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Connect your Mac to a telescope!

We have been making serial cables to connect a Macintosh to a telescope for a number of years. These are good quality serial cables that are about 12 feet long. They can be extended with a standard telephone extension cable if you need extra length. Meade says that you can extend a cable to about 75 feet. We have heard of longer cables under the best conditions. The ETX, LX90, and LXD55/75 (with Autostar #497) and all the NexStar cables use the smaller handset connectors. Extension connectors for the smaller handset connectors are difficult to find, but they are available. We have a few for sale with longer cables: inquire.

Important Note: You can use a PC style connector and cable with a Macintosh, as long as you have the correct USB adapter. In fact, we recommend the PC style cables unless you already own the Mac style USB adapter. See more information below.

These cables will work with all major software programs that communicate with a telescope. If you have a Mac without a serial port, you will need a USB to Serial converter. We have tested with the Keyspan USB to Serial adapters to confirm that they do work and we have heard that some other brands will also work.

PC and Mac Cables

This picture shows both the PC style and the Mac style USB to serial adapters with cables.

Our cables are available in multiple flavors. Please specify your telescope when you order.

1. For the Meade LX200 family (Classic, GPS, or R models) and the Magellan encoder box.

1a. For the Meade RCX400 family, the LX600, and the LX850 (these use the same cable as the LX200).

2. For the Meade LX-90 family with Autostar #497.

3. For the Meade LXD-55/75 family of german equatorial telescopes with Autostar #497.

4. For the Meade ETX telescopes. Our cables will only work with the ETX 90, ETX105, and ETX125 (these scopes have the AutoStar #497 or #495 controller and also use the Meade #505 Cable Connector). Our cables will NOT work with the ETX 60AT, ETX 70AT, and the Digital Series Telescopes because they require the Meade #506 Cable Connector. The Meade #506 cable is a proprietary cable that has a small rectangular box inside the cable that has a small circuit board that cannot be duplicated. We do not know of anyone who will supply a cable to connect a serial port to the ETX 60AT and ETX 70AT except the Meade #506. It may be possible to make an adapter, but it is not worth the effort commercially, since these models are such a poor choice for an astronomical telescope. In summary, if your telescope(ETX, LX-90, or LXD55/75) will work with a Meade #505 cable, it will work with our cables.

4a. Clone cables are available for the Autostar telescopes. The clone cable will allow you to copy or download the database and software from one Autostar to another Autostar without a personal computer in between. In practice, very few people ever use a "Clone" cable since they are usually connected to a personal computer. We will make one for you for $15.00 including shipping in the US. The cable is 14 feet long.

5. For the Celestron NexStar family of telescopes, including Nexstar CPC models, Nexstar GPS models, the CGE mounts, the CGEM mounts, the AVX mounts, the Nexstar 4, 5i, and 8i models, the SE models, and the Advanced Series GT. We believe they will also work with the 80GT, 114GT, 102 SLT, and 130 SLT models. In a rare fit of foresight, Celestron made the virtuous decision to use the same cable for all of their Nexstar telescopes. Our cable is exactly the same as the Celestron part, but ours are much longer and more versatile. So for all the newer Celestron telescopes, the question is whether your software will support your particular model, not whether the cable will connect.

6a. The Celestron NexStar CGE, CPC, and GPS telescopes have a port labeled "PC". Defying logic, this port is NOT used to connect the cable that controls these telescopes from your personal computer. Rather, the "PC" port is used for the Celestron "Programming Cable". Yes, we now make the Progamming Cable in a 14 ft length and they cost the same as the other cables. In order to use the cable, you need to download the update and the updating program from www.celestron.com. You should only need this update if you have an older Nexstar GPS or if Celestron releases a new updater for newer Nexstar telescopes. If you use a Macintosh, you can make the physical connection from the computer to the telescope via the Programming Cable. However, we do not believe that the updater software will work on a Mac, so you may have to find a PC to use the updater with the Programming Cable. Unfortunately, neither Meade, Celestron, or Losmandy has ANY knowledge of the Macintosh.

7. For the Celestron Ultima 2000. Although this model is discontinued, some people love them.

8. For the Gemini GOTO systems from Losmandy or Mountain Instruments.

9. Encoder boxes from major manufacturers (they work with the Lumicon SkyVectors, the Celestron AstroMasters, the JMI Max, the Orion SkyWizards, and a few others). The encoder box needs to have a serial port -(a few early models do not.)

Gemini to Mac

This shows a Mac connected to a Gemini System with a PC style connector.

Important Information:

You can use a PC style cable to connect a Macintosh with a telescope. Some people mistakenly think that they must use a Mac style cable with a Mac. As you can see from the photo above, we regularly use our Macs with the PC style cables and they work just fine. Some early model USB to PC serial adapters did not work reliably with telescopes, but we have tested the Keyspan Model 19-QW High Speed USB Serial Adapter and the current Keyspan Model 19-HS with Meade and Celestron telescopes and they all seem to work just fine.

We recommend USB adapters from Keyspan because they do the best job of updating their drivers. Meade and Radio Shack, as well as many internet retailers buy their devices from the cheapest supplier and the drivers will probably never be updated. Plus, Meade and Radio Shack do not support the Macintosh, at all. All of the connection problems that we have seen with our customers have been with these "no name" suppliers. They might work for you, but you could spend many, many hours trying to figure it out if there is a problem. Don't expect any help from Meade or Radio Shack tech support. If you decide to take your chances with the "no name" suppliers, be sure that their device comes with current Mac drivers.

Mac Connectors

The picture above shows the Model 19-QW on the left and the Model 28-X on the right.

The advantage of the PC style serial adapter is that we can easily make the cables longer. The advantage of the Mac style is that it has two Mac serial ports ( we have used one port for telescope control and one port for an old ST-6 serial CCD camera).


The price of each cable is $18.00 for the Mac style 12 foot cables and $20.00 for the 25 foot PC style cables. Shipping in the US is $7.00 for Priority Mail. Enquire for special discounts for multiple cables. New Mexico residents, please add sales tax: 7.25% is about $1.45.

To Order

Visit our ordering page above, or click HERE.


If you have any questions, contact us at: info(at) stellanova.com


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