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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 30 June 2001

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:	Autostar Question
Sent:	Saturday, June 30, 2001 19:28:45
From:	jsventur@artsci.wustl.edu (J.S. Ventura)
I hope this doesn't bother you, but I saw your website and figured you
are pretty knowledgable about the Autostar.  I've had bad luck with the
Meade tech support, as I read that others did from your webpage, and
thought you might have an easy solution to this.

We have a Meade ETX 90EC, with autostar.  When it works, its great...
but there have been some problems.  Most of them we've worked out by
experience, but another one started last night and happened again today.
After powering up the autostar, going through the sun warning, and
entering the date, time, and daylight savings option (which it allows me
to enter without problem) it goes into the "main menu" and after five
seconds gives this message and freezes up.

It says:  Prac. Trap 2

When this message is displayed, none of the buttons do anything and I
can't get into the menu.  Once, I quickly tried to reset before the
message popped up and it wouldn't let me do that either.

Just thought I would check with you for ideas... if you have the chance,
drop me a response at jsventur@artsci.wustl.edu

thanks, JOHN
Mike here: If you search the ETX site for "proc trap" you'll find several references to this. It is either tripping over a bug (unlikely, given the sequence you described) or the something has become corrupted in the Autostar's memory. If you have the appropriate cable, you might want to update to the latest Autostar version (2.2Eh). One other possibility is low battery power.

Subject:	Autostar Database
Sent:	Saturday, June 30, 2001 15:46:56
From:	golfing18@msn.com (Mike Knapp)
Do you know of any listing, something printable, of all the items in the
Autostar (v2.0g)? When I last went out it, I had a heck of a time
finding some of the double stars. I can't remember any specifically, but
they were not listed under "double stars" and when the skeeters are
biting on the arms and legs, the patience for finding them tends to run
a little low.

Congrats on the award...you certainly deserve it!

Regards
Mike here: What's known is available on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Newbie Attempting the Impossible
Sent:	Saturday, June 30, 2001 13:41:40
From:	davenlynda@chesco.com (David and Lynda Macaleer)
Congrats on the award and the website is awesome. I've already learned
several things about our ETX-125 from your site. We just bought the
ETC-125 a few weeks ago and are quickly learning many things about
astronomy (great fun) and the ETX-125 (somewhat less fun but it is a
nice piece of equipment). In a couple of weeks the Moon will occlude
Venus during the day. I am conducting my own crash course on using the
ETX-125 and doing lunar photography so I can take pictures of the
occultation. The alignment procedures seem to be dependent on stars at
night. Can I align on the moon during the day so I can automatically
track the moon during the occultation and focus my energies on picture
taking, instead of having to fool with keeping the moon in the field of
view? Thanks for your help.
Mike here: There are some quick alignment tips on the Autostar Information page. What I do is just do a normal alignment (with the correct time and HOME position). Let the Autostar pick the star(s) and just accept as centered when prompted. If you HOME position was reasonably accurate in its North pointing, you will get reasonable results. GOTO the Moon (or Venus), reposition if necessary to find Venus.

And:

Pls disregard my previous email. I just found the Daylight Observing
under the Observational Guides area. I'm going to follow Clay Sherrod's
recommendations and see what happens. Keep up the good work on this
awesome website. Thanx.

Subject:	AutoStar constellation library features
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 16:37:41
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	woodjc@netcom.ca (John Wood)
actually the Enter function does not access the objects in the
constellations; it is the GO TO button that allows you to move through
the selected list, first by name, then by Bayer designation, etc.

Unfortunately, no, there is not a cross reference list that will allow a
"one-time-shop" to find out what Epsilon Lyrae's flamsteed number, or
ADS number, etc. is.  You must rely either on some good computer
software (deepsky2000 is great) or good books for cross-reference.

I am glad you pointed out that getting "into" the constellation via the
"enter" key is not the access to its many objects on AutoStar.

Thanks!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: John Wood 
>Am I missing something or is my Autostar software corrupt?
>If I go to: SELECT /  OBJECT / CONSTELLATION
>then scroll to Lyra and press enter a text description of the constellation
>is shown.
>
>How do I list the stars as proper names or Bayer designations?
>
>Is there a list anywhere to cross  reference proper names/Bayer
>designations/SAO numbers/Caldwell catalogue/Flamstead designation etc.?
>
>Regards...............John

Subject:	Changing the horizon in Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 12:50:56
From:	Jim.Wilkins@trw.com (Jim Wilkins)
Is there any way you know of to change the horizon in Autostar to match
the trees in my yard?

Jim Wilkins
Mike here: Some astronomy charting programs have that feature but that isn't in the current version of the Autostar software. Nice idea though. You might want to pass it on to Meade at engineer@meade.com. You probably won't get a response but they will see it.

Subject:	Autostar Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, June 26, 2001 16:11:50
From:	jkshy@home.com (jkshy)
I have an ETX 90/EC with Autostar which has worked fine for the last two
years.  I have the Scopetronix cable to attach it to my computer.  This
has worked fine for two years as well.

However, after downloading some tours to the Autostar last night, I went
outside with the scope.  I tried attaching to PocketSky on my PocketPC,
but the Pocket PC could not make the connection.  I brought it and tried
to re-connect to my desktop computer.  Still no luck.  I tried
DeepSky2000, SkyMap Pro, the Autostar update program and Sky Charts. 
None could connect. Neither PocketSky nor Pocket DeepSky could connect
from the Pocket PC.

The cable seems to be in good shape (I checked the plastic connector and
all the wires seem to be connected and the people at Scopetronix said
that they have had virtually no problems with the cable) and I have no
other problems with the Autostar.  I am running version 2.2eh.  Any
ideas of what might be wrong, how to diagnose the problem, or how to fix
it?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jeff Shy
Mike here: Since the Autostar works with the ETX but not a serially connected computer/handheld, it sounds like either the serial cable or the serial port on the Autostar has gone bad. Trying a different cable if you can borrow one from a dealer or local friend would indicate which was bad. If it turns out to be the port on the Autostar, I suspect a call to Meade would be in order.

And:

I decided to try the autostar again.  I came up fine.  I tried to
connect again to the PocketPC via the Sky for PocketPC.  When I tried to
establish the connection to the Autostar, the Autostar went into
Download Mode.  Now I can't do anything with it.

Looks like things are just getting worse.
Mike here: That's odd! You could try the SAFE LOAD mode and see if you can get back into a "normal" download mode. At this point, can't hurt. If it comes up in SAFE LOAD download mode then try connecting from the desktop computer with the Autostar Updater application.

And:

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Jeff - Mike's recommendations for the "flash load" (safe load) is the
only - and best - option that I can likewise recommend at this point. 
Based on what I am assuming is happening I can see NO WAY that it can be
anything BUT the cable.  It sounds as though it is shorting out and
giving you a redirect, perhaps with two leads crossing or touching at
some point.  There ALSO is the distinct possiblity that you may well
have a software program with a virus or perhaps just is "buggy."

I would - at this point - do whatever to get the Autostar back to normal
as Mike suggests and put the telescope through an entire battery of
command tests     WITHOUT the computer software or PC....Autostar ONLY. 
If the scope works fine, I wouldn't so much as get it close to the
software until you have talked to its designers.

Best of luck....

Clay Sherrod

Mike here: I have updated my Autostar Update comments for usage of 2.2Eh with the ETX-125EC. Click here.


Subject:	Epsilon Lyrae
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 14:24:23
From:	f.lundberg@att.net
I am still using version 2.0g in my Autostar 497 and find Epsilon Lyrae
in the double star catalog right after Vega. However I find that rather
than keying through the long double star list, it is much easier to find
stars using their SAO numbers. I therefore compiled a list of the double
star catalog stars and their SAO numbers, to which I can refer. The SAO
number for Epsilon Lyrae is 67310.

Forrest Lundberg

Subject:	your "Calibration . Training...." article - FANTASTIC!
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 5:11:16
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Dick - Congratulations on a wonderful and very enlightening expose on
the reasons and techniques for these processes....perhaps it will answer
a lot of recurring questions and confusion.  You are to be commended for
a lot of time spent on this (as well as all of your individual
assistance everytime somebody asks the similar questions).  Your details
are very complete and to the point....just what we need.  In fact I am
going to print it out and keep it in the observatory's shop to have
specific technical answers for the frequently repeated questions that we
hear so often.

thanks again - it has been a long time coming, but well worth the wait!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Removing the Sun Warning
Sent:	Tuesday, June 19, 2001 19:48:46
From:	ddenat@home.com (Don DeNatale)
Since I upgraded to 2.2eh I have that silly Sun Warning upon Autostar
power up.  I used to know how to remove it, but forgot.  Can anyone
refresh my memory?  Thanks.

Iguana Don
Mike here: The capability to turn off the Sun warning and startup are accessible under the "Utilities" menu under "Display Options".

Subject:	Re: Epsilon Lyrae
Sent:	Tuesday, June 19, 2001 8:37:25
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Paul
YES Epsilon Lyrae is in the Autostar but NOT under double stars (can you
believe that??).  Here is how you find it:

1)  go to:  SETUP / OBJECT / CONSTELLATION [enter];
2)  scroll to Lyra [enter];
3)  scroll past named stars to Bayer designations (greek) and find 'EPS LYR'  [enter];
4)  press GO TO.

That's all there is to it!  I recommend getting the coordinates of it
once it is displayed and entering via the AutoStar keypad into your USER
OBJECTS for more rapid acquisition.

I guess the Meade programmer's logic was that if it had "too many stars"
it could not possbly be called a "double star!"

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Paul
    Dr. Clay
     
    Do you happen to know if Epsilon Lyrae is in the Autostar database? 
    I cannot find it anywhere.  By there way, your observing guides are
    absolutely wonderful!
     
    Thanks
     
    Paul
Mike here: I think I found it under Named Stars.

Subject:	Autostar Bug?
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 20:43:54
From:	mullers@jam.rr.com (Muller Family)
I noticed a problem with my Autostar last night and thought I should
pass it on.  When going through the Guided Tour, Tonight's Best, after
about 3 object the scope was tracking COMA BERENICES and while I was
reading about it, the motors stopped running. Across the top half of the
display there was UNDER CONSTRUCT as the object info scrolled across the
bottom.  When I hit MODE the Motors Calibrated and then the Autostar
reinitialized.  After which I of course realigned.  This happened twice
but I did not have any problems viewing objects all of which were to the
East and South for over two hours (COMA BERENICES was to the west).  Any
thoughts?

As a side note, I must be getting better at this, I noticed for the
first time I was faintly able to see the Milky Way last night.  (It
helps that it's getting higher in the sky) It's funny how my eyes are
starting to notice the patterns in the sky.  I have an unobstructed view
fairly dark sky over a lake from Deneb to Antares until the sky washes
out to the South and SW from city lights.  I just sat and looked for a
while.

Sincerely, Robert Muller
Mike here: There have been a few reports of "UNDER CONSTRUCT" over the past couple of years. Apparently it is a bug that has been around for some time.

Subject:	AW: Problems with Alt reading
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 1:54:45
From:	SchafeWe@ch.sibt.com (Schfer Werner)
Thanks for your tech tip. Last weekend I updated my Autostar from
version 2.0g to 2.1ek. It seems that now all is ok and my telescope runs
well in both axis.

Gratulation for your great site. It's a good source of informations
especially in foreign countries.

Werner Schaefer
Cham
Switzerland

Subject:	autostar
Sent:	Saturday, June 16, 2001 18:35:18
From:	JCooke45106@aol.com
Can I use the autostar #494 with my meade ETX-90ec telescope? If yes,
can I get info on haw to make a cable?
Mike here: See Dick Seymour's response to "Re: rs232 to a 494 Autostar: the ANSWER (partly)" on the Autostar Feedback page for August 2000 (in the Feedback Archives).

Subject:	Autostar update
Sent:	Saturday, June 16, 2001 15:18:08
From:	gav@barnacles44.freeserve.co.uk (Gav and Ali Hunt)
Great site, I'd be lost without it.

I need some basic help on how to update our ETX 125 with version 2.1 EK.
I have downloaded the update program A2.4 today and know how to connect
the cables. Can somebody give me some very basic information on how to
update to the above version using  A2.4 and Windows 98.

Regards

Gavin Hunt
Mike here: You can read my "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Autostar Information page. Just skip the Mac parts. Once in Windows98, the rest of the description is the same (last couple of paragraphs; yes, it is that straightforward).

Subject:	AutoStar Help
Sent:	Saturday, June 16, 2001 14:33:05
From:	mss@tartus.com (Michael S. Scherotter)
I saw your website at http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/ and I am
wondering if you can help me:

I downloaded the latest update from the net for my AutoStar 497. While
updating the Autostar, my computer went to sleep and the update failed. 
The Autostar became locked up in download mode. I unplugged it and now
when I turn it back on, I get nothing.  It looks dead.  Nothing happens
when I try a safe load.  Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
Michael S. Scherotter
Mike here: To recover from a bad download, see the "Bad Download Recovery (SAFE LOAD)" tip on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Seattle-area Autostar/Starfinder miniFest?
Sent:	Friday, June 15, 2001 3:51:33
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com ('Dick Seymour')
Hi Dick,

I read your proposal while checking out the Meade e-groups.  If I were
back in Spokane from Scotland (probably won't happen until Feb.) I'd
drive (or may-be fly) over for something like this.  I'm also not happy
about missing Mike's star party in California.  Anyway, if you get a
reasonable response from folks and decide to make this a regular event,
let me know.  I'd like to participate in something like this after I get
back.

Just one question though,

>Even if Seattle throws raindrops at us we can probably learn from
>indoor slewing (a chorus line of whirring motors slewing towards
>"Vega"... a PostIt note on the wall...).

Who are you going to have pushing the wall around at a constant sidereal
rate?

Cheers,
Mike H.
Mike here: I'm hoping to make the Mighty ETX Star Party a regular (probably annual) event, with roving locations. Of course, turn out and results from the first one will dictate what happens in the future.

And:

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
> Who are you going to have pushing the wall around at a constant
> sidereal rate?

a laser pointer pointing into the eyepiece-end of a etx70
 (now where to find an etx70 that is NBS-certified re: sidereal rate?)

--dick

Subject:	autostar super polaris
Sent:	Wednesday, June 13, 2001 15:33:44
From:	aon.912266148@aon.at (hpwallner)
To:	jim_datec@yahoo.com
>I saw Peter Wallner's post concerning adapting the DS control to a C-8
>in the Autostar Info section and want to contact him for more details.
>Could not get an email to the address at the top of the page...

Jim,

I`m sorry you couldn`t get an e-mail to my adress -checked it -it is
correct! I know the pictures on M.Weasner`s site are poor (I have a
better webcam now -if you want to have more detailed pictures.) Here in
Europe the LX 90 and LX200 are very expensive ( US -price +100%!!) That
was the reason why I built the Autostar-powered SP. Please contact me
for questions - I hope I can help.

Peter

Subject:	Aligment in Southern Hemisphere
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 19:18:07
From:	rmontano@adinet.com.uy (Raul Montao)
congratulations for your site , its a pleasure to find all the
information in one safe place.

Please I am a new ETX 90 and autostar user , and the manuals are very
shorts about aligment in Uruguay (lat -35),

if you have any information about this let me know how to find it.

Thank you very much

Eng.  Raul Montano
Mike here: See the "Southern Hemisphere Alignment Tips" on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Re: C-8 Super Polaris with Autostar 3/31
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 15:14:29
From:	jim_datec@yahoo.com (Jim D)
Glad to see you are keeping this site up to date. Much thanks for all
your hard work.

I saw Peter Wallner's post concerning adapting the DS control to a C-8
in the Autostar Info section and want to contact him for more details.
Could not get an email to the address at the top of the page.

I would much appreciate any help on this as I am about to plunge into
the 8" category, and want a low cost GOTO setup. I already have DS
motors and electronics from a DS60 and i have an autostar. Peter's
solution is very appealing but i would like more details. LX90 way too
expensive for now - though I recognize it's a good buy.

Thanks!

Jim Davidson
http://www.geocities.com/icstars_us/astro 

Subject:	home position
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 7:03:26
From:	elechtron@home.com (Marceilleiano F. Sosa)
When you park do you manually put it in park or does the computer do
that for you? For polar...

-Mike
Mike here: If you select Park on the Autostar, the Autostar does most of the work. All you have to do is shut off the power.

And:

Does the autostar park automatically in polar though? Where it is
pointing 90 deg. towards north?
Mike here: I've not parked in Polar, only in Alt/Az. As I recall it was pointing north then.

And:

Now when I first start up to train do I put it home position with the
autostar or when i'm done?

As you can tell i'm very new at this thing..
Mike here: Train then put into HOME position when you are ready to start the alignment. Remember, you only need to RETRAIN when things get flakey (GOTOs not working as well as they should), or you update the Autostar software.

Subject:	Pinout for HBX port
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 2:28:40
From:	garyg@wwwsite.com (Gary Giddings)
Do you (anybody) know the pinout for the HBX port for the AutoStar?

-----------------
There are 8 pins, and 2 would be power and ground.

One will be the "peripheral" communication clock,
and 2 the send and receive data lines.

Assuming that there are two "slaves" on the peripheral communication
line (the Alt and Az "drivers"), there would be one "enable" line for
each.

That would be 7 of the 8 lines.
Perhaps one unused?
Any ideas, anybody?

----------------
Thanks, Gary
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Gary Giddings, Ph.D.    (garyg@wwwsite.com) or (garyg@mboxes.com)
   Video Image Presentation Systems  (garyg@v-image.com)  
Mike here: The pinouts for the Autostar are described on Meade's site at: http://www.meade.com/manuals/autostar/apb.html. There is additional information on cables on the Autostar Information page.

And:

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Log onto this site, found on Mike Weasner's encyclopedic web site on
many topics that apply to Autostar and amateur astronomy with these
telescopes! http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable.html . If that
particular posting does not answer all your questions go to his Home
Page and find the one you need!  It's the only reference you'll ever
need.... if it is not there, someone on the web site can find it for you
post haste!

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Re: Help (reply to message further down this page)
Sent:	Friday, June 8, 2001 10:31:22
From:	dale@farmuk.demon.co.uk (Dale Newman)
The tech at Telescope House (been there since 1765....not the tech, the
shop) replaced the battery compartment. He thinks I'm lucky becausethe
acid can drip down onto the board and then you're lookig at 100+ instead
of 18.

Haven't had a chance to check it yet, but hope to over the week-end

Thanks,
Dale

Subject:	Autostar alignment
Sent:	Friday, June 8, 2001 6:41:37
From:	Klingenberg@pbm.med.uni-muenchen.de (M. Klingenberg)
I just acquired a ETX 90 EC for my trip to the eclipse in Zambia. I
agree the booklet which goes wizh the Autostar is miserable. 6 ways of
alignments are announced, where are they in the booklet?

My problem is how to align the scope for tracking the sun in the
altazimuth mode. During daytime the two star alignment does not work
which would be required for correct sidereal tracking of the sun.
Can anybody help?

Thanks
Martin Klingenberg
Klingenberg@pbm.med.uni-muenchen.de
Mike here: There are some Quick Alignment tips on the Autostar Information page. What I do during the day (and sometimes even at night) is just accept both stars of the Two-Star Easy Align as being centered (whether they were or not). As long as my HOME position was reasonably good, tracking was OK. Chapter 3 of the Autostar manual (at least the online one that I just checked at Meade's site) has the alignment steps.

Subject:	Problems with Alt reading
Sent:	Friday, June 8, 2001 6:19:23
From:	SchafeWe@ch.sibt.com (Schfer Werner)
Some weeks ago I purchased a new ETX 90 EC with Autostar (Software
Version 2.0g). At the beginning, the telescope worked perfectly,
especially on
*	Easy Alignments
*	Goto's
*	Tracking
*	Parking the Telescope (it moved always to the exact Home-Position)

Last night, while doing an Easy Alignment (Alt/Az mount) the scope
should have moved to "Arcturus". Instead, the following happened:
Az: Ok
Alt: the scope went to a declination of 90 degrees and hitted stop

I stopped the scope by switching off the power and tried it again with
exactly the same result.

Afterwards, I made the following test:
1.	Switch power on
2.	Press Mode-Key for 3 secs (telescope status display)
3.	Go to the Alt/Az display mode
4.	Press left/right arrow keys
	4.1.	Scope moved perfectly at all different speeds
	4.2.	Az reading ok
5.	Press up/down arrow keys
	5.1.	Scope moved perfectly at all different speeds
	5.2.	Alt reading remains at 0 degrees or changes only for some
	arc secs
6.	Switch power off
7.	Do a motor calibration
8.	Do a drive training

Repeating above test (steps 1..5) result was always the same.

Could you explain to me what happened/what the error is and how I could
solve this problem?

Looking forward to receiving your explanation and thank you for your
help.

Kind regards

Werner Schaefer
Cham
Switzerland
Mike here: I vaguely recall someone else experiencing something similar. The solution in that case was to reload the ROMs into the Autostar. But before trying that, do a RESET then RETRAIN. Maybe that's all that is required and you won't have to upgrade.

Subject:	Seattle-area Autostar/Starfinder miniFest?
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 22:03:09
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
OK, OK... 

Shall we work together on this?... I've seen a lot of postings 
requesting help, and discussing how the various Meade scopes aren't
 performing the way we'd all like...

Yet there are -other- folks who seem to have very nicely operating
scopes, which GoTo where they ask with a minimum of fuss.

Why not get together and share experience and experiences?

Even if Seattle throws raindrops at us we can probably learn from
indoor slewing (a chorus line of whirring motors slewing towards
 "Vega"... a PostIt note on the wall...).

The Seattle Astro Society holds a moonthly Star Party at Greenlake,
on the near-to-first-quarter-moon Saturday evening... on the NW
 corner of the lake, using the "Bathhouse Theater" parking lot
(the viewing area is at lakeside, avoiding parking lot lighting).

Perhaps we could use the same area on a different night?
Even a before-sunset session would be useful, getting together and
dealing with pointing and mechanical problems in the light.
IF the Moon's up during that time (daylight) so much the better.

Shall we give it a try?

--dick seymour
rseymour -at- wolfenet.com
(whose ETX90 pretty much goes where he asks it)

Subject:	Spiral Search?
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 19:40:39
From:	tim@orionnets.com (Tim Sheets)
I am reading with great pleasure, the great articles you recently
published by P. Clay Sherrod.  In his article about daytime observing,
he suggests a new feature of the Autostar 2.1ek firmware known as
"Spiral Search".  This is an AWESOME feature.  I wonder if Meade or
anyone else has documented it.  Also, are there other new features to be
found, and if so, where?

Thanks again for the great site.  Every ETX owner owes you a debt of
gratitude.

Tim
Mike here: The "Spiral Search" is documented in the LX90 manual, where it says:
"NOTE: The GO TO key also allows you to perform a "spiral search." A spiral search is useful when the telescope slews to an object, but that object is not visible in the eyepiece after the telescope finishes it search. (This sometimes occurs during an alignment procedure.) Press GO TO when the slew is finished and the telescope starts slewing in a spiral pattern at a very slow speed around the search area. Look through the eyepiece and when the object does become visible, press MODE to stop the spiral search. Then use the Arrow keys to center the object."

Subject:	Aligning on Polaris
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 18:55:40
From:	tim@orionnets.com (Tim Sheets)
Dale from England was having problems with aligning on Polaris.  For
what it's worth, Meade specifically suggests NOT using Polaris.  Just
thought I'd mention it.

Subject:	Great night for us and the ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 15:46:23
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
As you probably determined from the tone of just about all of my
previous mail I was very skeptical of the GOTO possibilities of the
ETX125. The results of last night are now making me do a little bit of
revaluation.

Although the weatherman predicted cloudy skies for SE-MA Wednesday night
it turned out to be one of the best nights, since the cold winter, to do
a little stargazing.  Due to the full moon the skies were brighter than
normal, whatever that means.

Anyway I took off the 887 wedge and used Clay's instructions for
aligning the scope in AZ-EL.  I used Virgo and Spica as alignrnent
stars. From that I did a GOTO to Arcturus, Polaris and Denebola and, kid
you not, the stars were almost centered in the 26mm eyepiece.

We spent all night and a few hours of the early morning trying to look
at the Messiers,  We saw M3, M5, M13 and M92.  The scope responded to
the GOTO commands and put the objects again in the eyepiece.  We had no
luck trying to find M51, M81, M82 or M101 but we did have bright skies
and a lovely full moon. We were extremely satisfied with the results
obtained with the scope, especially the GOTO feature.

We also did a GOTO Mars and again it was right there in the eyepiece. 
As Mars moves across the skies quite rapidly I let the scope go for
about 10 minutes and Mars was still in the eyepiece.  Great!

The GOTO could not find the Moon though.  I guess the built-in
intelligence in the scope determined that without use of a filter it
would not go there in order to preserve the user's eyesight.  Have to
look into this and also into the TOURS feature as they didn't seem to
work properly. I suspect the problem with the TOURS feature is basically
me so I'll work on it.

In closing I would like to thank Mike and all the folks who contribute
to the ETX site.  Using information from this site guided me in
reworking the AZ and EL mechanics of the scope.  If the ETX125 continues
to perform as it did last night then I have a lot of crow to digest.

Have a good viewing night.

Blais Klucznik
marbla@naisp.net

Subject:	 V2.2eh installed with no sweat!
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 23:38:37
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Got 2.2eh into the Autostar with no problem.  Just wish Meade designed
the computer interface for something faster than the archaic 9600 baud
bit.

Then again leave it to me.  I can always find something to complain
about.  Now that I think of it they could always have us key in the data
by hand, couldn't they.  That's how we entered boot data into the
original mainframes, with toggle switches yet, but boy was that a long
time ago.

Cheers

Blais Klucznik
marbla@naisp.net
Mike here: Yes, it would be nice someday to have a Firewire (IEEE 1394) interface for such devices.

And:

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
You probably don't want to hear that it boosts itself to 125 Kbaud when
it's cloning between two Autostars... a full copy takes under 8 minutes.

--dick
And:
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
No I didn't know this.  Because of the dense overcast we have here I
think I will try re-loading the Autostar at a higher baud rate then
9600.  If it fails then I will know that the equivalent of a UART that
Meade has in its 497 WON'T go higher.  Worth a try!!

Blais
And this:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
Blais,

no, you misunderstand:

(a) the "uart" (actually the 68hc11's on-chip serial port)
    -can- go at 125 Kbaud... that's how they clone (via Autostar-to-
     Autostar crossover rs232 cable)(part of the Meade 505 kit)

(b) it is not an "autobaud" system.  Two Autostars -negotiate- the
 speed change (when you select Clone/Download, the "sender" sends
 a control-D (04) to trigger download-mode, then an ascii "F" (46 hex)
  ("Fast?")... the receiver sends an ascii "Y" or "N" (yes/no).
  If the receiver sent a "Y", then both devices kick up to 125 Kbaud.
  If the receiver did -not- send a "Y", then they both remain at 9.6 kbaud.
  
  If they -did- kick to 125 Kbaud, the "sender" completes the Clone
   by telling the receiver to Initialize (which resets its baud rate),
   and then lowers its own (the sender's) baud rate back to 9600 baud.

The PC-based Updater program does *not* attempt to negotiate faster speeds.

Someone else (Mike Hadey, as reported on  Mike Weasner's site
in early-February, see:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/autostarFeb01.html
and search for "readwait") played with changing the intercharacter
 delay on the PC, and lowered his download time to 18 minutes (instead
 of 32) by changing the READWAIT from 60 to 5. 
His result chart:  ("Reg" is PC Registry)

READWAIT in Reg.    2.1Ek Upload time     Ephemerides Upload time
    60                   32'25"                 2'25"
    10                    N/A                   1'15"
     8                    N/A                   1'13"
     6                    N/A                   1'33" (see caveat below)
     5                   18'30"                 1'52" (see caveat below)
     2                    N/A                   2'10" (see caveat below)
     0                   18'20"                 1'12"

(the "caveat" is on Mike's site...)
 And that required no changes anywhere else... just a PC registry value.
 The variable to change is described in the README file packaged with
 the Updater.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Help
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 5:51:32
From:	dale@farmuk.demon.co.uk (Dale Newman)
I live in England. We've had rain since last Sept. until recently. I got
my ETX-90EC out last night. I'm stupid....the old batteries were in
there and there was some corrosion on the contacts. I cleaned that off
as best I could with a steel brush. Power seems to be OK.

BUT, when I tried to align on Polaris the scope didn't stop at 51
degrees. Kept going skyward. Any hints??

Dale
Mike here: I doubt that the corrosion had anything to do with the problem you reported. Did you recheck ALL the settings (date/time/location/telescope model/mounting mode) in the Autostar? Did you put the ETX into the proper HOME position (for either Polar or Alt/Az mode)?

And:

Yes, I did all that you suggested, other than I said no to DST, but that
would only put me 1 hour out, I think....since I was aligning on Polaris
THAT should make no diff.

I talked to Telescope House in London (British Meade Distributors)...
they suggested I do an Easy Alignment using the stars that the scope
suggests and see what the result is. Too much cloud cover to do anything
with it last night, but I'll try again tonight. They will look at it for
me if I still have a problem.

Subject:	Constellation guides
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 1:58:34
From:	niko.deleu@ictportal.com (Niko Deleu)
Thanks for the Constellation Guides.  These are very valuable guides for
newbies!

Is there a way to obtain autostar tours containing these guides ? (one
tour per guide?) This would be a very nice thing to have!

Regard,
Niko
Mike here: Someone would have to write the Tours. Jim McCambridge wrote tours for Leo and Bootes based upon those guides. They are on the Autostar Tours page (linked from the Autostar Information page).

Subject:	Re: Matt supercharged ETX-125EC scope
Sent:	Monday, June 4, 2001 12:43:53
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Matt
Glad everything is working out well; two tips on reducing
"rubberbanding":

1)  reduce significantly your initial two-star alignment (always do
two-star, not "one"); the less time you spend centering and entering
your two alignment stars, the less rubber-banding you will see;

2)  make sure that the base of the scope is perfectly level when
aligning; the scope will have a tendency to "wnat to go" where it thinks
it should be, if you are not on level.  That also causes rubber banding.

If you will do both of these, you will see a remarkable difference. 
Also, the AC adapter will assist in perfect GO TO's, better tracking and
much more responsive slewing at low speeds; you will see the difference
immediately.

The reason on 1) above is that the clock starts working just as soon and
you "enter" the time and YES on daylight savings time.....but the CLOCK
DRIVE(s) does NOT until you have finished entering the second alignment
star....the elapsed time will created a desire for the Autostar to
return to the position it computed when you told it what time it was;
the clock drive on the other hand has allowed objects to diurnally drift
away in that lapsed time!

A lot of people make this common mistake.....minimize your alignment
time as best you can and still be accurate!

Keep me posted!

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
      Just an update:  the scope returned to me last Friday, no
      problems.  Unfortunately, it was pouring rain for the next couple
      of days!  I finally got a cloudbreak last night, and took it
      outside.  I aligned it North using the Kochab clock to get me
      properly polar oriented, and did a leveling of the tripod using
      beveled cedar shakes (my deck is titled 1 degree for drainage, and
      not alinged with the N-S axis, either, so this is a necessity).  I
      then did an easy align, which used Vega and Denebola.

      I tracked Denebola for about 10 minutes -- dead center, the whole
      way.  Nice!

      I then slewed back to Vega.  It was off by a degree, but a careful
      check led me to realize that I'd bumped one of the cedar shakes,
      and the tripod hadn't been level when I'd done the alignment. 
      Oops!  Leveled the tripod again, and brought Vega to the center of
      view -- motor is nice and smooth, and handles much, much better at
      lower speeds.  Tracked Vega for 15 minutes -- dead center the
      whole way.  Fantastic!

      I then slewed to Arcturus.  I expected it to be slightly off,
      since I hadn't realigned after releveling the tripod, and I wanted
      to test the slow speeds some more anyway.  Arcturus was also 1
      degree off, as expected, in exactly the same way that Vega was --
      good, that made sense.  I carefully slewed Arcturus into the
      center -- and then it reverted back to where it was.  I was
      experiencing some severe rubber banding on Arcturus.  I gather
      that you're seeing that as well with 2.2eH, so that wasn't
      unexpected, either.

      This being only 10:15 PM in the Pacific Northwest, there still
      wasn't much else to see, and I was tired after spending time at
      the hospital the night before due to my wife's (false) labor, so I
      called it a night.  My new Meade AC adapter should arrive today,
      so hopefully, if I get a break, I'll test it more tonight against
      the proper power supply (my current AC adapter is only 12V), and
      around midnight, to really put this through it's paces.

      This was obviously just a brief trial, but, all in all, I'm
      delighted with the changes.  The biggest change that I see is that
      when I press the arrow key, the scope actually moves without
      spending a lot of time grinding beforehand, which had been my
      biggest gripe.  The clamping feels much better, and the scope just
      purrs along.  The tracking is also very, very good --
      "exceptional" is not too strong a word!  If I'd paid more
      attention to the tripod leveling when easy-aligning, I probably
      wouldn't have even noticed the rubberbanding.

      As soon as I get my new AC adapter, I'll run a "real" session
      (hopefully tonight, if this overcast breaks), and report my
      findings to the Mighty ETX website.
     
    --Matt--*   
And a reply:
Ah, OK, I see one problem immediately with what I did -- it took me a
very long time to do the two-start alignment.  Vega was first, and
quick, but I had to reject Pollux, Regulus (?), and Castor (they were
behind trees) and settle for Denebola.  Elapsed time, start to finish,
was probably three minutes (plus an extra minute or two to review the
settings that you entered, just for my curiousity, after I set the
time)!  Now that I realize that this is an issue, I'll use the method by
which I pick the stars myself -- Vega and Arcturus are rather easy to
find at that time of the night currently.

Regarding the leveling:  mea culpa, yup, I should have re-aligned after
tweaking the leveling.

Don't let my mistakes get in the way of my main message here:  this ETX
is now cracking along nicely, thanks to the supercharge -- the
before/after difference is just simply remarkable.  It's really like
having a whole new scope, and my limited viewing last night was
light-years ahead of the hassles I had before the supercharge (I had no
idea that things were as bad as they were.  It reminds me of the first
time I had lobster -- unbeknowst to me, I'd gotten a bad one (but of
course had no way to know that it was "bad"), and, as I was at a formal
dinner, I muddled through, making the best of it (it was adequate, but
not terribly tasty), until one of my dinner companions said "Yuck!
You're not eating that, are you? Look, it's all bad!  Waiter, bring this
guy another lobster!"  One bite into the replacement lobster, and my
thoughts were, "Oh!  So *that's* what the fuss was all about."

So, anyway, Clay, thanks for the new lobster :-)  ("You mean, GOTO is
supposed to get the star right on the crosshairs?")  I'll let you know,
as soon as I can, how these changes make the scope operate, when the
adapter comes, unless "Baby Gertz" finally decides to show up & causes a
conflict of interest.  ("Hold on for five more minutes, honey -- I just
want to finish looking at M13...")
 
--Matt--*

Subject:	 Entering Tours into the Autostar 497
Sent:	Thursday, May 31, 2001 23:40:43
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
I have a question as to how I might enter a tour file into the Autostar.
What is the requirement for the format of a tour file?  I suspect it is
plain ascii.  I also assume that the file extension is simply .TXT and I
just drag & drop the file onto the TOUR button of the Autostar 497
update dialog box.

Please correct me if I have anything wrong.  For all I know maybe my
whole procedure is wrong.

Thanks

Blais Klucznik
marbla@naisp.net
Mike here: There are many examples of the Tour text files on the Autostar Information page on my ETX site. Just edit one of them. There is also a manual (PDF) on Meade's site.

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