NexStar Resource Site

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Firmware Versions on the NexStar 6/8 SE

Non-English Hand Control Owners - read this.  The
information below is for English-version hand controls.

NexStar 6/8 SE scopes have two sets of processors. There are processors in the hand control (HC) and there are processors in the base of the scope in a section known as the motor control (MC).  The MC firmware can be updated by the owner (read this).  Note that the NexStar 6/8 SE mount is distinct from the NexStar 4/5 SE and uses different MC firmware.

There have been two versions of hand control available for the SE:

  • Hand control version 4.X.  This hand control can be updated by the owner.  Read this for step by step instructions on upgrading the firmware.
  • The NexStar+ hand control.  This hand control can be updated by the owner and began shipping with new SE scopes in January 2012.  It is also available for purchase since February 2012.  Read this for info on this new hand control and this for step by step instructions on upgrading the firmware.

For additional details about features on newer versions, check the Manuals section of this web site.

The method Celestron uses to distribute firmware for the NexStar+ hand control makes it pretty much impossible for me to maintain a comprehensive list of firmware they release for that model.  As such, you should run the CFM update software to see if a newer version is available at this time.

NexStar+ Hand Control

  • 5.21.2336 - Added Moon to Solar System Align routine.  Minor bug fixes.
  • 5.21.2200 - Several bug fixes, mostly just menu fixes and Asian character set fixes.
  • 5.21.2064 - Several bug fixes, most significantly the RS-232 negative declination bug in 5.20, problems with the international cities database, problems with Auto 2 Star Align and the problem with NGC catalog entries above 5462.  Also reorganized the menu, creating a Hand Control menu to access controls for the display and backlight.
  • 5.20 - The first version for the new NexStar+ hand control.  Features are basically the same as 4.20, including unfortunately the RS-232 negative declination bug - if you connect a computer/PDA/smart phone to the RS-232 port and direct a GoTo to an object with negative declination, the scope will instead point to +90 declination.  It is recommended you upgrade to 5.21.2064 or higher.

Version 4 Hand Control (firmware files are named NXS)

  • 4.21 - Fixed the RS-232 negative declination bug found in 4.20.
  • 4.20 - This version has a bug - if you connect a computer/PDA/smart phone to the RS-232 port and direct a GoTo to an object with negative declination, the scope will instead point to +90 declination.   It is recommended you upgrade to 4.21 or higher.   Fixed an error in the GoTo RA-Dec menu item.  Hand Control now reports immediately if the are communication ("No Response") difficulties at start up.  No Response errors now give a "Press UNDO to continue" option.  For mounts with a GPS module in use, changed the messages displayed to clarify when the GPS was still attempting a link and when it was successful.
  • 4.18 - An important upgrade with many new features and fixes.  The hand control now calculates positions with respect to precession - in other words, previously all coordinates were J2000 while this version uses JNow.  Polar alignment routine is now under the Align menu and allows alignments on stars other than Polaris.  Additionally, after polar alignment, the scope no longer requires a new alignment.  Fixes problems with Southern Hemisphere alignments.  Pressing ALIGN while in the Named Stars menu now takes you to the Align menu.   If there is no GPS module, changes the initial alignment to always prompt for the date and time.  Sets slew rate to 5 upon waking from hibernation.  The Factory Settings menu item now resets all motor control settings (as well as the hand control settings) and will force the user to restart the system.  The hand control is now locked when performing a motor control upgrade via the port on the bottom of the hand control.  Added two PC control commands: one to undo any current "Sync", the other to retrieve the local sidereal time from the hand control.  Fixed error when using SAO stars (selected from the STAR button) as alignment objects.  Fixes a bug which changes rate if a direction button is pressed after the RATE button.  Fixes a rare problem updating the motor control through the hand control.  Corrects Abell objects with negative magnitudes.
  • 4.15 - Shipped on some SE scopes at the end of 2009, this version was never officially released by Celestron.  It includes all of the features of 4.18, except the Southern Hemisphere fixes, the SAO star as alignment object fix and the fix for the rare problem updating the motor control through the hand control.
  • 4.13 - This version allows the motor control (MC) firmware to be upgraded via the port on the bottom of the hand control.
  • 4.12 - Original version for the NexStar 6/8 SE.

MC Versions

  • 5.14 - Corrects a problem with the cordwrap prevention feature.
  • 5.12 - Original version on the NexStar 6/8 SE.

Determining Versions

Use the Version option on the Utility menu.


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