NexStar Control Pad
Released August 16th, 2008
NSCP provides arrow button control from a PC connected to most Celestron
GoTo telescopes. Models NOT supported are the original NexStar 5/8,
the NexStar GT using hand controls without a Version command on the
Utilities menu and the Ultima 2000 line. All newer models should work
with this program.
Version 1.0.8 is a minor update that improves the arrow button performance
for scopes mounted in equatorial (EQ) mode.
NSCP is especially useful for remote control of your scope and for imaging
purposes when you are already using a PC to capture images.
In addition to using the arrow buttons shown on the PC screen, the arrow keys
on your PC provide the same function. Note the option to set different rates for
each axis (don't you wish the hand control did that!). Also, you can easily
change the direction of each pair of arrows with the 'Reverse' buttons.
The button with the square spiral will cause the scope to spiral out from the
current location - useful if the GoTo didn't place an object in the field of
view of the eyepiece or camera. Click the button once to begin the spiral -
click it again to stop. In addition to clicking the spiral button on the screen,
you can also press the 's' key on the PC keyboard. Adjust to a higher 'Width'
for lower magnification, wider fields of view. Use the 'Delay' to pause at each
corner of the spiral. The delay is measured in seconds and can allow a CCD
camera to capture a quick image of a faint object and thus let you know when to
stop the spiral. For visual use, web cams or other cameras that can see in
real-time, the delay should be 0.
For the scope models that offer it, NSCP can turn on and off PEC playback.
On the Tools menu you will find Scope Setup. Here you can set Anti-Backlash
on the scope (just as if you were using the hand control). This is especially
useful if you notice that after using the arrow buttons the tracking seems to
pause for a few moments - this is normally caused by backlash in the gears and
is compensated for with Anti-Backlash. Also, you can set the AutoGuide Rate -
useful if you are using a camera interfaced to the AutoGuide port on the scope.
Your computer must be running Windows
Even an older,
modest laptop will provide good performance with NSCP. The computer
must also already have installed a program created in Visual Basic 6 or higher -
such as NexStar Observer List. You will also
After downloading, simply unzip the file and place NSControlPad.exe in any
location you wish - there is no installation program. To run the program,
double-click the NSControlPad.exe icon - you may wish to create a shortcut on
the Desktop or in the Quick Launch area of the Taskbar. After starting
NSCP, read the Quick Instructions by pressing F1 on the keyboard.
For those looking to create a similar
here for details on the commands used in NSCP as well as the complete Visual
Basic source code.