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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: Alt Az mode Sent: Monday, August 28, 2000 20:52:08 From: email@example.com (Rick Weiss) Thanks Mike, your directions were great. As I suspected I had the darn scope on the tripod backwards, while still turning the scope to face both the north and the "N" on the tripod. If you look at several of the illustrations within the packaging you will see why I did that. The scope in the illustrations show the scope mounted incorrectly. It probably is a mirror image of the actual photograph---who knows--anyway, thanks! Works great now!
Subject: High Precision Mode Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2000 21:17:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dennis Persyk) My sincere thanks to Mike for hosting this site and, most recently, to Bill Collins for his tip on High Precision mode. I envoked HP mode tonight and it helped me bag two new Messier objects, M20 and M32. M20 is magnitude 9.0, which I heretofore thought too dim to see from my limiting magnitude 4.2 site. Tonight it was about 3.0, as I could only see three stars in the little dipper through the water vapor-laden air. The first time I set HP, it didn't take. The second time I saw ">ON", the difference being the ">" (greater than) sign. I need some more practice. I would caution observers that HP will only work well if you do a careful two-star alignment. In HP mode you are asked to center "the star", meaning a nearby bright star. The star had better be in the field-of-view of the eyepiece, or you won't be able to center it! I have been contemplating buying an LX200 but so far I'm holding off because the software/firmware of the LX200s is pretty primitive compared to that of my ETX 90 EC. Now that I have tried HP I'm even less enthusiastic about an LX200. Dennis Persyk Hampshire, IL
Subject: Autostar gone crazy Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2000 16:32:13 From: email@example.com (Mike Jenkins) I'm using the latest production ROMs in my Autostar. Recently I tried to follow the process to track the SUN. I entered something WRONG, resulting in divide by zero behavior. Now, if I try to connect to Meade's software, It attepts to upload over 100,000 asteroids. Selecting the Tonight's best tour results in the /-\| cycling until I turn off the power. Any suggestions? Thanks for the outstanding site and all the time you spend keeping it current. Mike J.Mike here: What process did you use to try to track the sun? If your Autostar seems to have lost its mind and the normal download procedure won't work, you'll probably have to use the SAFE LOAD procedure. Hold down the ENTER and DOWN ARROW when you power it on. Then proceed to run the updater software.
I tried the sun tracking procedure described under "Adding the Sun" on your site. I tried creating the asteroid using the downloader. I should have used the autostar directly. Since mailing my first email, I downloaded version 1.3 and reloaded. Then I reloaded 2.1h and all is now fine. Thanks for the rapid response.
Subject: Re: High Precision Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2000 13:48:48 From: Pierre.Henrotay@skynet.be (Pierre Henrotay) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Read your mail on Mike's web site. I have the same problem with my ETX-90/EC: when using High Precision in AltAz mode and GOTOing M81 or M82, no centering star is prompted for: the display comes back with the name of the selected object only. Tried this at home (50 N, 5 E) and in Italy (44 N, 11 E): same problem. Pierre
Subject: AutoStar Software Upgrade Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2000 17:39:47 From: EricDreczko@email.msn.com (Eric S. Dreczko) My AutoStar controller is at version 1.3b and I don't think I'm having any trouble with it. I have two questions I would like to ask. 1. How does one find what the upgrades consist of. Many times, software fixes may not apply to your environment and you may not need or want them. (sort of like - If it ain't broke, don't fix it). 2. Can I restore to my original configuration if I were to upgrade improperly and cause myself grief? Anything you can shed on this would be appreciated.Mike here: The readme file on Meade's Autostar Upgrade web page describes the current version. And yes, you should be able to go backwards.
Subject: How do you find the version of the autostar software Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 12:00:00 From: email@example.com (Peter Najar) How do you find out which version of the Autostar software you have? Does it show the letter part of the revision? Peter Najar firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: (303) 880-0456 (please use as primary Phone #) Office: (303) 795-3600 ext, 227Mike here: When you power on the Autostar you will see (briefly the short version number). To check the full version more leisurely, go to the Statistics menu.
Subject: ETX Computer connection Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 00:11:00 From: email@example.com (Wol) Hello...first of all congratulation for your site ..as i've seen is the best in web world... My name is Alan and i'm from Trieste, ITALY well i have bought my first telescope two months ago,an ETX 90 EC...and i'd like to know if you have or if you know whre to find a serial cable scheme connection to connect my etx my my Note book. Thank you very much Good job AlanMike here: Check the Autostar Information page for cable information. Also, Meade has information on their web site on the Autostar manual page.
Subject: Re: rs232 to a 494 Autostar: the ANSWER (partly) Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 20:06:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Vanderlei, Now i know -why- it doesn't work. There is *no* rs232 port in the 494 Autostar. It was left out to help achieve the etx60/70's low price. (it actually does impose a fair parts count and power supply requirement upon the Autostar) The 506 cable set contains active components which convert rs232 levels to the (probably I2C bus code) that the 494 Autostar speaks. If so, the two are completely incompatible. I sent a rant to you and Mike (and Meade) about confusing naming of the port compared to the Autostar 497... it was incorrect. The port on the 494 Autostar/etx-60ec is truly an AUX port in the same way the ETX90 means AUX port. The etx60/70 does more with it. So: the 8888x880888:000 you saw was probably the i2c bus bit stream. The solution? Wait until a 506 cable set appears, or teach your PC to speak i2c... but i have no idea what you'd -say- to the 494 if you did that. Once you -have- a 506, then, indeed, the 494 should be able to understand some of the LX200 command codes. But a simple piece of wire between your PC's serial port and the 494/etx60's AUX port isn't going to do anything useful. Sorry 'bout that --dickAnd a response:
Thanks Richard, That will save me a lot of time because I was trying all the possible alternatives. Now, after several connections with the ETX60AT I cant make the serial port of my lap top work anymore with other devices I have. I feel like I was trapped by Meade, because they advertise the #506 software and connector kit everywhere but I don't think it has ever been released. Some stores even have price for it, but never had it... Unfortunately I bought the ETX60AT relying on the possibility of computer controlling it. For my application, without computer control the ETX60 will be completely useless. Well, I am still trying with Meade to see if I can get any help from them. I am supposed to travel in two days to the Amazon Basin and I was believing I could use this instrument over there... Anyway, thank you very much for your great help. You and Mike have been doing a fantastic job. Keep up with the good work!!! Best wishes, Vanderlei.And more:
I was considering a type of Y cable connector (may be in the handbox port) to hopefully be able to at least get the signals from the motor encoders. If I can do that, I can easily use those signals in a data logger and that would help me a lot because, although I may not be able to control the telescope from there, I could at least know exactly where it is as a function of time. I need to time stamp the position of the telescope very acurately in order to reconstruct my measurements aftewards. Of course, if I could control the whole thing from my computer would be much better but, if not, just the capability to time stamp the positioning for future use would be great. May be I could even use the wires straight from the optical encoders inside the telescope body for that. Do you have any suggestion on this issue? Thank for all your help.
Subject: re: Polar Alignment Nightmare Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 00:35:04 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) or, The world turned upside down. Dennis, You wrote: (quoted out-of-original-order) > I next did a GOTO Albireo and it was very brilliant tonight. > I then did a GOTO Polaris and something very strange occurred! > The scope went to Polaris (I think) but the EYEPIECE WAS > UPSIDE-DOWN! I tried to rotate the scope rightside-up with the > controller, but the RA axis seemed to be slipping. In short: Welcome to Polar Mounting! The scope does not care where the eyepiec ends up (or down)... it was merely rotating to the RA angle of Polaris, and then dropping the barrel the one degree needed to view it. Where that rotation ends up depends upon the time of night, and time of year, you're obvserving. Adding to the "uncertainty" is the way the ETX -does- polar alignment. If the base's RA axis is not pointed -exactly- at the celestial pole, the actual place it has to point the barrel can be almost anywhere. If Polaris was actually to the east of the celestial pole, but you had the tripod aligned -another- degree east, the ETX may choose to spin the RA axis 180 degrees (pardon: 12 hours) around so it does not have to raise the barrel beyond a 90 degree angle. I've played with this. Some of the ways and places the ETX arrives at are not intuitive, but careful nudging around can show what's up. If i try to go to an RA of 0:00 and a Dec 0f 90 degrees, it might end up with the forks -parallel- to the RA 00:00 line, such that the (slightly offset) barrel goes rapidly from about 03:00 RA to about 21:00 RA... by slowly moving the Dec (altitude) axis! What's happening is that my tripod alignment mistake means that it -cannot- get to 00:00 90.00 from the "correct" side. And it -won't- allow the barrel to exceed 90 degrees of altitude. So it swings to the side and makes the best shot it can. But up at the pole, the RA numbers all crash together, so -any- minor misalignment can produce large swings of the RA (Az) axis. > Viewing M24 the elevation (obtained from depressing MODE for a few > seconds and cursoring to alt-az coordinates) was 29 degrees above > the southern horizon but the OTA was within an inch of touching > the scope base I was a little worried. If it's operating properly, the Autostar will produce a warning message if the target is too far south. SOmething to the effect of "the target is possibly beyond the travel limits of the telescope, and damage could result. Do you really want to go there?" I was impressed when i first saw that message. Good job, Meade! > What did I do wrong? HELP! Wrong? Tried to use Polar. Icky. (<-personal opinion meant as joke) However, Polar -is- fully justified for long-exposure photo stuff. I'll use it myself. The operation you saw is/was/willbe perfectly normal for Polar operation... just remember to always tighten the eyepiece lock-screw. > I'm not sure what you mean by "real Polar Home" position. > Which of the above steps was wrong? From your description, you did pretty well. If you must start on Polaris, try the Polar One-star... and READ THE SCROLLING DISPLAY... it nicely walks you through the procedure. The "one star" actually go to Polaris -first-. Then goes to the one-star. So you -can- use Polaris for alignment, just let the ETX do the pointing for you (and yes, the eyepiece will be in an odd position). --dick
Subject: High Precision Sent: Monday, August 21, 2000 07:53:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Riegsecker) I had trouble getting deep sky objects in the field of view of my ETX-125 until I began using the High Precision feature. Last night I was using the 26mm ep with 2x Barlow and it nailed every Messier object dead center. I too wish it would stay set after I set it. It would also be nice if it worked on Uranus, Neptune or Asteroids, but that might be a lot of extra programming. I have noticed one odd thing. If I select Messier and tell it to go to M81, it computes and then just comes up with M81. No synchronizing star. Does this happen to everyone or just me? ___________________________________________________________________ John Riegsecker email: email@example.com Department Math/Comp Science johnr@Harbornet.com University of Puget Sound phone: (253) 879-3566 www.math.ups.edu/faculty/riegsecker/
Subject: Autostart-Question Sent: Monday, August 21, 2000 05:06:04 From: Michael-Eggers@t-online.de (Michael Eggers) after a few month of beeing ill I'm now back and have one question. I have updated my Autostar to Vers.1.3c a few month ago. Now i see we are on version 2.0i now. Is it necessary to update? Better accurate? Or what are the new features? Is there a version-history at your site? Many thanks? MichaelMike here: Sorry to hear you've been ill. Welcome back. Updating is probably a good idea. There is a description of what's new in each readme.
Subject: more info on the autostar Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2000 22:34:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tony Bulat) Thought you might like some more info on the continuing saga of the ETX and autostar. Hooked up the autostar to the HBX port, hooked up the 505 cable connector properly,applied power, and still no LCD display. So, I counted the steps necessary to get to "download" (you know, 5 to stop the sun warning, enter to bypass the get started msg., a couple more enters to get through the date/time, and daylight savings checks), and the autostar should be in alighn. Count down 9 steps and your in download. It works, even if your LCD is blank, then start the download, which goes perfectly, and you hope your autostar gets it's brains back. No such luck, even after a sucessful download. So much for that idea. Even though the LCD is totally blank through all of this, there is a "red" glow all around the perimeter of the display. Like I said, everything seems to work, except the LCD display remains blank, through all of this. Weird! Does Meade warranty this sort of thing? I know I registered the equipment, but I can't seem to find the suff right now. I still have the sales receipt, so maybe that will help. Amazing, but the ETX without the autostar is hard to use, and for dummies like me, damn hard to use. Several phone calls tommorow, and hopefully this will get resolved. Calling Meade is not my first choice, but your E-mail indicates they are trying harder with customers relations. We'll see. Thanks for the help again, Tony BulatMike here: Sounds like it might be a dead LCD. Let me know how Meade responds.
Just a follow up FYI. I called Meade yesterday about the problems I've been having in the last few days with my LCD on the #497 Autostar being blank. Much to my suprise, a nice young chap named John Piper from customer relations took my call, listened to my explanation of what transpired, was very pleasant, cooperative, professional and helpful. He gave me a reference # and his name plus routing address, told me to include the proof of purchase receipt along with a letter explaining the situation and mail it back to Meade and they would replace it for free since it was still under the one year warranty. Simple, since I still had the orginal Autostar container box and receipt. There's a lesson here for all your readers. Anyway, after reading some of the horror stories on your website, I wondered just what to expect. A very pleasant suprise thank you, and I did pass on my kudos to John Piper and his supervisor(old Air Force pat em on the back when they done good). It was almost like somebody was kicking ass and taking names in the customer relations dept. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I sure miss my Autostar, Tony Bulat
Subject: Autostar High Precision mode Sent: Friday, August 18, 2000 15:36:15 From: email@example.com (William D. Collins) During galaxy season last spring I stumbled on an Autostar capability which I had initially overlooked. As explained in the manual, the Setup/Telescope/High Precision option allows you to find deep sky objects with ease. With this option enabled, a Go To command for a deep sky obect will send the scope to a STAR near the object. Autostar will then ask you to center the star and press Enter, whereupon the scope looks up the offset angle, slews to the object and puts it dead center in the eyepiece every time. This feature has shown me many galaxies which I never saw with my 10-inch Newtonian, not because that scope wouldn't show them but because I couldn't find them, even with 12-inch setting circles! Using this option does not seem to degrade the system's overall pointing accuracy as does the "Synch" function, since the two-step process is invoked ONLY for galaxies, nebula, etc. I use it every time I set up my ETX-125 and only wish there were a way to have it default "ON." Perhaps other users have overlooked this handy feature. Bill Collins Walnut Creek CA
Subject: Wanted: Autostar cable for JMI motorfocus Sent: Friday, August 18, 2000 03:40:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Davidson) I have a couple of JMI motor-focusers and would like to adapt one to run off the Autostar handset. Have any autostar owners tried this or looked into it already? I would think the solution would be building an electric component box matching cables and voltages but I'd be curious if anyone else has tried this first. Thanks, Jim -- Jim Davidson http://www.geocities.com/icstars_us/astro jim_d @ uol.com.br 3 31 ' S , 38 33 ' WMike here: JMI has an InstaFocus product that works with the Autostar.
Subject: autostar updates Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2000 19:51:29 From: email@example.com (Tony Bulat) I downloaded the Autostar update tool (version A2.1) and Autostar firmware (version 2.0h) and it's just sitting there in the PC waiting to be transferred to the autostar. I am doing this because I'm not sure which software version is in my autostar. I tried following the instructions to upload this latest version with no success. I hooked up the #505 connector cable from the serial port to the auto- star as directed, but I kept getting the "windows fail" sign after 3 attempts. I tried several different hookups, all with the same result. I did not try this with the autostar plugged into the ETX control panel Handbox Port (HBX) and powered up at the same time that the #505 connector cable is connected from the serial port to the autostar. Is this the correct way to upload the Autostar update A2.1 into my autostar? Help!Mike here: The Autostar gets its power from the ETX so the Autostar needs to be connected to the ETX and the ETX powered on.
I have a question for you about autostar, the ETX, and trying to download version A2.1. Tonight, as I was setting up the autostar by plugging it into the ETX and powering it up( nothing else hooked up), I got power to the buttons on the auto- star, it beeped,and I could turn the night light on and off. The problem was the LCD screen, it was blank, and turning the power on/off and hitting MODE did nothing to change it. My plans were to check "setup>statistics" to see which version was in my autostar, then select "setup>download" to begin the upgrade process. Hard to do when the LCD is blank. Nothing I did seemed to help. I mentioned to you before that I had fooled around and tried to download the A2.1 version without the autostar being powerd up, which didn't do much. My question in that regard is; could that have damaged or really screwed up my autostar to the point of having to replace it? By the way, I was able to slew the ETX, and by punching a series of keys, it would start to autotrack, or at least make those low humming sounds like it was tracking. Your best guess good sir, and if Dick Seymour sees this, maybe he could help. What a way to ruin an otherwise good day.Mike here: That is odd. I doubt you fried the LCD by not having it hooked up earlier. Can you see the display in the dark? If not, then it may have gotten damaged.
Subject: GoTo RA and Dec (and/or Alt and Az) Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2000 21:55:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com On Mike Weasner's site you asked: >I would like to ask you about something. I use MEADE ETX-125 EC in >Alt/Az mount with Autostar 497. Is there any way, using Autostar, to >give first R.A. and Dec. and then GO TO? The easy way is to press the [mode] key a few times to get up to a display like: Object: Star Now hold the [Mode] key down for more than two seconds. Release. If you have an electric focuser, you will see a focus message. Touch scroll down [v] If you do not have an electric focuser, you will be seeing the current position of the ETX in RA and Dec. Press [goto] That display now becomes a data-entry display. The cursor is blinking on the first digit of the RA. You can enter the number you wish (hours, minutes) Press [Enter] The cursor now moves to the Dec number. Again, you may key in the digits of your target (degrees, minutes) Press [enter] The ETX will now slew to that position (unless it is below the horizon). You can do the same thing with Alt/Az... After holding [mode] to reach the RA/Dec display, press scroll down [v] once (more) and you will see the Alt/Az readout. Press [goto] and that display will accept input, too. have fun --dick Thank you. K. Giannopoulos Pyrgos Greece E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: GO TO R.A. AND Dec. Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2000 06:17:43 From: email@example.com (Konstantinos Giannopoulos) First of all, I would like to thank you for all the useful information I find in your site. I would like to ask you about something. I use MEADE ETX-125 EC in Alt/Az mount with Autostar 497. Is there any way, using Autostar, to give first R.A. and Dec. and then GO TO? Thank you. K. Giannopoulos Pyrgos Greece E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: You can use the User Objects under the Object menu.
Subject: a shapely object... Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2000 00:24:08 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Tonight's ISS pass was about as good as Saturday's... with the difference of using the Barlow tonight... and the beastie -does- show a shape... Almost constant corrections were required, but it was an "easy" track (46 degrees maximum altitude). The AOS was about 3 degrees off (AOS too far North), but the timing was dead-on. Speed 6 was usually adequate to keep it in view, even given the half-field width of the Barlow. I also tracked it Sunday night, but then i'd call it a "double star" instead of tonight's (and Saturday's) definite horizontal line. --dick
Subject: longitude (+) or (-) Sent: Monday, August 14, 2000 20:59:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tony Bulat) Quick question. When you insert lat/long into the "site location" in autostar, is the longitude for the U.S. plus or minus? I swear I had that all figured out in my previous tests and setups. Then with my brother here for the big demo, the easy alighn couldn't find jack-squat. I found an error in the time zone, it should have read -7.0 hrs. instead of 0.0 hrs. So I corrected that, and still using a + for W. longitude, I figured that would solve the problem. It didn't! So I continued to use -7.0 hrs. for the time zone, and I chose -103 54'41"West for the longitude, and all is well with the autostar,the night sky and me. The problem is after flying fighters in the Air Force for 20 yrs. I could swear that West longitude was positive. Could this be an anomally in the autostar, or is it related to the way RA/Dec and Alt/Az are used in astronomy? Thanks Mike, always nice to read your site's comments, Tony BulatMike here: In older versions, west longitude was positive but was changed in 1.1m to west being negative. Always nice to hear from a fellow former fighter pilot. See my personal Home Page for what I flew.
Subject: Meade + computer Sent: Monday, August 14, 2000 12:49:15 From: email@example.com (Paulo Wollny) Very interesting your page and tips. I really liked. I have one question: is it possible to directly connect the computer rs-232 to the EC of Meade without having to buy the autostar control? THX in advance, -- Paulo J V Wollny ---------------- mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org phone/fax: +55 (21) 512-4380 Rio de Janeiro / BrazilMike here: Currently, you need the Autostar to connect to a computer.
Subject: Below Horizon question... Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2000 23:08:15 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Mark, You (and someone else who i can't find) commented upon some objects in Tours which reported "below horizon" whereas they could be reached directly. Which Tour? Which Object(s)? Some tours -look- like they're accessing the normal database, but they've really got the object's coordinates hard-coded (as RA/Dec) in the script. If their idea of where it is differs from the Autostar's own database, that could be a source of the discrepancy. But if you could supply more details, i'd be more that happy to lift the hood on it... have fun --dick p.s. i'd go for more aperture... unless portability was a major factor (it is for me). And i use a plank c-clamped to a railing.... not a tripod. (how do i bring the railing for field work? haven't solved that one yet...)
Subject: egad... is that a -shape-? Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2000 16:43:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Saturday night I loaded in the newest TLEs from www.heavens-above.com, I took the time to put my Custom Site into my Autostar to -really- nail where i'm at. (i'm about 18 miles North of the ETX's idea of "Seattle".... i'd guess they use an airport database) And go hunting for the International Space Station... Before heading out, I ran the Autostar through the calculations a few times to bracket the AOS time/az/alt predictions, to compare with the Heaven's Above detailed map. (if you do Object>Satellite>Select>ISS [enter] a number of times, you'll find that you get a -range- of answers. They may all show the same -minute- of AOS, but the Az and Alts will differ. If you apply the to-the-second-AOS patch, that'll change too. The Autostar prediction doesn't always repeat its AOS... in fact, it rarely hits the same one tiwce. But they're all along the same -track-. This is handy if its AOS prediction is too high or too low for your situation, just push the twenty-button bandit's [mode] and then [enter] again, and you'll get another chance at the jackpot) The Autostar appeared to be very, very close to the track, but about 20 seconds slow. So i head for outside, align, poke around (moon, the odd star), fret at the cloudbank, do a satellite-predict pass, and it's -in- the cloudbank. The next spin of the wheels shows a 26 degree Alt, well above the clouds. So i finally tell the ETX to [GoTo]. (this SW-to-NE pass was going to be north of overhead, passing just under Polaris, so i knew it wouldn't hit the stops) Watching with binoculars, i saw the ISS rise above the clouds... Peering into the ETX's viewfinder, it came into sight... and -hit- the crosshairs!... [enter] to start track. Switching to the ETX's 26mm eyepiece, there it was... following it required almost constant leaning on the left-slew key at speed 7. The Alt-tracking was pretty good, just requiring occasional upward correction. As it was tracking well enough to actually -think- about what i was seeing... it struck me that the object looked -different-... it had SHAPE! Just a short, crisp horizontal line, but not a dot! About the width of Saturn's planet, but not the rings. Now, this might have been caused by (a) latent in-eyeball image caused by resonance in the ETX's motion (b) poor collimation of my ETX (c) wishful thinking on my part (d) the ISS being distinctly linear since the addition of the new module. (i.e. the shape might be -real-!) I couldn't compare it to the stars which were streaming by, but after-pass star-looking did not show any shapes. The orientation of the shape (pretty much aligned across my eyepiece) didn't seem to change over the first third of the pass... After that the button-effort required to keep it within (or bring it back into) view exceeded my spare thinking capacity, so i didn't catch nuances of the shape as the image started moving wildly across the field of view (i was up to speed 9 for some corrections). If only, if only...i'd had my Barlow at hand. (then the tracking would have been -much- harder) Then back to (not) boring ol' multiple-star cruising... --dick
Subject: most current version of autostar firmware... Sent: Friday, August 11, 2000 18:36:45 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Since Meade's pulled Natural Wonders' plug (somewhat) they moved the most-current (2 August) package ( v2.2 Updater, v2.0i etx firmware) to www.meade.com/support/auto/AutostarSupportCustomers/Meade/EtxAutostar/English/auto.exe that gives you a better Updater (among other things, it doesn't screw up Comets and other downloads) at the "cost" of the ROM files being "checksummed"... so if we want to patch things, we've got another step to take (but the 495 crowd have already dealt with this, it's easy) This Updater can also update back to a v1.0c Autostar. Ye Olde Autostars no longer need to have a half-step update. I notice that the "default" download pointed to by the Support page is also dated 2 August, but i haven't unpacked -that- one yet --dickAnd more info:
Subject: Maybe hold off on trying that "most current version" Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2000 16:32:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) I sent along an announcement about a "most current version" of the Updater... The ROMs are indeed, v2.0i for the 497 However the Updater -is- a beta, and one of the new features is checking handbox type... and a correspondent with a "version 1.0" (no sub-letter specified) 497 tired it, and it did two things: (1) complained about "failed while reading tour at page 6 offset 3f94". and (2) "Your autostar cannot upload this versio of the autostar.rom. A non ETX autostar is required to upload this version of the firmware". So it may be mis-identifying his handbox. Joy. Since they've greatly rearranged where/how Tours are handled between v1.x and v2.x, i can certainly understand that the Updater might get confused trying to "read back" a tour from an old Autostar. The "newest" Updater is updater v2.0030 I've used v2.0025, the previous full-release Version was 2.0021. The README for this one says: > New in Version X2.0030 (A2.2) > If you have a 1.0c firmware Autostar, you now may use > Version X2.0030 (A2.2) of the Autostar Update utility to update > your firmware to the latest version. Beware: betas can be buggy... newly implemented features are definite signs of thin ice... tread carefully. Here are the differences between v2.0025 and this... A2.1 X2.0026 Add: Ability to distinguish the model on download. Add: Checksumming for all products. Add: Overhaul the new memory map and object placement. Add: Smarter installation (preserves EXPERT previous values, etc.) Bug: Link error thrown by conersion of bitmap. Fix: Loaded bitmap into Paint rotated twice and replaced file. Note: Made some modifications to the HELP file. More extensive modifications are being done. As 494 changes are added. Add: Autostar 494 changes for memory map and page saving. A2.2 Note: A2.2 Release X2.0027 Add: < Send ALL to Autostar > capability. X2.0027 Add: < Send NONE to Autostar > capability. X2.0028 Bug: Satellites are not downloading from WEB correctly. Fix: Same error as reported for comets. Same fix. Also checked other bodies for the same error and made fixes as needed. CRT X2.0029 Bug: Cannot find the Tour Provider's list of tours. Unhandled exception reported. No SIGs showing. Fix: MFC is not a true event driven system the message delivery was happining before the SIG list was built. A PV-software symaphore was wrapped around the class. You can detect this in debug mode when you suddenly jump out of a class and into another class via the view/debug/call stack mechanism. CRT X2.0030 Note: Pre 2.3 release. Betatest release. ==================================================================== Based on the one bleeding-edge person who's tried it, v1.0 Autostar owners may still want to hold off a bit... --dick
Subject: Dick Seymour on site location Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2000 20:33:00 From: email@example.com (Tony Bulat) I asked the question about how do you know the exact location your ETX is using for its home of reference as far as all the computations used in proper tracking are concerned. Without an accurate location, then all good tracking is for naught. The autostar handbook is a little vague here again, especially after you go through the first initialization process. Good ol Dick Seymor came to the rescue again. I wonder how many other folks he's helped by reading your mail and responding to their questions? I can't thank you and Dick enough, your insight and knowledge about Meades products have created an army of loyal followers. Again, I thank you both. Blessed are astronomers with good eyesight and clear skiies, Tony Bulat
Subject: welcome to the world of ETX90-dom Sent: Monday, August 7, 2000 21:10:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Hi... I saw your note on Mike's site, and would like to toss in a cent or two... the object-leaves-after-sync is -proabably- what you'll see referred to as "creep after beep". (or "creepie-beepies" in Stantasic's postings). I believe its a very delayed take-up of backlash. Something you could add to the mix is the -direction- of the creep. For me it seems to be in a positive-sidereal direction... almost as if the ETX were thinking it had to "catch up" with a moving object. > When going to a star in the vicinity that the scope is already pointing, > it takes off towards the opposite horizon and sometimes beyond the > rotational limit. Yikes!!! TURN OFF!!! START OVER!!! What version of Autostar firmware are you running? You can get the -exact- version by choosing the Setup menu, then up-scrolling two choices to Statistics. Hit [enter], then scroll up once to see the full version description. The [mode] key should halt a [goto] motion, but once you've hit the stops, your alignment's shot. If the version is anything higher than v1.3b, you shouldn't be hitting the stops. (except in Satellite tracking... ) v2.0i is the newest version. v2.0h is exactly the same, except for a buggy non-english database. A second reading of that symptom would be that you've got the original setup 360 degrees off. Thus the ETX is trying to -avoid- a stop, (hence taking the long 'way round) but is hitting them, instead. Two dead giveaways: the second object is south of 270/90 degrees -azimuth- (or true East and West). Check out your setup's home position: With the scope off, set it on a table, with the plug panel pointing due West. Unclamp the azimuth clamp. Hold the base steady, and rotate the telescope barrel fully counter clockwise, when viewed from the top. It should run into the stop with the barrel pointing a bit south of the plug-panel. In other words, the barrel should now be pointing southwest. Now turn the barrel so that it's pointing due north. Clamp the Az. Level the barrel, and clamp the Altitude knob. That's the Alt/Az home position. If you're not diligent about the go-to-stop-and-then-north, you WILL occasionally hit the stops. (the expection to this is being diligent one night, then using Utilites> ParkScope to put it to sleep. It'll point due north, but it may not rotate that extra turn to the "manual" home position. That's OK... it'll remember where it parked ((tm) Star Trek IV). > In Guided Tour Mode it may tell me an object is Below Horizon (Then why > does it want to list it on the tour?) It's not really below horizon. If > you find the same object in the database it goes right to it. The > software is not perfect yet, but manageable. that's a new one on me... so i'm -really- curious about your version number. have fun with the ETX... you sound like you've got realistic experience (and patience) so you'll probably get a LOT of enjoyment out of it... --dick
Subject: alignment problem Sent: Saturday, August 5, 2000 11:19:34 From: Goodshot@email.msn.com (goodshot) It's been more than a week since I got the ETX-90 and I still haven't been able to do polar alignment. The scope seems to point at a star but I can't see it in the viewfinder nor in the scope,though I adjusted the viewfinder with the scope(I use a Tasco rifle viewfinder). Trying to find a star in the scope seems like trying to find a needle in hay. So,I gave up tring to find a star but instead tried to locate the moon. The scope slewed toward the moon(clockwise),but it hit the hard stop,so it couldn't point at the moon. If it had slewd counter-clockwise,it would've pointed at the moon. If I manualy move the scope with a controller to aim at the moon and position it in the center of the scope and hit Enter,will it still synch? Or, probably I'll have to wait untill the moon rises up from the eastern horizon. Hopefully, I'll be able to do polar alignment someday. Best Regards, Hide TakahashiMike here: See the Autostar Information page for alignment techniques. Of course, be certain you have trained the drives, entered the proper site location, date/time, and mounting mode, and put the telescope in the HOME position before beginning the alignment. Finally, unless you absolutely need to use Polar Mode, stick with Alt/Az. Most users report better results with that. Also, the telescope/tripod is more stable in this mode.
Subject: FOVs...ask the Autostar! Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2000 21:36:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) One of the (many) unsung ablilities of the Autostar is eyepiece FOV calculations. Admittedly, it only admits to Meade-brand eyepieces, but they're probably similar to what you've got. Utilities > Eyepiece Calcs>Field of View then scroll through the eyepieces until you hit one you like. It'll use the focal length you "set" when you told it what model telescope you have. So, i'll lie... "dear Autostar... my 90mm glass is really a 125..." Oh... you want FOV at a Magnification? no... you give me an out.. 9.7mm hmmm... the nearest is the Meade Super Plossel 9.7mm... and the answer is 15 arcminutes FOV. (no math.. it's all in the buttons...) that lens' magnification is 195.9x The 2x barlow would kick the mag to ~400, and, as Mike says, effectively halve the FOV. --dick (Autostar... fun even on rainy days...)
Subject: insight on Sites? Sent: Thursday, August 3, 2000 21:25:52 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Setting our sights on site? The Autostar has the capability of holding (At least) 4 custom sites. That's how you -nail- your location. How to: From the menus: Setup>Site>Add scroll up once to Custom, press [enter] You'll see "Site Name: SITE" You can replace the letters of "SITE" with whatever you'd like (i use "home") (and you can use up to 16 letters, spaces and numerals) It'll then ask for Latitude (positive is North) (i believe some early versions understand N and S) Then it'll ask for Longitude (the USA is NEGATIVE offset, i think) And Time Zone (Pacific time is -8 hours...) (you can verify these guess by, before adding your HOME, using the site EDIT function to see what's doing at Rapid City). Once you've entered your HOME site, then you can SELECT it as your site. (just creating it may not Select it). --dick
Subject: re: etx-90 aux ports Sent: Monday, July 31, 2000 20:53:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Mike: i saw email@example.com (cdcopy)'s question on your site, and your response... this is what i just sent to him... --dick ================= Stop!!!! The computer rs232 does NOT plug into the ETX base!!! The computer rs232 connector is on the *Autostar* Controller!! If you plug a computer rs232 into the ETX "AUX" jacks, you may (will!!!) damage either the computer, the ETX, or both. There have been postings by (someone in Switzerland) who severely damaged his ETX this way. (i saw your note on Mike's site, and i hope i am not too late....) --dick seymour firstname.lastname@example.orgAnd:
From: email@example.com (Jordan Blessing) In response to Mr. Barths question about the Aux ports... The Aux ports are for accessories only. Attempting to attach a computer cable to these ports can and likely will cause damage within the scope and/or computer. The ETX cannot be computer driven without the Autostar controller. The proper port is on the bottom of the Autostar controller. -- Jordan Blessing ScopeTronix Astronomy Products www.scopetronix.com
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