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NexStar 11 GPS Experience

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Posted by Robert Gallaway on August 9, 2002 04:12:43 UTC


I have had a NexStar 11 GPS for almost a year now. This is a terrific instrument with only a foible or two. The most striking thing about the 11 GPS is the precise response to movement commands. My previous experience had been with a Meade ETX-90EC which has nasty plastic bearings that make the scope very sluggish. In constrast, the NexStar 11 GPS is very positive and precise.

The GPS feature is terrific because it obtains both the position and precise time automagically.

The optics are also wonderful; nice clean fresnel rings around out-of-focus stars. The focuser is also very smooth and precise.

This is a large, heavy telescope. If you are not pretty strong or have no help, you will have difficulty mounting it on the tripod. This is a little tricky to do by a single person. If this is a problem, maybe the NexStar 8 GPS is for you...

There are a few things that I find problematic with this scope:

First, the built-in compass invariably misses magnetic north by about 20 or 30 degrees (!) so the star alignments that follow are also off by about that amount. This fact makes it imperative that you KNOW where the named alignment star is... you better not just go for the nearest bright star! The 11 GPS makes no provision that I can find to correct this problem. An adjustable angular compensation would be really nice since the error seems to be systematically to the west.

Second, the azimuth bearing tends to bind causing the telescope to jerk while tracking. The solution to this problem is balancing the scope with the optional weight set. By balancing the OTA, you equalize the pressure on the azimuth bearing which eliminates the binding.

Third, Celestron has still not delivered the promised capability for downloading new code and data from the PC to the onboard controller. Hopefully, Celestron's new independence from Tasco and the stay of the Meade law suit against them will provide them the resources to deliver this capability.

Ok, ok... If you count the preceeding words you will find more in the complaints section than in the praise section. Please understand: I totally recommend this telescope. If you like well-made instruments, you will love the NexStar 11 GPS!

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