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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK

Last updated: 30 April 2012

Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, AudioStar, 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:	Re: Meade DS 2114S refusal to go to properly
Sent:	Friday, April 27, 2012 13:29:34
From:	Kevin O'Brien (Shamrock_KOB@comcast.net)
I will try the SYNC this weekend and let you know how I make out.
Thanks again for your help.

Kevin O'Brien, P.P., A.I.C.P.


Subject:	Meade DS 2114S refusal to go to properly
Sent:	Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:00:06
From:	Kevin O'Brien (Shamrock_KOB@comcast.net)
Your site was suggested by members of the Amateur Astronnomers of
Cranford, NJ, where I am a member.

Great site!!  Thanks so much for all of the information.
 
My problem:

I have 'trained' the drives according to the manual, reset the hand
controller to be sure that all of the entered parameters are correct,
and I still cannot get the scope to point where it is supposed to.  When
I align the scope - either two star or easy align, the scope
consistently points approximately 5 degrees right and 10 degrees below
the target star.  Even when I slew the scope to the correct position
manually and finish the alignment, when I try to 'go to' any object, I
am again right and below the object - in a consistent manner and always
a consistent distance away from the wanted object.
 
This has happened to me on numerous occasions and at a star party I
brought the scope to to ask for help.  Nothing I try changes this.
 
Any advice?
 
Kevin O'Brien, P.P., A.I.C.P.
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? Do that, then do the TRAIN DRIVES. Be certain to TRAIN on both axes.

And:

Yes, thanks for the suggestion - I did both of those processes exactly
as shown in the manual.
Mike here: Since the initial alignment stars and then GOTO objects are consistently off, check your location and time settings, including the timezone. If all those are correct, lets try to pin things down. Do an EASY ALIGN; GOTO Spica. How far off? SYNC on Spica; GOTO Saturn. How far off? GOTO Spica? Since you SYNCed on it, is it centered?


Subject:	ETX 125 Handbox cable
Sent:	Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:12:26
From:	Ernie Iverson (ewiverson@consolidated.net)
I just discovered that my ETX-125 hand box cable has a short in it. 
Bend the cable just right and the scope turns off.  Do you know where I
can get a replacement or find a substitute?  I tried a standard CAT-5
cable but it appears to be wired differently.  Do you know the pin outs
for the hand box cable?  Seems like I should be able to just rewire a
CAT-5 cable into the proper pin out.  Thanks for your help.  Looks like
we were almost neighbors.  I grew up in Palos Verde's and moved from
Carson to Texas in 2008 when I retired from Raytheon (actually Hughes).
 
Ernie Iverson
Lufkin, TX

And:

Just found the "Yet Another Autostar HBX Cable" article on the Autostar
Information page.  That looks like what I need.  Thanks.
 
Ernie Iverson
Lufkin, TX

And more:

I rewired a 6 foot cable and everything seems to be working fine.  I was
able to train the drive motors and do an alignment.  I spent about an
hour using the "go to" capability to find various targets.  They all
pretty much fell within a 15 mm eyepiece field of view.  Tomorrow I
repeat the process in equatorial mode.  I'm getting ready for next
months annular eclipse.  I plan to travel to California for the event. 
Do you have an opinion on maximum length of the modified Ethernet cable?
Mike here: See the article "Long Autostar Cable" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.


Subject:	Proc. Trap 2 error
Sent:	Thursday, April 12, 2012 16:56:43
From:	bobp@carolina.rr.com (bobp@carolina.rr.com)
I just found your web site and thought you might be of help concerning
the following situation I have found myself with. A couple of weeks ago
I bought a new ETX-90. It came with the #497 Autostar hand controller.
The ETX-90 is the newer model being made now in China and has a somewhat
different configuration then the older version. For one its control
panel is on the upper fork assembly and not on the lower assembly that
mounts to a tripod. Every thing worked great up until I set the Autostar
in Polar mount and performed a Polar alignment. After slewing to view an
Object, I turned the power switch to off to save power while I check on
some things. The next time I powered it on the Autostar gave me the
normal copyright statement and then beeped as normal and then displays
Proc. Trap 2. I called Meade support and was told that my Autostar is
toast and under warranty they will replace it, but they no longer are
make Autostars and must replace it with an Audiostar. According to Meade
support the Audiostars are backordered and it will be 2 or 3 weeks
before they can send a new one to me.
 
They told me that the Audiostar was the same as the Autostar with the
addition of speech. Is this correct?
 
Also they told me that there was no way I could correct the Proc. Trap 2
error. Is this correct?
 
Any help you can give would be very much appreciated as I'm very new to
this hobby and am just getting started.
 
Thanks You,
Bob
Mike here: The AudioStar is functionally the same as the AutoStar but with speech. As to the error, reloading the ROM might cure the problem if it was due to memory corruption. You will need a #505 serial cable (easily made).

And:

Thanks for the information. In an attempt to see if I could get the
Autostar running again, per your suggestion I made a cable and attempted
to update the 497 Autostar. The update ran per the information on your
web site and per the instruction at the Meade site. The ASU ran the
update with a completion percentage being displayed in the lower left of
the screen. After about half hour the ASU dispalyed a message that it
had completed the upgrade. After exiting the ASU progarm I saw that the
Autostar's display was now completely blank. I turned the scope off and
back on and the Autostar display remains blank. No response to any keys
at all. I again attempted the "Enter/Scroll Down" key combination with
out success. Given that I had a partially functioning Autostar to start
with do you have any suggestions, besides just sitting back and waiting
for Meade to send me the new Audiostar replacement?
Thanks for your help,
Mike here: Odd. About 30 minutes is the right length. Try using Star Patch from www.stargps.ca. It can sometimes work better, especially if you are using a USB-Serial Adapter.

And:

Thanks Mike for the suggestion, but since I can't get my Autostar to go
into "Safe Load" and according to Star Patch web site, the Autostar must
at lest be able to enter "Save Load" for Star Patch to work. I don't
think it will help. My Autostar does not initialize when power is
applied, nor will it enter "Safe Load". The only thing that happens is
that when the "Enter" key and "Scroll down" key are pressed at the same
time when power is applied, the number 8 and 9 keys light up. Sort of
weird! The display remains completely blank no matter what I try or how
many times I attempt to enter "Safe Load".
Mike here: Apparently the Safe Load code was corrupted.

And more:

I was using a real RS-232 serial port. I built the home brew 505 cable
using a rj10 and a db9 connectors following the instructions on your web
site. That part worked correctly. From reading on you web site and
across the internet, it appears that I fell into the same trap that
others have by updating the Autostar with firmware that is incompatible
with my version of Autostar. After research its my guess that the basic
boot strap code as well as the "Save Load" code was over written with an
incompatible version of the code. Not knowing any better, I updated to
the latest level of code which my have been the final straw for my
Autostar!

In regard to this problem, and since this ETX-90 scope package was only
2 weeks old and still on warranty, I thought it strange that Meade
support did not request that I do an upgrade on the Autostar or just
send it into them to do the upgrade since I saw many places on your web
site as well as other web sites where an upgrade fixed the Trap 2 issue.
Meade support just said that the Autostar had been phased out and
replaced with the Audiostar and I should toss the Autostar in the trash.
Well, I think I sealed its fate! But I'll hold on to it for possible
parts in the future.

Thank again for your help!
Mike here: Yeah, definitely keep it for parts!
You might try the technique mentioned in the article "Recovering from a Bad AutoStar Download" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.


Subject:	RE: problems with Autostar 494
Sent:	Monday, April 9, 2012 21:45:01
From:	lennin amador (lennin31@hotmail.com)
thaks for you mail...
 
I mean the alignment stars 
 
Before to connect my telescope in the pc with the ASU Autostar Suite
Software, the autostar worked correctly. I could to align my telescope
DS2130 in the home position  to one star, two stars (I could select
diferents stars: Sirious, bettelgious..etc)....However afther that,
alignment stars options disappeared. 
 
I had other problem, the tours options  disappeared too. However I
solved it when I charged the new tours options with de RS-232 cable. 
 
My problem is essentially that I can't see the alignment stars options
in the autostar's display, I can't see the stars. But the the telescope
works correctly because it moves to the random start selected. I mean
random star because I can't see it in the diplay....
Mike here: So you are saying that when you power on the telescope the initial ALIGN options screen does not appear. What screen does appear? Also, does the ALIGN options screen appear if you manually scroll to the SETUP menu?

And:

When I power on the Telescope appears  the options: 
 
Easy Align.....(should be several stars to align the telescope)
One star
Two stars
 
The options inside in the options Easy Align, One star and Two stars
does not appears.
 
For example, if I select the One star Align I can't select neither star
inside in this option, but I can select it in an arbitrary mode using
the UP/DOWN Autostar's keys becasuse I can't see the stars that should
be in this mode.

When I powered on my telescope for the first time, this options appeared......
Mike here: When Easy Align is selected, you should see a prompt to put the telescope in the proper Home position. When you then press ENTER the AutoStar selects a star and slews to it. A prompt appears that says to center the star and then press ENTER. Once you have done that, the AutoStar selects the second star, slews to it, and prompts you to center it and press ENTER when centered.
With One Star align, the AutoStar slews to Polaris first and prompts to center it by moving the mount without using the AutoStar. Once centered you press ENTER and the AutoStar slews to an alignment star.
With Two Star you select the alignment stars.
But you say that none of these steps occur. I would suggest doing a RESET. If that does not solve it, it would seem that the software in the AutoStar is corrupted. Since you have a #494 AutoStar which does not allow the user to reload the software, you will need a replacement. I suggest getting a #497 AutoStar, which is user reloadable.


Subject:	Meade lx 90, 8" SCF
Sent:	Monday, April 9, 2012 03:45:35
From:	Paul Walshaw (paul.walshaw@roberts-mart.co.uk)
Hi, I am having a problem with the auto alignment, Not sure if you after
set it up a different way as I have the equatorial wedge on the tripod.
When I try and align it's a long way out. Any ideas would be appreciated
  
 
Regards,    
 
Paul Walshaw 
Mike here: I assume you have you set the mounting mode in the AutoStar to Polar. So, the next obvious questions are: have you set the correct date/time/Daylight Saving/location? Have you started with the telescope in the proper LX90 polar home position? Lastly, how far off is the first alignment star?


Subject:	problems with Autostar 494
Sent:	Sunday, April 8, 2012 11:12:48
From:	lennin amador (lennin31@hotmail.com)
I have problems with Autostar 494. In the aligment options (easy
aligment, one star, two star) it not appears the stars to be selected. I
ready started the system, I removed the internal battery, however it not
works correctly.

Can you help me to solve this problem?

thanks.
Mike here: If you mean that the name of the selected star does not appear, see the "Brightest Star" option in the Utilities menu. Toggle that to display the star name.
If you have an old 494 it probably doesn't have the Brightest Star option.
If you mean the alignment stars are way off from where the telescope points, be certain you are setting up in the proper HOME position for your telescope, have the correct site location, date, time, and time zone selected. Also, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.


Subject:	RE: DSX-90 Serial Issues?
Sent:	Friday, April 6, 2012 10:49:40
From:	Dave Wave (showtime100_f@hotmail.com)
Thanks Mike,
  
I'll try another adaptor and starpatch.

Great Info on your site...answered lots of questions...Thanks for putting it up!
 
-Dave

And an update:

I got it working.
 
It seems the USB adaptor was the issue. It checks good with other serial
devices, but will not work with the autostar. I did manage to talk to it
via Hyperterminal thanks to your webpage. I have a new one on order.
 
Another question:
 
Will the meade ASU software download current TLE data? All the updates
on the meade site were several years old.
 
Is the one central site on the web that has current data that can be
used by the autostar?
 
Thanks again for the help.
 
-Dave
Mike here: Yes, TLEs can be downloaded into the AutoStar. Meade's AutoStar Updates page has a list of TLE sources:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html


Subject:	DSX-90 Serial Issues?
Sent:	Thursday, April 5, 2012 16:48:30
From:	Dave Wave (showtime100_f@hotmail.com)
I am trying to hook my DSX-90 to my computer via USB/serial without
success.
 
I have a 497 handset (I assume, it is the one with a keypad).
 
When I plug the cable into the handset, the handset display goes
blank...Is it supposed to do that (the backlight stays on though)?
 
Does the handset need to be set to download data or will it sync from
anywhere in the menus?
 
I am sure I wired it correctly and set the port as Meade specified at
9600 baud.
 
Any insight appreciated.
 
Thanks,
 
Dave
Mike here: With the latest AutoStar Suite update application and a recent ROM version in the AutoStar, you do not need to manually enter the Download mode on the AutoStar to update the AutoStar. BUT the display should not go blank. As has been mentioned many many times on the ETX Site, not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. You could try using StarPatch (from http://www.stargps.ca) to do an AutoStar update. The best version for your DSX would be 4.3Eg.


Subject:	AudioStar manual in the LX80 Manual
Sent:	Thursday, April 5, 2012 13:58:12
From:	Ron (nh6wl@sbcglobal.net)
The LX 80 manual is on the Meade website in the manual section.  Pages
33 through 49 is all about the operation of the AudioStar.  While not a
separate manual I have printed out those pages to get away from the
addendum insert.

I haven't gone through it with a fine tooth comb but did find that in
the menu tree Messier catalog is listed under Stars and not Deep Sky. 
it is correct in the addendum.

Ron 


Subject:	RE: autostar 497 and PE base
Sent:	Tuesday, April 3, 2012 07:14:30
From:	Geoff Ruzgar (kemruz@gmail.com)
Many thanks for the tip. I updated the firmware to the latest my 497
controller would take and on powering up I saw the put the scope in LNT home
position. I did and hey presto! All was working.
I now have an LNT edition instead of the EC wow amazing stuff.
Many thanks
Geoff
From Scotland


Subject:	autostar 497 and PE base
Sent:	Monday, April 2, 2012 05:31:26
From:	Geoff Ruzgar (kemruz@gmail.com)
I have an ETX 90 EC with a 497 autostar hanset all works well. Recently
I purchased an EXT 90 PE fork and base unit with LNT module and
transferred my OTA to this.

When I plugged the 497 (non EP) and tried to align the RA motor screamed
in avery high pitch moved and then staopped with motor fault error.

My question is will the 497 bea ble to access the LNT capability or will
a firmware update be needed or will I need a 497EP controller?
 
Any help appreciated
Geoff Ruzgar
Mike here: The #497 AutoStar will be able to work with the PE model IF the AutoStar software version is at least as current as the PE model (circa 2005). But if your AutoStar is currently at 4.3Eg, it should work. If not at 4.3Eg, I suggest updating to that version.


Subject:	494 controller
Sent:	Saturday, March 31, 2012 11:46:24
From:	michael m (michael2272272000@yahoo.com)
I called Meade about buying a hand controller for my 2005 etx 125.  The
technical department told me to buy a 494.  I bought a new one on ebay
and when I tried it, the message said " us a etx controller"  I have
tried to use my 497 and get the same message. Any ideas? I searched and
could not find any info.
thanks
Mike here: You need a #497 AutoStar. If you got one that predates the ETX-125 (1999), you will need to update the software in the AutoStar to something layer. I would recommend 4.3Eg.


Subject:	re: I think I bricked my #494 Autostar, is there any hope??
Sent:	Saturday, March 31, 2012 08:51:07
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Although the 494 probably is now a brick, don't throw it away!

The 494 can be a useful "organ donor" for any newer 497, 497EP,
Audiostar or LX200gps with a broken LCD display panel.  (for broken
494s, too)

good luck
--dick

And:

From:	Claudius Stute (claudius.stute@gmail.com)
I wasn't planning on it.
I'm currently bidding on a #494 with a broken display on ebay.  Even
though I have a #495 coming this Wednesday.
The only issue is that the old LED displays don't work with the
controllers with the new displays. 

But like you said, it's always good to have an extra for parts.
           ___l___ 
 \____@=('''')=@____/

Claudius Stute


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