Last updated: 7 September 1999

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 etx@me.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:	 Question for the Autostar Board
Sent:	Monday, August 23, 1999 18:08:33
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
I downloaded 1.2g successfully, but there seems to be something wrong
with the way terrestrial target locations (i.e., Landmarks) are stored.
What happens is when I store target locations that are say "east" of
where Polaris would be, targets store and locate fine when I go to and
from each target; however, targets locations that are say "west" of
where Polaris would be cause the scope to keep rotating past the target
ad infinitum until the hardstop is hit. Version 1.2c worked fine, but is
there a glitch with using Landmarks with 1.2g?

Try it and see what happens with your scopes and PLEASE let me know how
to resolve this problem, if possible.


Added later:
I think I discovered the answer to this last night - I needed to
"landmark align" by synchronizing the first landmark via pressing enter
and holding for two seconds, and THEN add landmark locations in
reference to the synchronized location.

Subject:	 Autostar Updates
Sent:	Thursday, August 19, 1999 18:26:53
From:	ik7565@erols.com
Netscape 4.61 could not save the two ROM files in the correct sizes. IE4
had no problem - just click and save. (And I'm not an IE fan.)  Great
site- never would have known about the download problems without your
Mike here: I see that Meade has changed their download page to try to avoid these problems.

Subject:	 ETX fix
Sent:	Thursday, August 19, 1999 13:50:52
From:	vegstan@ix.netcom.com (Stan Rosenfeld)
First, thanks for the great site!  Welcome back.

I was getting very frustrated with my ETX-EC, but now am feeling good
again and wanted to pass along my solution.

I was running into the RA hard stops all the time doing GOTOs.  I was
told by meade that 1.2g might fix the problem.  So then started my
adventure trying to download 1.2g.  First I downloaded the latest client
program successfully, then tried to download the 1.2 g version of
autostar.rom.  As you know using Netscape you get a text representation
rather than a bit image.  Meade's hint to fix this problem was to hold
the shift key while you click on the download.  This appears to work,
but when you upload the file to the Autostar it hangs when it completes
with a message "Initializing the autostar box".  The fix was to download
from the Meade site with Internet Explorer.  The file size that I got
with IE was 655,360 bytes.

No more hardstops!!!

I might also mention one other change that I made that may have made a
difference with the hardstop problem, but I don't think so.  At the same
time that I downloaded autostar.rom with IE I also loaded the latest
dbase.rom (I hadn't done this before).  So I guess there is some
possibility that this helped solve the hardstop problem

Hope this helps someone.


Subject:	 AutoStar Version 1.2g and planets
Sent:	Monday, August 16, 1999 13:58:47
From:	tmf@ces.com (Todd M. Frisvold)
I really enjoyed using my ETX125/EC and AutoStar in northern Minnesota
for the last week while on vacation.  The AutoStar located and tracked
all stars and deepspace objects without error for all of my observation
sessions and I have never seen so many objects in such a short viewing
time.  The only problem I noticed with the "goto" functionality was that
planets (Jupiter and Saturn) would be missed by about 1/5 th to  1/6 th
of the finder FOV.  Otherwise all stars and deep sky objects were well
in the 26mm eye piece FOV.  I was using alt/azm alignment and I double
checked my time and date and daylight savings settings.  Any other ideas

Thanks for your help,
Todd Frisvold

Subject:	 Autostar info
Sent:	Thursday, August 12, 1999 16:28:11
From:	gregg_kyle@derry.coulterpharm.com (Gregg_Kyle)
After several attempts to download autostar.ROM and dabase.ROM,  I have
found an easy way to download the 1.2g update and not have the Autostar

Using the NETZIP utility, that is free on the WEB, I was able to use the
Smartload button in the utility.  In smartload it will ask you to type
in the URL for the link, so I simply went to the Meade page and clicked
on the Autostar.ROM and then cut and pasted the URL address into the
Smartload  screen requesting the URL.  Smartload then seems to place a
link into a file (it has red arrow icon) that you designate with a file
name while in a file manager mode in Smartload.  You then click on this
link  while in the file manager and the autostar.ROM file downloads and
appears.  I did it all right in the Ephemerides folder.  I then just
deleted the temporary link file with the red arrow that I simply called
autostar.  Just repeat the process for the dbase.ROM file.  I checked
both files in MSDOS and they have the correct extension and file size.

I was annoyed by the 8/9/99 posting from Meade.  Although it had some
great information written in a more understandable fashion than the
README files or any other place - why not just put something like this
into the WEB site Meade!!!  Many of us have the equipment to do these
downloads, but not all of us know all the jargon and have any experience
doing downloads as such.  Many people do  not know what a README file is
or may not know how to open them.  A simple instruction on the Meade
Webpage to direct the users to the README file might have saved some
people allot of problems.  Some of us are astronomer geeks, not computer

I am starting to get pushed over the edge with Meade.  I love this
scope, but I am now on my fifth ETX/ec -  all have had failures of one
sort or another since February. Thanks to Natural Wonders and Mike
Weasner - I would not have made it this far otherwise.   The accessories
have been advertised or in catalogs for months, but have not come out,
and  the software updates are slow, difficult to understand, and
frustrating.  Finally the new finder scope is available and it has cross
blocks, not cross hairs, that could easily block the largest star. Meade
seems to work in an uncoordinated haphazard fashion and then blame the
consumer if they have trouble due to Meade's poor documentation - the
original autostar manual is a case in point.  There are parts such as
the sync function that still make no sense and are not sufficiently
documented in the on-line manual.  Get it together Meade and try some QC
for a change!
Mike here: There are many utilities for the Mac OS and Windows that can download files using URLs.

Subject:	 AutoStar Update Redux
Sent:	Wednesday, August 11, 1999 23:35:44
From:	Stargazer46@earthlink.net (Steve Reed)
Regarding the email from Chuck Burton that you posted:  his comment that
forcing Navigator (shift  click) to download the ROM files as files
still does not produce a usable file is correct.  When I used this
method, the file sizes were still padded (larger).  Since Internet
Explorer (version 5) is also on my PC, I used it to download the files
and got the correct file sizes  at least Im pretty sure I did.

I say that because the Autostar Info you posted from Meade states the
dbase.ROM file size should be 560,642 bytes, but Mr Burtons email said
the dbase.ROM file  should be 560,624 bytes.  When I used Internet
Explorer to download  the files, I got sizes of 655,360 (autostar.ROM)
and 560,624 (dbase.ROM).  Since Mr Burton actually used these files
successfully to update to version 1.2g, I suspect that Meades email has
a typo (twice).

Just thought your site visitors would like to know this.
Mike here: My sizes agree with yours. I confirmed with Meade that there was a typo and have corrected the info.

Subject:	 Re: Ver. 1.2g
Sent:	Tuesday, August 10, 1999 17:26:56
From:	cburton@jeffco.k12.co.us (Charles Burton)

Your comment at the top of the 8/8 update is not exactly true.  You 
still get a bad download using the right click method or the shift 
key method.  I have taken the information that Tom Stremlau provided 
(Correct vs. Corrupted version sizes) and verified that the Save Link 
As ... methods provide corruped version sizes under Netscape (3.01, 
4.5, and 4.6).  I am not sure about Internet Explorer, since I do not  
use it.  

I did one thing that might work:  

  1. I went to the Netscape cache area (see below) and deleted all 
     the files.  Then I started up Netscape and went to the Autostar 
     download page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html).  Note 
     Netscape cannot be up if you want to clean out all of those files.
  2. I just clicked on the items (Autostar.ROM and DBase.ROM) and let 
     the data load in the window (which looks like garbled text).
  3. Next, I went to the Netscape cache area under Win9x:

      c:\"Program Files"\Netscape\Navigator\Cache for Netscape 3.01
      c:\"Program Files"\Netscape\Users\[default|UserNN]\Cache for 4.x

     and looked in the cache for *.rom files and found two.  These 
     file sizes are the same as the Correct Version sizes.
  4. I renamed the .rom files so that the Autostar.ROM file was the 
     one that was 655360 bytes and the dbase.ROM file was the one 
     that was 560624 bytes.  Note you have to use a MSDOS window to 
     be able to get the correct sizes.
  5. This evening, I will load these into my Autostar and see if that 
     solves the problem. I will provide you with a followup email 
     about the results.

Chuck Burton
Added later:
I just finished completing the download, based on the method I sent 
to you earlier.  Getting the .ROM files out of the cache did work, 
i.e. I did a successful load of those files to my Autostar and the 
Statistics indicate that the version is 1.2g.  The display did not 
lock up and the initialization happened right away.  

You might suggest this technique to those that cannot get things to 
work properly by doing the Save Link To ... procedure.  I would suggest 
that those that download using any of the techniques use an MSDOS 
window to verify the file sizes against those sizes provided by 
Tom Stremlau.  If the file sizes are "Correct," then they can 
proceed with the download.  On the otherhand, if the file sizes are in 
the "Corrupted" category, then they should try one of the alternate 
download techniques, until the file sizes are in the "Correct" 

Also, you might suggest to Meade that they put the Autostar.ROM and 
the DBase.ROM files into a zip file, so that we do not have these 
download problems in the future.
Mike here: All users should read the note from Meade that I have posted on the Autostar Information page on tonight's update.

Subject:	ETX-90EC W/Autostar and JMI Motofocus
Sent:	Monday, August 9, 1999 08:20:44
From:	Wtbesq@aol.com
Terrific site--it has saved me lots of time and trouble with these
delightful products.

Problem: I recently installed the new JMI motofocus for the 90EC; it
works great with the Meade EC hand controller, but I cannot figure out
how to focus using the Autostar controller.  If the latter will not work
with the focuser, the focuser is useless to me. Can you or your readers

Thanks much.  Bill
Mike here: There was a report on the July 1999 Autostar Feedback page that you "hold down the Mode key for two seconds and then release to get to the Telescope Status screen, then scroll down to the Focuser Control screen and follow the instructions." Let me know if this works with the JMI focuser.

Subject:	Re: Updating Question?
Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 1999 21:31:02
From:	KC8DDQ@aol.com
Where is the Emphemerides folder found at? I looked in the Autostar
program but don't see anything called "Emphemerides" folder. I ever
downloaded the Updater again to make sure I didn't lose some files. This
is probably something simple that I am missing.

Mike here: The Emphemerides folder is inside the Autostar updater folder.

Mike here: Several users have noted that just downloading the .ROM files on Meade's web page by clicking on the link results in a corrupted download. But if you follow the technique I mentioned earlier of clicking and holding the mouse button down on the link (shift-click in Windows) and selecting to Save the File As... from the pop-up menu and then use Source for the file, you'll get a good download from the web. Then you should be able to upload properly to the Autostar.

Subject:	 Ver 1.2g
Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 1999 17:10:40
From:	sfvw79@erols.com (Robert R. Souders)
I have tried 7 times to download to the autostar ver 1.2g without
success. I downloaded Version Autostar Update A1.2 1999 April 19 and
updated the Autostar with version 1.2c. No problem. With version 1.2g it
will download the 27 pages and then the window pops up "Autostar Update
Initializing Autostar Dialog" Please Wait Initializing your autostar
Handbox. This stayed there for 1/2 hour no further prompts. I then used
the safe loader (as you did) and after page 27,. the same thing
happened. I then used the safe loader to install ver. 1.2c, which went
back in to the autostar with no problems . I even went back to download
from Meade the Autostar.ROM and the DBase.ROM. thinking that maybe I did
not get all the download. This did not help. I have not had any problem
with the upgrading of past versions, am wondering why now with 1.2g? I
did send an Email to Meade for their consideration. Any suggestions? Bob

Added later:

I have downloaded the files as you suggested and will give it another
try. I have an 8 inch scope but find the ETX a dream come true. The
autostar makes the sky gazing more fun and interesting. Thanks also for
your Web site.


Followed your instructions on downloading the ROM files and got the same
hang up on Please wait initializing your handbox. Went back to Ver 1.2c.
Guess I'll wait for another update version. This must make 9 or 10 times
I tried to update 1.2g. Thanks again for your help. Bob
Mike here: Sorry the tip didn't help you. It has worked for others, including me.

Sent:	Sunday, August 8, 1999 01:04:16
From:	stargazer46@earthlink.net (Steve Reed)
I've noted that some folks have had the same problem as me downloading
the new 1.2g ROM update.  In the Windows world, you can "force"
Navigator to download and save them as files by holding down the shift
key when you click on the ROM link.  Then place the files in the proper
folder per the instructions.  I'd also recommend saving the old versions
(rename & relocate) before proceeding - just my cautious nature, I
guess.  Then if you have a problem, you can always revert back without
downloading the whole deal again.

I have to agree, the instructions Meade put out are poor at best.  My
recommendation is to read the entire "Readme" file that comes with the
updated software before starting the process - some important items are
out of sequence, so it will help to understand the big picture first.

After trashing my Autostar 1.2c version when going up to 1.2g, I was
able to use the safeloader mode and revert back to the 1.2c version.  It
appears to be OK now, but due to a lot of bad weather, I haven't been
able to test the accuracy.  Until the problem, I wasn't even sure what
the "safeloader" mode was for - how difficult can it be to clean up the
instructions??  Since the potential exists to screw up something
(Autostar) that is working fairly well, Meade's carelessness will only
cause more needless dissatisfaction with the updating process, which
should actually be a very big plus for both Meade and its customers.

Subject:	 Problems with 1.2g .ROM Updates
Sent:	Saturday, August 7, 1999 11:22:20
From:	rsprecision@earthlink.net (Robert Savitzky)
First, let me join the growing chorus in praising your web site. I
discovered it after buying my ETX (technically I'm on my fifth ETX, but
that's another story), and have found it an absolute gold mine of help
and information. In particular, when I first started using the Autostar,
I experienced the same problems many others mentioned about confusing
home position instructions, and inaccurate pointing. In my inexperience
I tried very elaborate leveling and orienting procedures in order to get
the alignment stars to appear in the EYEPIECE, not just in the
VIEWFINDER. I also expected the objects to appear in the CENTER of the
eyepiece. Once I learned that only an approximate leveling and orienting
is necessary, that the alignment starts need only appear in the FINDER
SCOPE, and that you are doing well if the objects appear ANYWHERE in the
eyepiece, I relaxed and found the entire experience become much more fun
and rewarding. I now knew what to expect, and how to use the ETX and
Autostar properly, thanks to your web site. It would be helpful  if
Meade was more realistic in portraying the capabilities and limitations
of the ETX-90/EC. Then people would not be frustrated and disappointed
when it does not function like an LX200.

My post was prompted by my recent attempts to upgrade to 1.2g. I have
experienced the same problem as on Dan Valentino's post dated 8/4/99,
where my Autostar went "dead" after attempting to upload the 1.2g .ROM
files. It too failed after uploading page 27. I got a message box
saying: "Please Wait! Initializing Your Autostar Hand box". It just
stays like this. I pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del, and it showed: "Autostar Minor
Planet & Satellite [Not Responding]". I selected "End Task". I tried
"safe mode" and answered "yes" when it asked if I wanted to do a "safe
load", but the results were the same; it failed after page 27 with the
same error message. It left the Autostar completely unusable. I will try
to reload 1.2c, and will let you know if I can get my Autostar working

Subject:	 Autostar Feedback
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 16:56:53
From:	gregg_kyle@derry.coulterpharm.com (Gregg_Kyle)
I had the same problem with 1.2g as Ralf and Dan.  I even did a safe
load and the thing  - itjust freezes at the end of the download when it
is trying to initialize the the autostar.  I'm not sure I have an older
version, so I may have to post a note for someone in the SF Bay area to
clone there version to me.  I'm going to try some things this weekend to
fix it such as doing a new download from scratch from the Web.  I
suspect it may be an error ocurred in the Web download that introduced a


Subject:	 Re:  Question for the Autostar Board
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 10:46:48
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
I must have done something wrong. Having 1.2c already on my Autostar, I
downloaded the 2 ROM files and replaced the existing ones in the
Ephemerides folder, then ran the update tool again. It seemed to
download, but after 30 min., with no final initialization beep (it just
stayed in "PLEASE WAIT, INITIALIZING AUTOSTAR" mode for 15 min.), I shut
it down. Then I turned off the Autostar and back on again with nothing
to show! Flash ready mode did not seem to do the trick when I tried the
entire 1.2c download process again, so I took back the controller for a
new Autostar.

Now, with 1.1j on the new one, I was able to successfully download 1.2c.
So, can you tell me exactly what steps I need to take to properly
download the additional Autostar.ROM and DBase.ROM files, or is this
even really necessary if I just downloaded the 7/20 Autostar Update
Client Application for Windows? Did these 2 files become obsolete in 10

I take it that when this is properly done, stats will read 1.2g and not
1.2c, right?

Feel free to post this, if you wish.


Mike here: There are some improvements in 1.2g and once put into the Autostar, you'll see that version from the statistics menu.

Subject:	 Loading V1.2g ROMs
Sent:	Friday, August 6, 1999 09:01:47
From:	Tom.Stremlau@motorola.com (Stremlau Tom-CTS004)
Dan Valentino wrote that he had no luck loading the version 1.2g 
firmware. I had the same problem.  After completing the loading process
the Autostar Update software would lock up in a screen warning  "Please
wait Initializing your Autostar Handbox".   The version 1.2c
Autostar.ROM and Dbase.ROM files would load just fine.

I found that my browser is corrupting the .ROM files when I download
them. I think the browser is interpreting the .ROM suffix as a text
file, rather than a binary file.  I have not been able to figure out how
to get the browser to correctly save the files.  I am using Netscape
Communicator 4.08 under the NT operating system.  When I download the
files using Netscape on my Macintosh, and save them as "source", the
upgrade to 1.2g worked properly.  I also had a friend download the files
using Internet Explorer on an NT, and he downloaded the files correctly.

So... Dan, check your browser.  I wish I could tell you how to configure
it properly, but I don't know how to do it!   Does anyone out there know
how to force the browser to save the file without changing it?  The only
clue I can give you is the file lengths:

Autostar.ROM  	Correct version = 655360 bytes	Corrupted version =
656370 bytes

Dbase.ROM	Correct Version = 560624 bytes	Corrupted version =
564344 bytes

Meade should probably enclose the ROM files in a ZIP to protect them
from being corrupted by confused Browsers.

Hope this info helps!  

Tom Stremlau

Subject:	 Version 1.2g Failure
Sent:	Thursday, August 5, 1999 23:27:23
From:	donkoval@prodigy.net (Don Kovalchik)
I also cannot get v1.2g to work - after the download ends and gets to
the prompt "Initializing Autostar - please wait" (or something like
that), everything just freezes at that point.  I then have to use safe
load to try again.  I tried 3 times - same result.  Went back to 1.2c
and everything works fine.  Even re-downloaded the .ROM files from
Meade, but still won't work (still freezes at end of download).  I guess
I'll just continue using 1.2c. Is it possible some Autostars have
different internals?

Don Kovalchik - Galloway, OH

Subject:	 Autostar Download failed -> Now Dead!
Sent:	Thursday, August 5, 1999 08:49:49
From:	ralf.schulz@firemail.de (Ralf Schulz)
I'm from Germany and I've bought an ETX/90/EC and one of the first
autostars available on a business trip to Houston in March. The software
was very buggy and must have been one of the first releases. Because the
connector cable is not available here in Germany, I had to wait for my
next visit to the US to buy that cable.  I bought the cable this week at
Natural Wonders in Chicago, and the first thing to do for me after my
return to Germany was to get the newest software release from meade and
download it to autostar.

I connected Autostar to COM2, set the parameters right, installed the
program and started it. It found the Autostar and asked me to set it in
download mode. I did this, and this was the last thing my Autostar said
"Downloading- please do not turn off!"

When the Software came up, there was nothing to select, except something
like "Update to new Software". I clicked it, but nothing happend, no
response of Autostar, no Progess in the screen, and then the software
finished after some seconds without doing anything.

Autostar was still saying, that it is downloading, but I was not able to
get in contact with it by starting the update software again. After some
time I decided to turn the ETX off, because the batteries got weak, and
that it was. After turning on with new Batteries, Autostar display
remained black, and it is completely dead. The ETX is fine with the

Is there any action possible to "rescue" my autostar? What can I do
without sending the autostar to Meade?

Ralf Schulz, Speyer, Germany

P.S.: I'm REALLY disapointed of that XXXXXXX Meade stuff, and this ETX
will probably be my last Meade product!!!
Firemail - Ihr Briefkasten im Web. Einfach, schnell, sicher. 
Kostenlose Email-Adresse bei http://www.firemail.de
Mike here: As described on my updated ETX-90EC comments (and elsewhere), put the Autostar in the Safe Load mode by holding down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN arrow as you turn on the ETX power. You'll see on the Autostar display that you are in the Safe Load mode. Start your Autostar updater software and proceed to do the download. You'll get a prompt about being in Safe Load mode. Continue with the download.

Subject:	 Autostar update to 1.2G Beware!!
Sent:	Wednesday, August 4, 1999 16:16:51
From:	valen@flash.net (Dan Valentino)
Just want to let everyone know that I have trashed two Autostars, by
trying to load the new rom files and data base files 1.2g. I loaded them
in the Emphemeris as instructed, but when I downloaded to Autostar using
the update tool, (and I have no idea what went wrong) When the program
came to the end..page 27 and said initializing autostar, everything
froze up, and Autostar went "Dead"!! and I mean turning it on and off
yeilded nothing!! I could not get it to even move the scope! Just dashes
sometimes would appear on screen, and it made a weird clicking noise.
Use extreme caution, cause you could blow something in the memory it

Dan Valentino
Mike here: Have you tried the Safe Load mode of updating? Press ENTER and the SCROLLDOWN arrow simultaneously while turning on the power. The run the Autostar updater software. I have 1.2g in my Autostar and the upload went OK. I did have a problem loading 1.2c (or was it b?) but the reupload worked fine from the Safe Load mode.

Added later:

Thanks for the help, but yes, I tried to go into safe load, by pushing
the scrolldown button while turning on the power, and nothing happens!
In fact, the backlight doesnot even iluminate! I think that the computer
chip must be blown, or memory totally wiped out, this happened with two
different units!
Mike here: You have to hold down both the ENTER button on the Autostar keypad and the SCROLLDOWN button as you turn on the ETX power.


I Did! But one autostar will not respond at all just blank dark screen.
The other one worked, and I was able to reload version 1.2c but not
1.2g! I will have to send one back to Meade. I don't know what went
wrong, its a mystery! Thanks

Subject:	 Re: Autostar update to 1.2g
Sent:	Wednesday, August 4, 1999 13:48:19
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
I also found the 'saving autostar ROM information' confusing and of
course the 'Load new Software' button I missed for a short while. I sat
there looking at a screen with nothing happening for a few minutes
before I worked up the courage to try it! It would be nice if when
updating the ROM files, Meade also listed the changes since the previous
ROM, rather than having to wait for the next uploader update and readme

The sun/moon rise and set times are still wrong on 1.2g. It may be an
equation of time error for the sun, I'll let you know in a day or two.
(By this, I mean is the error periodic, the error alternately increasing
or decreasing throughout the year.) If not, the algorithm may be just
plain wrong. The moon phase may also be off.

On the weekend, I noticed that Venus is listed as mag -5.5, which seems
too high by about one magnitude. I previously had mentioned an error
with regard to arcsecond and arcminute symbols. Some objects are
correctly listed with their approximate size, some are wrong. The ones
that are off usually have arcminutes listed as arcseconds (allowing for
differences between different catalogues).

As long as the autostar does the bulk of what it is supposed to
properly, I can live with these minor errors. But this information is
useful and important when planning an observing session and I hope will
be sorted out soon.

Enjoy your vacation, best wishes,


Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.


Subject:	 "starshine"
Sent:	Tuesday, August 3, 1999 08:49:20
From:	Wombat@realns.com (Wombat)
I saw a query about "starshine" being a new object in autostar, this is
a sattelite that is very dim and flashes.  Info can be gotten vrom
"GROC/DLR" wev site.


Subject:	 Question for the Autostar Board
Sent:	Monday, August 2, 1999 13:16:18
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
I just downloaded Meade's version 1.2 software (dated 7/20), but don't
know how to download the ROM firmware (dated 7/30), as when I do this, I
get a bunch of odd characters showing up on my screen. How can I
download this properly to the Autostar?

Also, how can you confirm what version of software is on your Autostar?
On startup, mine just says 1.2, with no letters afterward.


Mike here: You should just save the files instead of letting them appear on a web page. I had to do that with the 1.2g .ROM files as well. Just click and hold your mouse button (or perhaps right-click on MS Windows) on the link. A pop-up menu will appear; select to save the link as (a file). Put files in your Autostar Emphemerides folder and run the Autostar downloader. To check the version number in Autostar, go to the Setup-->Statistics menu.

Subject:	 ROM Install
Sent:	Monday, August 2, 1999 09:44:26
From:	jhorsley@wtp.net (John Horsley)
Maybe I'm missing something but I don't want to do the wrong proceedure.
Could you clarify for me the proper proceedure for installing the new
ROM updates for me. I currently am running 1.2c and have downloaded the
two 1.2g ROM files from Meades site. Now what do you do with them???
Thanks for your help, John Horsley
Mike here: Move them to the Autostar Emphemerides folder and run the Autostar download application. Then update the Autostar software like you did previously.

Subject:	 Weasner Scope Review Two
Sent:	Monday, August 2, 1999 06:24:16
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
After reading your review and the generally positive tone at the finale,
I'm just about ready to dust off my third scope, update the autostar to
1.2C, and give it another shot - to date, my frustration level has been
off the chart.

Incidentally, regarding the encoders, I once commented that after the
autostar update to 1.1m (without entering coordinates), I somehow ended
up in a mode that showed me the encoder values for Alt and Az - when i
would slew in a direction and stop, the encoders seemed to spin a bit
longer, sometimes out of pattern,  etc. - perhaps that is one of the
errors meade accounted for.

Subject:	Orbital Elements
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 1999 21:20:50
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
I've got a quick question concerning the Orbital Elements download
section that Meade has on their web page. I know that the first two that
came out were txt. files that you could print and manually insert into
your Autostar. And now the new ones (Hubble, ISS, etc.) are the same
thing, but readable on the browser. Unfortunately, I really can't
decipher the numbers to add the elements to my Autostar and was
wondering if these individual elements were part of the new download v
1.2g? I know that Hubble and ISS (just as examples) have always been in
the Satellite section of my Autostar and technically have always been
accessible, but did the new uploads make calculation corrections? Or do
I still need to add the information manually? If so, do you have any
idea as to what the numbers that Meade is supplying means? When
inserting a new satellite or when editing the objects information, the
Autostar simply asks for RA and Dec. measurements. I'm not quite sure
how to calculate that from the supplied numbers. Any info on this would
be appreciated. Thanks again!

Mike here: You should just save the file instead of letting it appear on a web page. I had to do that with the 1.2g .ROM files as well. Just click and hold your mouse button (or perhaps right-click on MS Windows) on the link. A pop-up menu will appear; select to save the link as (a file). Put that file in your Autostar Emphemerides folder and run the Autostar downloader.

Added later:

This part I know how to do. It is the Orbital Elements --  the files
down below this section that are in TXT format that I don't know how to
deal with. My question was in reference to whether these files are
included in the 1.2g fomat. To make it simpler... I have 1.2g on my
Autostar does that mean all of the satellite and asteroid calculations
are correct? Or do I still need to manually insert those "Orbital
Elements?" And if I do need to, how is it done? The numbers don't have
labels and so I don't know what to do with them. Thanks Mike!!
Mike here: I believe you'll have to add the TLE files if you want them in your Autostar. Click on the link and save it to your hard disk. Move the saved files into the Emphemerides folder.

Subject:	 autostar
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 1999 17:04:49
From:	mull0113@tc.umn.edu (John Mullin)
I just purchased an ETX 90/EC.  I am a new user and after reading the
autostar feedback page I am wondering if it is worth buying.  What do
you think?

Thanks for your input!

Mike here: See my updated ETX-90EC comments. Link from the ETX-90EC Feedback page. That should answer your question.

Subject:	 Autostar Downloads
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 1999 15:14:34
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
In downloading the latest version of Autostar firmware (1.2g) I noticed
a couple things that seemed a bit confusing to me that I thought I'd
pass on for others:

To download the latest version of the loader (1.2), you have to make
sure when you click on the "load New Software" button and it asks if you
want to save the Autostar ROM information, you must say "NO". Otherwise,
I guess it just updates the loader, but not the ROM data in the
Autostar.  The site lists version 1.2g Autostar.rom and dbase.rom files.
The instructions are unclear, but once you have the 1.2 loader
installed, you have to rename the files from "Autostar.ROM..ROM" to
"Autostar.ROM" (same for dbase) and copy the files into the
"Ephemerides" subdirectory in place of the existing similarly named
files to download them. If you screw up and nothing works when you
finish, don't panic; the safe loader mode works fine and you can do it

Mike, if you want to correct some of the messages to be literal, please
feel free. I didn't feel like running this operation again after doing
it several times.

Dick Walters
Mike here: I found that message about saving the Autostar software confusing and have mentioned it to Meade. To me, it sounded like that meant if I clicked "Yes", whatever was currently loaded in the Autostar would be saved on my hard disk rather than leaving the Autostar unmodified. As to a file named "Autostar.ROM..ROM", I've never had that happen during a download from Meade's web site. I grabbed the 1.2g .ROM files and they came over with the proper names.

Added later:

Weird. Maybe it's something I did, but the naming problem happened every
time I tried it. Could be this wonderful Windows 98. As for the "YES"
and "NO", I tried it "yes" and got a trashed download so I wasn't able
to read the version on the Autostar.  The ROM file was not changed from
the one that downloaded from the Web site (at least the date/time stamp
did not change). Hard to tell since they are all 640K.

This was confusing to me as well. All I know is that when I replaced the
ROM files the program did not recognize them until I renamed them
(removed the second extension). I figured they did it that way on
purpose to keep one from overwriting the original ROM files by mistake.
This is confusing to say the least. Be interested to hear what Meade
says. In any event, they should probably make their instructions a bit
Mike here: I'm running Windows98 under VirtualPC on my Mac. So, I don't think we can blame this one on Microsoft...

And more:

Interesting. I tried it again with the same results. The files are named
"Autostar.ROM" but end up saved as "Autostar.ROM..ROM" Never had this
happen before with numerous downloads. That's a head scratcher.

Subject:	firmware update
Sent:	Sunday, August 1, 1999 14:05:44
From:	Denp37@aol.com
I have downloaded the Ver 1.2 autostar update and installed it with no
problems. Now I see that Meade has posted new firmware, Autostar.rom and
dbase.rom that are version 1.2g. My question is Meade says that if you
have Ver 1.2  of the Update Tool installed that you only have to
download newer versions of Autostar.rom and Dbase.rom, not the entire
update. When you try to download just the 2 rom files it seems  that it
still takes as long as it does to download the whole Upodate tool. Why
have to download the whole Update tool if you only need the 2 Rom files?
Thanks for a great web sight.

Dennis Poletto
Mike here: The Autostar Updater (the top link on Meade's web page) includes a new version of the Updater software which runs under Windows. It includes the .ROM files. For those who already have the latest updater software only the newest .ROM files are needed. When placed in the Emphemerides folder in the Autostar Updater folder, they will be downloaded by the Updater software to your Autostar. These files are actually what is downloaded to your Autostar, not the Autostar Updater software.

Subject:	 Autostar downloads & MSCVIRT>DLL
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 1999 23:45:14
From:	wgats@gunnison.com (Wayne Gatschet)
This is to address the problem Brian Bellgowan had with the Autostar
Update program wanting the DLL MSCVIRT.DLL. This is a old windows dll,
and is often replaced by a newer version, with a different name as you
install newer Microsoft software. The old dll is deleted. Your only
choice is to do a net search and find the dll. Many sites offer it as a
free download. Once downloaded, move it to your Windows\System directory
and all should be well.

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Copyright ©1999 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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