Replacement Kits - FEB 2015 - New Parts In-Stock
I finally bit the bullet and had a batch of the CNC machined bits made. I have enough parts to make another 15 Cable replacement Kits. Order a kit before stock runs-out. Will the be more made? I don't know!
Kits (Kit # 1 and Kit # 2) - Plenty still available.
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RA/DEC Cable Replacement Kit - New Hardware!
Mount Control Kit # 1
Mount Control Kit # 2
The original RA/DEC Cable Replacement Kits, now
in their 3rd year, continue to solve the most common complaint about the CGE
mount. Namely, the external CAT5E cables, and more importantly, the RJ45
BUT… the mount is still left with numerous “phone plugs” that are used to
communicate with the mount:
- Hand Controller
- GPS Unit
- PC Port
- Auto Guide Port
The factory original plugs (phone plugs) for these devices are just not
meant to be subjected to dew, frost, dust, tree sap (airborne), or constant
motion and “tugging” on such a weenie connector.
Proof of this is comes in the form of the number of incidents of loss of
communication with the mount (Error Code 16/17 for example) which usually
requires shut down and starting the alignment process from scratch. For
astrophotographers, it is not uncommon that the restart process can take an
hour or more (align, plate solve, focus). Clear, dark skies are too precious
to be wasted on a poor design choice using parts that cost only a few
pennies yet cause so many problems.
The solution I offer is to replace the plugs and sockets with robust
plugs and connectors that are immune from the effects of Mother Nature.
Some Background History: October 2008, How It All
Celestron's CGE Mount is a great mount but it, like
any other mount that is affordable for the average guy, it does have some
quirks. If you are like me, it only took 2 months before my brand new CGE
mount began giving me heartbreak. I made many wrong assumptions about what
the problem might be but in the end it was the external RA and DEC motor
cables and their failure to maintain proper electrical contact that was the
real cause of my misery.
Celestron's design choice to use Ethernet patch
cables is bad enough, but to place the connection points where they need to
make a 90º bend is just plain bad design (especially on the DEC cable that
rubs against the RA shaft housing). I subscribe to several astronomy web
forums and the CGE cable problem is, by my estimation, the most commonly
reported problem in search of a solution.
Like many others, I tried
the VIP cables and the bending of the metal shield, paper clips, bubble gum,
etc., but ultimately all of these methods failed to offer a permanent
solution. Those cables (of any brand) are stiff and simply do not want to
bend (especially in cold temperatures) and the result is that they will not
maintain a good connection in the RJ45 socket.
For me, the solution was to use an entirely
different type of cable connector and to relocate the cable connectors to an
orientation that did not require them to bend at sharp angles. I chose to
use the same connectors that I have used in many of my electrical projects.
In this case I would use the 8-pin version of what I call a "military style"
I was able to "MacGyver" a simple, "less elegant"
solution (see the "do-it-yourself" version) but then I
learned how many other CGE owners were suffering and decided to share my
success. Knowing that most folks are less "confident" with a soldering iron,
I decided to design and manufacture (all done by hand) a ready to install
A year later I came out with a "drill-less" adapter block option. Installation
now takes 60 minutes or less and eliminates the need to drill holes in your motor
housing to mount the chassis connectors.
There are now over 200
kits, in 20 countries, in service.
Note to buyers:
I am NOT a business. The service I provide is a semi-not-for-profit service to fellow CGE owners. As such, I cannot make any guarantees other than the kit will work if
installed correctly. I do not attempt to make a profit, but I do not want to
lose money either. So, the fee I charge is based on a minimum wage (kit
construction only) plus the real cost of parts, sales taxes, shipping, and
other shop supplies. The things I do NOT charge for are considerable. For
instance: advice, writing manuals, R & D, website, etc., etc. It is my
sincere hope that you will not have a need for my services, but if you do,
consider that making these kits easy for you to install means more work at
my end. This explains why, even at minimum wage, the kits are not