Tuesday, August 26, 2014

he wants a GPS

Mike asked me, at Starfest, when I returned his telescope to his camp site, if I could attach a GPS unit. Huh? He said the hand controller did not allow specific locations, only cities, like Toronto. Which he lived far from. Sounded strange. I said I'd look into it. I think this lead him to believe that I could "change" or "modify" his mount by rewiring to be GPS-enabled. But I didn't like where he was going with this. I didn't think it wise to try to hack the mount in this way. Even if possible, it would probably be complicated and extraordinarily expensive.

When he posed the question again in an email, I realised the issue wasn't going to go away. He wrote:
Given that I cannot place location coordinates into the telescope's controller, relying only on the closest major Canadian city (e.g. Toronto for the Starfest location) and affecting especially planetary viewing, is it possible to incorporate a GPS function to the scope similar to what the Celestron's have?
Oh boy. I don't think he appreciates that a hack would be more than the value of the 'scope and mount. Probably many times more. Still, I did some research. Looked for a GPS sensor function for the Star Navigator 102 but I didn't see anything. There's an "atomic clock" module but this is only available for the LNT-capable telescopes. I didn't think his mount was compatible.

So I read the manual! Convinced it was possible. Found some good notes on pages 26 though 28.  Learned that a user is not limited to the listed Canadian and US cities. In the SITE function of the hand controller, one can add and edit custom locations. In the SETUP menu. One can change the name, latitude, longitude, and time zone.

Told Mike about these discoveries. Wanted to close this loop.

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