How to Upgrade Hand Control Firmware -
NexStar+ and StarSense
Linux users, Sascha Peilicke has an
excellent how to article
here and Mike Clements has an excellent how to article
To update the hand control firmware, you will need the Celestron
Firmware Manager (referred to as CFM for the rest of this
from Celestron's web site:
Click the CFM folder and download the "zip" file and follow the directions
Click the Drivers and Software category link, then Show More
towards the bottom of the page and search for the Celestron Firmware
Manager. Download the "zip" file and follow the directions below.
CFM uses Java (download the latest from
www.java.com) to work on
Windows, macOS and Linux.
Updating your scope also requires a connection between the port on the bottom
of the hand control and your PC or laptop.
The current NexStar+ and StarSense hand controls (all those manufactured
since April 2016) have a USB port on the bottom for connections to a PC/laptop.
This port is actually a connection to a USB-to-serial adapter inside the hand
control. For details on the cable required, read
You must connect this cable between a USB port on your computer and the port on
the bottom of the hand control. You will also need to load a driver, read
for more information (also, if you are using a Mac, see the note at the bottom
of that page about approving third-party kernel extensions).
NexStar+ and StarSense hand controls manufactured prior to April 2016 have an
RS-232 port (looks like a phone jack). You will need the Hand Control RS-232 Port Cable that
plugs into the bottom of the hand control. For details on the cable and sources to
purchase one, read
You must connect this cable between a serial port on your computer and the
port on the bottom of the hand control. If your PC does not have a serial
port, you will need a USB-to-serial adapter available at most computer stores.
See PC Control on this website
for more information and options regarding computers without a serial port.
Alternately, if your scope has Celestron WiFi (built-in on the Evolution and
Astro Fi, available as an add on for many mounts by using the Celestron
SkyPortal or SkyQ Link WiFi module), you can connect your PC to the scope's WiFi
network and connect without cables. Then change the
connection method in CFM's Options/Connections menu to WiFi.
After downloading CFM, you must then "unzip" or "extract" it to a folder on
your computer. Don't lose track of the location of this folder as you will
need to navigate to it to start CFM later.
- Connect your PC/laptop to the port on the bottom of the hand control
or the scope's WiFi network.
- Open the folder where you unzipped and double-click CFM icon.
There might be two CFM icons - only one will open the orange CFM program
- CFM will automatically scan the computer's serial ports or WiFi
connections to locate the
connected mount. After locating it, the top section of CFM
will state it has identified your telescope.
- CFM will also automatically download all packages (firmware) in the
center section. Note that this can occur without being connected
to the hand control - for example, if your scope is out in an
observatory without Internet access, you could start CFM while your
laptop is connected to the Internet and later take the laptop out to the
- Once the download is complete, click the Update button in the
bottom section to load the firmware into the hand control (and other CFM
compatible devices if necessary).
- If CFM cannot detect your NexStar+ or StarSense hand control, close
CFM, power down the mount and disconnect the USB cable (for USB type
hand controls). Then, hold down the MENU and Celestron
logo buttons and power up the mount. Start over with the
Upgrade Process above.
- If you have problems getting CFM to load the firmware into the hand
control, close CFM, look in the folder where you unzipped CFM and delete
the Packages folder. Start the process again. Note it will
take a few minutes for CFM to download all the packages via the
- Use the Languages item on the NexStar+ menu in CFM to select which language set to load into
the hand control - European or Asian (English is loaded in both cases).
Be sure to set the option in the bottom section of the window to
Always do what I selected this time.
- Use Mount Type on the NexStar+ menu in CFM if the hand control comes up with the wrong
firmware, for example, one of the equatorial models (Advanced GT, CGEM,
etc.) when you have an alt-az model (CPC, NexStar SE, NexStar SLT,
etc.). After choosing the correct telescope type (Alt Az or Equatorial),
be sure to set the option in the bottom section of the window to
Always do what I selected this time if this is your only mount type.
- If you experience problems during or after the firmware update, read
- If you have a NexStar 8/9.25/11 GPS or NexStar 5i/8i and have
problems with the NexStar+ hand control, read