A cold, frustrating night in April…

‘Twas a cold night in April, yet I thought I’d finally give my new setup a try at the cemetery. I added a guide camera and Raspberry Pi micro-controller (iAstroHub) in the past couple of months, and made other incremental changes. And after spending a some time on my back deck trying to align through the tree, I thought I’d brave the cold and try things out for real tonight.

It was also one of the few days that we’d expect to have a clearing slot this week. Sunny skies and temperatures in the 40’s today – and the waning moon will yield a couple of hours of dark skies. I thought I was ready to give it a shot!

But some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed. Nothing worked. Practicing setup and alignment early to take some parting shots of Andromeda before it disappeared for the season was my goal. I knew I was in trouble when the silly GPS failed again!

The third time in as many years, the GPS just decides once in a while that it’s gonna give me problems. I know how to fix it and have updated the reset GPS procedure over on my CPC-800 Tips page. Yet, it’s not something I can easily do in the field and I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with it. I was getting cold fast!

The GPS isn’t necessary to complete alignments. It’s only real purpose is as a convenience and marketing tool for Celestron – the telescope knows where and when it is. Yet, the time and date can be entered manually and the scope remembers its last location. Yet, the GPS works 99% of the time so I don’t remember what sequence of menu operations are necessary. Does the (failed) GPS need to be turned off first? I think if not, it feeds false data to the hand controller, but I’ve not verified this.

I got frustrated fast and decided to pack up and head home. This hobby isn’t for sissies!

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