|Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, cables, and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.|
Subject: Autostar software compensating during polar alignment Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 20:17:35 From: Robert Amdahl (email@example.com) I have a Meade ETX 125PE and I thought that I saw something on your site about the Meade software being able to compensate during polar alignment between Polaris and true North. Is this true or was I dreaming? Also, if it is true, would you point me to the article? I hate to see where we would be without this site. Please don't get sick or anything! Thanks, Bob AmdahlMike here: I assume you are referring to Auto Align with the PE model. During the Level-North steps, the AutoStar detects Magnetic North and then uses your location to adjust for Magnetic Variation to determine True North.
I am asking about the PE model with the LNT. My question is probably dumb and plays off my laziness. What I wondered is if I line up the scope to Polaris in polar mode, does the autostar software make any sort of compensation for the difference between Polaris and the North Celestial Pole. In other words, by just aligning to Polaris will I be able to do the polar mode go-tos and tracking as if I actually did the alignment to the NCP instead of just to Polaris? See I told you it was a dumb (and lazy) question. Thanks, Bob AmdahlMike here: If you do a One Star alignment (when mounted in Polar Mode and have the AutoStar set for Polar mounting), then you will be prompted to center Polaris WITHOUT using the AutoStar slewing controls; you center Polaris by adjusting the mount. Once you have centered Polaris and press ENTER, the AutoStar now knows where the NCP is located. By the way, don't forget that CALIBRATE SENSORS will also ask you to center Polaris; that adjusts for Magnetic Variation (and other magnetic interference).
Subject: RE External Power for Autostar Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 13:42:24 From: Andy Swain (firstname.lastname@example.org) I dont know if this is me but reading a list "External Power for Autostar " i came across the following 5. If you get this step backwards, you'll fry your handbox! Twist the black wires of the battery connector to the wire connected to pin 1 of the patch cable. Twist the red wires of the battery connector to the wire connected to pin 8 of the patch cable. 6. Looking at the handbox (HBX) connector, this puts the + side of 9 volts to pin 1 of the hand box and the - side to pin 8 of the handbox. Verify it before you plug it in! Separate each wire and tape over them and you're done. Dose not 5 contradict 6 please i.e. on pins 1 and 8 are the +ve and -ve the wrong way round? assumind black is -ve and red +ve? Regards AndyMike here: Well, I guess it does read that way. Follow the diagram info.
Yes i looked at the diagram and the HBX shows +ve on pin 1 and -ve on 8 which is the way i did it So do you think that the item 5 is wrote wrongly? BTW this is my first scope a ETX-125 and im taking time on your site to read and re read the information I have had the scope for 2 weeks (secondhand shown working in Ferrybridge services lol) and its still in its hard case But like to be up on the things before i use them will somthing as delicate as this anyway and the power for the autostar will help me get used before using it on the scope Well thats what im hoping. Thansk for such a great and informative site. Regards AndyMike here: Keep in mind that you really don't NEED to make many of the modifications or do many of the tips offered on the ETX Site. Certainly, I recommend using the telescope as it is for awhile to see how it performs. Use internal batteries, or perhaps a proper AC Adapter connected to the ETX external port jack.
Subject: Re: 497 anatomy Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 08:34:33 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) I'm not at home, so i can't -look- at a 497 for reference. I don't know what reference you've seen for the 494, but the 497 should be -similar-. Your external switches are bridging the two solder pads under each slew key, exactly the same as the 494. If the 494 instructions used the holes (vias) in the circuit board as solder points, then it's "simply" a case of following the copper traces to appropriate holes. Verify the trace with an ohmmeter (zero resistance to the tinned pad the key touches) before soldering. Please take pictures and write a report for Mike's site when you're finished! good luck --dick
Subject: ETX Autostar Hackup inquiry Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 15:38:54 From: charles c. littell III (firstname.lastname@example.org) My ETX125PE is hiding in the closet ever since she heard me discussing hacking. She has nothing to worry about--my intended victim is the nifty ETX80 refractor. I bought it on closeout a lot cheaper than the price of a Digital Setting Circle with computer. Somewhere in that humble ETX80 Autostar goto system there muct be rotary encodors, that feed data to the Autostar. My Frankenstein monster is a youthful 25 year old Meade equatorial fork mount 10" SCT model 2120, with an R/A AC drive operable (one speed anyway.) But with a DSC setup, I could maybe? push the auto star to id objects pointed, even arrange it to tell me a direction to push when it thinks it is driving AltAz motors. Is this a feasible project, to take ETX encoders from an ETX80, and attach them to the 2120 fork mount in a usable manner, and get the Autostar to provide "Shove-To" directions? Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated. I don't have $600 to throw at an off-the-shelf DSC system, gotta be a way to use the hardware I have and am will ing to hack up (i.e. the ETX80 Autostar system.) Chas in Dayton Charles C. Littell, III Dayton, OHMike here: Well, it may be doable. Check "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts (AutoStar info)" linked on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Also, checkout the Roboscopes Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roboscope).
Subject: 497 anatomy Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 11:12:46 From: Jason Smith (email@example.com) I see your schematic for the 497. Could you post the solder points if someone wants to interrupt the directional arrows (horizontal left and right, vertical tilt up and down) with their own switch? I've seen this for the 494 bit not for the 497. Thanks! Sent from my iPhone
Subject: roboscope goto problems Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2010 08:11:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I have a mannual eq5 mount that is identical to the meade lxd75mount it has a meade 114mm reflector mounted on it and I have added ds drives and a 497 controller to it. in mannual mode it seems to perform well. But if i get into the goto mode and select an object then press goto it slews left or right and the points down I have to turn it off before it collides with something .If you mannualy turn the scope to an oject sighted and lock it backup it will track..please take in mind ,I am a raw recruit when it comes to this stuff ..someone told me to find out how to set up in home positioton to start with and he could help me from there. Is there any written instuctions I can obtain to set up autostar for my application.I find what is out there to be quite vague. If there is anthing you can help me with it is grealy appreciated thank you in advance. JerryMike here: First, you might want to check out "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts (AutoStar info)" linked on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site. Second, you might want to check out my (now discontinued) LXD55/75 web site (http://www.weasner.com/lxd) for information on the LXD mount and AutoStar. In order to have the AutoStar do its GOTO thing, you do need to start out its alignment from a known Home Position. That might be the same as the LXD mounts, so checkout the LXD site and also the LXD manual (available on Meade's web site). And checkout the Roboscopes Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roboscope).
Subject: Keypad repair update Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 19:17:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) After two weeks of testing and using the AutoStar 497 several times, that I repaired using the Circuitworks kit, I compared it with another AutoStar 497 that I had which seemed to work satisfactorily. The repaired Autostar's keys were much more responsive than the second AutoStar. I checked the container of keypad repair compound, which had been mixed two weeks before, and it appeared to still be usable. I then dis-assembled the second AutoStar and painted all of the keypads in it. This resulted in better key responsiveness with this AutoStar also. It has now been about a month since repairing the first AutoStar and three more uses with no deterioration of key responsiveness. Forrest Lundberg
Subject: meade lx90 keypad Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2010 06:10:21 From: roy hanson (firstname.lastname@example.org) how to change the date from 2009 to 2010.dont know how to move the cursor sidewayes to change the year thanks if you can help me ow to move the cursor sideways after inputing date and month.sure would appreicate help on thisMike here: Use the Left and Right slew arrow keys to move left and right through the onscreen text.
Subject: eq5mount with dsdrivesand 497 controller Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 17:47:33 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sir, I have recently adapted ds drives to my mannual eq5 mount and I am using a 497 controller. The question I have is why does one gear ratio display with a + and the other with a -. If this is not correct , then how do I change it??Jerry
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) The sign in front of the Ratio determines the direction the motor will spin. Which one is "correct" depends upon the number of gears between the motor and final gear, and which way the motor is "pointed" with respect to the worm against the final drive. You can change the -sign- by having the Gear Ratio on the screen, and use the "left slew" key to move the cursor to the sign's position. Now the -scroll- up/down keys will change the sign +/-/+/- Use the "right slew" key to move the cursor away from that position (if you wish) to change the digits. [enter] locks it in. have fun --dick
Subject: Re:ISS puzzlement (AS FB, 12 Apr 2010) Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 10:10:40 From: Mike Hogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) You said: "I had downloaded fresh satellite data from the Meade site on Friday, updating from Epoch 2010/082.1716 to 2010/028.2635." How did you download and install the data? The current Two Line Element from celestrak.com, which is what the Meade site links to, is: ISS (ZARYA) 1 25544U 98067A 10103.17094671 .00015855 00000-0 10986-3 0 9643 2 25544 51.6468 204.3381 0004589 158.3845 274.0045 15.74670563653238 which has an epoch of 2010/103.17094671 as indicated by the third parameter. If you somehow 'updated' from day 082 to day 028, you actually went backwards to Jan 28th. Using that dataset, it's not surprising your predicts were off. As Mike suggested, try entering the data manually and see if you don't get better results. Regards, Mike Hogan
Subject: Autostar #495 and ETX125EC Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 13:54:18 From: Juan Manuel Soares de Lima (email@example.com) I recently bought a second hand Meade ETX125EC and, at the same time, an Autostar #495 controller. After the buy I've reading and apparently this control is only for DS models. There's some way to modify the firmware or something like that to make this controller compatible with the ETX? Thanks a lotMike here: You can update the #495 to a #497 using software. You will need the Meade AutoStar Update application from Meade's web site (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html). You may need to use an earlier version of the ASU app and perhaps an earlier updates (both available on the AutoStar Software Archive on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). You will also need a RS-232 serial port on your computer and a #505 serial cable. If your computer has only USB, you will need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. You can easily make the #505 serial cable; see the AutoStar Info page.
Wow, thanks for your fast answer and so positive news. Finally, can you send me some links about howto make the #505 serial cable? Thank you very much. Best regards Juan ManuelMike here: You can easily make the #505 serial cable; see the AutoStar Info page for lots of cable information.
Subject: ISS puzzlement Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 06:07:13 From: George Finlay (firstname.lastname@example.org) Maybe you would be able to help with my current challenge: I got up early yesterday morning hoping to track ISS for the first time. As luck would have it a cloud bank prevented observation, but I encountered a data issue also. Despite these two predictions, the first from the Sky and Telescope Satellite Tracker v1.5, the second from Heavens Above, my AutoStar, at 05:10 am local had the next ISS pass for 05:58 local. I double checked my date, time, and site setups and found them accurate. I had downloaded fresh satellite data from the Meade site on Friday, updating from Epoch 2010/082.1716 to 2010/028.2635. Any thoughts? I am using ASU 5.9.1 with AutoStar software version 5CE1. 2010/04/11 05:24 am 3 31 above WNW 35 above NNW 11 above NE 11 Apr -2.3 05:23:19 20 W 05:24:53 35 NNW 05:27:35 10 NE Search period start:00:00 Sunday, 11 April, 2010 Search period end:00:00 Wednesday, 21 April, 2010Observer's location:unnamed, 40.7575N, 74.2561WLocal time zone:Eastern Daylight Time (UTC - 4:00)Orbit:342 x 349 km, 51.6 (Epoch Apr 10) George FinlayMike here: I have not used ASU nor an AutoStar #497 for ISS data. I have always had good luck entering the data manually into my AutoStar II and tracking has been pretty good with my LX200-ACF. You might try entering the data into the AutoStar manually.
Thanks for your usual quick reply. I will give manual entry a shot. George FinlayMike here: There are some articles on ISS and other satellite tracking on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
I will check out that info on your site asap. George Finlay
Subject: re: Autostar #497 and equatorial mounting Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2010 14:53:51 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) Join the Roboscope Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roboscope Very few people have connected the Autostar to stepper motors. Most (99.95%) people adapt the Meade analog motor units to the new mount. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: NEW TO ETX & ASTRONOMY Sent: Thursday, April 8, 2010 12:25:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Changed the batteries out with brand new; as before, scope will slew in all four directions but display is just blank red boxes. You mentioned another possibility via cable/software? Help!! Thanks, Bryan ps I am pricing a replacement just in case.Mike here: You will need a #505 serial cable (easily made using the information on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). You will also need a RS-232 serial port on your computer. If you have only USB, then you'll need a USB-serial adapter, however, not all work reliably with the AutoStar (see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page; I recommend Keyspan). Next you'll need the updater application; for Windows use the Meade AutoStar Update application (see "AutoStar #497 Downloads (Meade site)" on the AutoStar Info page) and for Mac OS X use AutoStarX (link on the, you guessed it, page).
Thanks!! I'll keep you posted.
Subject: Autostar #497 and equatorial mounting Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 14:46:11 From: Alberto Castellani (firstname.lastname@example.org) we are two friends in love with astronomy and we are building an equatorial mounting -German style-, equipped with stepper-motor 200 steps/round. Have you got info on how we can manage the mounting directly on the autostar #497? If managing the stepper-motor is too complicated, we would consider using CC engines/motors. Would you know a web site where we can find detailed info on how to manage CC engines/motors from autostar (PIC programme) and so how to adapt it to the mounting? Thank you so much for your kind consideration to this letter of ours and for your reply. Best regards Alberto Castellani - Paolo GirardinMike here: There is some information on that on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site, including "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts".
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