Review - ScopeStuff AutoStar II Cable
Updated: 2 April 2016
Meade Autostar II Hand Controller Cable
My Meade Wireless AutoStar II handcontroller, purchased in October 2010, just before it was discontinued, was beginning to show its age in early 2016. Key presses were no longer reliable, making the wireless handcontroller less useful to control the telescope. Cleaning the key mechanisms might or might not cure the problem, but before I would attempt cleaning I new that I needed a longer AutoStar II cable than the one that Meade supplied with my new 12" LX600.
Why did I need a longer cable? Simply put, the 12" telescope is so large that the supplied coiled cable does not allow holding the AutoStar II handcontroller at a comfortable and usable distance from the telescope. Holding the wired handcontroller and walking around the telescope while it is slewing is also rather limited with the short Meade cable.
This photo shows about the maximum stretch of the Meade cable:
I worried about straining the end connectors if the coiled cable was stretched more than shown above.
Even if I can repair the old Wireless AutoStar II handcontroller, there is still a need to use the wired AutoStar II at times. With my Meade 8" LX200-ACF I could use the Wireless AutoStar II at the same time as I was controlling the telescope using smartphone apps via Wi-Fi. However, for some reason the same Wi-Fi adapter connection to the LX600 is incompatible with the Wireless AutoStar II, necessitating use of the wired AutoStar II when I want to use Wi-Fi.
Having decided that I needed a longer AutoStar II cable, the next decision was where to get it. Yes, I could get a coiled analog telephone cable, which with the proper pinouts can be used as a long AutoStar HBX cable. The simplest and best solution was to get the long HBX cable from ScopeStuff, a well-known and reliable source of useful telescope accessories.
The ScopeStuff "Meade Autostar II Hand Controller Cable" comes in the plastic bag (seen at the top of the page) and a shipping box. This is the ScopeStuff cable in use at the 12" LX600:
Using the longer AutoStar cable was almost like I was not tethered to the telescope. It was not quite as convenient as having a wireless AutoStar, but almost the same. I just had to watch out where the long cable was draping to ensure it would not catch on something.
The long AutoStar II cable certainly made using a wired AutoStar a joy with the large 12" telescope. It is another extremely useful and quality product from ScopeStuff. If you need some accessory for your telescope, checkout ScopeStuff.
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