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Review - AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter

Posted: 15 May 2023


AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter
Digital Optica LLC

Digital Optica LLC sent me their new AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter for AutoStar #497 and AudioStar. (The Adapter does not work with the AutoStar #494, AutoStar II, or AutoStar III.).

The single instruction sheet describes how to connect the Adapter to the handset and use a Bluetooth connection to control the telescope. (Step #7 was blank on the instruction sheet I received, but this is a typo as there is no step 7.) The Adapter connects directly to the base of the AutoStar #497 or AudioStar. The Adapter has both RS-232 (data) and HBX connectors that insert into the base of the handset. Note that with the AudioStar, there is a small gap betwwen the AudioStar and Adapter. This does not affect the connection.

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The handset HBX cable that comes with the telescope is connected to the Adapter. The tab on the HBX port connector holds the Adapter securely to the handset and has a push-to-release button to allow the Adapter to be removed.


I first tested the Adapter with my Meade ETX-90 with AutoStar #497 (firmware 4.3Eg). I used SkySafari 6 Pro on my Mac Studio computer (macOS 13.3.1 (a)).

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The connection to the "ScopeAccess" Bluetooth was simple and SkySafari worked perfectly to control the telescope.

I then disconnected the Mac from the Adapter and tried to connect my iPad Pro (3rd generation, iPadOS 16.4.1 (a)) to the Adapter, but the device did not appear in the list of Bluetooth devices in the iPad Settings app. I powered off the ETX-90 and powered it back on. The Adapter still did not appear in the Bluetooth devices list. I also tried using my iPhone 13 Pro Max (iOS 16.4.1 (a)); same result. I contacted Digital Optica and learned that only Windows computers and Android systems are supported with their AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter. The Adapter is the first Bluetooth device that I've used that did not work with the iPhone or iPad.

I then tested the Adapter with my Meade ETX-125 Observer with AudioStar (firmware A4S1). I used SkySafari 6 Pro on my Macintosh computer. The connection from the Macintosh worked perfectly to control the ETX-125 Observer.

I was not able to test updating the firmware or libraries using the AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter since that requires Microsoft Windows, which I do not use.

Digital Optica has an optional Autostar Power Cable ($10) which allows the AutoStar/AudioStar to be updated without connecting the handcontroller to a telescope. The cable has a HBX connector to connect to the AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter and a USB-A connector to connect to a computer. Updates can be done directly using the Meade Autostar Updater or StarPatch software on a Windows computer. Digital Optica sent me this optional cable, but I did not test the cable.


If you have a compatible computer or Android device, the AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter from Digital Optica provides a simple, nicely designed, way to connect and control your AutoStar #497 or AudioStar telescope. Since the Adapter connects directly to the handset, there is no need for a RS-232 cable that is used with Wi-Fi adapters.

It is unfortunate that iOS and iPadOS are not supported with the AutoStar Bluetooth Adapter. Hopefully that can be remedied in a future model.

It would be nice to see a Wi-Fi adapter with the same style adapter from Digital Optica.

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