How do I program my Nexstar+ hand control?

Starting in late 2011, Celestron began shipping a new Nexstar+ (NexStar Plus) hand control with its computerized GoTo mounts. Besides having the new NexStar+ logo on the hand control below the display window, these hand controls also have a Celestron logo on the lower left key.


The new NexStar+ hand controls need to be programmed with a new software application, Celestron Firmware Manager (CFM). (NOTE: You can't use the older program HCupdate with the new hand controls. However, MCupdate will work with them.)

CFM is a Java application and requires Java 6.x or higher to be installed on your computer. It can be run on any operating system that can run Java, including Mac OS and Linux.


To verify the installation of Java on your system, visit


Java Website


Click on the big red button.  That will take you to a web page that will display your current version and then give you the option to update.  You only need version 6.0 or higher to run CFM.


After verifying and (if needed) updating Java, download CFM itself here:

Celestron CFM 

It is downloaded as a zipped or compressed file (.zip). 

Image 1

Save (download) the zipped file to an easy to locate place like your Desktop. (Different browsers may have default folders for this, for example Google Chrome places them in a folder called Downloads.)

The files need to be extracted for CFM to work.

For most Windows systems, extract the files by right clicking and choosing the “Extract All” option. A window will open.

Click the Browse button then a smaller window will open. Now browse to an easy to locate folder like your Desktop.


Now click the “Make New Folder” button. A new folder will be created. Name it  CFM. Click OK. The smaller window will now close. (In the larger window, the space for "Files will be extracted to this folder" will now show the path to the folder you just created.  In the larger window, click the “Extract” button.  The window will now close and a new window will open showing files within the newly created CFM folder.

Now click on the folder inside your CFM folder that is named CFM_1.0.2100 (the actual version number may differ). You should find a file named CFM.jar. (Some operating systems will hide the ".jar" or ".zip" extensions.) This is the main CFM program.  Click on the file and you are running CFM.

Note: If you are seeing "Can't find Main class" then you have a version of Java that is older than 6.0 or you are trying to run CFM from inside of the compressed archive.  That is why we recommend you extract the files into a newly-named easy-to-locate folder to avoid confusion and to be able to run the proper file.


When CFM runs, it will search your computer’s COM ports for a connected (and powered up) Celestron mount.  It will tell you if there is no mount detected and then offer to guide you on how to connect the mount to the computer.

You can also click on “Help” on the top or menu bar of the orange CFM a window. Choose “Connections” for CFM will guide you through how to connect your hand control and mount to your computer.

Second, CFM will look on the Internet for the latest packages (parts of the hand control firmware). It will download them automatically.

If you run CFM and forget to turn on the mount, it will show “CFM was unable to find a device” and the yellow alert on top of the CFM window. Turn on the mount and press “Seek Devices.” Then the top panel will show “NexStar+: CFM has idenfied your telescope.” 

The third panel will start to install the latest downloaded packages. It will display a message like “Loading Package (9/10) DB_4_5.21.1354.cfm”, meaning CFM is programming the hand control with the 9th of 10 packages, a database file with the name DB_4_5.21.1354.cfm. The hand control will have the message “Verifying packages” displayed.


Finally the wrench and screwdrivers icon will change to a green check mark, the greenish-blue progress bar will stop at 100% and the message, "Your hand control is up to date" will be displayed. The hand control will scroll among languages choices. Press Enter at the language you want and enter again to confirm.

Your Nexstar+ hand control has been successfully updated. You can now turn off your mount and disconnect it from the computer.


 Updated 12/27/13