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Software Bisque Support Corner

 

 

TROUBLESHOOTING

 

The following troubleshooting guides are currently available:

CPS (computerized pointing system)

Communications

Configuration

 


Troubleshooting the BBox Connection

If you are experiencing difficulty in establishing a link with the BBox, or one of its compatibles (hereafter referred to as "BBox") you should follow this troubleshooting guide for possible solutions. While many users suspect the BBox or cable, it is rare for either of these (especially the BBox) to be faulty.

CONNECTION Ensure that the RJ11-to-DB9 adaptor (the part on the cable which connects to your computer’s serial port) is the correct one. Two such adaptors may have been included with this cable — one for the LX200-series, the other for the BBox and compatible devices. If these adaptors are not labeled, please contact Software Bisque for help in identifying the correct adaptor. If you are unsure which is the correct adaptor, you may try both.

SETUP Verify that the interface COM Port setting under TheSky is correct. See Troubleshooting COM Port Conflicts for help.

TEST Check the BBox independently of TheSky. Here’s how:

Windows 95, Windows 98, NT 4.0, or Windows 2000, Windows Me

  1. Launch the HyperTerminal application.  If you do not know how to launch HyperTerminal, consult the Help file of your operating system for instructions on starting and using this application (click Start > Help, enter HyperTerminal into the Search and then click Search).
  2. In the Connection Description dialog box, enter the text "Test" (without the quotes) in the Enter a Name and Choose an Icon for the Connection text box and then click OK.  
  3. In the Connect To dialog box, set the Connect Using option to the COM port that the BBox is attached to and then click OK.
  4. In the COM Properties dialog box, set Bits Per Second to 9600, Data Bits to 8, Parity to None, Stop Bits to 1, and Flow Control to None and then click OK.
  5. Turn the BBox on. You should see V2.00 (or similar) on the HyperTerminal window.
  6. Type an uppercase letter Q (shift key+q). If the BBox, cables and COM port are functioning properly, two five-digit numbers in the format "-00130 +00778" (without the quotes) will be displayed in the HyperTerminal window.  If two five digit numbers are not displayed, then there is a problem with the computer, cable, or BBox.  

If HyperTerminal does not receive a response from the BBox, TheSky will not be able to communicate with the BBox either.  Communication with the BBox must be bi-directional (send and receive).  BBoxes almost never fail.  A bad cable or COM port conflict usually prohibits bi-directional communication with the BBox.

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Troubleshooting COM Port Conflicts

Each of your serial ports has a different COM port assignment, most commonly between 1 and 4. If possible, test another serial device on this same COM port to confirm that the port is working properly. If you believe the port to be non-functioning, check the IRQ and base address settings. Here’s how:

Windows 3.1x or Windows NT 3.5x

  1. From Windows’ Program Manager, select the Main program group.
  2. Run Control Panel.
  3. Choose Ports.
  4. Click on the COM port you have the BBox attached to.
  5. Select Settings, then Advanced.
  6. Make a note of the current Base Address and IRQ settings.
  7. If necessary, correct these values. If you don’t know what they should be, consult your computer manual or a computer technician. A common problem is two COM ports conflicting with each other.

Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0

  1. Choose Start / Settings / Control Panel.
  2. Open (double-click) the Ports Icon.
  3. Click on the Port you have the BBox attached to.
  4. Select Settings, then Advanced.
  5. Make a note of the current Base I/O Port Address and Interrupt Request Line settings.
  6. If necessary, correct these values. If you don’t know what they should be, consult your computer manual or a computer technician. A common problem is two COM ports conflicting with each other.

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Troubleshooting the Compustar Connection

If you are experiencing difficulty in establishing a link with the Celestron Compustar, you should follow this troubleshooting guide for possible solutions.

CONNECTION Ensure that the serial cable is wired correctly, and connected to the correct ports. The left-most 9-pin connector on the Compustar is used for serial communications. Attempting to use any of the other connectors for this purpose could result in damage to the Compustar and the personal computer. The pinout for a Compustar serial cable is as follows:*

Compustar PC w/9-pin PC w/25-pin
DB9P (male) DB9S (female) DB25S (female)
2 (TX) 2 (RX) 3 (RX)
3 (RX) 3 (TX) 2 (TX)
7 (GND) 5 (GND) 7 (GND)

*The user accepts full responsibility for the suitability of any cable assembled from this pinout information. An assembled and tested cable may be purchased from Software Bisque in standard, or custom lengths.

SETUP Verify that the interface COM Port setting under TheSky is correct. See Troubleshooting COM Port Conflicts for help.

OPERATION The following criteria must be met for proper operation:

  1. Be sure that you are running the latest version of TheSky.
  2. The Compustar must be properly aligned and have all its input data set properly (date, time, time zone, latitude and longitude).
  3. You must set the epoch in the Compustar to the current year. This is done by pressing "SET", "EPOCH", keying in the current year (e.g. "1997"), then pressing "ENTER."
  4. You must have successfully issued the Compustar a "BEGIN" command, and it should be capable of slewing to objects on its own.
  5. The Compustar must be in the "Ready" mode in order for TheSky to be able to communicate with it. This is indicated by the word "Ready" being lit on the Compustar control panel.
  6. Because the Compustar cannot communicate during a slew (outside communication during a slew may actually crash the control firmware), TheSky is not able to automatically update the telescope position indicator. For this reason, it is necessary to use TheSky's Telescope->Update Position command whenever an indication of the Compustar's current position is desired. Be sure that the telescope is not in the process of slewing at the time you select this command, or you may crash the firmware, requiring a reset of the Compustar.

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Last modified: Friday December 13, 2002.