A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: Which Celestial Computer..??
From: Luis Soltero
Date: 2000 Jul 08, 3:33 PM
From: Luis Soltero
Date: 2000 Jul 08, 3:33 PM
Hello all, I thought I should add a few comments to this recently posted mesg to reveal additional important info. On Friday, July 07, 2000 7:47 AM, Richard B. Emerson [SMTP:navsys@PINEFIELDS.COM] wrote: > Barry Colman writes: > > I think I am in the market for a celestial computer to > > practice with...Since there only two that I am aware of the Starpath > > using the TI-86 or of course the Celesticom V.. Does anyone have any > > opinions pro-con to either..?? Actually there are quite a number of hand held celestial calcs on the market. Check out the StarPilot home page (http://www.starpath.com/catalog/1863.htm) for a comparison of all known units on the market. This comparison is quite comprehensive and gives a good overall picture of the scope of each product. The comparison is also available in PDF format so that you can download it, print it, and really study before purchasing a unit. > > I have both. If you look around on eBay, you can get "New In Box" > TI-86's for something like half price (the interface to download > software is $20 and eBay prices aren't any great savings there). > Download the manual and software, pay the license fee, and the price > for a Starpilot is almost the same or slightly less than a Celesticomp > (forget the expensive Celesticomp "Pro" version - it just adds weight > management for cargo ships). That's the price comparison. List price of a TI-86 is $129.00. Starpath sells the programmed units for $249. That is $130.00 for the calc + $119.00 for the software. No discount is included in the price of the calc since Starpath must program and package it before it goes out the door. For $249 you get a stock TI-86 preprogrammed with the StarPilot application + all TI materials + a hard copy of the StarPilot manual. There will be additional savings for users who already have or negotiate a better deal for a TI-86. So if you can find a TI-86 on e-bay for $65.00 then you can have a StarPilot for $65 + $119 + $20(for the download cable) = $204. In my book this is considerably cheaper than a CelestiComp at $279 (last I checked). Starpath encourages it's users to own a TI-Graph Link cable since this option allows you to download free updates over the internet. It also allows you to print (via the PC) any StarPilot screen and even allows you to upload and store your sites on the PC. One of the most important points here is that the TI-86 is a "stock" calculator. If you fall out of your dink in Australia while transporting your StarPilot you can simply walk down to the local K-Mart equivalent, buy another TI-86, stop by the internet cafe on the way home and viola you have a working StarPilot again. This is not true of some of the other hand helds which use machines which are not so readily available and can not restore the code via download from a computer. While at the web site check out some of the other StarPilot options such as the water proof, crush proof, brilliant yellow, floating storage box. > > The StarPilot manual is on-line in PDF format. It describes the > features reasonably well although there are a still a few places that We are currently working on a new version of the manual which will be available soon for download in PDF format from the StarPilot download page. This and all other manuals in PDF format are available for download at NO cost. Also note that the StarPilot web page has additional documentation to and examples such as a discussion of doing "Lunars", etc. > In terms of ease of use, the Celesticomp is smaller and therefore One of my big complaints about the Celesticomp as far as it's ease of use is that an external reference is needed to equate a body name to a body number. This is one (of many) reasons that motivated me to create the StarPilot. Unless you memorize the body list or have a cheat sheet pasted on the calc cover it is difficult to know the number of a specific body. Once you understand the working of the StarPilot no external references are needed to complete sights on any of the bodies. The stars and planets for example are identified by name. > Either computer has enough tools to let you do a good job of > navigating with a mix of DR and celestial work. Both have > star-finding capabilities and both have various additional tools for > wind triangles, etc. The Starpilot, however, has a host of added > "chrome" beyond the Celesticomp including reductions for distance off > from sextant altitudes (e.g., measuring a known height to determine > your distance from the object), dip angle (for close-in horizons), and > lunar distance reductions. In features, the Starpilot is way beyond > the Celesticomp. Some of these "chrome" features are not only handy but VERY important. The one that comes to mind is the plotting of LOPs. The visual sky planner is also very nice and easy to use when identifying celestial bodies. **Note that the StarPilot supports DR updates in "log mode" while the CelestiComp only supports "Speed" mode. If you are on a Sailboat the DR Mode=Log is very handy indeed since speed is anything but constant on a sailboat. > > All of these features, however, make the Starpilot far more complex to > use. Unless you use it daily, you have to have the manual handy for > even sun lines (on a recent trip, I didn't have a printed copy of the > manual I could get to and I couldn't remember how to get Starpilot to > remember by Height of Eye and Index Correction factors instead of > entering them for each shot, for example). The Celesticomp, however, This is a matter of opinion (of course I would say that :-) The option you need is in the settings menu under S(ight)R(reduction) mode. Set SR Mode to sequential to cause the StarPilot from prompting for inputs. All functions and options are available via simple menus. Note that although the TI-86 does indeed have more buttons these calculators were designed for junior and high school students. There are LOTS of 10-12 year olds using these systems. Kids really like to play games on them. So, if they can do it so can you! Dont let keys labeled "sin" or "cos" intimidate you. Also keep in mind that the StarPilot only uses a few keys mainly the numeric keypad, the arrow keys, and the ENTER key. The important thing to note here is that the calc is a generic scientific calculator than can be used for any host of normal calculations such as balancing your check book, etc. > > So which one should you buy? If all you want to do is celestial work > and don't want a lot of "chrome", the Celesticomp is the call. If you > want a lot of gee whiz features and pushing buttons makes you smile, > go with the Starpilot. Still can't decide, flip a coin! [laugh] The only one to buy is the StarPilot of course !! The StarPilot is a dynamic new product on the upswing with many new features and enhancements in its future. One last point. I am a sailor and have been cruising full time on my boat in the Caribbean for 9 years. I use the StarPilot A LOT and have tried to make it as functional as possible in the environment we live in. I am very interested in hearing your comments and check this mailing list and other sources from input on how the StarPilot can be enhanced. If you feel that the StarPliot needs a new feature, or you can make a case for changing the specific functionality of a feature let us know. If after evaluating your comments and/or request we agree with you we will enhance the code and make it available to the community. Cheers, --luis Luis Soltero StarPilot Designer/Starpath School of Navigation. S/V Crystal, In Transit Belize City, Belize