Firmware Upgrade on StarSense

Firmware Upgrade on StarSense

In order to resolve issues I have with my StarSense camera – see here – I’ve decided to upgrade the firmware on my Celestron 11” EdgeHD and its CGX-L mount.

There is a number of descriptions out there that mainly evolve around doing the firmware update using an USB cable. From my experience, this is no longer required – the update can be done using Wifi, if you have the SkyPortal Wifi Module.

For this description, I assume that you have set the Wifi Module up to work in Access Point mode, and that you know the Telescope’s IP Address on your network. Let’s assume this IP address to be 192.168.1.121.

I am going to follow up this description assuming you are doing the subsequent steps from a Mac – there are plenty of descriptions out there on how to install the required software on a Windows machine; I’m going to do it from a Mac.

The first thing you need to do is to download the Celestron Firmware Manager application from Celestron. Go to that link and download the Zip file that should be most current. As of this writing, this is:

CFM Download Location

Once you’ve downloaded the ZIP file, it should have been automatically extracted beneath your download folder:

Extracted CFM Application

Notice that at this point you should not yet have the Packages folder. This will be created once you run the program. To do so, I open a Terminal Window (you can find the Terminal just using the spotlight search) and run the application like so:

Starting the CFM Application

The application should start up like so:

CFM Main Window

I took the time to wait for the packages to finish downloading.

Select the Options Menu and chose Connections… – then Select WiFi as connection type, and under Default Port Settings, select WiFi as well and enter the IP address of the telescope.

Selecting WiFi as Connection Type

Press OK. In my case I had to close the application and re-open it. It would then take a while and ultimately find my Telescope and all it’s devices on the network:

CFM Main Window

I then finally hit the “Update” Button and waited. The Teleskope, the StarSense camera and Hand Controller, the Motors etc. would all be updated.

Warning!

Really do wait for the update to complete once you’ve clicked the update button. I did not do that, and that led me to the Hand Controller essentially no longer responding:

A bricked Hand Controller?

If that happens to you, try the following: Switch off the scope, then press and hold the Logo key (lower left corner) and at the same time the number key “4” on the Hand Controller, and keep them pressed as you switch on the scope. You should get a message that you are now in an “Aux” mode. At this point, you should be able to re-try our update from the point of view of the CFM application. This update was uploading 6 files in my case, and it took about 20 minutes.

So once you have updated everything, close the CFM application, and go to your scope. You should be able to switch off, and then switch back on the scope. When switching on, I pressed and held down the “0” key on the Hand Controller; this forces a factory reset, and may not be necessary for you. I assume it would also make the Hand Controller forget all the previous alignments that you may have stored.

Here are the results of the update on my side:

StarSense HC
Ver: 01.16.16055 01.19.19003
Bld: Feb 24 2016 Jan 3 2019
22:06:33 14:09:10
StarSense Camera
Ver: 01.02.13343 01.02.13343
Motor Control
Mdl: AstroFi CGXL
Azm Ver: 7.13 7.15
Alt Ver: 7.13 7.15
P:System
Ver: 01.01.15218 01.01.19003
P:LISA
Ver: 01.01.14072 01.01.14072
DBOBJ
Ver: 01.01.14294 01.01.14294

I found it interesting that a newly acquired scope, mount and HC is reported to have  a firmware that’s 3 years old on the HC, and interestingly a wrong model descriptor on the motor control (AstroFi instead of CGXL). Maybe it’s just cosmetic.


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