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Bushnell NorthStar Goto controller

Equipment Mount Reflector Software
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#1 AltairQC

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 11:37 AM

Hi all,
First post for me! Happy to join!
Wish I'm at the good spot to post this question. If not, please guide me! smile.gif 

I just bought a used Bushnell Northstar Goto telescope # 78-8831, 76mm reflector equipped with a hand Goto controller. I know it is not a high grade telescope but Im starting with Goto telescopes. I was wondering if someone ever tried to hook it up with Stellarium or other softwares to control it? I don't know what's the comm protocol but I'm pretty sure it is RS232. I checked on the Bushnell web site and on the web but can't find much information. I'm up to check on the circuit board. smile.gif  

 

The Bushnell Goto firmware number is V. 0.55, so I presume it is quite old, maybe 2010. The controller has only one connector for the extension cord going to the mount. This scope has a small ''RJ 9"  4 pin connector with a cable going from the hand controller to the main telescope stepper motor controller board. If you know anything about this kind of hand controller, or about a software compatible with it the mount, I"d be glad to hear about it!smile.gif 
 

Thank's a lot for your help!

Denis Bombardier
Qc, Canada



#2 Jaimo!

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 06:59 PM

Congratulations on your new telescope.

 

I just took possession of my father-in-laws, Bushnell Northstar 90mm Maksutov.   The OTA of this scope, is exactly the same an my C90, Synta made.  I plan on putting the scope through it's paces in the next couple of weeks, just to see what the mount can do.   I looks like the go-to is pretty straightforward maybe based on setting circles, but I don't think the software platform is popular enough to have any 3rd party software control available.  I'll keep you in the loop if I find out anything.

 

Jaimo!



#3 hcf

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 08:23 PM

There is some talk here that a Meade handset would work with the Bushnell.

 

https://www.fixya.co..._northstar_goto

 

However, it seems very unsubstantiated and I would not try it without finding proof of Bushell/Meade officially stating it.

 

If you could hook up a logic analyzer to the hand controller output and see the commands being sent to the mount, maybe they could be used  to check if the protocol is the same as Meade.


Edited by hcf, 28 November 2021 - 08:43 PM.


#4 AltairQC

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 08:36 PM

There is some talk here that a Meade handset would work with the Bushnell.

 

https://www.fixya.co..._northstar_goto

 

However, it seems very unsubtantiated and I would not try it without finding proof of Bushell/Meade officially stating it.

 

If you coulld hook up a logic analyzer to the hand controller output and see the commands being sent to the mount, maybe they could be used  to check if the protocol is the same as Meade.

Viking 1, this might be a very good tip!
I'll check to find the pinout of a Meade controller and compare it to the Bushnell controller. I'll have to call Bushnell Support to know if it is compatible 'cause they didn't give me an answer in their email return.

Thank's for the input! I'll post here if it works.

Denis
:-)


Edited by AltairQC, 28 November 2021 - 08:37 PM.

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#5 AltairQC

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Posted 29 November 2021 - 10:45 AM

Congratulations on your new telescope.

 

I just took possession of my father-in-laws, Bushnell Northstar 90mm Maksutov.   The OTA of this scope, is exactly the same an my C90, Synta made.  I plan on putting the scope through it's paces in the next couple of weeks, just to see what the mount can do.   I looks like the go-to is pretty straightforward maybe based on setting circles, but I don't think the software platform is popular enough to have any 3rd party software control available.  I'll keep you in the loop if I find out anything.

 

Jaimo!

Thank's Jaimo!
The Mak is a nice piece, small and portable.
I personnally plan to take pictures of the Leonard comet in december, but I don't want to freeze outside. ;-) So I'm trying to find a way to control my scope from a distance while I'll be inside. Since when I got this scope in september, I already modified it, making a piggyback DSLR holder + a rod with counterbalance weight. First tests told me I need a little more counterweight when using my 100-300mm lens, but it seems promising as the mount motors seemed to be strong enough to sweep to a GOTO object and follow it. I even might be able to take some deepsky pictures. I'll upload some pictures of my scope soon.

If I can't control it from a computer, then I might be able to make an extension for the hand controller. And there might be a WIFI or BLUETOOTH  RX/TX transceiver available that I can use.
Low budget science, but lot of FUN!

Clear skies! :-)
Denis



#6 AltairQC

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 01:49 PM

 this might be a very good tip!
I'll check to find the pinout of a Meade controller and compare it to the Bushnell controller. I'll have to call Bushnell Support to know if it is compatible 'cause they didn't give me an answer in their email return.

Thank's for the input! I'll post here if it works.

Denis
:-)

I checked the pinout of the controller and the cable. It doesn't match the pinout for Meade LS200 controller. Mine is like the following, from left to right if holding the connector like in the picture: (1)Black: +5 v. , (2)Red and (3)White: RX-TX (or inverseTx-Rx) (4)Green:GND. If I hold the cable straight, the wires are reversed from one plug to the other. At least it is a start for me. I couldn't find a logic analyzer but found that it is RS485-422 com. 

Bushnell Northstar Goto controller cable


Green:GND                                                                                        Black: +5 v                                              
White:RX or TX                                                                                  Red: RX orTX
Red: RX orTX  ------------------------CABLE---------------------------------- White:RX or TX
Black: +5 v                                                                                         Green:GND
Bushnell NorthStar controller PCB Identified

 


Edited by AltairQC, 03 December 2021 - 01:51 PM.



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