SkySensor 2000

Setup Overview

Setup Selection

The SkySensor 2000 has a large number of setup parameters. At first, this long list of options may seem a bit daunting. It is not really that bad. There are a few "must set" values. The rest can be evaluated and manipulated, as you become more familiar with the product.

All setup parameters are stored in battery backed up SRAM. The manual says that this backup lithium battery will last for five years. When it dies, the unit should be "serviced." While I have not opened the case, I do presume that it would not be difficult for the end user to replace the battery.

Pressing the Setup key on the numeric keypad enters setup. After pressing the key you are confronted with the first choice. You need to select which of ten different setups you wish to modify. Each of the ten setups contains all the parametric choices and each can be given a text name. For example, I have named setup number 0 as "HOME." and setup number 1 as "LG" for Los Gatos. The only difference between the two setups is the latitude and longitude of observing site and the local horizon settings.

Once a particular setup has been selected, the major setup choices are Time and Location, Telescope Configuration, Object Selection and Display Options.

Date, Time Location

The current date, time of day, GMT offset, site latitude and longitude are specified in this option. The information entered does not need to be precise except when attempting to track satellites. The SkySensor 2000 is not Daylight Saving Time aware. As long your match the local time and the GMT offset you may use either Daylight Savings time or Standard time. I keep my SkySensor set to Standard Time all year.

Telescope Configuration

Motor Speeds: Speed of the fast, medium and slow motor modes.

Motor Direction: Direction the telescope moves when pressing the move keys.

Backlash: Backlash compensation values. The manual describes a process for setting these values.

Mount Mode: Aligned Equatorial, Unaligned equatorial, Alt-Azimuth.

PEC: PEC setup and enable. PEC values are retained when power is turned off.

Autoguider: Auto guide mode setup and enable.

Encoder: External encoder parameters.

Gear Ratio: Allows the unit to be setup for different mounts.

Motor Parameter: Motor type.

Polar Axis Direction: After alignment, shows the offset from true polar alignment.

Alignment Parameters: After alignment, shows mechanical alignment parameters.

Etc Key Function: Selects Autoguider or Sky Tour mode for the Etc Key.


  1. Determining the backlash values. I found that setting the telescope and counter weights a little off balance helps when attempting to determine the backlash values.
  2. Encoder. The SkySensor does not normally use external encoders. This option exists in case one wanted to use the SkySensor like a simple Digital Setting Circle computer. When using external encoders, GOTO is not available. Because of its wealth of features, the SkySensor would be a very good DSC computer for any telescope. The SkySensor's encoder port is pin compatible with the common DSC computer from JMI, Celestron, Lumicon, Orion, etc.
  3. Gear Ratio. Can the SkySensor and motors be used with other mounts? If you can solve the mechanical attachment issues and the motors have enough power to drive the alternate scope, then yes.
  4. Motor Parameter: The manual says, "Do Not Touch." Some SkySensor motors to make random short moves. If this happens, change that motor's parameter from 1 to 3.
  5. Mount Mode: In the Unaligned Equitorial mode, the SkySensor moves runs both motors to keep an object centered. Do not try to do declination drift alignment when it this mode - you will go crazy.

Object Selection

Object Direction: Sets the local horizon.

Objection Type: Sets the magnitude, size and type of object.

Sun Observation: If no, the computer will avoid pointing the telescope at the Sun.

Satellite Alarm: Provides an alarm when a programmed satellite is above the horizon.


1. The first two object selection choices, Direction and Type, set limits on the objects that will be displayed when stepping through any of the object databases. In general, only objects that above the horizon will be displayed. The default local horizon is zero degree elevation. The Object Direction parameters allow you to set higher elevations in two segments. You can also limit the objects to specific magnitude ranges. I generally set my unit for a 360-degree horizon of 30 degrees and objects of magnitude 9 or brighter.

Display Options

Coordinate Display: Any or all or none of: RA/DEC, Epoch 2000, Alt/Az, X/Y

Time Display: Either local or sidereal time or both or neither.

Timer: A count down timer with audible alarm.

Light and Sound: Intensity of the lights and what beeps when.

Language: English or Japanese

Setup Label: A method of entering a text name for the current setup.


1. The top line of the SkySensor 2000 is called the status display. What gets shown in that line depends upon the selections you make in Coordinate Selection, Time Display and Timer. Only one set of values are displayed at any given time. Pressing the DISP key will sequence through the values selected for display.