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NexStar Telescopes Incompatible With Dell Computers!

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Posted by Robert Gallaway on September 22, 2002 17:38:48 UTC

How about a computer horror story? It was a cold, rainy night when I, with trembling fingers, ordered a refurbished Dell Inspiron 8200 for use with my Celestron NexStar 11 GPS. The idea was that the Inspiron plus TheSky program would provide the ideal interface to the stars... true bliss: just point at the celestial feature that I want to see on the screen, and blamo, there it is in the finder.

The new computer arrives. I hook it up to the NexStar 11, select the COM port, telescope type, and punch the Link button... nothing, or rather "No telescope found"!!!! Aaaaaaccccckkkkk. I try numerous other tricks... no reply from the telescope. The end of innocence... the fantasy dashed?

I send a lengthy email to Celestron Tech Support describing the hardware and software involved. The answer:

"Celestron telescopes do not work with Dell computers"!

Preposterous! Outrageous!! What is simpler or more commonplace than the lowly RS-232C port? I email Dell Tech Support. They tell me that there is nothing funny about their serial port and that I should talk to the telescope manufacturer. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa... the dreaded "getting caught between manufacturers who are oblivious to one another" problem.

Finally, Celestron Tech Support suggests that I buy a USB-to-serial interface gadget. I've bought the gadget, but haven't had the nerve to try it out yet... fearing abject failure once again. Overcoming this may require strong drink but handling telescopes and computers is antithetical to the application of alcohol... see my problem? Is there a non-debilitating Viagra for the ego?

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