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upgrading GT1100S

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Randy Dunton Posted: 02-06-2019 1:10 PM

Hello !

what are my options to upgrade my GT1100S mount purchased in 1999 in order to use the latest control software and also support USB 3.0 on the scope?

Randy Dunton

Phoenix AZ

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,682
Software Bisque Employee

If it is truly a Paramount GT-1100S, rather than the first-generation GT-1100, it should be equipped with a Bisque TCS (Telescope Control System). I would recommend that you verify this by confirming that the internal main board is one of the MKS series (it should be an MKS 3000, unless it was later refitted with a later model). See our Bisque TCS Identification document for help with this.

As long as you have an MKS-series control system, it can be used with the latest version of TheSkyX Professional Edition.

Randy Dunton:
…and also support USB 3.0 on the scope?

While the MKS 4000 and MKS 5000 feature USB communications, this is USB 2.0. None of our control systems has offered USB 3.0. Even USB 2.0 data rates are more than sufficient to handle the mount-control communications. If you are seeking to use USB 3.0 for peripheral devices (a camera, for instance), then this should be handled separately from the mount communications, such as by user-added through-the-mount cabling.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Posts 8

Hello Brian, I looked at my instruction manual and it is clearly for a GT1100S, what would the software upgrade cost?

I was looking ot have USB 3.0 at the telescope for the camera, is it easy to add another cable through the mount?

kind regards,
Randy Dunton

Phoenix Arizona

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,682
Software Bisque Employee

Randy Dunton:
…I looked at my instruction manual and it is clearly for a GT1100S…

I'd still recommend that you inspect the board(s) inside to confirm that you have an MKS 3000 (or later) control system.

Randy Dunton:
…what would the software upgrade cost?

Take a look at TheSkyX Pro Upgrade Options and FAQs. To qualify for one of these upgrades, you'll need to register your present serial number for TheSky (version 5 Level IV, perhaps?). If you try, but are told that it has already been registered, then it was to a different Software Bisque Community member account.

Randy Dunton:
…is it easy to add another cable through the mount?

The mount was designed with this in mind. However, if there are already other after-market cables so run, their presence may make it more difficult to add yet another.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Posts 8

Thanks Brian,

I have registered my software and that seems to be done now, and looked at the options, thanks - I will upgrade once I understand if my mount can work with the new control software. How exactly am I to find the control system board? Which part of the mount is it located in?

The mount is completely stock, I am the original owner, so adding the cable should work it seems.

kind regards,
Randy

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,682
Software Bisque Employee

Thank you for registering you TPoint for Windows and CCDSoft for Windows serial numbers. Do you also have your serial number for TheSky (version 5 Level IV, perhaps)? If so, I'd encourage you to register that, as well.

As a registered owner of TPoint for Windows, you are eligible to purchase the TPoint Add On Upgrade. (Note that TPoint for Windows is not compatible with TheSkyX).

Randy Dunton:
How exactly am I to find the control system board? Which part of the mount is it located in?

It is in the main housing, which contains the RA shaft. Remove the fasteners from the side panel (the one with the power and hand control connections), and move it aside sufficiently to see inside, yet preferably leave the cables connected. Then compare the main board inside with those illustrated in our Bisque TCS Identification document. If it matches any of them, then TheSkyX Professional Edition is compatible.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

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Posts 8

Thanks Brian, I registered -The Sky- and now understand I need to disassemble the mount to see the board. Possibly when the weather is not cooperating, like this weekend. Assuming I find the MKS3000 all is well, what other possible controller could I find and what are my options of upgrading this? Can I get to an MKS3000 or 4000 in any case?

I see that the MKS5000 is not an option with my GT-1100s.

kind regards,
Randy

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,682
Software Bisque Employee

I wouldn't equate opening a side panel with "disassembling the mount". It should be pretty easy. I think you can get the panel slid over enough to peer at the board inside even if the mount happens to be at a very low latitude (worst-case scenario).

Randy Dunton:
Assuming I find the MKS3000 all is well, what other possible controller could I find…?

Prior to the MKS 3000 telescope control system (TCS), we used a TCE-1 TCS in the original GT-1100 (non-S model). The TCE-1 uses a 12-volt power source, whereas all MKS-series TCSs (to date) use a 48-volt source. So, another way to verify that your Paramount is compatible with TheSkyX Professional Edition, is to confirm that it has a 48V DC power supply.

The other possibility is that it has a later MKS model, but that would be fine, also.

Randy Dunton:
…what are my options of upgrading this? Can I get to an MKS3000 or 4000 in any case?

If you have a lower MKS series, I think we still offer the option to upgrade a GT-1100S to the MKS 5000, though I'd need to verify that. We have discontinued the option to upgrade an original GT-1100 to an MKS-series TCS.

Randy Dunton:
I see that the MKS5000 is not an option with my GT-1100s.

That may be. Where did you see that?

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Not Ranked
Posts 8

Hello Brian,

thanks for the tip on the power supply, I definitely have 48V power, so then I will go ahead and get TheSkyX.

On your website you have instructions titled "Paramount ME MKS 5000 Upgrade Instructions" and in there it mentions this particular upgrade not being compatible with the GT-1100S model. it would be nice if there were other upgrades that were compatible.

kind regards,
Randy

Not Ranked
Posts 8

Hello Brian,

I have installed TheSkyX, looks great. Nest step is to get connected, and now it seems my mount is a bit old and cannot communicate ("firmware not supported"). After much research on your site it seems that the firmware of the MKS3000 needs upgrading to work with TheSkyX.

This upgrade was -very difficult- due to the inability for the MKS-o-rama to run on Windows 7 and newer software. The issue is the MFC71.DLL (part of Visual Studio .NET) which is not compatible with Windows7 onward... I tried using an older Windows XP computer, but these are no longer supported by Microsoft, and if you do not have the DLL installed there is no fix  and you have no way of installing the DLL (after much research). UGH!

I had an older laptop that -by luck- had this DLL installed and I was able (after many hours) to get it all running and I have MKS-o-rama up. I downloaded the firmware (mks1145.out for the MK3000) and now get an error in MKS-o-rama: "status: error 1008". I tried this download twice and get the same error. MKS-o-rama indicates version 1.0.2 if I select "get version". Prior to this firmware update it was 0.9.something (I did not write it down).

Going back to TheSkyX I get "no response from the device, error :203". The mount no longer goes to the home position on the RA axis, the DEC axis homes and responds. The RA motor is unresponsive in general... I need some help here... My mount no longer works.

Looks like the MKS-o-rama needs to be updated at some point. It would be nice to have the mount main controller user interface just run with a web server in the mount and HTML (browser) interface, this would alleviate much of the incompatibility with all the host PCs...

your time and attention to this matter is appreciated.

tailwinds,
Randy

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 3,682
Software Bisque Employee

Randy Dunton:
…it seems my mount is a bit old and cannot communicate ("firmware not supported").

Does this mean you'd been getting Error 3017, "Firmware version is not supported" when you tried to connect?

Randy Dunton:
After much research on your site it seems that the firmware of the MKS3000 needs upgrading to work with TheSkyX.

Perhaps, but we always advise that MKS firmware only be updated when directed to do so by us.

Randy Dunton:
The issue is the MFC71.DLL…

This is distributed with TheSky6 Pro, which was included with the mount.

Randy Dunton:
I downloaded the firmware (mks1145.out for the MK3000) and now get an error in MKS-o-rama: "status: error 1008".

Did you set the appropriate two DIP switches (on the Adaptor Board, located inside the mount) from the Run position to the Program position before attempting to flash the new firmware? As stated on the MKS Serial Port Utiliity Application page, carefully read "Appendix C: Updating the Control Software (Firmware)" in the Paramount ME User Guide, which describes the process for any mount equipped with the MKS 3000 or MKS 3200.

Brian S. Rickard
Software Bisque, Inc.

Not Ranked
Posts 8

Hello Brian,

I did get the "Firmware not supported" at my initial attempt to connect TheSkyX with the original GT1100S.

I did read the MKS Serial Port Utility Application page, and the Appendix C of the Paramount ME User Guide.

Once I had the MKS-O-Rama running I shut down the mount, reconfigured both switches to "program" and powered up the mount. MKS-O-Rama read the firmware to be 0.9, I then loaded the new firmware 'mks1145.out' into the mount. MKS-O-Rama was not successful as indicated with the status: "error 1008". Tried programming one more time, same results.

Set the two switches back to "run" and TheSkyX  gives the response "no response from the device, error :203", nor will the mount home on the RA axis.

kind regards,
Randy

 

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