Upgrading the firmware of your Vixen StarBook on Linux

The first time this year that I tried to use my Vixen telescope on the Sphinx SX mount, I had problems. After selecting the last “OK” to enter scope mode, the display on the StarBook would freeze. This happened on the 2nd of January. Eventually, after removing the PCB in the mount and re-soldering the contacts of the DE-9 connector, thinking that the problem may be due to a dry joint, I discovered that the firmware version I was using at the time, i.e., V1.2 build 31, would not accept 2016! It may even have been a leap year issue.

I went to the Vixen website and discovered that there was an upgrade available, V2.7, which also happened to resolve some leap year issue. I downloaded the file, but then I was faced with the problem of how to upgrade the StarBook. I don’t use Windows; in fact, I changed over to Linux in 2006, never to look back again. But then I thought it might be possible to use Wine. I have the Linux-based Distro Astro operating system running on my laptop, and Wine comes pre-installed. (The quote below is from the Wine website.)

Wine (originally an acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”) is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, Mac OSX, & BSD. Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop.

Indeed, Wine did the trick without any problems. I simply connected the StarBook to my wi-fi router and entered the IP address assigned to StarBook by the router, in the upgrade installer.

Problem solved. I can use my telescope again!