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How to Upgrade the WiFi Bridge in the
SkyPortal WiFi Module and the Evolution and Astro Fi Mounts

Linux users, Sascha Peilicke has an excellent how to article on CFM here and Mike Clements has an excellent how to article on CFM here.

The SkyPortal WiFi module and the built-in WiFi on the Evolution and Astro Fi mounts consists of two distinct sections.  The first is a standard WiFi network adapter capable of communicating on industry standard wireless Ethernet networks using TCP/IP protocol.  The second is a bridge module that acts as a protocol and interface translator between the Ethernet-TCP/IP network and the scope's internal AUX bus (read this article for more on the AUX bus).  This article explains the firmware update process for the WiFi bridge.

NOTE:  the WiFi bridge is only able to be updated on Celestron's 3rd generation WiFi module.  The 3rd generation module is recognized by CFM as device model AMW007.  You can also identify it by the network name it presents to your external devices (smartphone/tablet/PC):  Celestron-XXX (3 digits) vice Celestron-XX for 2nd generation modules and SkyQLink-XX for 1st generation modules.

Following are the instructions to perform the actual update.  You may notice they are basically identical to the instructions for updating the newest mounts and hand controls from Celestron.  In fact, this procedure will update all required equipment in a single run.

The WiFi bridge is updated with Celestron Firmware Manager (referred to as CFM for the rest of this document).  Download CFM from Celestron's web site:

https://software.celestron.com/updates/
Click the CFM folder and download the "zip" file and follow the directions below.

OR

https://www.celestron.com/pages/drivers-and-software
Click the Drivers and Software category link, then Show More towards the bottom of the page and search for the Celestron Firmware Manager.  Download the "zip" file and follow the directions below.

CFM uses Java (download the latest from www.java.com) to work on Windows, macOS and Linux.

If you are attempting to update the SkyPortal WiFi module, be sure you plug it into the mount at this time.

Updating may be done via a connection to the port on the bottom of the hand control or via WiFi.

The current NexStar+ and StarSense hand controls (all those manufactured since April 2016) have a USB port on the bottom for connections to a PC/laptop.  This port is actually a connection to a USB-to-serial adapter inside the hand control.  For details on the cable required, read this.  You must connect this cable between a USB port on your computer and the port on the bottom of the hand control. You will also need to load a driver, read this for more information.

NexStar+ and StarSense hand controls manufactured prior to April 2016 have an RS-232 port (looks like a phone jack).   You will need the 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 a serial port on your computer and the 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 website for more information and options regarding computers without a serial port.

If you want to update via WiFi, connect your PC to the scope's WiFi network.  Then change the connection method in CFM's Options/Connections menu to WiFi.

After downloading CFM, you must then "unzip" or "extract" it to a folder on your computer.  Don't lose track of the location of this folder as you will need to navigate to it to start CFM later.

Upgrade Process

  • Connect your PC/laptop to the port on the bottom of the hand control or the scope's WiFi network.
  • Open the folder where you unzipped and double-click CFM icon.  There might be two CFM icons - only one will open the orange CFM program window.
  • CFM will automatically scan the computer's serial ports or WiFi connections to locate the connected mount.  After locating it, the top section of CFM will state it has identified your telescope.
  • CFM will also automatically download all packages (firmware) in the center section.  Note that this can occur without being connected to the scope - for example, if your scope is out in an observatory without Internet access, you could start CFM while your laptop is connected to the Internet and later take the laptop out to the observatory.
  • Once the download is complete, click the Update button in the bottom section to load the firmware into WiFi bridge.

Additional Notes

  • If you have problems getting CFM to load the firmware, close CFM, look in the folder where you unzipped CFM and delete the Packages folder.  Start the process again.  Note it will take a few minutes for CFM to download all the packages via the Internet.
  • If the update process seems to have problems on an Evolution mount, you might find it is no longer responsive to the hand control or WiFi control.  CFM may even have problems connecting to the mount.  In this case, press the reset button located below the two AUX ports on the side of the fork arm and retry the firmware update using CFM.
  • If you experience problems during or after the firmware update, read this.

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