This simple idea applies to all devices that use batteries.
When you replace the batteries, use a fine point sharpie pen and write the
date on the battery. Then the next time you change them, you will know a bit
more than you would have otherwise.
Not a bad idea for light bulbs either.
Thanks John P. for this good idea.
If you have removed StarPilot from RAM for any reason and need to replace
it, then do the following:
scroll down to 'apps desktop' and turn OFF the desktop
scroll down to spsetup so it is highlighted using the blue arrow keys
press [)] so the small bar then reads "spsetup()"
and you will see the various programs in ROM unarchiving themselves into
Once done, press enter again until your CODE is showing and the program asks
for your KEY.
Your KEY is on the back of the calculator cover; or, if a new installation, you
can register online using your StarPilot serial number to get the KEY by
In the StarPilot-89 calculator, the program is stored in ROM, so if you
remove any one of the main batteries the program will be safe. The state
of the calculator when you remove the batteries, however, will affect how
you proceed after the battery is replaced.
If you remove a battery when the calculator is OFF (Recommended), then
nothing special occurs. Battery out, battery in, and all is as before.
But, if you remove a battery while the StarPilot program is running (Not Recommended)
and insert the new battery immediately, the program appears to lock up (i.e. the
keys do not do anything)
The solution is to take the new battery out and leave it out for 5 minutes. Put
the new battery back in and the calculator will reboot itself. You will have lost
StarPilot from RAM, but it will still be in ROM.
To move from ROM to RAM, follow instructions
To copy StarPilot from ROM to RAM
Registered StarPilotPC and calculator users can always download the latest version from the downloads page.
Users of StarPilot for iOS can get the latest version from the iTunes store.
Some users have experienced difficulty while reinstalling StarPilot onto their TI calculator because TI-Connect "Restore" function is not recognizing the StarPilot file. If this happens to you, go to where the unpacked files are stored on your PC (usually c:\myTIConnect\Backup). Select the file that looks similar to 'bld23082.89g'. Right click on that file and "Send To" your TI Device (be sure your calculator is plugged into your computer). Once loaded into your calculator, follow the initializing instructions in the manual.
When asking the PC or especially your calculator to find the best sights
from the entire sky, keep in mind that it might take a long time to compute
if you have the magnitude limit set to dim stars. This is true even on older
PCs, since in some skies with many stars and planets, the program does many
many thousands of computations to come up with the best triads of sights.
The best bet is to limit the magnitude to 2.0 to start with, or even 1.5 for
a quick look. As a rule, you will get all you need with 2.0, and only very
rarely will you need to extend to 2.3 or so. If, on the other hand, you
choose magnitude 4 (barely visible) then be prepared for a long computation.
The location and elevation of the stars can end up contributing more to the
"best choice" than the magnitude does, which accounts for the extra
computations. Another solution is to go into the best sights settings and
change the goodness criteria to add more weight to the brightness, but we
would not recommend that. We think we have this set about right for
practical use at sea.
A symptom of the above issue (i.e. magnitude set too high), is that the
program appears to quit or lock up during Best sights computation. It has
not, it is just crunching away as described above.
This is a powerful feature of the StarPilot program; we must just keep in
mind what it is doing. There is no celestial navigation program on the market except
StarPilot that can actually figure out what the best sights are for any
complete sky. The only comparison would be Pub 249, vol 1, for selected
The TI-89 and later versions have very small numbers in the display for
doing conventional math operations with the calculators. To overcome this we
have built a custom math function display that you access with the custom
keys. From anywhere within StarPilot, press [F5] [F5] to enter this mode.
You can do all conventional math functions, including trig, etc, with large
displays. When done press [ESC].
Note that in all TI-calculators, they give back what they call exact
answers. If you do 15/4 you will get back 15/4 as an answer, since that is
in some sense technically the correct exact answer. If you want (as we
usually do) a decimal answer, enter a decimal point in any of the numbers,
i.e. 15/4. and you will get 3.75. In short, we must learn to enter a decimal
point at least once, anywhere, when doing math functions in these
For SP-89, 92+, V200 and SP-PC in all versions newer than Nov 20, 2002,
StarPilot will compute magnetic variation for a given date and location.
This feature is not available in the SP-86; use the free update option if
you wish to add this functionality. StarPilot PC computes all aspects of the
magnetic field; the calculator versions compute only the variation and its
annual rate of change. Current StarPilot versions will compute magnetic
variations from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2015. As new magnetic
declination information is published by the US National Geophysical Data Center
it will be incorporated into StarPilot. The next update is scheduled
for January 01, 2016.
Today, most IMAC and PC laptop computers have only
a USB connector to communicate with a TI calculator for installing
or updating software. The cables and special software are available
from www.education.ti.com or authorized outlets. These computers also
require the use of the TI-connect program.
In versions dated prior to 1705 (17 May 2000), great circle waypoints
were computed every 180 nmi. This was changed on May 20, 2000 so that users
have the option to enter a longitude interval and StarPilot will then
compute the corresponding latitudes at these longitudes that mark off the
Great Circle route. This method is more convenient for plotting and more in
keeping with standard Bowditch solutions.
Since these are the two settings we are likely to want to check often
(i.e. they are used for all routing and DR computations) we have changed the
order of the View Settings display. Now View settings shows these data
first, then you can [Exit] if you like and stay where you were without
viewing the rest of the settings. Likewise [Custom] [View] in the SP-86 will
display DR and Destination immediately from anywhere within the program, as
will [F2] [F2]  in the SP-89.
Use of StarPilot's various LOP plot options including zooming is in the
manuals which can be downloaded from the Documentation page. Plot options also apply to star map plots
and to the sight analyzer plots. In the PC version, they also apply to the
3-body fix plots.
The TI GraphLink program for connecting your calculator to the PC may not
function properly if you have recently used PalmPilot Hotsync or Windows
Active Sync. When users install either of these, the sync function installs
a resident program that grabs COM1 for the sync'ing process, therefore
TI-Link cannot access the port. If this occurs, you will need to disable or
exit the Sync program prior to running the TI-Link. Thanks to Capt. David O.
for reminding us of this. It is also an issue to those using a com port for
The Update DR function does not read the date stored in the calculator
(date is for cel nav functions only). When you must DR across midnight in
the Speed and Time mode, then take one leg up to 2400, then start another at
0000. In the Log mode this is not an issue. Note, however, that you can
indeed do running fixes that span midnight in any time zone since the date
is read in all cel nav functions.
If you wish to compare a-values (intercepts) computed from tables by hand
with those obtained from StarPilot (or any calculator or software) then you
must use the Assumed Position for the DR position in StarPilot. If you do
not, you will still get the same LOPs once plotted, but the a-values
themselves will be different since you use different reference points. Hence
if you want to see the same a-values, simply enter the AP used in the tables
approach as the DR in the calculator and you should get the same values out.
To increase the screen contrast on TI-86 StarPilot calculators, do [2nd] [up arrow] and to decrease it do [2nd]
[down arrow]. A number will briefly appear in top right of the screen. It
varies from 1 to 9. With new batteries the screen will be solid black at
about 4 or 5, and you will typically start with a setting of 1 or 2. When
this gets to about 7 or 8, i.e. the screen is faint enough that you adjust
it that high to see clearly, then you will start getting notices to change
the 4 AAA batteries.... but you will still have weeks of normal usage after
For contrast adjustments in the TI-89 StarPilot calculators, do [green diamond] then [+] or [-]
keys. Note that the 89 does not show a numeric contrast level as the 86
First some background: The StarPilot DR Update function takes the stored
DR position and updates it with your input of either a new DR Time (and
Speed) or a new DR Log reading, depending on the DR mode setting. After it
computes the new position (by mid-latitude sailings) it does a double-check
on the results by computing from scratch the range and bearing from the old
position to the new position using the Rhumbline function (mercator sailing
using meridional parts).
Consequently, when you view the range and bearing reported back in the
StarPilot with the new position coordinates, you may see results that differ
very slightly (few hundredths) from what you entered... you have, however,
still computed the best position you can when applying a given distance and
course to a particular position... short of an iterative procedure that is
not included in any products we know of, nor is it covered in Bowditch.
Issue at hand: Rhumbline computations do not work for courses of precisely
090 and 270 (this is parallel sailing, not mercator sailing). In versions of
StarPilot dated 06/06/00 and earlier, we compensated for this by simply
changing the double-check routine to a great-circle computation whenever the
course was within 0.03° of 090 or 270. In retrospect, this was not a good
approach since in some cases the discrepancy reported for even rather short
runs due east or west was several tenths of a mile. Consequently, for all
versions dated later than 06/06/00, we now abandon the double-check, and
simply repeat back to you what you entered for course and distance whenever
the course lies within 0.03° of 090 or 270. The updated position is still
the same, as it always has been, it is just that the reported range and
bearing you see will be exactly what you put in, you are not getting any
"double check" for this parallel route. Thanks to Dr. G.P. in Germany for
bringing this to our attention.
This is not a change in any version, just a clarification. It is even in
the manual, but should be stressed more. The easiest way to delete a sight
(or several sights) from a sequence of stored sights is to simply execute
Review Sights from the Cel Fix menu and when the one you want to remove is
showing, press Delete key (Del). This way you do not need to know the sight
number. The alternative is to use the Delete a Sight function and enter the
sight number to delete it. This works well for just one or two sights, but
after deleting one sight, the rest get renumbered from that one on, so you
have to recheck the numbering with Review Sights or keep track of the sight
Unlike the TI-89, the Voyage comes LOADED with software; at least 10
applications. The applications are loaded into ROM but the data for the
programs is loaded into RAM. There is not enough memory in the Voyage to
accommodate all the TI programs and the StarPilot. Note that all the TI
programs are included on the resource CD and/or can be downloaded from the
TI web site. Users purchasing Voyage 200 will need to remove the TI
applications from memory before they can load the StarPilot. Once
StarPilot is loaded, it can be uninstalled with the SP ROM image left in ROM.
Then the TI programs can be reloaded. The Data for the TI programs
must be erased or moved to ROM before StarPilot is unarchived and used.
The easiest way to install the SP on a stock Voyage 200 is to do a memory
reset first [2nd][MEM][F1]. There is no need to backup the TI programs
since they are all included on the resource CD.
The plot will appear wrong, or insensitive or erratic to your commands if
you have not set the DR position correctly. The DR position is always in the
center of the plot when first displayed, so if this has not been set, the
graphic will center on 0°, 0° (the default position) which can highly
compress the scales used, unless you happen to be in that neighborhood.
Check the User's Guide on how the settings are used or not used depending on
your choice... or just note that before each plot you are asked for the DR
position, course and speed, and set them at that time. As a general rule for
most convenient usage, it is best to take advantage of the Settings options.
After a running fix, StarPilot asks if you wish to update the stored DR
position with the new fix position. In DR mode = Speed/Time, this operation
will store the new position and also update the DR Time with the Watch time
of the fix. This last step, however, was not working right in that it
applied the ZD to the WT and changed the DR time into GMT. This was not our
intention, just an oversight, and this has now been fixed. In all versions
Aug 19, 2000 or newer, when you update DR after a running fix, the WT of the
sight will be recorded as the new DR Time regardless of what is stored in
the ZD. Our intention is that this stored ZD only be used for actual sight
reductions, and now it does work that way. This use of WT and DR time is the
most convenient for actual navigation underway. (If you had been running in
DR mode = Log or Off this would not have been noticed, and if you used only
GMT, i.e. ZD = 0, it also would not have shown up.) Thanks to Don F. for
finding this glitch.
At the start of morning nautical twilight the sun has risen to a point
that is some 12° below the horizon. At the start of morning civil twilight
it has reached the point of being some 6° below the horizon. At high
latitudes in some seasons, however, the sun might not ever get far enough
below the horizon to cross one of these defining times. In these cases there
are no beginnings of twilight. If your computation coincides with these
circumstances, we present this fact in the calculator versions of StarPilot
by setting the corresponding "twilight time" answer to the same as the rise
or set time. (We are forced to this convention because we can only enter
numbers in the calculator output fields and we believe that 00:00:00 is not
as good a choice since this is an unlikely but still possible correct
answer, whereas the convention we use is unambiguous.) Hence if you get the
answer: nautical/civil/rise = 04:15:23, 03:44:12, 04:15:23, it means there
is no nautical twilight (sun did not descend more than 12° below the
horizon), civil twilight is 03:44:12 (sun did go at least 6° below), and
then it rose at 04:15:23 in whatever time zone you had set in the
StarPilot. Likewise, 04:15:23,04:15:23,04:15:23, has the corresponding
meaning that there was no nautical nor civil twilight.
Computed rise or set times can end up negative or greater than 24hr. This
happens whenever the rise and set phenomena take place on different days
from the perspective of the time zone you selected in the UT offsets option.
If one of the answers is greater than 24 hr, it means the event has been
calculated for the next day, whereas if one is negative it means that one
was calculated for the previous day.
If the output is simply being used for planning, you can correct with a +/-
24h and get a result that will likely be right to within a minute or two. If
you want more precise values, then adjust the date by 1 and then when you
make the 24hr correction you will end up with the value on the date of
interest. Note that StarPilot sunrise and sunset times should be a bit more
accurate than those in the Nautical Almanac since we use a temperature and
pressure sensitive correction for Refraction whereas the Almanac uses a
fixed value and we also use a computed SD instead of the fixed value used in
the NA. If you want to compare StarPilot values with official Almanac
computations you can use the Sun/Moon data from the Naval Observatory.
To get out of StarPilot-89 in order to use the math functions of the
TI-89 calculator, you can do [2nd] [ESC] and then [2nd] [CUSTOM]. The first
step gets you out of StarPilot, the second changes the menu bar to the TI
To get back into StarPilot, do [2nd] [ESC] then [green Diamond] . Then
you are back in StarPilot from just about anywhere you might be. If there is
any chance that you have changed stored constants during your math work,
then do Set Defaults Settings   to reload StarPilot data.
We have run across several cases where the print function does not seem
to work. One way to make a quick test is to look to the print preview
option. If the plot or list of data shows there then it will most likely
print fine. If not there, then it will not print.
We do not know what causes some systems to not work properly. We have found
that in most of these cases, if you add a new printer (use any generic one
that windows has a driver for), then set it to default, then set the default
back to your original printer that seems to shake loose the communication
between starpilot and the printer and it will work.
Please remember that all registered users, whether they purchased StarPilot
as hardware or as software, have free upgrades to the latest version.
The latest version for PC and for calculators is always available on our Downloads page.
When there is a new version available you may download it and install it
onto your calculator or pc. If you are not familiar with the calculator process,
you can call or e-mail us to arrange for us to do it for you.
No new registration KEYs are required. Simply download the program and then
install it. Instructions come with each download. To transfer the program onto the
calculator you will need a PC-TI Link cable and the free TI-Connect or similar
program. Please note that we do not provide tech support on calculator software
installation. There are instructions that come with the download and alternatively,
you may contact us to arrange for sending us the calculator for updating.
Users of StarPilot for iPhone and iPad will receive update notifications via the iTunes store.