

I input the time in 24-hour time.

Telescope appears to be mounted properly.

Batteries are fresh.

As I can no longer find the original handset, I currently only have the options of aligning/calibrating using the phone app or the StarSense handset. 

 

I'm figuring I'm just missing something totally bonehead.


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#8 mlord

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 08:53 PM

Well, the phone app should be taking care of location/time settings.  Just ensure it is set for "current time" rather than some arbitrary fixed date/time in the past/future.



#9 whizbang

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 08:54 PM

You have it mounted with the arm on the left?

 

SE mounts are voltage sensitive.  AA batteries don't cut it.  You need a 6000mah Lithium Talentcell or better.  Do a search on this forum.  Bad power will cause this problem (My old SE would act like this on brand new AA batteries).

 

Most likely, you have the location wrong --- the default location (Saved-Site) is Torrance, CA where Celestron is located.  Your time zone might be off as well.

 

Unplug the wifi.  Unplug the Star sense.  Get the darn thing going using the hand control, then add plot complications.  You have too many variables in play so there is no way to figure out the problem.  Simplify.  Start with the hand control, then add accessories.


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#10 PolyWogg

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 09:53 PM

By way off, when I select a star and press "go to", I mean that the telescope ends up way, WAY off.  We're not talking a few degrees here.  More like anywhere between 90 deg to 180 deg.  Azimuth and elevation are both wrong.

I input the time in 24-hour time.

Telescope appears to be mounted properly.

Batteries are fresh.

As I can no longer find the original handset, I currently only have the options of aligning/calibrating using the phone app or the StarSense handset. 

 

I'm figuring I'm just missing something totally bonehead.

Okay, well this will take some finesse then...if you have no original handset, I would ditch the phone app for now (the wifi dongles are finicky sometimes), so you can at least remove that variable.

 

I would still do the basic "no fail" setup then with the Star Sense added i.e. level setup, do a basic Star Sense setup, and once it says aligned, immediately test the stars you just aligned on. If they're not dead centre, you can stop, because nothing after that will align either. They should be dead centre as you JUST aligned on them.

 

Batteries are also the devil for our mounts. AAs can be brand new, test fine, and still give you inconsistent slewing. Run the longest extension cord you have if necessary, or borrow an external power source, but don't try to problem solve alignment or slewing with AA batteries running. 

 

P.



#11 ruzicka

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 09:55 PM

Time and date are set correctly on the StarSense handset, as is DST.  Region is set for -7 Mountain, as I live in Colorado.

 

In the SkyPortal app, Date & Time is set to "Current Time" and Location is set to my Colorado town.  Setup and Control is set to Sidereal.

 

The telescope is mounted properly, with the arm on the left.

 

I have fresh batteries inserted, but I'll look into a good power pack.


Edited by ruzicka, 22 October 2021 - 11:28 PM.



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