How to Upgrade Hand Control Firmware -
Version 4 Hand Control
Celestron provides hand control firmware updates for the NexStar
GPS, CPC, LCM, i Series, SE, SLT, GT, StarSeeker, CGE, CGE Pro, CGEM and AS-GT telescopes.
Only hand controls with version 4 or higher can be upgraded, with the
exception that GT/StarSeeker hand control version 104 is NOT upgradeable.
If your hand control does not have a Version command on the Utilities menu,
it is NOT upgradeable. Owners of older versions read
for availability of an upgradeable hand control for your telescope.
To update the hand control firmware, you will need the HCupdate program
from Celestron's web site:
Click the Drivers and Software category link, then Show More
towards the bottom of the page and search for "hand control firmware
Updating your scope also requires the standard 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
this. You must connect this cable between the serial port on a
Windows 98 or higher PC and the port on the bottom of the hand control.
Some have had success using Windows 95 but Celestron will not provide assistance
for Windows 95 users.
After downloading and installing HCupdate from the Celestron Support Downloads web site,
start HCupdate and read through the Help information. If you have problems
installing HCupdate on Windows 8 or higher, right-click the downloaded file and
select "Troubleshoot compatibility" - select the options to inform the installer
it last worked correctly on Windows 7.
Here is an overview of the upgrade process:
- Connect the serial port of your PC to the RS-232 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 web
site for more information and options regarding computers without a
- Hold down the hand control's UNDO and INFO buttons at the same time and
turn on the power to the scope. Release the buttons and the hand control should now display
- Start the HCupdate from the Programs section of the
Windows Start menu.
- Click the Next button on the welcome screen.
- Select the correct COM Port for your connection to the scope
and click the Next button. Note that if you do not have
Internet connectivity at your scope, you can use None for the COM Port to
first download the correct firmware before disconnecting from the Internet
and connecting your PC to the scope.
- If you selected a COM Port and HCupdate cannot communicate with the
scope, an error message will appear. If you are certain your cable
is good, try selecting all the other available COM Port available in
HCupdate. If that still doesn't work, you should check whether
another program has the serial port open - for example, the hot sync
program for a palmtop computer. Either temporarily disable the
serial port selection in the hot sync program or uninstall it altogether
(if you no longer use it). If you are still having problems, ensure
none of the pins in the connector port on the bottom of the hand control
are bent and reseat the cable. You may also try cleaning
the connector port on the bottom of the hand control using alcohol and a
cotton swab. Additional suggestions are found in the
Serial Overview section of the help information in HCupdate.
- The next screen lists all the firmware you currently have downloaded
to your PC. Click the Download via the Web button to connect
to Celestron's web site and see if newer firmware is available. This
does of course require that you are currently connected to the Internet,
so as mentioned before, if necessary, use COM Port "none" if you are not
at your scope when downloading new firmware. Once you have the
firmware you wish to use, be sure it is highlighted in the list and click the Next button.
Note that it is not necessary to install each version in succession
until you reach the newest version - each version is a complete firmware
load and stands on its own.
- About the firmware available for download, following are the naming
conventions for each type of scope:
- NXS for GPS, CPC, SE and i Series
- SLT or SLT_LCM for SLT
- SLT_LCM for LCM Series
- GEM for AS-GT, CGEM, CGE and CGE Pro
- GT for GT and StarSeeker
- Click the Begin Programming button and wait until complete.
- After the programming is finished, you will be prompted to power off
and restart the telescope - upon which the process is complete.
If you experience problems during or after the firmware update, read
After updating the firmware, you should run the Calibrate Goto
procedure on the Utilities menu of the hand control. Additionally,
the following settings may need to be configured:
- Location (city or long/lat)
- Time Zone
- Daylight Savings Time
- Sun Menu
- Scrolling Menu
- Lights Control
- GPS On/Off
- Direction Buttons
- Slew Limits
- Filter Limits
- Alt Sensor Calibration (NexStar GPS only)
- Model Select (NexStar GT and StarSeeker only)
You may also
need a manual addendum or my user's guide for new features - see the Manuals
section of this web site.