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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 19 April 2011
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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 etx@me.com 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:	Slow speed coorinate jump problem
Sent:	Sunday, April 17, 2011 03:06:03
From:	G. Alexiou (galexgrr@otenet.gr)
I have built an alt-az base with AUTOSTAR 497 with meade DS motors. I
use it to goto my 8'' skywatcher Newtonian telescope. I have the
following problem :
When I use low speed (6X or lower) to manually move the telescope, I
noticed that the alt-az coordinates on my autostar screen jump backward.
For example :
 
The screen says in az : 28 35' 15''.
I press    4   in autostar so I have 4X speed.
I press   >   and take 28 36' 30'', 28 37' 20'', 28 38' 35'', and so on.
Suddenly while I still press     >       , I take 26 25' 22'' on my
autostar screen, i.e. the az coordinate decreases instead of increase
(it jumps 2 degrees backwards).
This does not happen with 7X and 8X speeds.
Does anyone know how to solve this problem? Is it an autostar or motor
problem ?
 
Thanks
 
George
Mike here: What version of the AutoStar ROM is on the AutoStar? Also, have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES?

And:

I have done motor calibration and train drives. How can I find the ROM
version? (it is 43e - if you mean that).
I will try a cleaning of the encoder gears...
Thank you for the respocse

George Alexiou
Greece
Mike here: Yes, 4.3Eg is the ROM version. It is shown in the Setup: Statistics menu on the AutoStar. Cleaning the encoders can help. While inside the base, check for a loose gear mount or a gear with broken tooth. Either can cause jumping.

And:

I think that the problem is more complicated. I cleaned the alt motor
encoder and gear, but the problem remains. It happens with both the
motors. I unscrewed the motors from the base and the problem still
remains, so it is not a loose gear or broken tooth.
Mike here: Recheck your homebuilt Alt/Az base then. Perhaps some bolt is loose.

And:

Finally it seems that cleaning the encoders and the gears inside the
motors, solved the problem. Both alt and az motors work fine with low
speeds. I took the idea of cleaning the encoders from here:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2005/encoders.html
Your site is very helpful.
Thanks

George

Subject:	Can an Autostar 497 be used with a 315 tooth worm gear on RA
Sent:	Saturday, April 16, 2011 23:08:07
From:	John (majorobs14@yahoo.com)
And a different ratio on the DEC. axis at the same time?
Thanks
John
Mike here: Probably. You can adjust the ratios in the AutoStar. There are some articles on that on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Setting up Altazimuth Home position
Sent:	Monday, April 11, 2011 10:56:39
From:	Peter Gillham (peter_gillham@yahoo.co.uk)
I have inherited a Meade ETX-125EC. I cannot understand Alignment
procedure for "Home Position"
The instruction states;
Turn the telescope counterclockwise until it stops. (not a problem).
Then turn the telescope clockwise until the fork arm is directly over
the computer control panel, and lock the horizontal axis !
Which fork arm ?, there are 2. One has scale with degrees, the other
plain.
If I turn to the anticlockwise stop, the scope is approx 45 degrees
offset to the right, do I turn it clockwise through 360 degrees to allow
the scope to move 1 complete revolution. All very confusing, hope you
can assist.

Regards
Peter
Mike here: There are lots of alignment tips on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Basically, set up the tripod with the N leg on the True North side and control panel on the West side. Rotate the telescope CCW until you reach the hard stop (it will be pointing about Southwest). Then rotate the telescope (not tripod) back to point to True North (a rotation of about 120 degrees). With the tube level, you are now in the Alt/Az Home Position for the non-PE ETX models.

And:

Many thanks ,Mike, for such prompt response. Will try out.
Regards
Peter

Subject:	ETX60 and 497 Autostar
Sent:	Saturday, April 2, 2011 10:43:14
From:	Max Byerly (davenport-tennis@hotmail.com)
I was wondering if the 497 controller will work with my ETX60?

Thanks
Max

Sent from my iPad
Mike here: As shown on Meade's AutoStar page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html), yes.
Subject:	updating a broken / older Autostar
Sent:	Friday, April 1, 2011 20:42:41
From:	Nicholas Deer (nicholas_deer@yahoo.com)
I'm relatively new to your website and have been surfing it for a few
days now but have run out of ideas on how to update my non-functioning
Autostar handbox. According to your photos it is an older unit with the
exposed RJ-45 connections at the base of the controller. I've started it
in "safe" mode to a message that reads "Flash Load Ready 3.0".
Unfortunately, that's as far as I get. Once I plug my USB to serial
cable into the Autostar the screen goes immediately blank and no matter
how many different version of the software I run, it is unable to
connect to the handbox. I'm sure you get more than enough of these
e-mails with questions, but you seem to be the expert on the subject and
Meade was no help when I contacted them. Thanks for your help,

Nicholas Deer 
Budding Amateur Stargazer
Mike here: You said the magic words: "USB to serial". Not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. You may or may not be able to get yours to work; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters. You might try using StarPatch (from http://www.stargps.ca); it sometimes works when Meade's program won't.

And:

Wow, that was a lightning fast response, thank you. I'll check out the
article you mentioned. The strange thing is it did connect earlier this
week, but wouldn't update the handbox after numerous tries. Do you know
of someone that I can send my unit to that would fix it? I'm somewhat
computer savvy but not used to messing around with serial connections
and com ports, etc..

 Nick
Mike here: Dr. Clay Sherrod provides a telescope Supercharge service for tuning up the entire telescope system, including the AutoStar.

And:

I appreciate the information on Dr. Sherrod. I had one other question;
There's a seller on eBay that's offering new Autostar Controllers for
$85. Would it make sense just to upgrade to this newer unit, or does it
not make that big a difference?

 Nick
Mike here: If you can get your current one working again, no reason to get another one unless you want a backup AutoStar. As to AutoStars sold on eBay, be certain to check the model number.

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