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StarGPS-NX GPS Receiver for Celestron Scopes
18 March 2019

click any image in this article for a larger version

PixSoft Incorporated (http://www.stargps.ca/) has introduced an updated GPS module that works directly with any model of Celestron computerized telescope compatible with Celestron's own SkySync GPS module.  This is every computerized mount with the exception of the original NexStar 5/8 (the model with no AUX port on top of the base) and the original NexStar GT (the models with no Version command on the hand control menu).  PixSoft's original StarGPS-NX (reviewed below) is required if you have a NexStar GT with the version 4.03 or 104.0 hand control; contact them directly to special order.

Included in the box:

  • a 65 channel GPS receiver
  • a GPS-Celestron adapter cable to go between the GPS receiver and the AUX port on your mount
  • an AUX port splitter for mounts without an extra AUX port
  • a small self-adhesive patch to optionally affix the receiver to your mount
  • instructions

Use is quite simple.  Plug the StarGPS-NX into any available AUX or HC port on your mount; using the splitter if necessary on mounts with a single HC port only.  Power up the mount and configure the hand control to recognize the available GPS module:

  • On the NexStar+ and NexStar version 4 hand controls, press the MENU button, select Utilities, and you will find GPS on/off.
  • On the StarSense hand control, press the MENU button, select Time and Location, and select Time/Location Source. Select the GPS module as your preferred time and location source.

NOTE:  if you power up the mount without the StarGPS-NX plugged into the AUX port, the hand control will revert to GPS off or manual time entry when it fails to detect the GPS module.  To ensure you don't need to reset the GPS settings each time you use the scope, which greatly reduces its convenience, be sure the StarGPS-NX is plugged in prior to powering up the mount.

Once the GPS setting is configured in the menu, the hand control will automatically query the GPS module every time it requires date/time or location data.  Be aware that as with any GPS solution on Celestron mounts, correct local time will only be displayed on the hand control if you set the Time Zone and Daylight Saving/Standard Time settings in the menu.

The link time on the StarGPS-NX is impressive - well under a minute in almost all cases.  This is better than the current Celestron GPS modules and much, much better than their original GPS modules from the early 2000s.  The receiver is also much smaller, encouraging permanent attachment to the mount or, it easily fits into an eyepiece case taking up little room.

The unit consumes less than 100mA resulting in low impact on your field power pack run-time.  Unplugging devices from the AUX port while the scope is running is not recommended as damage to electronics may result.  It is possible to unplug the GPS receiver from the GPS-Celestron cable (leave that shorter cable plugged into the AUX port) while the scope is running to reduce power consumption to less than 20mA:

If you have one of the original StarGPS-NX units with the older cable that plugs into both the bottom of the hand control and the AUX port, you can upgrade to this new AUX connection-only version by purchasing just the new GPS-Celestron cable for $30. This is most useful if you upgrade to the newer NexStar+ or StarSense hand control with a USB port on the bottom; the older StarGPS-NX cable is not compatible with USB hand controls.  One caveat, if your GPS receiver is serial number 10001118 or lower, contact PixSoft in advance as the firmware will also need to be updated.

 

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StarGPS-NX - Original
4 March 2007

Update: If you own this original StarGPS-NX and want to upgrade to the new AUX connection only version above, all you need is the new GPS-Celestron cable ($30).  One caveat, if your GPS receiver is serial number 10001118 or lower, contact PixSoft in advance as the firmware will need updated.

PixSoft Incorporated (http://www.stargps.ca/) has introduced a complete GPS receiver compatible with many models of Celestron computerized telescopes.  The receiver is called StarGPS-NX and it works with all SE, SLT, LCM, 8i Special Edition, StarSeeker and CPC (should the onboard GPS fail) telescopes.  It also works with the 5i/8i, AS-GT, CGE, CGE Pro, CGEM and NexStar GPS (should the onboard GPS fail) scopes providing the hand control is version 4.03 or higher.  It will even work with the NexStar GT and Tasco StarGuide scopes as long as they have hand control version 104.0 or 4.03 or higher.

The StarGPS-NX alleviates you from the chore of determining and entering the date, time, longitude and latitude.  Additionally, GPS time is highly accurate, especially useful if you employ the hibernate feature on your scope.

The picture at the right shows the StarGPS-NX connected to a NexStar 102SLT.  The red line is pointing to the actual receiver, the yellow line shows the connection to the AUX port (provides power to the StarGPS-NX) and the orange line shows the connection to the RS-232 port on the bottom of the hand control - this connection is how the StarGPS-NX sets the date, time and location information on the hand control.  For scopes with no available AUX port (NexStar GT, LCM, AS-GT and StarSeeker), a splitter is provided allowing the StarGPS-NX and the NexStar hand control to share the hand control port on the mount.

The cable to the bottom of the hand control can be fed through the coiled cable of the hand control for less tangle.  PixSoft supplies a patch of self-adhesive Velcro for  securing the receiver to the mount.

Operation is simple: plug everything in, power up the scope and wait for the StarGPS-NX's single LED to indicate it has successfully linked with GPS and uploaded the information to the hand control.  You then perform an alignment as you normally would.

Full details, including the user's manual, are available at PixSoft's web site - http://www.stargps.ca/


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Michael Swanson
 
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