Welcome to the Autostar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar, 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 email@example.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: Autostar Cable & LX200 Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 14:26:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fernando Pertuz) I have a #505 connector cable and it works fine with the PC and Autostar both using Starry Night (Ugh!) or Skymap 3.2. I wanted to try it with the club's LX200 so I compared the wiring diagrams for both the autostar and LX200 and this is what they looked like: 6-pin modular connector LX200 Autostar 1= not used 1= not used 4= Ground 2= Ground 2= not used 3= not used 5= PC receive 4= PC receive 3= PC transmit 5= PC transmit 6= not used 6= not used Notice that although the POSITION in both coincides the pin numbers do not. However in the autostar diagram the pins are numbered in the same oder of their position. Anyway plugged the 4-pin cable end to the LX200 RS232 connector on the power panel and.. you guessed it, it didn't work. I would appreciate it if somebody could shed some light on how I could get this to work. For example if I were to make an adapter how should I wire it i.e.: 4-pin autostar end 4-pin LX200 RS232 1= not used 1= to pin ?? 2= Ground 2= to pin ?? 3= not used 3= to pin ?? 4= PC receive 4= to pin ?? 5= PC transmit 6= not used Thanks Fernando Pertuz email@example.com
Subject: summary of new version 2.2ed AutoStar Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 08:55:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) It seemed like a blessing at first when Meade announced its new "v2.2ed" version of Autostar, promising less "rubberbanding" a fix on some random motions problems and various other attributes as well document on the last update of the Weasner ETX site. However, this "fix" is not without some serious problems and I would strongly urge each ETX user to refrain from uploading to his or her AutoStar until it has been more carefully checked out. There ARE bugs and these are not minor. Whether or not they may be as serious as the v2.3 fiasco only time will tell. However, below is the summary of two days of testing. For this, after sudden reports from both ETX and LX-90 users with this new version of major problems ranging from jerking motions to no sidereal tracking, I loaded TWO new AutoStars with v2.2ed and ONE with v2.1ek, both with identical ephemeris elements for identical objects (comets, asteroids, satellites, tours). Here are both the results of this testing and the combined reports from other users throughout the United States on the night of April 29-30, 2001: 1) the GO TO accuracy of v2.2ed is everything claimed; very accurate, but much slower than v2.1ek; 2) the method of GO TO is considerably different in v2.2ed as it appears the AutoStar is "reading" the encoder step-by-step in GO TO slews; the telescope at 17 GO TO's combined resulted in the unit appearing "confused" as it would take off for the object....get close....and then begin moving opposite and away from the target object; this was confirmed with BOTH v2.2ed AutoStars; not evident with v2.1 at all; 22 GO TO's centered at 227x in the ETX 125 and 23 objects in the LX 90 on the same pier. 3) time to the GO TO finished "beep" is about twice what it is with v2.1ek; 4) slews during GO TO are VERY rough and full of noticable vibrations which have left two (2) LX 90's inoperative; this jerking motion is very pronounced, causinig some scopes to jump visibly as it begins its final "zeroing-in" of the GO TO object or alignment stars; the test AutoStar with v2.1ek moves very smoothly and quickly to a more precise GO TO on 22 of the 24 objects tested (both computed and fixed). 5) tracking - sidereal tracking on v2.2ed equals lunar rate on v2.1ek; you cannot track at medium power for more than 8 minutes with v2.2ed, and this was determined on my pier which has a tracking history with v2.1ek of four hours without alignment. I was able to confirm with the two RELOADED to v2.1ek AutoStars that tracking did resume accurately when NOT using the v2.2ed. 6) during "Train Motors" it is very difficult, indeed sometimes impossible, to train motors because the AutoStar arrow keys DO NOT respond to centering speeds of less than five ("5"). It was necessary to reset the A.S. three times on one AutoStar to get it to respond to centering; ALSO, even when the arrow keys did respond, the motion was very jerky and frequently would overshoot the target by leaps, rather than a slow and constant motion. This was not evident in the v2.1ek at all on the same telescopes. 7) slewing - once you have attained your object and the encoders are "out of the picture" as far as the scope's operation, your slewing is normal with v2.2ed, without the violent jerking seen in GO TO's; 8) motion during alignment/GO TO's - the motion on v2.2ed now is alternating azimuth-to-altitude-to-azimuth- type of centering and moving; there is no longer a combination of motion to get to the desired object; this is apparently what is causing the jerking motion; 9) the jerking and lack of accurate tracking may have something to do with the new accessory port #909 for the LX 90 that Meade is about to introduce; this unit will accept the CCD autoguider and it is believed that this jerking motion is the reprogramming of the encoder/microprocessor recognition of step-corrections. 10) taking BOTH AutoStars that were loaded with v2.2ed and converting BACK to v2.1ek last night resulted in an absolutely flawless function of both my ETX 125 and the LX 90 scopes. In v2.2ed they virtually did not track, did not GO TO properly and it sounded like there was a considerable strain on both drive mechanisms as it attempted to locate GO TO/alignment objects. Going back to v2.1ek eliminated all the problems and the GO TO's were very precise and sidereal tracking was back to normal. The reports from particularly LX 90 users are coming in by the droves relaying disheartening messages of failed declinations, jerky and incomplete GO TO's and inability to track for more than 10 minutes on telescopes that have been operating flawlessly for months. It is clearly the new v2.2ed version AutoStar that is causing the problems, as all of my correspondents reported NO problems prior to uploading the new firmware; all, however have reported the identical problems as described (some even from indoors with inclement weather where the scope could actually be SEEN shaking and vibrating as it attempted alignment and GO TO practices!). If you wish to upload v2.2ed, you may see less "rubber banding" based on the nature of the GO TO commands, but it will be at the sacrifice of accuracy, tracking, and who knows what type of wear and tear mechanically as the gearworks strain to move the scope under this new system. If you DO choose to upload now, PLEASE keep a backup file of the v2.1ek ROMS files (December 2000 - the "Database" and "Autostar" ROMS, both 640k each), as I am sure you will want to revert back to it at some point. Best of luck, and I hope this message gets to all our ETX users! P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky ObservatoryMike W. here: All the old Autostar Updaters and ROM files are available on the Autostar Software Archive page (linked from the Autostar Information page).
From: email@example.com (Mike Hadey) Very interesting report. I have not had a chance to try out the goto functions to anywhere near the extent that you have. As I said. The scope did go accurately to the sun (user object as an asteroid) and it accurately tracked in Alt/AZ mode for over 2 hrs. I hope to get enough clear sky tonight to try to duplicate the goto experience that you have had. I didn't notice any of the jerking or vibrating that you talk about but, again, I only did two quick start-from-scratch "fake" alignments during the day. Did you try the 2.2Ed firmware in both Alt/AZ and Polar alignment? Cheers, Mike H.And a reply:
Only in Polar. I have been getting some favorable reports on ETX 125's out there; all the ETX 90's and LX 90's are reporting "Motor Unit Faults" and very rough tracking/GO TO's.....I wonder if this may have something to do with default alt & az RATIOS, and a change there that is not downloaded properly to the A.S. except with the ETX 125; I know that one of the primary upgrades supposedly for this new firmware was to eliminate the rubber banding so evident in the ETX 125. I will keep digging; please keep me informed how yours does....on my -125, my tracking just just horrible and very erratic. thanks - Clay SherrodAnd:
On my ETX-90 I did have to set the Ratios to a lot lower value than for the 2.1Ek. Particular the Alt. I also did experience a "Motor Unit Fault" with the new 2.2Ed firmware when I was manually slewing in Alt and Az at the same time to get to the object that I use to train the drive. I thought that it might be due to the fact that I was using batteries (85%...I checked after the fault) as opposed to my regular AC power supply and the fact that I just got through tightening up the dec slop. However, after reading your reply, it may have indeed been a result of the new FW. I've only seen one other Motor Fault since I've had the scope and that was after I put too much Teflon tape on the trunions. I've run with batteries at a much lower % with no Motor faults. I'll play with the new FW for awhile in Alt/Az and let you know the result. Mike H.And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Clay, now that i'm back, and have a whole 3 hours of daytime running under my ETX90's belt... i've gotta say i don't see your symptoms. I ran a bit in Alt/Az, then switched to Polar. I tracked the Sun for over half an hour... if anything, my ETX was a scootch -fast-. (15 arcminutes after 40 clock minutes). How much of that is due to Solar rate differing from Sidereal i haven't calculated. I tried GoToing lots of objects... by simply running through the Named Star list... (one of my "unbiased" tests). I never saw the scope do anything funny. Back in v21eK i -could- create an oscillation by carefully screwing up a Park sequence... it sounded like the Az motor was being run with a "duty cycle" of something like 80 percent towards goal, 20% retreat. Very audible in my ETX90, much slower slewing. You mentioned Training problems. I have no problems with training.... all speeds appear to be available (ok, i didn't -test- "1", but 2 was there). Many of your symptoms sound like the saved-between-power-ups memory wasn't properly cleared and reset after the download. The easy way to tell if it -was- is by noticing if the telescope does a Calibrate motion after the downloa..... wait a sec... are you CLONING? or DOWNLOADING? (from the Updater) CLONING may not properly clear out the Autostar's memory. The keypad RESET doesn't do a -full- job of clearing it. Try taking one of your "flakey" autostars, and DOWNLOADING it with A2.4. Fire up the Updater, just [send software], let it save your User Objects, and walk away. Mine (even) exited A2.4 without me doing any button clicking. And fully reset my Autostar (including Site and Calibration). (even if a Cloned Autostar -tries- to Calibrate, if it's on the telescope-less Cloning cable, it can't!... Unless the -receiving- Autostar is on the "fully connected" arm of the cable.) Folks: if/when you update, be SURE to answer the questions on the Autostar as it does the first Initializing... while still connected to your PC. Don't just turn it off. They involve clearing out and resetting the remembered-after-power-off memory .. otherwise old data (in obsolete locations) pollutes your operations with painful effect. IF you -did- power down, try -chainging- your Telescope model away from the "right" value, and then change it -back-. That resets the Ratios (among other things). Whacko Ratios are a definite clue of not-fully-reset power-off memory. --dickMike W. here again: The jury is still out on what is happening with the Autostar 2.2Ed update. The LX90 crowd seems to have the most problems reported so far. The ETX community is getting mixed results. Stay tuned...
Subject: Autostar update 22eD Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 20:36:38 From: email@example.com (Jeff Helps) I went through the update process to 22 eD but the version number in Autostar still shows 21eK. Should it show the new version number? Thanks JeffMike here: What shows in the statistics menu item?
And Jeff replies:
Subject: version 2.2 possible MAJOR WARNING!! Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 18:52:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) POSSIBLE AUTOSTAR V2.2 WARNING!! Those of you who have uploaded version v2.2eD please check out your GO TO's and see what is happening. I have heard from four users (two ETX and two LX 90 on the new version and I, myself, have just come inside and have found what they are saying to be true for BOTH ETX and LX scopes. The GO TO's are very, very accurate....BUT, both the altitude and azimuth slewing to GET there is extremely rough and shakes the scope all over the tripod. You cannot even have your eye to the finderscope. This is NOT occuring in my backup AutoStar still loaded with v2.1ek. To make matters worse, the problem is compounding with each GO TO and as the telescope hones in each GO TO object, the scope shakes violently from the encoders as they are reading the positions of the drive system. This is happening with TWO AutoStars, both loaded with v2.2; again, v2.1ek does NOT have this symptom. I am urging those who have not yet uploaded this new version to hold off a couple of days. It is so rough, I am hearing parts rattle in my declination fork arm from the motion of the encoders. I am still working on it and will be back in touch tonight later. Clay Sherrod
Subject: maybe some answers Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 14:55:58 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hi John - Perhaps I can give some insight into some of your legitimate questions. 1) Regarding alternate stars for initial alignment, you can either use the "Two Star" (not "easy") align; this allows you to pick your own stars, "Enter" and then follow commands on Autostar; 2) Keep scrolling until you find the star you want; a warning however - Autostar accuracy appears to diminish the MORE stars you scroll through. I have experimented and this is most definitely the case. Pick one early on for best alignment. 3) The best way to enter your "site" is to reset and start all over ("afghanistan" will come up; scroll using the lower right key to the nearest country and city and then hit "enter" each time). This will automatically default your AutoStar to the correct TIME ZONE and offset east or west of Greenwich for ease of editing; then merely select that site and scroll to "edit/latitude...." and key in the correct latitude of your site; then MODE back to "edit....[scroll down again to] longitude" and enter and key in your longitude. 4) You are correct that 0.00 refers to Greenwich. 5) I am very glad that the RESET worked for you....too many times people get frustrated beyond belief when a simple RESET / RETRAIN will do the trick! Hope this helps. P. Clay Sherrod
Subject: How to reset an autostar on power up. or possible warning. Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 06:11:36 From: email@example.com (Bob Rose) Sorry for the false start on this subject a couple of weeks ago. I haven't heard anymore from Meade engineering about using the "MODE" key to reset the Autostar. I now have had a chance to do some experimenting on my own. Pushing the "MODE" key after power up on 2.1Ek and the new 2.2d does not have any effect on my autostars. So, I then reloaded 2.0i on one autostar and pressing the "MODE" key after power up reset the autostar to factory fresh, "don't know who you are, where you are, what language you speak or what telescope you own", settings. This would be great to know if you mess up your display setting for brightness or contrast. However this could be disaster if you just powered up your autostar for a night of viewing and accidentally bumped the mode key right after power up. So anybody that is still running 2.0i and possibly older versions of software should be extra careful to stay away from the "MODE" key during power up. It is a wonder I haven't discover this before know. I routinely will hit the "MODE" key after power up to abort the date and alignment screens. I do this to get to the data entry screens so that comet, satellite and user data can be updated before the scope is aligned. Usually while waiting for alignment stars to appear. If I hear anymore from Meade I will send you a post. clear skies bob rose firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: 22Ed Firmware Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 05:17:26 From: email@example.com (Mike Hadey) It's been awhile since I've been in touch but with company wanting to tour the UK and the crummy weather, I haven't had much of a chance to use my scope. I just loaded the new 2.2Ed firmware and tried it out on some sun spots with my zoom eyepiece set at 8mm. I'm pleased to say that the rubberbanding seems to be virtually gone in Alt/Az mode. I centered the sun spot from every direction (stopping without reversing). I also used different speeds for the approach. The only rubberbanding I noticed was when I brought the spot in from the right side of the FOV (image is reversed left for right). After about 7 seconds the spot would move back to the right about 1/3 of the FOV and then stabilize. But at ~156 power this is a HUGE improvement over what I was seeing before with 2.1Ek. I can't wait to try out the new firmware on multiple objects. The accuracy must be pretty good because I just set up on my patio scratch marks, trained the scope, did a "fake" align, and did a goto my "Sun as asteroid" and came very close. Be interested to know how the rest of you do with this new load. Cheers, Mike H.
Subject: Re: quick question Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 09:43:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Anthony No battery failure or drain, nor moving from one source of power to another will EVER require a reset or retrain or even re-calibrate motors. You are fine just putting in new batteries....you might consider getting a good rechargeable Power Pack (one of those DC portablepower sources at Wal Mart "Ever Start" you can get for about 12 sets of batteries!! and it give a LOT more accuracy) as it puts out about 14 volts instead of less than 12 which is what you internal batteries are putting out. thanks and good luck! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Anthony Hi Mr. Sherrod, I have a question about your service. It sounds like a great thing to have done, which I probably will... but this question remains. If the batteries are changed ( which usually need it after 2 long steady nights or so), will the motors need to be re-calibrated and things like that... won't that lose some of the effectiveness of your exact settings like alt-az percents and the training? Or will the battery levels not affect that? Thank you, Anthony
Subject: new Autostar ROM files Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 08:45:14 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) You've barely come to grips with 21eK, and here comes 22eD! v22eD is the 4/27/01 -dated item at: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html You will also neeed to download the A2.4 updater (Autostar Update Client Application for Windows http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Auto.exe) and, after installing the Updater, replace the Autostar.rom and dbase.rom with the new ones from the 22eD package. Visit Mike Weasner's site for more details www.weasner.com/etx/ To quote from their update.txt file, it has: ==== Improvements to the 497 AutoStar from 21Ek 1) Added controls for #909 Accessory Port Module to use with LX90. 2) Made corrections to Guided Tours. 3) Improvements to LX200 command set. 4) For ETX-90 and ETX-125, park position is always home position. 5) Arrow to show tracking speed. 6) Minor corrections to the data base. Note: Remember to re-train your telescope after loading new program. ==== I won't be able to put it into my Autostar until Wednesday 1st May, but it also has fixes to some satellite tracking items. (just 'cause i can -run- it doesn't mean i can't -investigate- it) have fun --dick
Subject: new download version 2.2ed from Meade - April 27, 2001 Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 05:38:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) As of April 27, Meade has introduced a NEW version for AutoStar, version v2.2ed which is now available for download. Improvements for the ETX series telescopes include: 1) "Park" allows ETX scopes to always go back to "home position" (whether polar or alt-azimuth); this has always been a problem in the past, with less-than accurate "park" positioning; 2) The "arrow" keys now show your slewing/tracking speed; 3) The "tours" database has now been fixed to eliminate the previous problems; 4) Some corrections to computed position databases (ephemerides) have now been updated! I have not yet tried it in operation but have downloaded. It appears to be a "new improved model" of v2.1ek, with improvements made to the AutoStar accuracy as well! Clay Sherrod
Subject: 1 more question Sent: Friday, April 27, 2001 21:04:38 From: email@example.com (Wei-Chieh Chen) With the newer Autostar version, how do you set the Autostar so that it skips the Sun Warning and the Getting Started messages? I'd rather just turn the telescope on and see the Set Time and Date instead of that annoying Sun Warning over and over again. Thanks for your time once again.Mike here: A search of the ETX site for "sun warning" (exact match) will reveal the answer to your question. (hint, click the link from the Autostar Information page in the hit list)
Subject: Autostar 2.2Ed available Sent: Friday, April 27, 2001 17:23:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sean Peacock) Just a note that 2.2Ed was posted 4/27/01
Subject: Beginner's question on centering objects after alignment Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2001 08:23:24 From: RLatuchie@rcrh.org (Latuchie, Richard) I recently purchased an ETX90, am new to Astronomy, and am thouroughly enjoying the process of learning and exploring. This is a very basic question, as I have only started to use my Autostar 497. I have gone through the training process, and am using the easy two star Alt-Az alignment. Once aligned, I am generally finding objects easily, but occasionaly wish to center an object, without throwing the alignment out of whack. Do I merely use the arrow keys center the object, and press enter, or is there another mechanism. Thanks for an increadibly valuable resource, and a special thanks to Clay Sherrod for his new constellation guides. I find that I can spend several evenings on each one, and it is a wonderful way to learn more about this great activity. DickMike here: As long as you ONLY use the Autostar keys to slew the scope the alignment will be retained. It is when you unlock an axis and move the scope by hand that you will destroy the alignment.
Just to make sure I understand. If I have done a goto, for example to Jupiter, and find the planet not quite centered, I can use the autostar keys to center the planet, and autostar still "thinks" that I am locked on Jupiter? Then the next goto that I use will, in fact be accurate? What I feared was that if I used the arrow keys to slew to the right that, that autostar would no longer consider me to be centered at Jupiter, and that subsequent gotos would be off by the amount that I had to slew to center the planet. I hope that clarifies my question, and I do appreciate your patience.Mike here: Just slewing around doesn't change the Autostar's idea of where things are in the sky. So slewing a little bit to center Jupiter won't affect the next GOTO. That GOTO may also be off a little bit, requiring some slewing.
Subject: Re: Autostar and Slewing Speed Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2001 08:01:02 From: email@example.com (Michael Owen) Just to let you guys know that the Autstar reset seems to have done the trick . I am now slewing in any direction and at any speed like an old hand. When I did the reset one thing threw me with the location - Im not sure what timezone 0.00 refers to - I assume this is London at GMT -sure to find out when I use the Autostar. Unfortunately the weather has been cloudy here for the last few days, and the forecast is similar for the next few. I have had the scope set up and from our hotel room looking west I have a good view of Jupiter and Orion. A couple of observations and questions for you. The finderscope alignment withstood the trip in the aircraft hold, when I set the scope up it was still spot on . (the Pelican hardcase, btw did the job). The cross wires on the finderscope are very difficult to pick out at night - I aligned stars but blanking them out with the middle of the cross hair , but its fiddly. Interestingly constellation dont sem to be much more visible here than in London . I found this surprising. I can for example , with naked eye see the main stars of Orion, but not those of the bow. When I am doing an aligment if the star selected if obsured I can scroll down and use another, but can I select the stars Autostar does teh alignment on to save time. Eg with my westerly view Aldebaran and Procyon would be my first choices . Well this is Owen signing off from Lanzarote - it is cloudly but its a whole lot warmer than London and I cant complain about the sea and cerveza! Regards Michael
Subject: Autostar and the missing "Guided Tour" Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 03:15:49 From: RLibby@aol.com Here is a puzzlement..After sending my ETX 125 to Meade, who fixed one problem, and updated my software to ver 2, I now have the problem of the telescope not finding the correct calibration star by about 5 degrees, but even when moved there, and pressing "Guided Tour"..I get a message saying "Not Available" Any one else have this problem? I am calling Meade in the morning.. Ralph LibbyMike here: Sounds like the Tour was deleted. You'll have to reload. As to the alignment stars being off, could it be 15 degrees off? That might indicate that DST was not enabled in the Autostar.
I talked on the phone to Meade today, and they suggested I do a "reset" and start over...I'll let you know the results.And more:
I talked to Mark at Meade, he suggested a Reset, which I did..Now, Autostar thinks that Sirius almost directly overhead, someplace past the altitude stops. There is still no "Guided Tour" Another call to Meade this afternoon is on the agenda
Subject: 506 cable Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 12:22:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Francoeur) Do you know of plans for the 506 cableMike here: No plans for the 506 cable and its built-in electronics have been posted.
Subject: SAO Catalogue Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 10:39:40 From: email@example.com (Francesco Rizzoli) is it possible to know What are the 943 SAO stars inside the box (Autostar )? If I dont know where are those stars this file is useless to me . There is any map that can help me ?The SAO catalogue is a very huge collectio of data base . Thank'You very much and molti saluti da Venezia, Francesco RizzoliMike here: Check the "More Autostar Database Information" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Re: 125 report Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 08:25:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Bob You still thinking about the western deserts are you??? Let me tell you a trick about "rubber banding;" first there are several kinds, but everybody is linking these altogether. What YOU are experiencing is the AutoStar making up for lost time. In other words, you are entering your TIME at intitialization....locating your own guides stars (which takes a bit of time), centering careful (which takes more time), going to the next star (which adds time) and centering that....get my drift? By the time you hit "Enter" on your last star alignment, much time has elapsed. ONLY then do your motors engage; in Alt-Az operation, you are operating BOTH motors to track sidereally. What the scope is doing is attempting to MAKE UP for all the time you spent between: 1) entering time; and 2) the clocks starting on the telescope for the actual determined sky calculations AFTER you have aligned both stars. The longer you wait, the greater the differential. That is the "rubber banding" you are seeing! Try speeding up (this will come naturally pretty soon) and you will see this effect disappear! (and always remember to press "enter" (ha-ha). Glad everything is going well....you will get used to Polar and love it when you do. Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- Clay: I am delighted with the performance, but I have decided that Polar alignment is not for me unless and until I get a permanent pier, and an adjustable chair. It provides for some very odd viewing angles, and I'm not limber enough to contort to some of the positions required on the 887. Went back to Alt/Az last night, after training in that mode, and was very happy with the results. The Go To's were pretty close, always putting the object or the guide star near the FOV center of the 8x25, and usually somewhere in the field of view of the 26 mm. On High Precision, I was able to get to the Messiers I was searching for without any difficulty. Picked up M104 and M8 quite well. 104 wasn't well resolved, but since I know what it looks like, I was able to recognize it. The atmosphere is not the steadiest right now. Spent a lot of time going from star to star to test the Go To capabilities, and all went well. Whenever I was in doubt, I returned to Arcturas, and it was always right there. The scope tracks remarkably well for about 15 minutes before any hand guidance is required. The only glitch I have discovered is in declination adjustments while trying to center an object. I think the term is "rubber banding?" I center the object, then the declination takes off on its own in the opposite direction. To compensate, I had to put the object at or near the top edge of the FOV, and play with it until it rubber banded back to approximate center. This seems to begin after about 30-45 minutes of operation. Az adjustments do not show this problem. Any suggestions for clearing this up? That aside, the scope is very tight, very responsive. Makes me eager to move to altitude in a low humidity area. BobMike here: Actually, given the design of the ETX, getting proficient in both Polar and Alt/Az mounting is probably best.
Subject: autostar tour Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 07:43:00 From: email@example.com (T. J. Koenigsfeld) This may be a dumb question, but lets say i downloaded all 5 tours to my now 497 autostar. Now, lets say, to save space, i want to delete the "a stars life" tour. How would i go about doing this, without having to reload the autostar again? If you could help me with this, i would be greatly appreciative. Thanks, T. J. p.s. great site, very helpful!! A+++
Subject: The Meade Autostar Hand Controller Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2001 23:37:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alby) Does Meade make (2) two different Autostar controllers? I just got a Meade ETX-70AT and it came with an Autostar controller. While searching websites and looking at other Meade products, I noticed that some Autostars have a numeric keypad and some do not. My controller which came with the ETX-70AT does not have a numeric keypad. So my question is, do numeric keypads offer something more than those which do not? Also, if based on your remarks I'm sold on getting one, what is the complete name of it so I'm not confused and end up purchasing an Autostar which doesn't have it (Assuming I Buy Online).?? -AlbyMike here: Yes, there is more than one model of the Autostar. See the "Autostar Models" on the Autostar Information page for more info. The keypad isn't really required to control the scope or the Autostar.
Subject: Autostar connection Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2001 10:57:05 From: email@example.com (David Smith) I apologize in advance if this is not the proper procedure. Now,to the point of this message. I am using a #495 Autostar, recently updated with ver. 2.1ek with the Meade DS114EC reflector. I purchased the #505 connector cable for it, and now realize that unless I have a laptop (which I don't), this six foot length of cord is ok to download or upload infor for the Autostar, but that's it. I was considering using anywhere from 50 to 100 feet of telephone line from end of the cable to the Autostar but.... the adapter plug is not standard telephone jack size. I've been looking on this site for a solution, but can't seem to find one. suppose I could use a serial cable from PC to #505 cable, but that would be somewhat more expensive than using telephone cable. Any thoughts on this. Thanks in advance, Dave Smith, Timmins, ON CanadaMike here: See "Long Autostar Cable" on the Autostar Information page. Also, see the email "Auto Star / Regular Controller extension cables" further down this Autostar Feedback page.
Much appreciated, Mike. Exactly what I was looking for.
Subject: ETX-70 and autostar 494 Proc trap 2 Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2001 09:52:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ray Talipsky) ETX-70 and autostar 494 Proc trap 2 If you have an ETX-70 with AUTOSTAR 494 (w/o numeric keypad) and are getting "Proc Trap 2" errors Bad Hand Controller Call Meade Customer service they will send out new hand controller
Subject: Re: How to Test Autostar rs232 circuits! Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 13:59:38 From: email@example.com (Ricardo Carvalho) The problem was the cable. Somehow it didn't connected well to the AS. Now Skymap and the Updater recognize it. I didn't did the update yet and would like to know if the patches are really necessary. With all my bad luck and less skill i afraid to open the ETX to "repair it". This is because it takes forever to move the scope horizontaly with the AS. Up and Down is fine. You don't know anyone in Portugal who can do the "repairs" do you????? ricardo carvalho
Subject: satellites Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 11:41:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I was wondering why the names of the satellites on www.heavens-above.com or www.celestrak.com use different names than in the Autostar? Most of the names are different except for maybe the ISS. RegardsMike here: I haven't compared the names but there are popular names, country of origin names, satellite numbers, and maybe more "standards". Perhaps that can be the source of the differences.
Subject: Autostar Cloning Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 10:42:31 From: email@example.com (pillows) I just purchased an additional Autostar from the-soon-to-be-gone Natural Wonders. I realize I can update it's software the normal way. Is it possible or practical to clone from one Autostar to another with only one ETX? This should ease the setup routine.Mike here: Cloning is easier and a faster way to update one Autostar as I recall from a comment from Dick Seymour.
Thanks for the fast reply Mike. But, I guess, what I'm really asking - given I have two Autostars but only one ETX - is there a way to hook up and clone using only a single ETX? I don't know if data is being transferred to-and-from the ETX during cloning. If thats the case, then it's unlikely a single ETX and multiple Autostars can work.Mike here: Cloning is done between Autostars. The ETX is only there to supply power. You need the cloning cable included with Meade's cable kit. Actually, there is a way to do it WITHOUT the ETX. See "Homemade Autostar Cloning Kit" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Re: Autostar and Slewing Speed Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 23:05:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Owen) Thanks - I'm not sure if I could slew in all nine speeds in Azimuth, I selected one or two of the nine which was enough for me to be able to do the drive training. I don't recall seeing any readout from the Autostar confirming the drive speed,(is there one? ) but the scope certainly slewed slow enough to complete the Azimuth training. In Declination, pressing any of the arrows caused the scope to slew very quickly. I pressed a few (but probably not all)the number buttons to change the rate of slew but none had any perceptible affect. I didn't "tell" Autostar which model scope I was using for this session. I did this the first time I used Autostar, thinking this info is stored between sessions. Recalibration - I may have missed a step here. I don't think I have done this. What is involved in calibrating the scope? Regards MikeMike here: The calibration step is not normally needed following the first, automatic one. But if the telescope or Autostar is exchanged, then you might need to do it again. You can force the calibration by Setup->Telescope->Calibrate and then ENTER. May or may not help. If pressing the number keys does not change the slew speed (and no, there is no speed display) then the next question that comes to mind is "do the number keys all work?" If the keys seem OK then it sound like a redownload, RESET, retrain is in order.
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Mike Weasner is correct....you need to do a complete reset, and retrain of your motors; when I work on the ETX scopes, particularly when new software is loaded, I frequently run into this. All you need to do is shut down the scope and AutoStar; go to SLELCT: SETUP/Telescope...[scroll down to: "RESET" and enter]. Then you must initialize the scope. Calibrate the motors first (under "Telescope" on AutoStar) and then do a complete Train Motors as you are attempting. That should do it! It will be necessary for you to re-enter all of your user data (scope type, locations, name, etc.) but the reset is worth the trouble. Clay Sherrod
Thanks for the advice. Reassuring to know that this doesn't appear to be a hardware problem. Will do the reset and let you know how things pan out. I'm off to the Canaries on Thursday - hope they have internet cafes because I'm going to be lost without your advice! Thanks again Michael
Subject: Polar Aligning in the Southern Hemisphere Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 22:03:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) IF you ask your Autostar to do a one-star Polar alignment, the first thing it does is try to point at Sigma Octans. After asking you to adjust your tripod to actually -find- SigOct, it'll then slew to some "normal" star for the "one star" part. Here's what i'd do: Set up for -Alt/Az- alignment. (power switch pointed West, barrel pointed north, level to the ground). Do an Easy Alignment. NOW-... ask the Autostar to GoTo Sigma Octan's coordinates. Don't bother to try to look up Sig Oct in the database. Nor Polaris Australis... but it is in v21eK as SAO 258857 It is a Magnitude 5.5 star located at 21h 48m 46.7s and 88d 57m 23s. Now stare at the sky thru the telescope... perhaps sketch what you see.. THEN you can use your sketch to re-orient youself when attempting a true Polar Alignment. (you can also tell when you're pointing at the South Celestial Pole... the motor drives go silent in Alt/Az) good luck --dick
Subject: satellites.... Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 21:41:18 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) another site to get bunches of satellite data at once is www.celestrak.com it's *the* spot to go for bulk-loading satellite TLEs. (well, there are nasa sites, too.. but this is better laid out for us amateurs) --dick
Subject: re: autostar vs the etx70at Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 21:37:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Ray, i saw your note on Mike's site (and i'll be dropping out-of-touch for a week or so after tuesday)... Let's do the easy one first: > any fixes for Proc trap 2 on standard control box? (a) return to Meade. Which -is- the "standard controller" on the ETX-70at? the 495 Autostar? (numeric keypad) the 494 Autostar (no numeric keypad), the Starfinder? (no numeric keypad). I'd expect it's the 494... but if it's a 495 you -could- try the Emergency Flash Load procedure (if you have a serial cable). Other than that, Proc Trap 2 indicates a bad memory, or bad memory load. Not user fixable. > I plugged a standard Autostar 497 into a ETX 70AT! > Seems to work great > But > Align constantly fails. Please define "fails". Do the initial slews to the guide stars arrive close to the stars? or many degrees (more than ten) away? If the "guesses" arrive close, then much of the system -is- working correctly, and it'll be something minor. IF they're way far off, then i'd suspect that the "ratio" settings are wrong, or that the encoders are dirty. BUT: while writing the above, it struck me: *when* do you get the Proc Trap 2?? Early on (before being able to do anything) or when trying to move around. If the latter, before moving, [mode] out of alignment (twice) to Setup, [enter] scroll down 4 times to Telescope, and riffle through those subtopics to see what the Ratios should be for an ETX70at, as defined by its normal controller. *those* are the values which the 497 should be given. > Easy, Two Star Many different stars fails > I know where Arcturus, Regulus, Rigel, Sirius and other stars are! > I don't need a computer to tell me "Check Stars" you can get that message if the Autostar thinks you've travelled an incorrect distance between the two stars. Or if you take too long. (but that's over 4 minutes) > I reset Autostar > I recalibrated motors > Location set per GPS Just choose a local city. Leave the fine-tuning until after it works. > Time set per GPS/radio sync clock Home location (horiz - pointing north) > Whats wrong here? too few data... the key symptom you haven't described is the accuracy of the first slews to the alignment stars. IF it's "pretty close", what happens if you do NOT try to center, but just press [enter] to accept them as if they were perfect? Does it still fail? Or does it think things are peachy? >Tried Autostar 497 because standard contoller gives "Proc Trap 2" > every other time I try to do something. Every -other- time? Proc Trap? Bad alignment? ***bzzzt*** Power supply! Cable connections!!! Isn't the ETX70at a 9 volt device?? Unless you're using a 12v or higher ac adapter, you're skating -very- close to the 497 Autostar's lower voltage limit. If your batteries are not **new**, the Alignments and motions -will- fail. aaaaand the normal controller might well do Proc Traps, too (or two). > if its clear ---- gonna try again tonight no need to wait for stars... the "press [enter] as if perfect" works rain or shine as a scope tester. Sure sounds like batteries.... --dick
Subject: Re: Al/Az Percentages Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 19:26:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Don Hey Don! And welcome back to the world of the "living ETX's!" Always wait to set our Alt and Az percentages (NOT the ratios) AFTER you have trained. This allows AutoStar to more accurately understand the idiosyncracies of both drive systems and compensate electronically. What's left is what YOU take out (or attempt to) via adjusting the Alt & Az %. Remember, the higher the percentage, the greater the "jerk" into motion and less time in backlash; try to find a happy medium between no response at all and too much. Actually, the setting of these percentages is the LAST thing you will do prior to entering your sites and personal data. Good luck and welcome back among us! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Don Meade called to tell me my ETX-125 is ready for pick up on warrantee repairs, there were problems of random slewing. After checking through archives of messages you sent me to "remarry" the scope to the autostar, I didn't see where in the hierarchy of steps I should make the Alt/Az percentage adjustments if necessary. Should it be before training or after? Thanks, Don
Subject: Polar align Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 07:30:55 From: email@example.com (felch, richard) I am a 100% beginner. I find I need a little more detailed explanation of how to polar align my etx90ec/with autostar. I think I need ETX90 for Dummies. Is there someplace I can go for detailed instructions? Rich Felch Engineering Asset Management Unix Engineer Ext 26845 Pager-877-790-2630Mike here: Try the Tutorials page and the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site. Hopefully there is enough information there to help.
Subject: Re: Autostar slew speed problem Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 06:46:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Owen) A resolution to the earlier problem with the motor drive and a new query for you. I returned my ETX to the dealer following the problem with the declination motor drive. The dealer opened the base up and said it was simply that one of the electrical connections had not been connected properly inthe factory. Re-connected it works fine. Or at least I think so - which brings me to the second problem. With the scope back working I have been trying to train the drives. This worked OK in East to West but Up and Down I have been unable to change the speed of the slew making alignment virtually impossible. I can change speeds using the standard controller in both (all 4) directions. But with Autostar I can move up and down but only at top speed. I tried re-booting the Autostar, well switching it on and off but to no avail. Is this another "return to dealer" problem , this time with the Autostar? Although I was having problems with moving the scope Up and Down with the drive previously am I right in thinking the Autostar problem is unconnected ? I have had one glimpse of Jupiter between clouds and these mechanical problems ! (found it manually in the finder scope - so it was nice to know my finder scope alignment was OK) Thanks again for your advice Regards MikeMike here: Just to clarify, with the Autostar you can set the speed to be any of the nine speeds and you can slew in Azimuth at any speed. But when you try to slew in Altitude, no matter what the speed setting in the Autostar, it only slews at the highest speed (even you may have it set for any other speed from 1 to 8). If this is the case, have you reset the Autostar for the telescope model AND recalibrated the drives and then tried the training?
Subject: NEED SOME HELP Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2001 08:45:10 From: email@example.com (Richard R. Gala) I have been monitoring your site for over 6 months and have e-mailed you with some of my problems I am having with my ETX125. I have tried your sugestions and those of others on your site and still can not get my Autostar to work for me. I am at my wits end and unless I get some help, I will probably give up on the Autostar. Most of the members of the amateur club I joined are "big shooters" (large telescopes) and do not have time for new guy with a little ETX. The store where I purchased the telescope is not interested. There are a few of us new guys with ETX'S in my area with similar problems. My question to you and others that moniter this site is: Is there a course or place where I can go with my telescope to have someone work with me in setting up my telescope and check it out and tell me that the problems I am having are due either to me or due to the telescope? I have $2000 invested in this telescope and I can not get it to work for me as it should. I live in the Detroit area (not the greatest place for viewing) and would be willing to travel a couple of hundred miles with my telescope for such a workshop. I would also be willing to pay a modest sum for this training and education. I have sent you this note because I don't know where else to go! Dick GalaMike here: Have you checked the online Tutorial for aligning the ETX/Autostar? Look in the Tutorials section. Maybe that will help. If none of the appropriate tips on the Autostar Information page have helped, then it is hard to say what the problem might be. Perhaps someone in your area will respond.
Thanks a lot for your continued help in trying to get me up and running with my ETX. I will look at your Tutorial Section for pointers. Dick Gala
Subject: autostar program installation difficulties Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2001 23:54:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Andy Acosta) my name is andy and i an ameture astronomer. I downloaded the autostar updates and have tried installing them onto my computer but i keep getting this error message after installation: could not find mscrivt.dll or something like that. I have read about the error but nobody has said what i need to download or get to get rid of it and be able to run the program. I am running windows 95 and have updated it but I still get the message. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I love the site its super.Mike here: Not being a Windows expert, I can't help. I never had this (or any) error when running the Updater under Virtual PC with Windows95 on my Macintosh.
Thank you for posting my question up because this problem has been bothering me for a long time. I did solve the problem though late last night. The problem was thati was using windows 95 and in the system it does not use msvcirt.dll, it uses msvcrt40.dll therefore when the comp is looking for it it simply is not there. I solved it by dowloading the individual msvcirt.dll file at this website: hpdoleonardo.vila.bol.com.br/dll.htm I then copyed and pasted it into the meade/autostar/autostar updates folder by using windows explorer. And it works great. I hope this will help with anybody having the same problem i couldnt find any place that told me exactly what to do so here's a first. Cheers
Subject: GPS Use Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2001 19:02:41 From: email@example.com (David Fenstermacher) i have a ? i am thinking about buying the 125. is it possible to (in autostar) set-up using gps coordinates and orienting the tele to a predetermined compass heading? this would seem easier than the star alignment method and all the info would be there for the tele to know its orientation. great website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sorry if this is a stupid ? thanks daveMike here: Good question. You can use a GPS to enter your location (latitude and longitude) and time, and you can point the telescope at a pre-determined azimuth (that's what you do when pointing it to TRUE North). But you will still need to go through a star alignment for the Autostar if you want a GOTO capability.
Subject: Autostar 497 on ETX-70AT Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2001 09:17:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ray Talipsky) I plugged a standard Autostar 497 into a ETX 70AT! Seems to work great But Align constantly fails. Easy, Two Star Many different stars fails I know where Arcturus, Regulus, Rigel, Sirius and other stars are! I don't need a computer to tell me "Check Stars" I reset Autostar I recalibrated motors Location set per GPS Time set per GPS/radio sync clock Home location (horiz - pointing north) Whats wrong here? Tried Autostar 497 because standard contoller gives "Proc Trap 2" every other time I try to do something. I am a LX-200 user --- getting ETX 70 ready to give as gift and I know if it don't work I'll get a million questions cause Meade doesn't answer questions! Great site --- Meade would do better to pay you to do tech support!!! Thanks CozmicRayMike here: One think you didn't mention when you put the #497 Autostar on the ETX-70AT was that you set it for the right telescope model (under Setup->Telescope).
Thanks for reply Mike Set it for ETX 70 --- after frustrating cycle of align fail reset set all functions again scope, recal, all align fail if its clear ---- gonna try again tonight any fixes for Proc trap 2 on standard control box? Have you looked at sattracker.hypermart.net/ or egroup email@example.com Thanks CozmicRay
Subject: AutoStar updater Sent: Friday, April 13, 2001 08:03:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Helps) Is it just me or is this application more difficult to use that it should be. Has anyone produced a manual for it? The online help is virtually useless. I find it very frustrating in that I cannot seem to get the things I want into my autostar and on the rare occasion that I do, I find that I have unloaded other items. Any help would greatly appreciated. JeffMike here: Yes, many have noted that the user interface is pretty bad. Mac users would be flooding Meade with complaints about the interface if it were a Mac OS application. As it is, most of the complaints have probably come to my web site. And the only "manual" is the information on the Autostar Information page, the Autostar Feedback pages, and the online help. The new Tutorial that is online can help some users.
Subject: Re: Fwd: Autostar cable Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 22:07:38 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From the symptoms, i suspect that either the positions of 1 and 4 swapped, or perhaps 1 and 2. I have swapped 1 and 2, and did not see the symptoms described. Pin 1 (connected to pin 3 of a 9-pin rs232, or pin 2 of a 25-pin) is the pin the -farthest- from the HBX connector on the Autostar. Pin 4 (connected to pin 5 of a 9-pin, or pin 7 of a 25-pin) is the -closest- to the HBX connector on the Autostar. **and remember** the rs232 cable plugs into the Autostar, not the AUX port!! > On the first try the the AS gave me no letters in the display. It > would beep and if look to it in a certain angle i could see the > letters passing by but they were very dim. I think i had the > positive and negative switched. ?? positive and negative ?? on which cable? You could possibly damage the Autostar's rs232 port by feeding power directly into it... it -should- be able to handle it, but i certainly haven't tried that... > Then i changed a few things and there was no problem but the updater > wouldn't recognize the AS. Maybe it's a COM problem. "a few things"?? a better description of what was changed might help. > I started Hyperterminal, connected pins 2 & 3 and type the keyboard > and what i type appeared.Not a COM problem. > Then i connected the cable and connected pins 1 & 2 and again what i > typed appeared.Not a cable problem. excellent testing methods ... > Then i connected to AS. First the screen dimmed again. Changed a few > things and the screen appeared. But what i wrote in the keyboard would > appear in Hyper Terminal which i think shouldn't happen. Hyperterminal -can- be set to echo. > I'll try a few more times (i know i'm doing something wrong) as i use > some conversors and i still a bit confused with all the driagrams that > float around. A well taken photography (with good definition) would > help a lot. I have attached one of the best sketches i have seen of the connection. (from somewhere on Mike's site) good luck --dick
And some followup:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Ricardo, > I've tested the circuits as you say and it asks to press every key ..which means that your rs232 circuits and the serial cable are working. > and then presents this: Pic Failure V12 C001 > > And it stays that way for several minutes. Once a failure occurs, the tests stop. The message indicates a failure reaching one of the smaller internal controllers, or a failure by the controller performing a task. -Exactly- what that message means i do not know (you're only the 3rd person to use this test... and the first to have an error) (a) It could simply mean a bad cable to the ETX. (b) It could mean that some portion of the Autostar or ETX is bad. > Then i've tried the HyperTerminal and the pressing CTRL-F and CTRL-D > works although it works on COM3 where the modem is resident(!!!) PCs can "share" a COM port designation between two devices. It's not a -good- idea, but they can do it (if you share your modem port with your Mouse... do NOT move the mouse while online). Since Hyperterminal -can- talk to the telescope, you can try... oh, you did... SkyMap: > After this i've tried with Skymap V7 and it worked initially but > then gave me an error.... ?? what error ?? (please do not keep clues secret) > I've noticed also that the cables aren't well done since there's a > small bad contact . > Looks like i have to make a decent cable and get myself another > computer :) > I've tried to test it again this morning and there was no > response......another computer i know :) If -any- cable has an intermittent connection, you will see results which are difficult to repeat. Since Skymap worked (at least) once, that means that your computer is probably good... the cables are my prime suspects. > I've seen in Mike site that there are commands to do a little debug. > Do you know the link?? If you mean the Autostar's internal debugger, they have removed that from the program. v2.0g was the last version which had it easily reachable. The code is -gone- in v21. good luck --dickAnd more:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Dave, > I ran this test on my Autostar, as per your instructions. > After initialization, the Sun warning came up. bzzzttt... the shorted-cable test should not display the Sun Warning. The "Press ENTER" directive should be the first thing you see after "Initializing..." > After pressing "5" I got the "motor unit failure" > message; i.e. the self-test didn't happen. > Can anything be concluded from this? (a) bad cable (b) fried rs232 circuits in Autostar. Found an ohmmeter yet? a flashlight bulb, battery and a few scraps of wire (and three other hands) can be used to test continuity... (the toolkit with which i maintained our VW bus while crossing the Chalbi desert to Lake Turkana was rather meager, but inventive... and impressed the AA guy at Lake Nakuru when i successfully restarted the car with a cracked-in-two battery...) Try this: connect Autostar to computer, start Hypertermm... listening to the COM port the Autostar is on. Power up Autostar. If its rs232 output circuits are working, you would see the single letter "X" appear on the screen... nothing else. (if i remember correctly, you have NOT managed to get Hyperterm to echo via the cable)(which continues to point at "cable") (but then, you haven't managed to get Hyperterm to echo with only the output serial port pins 2 + 3 shorted... or have you tried that?) --dick
Subject: Autostar cable Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 03:32:19 From: email@example.com (ricardo carvalho) I tried to make the cable but have some doubts about its behavior. On the first try the the AS gave me no letters in the display. It would beep and if look to it in a certain angle i could see the letters passing by but they were very dim. I think i had the positive and negative switched. Then i changed a few things and there was no problem but the updater wouldn't recognize the AS. Maybe it's a COM problem. I started Hyperterminal, connected pins 2 & 3 and type the keyboard and what i type appeared.Not a COM problem. Then i connected the cable and connected pins 1 & 2 and again what i typed appeared.Not a cable problem. Then i connected to AS. First the screen dimmed again. Changed a few things and the screen appeared. But what i wrote in the keyboard would appear in Hyper Terminal which i think shouldn't happen. I'll try a few more times (i know i'm doing something wrong) as i use some conversors and i still a bit confused with all the driagrams that float around. A well taken photography (with good definition) would help a lot. I just wanted to know if this behavior is consistent with any problem, has it appeared,etc. I sent this to you because i didn't know where to place it exactly. Thank you in advance ricardo
Subject: re: Autostar Menus and email to Meade Sent: Monday, April 9, 2001 21:45:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com You complained about the lack of an email address for Meade. They -do- have one: firstname.lastname@example.org It's one-way (they only reply in rare circumstances), but it (occasionally) -does- reach the people who affect things... and change does happen. have fun --dick
Subject: re: calibration and autostars Sent: Monday, April 9, 2001 21:43:18 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org i saw your note on Mike's site. Yes, a CALIBRATION must also be performed when moving an Autostar from scope to scope. Especially across models. ( Setup > Telescope > Calibrate [enter] ) Why? Because what a Calibration does is run the motors for a certain time and voltage, and records (from the encoders) how far and fast it moved. Then the Autostar tucks that away in its own memory. The next time you power up the scope and Autostar... the Autostar sends that calibration information -to- the scope. It serves as a throttle for all ensuing motions. Thus, if you send your ETX90's calibration values to the ETX125 (or vice-versa), it's going to be trying to move at the wrong speed for any operation. And that's far worse than a Training error, which usually is a mere annoyance. Calibrations take 5 seconds, and no effort... (well, you do have to return the scope to Home afterwards, since it just moved). If you ever use the "default hand controller", you'll notice it does a Calibration motion -every- time it is powered up. (that's because it doesn't have an survive-power-off memory system) have fun --dick
Subject: Auto Star / Regular Controller extension cables Sent: Monday, April 9, 2001 11:04:24 From: Dave.Rosenthal@ie-ate.com (Rosenthal, Dave) Meade sells an extension kit for the hand controllers for about $30.00 I noticed that the connector on the scope is the same as a 10/100-T network connection. I got a 10 foot length of network cable and a straight through coupler and tried it with my ETX-90EC and the standard hand controller. It worked perfect. I tried lengths of up to 30 feet and noticed no delays or any other problems. This is a $7~10 alternative to Meade's $30 solution. Please post this information on your site. David Rosenthal
Subject: Autostar Question Sent: Monday, April 9, 2001 11:02:26 From: email@example.com (Mark Durkin) I thought before I sent my new ETX-125 to Meade I would ask you a question. I have recently purchased an ETX-125. I currently also have an ETX-90EC. I went to use my Autostar from the ETX-90, and I could not control the speed of the motors. If I use the standard handbox that comes with the 125, I can control the speed just fine. I reset the Autostar, still no luck. It does work fine with the ETX-90 in every way. I just don't understand why the speed can be controled with one handbox, but not the Autostar. I thought it was a problem with the motors, but that is inconsistent with the results of the standard handbox. It could be the Autostar, but it works fine with my other scope. Have you ever heard of this happening? If so, any suggestions would be appreciated. I would rather not send my new ETX-125 to Meade to be tested the day after I got it unless I have to. I called Meade and they didn't have any suggestions but to send it in. Thanks, MarkMike here: You didn't say what steps you went through when swapping telescopes. When switching an Autostar from one telescope to another there are a couple of things to do:
When I switched I reset the Autostar like they recommend on the Meade site (I did change the scope model). I tried to retrain the drives but the speed was at full and it is virtually impossible to train the drives when the speed is at full. I did it best I could, but I could still not control the speed. One thing I did realize after I wrote you. I remember when I first used the Autostar on my ETX90 I think there was a small calibration phase of the motors. This did not happen with the ETX-125. I'm staring to think this is the issue. Does this sound right to you? Thanks for your help.Mike here: Dick Seymour has discovered that there is a calibration step that only occurs when needed on first power-on. You can select to recalibrate (different than driving training) so maybe that will help. But it bothers me that you can not change the speed for training; you should be able to.
Well recalibrating seemed to work. I can now control the speed. I was able to train the drives with no problem and at a slow speed. I went through the Autostar manual but didn't see there was a calibrate option on the Autostar menu. Thanks. This whole thing still has me perplexed though. It just seems strange this is not a standard issue which Meade could answer. I'll give it a few weeks and see if it happens again. Maybe the Autostar needs to be calibrated on each scope the first time it is activated? Thank you, MarkMike here: Super! And yes, it does seem that a calibration has to be done at least once.
Subject: Autostar Menus Sent: Monday, April 9, 2001 02:18:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Minnick) Here are a few comments to follow up the post I made concerning using the EXT60AT. Most likely this will also apply to other Meade models using the Autostar. Once over the hump of aligning the scope it proves to be remarkably easy to use. And therein lies the ultimate problem with the scope, and any Meade scope using an autostar. The documentation for the telescope includes a brief, single page layout of the autostar menus, but its not nearly detailed enough. The other night the wife and I stuggled with the autostar, trying to set the scope for M31. Is it under galaxies? Named Objects? Messiers? I believe what Meade needs to do is include a section of the manual (or even on their website) with the complete list of objects contained within the autostar, and the menu heirarchy needed to locate them. The autostar is a nice addon, but if you don't know the menus and whats contained under them, it serves only to add to the frustration. Also I would caution people to avoid using the "Guided Tour" function. Once your in it, its very hard to get out of the function. Perhaps someone at Meade will read this email. As a professional designer myself, I'm surprised and dismayed by the lack of an email address on their site. Its one of the few complaints I have with what is an excellent design. Regards Bob Minnick
Subject: Not in finder scope or field Sent: Sunday, April 8, 2001 05:11:29 From: LVanosdol@aol.com I was reading your MEADE ETX125EC,AUTOSTAR,AND DELUXE FIELD TRIPOD,MARCH 2000 atricle, I had my etx125ec setup and did the easy align the autostar said everything was a go so off to saturn I went, well after several different gotos and not being sucessful I powered off did the whole thing again and still no luck I don,t have an answer , but my expeience was the same as yours. I am going out again tonight to see I can get better results. By the way my autostar is brand new so I hope that this not a big bug. Les VanOsdolMike here: Hard to say what the problem is. Have you checked the Autostar settings (date/time/DST/location/mounting mode)? And just because it is "new" doesn't mean it has the current version of the software (2.1ek) or doesn't have some incorrect setting information (especially Daylight Savings Time and location; which can be changed at the dealer). Let me know what you find out.
Subject: planets and the AutoStar Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2001 07:28:27 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org What you are experiencing is a common problem when using AutoSTar on any COMUTED object, like planets, moon or asteroids. When you select, say Jupiter, go to "Object/Solar System..." and enter to bring Solar System to the top line of the readout; then scroll down to Jupiter (which I think you are doing correctly). At this point, pressing GO TO does nothing as you describe...you would think otherwise. At this point the top line should read "Solar System" and below it is "Jupiter." NOW press "Enter" (before GO TO); this allows the AutoStar to compute your observing location, Jupiter's position, the time and date. You will see at this point: "Jupiter" on the top line, and under it a rapidly changing "Computing....." When it is done, it suddenly prints out the exact RA and DEC of Jupiter on the night you have entered. NOW you press "GO TO" and the scope will take off! Good luck....I think this will help, as it is confusing. Clay SherrodAnd:
From: email@example.com (James and Marie Hirsch) On your autostar feedback page you have a message titled goto using solar system. I too had some difficulty doing gotos exactly the same way. The trick is when any object is selected from the solar system menu the ENTER key must be pressed 1st. The autostar will then calculate the position of the solar system object. Then press the GOTO key and all will be well. If you only select GOTO the scope will not move. Regards, JimMike here: I had assumed ENTER was pressed to SELECT the planet. Planets are no different than selecting ANY object.
Hi Clay,Mike, Thanks very much for clearing this up for me ,I read the manual again and it's not very clear from the instructions.Unfortunately it has been overcast (I live in the Northeast of England)for the last few days and for the near future. Hoping it clears soon and I'll be out to try it. My thanks to both yourself and Mike for the speedy reply and help in clearing up the problem.Once again congratulations on the web site it is of great interest and help. Best Regards ColinMike here: Don't wait for clear skies. Practice using the Autostar inside your home. Go through all the menus, slew to objects, and just play. It is much easier doing that when you can take your time.
Mike,Clay, Thanks for the tips on how to use the goto function correctly.I can now slew to the objects in the solar system menu with no problems.Off to the country side this weekend so hope to get some good veiws without back lighting,Weather permitting of course. Best Regards Colin
Subject: goto using solar system Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2001 04:35:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (c.march28) I purchased an ETX-90-EC and have had good results with it and found it easy to use.However i have one small problem .When using the autostar and going to the solar system menu .If i select the Moon for example, press goto then the telescope will not slew.If i use the guided tour menu then i have no problems.Perhaps it is just finger trouble or have i missed somthing simple. Found your sight to be excellent reading and very interesting. Best Regards ColinMike here: That's an odd one. Try pressing the GOTO button a little longer. Maybe there is some dirt on the keypad? There's a cleaning tip on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: bad juju... er, advice (or is it a typo) Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2001 23:20:18 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) on http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable4.html you've got a note from Meade which says: "The #506 can therefore work with any ETX by plugging into the Aux Port (recent level of firmware is required to do this. " Well... i tried it. My 497 running v21eK doesn't know diddley about the 506. LX200 handshakes go unanswered, Downloader handshakes go unanswered. --dick
Subject: v21ek defaults for comets/asteroids/sats Sent: Monday, April 2, 2001 09:52:42 From: Bill.Forsyth@storagenetworks.com (Forsyth, Bill) I can't seem to find the list address to post these emails to, but it looks like they just go to you and then you post them to Autostar feeback? I accidentally blew away my comets/asteroids/sattelites using the 2.4 updater and was wondering if there was an easy way to put the defaults back in without having to reload the entire firmware? I can't just copy everything over because there isn't enough room..... --- BillMike here: Messages sent to me get reviewed and posted on the site as appropriate to get other responses and/or when they may be useful to others. I'm a little confused by what you're asking. Do you mean you blew away the ones you put into the Autostar with a previous version or the ones that come with 2.1ek? And where isn't there room, your hard disk or your Autostar? There does seem to be a limit in 2.1ek, especially seen on satellite entries. Anyway, I've not have to reload anything (spoiled, I guess!) so can't speak from experience.
And an update:
Actually I figured it out. The tours take up the most room in the ROM, and I had added that tour from Edmunds Scientific at some point. So when I removed it I was able to reload everything from the library. I just didn't realize the tours were so big. Thanks for the help though! --- Bill
Subject: Satellite Tracking Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2001 08:27:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard B. Emerson) To: email@example.com This is a bit late but here are a couple of thoughts on the subject. The NOAA series (also referred to as POES - Polar Orbiting Earth Satellite, but most often called NOAA, e.g., NOAA-15) weather satellites have very high inclinations and are Sun synchronous which means their passes are very predictable, comes in sets of three (low pass, high pass, low pass), and obligingly traverse a lot of sky. In fact, the really high altitude passes may actually be too high for the ETX to follow fast enough. Although not a moving satellite (relative to one's position), there are also the various geosynchronous satellites used for comms and weather (e.g., the METEOSAT series). I don't know how Autostar handles them but if you can lock onto one and go for a long-time exposure, the stars move but the satellite remains a dot. With a bit of luck, these satellites might be visible through the ETX. Cheers, Rick Mike Hadey writes: > Satellite tracking is one thing that I have wanted to try but haven't yet. > I've been trying to get everything to work in Polar Mode first. I'll need > to set up in Alt/Az to try satellites. Any suggestions on a good satellite > to start with? Watching the ISS and MIR from this latitude gives me only > about 40 sec and they both move like mad (besides being low relative to the > horizon). I guess MIR is out of the picture anyway. I presume you go to > the heavens-above (or some such) web site and load in the latest TLEs before > you go out. I've read some of your pointers on Mike's site but would be > interested in any special tricks.And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Speed probably isn't the problem... if it can follow MIR, it can follow almost anything (unless they're highly elliptical and moving -really- fast. (ohhh... gotta try that...)) I don't think i've ever seen the NOAA/POES satellites on heavens-above, which means they're probably dimmer than the 4.5 mag limit i usually use. If they're sun-synchronous, that may also mean they're not passing overhead at a convenient time for reflected light to reach us: either daytime or too late at night (the ones i usually see -images- from pass over at 10am or 2am local time) There are great numbers of COSMOS satellites and rocket boosters which have high-north orbits and are easy to track with the Autostar (i think it was C 2678 which was my first successful full-pass capture). LaCrosse 3 and its separate rocket are "easy, bright (enough)" targets. They frequently account for 7- to 10-minute passes. There was (in Sky & Tele?) a neat photo taken by someone in Germany (i think) of a number of geostationaries doing a "dance" of orbital insertion and repositioning... about 3 or 5 satellites in the same field of view describing short arcs (it was a long exposure, tracking the geostat spot) as they were moved into position. --dickAnd more from Dick Seymour:
So i checked heavens-above for NOAA% (that's a wildcard) ... and, indeed, NOAA-15 is currently visible over Seattle almost daily. It becomes less visible in May. Not at all visible in mid-June. (it's an 800km-high, nearly circular orbit). It's dim: ranging from 5.0 to 7.6 magnitude during the next 10 days, and its above-horizon time ranges from 8:06pm to 9:38pm Its passes (during that time period) range from 12 degrees maximum altitude to 65 degrees max altitude. Not surprisingly, the brightest passes are the highest. Its inclination is 98 degrees, so its farthest northerly (dead overhead) latitude is about 82 degrees. It does 14.23 orbits per day, so it's middling-slow in the perceived speed category. The highest/brightest pass for me (65 deg max alt) is ten minutes from 10-degrees-alt to 10-degrees-alt. The "5.0" magnitude is the -brightest- it gets, so the other portions of the pass may be far dimmer. Ranging back and forth with h-a's predictions, an 85-degree altitude pass only achieved 4.5 magnitude, so it would escape my normal 4.0 filtering. When i'm playing around near Polaris, i frequently see satellites go through the field of view... and based upon other stars i'd guess them to be about 6th magnitude or dimmer. more than you want to learn, i'm sure (now, back to income taxes) --dick
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