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5 months ago

Hi Mike. Where will I find the sky/ az setting in the hand controller you mentioned ( when you found it was set to reverse instead of default) is it in the hand controller menu ” tracking ….mode….Alt- Az …Thank you ps I have a new celestron nexstar 8se…. Gabriel

9 months ago

You mention theres a setting for the up/down direction. Ive found that this varies depending on slew speed. ie; it can be up/down at speeds 7,8,9 but reversed for speeds 4,5,6. Frustrating!
Also, can you describe the details of the encoder test? How do you do the 360 degree check?

10 months ago

Thank you for your post. Your story sounds so familiar. I have renewed hope that I’ll get it sorted. The main difference between your journey and mine is that the read-out on my NexStar Base is jumbled and mostly unreadable. I’m hoping I can reset the software and get a better result. Because I use it rarely, these issues haven’t had a lot of attention and it’s now out of warranty per Celestron and the shop I bought it at. I restored to default settings but the screen is still jumbled. Do you happen to know if there is a hard reset or a way to erase and re-write the software like you would on a computer?

Colin Law
1 year ago

Wow, this blog post came up in a Google search and totally helped me with my 8SE alignment problems. So THANK YOU! and…. can you PLEASE explain the “two-star alignment during the day” mind-blown procedure?? I would love to know how this is done as I’d like to view the Moon before sunset. I hope you still check comments and have a chance to respond.

2 years ago

Thanks very much Polywogg. I had the same alignment problems with my new SE 8. Thanks to your post, I was able to solve them in the first two weeks with my new scope rather than 5 years.

Derik DeVecchio
5 years ago

I work at Celestron. I resisted reading this article because I thought I already knew the answer. When your first list of possible sources of error didn’t include that I said to myself (this is going to end badly). The SE mount is not my favorite _because_ of the whole UP and RIGHT thing. On a lot of mounts you can skip that. That pattern helps, but it is not critical. But on an SE the gear backlash is do large that it is absolutely essential. Even with antibacklash settings tuned properly, UP and right are essential during the alignment.
For the record you can also use down and Left, or up and left, or down and right as long as you are consistent _and_ they match your approach directions (which default to up and right). The default setting you referred to reverses slewing __only__ when you move slowly (rates 1 through 6). So even if you know about up an right what inevitably happens is that some of the time you finish up and right at rate 6 and sometimes at rate 7. And now you are not consistent on the approach direction. On most mounts this iannoying but not critical; but on an SE you are going to degrade pointing for sure. I always turn that reversal off on an SE.
The other thing to keep in mind is that while you now have a good mount model (alignment) and your gotos should land you in the right place, the gear backlash will cause the star to drift after you get on target _unless_ the tracking just happens to up and right. If you are on the Western part of the sky, where objects are setting towards the horizon, then tracking in the altitude axis is down! If you have you antibacklash settings configured it will help the tracking correct this. Or you can simply chase objects on that side of the sky with down button until the mount catches up.
Anyway, I am very glad you found people to help you sort this out. I will share your experience with my management team.

5 years ago

I had a alignment problem and the object was drifting. I found the negative wire that is connected to the AA battery pack broken. Now that is fixed it works perfect.

Alister Ling
5 years ago

Wow. Thanks for the “check up and to the right setting”, I never would have thought about that. My heart goes out to you for your troubles. This summer, I helped a lady who was totally befuddled and blamed herself for being stupid. Keeping the situation calm, it took us 2 frustrating nights (turning on-off-reset) to confirm that there was a significant issue. We hoped it was the controller, and Ken from All-Star (in Alberta), swapped it out, and bam! No problems now. When I began helping, I had no experience with hand controllers, but 30+ years as an observer – it is troubling to see how many people have problems with this and that all the flipping controllers and firmware numbers are mount specific. You hit the nail on the head – find yourself a buddy whose experience can defuse the startup issues.

Ian L
6 years ago

I can’t express how much I appreciate finding this info. I’ve recently purchased a used 6se, and thought for sure it was defective. Using the advice found here, I achieved my first “successful” alignment. It would put just about every goto into my eyepiece, and more often than not, very near center.

6 years ago

I was having the same issue and came across this article from Cloudy Nights.
Celeston has updated the naming of this setting in the Firmware for version 2.3.7111.
Here is how to get to the settings from the control pad.
Menu | Scope Setup | Goto Approach, then Alt Approach and Azm Approach. You select either POSITIVE or NEGATIVE.
The User Manual does not outline that the alignment to center a star should use the UP and RIGHT approach.
The snippet below is from the NexStar 6SE User Manual. It states to set the Alt approach to NEGATIVE if you have heavy optical or photographic equipment attached to the back of the scope.
Goto Approach – lets the user define the direction that the telescope will approach when slewing to an object. This allows the user the ability to minimize the affects of backlash.
For example, if your telescope is back heavy from using heavy optical or photographic accessories attached to the back, you would want to set your altitude approach to the Negative direction. This would ensure that the telescope always approaches an object from the opposite direction as the load pulling on the scope. Similarly, if using the telescope while polar aligned, you would want to set the azimuth approach to the direction that allows the scope to compensate for different load level on the motors and gears when pointing in different parts of the sky.
To change the goto approach direction, simply choose Goto Approach from the Scope Setup menu, select either Altitude or Azimuth approach, choose positive or negative and press Enter.

Phil Shaffer
6 years ago

Instructive reading your experience. I just got a 1 year old SE, and had essentially no alignment problems with it. Fortunately, my handset must have been correct. I don’t know if I ever would have found that. I WILL check it though. The other morning I got up and it was 60 degrees out and crystal clear skies, so just as a test I decided to see how long it would take to set up and see. 5 Minute set up, 2 to align and the alignment was dead on. Could slew to anything. So I have been happy. I have had some difficulty after running the scope for only about 1.5 hours, and I think it is a power issue. The scope would slew to a point, and then keep moving in the az axis. Or it would slew to a point I told it and miss by 6 degrees or so.
Here is something I did that I will pass on as a FWIW: because I was unsure if it was a power issue or alignment, I did alignment in my home office, simply pointing at a wall. Using auto two star, after I fake pointed it at Mizar, I told it to use Polaris. It slewed the right way, and I said it was OK. Then I test slewed it to some other stars. I could see it was moving appropriately. Then told it to go back to Mizar. It did, and I could verify by looking at the star pointer – pointed at the same point on the wall. I think this could be useful to debug problems, particularly if I were to get a laser pointer attached to the scope. Then, I could move it all over, tell it to go back to the original point, and it should be right on. Much easier than doing it in the cold dark night.

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