The Keypad is a self-contained handheld computer that allows you to control all essential telescope functions and includes an extensive database of objects. We have designed this unit to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, while filling it with terrific features to make your observing session productive and pleasurable.
The Keypad connects to the control box via a 15' coiled cable.
You will be very pleased with the intuitive operation of this controller. You do not have to remember shift key patterns or complex keystroke sequences. The directional buttons are shaped like arrows to help you find them in the dark without looking at your keypad. The stop button is readily accessible if you need to cancel any slewing request immediately. It is so easy to use that even if you don't use it for a few months, you will feel at home with the Keypad very quickly.
The menu system is very easy to navigate. Each 4-line screen will display several choices which correspond to a number button. Simply press the number button to initiate the command, e.g. "1=M, 2=NGC." When you press "1", the Messier entry screen will display and you can enter the number of the object that you wish to view. Press GOTO, which will cause the mount to slew. The <PREV and NEXT> buttons will allow you to scroll quickly through the lists of common names or from one menu to another.
The Keypad can be used with all Astro-Physics GTO mounts. Please note the software versions that can (or must) be used with the various generations of Astro-Physics GTO Control Boxes below.
- Current Software Version 4.19.3 can be used with the following control boxes: GTOCP1, GTOCP2, GTOCP3 and GTOCP4.
- Upcoming Software Version 5: As of December 2020, V5 is only available to for the Mach2GTO with the GTOCP5. We expect to V5 for the GTOCP4 control box in early 2020. This version cannot be used with the GTOCP3 or earlier control boxes because they lack the the more advanced command language and pointing precision that is only available in the GTOCP4 and GTOCP5. The software of the GTOCP4 itself will have to be updated. We will have more information regarding the downloadable upgrade when the time comes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you presently have a GTOCP1, GTOCP2 or GTOCP3 and do not plan to upgrade to the GTOCP4 or GTOCP5, please let us know at the time that you order the keypad. We will install the original button membrane suitable for the keypad version compatible with your control box. Keep in mind that if you later decide to upgrade to the new keypad version 5, two of the buttons on the button membrane will not be labeled correctly. In order to obtain the new membrane, the keypad will have to be returned to Astro-Physics for an upgrade with additional charges.
- Handheld keypad with red backlit alphanumeric keypad and red 4-line by 20-character data display.
- Vacuum-fluorescent display rated to -40 degrees F or C (F and C are equivalent at this temperature!) allows hardy observers to view or image on cold winter nights (please contact Astro-Physics if you wish to operate the mount in severe temperatures below -20F). Normal computers and mobile devices cannot be used at these temperatures.
- Directional N-S-E-W keys provide immediate response when you wish to center an object or cruise the surface of the moon.
- Set tracking, guiding, centering and slewing rates.
- Sets R.A. and declination reversal (E-W reversal in R.A. and N-S reversal in Dec.) for correct object orientation and movement in eyepiece.
PEM - Periodic Error Memory (make your correction just once, remains in memory permanently) - turns this feature on and off.
- Quick and easy polar alignment routines, even during daylight!
- More than 17,000 objects in extensive databases: Messier (110), NGC (7840), IC (5,386), ADS double stars (215), Abell galaxy clusters (2,712), calibration stars by common name (200), Greek star names by constellation (1053), common objects (100), planets (8) , Moon and Sun.
- Enter catalog or common star number, solar system object, R.A./Dec. (or Alt/Az coordinates or common name of object; press GO TO and your telescope will automatically slew to the object.
- Search and tour functions assist you to plan observing session.
- Display will indicate if object is below horizon and cancel slewing request.
- STOP button to cancel your slewing request when the telescope is already moving.
- Display information about objects (object type and magnitude) before slewing.
- Timer will let you know when the exposure time of your astrophoto is complete.
- Continuous readout of current position.
- Activate meridian swap delay function to allow astrophographers to take a series of images for a mosaic near the meridian without the mount swapping sides.
- Altitude/Azimuth display allows you to position the mount for fixed targets to any Alt/Az point. This is great for taking dark frames.
- What's Up Now function will suggest objects to view based on what is actually above the horizon at the time.
- External Auto-Connect mode allows primary mount control from an external computer and places the GTO Keypad into a secondary role for seamless operation in computer dominated applications like remote imaging.
- Retractable hanger.
- Future firmware upgrades available through downloads accessed from the Software Updates page of this website.
Keypad Hardware History
Improvements listed below phased in from April 2002 through June 2003. Most customers already have the current model. New Keypads can be purchased as replacements and backups for all GTO mounts.
- Larger chip memory capacity on new circuit board. Will allow us to add more features to the firmware program in the future. All Keypads with serial # 1491 and later numbers have this larger chip as well as some earlier units that were updated during their repair.
- LED fiber optic backlit panel. Does not require a transformer as the prior EL backlit panel did so they will operate more quietly. Keypads with this feature must also have the updated circuit board. All Keypads with serial # 1568 and higher have this backlit panel.
- Keypad button pad updated in preparation for release of version 5 software as shown in the photo. All keypads with serial # 4522 and higher have this new version have this button pad unless the purchaser chose to have the original version installed.