StarGPS NX01 System
The StarGPS NX01 Receiver
On the left is the NX01 GPS Receiver. The cables, from top to bottom are the GPS-ASTAR (Meade 495/497 Autostar), GPS-NexStar, GPS-Synta (Orion Atlas/Sirius or Sky-Watch SynScan), GPS-LX200, GPS-Gemini (Losmandy Gemini systems) and GPS-Astro cable (AstroPhysics GTO or Meade 494 Autostar).
The StarGPS NX01 System
The NexStar cable connecting the NX01 receiver to the Celestron controller. One connector on the cable goes to the Aux Port, and the other plugs into the base of the controller. It is very easy to use.
You love astronomy. You are a bit of a gear head, so you own several telescopes. Since you don't have an observatory, you set up your telescope, or telescopes, every evening for the night's observing. You often set up at the same location, but have been known to set up in other areas or observing sites. And that is when it hits you. What are the coordinates for this location? Does anyone know? Are you sure that those are the right Longitude and Latitude for this area?
The US Government has spent millions of dollars putting up the NAVSTAR GPS satellites into orbit, as well as their maintenance. Your tax dollars at work. You might as well use them. That is where StarGPS steps in. I had reviewed the previous version of GPS receiver from StarGPS. I found it extremely easy to use, and very accurate. I tested it with the Meade Autostar system, and the Meade LX200 Classic telescopes. Now, StarGPS takes a step forward with a new receiver, as well as new cables to operate with other mounts and GoTo systems. After receiving an email from Chris at StarGPS about the new receiver, I soon received the new StarGPS-NX01 receiver, as well as a cable for my Celestron CGE mount and a USB connector to connect the receiver to my computers. I was ready to start the testing.
I took the NX01 and the NexStar cable out in the daylight and set it up with my Celestron CGE Mount. When I powered everything up, I could not get the CGE to recognize the NX01. Then, I checked the instructions again and realized that I did not have the upgradeable controller with a recent enough software revision to use the NX01, since it requires NexStar hand control firmware version 2.3, 104.0 or 4.0+. You can find your software version by going to the "Utilities: Version" menu item. Upon contacting Celestron, I found out that I could either send in my current controller and $75, and be without the use of the CGE until Celestron sends me the new controller. Or, I could buy a new controller for $150. I just went ahead and bought a new controller. Once I had the controller that would see the NX01, I set up the head in the Astronomy Mobile Outreach Vehicle, since it was raining and I could do the testing in the AstroBus. Plugging the cable into the base plug at the bottom of the controller and the other connection into the Aux 1 port on the CGE electronics base, I powered up the system. The NX01 immediately started flashing to indicate that it was looking for the GPS satellites. It flashed for over a minute at the same rate, and I was starting to think there might be an issue. Then the NX01 started flashing about once every 2 seconds, letting me know that it had locked in the settings of location and time. I scrolled through the CGE controller settings to check, and, sure enough, the settings were right on target. The time to make the connection concerned me a bit, as the NX01 is supposed to be a faster receiver. I decided to try it again, and I powered the system down for about 10 minutes and then restarted the procedure. All I can say is that it must have been a one time delay during initial setup, because the second time I started the CGE, it was doing the 2 second flash almost immediately. As a matter of fact, it is most certainly much faster than the older receivers, and the NX01 works flawlessly with the CGE mount.
Using the LX200 connector from the original StarGPS system that I know and love, I tried the new NX01 receiver with my 10" Meade LX200 Classic and my Meade LXD55 Autostar Mount. I am very familiar with the older receiver with these two mounts, as I NEVER! set up either mount without using the StarGPS system. I setup both the LXD55 mount and LX200 side by side at my favorite observing site. I usually get both mounts ready to be turned on before I add power to either mount. I decided to add power first to the LX200 Classic. Upon power up, the NX01 started flashing to indicate locating the GPS satellites. I turned to look at the LXD55, and when I turned back, the NX01 was flashing slowly, letting me know that it had set the time and coordinates. I couldn't believe how fast it worked. I then transferred the NX01 receiver to the LXD Mount. As I powered up the LXD55, I was used to the mount taking about a minute to interface with the GPS receiver and set the system with the date and time. I can tell you right now that the NX01 does not take a minute. Before I knew it, the NX01 was flashing that it had completed its task. I disconnected the GPS receiver and the mount was "spot on" all night. Another nice thing about the new NX01 receiver is that it uses only half the power of the older receiver. Very nice, indeed.
Any mobile astronomer with any of the supported mounts should own this system. StarGPS is one of the finest companies that I have ever dealt with.... not just in astronomy, but anywhere else. Chris Carson produces a quality product that has met his critical standards. My reviews of his products are always a pleasure to do. When he sends me something to review, it works, usually better than he says. His products are extremely well priced, considering how useful they are in the field. The Original StarGPS was that way, and the newer NX01 system is all that much better. If you own one of the supported mounts, or telescopes, you really should buy this system. It is absolutely great, works every time, and I never set up any of my mounts without it. And with the modular aspect of the StarGPS system, if you buy another mount, you only have to purchase the proper cable to put the receiver and system to use with the new mount. All of the receivers that I have received from StarGPS are still working, and are used constantly. I never have to worry about getting the coordinates of a new observing area, or the parking lot that I have never been to before to do some astronomy outreach. If you spend the money to buy a good GoTo Telescope or mount, you should seriously consider the small amount of extra cost to get the StarGPS NX01, and truly make it a reliable, GoTo telescope. When I have my StarGPS system and NX01 receiver with me (and I always do), I never have to be concerned about my GoTo systems. To me, that is worth every penny it costs to buy the StarGPS NX01 system.
You can get the StarGPS System at StarGPS