AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 April 2008

Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, cables, and the AutoStar updater software. See the AutoStar Info page for information from Meade and other users on the AutoStar, cables, and software. Send your comments and tips to etx@me.com. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranties on your ETX and accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.


Subject:	Re: Add Meade 4504 to Meade 497 handset
Sent:	Monday, April 28, 2008 10:51:09
From:	Keith Peters (keith@corfecastle.fsnet.co.uk)
Dick/Mike,

Thanks for your help.  I did not have a Meade LXD on the handset.   I
have updated the 497 to the latest firmware and this has loaded various
LXD models on.  I have then adjusted the ratios to those provided and it
all seems fine.  I will bear in mind your other advice provided but have
gone for "easiest" option at the moment.

Many thanks for such a prompt and helpful response.

regards,

Keith

Subject:	ETX 125 alignment
Sent:	Sunday, April 27, 2008 22:31:28
From:	Louis Welke (lcwelke@sbcglobal.net)
I have a ETX 125 scope that I purchased within the last two months and I
really love the scope for the images that I get,however it seems every
time I set it up for 2 star alignment it goes through the usual steps
up,down,pointing north,etc and finally when it comes to slewing it goes
to a star not that far out of the viewing range and after I bring it  to
the center of my viewing area and (enter) it then goes to another star
at the other area of the sky which also has the star outside of the
viewing area and after I bring the scope so the star is in the center of
the view and (enter) I receive a alignment successful message.

I then ask the scope to go to a celestial body (like Saturn) and it goes
to the area near Saturn but I still have to bring Saturn into the
viewing area.

Saturn seems to drift out of the viewing area after just a few minutes.

What seems to be the problem here.

Thanks so much for your time.

Lou Welke
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If not, do them. That should improve the GOTOs and tracking. Also, be certain that the Daylight Saving setting is correct for your location. Also, check the Site location. I recommend using City name instead of Zipcode.
Subject:	re:  autostar freeze up
Sent:	Sunday, April 27, 2008 20:52:34
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You will probably need to do the "Safe Load" procedure to convince
the Autostar (and ASU) to re-start a download:
Press and hold the [enter] and [scroll down] keys on the autostar,
and -then- (while still holding them) turn on the telescope.
The Autostar should display "Flash Load" and then "Downloading".
*Now* start the ASU and try again.

If ASU still fails, download StarPatch from
http://www.stargps.ca/starpatch.htm
and see if it has better success (it usually does).
StarPatch is also -much- faster than ASU.

good luck--dick
From:	paul warman (paul.warman@club-internet.fr)
Download successful but autostar still frozen on "welcome to autostar".
Starpatch not succsseful also. It's as if the unit has a bug that
forbids it to work properly. Could it be that it is just faulty for some
reason.
Thanks for your help so far.
Regards
Paul warman
Mike here: You could try what Dick discusses in the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Re: autostar freeze up
Sent:	Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:37:27
From:	paul warman (paul.warman@club-internet.fr)
I updated the autostar ok. But now it's frozen on the "welcome to
autostar" message and the computer no longer finds the telescope. Any
suggestions.
thanks
Mike here: How long did the update take to complete? What software did you use to do the update? Did you update from the ROM file via the Internet or from a locally downloaded file? Are you using a real serial port on the computer or a USB-serial adapter? If an adapter, which one?

And:

It took 10 or 15 minutes to complete. the update was the 43Eg. from the
meade site for a 497 handbox. The ROM file if you mean a cd rom, I
assume that is the meade update and I am using a real serial port.
Mike here: The update should normally take 26-30 minutes to update the ROM in the AutoStar. Since it took less than that I assume it not did complete properly. Download the file from Meade's web site (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html) and UNZIP it. Place the unzipped file in the Ephemerides folder and tell the AutoStar Update application to use the local file.
Subject:	Add Meade 4504 to Meade 497 handset
Sent:	Thursday, April 24, 2008 11:26:51
From:	Keith Peters (keith@corfecastle.fsnet.co.uk)
I have just bought a 497 Autostar and want to add my Meade 4504 drives
to the handset.  (I use two mounts and want to be able to interchange
the handset).  My version is 26EC.  Will the patch40f4 which was written
a few years ago add the telescope to my drives?

Alternatively if I select polar mount and ETX125, and change the gear
ratios to the 4504 have the same effect?

I would be grateful for some input and the easiest route to add the 4504
drive system to the handset.

Many thanks for you help.

regards,
 
Keith
Mike here: Patch questions go to Dick Seymour.
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The patch kits get applied to a copy of Meade's ROM file
*in your PC*, and then the entire (modified) file is transferred
to your Autostar via AutostarUpdate or StarPatch.

So if you really want to retain 26EC in the Autostar, you'll need
to fetch a copy of -that- build kit from Mike's archive:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_archive/downloads.html
*and* the version-appropriate patch kit (found at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar_info.html
)

My suggested method is to use StarPatch to simultaneously download, patch
and install the -current- Autostar firmware (v43Ec) 

StarPatch is free from  http://www.stargps.ca/starpatch.htm

>> Alternatively if I select polar mount and ETX125, and change the  
>> gear ratios to the 4504 have the same effect?

No... the 4504 is a German Equatorial Mount (GEM), and requires that
the Autostar take evasive action to avoid hitting the tripod with
the mirror end of the telescope.  It will also perform a "meridian
flip" when GoTo's involve pointing west or east of the tripod.
If you had a version of the firmware which supported LXD models
(as the current one does), then you *could* merely select one of
them and adjust -its- ratios to the  RA=4.562963   DEC=4.562693
values appropriate for a 4504.
Which LXD model you select would slightly adjust how well/closely
it avoids the tripod (the 8" SCT would probably hit at times).

>> I would be grateful for some input and the easiest route to add the  
>> 4504 drive system to the handset.

Easiest: select an LXD model, adjust Ratios.
Better since it would set the "avoidance" values and Focal Lengths
automatically: patch.  But "easiest" frequently wins out.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	autostar freeze up
Sent:	Wednesday, April 23, 2008 13:26:13
From:	paul warman (paul.warman@club-internet.fr)
i'm having problems with my autostar.After initialisation I enter the
date then the time and when we come to daylight savings the controller
freezes. Tell me it's not broken. Any ideas?
Mike here: What model AutoStar?

And:

#497 autostar handset
regards
Mike here: The software is likely corrupted. You can reload the ROM yourself if you have a #505 serial cable (easily made), the software from Meade's site (Windows only) or AutoStarX (Mac OS X). Links to both are on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page as well as articles on making the cable. NOTE: If you have only USB on your computer you will need a USB-serial adapter. Not all work reliably with the AutoStar so you should read the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Moon not in FOV - time problem
Sent:	Friday, April 18, 2008 08:02:35
From:	Marc Widdowson (marc@stoics.fsnet.co.uk)
Just to thank you for your site. I am a new ETX125PE owner, which I
tried out for the first time last night, and I found the same problem as
one of your recent correspondents. After automatic alignment, I did the
guided tour and the first object was the moon, but after slewing it was
out of the FOV, though not by much. I then went to Mars and Saturn and,
to my surprise, both appeared bang on in the FOV, no problem. After
reading your site, I realised it might be a timing problem. (I
originally assumed the time would be exactly right as the accompanying
literature says it is set in the factory.) I checked and discovered it
was about 10 minutes too slow. So I have corrected the time and I'm
hoping that may have fixed the problem with the moon - to be confirmed
next starry night.

I do have one issue, though it's not desperate. During automatic
alignment, the two alignment stars were "miles" away from where the
telescope first pointed (cannot quantify it exactly - maybe 5 degrees?).
The spiral search  just wouldn't have cut it. I had not expected that I
would have to steer the telescope quite so much to find the alignment
stars. Is this normal? Nevertheless, the alignment was successful and
the telescope did subsequently find Mars and Saturn, as indicated.

Thanks.
Marc Widdowson
Mike here: The alignment star initial position depends on the accuracy of the HOME position as well as the accuracy of the date/time/location settings. If the LNT is causing the error, doing a CALIBRATE SENSOR may clear it up. Also, don't forget to have done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.

And:

Thank you very much.

Subject:	re: goto4all
Sent:	Thursday, April 17, 2008 20:20:22
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you select an LXD model, you will need to change the RA and DEC
Ratio settings to the correct values for your motors and final drive.

An alternate is to activate the optional patch which adds the
Meade 4504/114EQ-DH4 models to the Autostar's menu.

In either case, you'll need to change the ratios.

The correct value for a DS motor set is to multiply the number
of teeth in the final drive gear (the one pushed by the worm)
by 0.0228148
Whether or not that should be stored as a positive or negative
number depends upon how your system is assembled.  If you find
either axis moving "backwards", then change the sign of the number.

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Norbert Seebacher (stan@ebuero.at)
Thank's very much for your help!

I take the LXD55/75 model an set the ratio.
So, I hope I can test it tonight.

Best regards,

Norbert

PS: I thaught I have patched the ROM, but there is no Meade
4504/114EQ-DH4 models to select. I took the Build43Eg.rom and patched to
Build43gg17.rom! Must I activate something? But no problem I select LXD
model!!!

And:

The patch kit has many subsections which are not suitable/desired by most users.
Each section starts with its title in square brackets, such as

[4504/114eq vs DS-70/2060]

The -next- line looks like this:
s=UNchecked

...which means: "Status=unchecked", or -not- selected.
To -select- that section of the kit, change the above line to:
s=checked
and then that section of the kit will affect the ROM file.

If you use StarPatch to install the patches, the subsections
appear as a "check list" early in the process.

have fun
--dick

And:

Thanks very much for your explenation.

Best Regards,

Norbert from Austria

Norbert Seebacher
Amateurastronom
www.astronomie.lernzeit.at

Subject:	lost handset program 494 ext 70
Sent:	Thursday, April 17, 2008 13:37:47
From:	john erickson (jwflash@yahoo.com)
My 494 handset only comes up with 
(c)01 Meade [11E}
A U T O S T A R

I had it hooked up to my laptop (HP 5375) with a RadioShack serial to
usb cable.  The setup had been working. My harddrive failed and I
reloaded the software. I was trying to get them ro re connent working
with the astro finder and autostar suite. I believe I started a upd or a
down load that didn't finish.  The safe mode doesn't seem to work. is
their any hope short of a new 497 handset.
thank you John Wayne Erickson
Mike here: There is no user-installable update for the #494 AutoStar. There is no SAFE LOAD mode either. You could try the "AutoStar RESET from Software" and "Setting/Resetting Any AutoStar Model" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page to see if that will get it back to life. But I suspect you will either have to return it to Meade to be re-flashed or get a new one (#497 would be best).
Subject:	ETX125PE upgrade USB issue
Sent:	Thursday, April 17, 2008 07:40:45
From:	Eckert, Dennis (Dennis.Eckert@flukenetworks.com)
I did my first 497 patch upgrade yesterday using StarPatch (unregistered
version).  Patch43gg17.  Compaq XP laptop with Keyspan US-19 adapter. 
The upgrade kept failing, asking me to put into Safe Mode and then would
fail the upgrade in that mode also. Fortunately, powering off and then
on again showed the 497 programming was still intact.  I then hooked up
AstroPlanner and it communicated OK.  Also AutoStar Suite connected just
fine. Then I remembered the article on MightyETX saying the 497 only
communicated at 9600.  StarPatch config showed it was trying to connect
at 115,200 on COM2. So, I set StarPatch at 9600 and then the upgrade
went fine.  Took about 18 minutes.  I poked around MightyETX to see if
this issue had been reported but didn't find anything.  So I thought you
might want to know.
Dennis Eckert
Everett WA

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The 497 Autostar can communicate at many speeds, including 115k baud
(if you ask two Autostars to "Clone" each other (Setup/Clone), they
operate at that speed).   Using a fully-registered StarPatch, my full
update of 497 Autostars (i have 2) takes two minutes.
(the free unregistered version takes 10... 1 minute at "full" speed,
9 minutes for the second half at "regular" 9600 baud speed).

It is always possible that something else (too thin conductors on your 505 cable,
poor crimp on a wire-to-pin connection, other things going on in your PC,
close-to-marginal components in the Autostar, etc.etc.) is putting an
upper limit on your useful communication speed.

But 9600 baud is -not- a fundamental limit for 497 Autostars,
that's why you're not seeing it reported as such.

have fun
--dick

p.s.

> Compaq XP laptop with Keyspan US-19 adapter.

Just like me (compaq V2405US ... the cheapest laptop i could find that day)

Subject:	goto4all
Sent:	Wednesday, April 16, 2008 07:56:25
From:	Norbert Seebacher (stan@ebuero.at)
Hello,
can i use this patch:
 
Patch Kit for v43Eg (11/24/07)
 
with the goto4all-Kit (Autostar, DS-Series motors, EQ-5-mount).
 
Thank you very much for information
 
Norbert Seebacher
Amateurastronom
www.astronomie.lernzeit.at
Mike here: The patches only work on the #497 AutoStar (has number keys on the controller). If your AutoStar is a #494 (no number keys) then it can not be used. If you do have the AutoStar #497 then you should check the version number in the Statistics menu in the AutoStar. You should use the patch for the version installed. With the proper connections and software you can also update the AutoStar #497 (but not #494) to the current AutoStar ROM (4.3Eg).

And:

Thank you for the fast answer!

I have the #497 AutoStar, an eq5 mount, german-mount and goto4all-Kit.

Now I have updated to 4.3gg (patched). What mount I have to activate
now. With the Rom 3.2g5 I could select an eq5 mount. But on the new
version I could not find this.

Many thanks,

Norbert 
Mike here: Does an LXD55 or LXD75 mount appear?

And:

Yes, there I can select between 6 LXD55/75 xxxx mounts!

Norbert
Mike here: Don't forget to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	re: AutoStar Updater
Sent:	Sunday, April 13, 2008 17:28:24
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
For dealing with User Objects and the Autostar updater, see:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/guide-libraries.html

When you add and delete objects from the keypad, the Autostar
does not "garbage collect" the freed memory, and you can eventually
"fill up" that 63 KB (it's not really 64KB) of FlashRam.

Updating the -firmware- does not affect the contents of the
User Object memory, unless you set the Updater to "erase user banks".


have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Pete (pete.crawford@blueyonder.co.uk)
Thanks for the prompt reply.  The pages by Richard Seymour How to use
the Updater ... Manipulating Libraries and How to Update an Autostar's
Firmware with the ASU 3.61 Updater were just what I was looking for.

Many thanks

Pete

Subject:	re: 454 & 497 controller interchangeability?
Sent:	Sunday, April 13, 2008 17:24:59
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> Additionally, the 494 & 497 controller may have some electronics inside
> all their own. Mount memory of Alt.Percent, and Azimuth Percent is
> changed depending on which controller is used. (e.g., 25% for the 494, &
> 10% for the 497). This is without readjusting the actural memory value
> for each controller. The change is entirely due to the switching of
> controller after turning mount off then back on with other controller.

Actually, ALL of the electronics are inside the 494 and 497 conntrollers.
The Telescope itself has very few of the active electronics, and none
of the "system memory"... all of the parameters (including the storage
of the Calibrate Motors procedure are stored in the 494/497 HANDBOX.
None of it is stored in the telescope.

See:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_schematic.html
for the "inside" story...

have fun
--dick

Subject:	454 & 497 controller interchangeability?
Sent:	Saturday, April 12, 2008 09:27:25
From:	stange34@sbcglobal.net
Do you know if the 497 controller can be safely plugged into an Autostar
which uses the 454 controller without damage to mount electronics or
addel?  -Larry
Mike here: Yes, they are interchangeable. For the list of telescopes and AutoStars, see Meade's AutoStar page: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html.

And:

I have noticed the DS series telescope which came with a 454 controller
has a mount with the program that matches the 497 controller
instructions.

The original 454 manual does not have those additional menu options
illustrated even tho' they are present.

I have opened up only (ONE) of the two different DS series mounts, (2000
& 2100), so have not compared motherboards.

Perhaps this mount got caught in the middle of a production change? 
-Larry
Mike here: I thought you meant "494". I'm not familiar with a "454".

And:

You are correct.... 494 not 454. Too many numbers floating around. Now
to my observations on controllers.....

The 494 and 497 are basically interchangeable on the DS2000 mounts but
cannot be used without re-doing the setup for each one. Such programming
like "Park" in memory will over-run the altitude motor for example and
cause a motor failure and possible permanent damage to the motor brushes
from stall current. Basically the mount just goes crazy.

Additionally, the 494 & 497 controller may have some electronics inside
all their own. Mount memory of Alt.Percent, and Azimuth Percent is
changed depending on which controller is used. (e.g., 25% for the 494, &
10% for the 497). This is without readjusting the actural memory value
for each controller. The change is entirely due to the switching of
controller after turning mount off then back on with other controller.

The startup "Version" display is also changed depending on the
controller.

Minimum AOS appears only with the 497 controller in the telescope menu.

Larry (YC Sentinel)
Mike here: Yes, you do have to do some set up when switching controllers. The controller has the programming, hence the version and capabilities changes between the two models.
Subject:	AutoStar Updater
Sent:	Friday, April 11, 2008 09:06:48
From:	Pete (pete.crawford@blueyonder.co.uk)
I have just bought a second hand ETX90EC which came with an original
#497 controller.  The version of software was 1.1j.  I have downloaded
and installed the ASU version 4.6 and eventually managed to download
version 43Eg.  Everything appears to work well but a) I am unable to
retrieve any data from the Handbox and b) if I try and download any of
the objects (download from Meade) from the library I run out of memory
The handbox has 64.5Kbytes of memory available.

So my questions are a) why can I not retrieve data from the handbox and
b) when the handbox was updated to 43Eg did it overwrite all the
existing Objects with the new ones or do I have to update them manually,
if so which ones do I update.

If I could retrieve the data from the Handbox I guess I could delete it
all and free up memory, then re send all (or most) of the new data.

Great site, as a newcomer I have spend many hours reading all the useful
write ups on your site ( I was just about to use a 12v (Netgear) power
supply to power the scope but luckily read the warnings on your site).

Many thanks

Pete
Mike here: After doing the first update (and before loading any more objects), do you have objects (planets, DSOs, etc.) in the AutoStar? If so, then the update went OK. Then if you want to add more objects, like comets, do so one library at a time. For more on using the Meade updater application, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Version 3.x of the updater that is described is close enough to the current 4.x version.
Subject:	Does Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS Connects to Autostar?
Sent:	Thursday, April 10, 2008 20:56:52
From:	Krishnadas Kootale (ckkrish@gmail.com)
Is there a way to use a Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS, which has a usb interface
to computer, to connect to a Meade Autostar controlled computer?
 
Thanks!
Krishnadas
Mike here: Not directly that I know of. The AutoStar uses RS-232. However, if your computer can pass its date/time/location from the GPS to a telescope control application then that application would communicate to the AutoStar via the RS-232 serial port. However, I don't know which apps would do that. Also, you would need a USB-serial adapter unless you have a real RS-232 port on your computer. Not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I use a Keyspan adapter on my Macs and it works fine from Mac applications to the AutoStar.

And:

Thanks for your quick response.

I have a serial port on the computer, using which I can connect and
upgrade Autostar, and also control the telescope using the Meade cable
that uses the serial interface.  With GPS installed telescopes becoming
popular, I was wondering it would be a good use of a regular
navigational GPS to double up as an add-on to an Autostar controlled
telescope to connect using the auxiliary port.  The posts on your site
and elsewhere seem to indicate such interface is possible with certain
limited number of GPS models, of course, with the necessary patch to
Autostar.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.  Also, just want to let
you know, you have certainly heard this a million times before, your ETX
site with all the useful information is greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
Krishnadas
Mike here: Yes, some GPS units can be connected. There are three articles on GPS on the AutoStar Info page. However, whether that is really useful depends on your observing patterns. If you always observe from the same location and you have a reasonable idea of your location and date/time, then the time it takes to have the GPS pass the info to the AutoStar is almost the same as you could manually enter it. But if you observe from many locations where you might not know the exact location, then a GPS can be useful.

And:

Absolutely.  GPS is not very useful if observing from the same site. 
Even when observing from different sites, the latitude and longitude can
be read out of a GPS and manually fed in. So not having the connectivity
is not going to reduce the accuracy of the location input.

I will be sure to check out the articles on the AutoStar Info page and
make sure I haven't missed anything.

Best regards,
Krishnadas

Subject:	Autostar #497 and Meade software re RA-DEC discrepancies
Sent:	Thursday, April 10, 2008 08:55:44
From:	Eckert, Dennis (Dennis.Eckert@flukenetworks.com)
Equip. is ETX-125PE purchased about six weeks ago.  I've been doing
initial star alignments with the Meade software connected to the scope
(due to cloudy weather here in Seattle predominating).  I'm noting that
the 497 and the laptop Meade software do not agree on RA-DEC and alt-az
values.  The 360-degree AZ test suggested on your web site shows that my
object is off by two degrees (358 when object is dead center after
slewing with the 497)  I did not expect exact agreement so I'm wondering
what epoch the 497 and the laptop software is using.  I have assumed
both are using year 2000?  The errors are on the order of about 1-2
degrees in DEC and 30-45 minutes in RA.  I'm using Alt-Az alignment, and
have done CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES.  The discrepancies are of
the same order in AutoAlign and two-star align.  In two-star align, I'm
picking stars from AstroPlanner's Best Pair alignment function but I
don't think that is the issue.  His RA-DEC readings also don't agree
with the 497 or the Meade laptop software.  Paul Rodman will be at our
astro club this weekend so I'll be discussing with him also. What's your
take on what might be going on?
Dennis Eckert, Everett WA
Mike here: I'll let our resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour, answer.
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I'm a little confused about leap from "358 degrees" to "epoch",
but i'll give it a shot...

>> Equip. is ETX-125PE purchased about six weeks ago.  I've been doing 
>> initial star alignments with the Meade software connected to the scope 
>> (due to cloudy weather here in Seattle predominating).  I'm noting 
>> that the 497 and the laptop Meade software do not agree on RA-DEC and 
>> alt-az values.  The 360-degree AZ test suggested on your web site 
>> shows that my object is off by two degrees (358 when object is dead 
>> center after slewing with the 497)   I did not expect exact agreement

I expect much better than a two degree error...
(i'm on the road this weekend, not at home in Seattle)
(and Tuesday night was -lovely- (i know, since i was stuck indoors packing))

>> so I'm wondering what epoch the 497 and the laptop software is using.  
>> I have assumed both are using year 2000? 

The Star database is J2000, and that's what it displays as coordinates.
But the Autostar -does- apply precession correction to "Jnow" before actually
performing the GoTo.
Some of the DeepSky catalogs are actually J1950, and it precesses them, too.

 >> The errors are on the order
>> of about 1-2 degrees in DEC and 30-45 minutes in RA.  I'm using Alt-Az 
>> alignment, and have done CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES.  The 
>> discrepancies are of the same order in AutoAlign and two-star align.  
>> In two-star align, I'm picking stars from AstroPlanner's Best Pair 
>> alignment function but I don't think that is the issue.  His RA-DEC 
>> readings also don't agree with the 497 or the Meade laptop software.

I believe AutostarSuite is also J2000.  I have not fully chased down
if it applies Jnow correction for the displayed coordinates.
When the Autostar receives a -remote- command (with coordinates)
it does NOT apply precession, since it assumes the external source
knows -precisely- where it wants to go(to).  So if Autostar Suite
properly applies precession to the object coordinates it sends to
the Autostar, the Autostar does -not- apply precession a second time.

>> Paul Rodman will be at our astro club this weekend so I'll be 
>> discussing with him also. What's your take on what might be going on?
>> Dennis Eckert, Everett WA

Oh... Everett... you're outside of my Seattle convergence zone microclimate.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Auotstar making strange noise
Sent:	Tuesday, April 8, 2008 20:00:32
From:	j.a.f@comcast.net (j.a.f@comcast.net)
Sorry to bug you with this, but you seem THE authority on it. I recently
bought an ETX-80 (loving it), I just had a quick question on the
autostar. I checked the site and couldn't find any answers. When it
stops slewing it continues to make a noise, almost a grinding, it's hard
to describe. Anyway I was just wondering whether it should ever be
silent. When you first turn it on it is quiet, it's only after it finds
the first object it starts making this noise.

I appreciate any info.

Thanks James

p.s. great resource you've put together here.
Mike here: You say the "AutoStar" is making this noise. Could you mean that the telescope mount is making the sound? If the sound is coming from the mount (and I believe it is from your description) then that is normal; the motors are running to move the telescope to compensate for the Earth's rotation and keep objects in the eyepiece. The sound will occur once you have completed the alignment.

And:

Thanks Mike.

That sounds exactly what it is.

James

Subject:	Meade LX90 setup
Sent:	Friday, April 4, 2008 01:13:14
From:	Tim Williams (mail@williamsmunck.co.uk)
I am having problems setting up my Meade LX90 which is now in a
permanent location. The scope is mounted on a Meade wedge on a steel
pier (AC282) from Pulsar Optical. The photo shows the installation.

The wedge is set up correctly aligned on geographic north at 50.49'40"N
latitude.

The scope was bought in 2005 and the Autostar has not been updated.

The one and two star set up routines do not work since they call for
adjustments of the tripod!

How can I best set up the scope for future use  I will be using scope
driver on a Mac Powerbook.

I have looked at http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2004/polarhome.html

Am I right in assuming that state 3 also applies here?

Once in that state which autostart routine should I run?

Should I unpdate the autostar controller software and to which version?

Should I buy an up-to-date autostar controller which doesn't forget the
time each time I switch off?

Tim

photo

Mike here: State 3 probably applies (although I don't have a LX90 to know from experience). But some comments: once you place the LX90 in the proper HOME position as described in the manual you can use any of the AutoStar alignment modes. If a step doesn't apply, such as moving the tripod, just ignore it. I assume you have done a good Polar alignment of the mount; using the "Drift Method" is best for the initial alignment of the wedge. You likely only need to do that once (unless you move the wedge). As to updating the AutoStar, it won't hurt and you'll have all the bug fixes and software improvements. You can use AutoStarX to update to the latest version (4.3Eg); the link for AutoStarX is on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Note that you will need a #505 serial cable (easy to make; see the AutoStar Info page). You will also need a USB-serial adapter for use with the PowerBook. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page; I use a Keyspan adapter with my PowerBooks and it works fine to update the AutoStar and use ScopeDriver. Lastly, there is no AutoStar which remembers the time; it always defaults to 2000 (8PM). Since you have a permanent location you might want to consider using the SLEEP or PARK functions of the AutoStar.

And:

Thank you for your prompt and comprehensive reply. I will have another
go once the sky clears.

I do have all the right bits to use the Mac and that part is all set up,
tested and ready to go.

I will also update the firmware and let you know how I get on.

Tim Williams

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Copyright ©2008 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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