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NexStar Control Pad
Version 1.0.8
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 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10.  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 ListYou will also need an RS-232 cable.  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.

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For those looking to create a similar program, click here for details on the commands used in NSCP as well as the complete Visual Basic source code.

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Michael Swanson
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