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Thread: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

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    Default A warning for April 6/7 of this year



    Our GPS has been using 10 bits to store/transmit the date information. This means that only 1024 weeks can be indicated using those 10 bits of data.

    Well, on April 6/7 we'll have hit the limit. This means that if our equipment manufacturers have not put in a fix, those of us with GPS-related gear could suddenly have our scopes believing that our new "Week 0" is back in (IIRC) August of 1999.

    So if you are a Celestron person who has something like the SkySync to feed not only the GPS coordinates but also the date - you might have frustration. Rather worrisome is that there has been at least one attempt to get information out of Celestron's manufacturer about this issue and they didn't get an answer.

    Meade? I've not been able to find an answer. But I've both an LX-200 and an LS-8 which depend on GPS (especially the LS-8) and I won't be overly happy if they won't work as designed early next month.

    If you are using equipment which depends on GPS for function I'd be recommending contacting your equipment manufacturer and ask them if you need a fix. If you need a fix, then how do you get it. If the fix is not yet ready, when will it be ready?

    BTW, this problem is not likely to recur with newer units going forward. They're changing to 13 bits for the week information and we are thus unlikely to run out of weeks in our GPS systems for a very long time. . . 10 bits described about 19.7 years worth of weeks whereas 13 bits describes more than 150 years worth of weeks. I suspect 150 years from now we'll be using a different technology.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    I have one of the Celestron CN-16 from early 2000s so will have its response checked when the time comes.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    I'm glad that I don't use electronics with my scopes...
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    Luckily the GPS unit was included with a telescope from an estate deal so if it does not work I am out no money.
    Unfortunate if it does affect members telescopes that do use GPS for alignment though.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    Wait...

    Are you saying that the GPS built into my CPC1100 will now start reporting the wrong date/time after 6/7 April?

    JT
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    Hmmm.... my Meade LX200ACF uses GPS. Don't use the scope much, but I certainly don't want problems the next time I do want to use it.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    So all it would take to avoid this disaster is to check that we don't live in 1999? That does not sound insurmountable (RTC, user-entered time) but I have to agree, you never know.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    Quote Originally Posted by jaetea View Post
    Wait...

    Are you saying that the GPS built into my CPC1100 will now start reporting the wrong date/time after 6/7 April?

    JT
    Possibly. Celestron is notorious for not updating this type of thing and letting the product fade into oblivion.
    The last time something like this happened was with their Sky Prodigy, a completely GPS based system that could no longer connect to satellites and they even continued to sell the product even though they would not link up.
    Not a good track record so far....
    As Ole Cuss stated, the question has already been asked of Celestron and so far there has been no response.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    Quote Originally Posted by jaetea View Post
    Wait...

    Are you saying that the GPS built into my CPC1100 will now start reporting the wrong date/time after 6/7 April?

    JT
    It might, or it might not. Right now I can't find the information and at least one person who might be expected to be able to get the information out of the manufacturer still hasn't had luck doing so in the last month or so.
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    Default Re: A warning for April 6/7 of this year

    Quote Originally Posted by CamelHat View Post
    So all it would take to avoid this disaster is to check that we don't live in 1999? That does not sound insurmountable (RTC, user-entered time) but I have to agree, you never know.
    Yeah, I'd think it should be a relatively simple fix.

    I think that most of the older GPS units can (or should have been) updated to something which I think might be called "GPS ICD". In the airline industry and other rather sensitive industries they've been working to make sure the systems are updated to handle the issue but there is at least one "expert" who has sworn he is not going to get into an airplane at the time of the rollover.

    In those high-risk systems I expect things to just plain be fixed. Sort of a Y2K situation where the relevant businesses have concerns that they won't be in business anymore if they don't have it fixed. But what we do is not a high-risk industry and no one will die if the problem is not fixed.

    It is even possible that a manufacturer/brand might figure that if our old stuff isn't fixed that then we'll buy new stuff from them. I'm guessing that if that is what they are thinking it won't turn out as expected. If Celestron either hasn't developed the fix or is not willing to develop the fix rather quickly I think they'll find that a bunch of us won't buy anything electronic from them in the future. That might extend to all Synta products since the fix actually needs to come from Synta.

    That said, Celestron may not have any current GPS systems which are at risk. But if this is the case, I'd think that Celestron/Synta would be happy to announce that there is no problem.
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