Tasco is an optics company that manufactures binoculars, rifle scopes, trail cameras and telescopes. Released in 2001, Tasco's StarGuide telescope virtually replicated Celestron's design of its NexStar telescopes. Tasco had acquired Celestron in 1998 and used its designs for many of its own products. As a result, StarGuide telescopes have almost identical functions and specifications to Celestron's NexStar product line with just a few minor differences.
Tasco has four models of StarGuide telescope: Model 60, Model 80, Model 114, and Model 4. The Model 60 uses a 60mm two-element objective refractor. The Model 80 has a 80mm short tube refractor. The Model 114 uses a 4.5-inch spherical mirror with corrector plate and built-in Barlow. This model cannot point straight up or at 20 degrees and is not good for viewing satellites. The Model 4 uses a 4-inch spherical mirror with corrector plate reflector.
The StarGuide is a computerised device with a hand control to direct its movements. You can point it to exact coordinates as well as store that information in a database so you can refer back to specific locations. Unfortunately, the StarGuide's hand control has a number of bugs that were never fixed (as opposed to Celestron's NexStar which issued a replacement hand control). StarGuide's controller cannot save observation locations in the Eastern Hemisphere and backlash settings. The keypad is very sensitive, leading to frequent double-entries. The cordwrap and light control features do not work. Users also have reported errors in the coordinates of M2, M10 and M110. StarGuide's database is also smaller than NexStar's. NexStar's controller is compatible with Tasco's StarGuide and is available separately.
The RS-232 converter can let the StarGuide hand control communicate with Celestron's NexStar software. By this means, you can use your PC to control the direction of your StarGuide telescope.
The StarGuide uses a battery pack with 8 AA cell batteries for DC power. The amp hour capacity is only good for a few hours. However, third parties sell battery adaptors that provide additional voltage (up to 18 volts input).