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RA/DEC Cable Replacement Kits - New Stock arriving mid/late October (2014) - Now Taking Orders.

If you would like to order a kit, contact me and I will invoice you for the $ 150.00 deposit. Kits will be shipped in the order that payment was received.

Mount Control Kits (Kit # 1 and Kit # 2) - Plenty still available.

What People Are Saying? Click Here

 

 

             RA/DEC Cable Replacement Kit - New Hardware!

 

Mount Control Kit # 1

Mount Control Kit # 2

Introduction

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 (Ethernet) plugs.

BUT… the mount is still left with numerous “phone plugs” that are used to communicate with the mount:

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 Started

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" connector.

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 kit.

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 inexpensive.

 

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