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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK

Last updated: 31 August 2013

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. 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:	Can not find auto set up stars
Sent:	Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:53:39
From:	GALEN STEELE (galensteelejr@msn.com)
What am I doing wrong?  I have both an ETX-90 and 125.  With both the
Audio Star and Auto Star finders.  I set them up parallel to the ground,
swing them counter clockwise till they stop then move the logo over the
controls.  Last step is to point the tube north.  The problem is then
they swing clockwise till they stop after 1 1/2 revolutions without
finding first star??
 
Thank you and will miss your site.
 
Galen
 
Sent from Windows Mail
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Remember, you have to do that on each telescope whenever switching the AutoStar/AudioStar between them. Thanks. ETX Site will remain online for the foreseeable future; just won't be updated with new material.


Subject:	Failure of 3-497 handboxes in 10 days
Sent:	Wednesday, August 28, 2013 15:41:14
From:	Rick Horton (hortonhouse1@gmail.com)
In the last 10 days 3 seperate hand boxes have stopped functioning when
attempting to use my 125etx. Scope is running on a meade D-cell battery
pack, realitively new alkaline batteries testing @ 11.4v idle. Scope has
had a LNT module & 1244 focuser added, connected thru aux ports &
installed/used multiple times over last 8mo w/no issues. Scope is
usually set up on tripod for alt-AZ use but is used freq. w/meade
tabletop legs in polar mode.

#1 handbox, (primary), had been functioning fine, alt-az mode, 
approximatly a 3hr session, parked scope, shut down & covered(left power
connected). Returned next evening, powered on & appeared ok. Attempted a
"goto", recieving the usual display message(s) & coordinates followed by
"slewing" message. No motor activity of any kind. Shut down, attempted
again, no joy, swapped out cables 3x, also attempted w/o lnt & focuser
w/easy align, no difference. Attempted to use on 1 of my lxd mounts &
multiple cables w/same results. Shows 43g software, prob upgraded by me
a couple yrs ago w/asu. Handset still looked operational when checked
again thru lxd, but no motor activation.

Handset2 (usually a spare), was running 32e i believe. Plugged in &
checked for motor op. Appeared ok, (other handset, #1, would not
activate motors. No goto attempted. Upgraded via starpatch thru lxd
mount, 43gg, also added some current info to library. Checked op after
update, motor control, fake goto, again on lxd. Changed settings for
etx. Setup 125 in polar, trained & calibrated, did an "easy" align. All
nominal. Parked, covered came back next nite & turned on, multiple times
& no display, no beep. Keypad lites up. Frustrated, tried my etx90
handset & won't progess past "welcome" screen. I have no scopes ready to
try handset(s) with lxd is packed for long weekend & 90 is tore down for
cleaning & lube. I really do not want to try either of my 497's I use w/
my lxd's. I cannot figure out what might be causing this & hoping for
some quick expertize/repair advice, although I have had tore down for
cleaning, regrease, worm adj I have no working knowledge re the
electronics. I had promised to take  scopes on this family campout &
spent the last yr getting 6 g'kids pumped & I cannot let them down!!

    RickH
Posted yesterday on 4 disccusion groups but have had no response
Mike here: I recall Dick Seymour had a problem about 10 years ago (or longer) where some problem with his ETX-90 was frying his handcontrollers. So, if the problems are all starting from one telescope, I would suspect an electrical problem there. If you connect a 9V battery to your AutoStars (when not connected to a telescope; see the "AutoStar Power Information" section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page for how to do this), you might be able to get them working again, or at least, download the current 4.3Eg version.

And:

Thank you for quick response.. just dug out my lxd75 mount from the back
of the camping gear to attempt reloading controllers., & yes problems
seem to revolve around the 125, suspected a power board problem & dug
around looking for info on etx site re same, but the amount of info
there is almost overwhelming & easy to go around in circles. I had a
vague recollection of postings by Dr Clay about a similar prob but could
not locate. I posted on 2 groups that he regularly posts to but he never
chimed in.. I will follow your lead & check that portion of the site..

Sorry to see you have to go "dim". I own a service company in a small
Iowa town, we have struggled with the same access issue for several yrs,
I often am forced to "carry" data & a laptop into the closest metro area
to file claims &/or order parts file taxes etc. I feel your sadness, &
as you attest to, there is no profit for the corporation providing
service to upgrade anything. I'm at the stage in my life where it's too
late to start over or quit, & I hope I can be as philosophical as you
when the time comes to turn off the lites..

Clear skies & Cool dry evenings to you & your loved ones

RickH
Mike here: Thanks. The skies will clear once our monsoon ends next month! Been a rough summer here; lots of cloudy nights and very little rain.


Subject:	ThanX !!!
Sent:	Tuesday, August 27, 2013 17:50:29
From:	Mehdi reda-fathmi (mehdi.redafathmi@fcm.ma)
Hi Mr Weasner, Hi Mr Koring,

I can say and testify that both of you made my day!

this: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_testing.html
and
that: http://www.meade.com/manuals/autostar/apb.html

allowed me to correctly modify a 4 by 4 cable with dual RJ10 (normally
used for cloning purposes) to a 4 (Rj10) by 6 (Rj11) cable - obviously 4
out of the Audiostar and 6 getting in the USB interface.

When i had the X and then the A on hyperterminal, i knew it was over :)

Now slewing remotely...

Thanx again !!!!


Bien cordialement - kind regards,
mehdi reda-fathmi


Subject:	thanks
Sent:	Saturday, August 24, 2013 11:00:12
From:	Mitchell Harwood (mharwood@mitchharwood.com)
Wow. I am thrill you are still maintaining this page. I have and
autostar controller that says 35-4700-03 on the back . I am now trying
to use it with my youngest son. Is there a way to tell what version of
the software we have using a computer. How would we update it? thanks!
 
Mitchell A. Harwood
Mike here: As noted on Announcements: Site page, the updates will continue for a few more days. You can see the full version number at Setup: Statistics: Version on the AutoStar. You didn't say what telescope you have or what the AutoStar model number is. The AutoStar #494 has no number keys, whereas the #497 has number keys. The #494 is NOT user updateable. The #497 can be updated using the AutoStar Update application from Meade or StarPatch (from http://www.stargps.ca) if you use Windows. If you use Mac OS X, you can use AutoStarX (link on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). Info on updating is also on the AutoStar Info page.

And:

Looks like it says 12e (2003)ON CONTROLLER  and the program that came
with it was autostar suite web edition 55. It has an exe file.

It has only the joy stick (arrows) so no numbers. The scope  is a ds-200
series. is a refractor, 10mm diameter, 700mm focal lenth. The etx-2000
series is a much better scope. 

Mike here: Not user updateable then. There is no "ETX-2000" series. The currently shipping models from Meade (in the USA) are the ETX-80 and the ETX-90.

And:

Sorry. There was a note for owners of the etx-70 and ds 2000 in the box
on the locking mechanism. Now that my older boy is 12 I would like to
step up to a better scope, with a much better mount and tracking
mechanism. As I am 56, my days of Sky and telescope subscriptions are
far behind me. So any recommendation is much appreciated. And thanks
again. 
Mike here: If cost is not a concern, both Meade and Celestron have excellent high end telescopes. I have a Meade LX200-ACF in my observatory and it works well. Meade LX90 models are also good, for somewhat lower cost. There are many many models and styles out there. I suggest working through a local telescope dealer if you have one. Otherwise, talking to a real person at a quality dealer like OPT (www.optcorp.com) is a good idea.

And:

Thank you very much. I did get it to work tonight, but it is not such
great device.  Celestron was a great name when I was a kid, with meade a
second. Again, thanks for taking your time.  
Ps. Its too bad some of the ipad apps can t interface with the telescopes. 
Mike here: I use SkySafari Pro with my iPhone and iPad to control my telescopes. See my review on the Accessory Reviews: Software page. Also, see the SkyFi and GC Wi-Fi Adapter reviews on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.


Subject:	COILED AUTOSTAR CABLE
Sent:	Tuesday, August 20, 2013 04:38:17
From:	david maitland (maiters9@gmail.com)
Not sure you can help me, hand box cable absolutely stuck in telescope
will i damage anything if use some kind of lubricant.be much obliged if
you can offer any advice.

              Cheers David from U.K.
Mike here: Sometimes the plastic tab on the HBX cable connector can't be depressed enough when using a finger. I use a small flathead screwdriver to depress it. Doing that, I've always been able to remove a stuck HBX cable. Sometimes a gentle wiggle of the connector up/down or sideways may be required. I don't recommend using any lubricant.

And:

Thanks for your reply it did the trick. I'm new to this, I don't want to
hassle you, but, bought etx 125 pe with faulty autostar, managed to find
cheap 495, upgraded with 43eg seem to do the trick apart from when auto
align finding level seems to be around 5 deg to high not sure about
north, when it slews to centre star it seems to be well off like it's an
hour behind? I have set auto star to local time, would be much obliged
if you could give any advice.

              Cheers David 
Mike here: Be certain you have done a CALIBRATE SENSOR (which adjusts for your local Magnetic Variation), CALIBRATE MOTOR (which adjusts for battery power output), and TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes, which adjusts for variations in gear movement).


Subject:	Motor Failure Message
Sent:	Monday, August 19, 2013 06:22:18
From:	Rodolfo Mier (rodomier@yahoo.com)
Hope you are doing well, i own an etx125EC telescope which is frequently
giving me a Motor Failure Notice on the autostar and resets even during
the training and alignment process. I have gone through your website for
answers and have done what is suggested (updating software, change
batteries, DC vs AC current, etc) . I am very sad to have lost this
function on my telescope. Warranty is long gone, need to resolve this
issue but nothing has worked. I have never opened the electronics of my
telescope and refuse to do so to avoid damaging even further. I
considered Dr. Clay's Supercharge but the $345+ service cost is way too
high for me at this time. Would appreciate your advice on what to do to
save my telescope.

Thank you,
Rodolfo Mier

Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android
Mike here: Have you checked the HBX connections? There could be an intermittent connection. Check the condition of the HBX jacks and connectors; look for dirty or bent pins, or pins that are too depressed. Also, if you can, check the cable continuity; you might have to jiggle the cable while checking. You could also try jiggling the cable while using the AutoStar; that could indicate a cable or jack problem.


Subject:	Update AutoStar Version
Sent:	Friday, August 2, 2013 09:33:26
From:	Bill Marshall (b_l_marshall@icloud.com)
I'm trying to update my AutoStar controller (#497) from 41EC to the
newest version.

I do not have access to Windows any longer and I now have a Macbook Pro.
My question is how can I update.

Thanks, in advance.

Bill
Mike here: Use AutoStarX (see the link on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). Update to 4.3Eg (which you can get from Meade's site or the AutoStar Software Archive on the AutoStar Info page. You will need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar. I recommend Keyspan adapters.


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Copyright ©2013 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/aug13/autostar.html