Last updated: 31 May 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:	22Eh etc.
Sent:	Wednesday, May 30, 2001 11:10:39
From:	jpswann54@netscapeonline.co.uk (J.P. Swann)
I was interested to see the comment on your site that the above version
was not intended for the ETX but for the LX90. If that is the case, why
does Meade not make this clear. I wasted many an hour after loading 22Eh
on to my ETX 125 and had many problems as described to you earlier.

I have now reverted to 22Ef and can state I have no problems except for
the siereal tracking rate. I overcome this by setting a custom tracking
rate of minus 27/28. It is then perfect.

John Swann, Chichester, UK
Mike here: I think Meade does need to work on the Autostar update web page and improve the information/ordering there. Things have become dated and confusing. But we should be thankful that Meade is making updates to the Autostar available this way.


From:	Meade Instruments
Revision 22Eh is intended for all #497 Autostar handboxes (including
ETX's). An easy way to determine this is to look in the telescope model
section of the menu.  If the telescope is listed in that section and you
can select it, the software should run with that telescope.

Subject:	Home position
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 17:59:31
From:	golfing18@msn.com (Mike Knapp)
I took out my 90EC for the first time this past weekend. I was quite
impressed with both the scope and the Autostar. Central Illinois was
mostly cloudy but I managed to find a couple hours of average skies for
a quick test run. Anyway, I also have the #883 deluxe field tripod.
Between the scope, the Autostar and the tripod manuals and numerous
printouts on home position from your wonderful website, I think I found
it just fine....but I just want to run my setup by you, the expert, and
see if you agree. It seems by following the tripod instructions that
home position should be pretty much automatic. One of the legs of the
tripod is marked with an "N" for North. The tripod manual states that
this leg should point North. That is a bit misleading. The leg marked
"N" should be on the South side of the telescope between your legs. A
line projecting from the gound up the leg will point "North". Then, the
telescope can only attach to the tripod two ways...the right way and
backwards. The right way is with the scope control panel on the left,
West, side of the scope. Just try to polar align and you'll find out
quickly if it is on backwards or not...I did. I proceeded with the
Alt/Az easy alignment. I could not see any advantage to a polar
alignment. Anyway, I approximately leveled the optical tube (eyeballed)
and pointed it basically North towards Polaris (or opposite the side you
are standing on). I released the Az. lock and rotated it until it hit
the hard stop which was roughly 120 degrees counterclockwise from North
then rotated back to North. This seems to match the instruction I've
read on several posts, including your description of Home position. Is
that all there is to it...was I in home position?? It seems the tripod
automatically puts you there. After I did the easy allignment, things
worked quite well, although I think I may need to train the drives
better than I did. Autostar was close, but not perfect.

If I am correct on "home position" maybe my instructions will help
someone else.


Mike here: You have the Autostar Alt/Az HOME position correct. In the Alt/Az mounting mode the orientation of the tripod legs don't matter, only the location of the ETX control panel matters (along with leveling). In Polar mounting mode however, the orientation of the tripod DOES matter. The "N" does have to be on the North side so that the tripod head where the ETX is attached can be tilted to match your latitude. This tilt will result in the fork arms pointing North towards Polaris.

Subject:	Autostar questions
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 12:14:43
From:	cbdane@pacbell.net (C. B. Dane)
Thanks again for the great site.  I have upgraded from my previous
ETX-70 to a ETX-125 and I am now using an Autostar #497 for control.  I
am using the most recent version of the firmware; I don't remember the
exact version (2.2E..) but it is whatever was available on the Meade
site about 1 week ago.  I have a couple of very simple questions:

- Does anyone have a basic understanding of what "Calibrate Motors"
actually does?  My theory is that it is measuring "blocked" and
"unblocked" light levels on the optical encoder receiver diode in order
to set the electrical count threshold.  Is this the case?

- If I go through an alignment procedure and receive an "Alignment
Successful" message, then choose Polaris from the objects list, why do
the scope motors continue to move (albeit by a very small amount) when
the scope thinks that it is pointed at Polaris?  I've confirmed this
several times by simply doing 2 star calibrations outdoors as well as in
my living room (I just accept the alignment stars without adjustments in
the latter case).  I can go to the live Alt/Az readout (hold mode
button, then scroll down) and see the values making small changes.  It
seems to me that, regardless of the accuracy of the alignment procedure
(there are no aligment stars in my living room...) if the scope thinks
that it is pointing to Polaris, it should not be performing continuous

Thanks for any relieve to my confusion that you might provide!


C. Brent Dane

Brent's R/C Electronics Page
Mike here: I'll leave the calibration answer to one of our experts. As to the motors continuing to run while tracking Polaris, the simple answer is "they should run". Whether you are set up in Polar or Alt/Az, one or both drives will have to run to track Polaris since it is not at precisely 90 declination, but is actually located at 89d 15m 51s.


Thanks Mike!

Boy, that was simple.  As you can now tell, I'm very new to this and
receiving a crash course in remedial astronomy.  I knew that Polaris was
not precisely polar but thought that the deviation was more negligible.
Almost a degree off...  I'll have to think about this a bit since it
causes me to wonder about the recommendation by some contributors to
your site to "train" on Polaris with very high magnification.  I guess
it depends just on how precise you would like (or need) to be.

Here's a summary of my thoughts.  As you point out, Polaris is about 44m
from the pole which is 13mrad (milliradians).  That means that the
effective slew rate of Polaris as observed from Earth (tangential to its
apparent circular path) is about 0.93urad/s (microradians per second).
Assuming diffraction limited optical performance and a median visible
wavelength of 500nm, then a star's diameter (to the first dark ring)
through an ETX-125 is going to be about 10urad.  If a typical "drive
training" exercise takes 1 minute, that means that Polaris has moved by
over 5 diameters in some direction.  I guess that this is probably less
than the observing precision, even at high magnifications, unless a very
precise reticle is involved.

In any case, Polaris is moving.  Thanks for the eductation!
Mike here: Training is normally a quick operation. But you are correct in pointing out that users who use Polaris are training on a moving object so the faster they complete the training the better.

And from our resident Autostar expert:

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
> - Does anyone have a basic understanding of what "Calibrate Motors"
> actually does?  My theory is that it is measuring "blocked" and
> "unblocked" light levels on the optical encoder receiver diode in
> order to set the electrical count threshold.  Is this the case?


The "Calibrate" function runs the motors at a specific pulse-width-
modulated (PWM) level for a specific -time-.
Then it checks the encoders to see how many vanes went by.
From that number, it can determine how to "tune" the PWM to produce
the desired calibrated speeds during normal operations.

The Calibration is pretty much done by the PIC chips on the motor
circuit cards themselves... the Autostar just says "function 70",
"function 04" (receive byte), and, 1200 clock-ticks later: "stop",
 then "readout one-byte value".
It retains the value received, and sends it -to- the telescope base
 during subsequent powerup sequences.  So it's a time-based item.
The codes used throughout the sequence are -only- used for Calibration.

The Autostar itself cannot reach the raw encoders (or motors), it
sends IIC-bus commands to the in-scope processors, and they deal
with the actual hardware.


Subject:	Re: Autostar time setting
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 9:38:13
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Paul
The quickest and most sure-fire method is as follows:

1)  on Autostar go to:  SETUP / SITE / ADD....[enter];
2)  then scroll to your nearest big city listed and "Enter";
3)  this automatically defaults your time zone offset to your proper
4)  THEN, scroll on down after it has accepted that listing to "EDIT";
5)  "Enter" again and "Name" will show up...."Enter" that;
6)  Key in the name of your site and "Enter"
7)  "Name" will show up again...but scroll DOWN ONE TO "Latitude";
8)  Press "Enter" and key in the Latitude you have determined and
"Enter" again;
9)  "Latitude" will come up again, but scroll down one more to
"Longitude" and "enter" that;
10)  Key in longitude coordinates and press "enter."
11)  You are done!  No fuss about time zones....you have merely edited a
site that the Autostar already had in its memory for the proper time

That way is the quickest and most sure-footed to prevent time zone

Hope that helps!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
>I have been reading in Mike's home page your comments about the Autostar.
>When I enter the Lat and Lon (downloaded from
>www.geocoade.com/scripts/eagle/ obtained from Mike's Astronomy listing)how
>do I find the time offset ? I live in the Washington,DC area in the eastern
>US. How do I find the time offset from Grenich(?) meridian time?

Subject:	ETX-125EC "Under Construction"????
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2001 22:00:03
From:	patte@qwest.net
I bought my 125EC a little over a week ago; the weather promptly turned
sour and I wasn't able to get try it outside, so I set it up and ran
through all the instructions in my livingroom, just to get used to it
(it's only the 2nd scope I've ever had). I couldn't take it outside for
any viewing until yesterday afternoon and I decided to check out the
'scope by viewing the moon, which was visible in the eastern sky.

With 8 brand new AA batteries, the manual says I should have had about
20 hours of viewing (using the Autostar). After less than 3 hours,
though, the scope experienced a motor failure! I was using the go-to to
slew to where I knew Aldebaran would be (even though it wasn't dark) and
suddenly the scope stopped moving! It kept on making that whining sound
as if it were moving, but it had completely stopped. I checked to make
sure the eyepiece wasn't hitting against the fork arm (it wasn't).
Finally it beeped, as if it was pointed at Aldebaran, but it was facing
in the wrong direction. I put in 8 fresh batteries (again!) but the same
thing kept happening.

Mike, I had a friend with me whose very knowledgeable; he owns a 90mm
ETX, an 8" LX90, and just bought my old 150mm Argonaut Mak-Cass. We
tried everything we could think of...made sure it was level, made sure
it was facing north, set it up all over again from the very beginning.
No good...it wouldn't even return to the right position when I tried to
"park" it! I finally gave up and took it back inside.But the story gets

Today, I tried it again. Set it up outside to view the moon again,
following all the instructions to the letter. About an hour into the
session, got that "motor failure" message again. It wouldn't
park...again...so I had to do it manually. Over and over again the same
thing happened. And when it would supposedly align (using the Easy Align
procedure) and I'd tell it to "go to" the moon, it would slew around in
the wrong direction and end up pointing someplace else! The last straw
was when the Autostar showed an error message that said "Under
Construction!" What?????!!!!! Yep, the display on the Autostar said
"Under Construction".

I was already upset about the "Motor Failure" messages...but "Under
Construction"????!!! I am TOTALLY freaked out now. Am I going to have to
return my scope to Meade? I can't return it to the dealer...eek!...the
store was going out of business (which is why I got my scope for only
$800 and the Autostar for $67). Did I blow it? The scope was in an
unopened box, all the foam was there (including two pieces between the
tube and base)...Help!!!

Mike here: Sorry you've had a problem. That is a strange error message. From your initial problem description it sounds like it was hitting a hard stop while trying to slew. It is possible that the Autostar has some or all its settings wrong and you should verify them. Afterall, you have no idea if the Autostar was used in the store and with what telescope. First, do a RESET, then TRAIN the drives. Next, verify that the date/time/DST/location/telescope model settings are all correct. If they are correct, you might try a newer Autostar software version (if you can download it). Let me know.

Subject:	My new ETX
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2001 20:13:08
From:	ISOMAN99@aol.com
I have taken a few looks at your page and the opportunity to get a good
buy on a new ETX 90 EC finally came my way last week thanks to Natural
Wonders' demise.

My scope has perfectly collimated optics (thankfully!) with a trace of
spherical abberation as best as I can tell, I am no expert.  The really
troubling thing that bothers me is the long and I mean long response
time in changing directions in RA.  Dec is pretty fast to respond, but
at high power and using the standard hand controller in the "next to
slowest speed mode'', changes is RA take forever.  Is this pretty
common?  My NexStar 5 had backlash adjustments that helped with this
problem, but with the ETX I have no idea what avenue to take to improve
this problem.  Would a new AutoStar have back lash control?  Let me know
if you have a good fix.  The optics are great now if I could just get
this one bug out.....

Thanks Mike,
David Ponder

Mike here: The current version and several recent versions of the Autostar software do have the capability of adjusting the backlash (called "percentages"). See the article "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Autostar Information page for more on this. Also, you might want to search the site for "percentage"; you will find some more info.


Thanks Mike, will do!

Subject:	autostar upgrade
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2001 18:17:06
From:	pjr@eclipse.net (Paul Roberts)
I took your advice and upgraded to autostar software 22ef and using your
very good instructions the upgrade seemed to go perfectly.  On turning
on the autostar though it says I have version 22e and doesn't state
which 22e I have.  Is there a way for me to verify the exact software I
now have?  Thanks,.  I'm looking forward to trying out the new software
on the next clear night.
Mike 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:	east is east and west is negative?
Sent:	Saturday, May 26, 2001 20:17:14
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	slvrbula@mato.com

I saw Mike's answer.. and, just to confuse things (or clear them up)
the -newest- versions 21eK and newer have gone to saying:
 122 degrees 30' WEST

Yes, they use positive numbers and say the direction.

Seattle is   "-08.0 hrs" Time-zone-wise.

have fun

Subject:	Autostar Versions
Sent:	Saturday, May 26, 2001 20:10:44
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	golfing18@msn.com
I saw your note on Mike' site.

v2.0g was a very nice version.  If you're not encountering problems,
why swap it?

It -does- have bugs, but so do they all.

My suggestion is to use it until you encounter some of the bugs,
and they irritate you, or interfere with your viewing.

Bugs which come to mind are:  Tours: don't try to load an individual
Tour larger than 13,000 bytes.  Don't try to load tours exceeding
a total size of 32,000 bytes.

Satellite tracking isn't -quite- as good as the newer versions
(22eH is -excellent-, by the way), but you can have successful tracks.

You -will- encounter such minor delights as creep-after-beep, rubber-
banding, etc.  They won't kill your evenings.  Just slew the target
back into center (or overshoot and come back from the other side),
tell the Autostar it's being silly, and get on with observing.

21eK does fix many things, many are small and nit-picky.

I was happy at 1.3c, 2.0g, 2.1eK and (amazingly) 22eH.
I'm also patient and willing to fiddle.

have fun...

Subject:	Saving owner / location info
Sent:	Thursday, May 24, 2001 11:46:34
From:	dave@mshop.com (David S. Michaeli)
Thanks for doing such a great job with the site - it is definitely the
best resource on the web!

Is there a way to save your owner / location info before doing an
Autostar upgrade?  It is a real pain to have to re-enter that stuff
every time Meade fixes (or adds) a few bugs in the program.

Thanks again!

- Dave

Subject:	Ver 22Eh FW
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 18:17:56
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
I just got in from trying out my ETX-90 with 22Eh loaded.  It is the
first opportunity I've had to try it live since I loaded it over a week
ago.  It has either been cloudy or I haven't been able to stay up until
it got dark enough to use the scope (11:00pm over here this time of
year).  I didn't seem to have any of the problems that Clay was seeing. 
I was using the scope in Alt/Az mode with my 8-24mm zoom eyepiece (24mm
Actual FOV .77deg & 52X; 8mm=Actual FOV .35deg & 156X).  I used "Easy
Align" and the two alignment stars (Arcturus and Vega) were initially
only about a degree off and required essentially the same correction
(showed up in the same position in the finder).  I didn't notice any
more difficulty centering the alignment stars at 8mm (156X) than with
previous FW versions.  As I mentioned before, there is a slight AZ shift
when I do an Alt adjust, but it has always been there and is less than 4
arcminutes.  I hit all of the "GOTOs" in the "Tonight's Best" tour that
were visible (high clouds, faint galaxies...) at 24mm (FOV .77deg).  I
then centered Arcturus at 8mm (FOV .35deg) and let it track for an hour.
There was a very slow "rubber banding" after I centered the star but it
stabilized after moving slowly about 1/3 FOV to the right in the
eyepiece.  It stayed in the same spot in the eyepiece for over an hour.

Maybe I got lucky. Have any of you had any positive reports with ETX-90s
with Eh?  Are any of you still using this?  Mike & Dick, what were your
experiences (assuming you have tried it)?

Mike H.
Mike here: The last one I tried was 2.2Ef on the ETX-125EC. I don't have an ETX-90EC anymore.


Thanks for the reply Mike.  I'll let you know how it goes next time I
try it out.  Based on looking at some of the news groups, this version
may be more of a problem for the LX-90s than the ETX's.

Subject:	Re: 2.2eh vs. 2.2eg
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 11:42:29
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I just returned from the observatory where I spent the entire last two
nights trying to determine differences in v2.2eG and eH....in Alt
Azimuth, both versions are horrible.  In Polar, I recommend the eG
version....however, I would try both v2.1ek and v2.2eG and compare....a
lot of ETX 125's are getting far better accuracy on v2.1ek!

I look for Meade to come out with a v2.2ei very soon....there are too
many reports of bad tracking,alignment, GO TO's and motor faults....keep

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Autostar; which version to use
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 11:31:17
From:	dad@headplant.freeserve.co.uk (Damian Davis)
Please post this in the Autostar section at your convenience. Thanks.

I have been out of circulation for a short while, and now that I'm back
I discover that new software versions have been coming thick and fast! I
am currently using 2.2Ed. Is it worth updating to a later version, if so
which one? I have an ETX90EC, without an electric focuser.

I also recall an undocumented (in the Autostar instructions at least)
feature, a 'spiral search'. Can anyone remind me how to access it?

Thanks in anticipation,  Damian Davis  London
Mike here: 2.2Ef worked OK for me on the ETX-125EC.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Behind the scenes Clay and I have been chewing on this...
i can get my ETX90/22eH to track/position/etc. quite like yours.
With my 8mm eyepiece in place i can see it holding, and goto-ing
within 4 arcmin accuracy.
I -do- see an issue which is addressed by doing the final 
approach to an object such that you're slewing in the same direction
sidereal drive will be going (so UP if pointing eastward, down if
pointing westward) ... so that all mechanical slop is already 

more as we continue to chew on it.

Subject:	Re: Impossible Training 2.2Eh and 2.2eG
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 07:00:54
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Graeme
I too am having much difficulty with the same specs you describe, and so
are hundreds of others.....Meade still claims this errors is within
tolerances! Interesting I did not have to worry about "tolerances" until
after the v2.2 firmware....

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
>Hi Clay,
>I'm noticing Goto inaccuracies tonight with 2.2Eg. Drive training was
>confirmed to be very accurate and the alignment procedure repeated several
>times with exactly the same results. The "Easy" alignment stars tonight were
>Arcturus and Vega (not very far apart - both were the same altitude above
>the horizon too!) both of which were just inside the FOV with regards to RA.
>I'm really meticulous regards alignment, I deliberately slew the scope down
>and left a few degrees and only use the up and right to centre. This ensures
>the gear trains are torqued in exactly the same way for both stars and the
>resulting calculations are not going to be affected by mechanical anomalies
>or even training inaccuracy.
>All tonight's errors were in RA (apart from the Dec mispointing near
>vertical I mentioned yesterday). Vega was to the left of centre and Arcturus
>well to the right (26mm EP). Three aligns were carried out with exactly the
>same results!
>It seemed better yesterday but nothing has changed (same training) other
>than the two alignment stars which were Arcturus and Capella which I reckon
>was a good sweep of the sky for better alignment accuracy.
>It's quite strange that, after alignment, you can tell the scope to Goto the
>alignment stars originally used and they're nearly out of FOV. You'd have
>thought that the pointing accuracy would have been best in the vicinity of
>these stars but it seems the whole sky map slips!
>I just might go back to 2.2Ef yet!

Subject:	Letter to Meade re pause problem
Sent:	Wednesday, May 23, 2001 04:50:06
From:	petevasey@btinternet.com (Peter Vasey)
I've sent this letter to Meade engineers.  Fingers crossed!


Dear Sirs,

You may already be aware of a problem that has arisen when controlling
the LX90 telescope from a computer via the #505 serial cable.  A number
of programmers have written autoguiding programs which can use web
cameras as guiders.

The command set (M series) provided for controlling small movements only
supplies the #:Q# (and directional variants) to terminate the movement.
Unfortunately, not only does this command terminate the #M type
movement, it also stops the LX90 tracking for a second or more.  This
consequently allows a sidereal drift of 15 arc seconds or so before the
drive picks up again - totally unacceptable for guiding at anything
other than very short focal lengths.

I am well aware of the #909 module which is now being supplied, although
here in the UK there is as yet no news of it.  But many of us, myself
included, bought the LX90 because it is such good value for money, and
our budgets did not stretch to the full blown LX200.

It's very disappointing to find that we'll have to buy an extra
component to do simple autoguiding.  I know you are constantly modifying
the software for the Autostar.  All that is needed to correct this pause
'bug' is an additional instant acting 'revert' command as part of the
movement set, duplicating the release of the Autostar key.  (Perhaps it
could be sent as #:Mr#)

Not only would this benefit the many LX90 owners who cannot afford the
high end commercial autoguiders, but also the numerous owners of ETX
(and possibly DS) series which can't use the #909 module.

Please can you give serious consideration to my request.


Peter Vasey.

Subject:	autostar versions
Sent:	Tuesday, May 22, 2001 19:10:06
From:	scottpow@netunlimited.net (Scott Powell)
I read your site constantly, and have to say I'm pretty confused with
all the information coming out on new Autostar versions, etc. Is there
some way you (or someone else - Clay?) could post a short table that
would include:

Autostar versions (2.1, 2.2Ed, ef, eg, eh, etc.)
Telescope versions
"yeah" or "nay"

I'm thinking of something like this:

                       ETX-90     ETX-125     LX-90
Autostar version 2.1    Good       Good        Good
Autostar version 2.2Ed  Good       Good        Bad
Autostar version 2.2Ef  Bad        Bad         Good

Basically it would be an easy way for anyone to see what is the best
autostar version for their telescope (i.e. - I own an etx125...so from
above table would go with version 2.2Ed)

Is something like this possible?

Mike here: Any volunteers to create this?

Subject:	Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, May 22, 2001 18:43:29
From:	golfing18@msn.com (Mike Knapp)
Again...I'd like to tell you that this is a wonderful web site.

As a newbie to the ETX90EC...I've been doing a lot of reading. I have
read cover to cover the manuals for the scope and the Autostar. My
Autostar (purchased used) has software version 2.0g. Thru my readings of
the manual (I do have a life ...I'm just very excited about the scope)
one of the features I am/was looking forward to is/was the "guided tour"

Question 1: Am I going to be disappointed when I try it? I have seen
some postings here about that particular feature not working. Does it
work with 2.0g? I just want to know ahead of time if I should bother
with it.

Question 2 - If I wanted to upgrade the software what would I need to do
this and is there a version that actually is better than the rest?

Last question: hopefully this is not a stupid question....On my scope,
the right ascension setting circle moves independent from the base (like
a loose fitting belt)...is that the way it is supposed to be? The manual
says nothing about it and I am trying to trouble shoot the scope before
my first outing (hopefully this weekend).

Thanks for your time!

Mike here: The Guided Tours have worked for me in all the versions I've tried. The software to update your Autostar in on Meade's site (older versions archived on my site on the Autostar Information page). You need the Autostar Updater 2.4 (Windows) application and the ROM files. The ROM files contain the Autostar software itself and its database. The Updater application downloads the ROM files into the Autostar. 2.2Ef worked OK for me on the ETX-125EC. I haven't yet uploaded 2.2Eh. If you do update, remember to RESET and RETRAIN. As to your R.A. Setting Circle question, see the FAQ on my site.

Subject:	ETX Homing Question
Sent:	Tuesday, May 22, 2001 18:03:05
From:	marv.sumner@juno.com (Marvin C. Sumner)
After reading your swell site for so long, this is my first contact
going your way.

I have had my 125-EC for two years now but have had little use.  I live
in beautiful downtown smogs-ville Silicone Valley (Sunnyvale, CA).  On a
good night you might see a dozen stars and two planets!  'Nuff of the

I have only now found that you must set the 'scope to "home" BEFORE
turning the power on to do the alignment.  I can handle that, and I
understand the difference between polar & alta-az home (in the space biz
we call it Az-El, but I'm in astronomy now & I'll do it the new way)
Now, my question is "need I put it in the home position before every
time I power up? or only after a reset?"  Should I do it once for
Alta-Az then once for Polar?  The Meade literature isn't all that clear.

End of question, here are some of my experiences; expanding on many that
I have read about in your pages:

- On opening the new box of 125/EC the focus knob fell off in my hand
and the shaft slid quietly into the OTA, never to be seen again - back
to the factory.

- The Meade electric focuser had no end-of-travel limit switches, so
when I bottomed out with the control it ripped one of the shafts out of
it's bearing housing - back to the factory.

- The optics are SUPER!  I see individual strands of the power lines a
half mile away, even thru the haze.

- There are several flavors of the plug/socket that Meade uses for the
ETX power input. Some of the flavors are very nearly the same size but
not compatible.  My external power cable from Meade wouldn't fit until I
drilled it out one number larger.  Then a visit to Radio Shack taught me
how many sizes there are.  Maybe Meade has figured it out by now.

-  All the mix of happy and sad that I see in your pages about Versions
of Autostar firmware scares me.  I downloaded (something) last week but
haven't passed it on to the Autostar.  I'll hold off until I read more
and the smoke clears.  Any specific recommendations?  Any recent
guidance from Dr. Clay?  The last thing I see that's promising is that
he likes Ver 2.1ek - and has lotsa squawks about the 2.2s.

I agree that nobody makes a good tripod that a lone person can lift, so
I built one myself out of wood.  A little geometric engineering and it's
solid as a rock.  More on that some other time.  Next project: a
CookBook CCD - Ordered all the parts today ($635).

Marv Sumner
Mike here: The HOME position is to give the Autostar a known starting point for the alignment star location determination. Without this known starting position it won't know how far and in what direction to slew to reach the first alignment start. You don't have to put the scope in the HOME position before you power up although that does save on the batteries. But, yes, you have to do that before every alignment. If you won't be moving the scope you can put the Autostar in the Park mode (using the Park command).

Subject:	Autostar time
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 16:06:38
From:	ericb@stadiumflowers.com (Eric Berglund)
I've just got one last question before I stop bothering you,

I tried aligning the Autostar briefly Sunday nite to no avail. But then
as I was reading some Astronomy books so I maybe will be able to locate
a few of the stars in the sky, I noticed that the time zone for where I
live (Seattle area) is +8.0 but the Autostar had it as -08.0 for the
nearest city by me (Everett). I changed it to +08.0 like it said in the
book. Do you think that would make much of a difference in Aligning?

Once again, I think you have a great site and you have helped me more
than any book ever could.

Thank you very much,

Mike here: Since I'm traveling I can't check an Autostar but I believe the -8 (or actually -7 right now since we are on DST; have you set DST in the Autostar?) is correct.


Well, I tried it out with the +8 instead of the -8 (which was what the
Autostar had) and it was a much improvement over -8. The only way I
guess I can explain how it worked with the -8 was that it wasn't even
pointing in the general direction. I'm going to test it out again
tonight. When I used the +8 it slewed in the general direction of bright
stars (Vega, and Spica {I think}) although they were not in the
viewfinder, they were close. I then had it go to a star in Duhbe and I'm
fairly certain it went right to the star or pretty dang close. I didn't
get to try Jupiter because it was below the horizon. I tried a few
Messier objects including M81 and M3 and I think I was able to find both
of them. It may have been just my imagination but it was only 10:30 and
not completely dark, and I was just using the 26mm eyepiece but I'm
fairly sure I saw both of them.

I don't really know why the +8 seemed to work, but all I know is that
the -8 did not work at all and that may be due to other factors. I wish
I had a concrete explanation of why this is happening. I understand it's
near impossible to diagnoss these problems you've been helping me with,
but I appreciate the help greatly.

As for the DST I'm not exactly sure what it is and how to set it.


Mike here: In the Autostar setup you set whether Daylight Savings Time (DST) is in effect or not. At this time of year it is effective in many locations in the United States. So you need to change that setting twice a year.


Yeah, that's set.
Subject:	Autostar updates
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 12:50:50
From:	Gene_Rozea@Rollsys.com (Rozea, Gene)
I've see several references to different versions of the Autostar
software: 2.1ek, 2.2ef. 2.2eg and 2.2eh. Of those four I've only seen
2.1ek and 2.2eh on the Meade update page. Are the others intermediate
versions just available to the more experienced folks for beta testing?
From some of the messages from Clay and others it would appear that
2.2eg had fewer "glitches" than latest official Meade offering. Are the
other versions generally available and if so where? Any advice and
council would be appreciated.
Mike here: The "missing" versions were online on Meade's site for only a short period. All prior Autostar versions on archived on my site (see the Autostar Information page).

Subject:	[lx90] Re: v2.2eH bugs and centering woes
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 04:37:14
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
There are many folks out there having this same problem...I have heard
from four this weekend, and a fifth that called me last night, totally
unable to keep an object centered once his GO TO was done....

-----Original Message-----
>Dr Clay,
>I am experencing similar problems with 2.2eH in Alt/Az.
>Also noticed my GOTO's not as accurate and Mars even
>after winning a fight with the scope(centering), slowly
>kept drifting south in the FOV lastnight. 2.1ek's
>planetary GOTO's weren't exact but tracking of DSO's
>and plantes were great for me.
>I'm going back to one of the eariler versions but not
>sure which one(2.1ek or 2.2eg)
>Have you done enough testing with 2.2eG in Alt/Az to
>form an opinion as to which version (2.1ek, 2.2eg, 2.2eh)
>in(Alt/Az) has the best GOTO accuracy, less drift/rubber-
>banding for me(us) to use?
>Seems you have been elected by popular demand to be
>everybody's Chief software tester/evaluator/equipment
>advice giver/observation technic/data base etc...etc.:)
>Hope you enjoy doing this. I for one really value and
>appreciate your devoted willingness to share your
>knowledge and experence. I sure everybody else feels the
>PS Last night: Took nap, Got up at 1:20AM, Good seeing,
>   Best(for me) views of Mars ever, lots of detail(for Mars)
>   even at high Mag. Very exciting night.
>--- In lx90@y..., "Clay Sherrod"  wrote:
>> yes, version 2.1ek was the worst as far as random
>> rubber-banding slew; the newer v2.2 was SUPPOSED to
>> minimize rubberbanding (they specifically noted the ETX,
>> however) but it has not. In the scopes that I have
>> Supercharged with v2.2eG and eH, all are demostrating
>> worse rubber band and random motion than with the v2.1ek
>> version.
>> Dr. Clay

Subject:	autostar alignment
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 21:17:42
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
Great site as usual with more information than most humans can absorb. I
didn't think I would have to write again for awhile since things were
going along very smoothly. I was wrong and this has to do with

My concern is what the autostar uses for reference Lat/Long and whether
that value can be positive with one version and negative with another
version. I currently have version 2.0h loaded in my autostar. I set the
ETX up physically for either Alt/Az or Polar align. I set the date,local
time and acknowledge that I'm in daylight savings ( here in Western SD
it's -6.0 hrs). I check and recheck my physical alignment to make sure
the base is level and the OTA is pointed to true north. In Alt/Az the
OTA is level with the earth and in Polar the OTA is pointed at the North
star and the wedge is set for my latitude ( N 44 30') or so.

My problem stems from what the Autostar uses for West Longitude and
whether one version uses positive values for the western hemisphere and
another version uses negative values for the western hemisphere. All my
maps say I am firmly planted at N 44 30' and W103 54' which are both
positive numbers and the fact that GMT of 13:00 =0:600 (-6.0 hrs) here
at my location. So far so good and logical. For whatever reason, my
scope and autostar like my longitude to be negative ie. -W103 54' and
even then the alignment isn't to whippy. I may be off my target by 15-20
but I can manually bring it into view. Of course the tracking rate is
off too, not a huge amount, but enough to have to make adjust- ments
every 5-10 minutes.

Whatever setup I decide to use (alt/az or  polar) I make sure the mount
is set up accordingly and the tracking rate corresponds, ie
sidereal,polar ,lunar. I have searched your archives for days and weeks
now and I finally  had to write and seek your advice. BTW,I own an
ETX-125EC and have had a ball using it so far. For some reason this
glitch showed up and I'll be damned if I can figure it out.

Thanks Mike and may you be the next tourist to follow Dennis Tito,
        Tony Bulat
Mike here: Don't know how soon I'll be following Tito; pledges haven't been THAT good... As to your inquiry, in really old Autostar versions, west longitude was positive. It was changed in 1.1m to west being negative. (I need to put this in the FAQ!)

Subject:	 Re: Fwd:  cloning #497 Autostar
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 10:42:05
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	f.lundberg@att.net
Unless i'm misinterpreting, you may-still- be one step shy 
 of the desired sequence...

You said:
> Per your advice, and with both Autostars hooked up as
> previously described, I keyed into the Autostar that I
> was trying to download version 2.0g into until it
> displayed "press enter to download". I then keyed into
> the other Autostar until it displayed "clone: all". I
> then pressed enter on the first Autostar and it
> displayed "downloading do not turn off". 

The only different path i might take is to -commit- the
(receiver) autostar... i.e. -do- press [enter] to Download...
-before- getting the sender into the "Clone: All" state.

The other, very possible possibility... is that the Cloning
cable is bad... poor connection or mis-wired.
Unlike the Download cable, this cloning operation is the only
 "test" you have for it.  I'd investigate that it properly 
swaps pins 1 and 2, and that pin 4 makes it all the way...

> Unless you have any other sugestions it appears that I am unable
> to clone down from version 2.2ef to 2.0g.
At least you do have the fall-back of simply Downloading
 2,0g from your PC... Mike's site has the archives needed to
 do that.  (2.0h has the multi-language patch...)

I'll peek into the cloning code in 21eF and 20g... that'll
 take a bit...
good luck
I did a continuity test on my #505 cloning cable and it checked ok,
including the two pins swapped end for end. I will try your suggestion
on commiting to download before setting the sender to clone: all

Thanks again for your support

Forrest Lundberg 
And an update:
From:	f.lundberg@att.net
Success at last!
I decided to give Meade technical support another try and actualy got a
person who knew how to clone Autostars. He walked me through the process
over the telephone and, although everything did not happen exactly as he
expected, we successfully cloned my Autostar back from version 2.2ef to

This is what we did:

We first keyed into the Autostar that we wanted to change from version
2.2ef back to 2.0g until it displayed "press enter to download".

Then we keyed into the second Autostar which we wanted to clone from
until it displayed "clone: all".

We then went back to the first Autostar and pressed enter. It now
displayed "downloading do not turn off".

Then we returned to the second Autostar and pressed enter. It's display
now showed "uploading". (I thought that I had tried this before with no
result. Can't explain.)

After about 5 minutes the display on the first Autostar still showed
"downloading do not turn off", but the display on the second Autostar
showed "clone: all". (The Meade guy didn't understand this, and said
that when finished both Autostars should return to their initilization

So I turned off the power to both Autostars and then turned on the first
Autostar ( the one I was trying to change). It now showed that it was
version 2.0g.


I'm not shure this is the way it should work, but it did.

thanks for all your help and bearing with me.

Forrest Lundberg

Subject:	2.2eh finally !
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 0:48:39
From:	fmatkow@free.fr (Franois Matkowski)
I finally removed Updater 2.4, cleaned my registry with RegCleaner and
reinstall Windows Me and Updater 2.4. Then, I reloaded 2.2eh. All is
finally OK. Last night was very clear (it is not common in my
location...), with accurate training and very precise alignment, the
result is near perfect.

Thanks for your advices, bye (I'm planning for this night, meteo is
still good for some days...)
   Franois Matkowski

Subject:	A few more questions...
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 0:52:40
From:	ericb@stadiumflowers.com (Eric Berglund)
Sorry to trouble you once again...

Well, I had the opportunity to test out the Autostar once again with my
ETX-90EC telescope. I'm having trouble with it though. I did everything
to the best of my knowledge when aligning it. I trained the motors
during the day, I rotated it counter-clockwise and then turned it
clockwise a little bit so the fork arm with the numbers were over the
computer control panel, pointed it directly north with the compass I put
on the optic tube, made sure it was level. I did the easy align, again
it said align succesful but when I had it go to objects they weren't in
either of the views. The only thing I really know in the sky is Ursa
Major and the corresponding star names, and when I had it go Duhbe (sp)
it was off quite a bit to the right. I did a one-star alignment using
Duhbe and it seemed to work a little better, meaning that when I had it
go to one of the other stars in Ursa Major it was at least pointed in
the right direction and a fairly bright star was in the viewer, but when
I had it go to M81, which I figured I should be able to see with my 26mm
eyepiece it was no where to be found. It could be that I don't know what
to look for, but I doubt it. I searched the area for an hour and came up
with nothing. Since the moon is below the horizon for me right now
(Seatle area) I can't test it with anything prominent that I can't screw
up on. Are there any suggestions you could give to me? I obviously have
no experience, but would just like to view something....anything at all
with the telescope. Don't get me wrong, it is fun just to stare at the
stars, but it would be nice to see something else.

Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to read my stupid little


Mike here: I haven't checked the magnetic variation for Seattle but in most locations around the world Magnetic North does not equal True North. And True North is what you want. So that could have been problem one. Problem two is that M81 is pretty faint for an inexperienced person to see from a large city like Seattle. Until you gain some experience and confidence, you might try brighter objects like Jupiter (before it sets), Mars after midnight, and some bright stars.


Yeah, I was wondering if it could be something related to North. I'll
give it another go tonight since it looks like more clear weather.


Subject:	Re: Autostars in Polar Mode in the Southern Hemisphere
Sent:	Saturday, May 19, 2001 12:26:03
From:	gerald_wechselberger@at.ibm.com
Thanks for your help to get Davids and Richards comments. This convinced
me to do the checks of the ETX with Autostar for operations in the South
more intensive.

So i had to recognice, IT WAS MY MISTAKE.

After selecting LUSAKA  on the Autostar as the selected Site(-15 Degree
Latitude...) i found out i had to switch off and on the Autostar. The
drive does not switch from North to South on the Fly!!

So, everything works well now. I am ready to shoot Eclipse pictures with
the ETX125.

Thanks again.

I hope the reality will meet the expectations in Lusaka on June 21st!

Gerald Wechselberger
Mike here: Gee, I think many of us didn't realize it didn't switch on the fly! Thanks for pointing that out.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
I haven't looked into -that- recently, but i suspect a Site can
change, but a Hemisphere may have problems (especially if you're
already in Polar mode).

A number of setup items hinge on hemisphere.
To say -nothing- of: it won't offer Polaris in Polar one-star...

Must be time to revisit Kenya and walk back and forth over the 

Subject:	Re: Training 2.2Eh
Sent:	Saturday, May 19, 2001 8:18:33
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Graeme
Thanks for the great report, Graeme.  I am not happy at all with the new
v2.2eH; I still have one Autostar with it on there, but am using v2.2eG
mostly.  I see lots of quirks, and training is indeed very difficult;
please let me know when you have a chance to check on actual
stars....sounds like good logic to me.

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: Graeme
>I decided to "upgrade" my ETX125 from 2.2Ef to 2.2Eh and now appreciate that
>training in this version is extremely difficult. I train the motor drives in
>daylight (RESET,CALIBRATE,TRAIN every time!) on our house aerial (with an
>8mm EP) which gives a good steady target at around 45deg dec. I appreciate
>this is not a distant target but I get excellent results with it :o)
>Once trained, I verify its success by doing a dummy single star align and
>then tell the scope to go to Polaris. Then I move the scope tripod (don't
>unlock the RA/DEC clamps!) to centre part of the aerial into the field of
>view. This gets the scope into a position where the drive training can be
>verified. Avoid unlocking the RA/DEC clamps as you'll find the second GOTO
>you do will place the scope on a different part of the target. However
>subsequent GOTOs should return to this new position if the training was
>Now I slew the scope in various directions and angles off the target and
>tell it GOTO Polaris again. If it won't centre the target again then the
>training was unsuccessful and GOTO accuracy is not going to be good. It's
>important that you try slewing off the target by about 45 degrees. If these
>large angle slews don't centre up on the target again or appear to worsen,
>then it may be clutch slippage and GOTO is going to be very poor. You may
>find slight variations in centering for small slew angles but it's important
>that the big slews return accurately.
>Well, it usually works on the first or second attempt but I was having
>little success at all. After 6 attempts of RESET-CALIBRATE-TRAIN with 1/2 to
>3/4 FOV misses (depending which way it was slewed off target) I decided to
>alter the way I trained it. It may be coincidence but it worked for me:
>Before training I centred up the target by deliberately slewing away to the
>left and down by about 30 degrees. Then I slewed it back, right and up,
>carefully making very sure not to overshoot. I then trained it in the manner
>above and it worked!
>I've yet to point it at some stars but when I do, I'll let you know how it
>Lastly, I noticed that Meade have re-enabled *both* directions of slewing
>during training and also removed the motor oscillation during the final GOTO
>movements. Previously, whilst training, when you were told to centre the
>object with the right arrow, the left arrow was disabled. Now you can slew
>both ways which gives you more than one attempt to get it right.
>*BUT* - this new feature can be the cause of poor training and GOTOs because
>in the event of overshoot during training a user may try to recentre it by
>using the opposite key which will spoil the results (we're trying to measure
>backlash). It is absolutely necessary if you overshoot the object to slew
>back in the opposite direction by about 15 degrees and bring it to centre
>with one key only - the one it is asking you to use.
>I'll report back when I get some stars to try it with!

Subject:	Questions about the Autostar...
Sent:	Saturday, May 19, 2001 1:01:27
From:	ericb@stadiumflowers.com (Eric Berglund)
Hello, I was wondering if maybe you are able to answer a question about
the Autostar...

If so...here it goes

Well, I just got the scope and Autostar a few weeks ago. I've been under
cloudy skies but had a chance to test it out. I put it in the Home
position, made sure it was level, and pointed north. It then slew to the
stars, but I was never able to determine which star it wanted. There
were usually stars in the viewfinder but none were particularly that
bright. I centered a star for both positions and it said alignment
succesfull. Basically, what I'm asking is does the Autostar usually get
fairly close to the star? Can I just hit enter when it goes to the star
and not center a star in the eyepiece and will it still get in the
general area of the "GO-TO" objects? And one off the topic
question...will I be able to see most things (like Jupiter, Saturn,
Orion Nebula, etc.) just to find where they are and then perhaps
increase the magnification, with the provided 26mm eyepiece?

Thanks for your time if you read this. I grealy appreciate it.
Mike here: The answers are YES and YES. If you were fairly accurate in your HOME position set up, and your DATE/TIME/LOCATION in the Autostar are accurate, then the Autostar will do a good job of hitting the alignment stars. So YES you can just hit ENTER to accept each alignment star as centered (I do this a lot for quick alignments). Then you can GOTO objects and the Autostar will get them in the Finderscope and possibly in the 26mm eyepiece. HOWEVER, for every degree that your HOME position was off (horizonal and/or vertical) then your alignment will be that much off and objects you want will not be in the eyepiece and probably not in the Finderscope either. If you know your way around the night sky this will be less a drawback. And YES you can view planets, nebulae, galaxies, double stars, and more with your telescope (although how faint and how small will depend upon which model telescope you have).

First off, I thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

I've got a Meade ETX-90EC. Hopefully I'll be able to test it out tonight

Subject:	Autostar Version 2.0
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 21:07:24
From:	RLibby@aol.com
Using ver 2.0 on the recently purchase Autostar, replacing the dead one,
and it seems to work quite well. It got the calibration stars with in th
FOV of the finder scope, and then got the target in the FOV of the main
scope. And yes,the guided tour was there!

Not only that, but it did it 3 nights in a row! Another first!

I am sure someone has made a list of the upgrades, and what they cure,
and what they dont, and what bugs they add, but other than wading
through stuff from Meades "readme" files, I dont know where it would be.
 Any ideas? I havent the courage to upgrade to 2.1Ek after my last

Ralph Libby
Mike here: If things are working, why upgrade at this point. There is nothing wrong with NOT upgrading if the version you have works for you. As to what has changed from one version to the next, no one has compiled that complete list in a form other than the README and Help files from Meade.

Subject:	cloning #497 Autostar
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 19:51:27
From:	f.lundberg@att.net
I downloaded version 2.2ef into one of my two autostar controlers
several days ago. Having found that I was not satisfied with this
version and looking at comments on the newer vresions on your site, I
decided to clone that Autostar back to the original version 2.0g, from
my other Autostar and wait until the dust settled. I powered the two
Autostars using a split power cable made per the instructions on your
site under home made cloning kit (1-16-01), and connected them with a
Meade #505 cable. I set the Autostar with version 2.0g to "clone all"
and the other Autostar with version 2.2ef to "download". "Downloading do
not turn off" appeared on the display. after waiting an hour with no
change (it should take about five minutes) I turned off the power. I
then turned on the Autostar that I was trying to clone from version
2.2ef to 2.0g and it still showed version 2.2ef.

My questions are:
1. Could I have made some error in setting up the cloning process?
2. Is there a problem with using the split power cable and not being
connected to the telescope?
3. Is it that you can't clone back from newer versions to older versions
such as 2.0g?
4. Something else?

  Thank You for your help

  Forrest Lundberg
And from our Autostar expert:
SFrom:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Forrest's excellent description of what he did (naming 
power splitter, 505 cloning cables, etc.) all sound like it
 *should* have worked... The only question remaining is:
(a) did he put the receiving Autostar into Download -before-
 setting the sender into Clone? (you should)
He's got the timing right (10 minutes -max-)
I don't think there's -any- checking about what versions are
 coming and going (post 1.3 versions carefully don't step on
 the receiver's Flash Load section, so a 2.2 -to- 2.0 operation
 should be perfectly safe)

> My questions are:
> 1. Could I have made some error in setting up the
> cloning process?
Not that i can see, other than (possibly) notsetting the receiver to
 Download before the Sender. 

> 2. Is there a problem with using the split power cable
> and not being connected to the telescope?
(i've done clones like this, although my sender -was- fully wired to
 the scope... but it really shouldn't matter)

> 3. Is it that you can't clone back from newer versions
> to older versions such as 2.0g?
Should work....
> 4. Something else?
see #1.  My only guess.

good luck
Per your advice, and with both Autostars hooked up as previously
described, I keyed into the Autostar that I was trying to download
version 2.0g into until it displayed "press enter to download". I then
keyed into the other Autostar until it displayed "clone: all". I then
pressed enter on the first Autostar and it displayed "downloading do not
turn off". After 12 minutes with no change I turned off the power. I
then checked the Autostar which I was attempting to download to and it
still displayed version 2.2ef. I then hooked the Autostar which I was
attempting to download from to the telescope and tried the same process
over again, with the same result. Unless you have any other sugestions
it appears that I am unable to clone down from version 2.2ef to 2.0g.

Thank you for your help.

Forrest Lundberg
Mike here: That is really odd. I guess the next thing to try is downloading 2.0g from your computer. It is available in the Autostar Software Archive (linked from the Autostar Information page).

Subject:	ETX90EC
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 16:13:36
From:	divirg@galactica.it (DI VIRGILIO Carmine)
I have taken a look to your well done website. I would like to ask you a
quick question. Is the LX200 command set compatible with the ETX90ECs
one? Best regards
Mike here: See the "LX200 Commands and Autostar" on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Sticking with 2.2ef
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 6:43:32
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)

I'm with you on sticking with Autostar ver. 2.2ef.  It has proved to be
a big improvement over my last upgrade, 2.0h. It has displayed no
problems, other than the sidereal tracking rate being off a bit but not
a problem for most observations and can be brought into line with the
"Tracking Rate" adjustment feature, about -32 seems to work for me
(polar mode).

I'm continuing the Herschel-400 hunt with the ETX-125, 382 down and
hoping to finish up with a couple good nights soon.


Subject:	Re: Oddity in 22ex updating.... suite
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 7:53:09
From:	fmatkow@free.fr (Franois Matkowski)
I reloaded 2.2eh and I upgraded one more time, same result...
I reloaded 2.1ek, all is ok !
I see only 2 possibilities :
- A bug in my particular handbox (but why 2.1ek works ?).
- Originally, when I buy the Autostar, it has version 1... (I don't
remember), in french language.
   I upgraded with 2.0i, allways selecting french. Then I upgraded with
2.1ek, with version 2.3.
   The only language was english, no problem, all was OK.
   Is it possible that some code in my handbox configure display like when I
have french option ? I
   don't know and I don't believe...
   Before reloading 2.1ek, I tested the Autostar with its odd display. It
works but only displaying is
   bugged. I identified some parts of characters chains in english, other in
I'll post a message to Meade support with a maximum of details. (In
France, support is zero).
I'll send their eventual answer.
Bye, and many thanks for your very helpful site.

               Franois Matkowski.
Mike here: There have been some reports of having TWO Autostar Updaters installed confusing things. So REMOVE all copies of the Autostar Updater from your PC (including the subfolders), reinstall Autostar Updater 2.4, then replace the ROM files in the Empherides folder with the new ones. Apparently Windows gets confused if there are multiple copies.

Subject:	Help needed with autoguiding problem
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 7:10:19
From:	petevasey@btinternet.com (Peter Vasey)
I've been experimenting with an autoguider program by David Ditch which
uses a web camera, and LX200 commands via the #505 cable.  It can be
found at

It's not working quite correctly driving my LX90 via #497 Autostar
(software version eG).  It links up ok and attempts to centre, but after
every command in any of the four directions, the RA drive freezes for a
couple of seconds.  Consequently due to sidereal motion the star drifts
off centre again.  So the end result is very jerky and inaccurate

The effect is best seen by using a terrestrial target with the Autostar
set for Astronomical, and using the manual controls in the program.  The
target drifts steadily across the screen due to the RA drive, but after
every command it pauses briefly.

I've also tried Marty Niemi's DOS program, at 

In this case it seems to work correctly for North-south commands, but
again freezes following East-West commands.

Both programs send the usual codes of the form #:Me# to start and #:Qe#
to stop.

It would be a great help if anyone else could try these programs, with
either an ETX or LX 'scope, and report back.

You can e-mail me direct if you wish.  I'll also post this on the LX90
and QCUIAG forums.

Peter Vasey.
Mike here: I seem to recall someone mentioning that there was a delay in getting the scope to respond to movement commands, hence the object would drift.

Subject:	Autostar baud rates, etc.
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 22:11:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ARottal@gmx.de
The Autostar's rs232 port is 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit,
 no parity.

That information is on Meade's website, in the 505 cable instructions.


good luck

Subject:	Software/harware problems in alignment and GO TO centering with v2.2eH
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 7:34:31
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
For those of you who have:  1) uploaded versions v2.2eG or v2.2eH and,
2) have the new "APM" #909 port for the electric focuser, reticle
eyepiece and CCD autoguider....you are in for a rough ride.

1)  It is almost impossible to do an accurate "train motors" with v2.2eH
and eG; when you attempt to correct for a particular train direction,
the telescope is attempting to overshoot the target even on the lowest

2)  Alignment:  when attempting to center your alignment stars (I use
both 2-star and "Easy"), the scope will allow you to center the star;
any corrections made in AZIMUTH result in a rubber band back to where it
started from OR about 22" arc, one or the other;  IN ADDITION, as this
correction/centering is being attempted, the scope will move 10" arc
SOUTH in Altitude.  This is extremely frustrating and particularly
horrible with v2.2eH.

3)  Tracking is very good, but there is a 45-second oscillatory period
at which time the scope will slew about 5" arc first SOUTH then NORTH
(down and up in azimuth) repeatedly, but always come back to the center.
Over a period of time this evens out but will make it nearly impossible
for astrophotography (isn't that what the APM is supposed to help us

4)  Go To's are very good;

5) when observing at high magnifications, ANY adjustment in (either) RA
or Azimuth direction will ALSO result in the 10" arc slew in DEC or

I attempted with BOTH the APM plugged in and unplugged, but THE SCOPE
WAS TRAINED with the module plugged in.  Most of these horrible symptoms
arose with the newest v2.2eH....I am going back to 2.2eG tonight and
testing over the long haul.

I am having these problems on both the LX 90 and the ETX 125.

I think both the APM and the new vesions are buggy as all get-out and
hope that something is done soon....things were going fine until Meade
"supported" the functions of the #909....now nothing works right,
including the #909 APM...consider the following additional problems that
are LX-90 specific (which are serious):

The settings for "rate" with the illuminated reticle and the #909 port
module for the LX 90 are not working properly; there is NO difference in
rates 2,3, 5, and 6....#4 takes off like a strobe light, and #'s 7, 8,
and 9 work properly.  ALSO, since plugging in and activating the
reticle....my rubber-banding in the LX 90 (both RA and Alt-az modes) has
returned. Offsets about 20" arc in RA (azimuth) and about 10" in DEC
(alititude) when making an AZIMUTH correction....both axes are moved. 
Once this begins, even unplugging the #909 from the system does not
help....I trained with it on there;

BY THE WAY....if you UNPLUG the reticle from the #909 or the module form
the Control Panel.....you will receive the error message "Not Aligned"
on your next go to....must start all over.

Anyone else with a #909 out there having problems??

Dr. Clay

Subject:	Fw: train that Autostar carefully!!
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 7:23:14
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
More trouble for v2.2eG on the front......same problems.  she just
loaded hers with v2.2eG; it had 2.1ek on it and was doing fine!  Now she
has the same problems I have been describing....


-----Original Message-----
From: Clay Sherrod (sherrodc@ipa.net)
>Hi Sue...glad things went well for you!  Everyone is having a bit of
>with the Train Motor function and that drift you are describing.  It is
>something in the software that Meade has put in to allow for some upgrades
>for the CCD camera on the LX 90 which uses the same AutoStar....
>I struggled with mine last night as well....but was able to get a very good
>train in time.  Your motor failure sometimes happens.  I doubt there is
>anything wrong....is your power plug secured tightly enough into the
>panel to prevent slipping?  this is a common problem.  Also make sure you
>have set your Home Position relative to the hard stops as described in my
>"Performance Enhancement...."guides, Part 3.  If they are not set and it
>approaches a hard stop, that is one of several messages you might see.
>Clay Sherrod
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Sue
>>My ETX performed very very well last night!  We spent about 4 hours
>>viewing. I left it at about 1am on Mars and at 4 am  Mars was still
>>in the finderscope. Mars tracks at a different rate, is that correct?
>>First off, I trained carefully on Polaris, using a 12mm reticle. I
>>had some problems here. I trained carefully in Alt, but when I went
>>to Az, Polaris had shifted slightly to the left of dead center,
>>perhaps a quarter of the way towards the left edge from the center of
>>the FOV. After this happening 2 or 3 times, I decided to go on
>>anyway, as if I had trained using the 26mm eyepiece it would have
>>been dead center.
>>On the first 2 star easy alignment, I got an error message that the
>>motor stalled. As I am not using batteries I was a bit confused, but
>>I just started over again, with the same shift in Polaris . No
>>additional problems getting a good 2 star easy alignment.
>>Decided to look at M13 and there is was! We went back and forth
>>between bright stars and deep sky objects, synchronizing sometimes on
>>the bright stars. Sombrero Galaxy was another deep sky object that
>>was a joy. I found that I love the finderscope, which is not
>>absolutely perfectly aligned, so should be even better when I fine
>>tune it. Also I liked using the Orion 35mm as the eyepiece of choice
>>for slewing between objects.
>>I can see how folks get aperture fever. We had checked out many deep
>>sky objects at New Mexico Skies using both a big Dob (25 inch) and a
>>12 inch LX200. So I was a bit disappointed with the view of M13. I
>>will need to spend some time experimenting with my growing collection
>>of eyepieces to see if I can see individual stars in the cluster.
>>All in all I am most pleased with the way the scope now functions. If
>>you have any advice on balancing a camera in piggyback mode, we would
>>be most appreciative. Also, input on my Polaris alignment issue.
>>And we decided to go to the mighty ETX star party and look forward to
>>meeting you there.
>>Thank you again very very much and I shall send another email to Mike's
>>Best, Sue
Mike here: Gee, maybe I'll stick with 2.2Ef, which is the last one I've had time to load.

Subject:	bug - #909 module and AutoStar reticle
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 6:57:11
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	engineer@meade.com
The settings for "rate" with the illuminated reticle and the #909 port
module for the LX 90 are not working properly; there is NO difference in
rates 2,3, 5, and 6....#4 takes off like a strobe light, and #'s 7, 8,
and 9 work properly.  ALSO, since plugging in and activating the
reticle....my rubber-banding in the LX 90 (both RA and Alt-az modes) has
returned.  Offsets about 20" arc in RA (azimuth) and about 10" in DEC
(alititude) when making an AZIMUTH correction....both axes are moved. 
Once this begins, even unplugging the #909 from the system does not
help....I trained with it on there;

BY THE WAY....you MUST alert users to the fact that if you UNPLUG the
reticle from the #909 or the module from the Control Panel.....you will
receive the error message "Not Aligned" on your next go to....must start
all over.  VERY POOR DESIGN and lots of problems in this one.

Subject:	Ef v. Eh
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 11:51:47
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
Hi Guys,

Just managed to get 22Eh loaded. I have been waiting for some clear
skies so long that I didn't even have a chance to load Eg.  Anyway, it
seems easier to train my scope in Alt with Eh than it did with Ef.  I
was having a lot of problems training the Alt axis with Ef.  After
centering and approaching from either top or bottom, the scope would
take a huge jump past the center point just as I got near the desired
position.  I don't think this was due to "stickiness" in the bearings
because it would move a long distance up or down without jumping before
the object reached the center.  And, the jump would occur just before I
got to where I wanted to be. Very frustrating. Since the new load hasn't
exhibited a problem yet (I've only trained once and haven't had an
opportunity to a live run)I probably should just forget it but I was
wondering if any of you had seen or heard of this behavior with Eh.  If
not I may need to spend some more time working on my dec axis.

I also have another question. When I am training the dec axis using a
high power eyepiece I see a noticeable shift in the AZ axis.  I presume
this is due to the Dec worm gear torquing the tooth dec gear in the
lateral direction.  Is a little of this normal?  I don't see the same
affect on dec when training the Az axis.

Mike H.
Mike here: I suspect your analysis of the image shift is probably right on or close. Some twisting of a fork or torqueing in the base would seem to be a likely culprit.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Since i see the same thing, i -do- put it down to stickiness.
Consider: you've slewed to the "center reference" spot.
You (effectively) park there a bit whilst watching the "do this, 
do that..." scroll by...  things settle in a bit....
Now the Training scoots away, an dyou briiiiiinnnnggg it back...
 to the (theoretically) warm and comfy spot... burp... it jumps.
What -i- try to do is slow down and pause... just before centering.
And maybe knock the speed down further.  Maybe even to 2.

Another trick (gasps of horror shall be heard): if it burps across
center... declare that new, burp-to spot "center" and return -there-
on the second half of the Training.

In my ETX90, if i train with the sides exposed, i can -see- the 
trunnions shift in their "bearings".
Part of Clay's tune-up is to wrap the "shafts" with teflon tape to
 snug those bearings up by filling the gaps.  If your scope has
had a lot of usage, the gaps may have worn fairly large.
Consider that you're magnifying any slop by the power of your optical
system... a very few 100ths of mm shift in that axle will be very
visible in the eyepiece.

My ETX90 has about the same lateral shift due to torque-loading
on the bearings as it does by mirror-shift when focusing... maybe
2 to 4 arcminutes.

> I don't see the same affect on dec when training the Az axis.
Neither do i... different bearing system, without gravity lending
 a one-sided force...

have fun
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)

Thanks for the reply.  I may have had the scope a different angle when
training with the new FW (I was doing from inside the house since it was
raining).  When I get outside and try my normal training object I'll see
if it jumps or not.  I like your idea about the "new center".  My
lateral shift sounds about the same as yours.

And this:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)

Mike - I too, am seeing that azimuth shift (almost 10" arc) while
attempting to center BOTH ALIGNMENT STARS and my targets at high power
after a GO TO. Training is most difficult;   I ran an all-nigh test on
the V2.2eH last night and am going to take it off.  It has
rubber-banding like crazy. ALSO....when you correct in AZIMUTH (using in
Alt-Az mode) it offsets that SAME 10" south of center in Altitude!

It really is giving me trouble.  I have reset and trained three times,
better each time and I think it is improving.....but still horrible.  I
am going back to try v2.2eG tonight and see if the rubber-banding is
gone.  The problem is a serious on, as it moves about 22" arc BACK to
where it started from each time in Azimuth (RA) and at the same time
shifts 10" arc SOUTH in Altitude....almost makes it impossible to center
any alignment star AND do a good "Train Motors"

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Re: 22eH patches to raise satellite AOS...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 9:14:45
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Bob wrote:
> I have noticed that the [satellite TLE entry] display doesn't require
> as may digits as are present in the 2 line data. When I
> "Download" the TLE data does the autostar make use of the greater
> number of digits that are present in the TLE files? Or are the digits
> just rounded off?

Rounded off... for that matter, truncated.
The Autostar uses a typical 32-bit representation for "floating point"
(real) numbers... 23 bits for mantissa, 1 byte for exponent, and sign
bits.  Thus it has an inherent limit of 6-and-a-bit significant digits.
You can play with any of the TLE fields: increment the final digit of
a 7-digit (not counting leading zeros) display.  Then cycle thru the
edit again to see what it became.

I use the "round up if the next digit is 5 or higher" method.


Subject:	Oddity in 22eh updating
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2001 0:13:26
From:	fmatkow@free.fr (Franois Matkowski)
I have an ETX 90/EC with Autostar for one year. I upgraded the Autostar
with version 2.0i and 2.1ek without problems, all was OK. Recently, I
try to upload 2.2ef. But when the Autostar initializes after download,
its screen display odd and strange characters (like japanese on a
non-japanese configured computer). I retry with 2.2eh, same result... I
reload 2.1ek, all is OK... I have attempt safe loads, same result... I
notice taht when i load 2.1ek, Autostar initializes after page 29, with
2.2eh, its initializes after page 31. I have reinstalled Updater 2.4 in
program files/Meade/Autostar Update like for Win 2000 (I use Win
Millenium Edition), but I have not try to reload, because I don't think
that it's a solution. And waiting 40 mn every time for seeing result is
My questions :
- Is it a bug in my specific Autostar Handbox ?
- Is my computer ? (I checked for viruses with no detection of viruses).
Other details : - Computer : Pentium III 800 MHZ, RAM 320 M, HD : 2 x 30
GHZ, Windows Millenium.
                - ETX and Autostar : With 2.1ek, with accurate training
                and perfect Home Position, the Etx works fine. I succeed
                in seeing faint objects (Mag 9.5 to 10) near the centre
                of the 26 mm eyepiece. Tracking is correct.
Excuse for my approximative english, I read very well, but I wrote.....
Thanks for answers.

Franois Matkowski - Jarny (France).
Mike here: Try redownloading the 2.2Eh ROMs from Meade's site and put the resulting files into the Empherides folder, replacing the files that are there. Then try the download again. Perhaps one or both files were corrupt from your earlier download. Let me know what happens.

Subject:	ETX and 22Ef Easy Align
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 17:21:57
From:	boudreau@eng.umd.edu (Paul J Boudreaux)
I was wondering if anyone had come across this "problem" with the new
versions of Autostar software. After careful alignment and leveling of
the telescope, when the autostar asks for my choice of Easy Align, I had
the following problem: After the first alignment star was chosen by
Autostar, the second and third evening's Autostar star selections were
behind trees. I then selected the fourth choice, but in slewing to it,
the telescope ran into the stop. I could see it was trying to turn too
far, but nothing helped. I thought I had not placed the telescope
initially in its proper "home" position. That was not the case, I had
done this very often before, but never skipping that many star
selections. Anyway, I double checked and repeated the process verifying
the correct "home position". Again the ETX 125 hit the stop and kept
grindingaway. Prior to this, on earlier nights I had successfully used
the scope and it appeared to track well after a two star Easy Align. It
was only after this 2nd and 3rd skipped stars that I had this problem.
As a test, I tried another Easy Align, this time selecting a star that
was behind the tree and no problem with the stop collision. Now going
back to the fourth selection, again stop collision. Anyone else see this

Paul Boudreaux
Mike here: Got one similar report tonight. Have you RESET and RETRAINED?


Yes, Mike, I have RESET and RETRAINED. All worked well until I had to
skip a few suggested stars.

Subject:	Re: Adding and editing sites
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 17:17:10
From:	GoRon325@aol.com
Spoke with Meade today and discovered that there is more than one format
for GPS coordinates. Some use 100 minutes and some use 60 minutes. The
handbox only recognizes up to 59 minutes. The solution is to multiply by
60. Hence .750 multiplied by 60 is 45. So 42.750 becomes 42.450. FYI,
the coordinates I used came from the link on your website to determine
lat & long. So like most of the problems I've had they're user related.
I seem to remember reading about this very thing, maybe even on your
website. Thanks again for the website and your help, keep up the good


P.S. Just went back to that long. lat. link and they give both minutes
and decimal coordinates, I just wrote down the wrong one.

Subject:	Re: Autostar Version 2.2eh
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 17:15:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Kevin
In training the motors, the telescope can ONLY move in one direction to
center at which time you press "enter" and it prompts you to move in
another direction.  Are you going to SETUP / TELESCOPE / TRAIN
MOTOR.....[then it does Azimuth first, two directions, then you scroll
to Altitude and do that in two directions]??  when done properly, you
cannot move the arrow keys but only in ONE direction....you cannot back
up, so something is wrong here.  The Autostar locks out all other
directions but one at a time....

Also, you must start training on something that is a significant
distance away and at a sharp angle....I recommend training in alt-az on
POLARIS (the star) as it does not move, allows very high magnification
and is easy to spot.

But if you are able to move all your arrow keys back and forth during
training, then you  ARE NOT training the Motors.....you may think you
are, but something is not set right for your training sessions.  YOu
must press "Enter" as soon as you reach SETIUP/ TELESCOPE / TRAIN MOTORS
[enter]...that brings up Azimuth Train.  You do that as directed on the
A.S.....then once done with BOTH DIRECTIONS, hit your lower right scroll
key and it brings up "ALT TRAIN" at which time you do the same sequence
again, except in Altitude.

I hope this helps.  You have a couple of problem areas, but nothing you
shouldn't be able to figure out...GOOD LUCK!

Clay Sherrod
And from Kevin:
I don't think I'm training inappropriately. Read on..

When prompted to center an object, prior to when the scope slews on its
own, you are able to center the object using all arrow buttons. Then,
after pushing the Enter key, the scope slews in one direction, then
prompts to use one arrow button to center the object, then I hit Enter
for the Autostar to accept the "correction", whether for Alt or Az -
this part I know.

What I was referring to was after the scope slews and prompts to center
the object using just the one button specified (whether up/down for Alt
or left/right for Az training), I try to only push the specified button
once to center the object, thinking that I'll get more accurate training
(as opposed to avoiding stopping short of center and needing to push the
specified button two or more times to get the object into center field -
but maybe this doesn't matter?

HOWEVER, I think you may have really helped here in that I am using a
target in my basement about 15-20 feet away when I do my training, as
opposed to Polaris, and the object in my basement (a refrigerator
magnet) is also NOT at an angle, but almost level with the scope as if
the scope is in the home position. So I think THIS might be why training
is not as effective as it could be.

If you have any other suggestions/tips based on the above, let 'em fly.
You too, Mike!

Again - thanks,
Mike here: I've never tried to center the target with only one continuous press. I step towards the target by multiple presses. And Meade recommends an elevated target (about 45 degrees) for training.


From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Kevin - I see what you are doing now; at 15 feet, you are not getting
enough angle to adequately train.  Your method is okay and I now
understand.  It really does not make any difference at all how many
times or which keys you press to center your object; what does matter

1)  object must be DEAD CENTER to start....DEAD CENTER when you "train"
each direction;

2) you must use a distant object at an elevation;

3)   you must use as high magnification as you can and still accurately

Try using Polaris....I think it will solve all your problems...the new
v2.2 firmware is VERY training sensitive, more than ever before.  So
keep training until you get there!

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod
To retract my earlier statement, I WAS training inappropriately by not
using the correct target! But believe it or not, that refrigerator
magnet wasn't TOO bad, just not good enough! :)

Subject:	Autostar SALE!
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 14:38:26
From:	garydavi@bellsouth.net (Gary Davis)
For anyone who may be considering buying a spare Autostar, NOW is your
chance! The Natural Wonders store in Pembroke Pines Florida is selling
497's for $33 and 495's for $18! At that price I couldn't pass it up, I
bought five! If you have a Natural Wonders store near you that's still
open, everything's going dirt cheap, Meade and Celestron.

Subject:	Re: Autostar, Help!
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 9:23:16
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Tony -
Denitely avoid the 2.2eF version (and the eD one as well).  Right now -
IF YOU TRAIN very carefully and precisely the v2.2eH is by far the best
in the ETX scope;  2.2eG is okay, but with proper training (use Polaris
in Alt-az mode for best results with very high power) the 2.2eH is
vastly superior and eliminates all sorts of random stew and alignment

Only calibrate motors when they begin to track/act weird or if your
accuracy begins to break down.  Sometimes when you hit an obstacle or
the scope is bumped hard while moving (slewing) it is a good idea to
calibrate.....it never hurts.  "Train Motors" is only done when there is
a 1) new version added; 2) trouble; 3) you need to reset because of poor
GO TO's; and 4) if you want to use the Autostar on another scope....

But you can calibrate as often as you like, with NO need to retrain.

Good luck and enjoy!
    -----Original Message-----
    Hi Clay,
    Please help! I'm going to the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference
    in two weeks and need your advice on which daily version (sure feels
    that way!) of the Autostar I should use for my ETX-125 I currently
    have 2.2Ef loaded, but because of bad weather have not had a chance
    to test it.

Subject:	Re: Now I am ready!
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 7:25:31
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	rodolfo_mier@yahoo.com.mx (Rodolfo Mier)
Rodolfo -
The satellites are a bit more finicky to load.  Be sure to click onto
the entire dialog box (the one that shows you the list of ALL
satellites.....go to the top of that one and click "Send All to
Autostar" and click that; that will engage all of them if that is what
you want; then click Finished again as you have been doing...HOWEVER, if
you so load these satellites, you will need to go back and re-load ALL
asteroids, comets and user objects at the same time ("Finished" after
each group) and then select "Send Ephemerides" as you did before; this
will reload the entire selection once more, but should include the
satellites this time.

Clay Sherrod
From:	rodolfo.mier@axtel.net (Rodolfo Mier)
Sorry for not being able to write you before.  Finally today I had the
time to try again.  Following your feedback, it was possible to download
everything to the autostar.  However, it seems that one of the
satellites caused the autostar to freeze when trying to select/add/edit
a satellite.  I decided to erase ALL OF THEM from the update software
and do a second download of comets/asteroids/tours but no satellites. 
The autostar doesn't freezes anymore when entering to the Satellites (it
displays the normal message "no satellites were found").   For the
moment I am happy without them. I reset, calibrated and turned off the
telescope.  I will train drives later.

Thank you Clay!

Subject:	22Eh
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 6:59:45
From:	jps@jswann.fsnet.co.uk (John Swann)
Uploaded this latest version to my Autstar (ETX 125) this morning and
then gave it an indoor test. Setup was for Polar and I was unable to
achieve an alignment in any of the three modes.

- Easy Align. It went to both stars, then said alignment was

Two Star. Went to the first star, then half way to the second star came
up with Motor Unit Failure message.

One Star. Halfway duting the rotation of the OTA on Polaris, came up
with a motor unit failure message.

Tried these alignments several times with the same result. Also
sometimes the scope chose to go the wrong way to a star and came up
against the stops even though ETX125 was selected. Also the movement
between stars during alignment was very slow.

Have now reverted to 22Ef and no problems. Not quite true. The one
problem I seem to have with this version is that the Sidereal Tracking
Rate is very fast. I find that setting a Custom Rate of -25 seems to
cure this. Ihad hoped that 22Eh would cure this as stated in the TXT

John Swann, Chichester, UK
Mike here: I assume the Autostar did its automatic calibration step following the download. If not, you should do that, and of course, the RESET and RETRAIN. It is being reported that TRAINING is very critical with this version.


Yes. Did all that exactly as per Clay's tips.

Subject:	Computer Control
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 6:21:09
From:	ARottal@gmx.de (Arno)
I have a planetarium computer program called "Urania Star". I want to
use it with my Etx90EC. Therefor I need some information for
configurating the program. Please tell me the:


.....of the Etx90Ec

When I changed my Autostar against a new one I got it back without the
manual. But I think that there (in the manual) should be the information
I need.

Can you help me ?
Arno Rottal
Mike here: The Autostar manual is available online at http://www.meade.com/manuals/autostar/index.html. I don't recall seeing these parameters mentioned other than the 9.6kbps rate. You might try No parity, 7 bits, and 1 stop bit. But the software will need to talk the same "language" as the Autostar to control the ETX. Alternatively it must talk the LX200 language.

Subject:	Re: 2.2Eh Does not recognize all scopes
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 5:25:20
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I have been hearing all this, but it is not entirely correct.  I have
uploaded 14 AutoStars now with the v2.2eH (eG) versions and have not had
ONE that failed to recongize ALL scopes....I think the key is his use of
the "pwerbox" which does NOT complete a RESET nor calibration which are
crucial....THAT step is where the AutoStar recognizes the motor/ratio
configuration of the telescope is SHOULD be attached to.

I have duplicated (on purpose) this problem and there is a solution to
those who want to upload via a power box instead of the scope.....when
upload is complete and beeps (you MUST stay with the PX during
this....you simply shut off power when the "Sun Warning" appears and DO
NOT attempt to power back up until you have the newly-uploaded A.S.
hooked to the telescope YOU INTEND TO USE IT WITH....then, when you fire
up, you will see the sun warning, followed by the motor calibration and
the total RESET series of intialization processes.

The LX 90 and all scopes are there....but if the upload is NOT
initialized properly through the entire sequence ON THE TELESCOPE prior
to escaping the sun warning, you are goofed up.  I have not had one
AutoStar fail to read all scopes yet!

Clay Sherrod
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
As we say in that statistics biz: inadequate sample size.
but what you -haven't- done is attach your Autostar to a DS-114.
(or any DS- family member)(and perhaps the ETX60/70)
*then* it will NOT offer ETX90, ETX125 nor LX90 as a Model.

That procedure is **great** ... i agree that it is the way around
the problem.  
(i'll have to dig to see if if sneaks the Calibration data out


Subject:	Re: a very very slow rubber banding?
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 5:25:01
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I did a very tough four-hour test last night on the mountain with both
the LX 90 and the ETX scopes loaded with v2.2eH IN ALTAZIMUTH mode (not
my usual polar) and it was incredibly accurate, both in Go To's and
tracking.  NO DRIFT either way in both LX and ETXC scopes with star near
meridian (Arcturus).  I was able to track Arcturus from 10:35 until 1:27
at 447x and finally just moved to another object with the LX 90 in
Alt-Az.....very smooth.  In the ETX 125 I had some drift (about 1' arc
over about 15 minutes eastward.

By the way....the GO TO "Alignment Stars" is MUCH better with this
versions (v.2.2eH) in Alti-azimuth mode than in Polar mode (Dick???). 
This was in both scopes; alignment stars were always within about 1/2
degree of crosshairs, whereas 2-3 degrees out in Polar....


Subject:	The GoTo slew speed patch... doesn't work
Sent:	Monday, May 14, 2001 5:22:15
From:	milian_carlos@bah.com (Milian Carlos)
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
Hi Richard;

I tried your suggested patch for controlling the the slew speed
and it did work.  My ETX-125 was never able to successfully complete
the easy alignment, even though it accurately pointed to the right 

With the "variable slew speed solution", the ETX behaved exactly as 
with the "fixed slew speed patch".  I was able to change the speed 
only once. From that moment on, that speed became the default speed 
even after several power-up cycles.

Let me know if anybody get it to work right. I really need this 


Carlos Milian


>> It has been suggested by a couple of people here and in UK.SCI.ASTRO
>> that the default GOTO speed can be adjusted.  Is that true?

The GoTo slew speed is -not- "casually" user adjustable.

But it IS possible to -patch- the firmware to command a new "top" speed.
 (the Slew keys would still be able to go at full speed).
Using the patching program available through:

you can modify v21ek to provide control over GoTo slew speeds.

There are two ways to do it...
One is to provide a new, fixed number, the other is to have the 
Autostar continue to use whatever number you last set as "slew speed".

If you want the "fixed number" solution, then here's the patch for

 Location   Old    NewValue
  9E35A      FF    (see note)
  9E4E2      FF    (see note)

Note: the values used for the various speeds are:
Value  Keypad     speed-as-shown
  FF     9       Maximum (5 deg/sec)
  7F     8       1.5 deg/sec
  3F     7       1.0 deg/sec
  20     6       0.5 deg/sec
  10     5       64x sidereal
  08     4       16x
  04     3       8x
  02     2       2x
  00     1       1x

The other answer is: have it skip overriding it.
-This- patch would leave your last-set Keypad speed choice as the GoTo
speed. So you can play.  If it doesn't work, just key "9" before
 GoToing, and "normal" operation should ensue:

 Location  Old  New
   9E359   C6   01
   9E35A   FF   01   
   9E4E1   C6   01
   9E4E2   FF   01

(the second patch changes "load register B with FF" to two "do nothing"
I have -not- tested the above patches in my own Autostar.
They should -not- do any damage (other than causing "quaint" operation).
Be sure to save a backup copy of an -unpatched- version of v21eK
in case you feel the need to "retreat".

Please **do** report what happens (then i will add it to my copy :-)
have fun
(p.s. you could add the Satellite-to-the-second patch at the same time!)

Subject:	2.2eh
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 20:26:53
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
Dick:  When I try to load 2.2eh the following happens: When the "New
software box" on the Autostar Update-Main Dialog-is punched the message
"cannot find the Autostar.Rom file" --O.K.  When I punch the o.k. box I
am returned to the Autostar file folder. Note: All goes just fine with
the updater finding the com. port etc. until the above!!

Information for your help:  I deleted the old (2.2ek) Autostar.rom and
Dbase.rom from the Ephemeides file and replaced with new(2.2eh)
Autostar.rom [640kb] and Dbase.rom[640kb] as well as the update
file[555bytes] these all showed the date modified as 5/11/01.  This is

Opening the Ephemerides folder (in the Autostar Update folder) with a
single click shows the Autostar.rom file and the dbase file.rom sitting
side by side.  This is as it should be according to Meade downloading

For some reason the Autostar updater is not finding this new set of
files in the ephermerides folder as it should.  Can you give me any help
on this problem?  The v2.2ef loaded fine using these exact steps as both
you and Clay suggested.   Seems to be a new problem each download but
sooner or later it will go smooth the first time. (I hope)

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Well, it "should work" (<-- old computer saying)

Try activating the "Details..." view of that folder.
(either choose the option from the "View" menu on the topmost bar,
 or click the Windows Explorer View icon (possibly the right-most one?)
 until it shows the time and date for the stuff.

That way you know you are looking at the file it wants.
Ahhh... and make sure you didn't (simply) create a Shortcut to
 the new files, instead of a true Copy.
I use control-C and control-V  (or Cut and Paste from the right-mouse-
button menu) to guarantee that i really -copy- when i intend to.

(i have my system set to show full filenames, and details all the
time... but that's because i fling so much around i need every hint
i can get that i've mis-flung)

that's all i can think of as possible cause at the moment...

Subject:	22eH ... the adventure continues
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 17:57:43
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)

Here's my "best guess" take on v22eH, and other issues.

Clay reported severe "rubber-banding", etc, 
Then, after further thought, a bit of sleep, and more careful setup,
he came to this conclusions (abstracted from a longer note):
"3)  Training is MUCH MORE CRUCIAL and needs to be FAR more accurate
with v2.2eG and eH than in previous versions."

And there's the rub: Meade has put a bunch of work into trying to kill
rubber-banding, creep-after-beep, etc.  They have also been putting
in lots of LX90-specific code, to handle the new 909 APM and its CCD
auotoguider connections.
But, in so doing, they have thrust upon us, the users, the requirement
to perform better, in fact, MUCH better, Training than we've had to
before.  In Ye Olden Days, my ETX90 performed adequately -without-
training.... the "default" values were close enough.  But now it 
definitely requires it.  I get creep-after-beep and the other fun
symptoms... *until* i retrain.  Then the problems disappear.

Clay continues:
"So I believe that Meade is making a more sensitive and telescope-
specific AutoStar at this point.  I believe that training is absolutely
That is correct, but i'd modify it to:  It's *very* picky about the
LX90, because it's trying to attain precision unequalled in the 
product.  The ETX and DS scopes are pretty much as they were, but
with the added improvements against rubber-banding.  The bulk of the 
program is exactly the same for all models.  Clay has also been doing
his testing with the 909 APM in place, and that had unforeseen 

I must admit to differing with:
"and also have now decided that the upload of new software MUST BE DONE
That's not required.  If you follow his next recommendation (i've added
 a [phrase])
"Remember after download:  "RESET"......Re-initialize....
 [*Select* your Telescope Model... don't just accept that it's already
  selected] "CALIBRATE MOTORS"...."TRAIN MOTORS"  in that order,"
on the scope in question, you will perform everything that a
load-on-scope would accomplish.

If you have 22eH attached to some models of Telescope, it does not
offer -all- models under the "Model" menu.  Don't worry, they're all
in there.  It (for whatever reason) doesn't admit to them, limiting
the displayed Models to those it can sense are connected.
Move it from a DS-70 to an  LX90, and it that model -will- (re)appear
on the list.
22eH, like all earlier Autostar firmware versions, has a number of
snippets of program hinting at future growth.  The Illuminated Reticle
code has been partially in there since version 1, but hasn't become
active until now.

Answering Bob Rose's question, I do *not* see any hints nor traces that
 the Autostar shall become willing to remember more than one telescope's
calibration and training values at once.  So, if you have multiple
telescopes, you might seriously consider multiple Autostars, or resign
yourself to Calibrate and Train each time you move from scope to scope.

Calibration -may- hold within a model type (two ETX90's).
Training is -definitely- an individual scope item.

If you move your Autostar, and are using 22eF/G/H, then you really must
Calibrate (takes only a couple of seconds) and Train.
Training takes longer.  If you -skip- the training step, then you WILL
experience creep-after-beep (downright slew-after-beep, in my case),
rubber-banding, inaccurate initial alignment slewing.  IF they don't
bother you, that's fine.. i frequently am willing to forgo precise
operations to gain instant setup... sometimes it's necessary.

On the Satellite front: the new version picks a "AOS" point within
2 to 5 degrees of the horizon.  If you're chasing satellites, start
tracking when the countdown reaches zero and it beeps.  When the barrel
finally clears the trees, *don't* press [enter] to pause... let it
continue to rise/track as you seek the satellite in the finder or 
externally... when you -do- locate it, just slew to it.  Press [enter]
to pause -only- if you see that the barrel is way -ahead- of the
satellite.  The calculations haven't changed much from the old "wait
near 25 degrees", and the barrel will pass -through- where it might
have waited before.
What have we gained? unlike the previous code, the new one will 
willingly follow the satellite -down- to two degrees.... and it's
an impressive sight to track something until it disappears behind
your hedge, unlike the previous trait of stopping the track as the
satellite sailed brightly out of the field of view.

more later (you could just tell, couldn't you?)
From:	bobrose500@comcast.net (Bob Rose)
Thanks Dick.
I will let the autostar just track the satellites from the start beep
with out pausing. With your "to the second patch", the count down seem
to be accurate enough.

On the multi scope issue, I have several autostars, but was hoping Meade
would have a way to store multi calibrations. Primarily for a fellow in
Italy I have been working with. He has two scopes and one autostar.
Autostars are very expensive in Italy. He is the fellow that brought it
to my attention that version ~Eh recognized scopes.

I know Meade has been really keeping you busy with all the current
updates, but if you could find time could you publish the "satellite AOS
to the second" patch for 2.2Eh. I would like to update my autostars for
my LX90 but I don't want to give up the AOS to the second. I have
already updated the autostar on the DS scope. I don't mind using a hex
editor, so if you do them like you did for 2.2Ef it will be great.

bob rose
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
"buried" is the word that comes to mind...  i thought 22eF was going
 to be stable, and poured a lot of effort into analyzing it.

Subject:	on 22eH not admitting to recognize all scopes
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 8:56:56
From:	bobrose500@comcast.net (Bob Rose)
It seems that the new 2.2Eh only recognizes the scopes that it is
plugged into. A fellow I am helping says after updating to 2.2Eh, the
autostar doesn't have ETX90 on the "Telescope" menu. I have checked this
out with one of my own autostars and found that when plugged into the
DS114 the available scopes are all the DS series and only the ETX70.
When this same autostar is plugged into my LX90 then LX90, ETX125 and
ETX90 appear on the telescope menu. The fellow has reloaded 2.1Ek onto
his autostar thinking the 2.2 does not support the ETX90. I am now
trying to get him to reload 2.2 and plug the autostar into the ETX90 to
see if that cures his problem. Also I have found out that when the
autostar is plugged into a power box (no scope attached), the autostar
only recognizes the DS scopes and the ETX70. You might want to warn your
readers that update using power boxes to actually try the autostar on
the scope before the dump an upgrade.

He has problems with his ETX90 in polar mount and I am trying to point
him back to your site. I don't have any experience with the ETX in polar


bob rose
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Yes... i can confirm that the code does additional checking of
scope-type at powerup.  This is similar to the old 495's refusal
to operate with ETX90's and ETX125's, but expanded/different.
The code knows about all DS- and ETX- (and LX-90) scopes.
But, if it detects (by asking the scope) that you're in a subfamily,
that's all it offers on the screen.

The only ones still not in there are the 114EQ-DH4 and 4504.
The German Equatorials.  However there's beginning to be code for
 -them- in there, too... it's just not fully implemented (i.e. it
 makes logic descisions if they're -not- German, but there's no way
 to -set- it to German).

And this:
Does this mean that Meade is working towards storing training values for
different scopes? I other words using the autostar on different scopes
and be able to store motor training values for each. Or are they
possibly going to disable features for lesser scopes?

clear skies
bob rose

Subject:	(2.2Eg/Eh) maybe a solution at hand....but not easy
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2001 5:06:35
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Today I have a clear mind after my two hour sleep (dreamed about resets
and retrains during that time so it was not the best of sleep).

I think I have found a combination "problem/solution" that is causing
what first appeared to be tracking problems with the versions 2.2eG and
2.2eH, but now I am sure are "rubber-banding."  I was with it for about
six hours last night trying to sort through this, as many people are
reporting excellent tracking and some are reporting horrible tracking. 
Here is what I finally realized and did about 4:15 a.m.:

1)  If it is "rubber-banding" then it is likely a "Train Motors" problem
with v2.2eG and eH....the reason I say this is because on Thursday night
I wanted to see the effect of BOTH with untrained motors in both the ETX
and LX 90 scopes.  Since there have been some tales of really BAD GO
TO's and rubber-banding recently (with these two versions) I thought I
would attempt to duplicate what some folks might be doing.

2)  Sure enough, without ANY training (but WITH "Calibrate Motors") the
rubberbanding is quite serious, particularly in RA.  It is far worse
with the LX 90 (#909 attached) than with the ETX scopes.  The telescope
will return exactly to the point the GO TO placed it after every
centering command, and at the same exact rate you centered it!

3)  Training is MUCH MORE CRUCIAL and needs to be FAR more accurate with
v2.2eG and eH than in previous versions.  The minor drifting (actually
very slow rubber-banding) seen in these versions can be offset by very
careful, precise and extremely high power training.  If you do not do
this properly, then you can expect EITHER west or east drift.  There is
also SOME significant SOUTH drift as well with poor training (about 40"
arc per hour).  The ETX 125 did not show as much of this
"drift/rubberbanding" as did the LX 90.

4)  Very precise training ALSO inproves the initial Alignment Star GO
TO's;  with casual training I was having both alignment stars (no matter
if it picked them or I did) outside the field of the finderscope; once
these were brought in and centered and alignment was complete....the GO
TO's were nonetheless perfect and comparable in both objects.  For some
reason this is much more sensitive on the LX 90 than on the ETX.

5)  I retrained BOTH v2.2eG and eH three times last night for both ETX
and LX scopes, each time more precisely and at higher power for perfect
centering; the last time was with around 840x and an illuminated
reticle.  With this precise train I eliminated virtually ALL "drift" in
RA and reduced the amount in DEC to only about 12" arc in two hours on
the LX 90.

6)  On three out of the last seven ETX 90 and 125 scopes that I have
Supercharged since the new versions came out, I have installed either
v2.2eF or v2.2eG; in EVERY case, even after training, some degree of
rubber-banding is evident that was NOT there with either v2.0g or
v2.1ek.  I am NOT seeing this problem on the ETX now with v2.2eH.

So I believe that Meade is making a more sensitive and
telescope-specific AutoStar at this point.  I believe that training is
absolutely crucial and also have now decided that the upload of new
an upload and do not hear the motors calibrate....or if you upload an
Autostar on any scope that it is not going to be used with and the
motors DO calibrate on the "clone" scope and you do not have than happen
on the main telescope....you are in for trouble.

Those who are experiencing drift and alignment problems with the new
uploads probably need to merely be more precise in their intialization
and training.  Remember after download: 
"RESET"......Re-initialize...."CALIBRATE MOTORS"...."TRAIN MOTORS"  in
that order, EVEN if this has happened immediately after upload.  I make
a point to do this the first time I set up my scope prior to the star
alignment immediately after an upload.

P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	not having good luck at all with v2.2eH
Sent:	Saturday, May 12, 2001 21:18:28
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Don't know if I am just tired or what, but the v2.2eH looks like a
disaster.  My sidereal rate is so slow that I am losing about 2 degrees
in 15 minutes, sometimes a bit less, only in RA.  It is tracking just
like the v2.2eF did, only worse.  Also the two alignment stars are not
even close to being in the field; every time the first star (no matter
which) is about 2.5 degrees SOUTH (due south) from centered, right on
the edge of the finder field; the second star is ALWAYS 1.5 degree south
and about 1 degree EAST of the center.

Another problem....slewing; even with very slow speeds, the process of
slewing seems to have changed dramatically.  It is a
start-stop-start-stop.....motion that causes shaking in the telescope; 
it is very jerky (almost oscillatory) in RA at slow ("2") slews.  GO TOs
are very accurate however.

I am testing right now against the v2.2eG, which is tracking very well
at the moment with good Go To's....glad I save it on AutoStar #2.

Clay Sherrod
And an update:
I think I see what is causing the drift (too slow sidereal rate effect)
with the new v2.2eH firmware and the LX 90 scope.  It appears to be a
VERY slow rubber-band effect in the RA axis at the end of a centering
command via the arrow key;  all my centering upon GO TO has had to be to
move the star west to center; the end result is that the AutoStar
appears to be "rubber-banding" the exact distance BACK again at a rate
of about 3' arc eastward per minute of time, giving the effect that the
scope is tracking too slow by that amount.

the way I happened upon this idea is that after a short while some of my
objects appear to quit drifting....Lo and behold, it turns out that they
stop right about the point where I had to begin my slew to center that
object from.  It is trying to return to the same position!  I think that
v2.2eH has reintroduced yet a new hybrid form of the old rubber band
effect, only slower.

Subject:	Adding and editing sites
Sent:	Saturday, May 12, 2001 11:18:30
From:	GoRon325@aol.com
Thanks for a great source of info that has made my first telescope
experience a great one! (ETX125.) I upgraded to the latest firmware on
my autostar 497 and the goto is working great. When I first set up the
controller I chose Chicago as my site as I didn't know my exact long @
lat. I added my friends house up north with no problem (he has a GPS).
About a week later I found the exact coordinents for my house and tried
to add it to my site selection. Whenever I put long @ lat in and hit
enter, the box beeps but it doesn't remember the coordinates. I also
tried editing Chicago and have the same problem. I also tried hitting
mode instead of enter with the same results. My next thought was to
reset but the scope is working so well I hate to have to retrain and go
through all that again. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Ron Thomas
Mike here: Did you update to the brand-new 2.2Eh, which replaced the brand-new 2.2Eg, which replaced the 2.2Ef, which... Maybe you have discovered a bug or perhaps the memory is too full to add/edit. Do you have a lot of satellites, tours, or other objects in your Autostar?


I downloaded 21ek, I started with whatever was loaded from the factory
which I think was v2. The latest version I could see on the website
(Meades) was 21ek, I guess I missed something. In statistics it says I
have 37.4k char free and v21ek. I will pursue this and let you know what
I find.

Subject:	2.2eh
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 22:42:35
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
Hi Dick: Thanks for the info on the % of the drives.  I sent an e-mail
to Clay in response to his answer  to my "drifting " problem.  I will
upload 2.2eh tomorrow.  Do the files from the download (from Meade)
after unzipping need to be placed in the ephemeredes folder just as
2.2ef?  Asked Clay this same question but failed to make up my cc. list
before sending.

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
YEs... all autostar.rom and dbase.rom files have to go in the
Ephemerides folder for the Updater to find them.
You simply replace the ones that are already there (just like
last time!)

I've been running 22eH for over an hour, and the tracking is very good.
I certainly can't see an error.

good luck

Subject:	Now I am ready!
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 22:01:41
From:	rodolfo_mier@yahoo.com.mx (Rodolfo Mier)
I'm Rodolfo Mier from Monterrey Mexico. After the Discovery Store
received my ETX- 90EC telescope and my warranty claim, a week later I
received an e-mail from them telling me that I can pick-up a NEW
telescope and that they will handle the problem with Meade. Since I will
be receiving a new scope and I had my purchase receipt I asked if an
upgrade to an ETX-125EC was possible (of course paying the difference
325 US$ including taxes) and guess what?  I have it next to me at this
moment! I just arrived from Houston and now I am ready for action! I
also bought the 505 cable to upgrade my autostar (surprised it was 10
bucks more).

I know there is a new version software available.  I'm surprised many
things happened during my absence!

Which version should I download to my autostar? What exact steps should
I follow to do it? Do I need to modify the percentages in this new
version too?

Thank you in advance experts!


PS. I recommend The Discovery Channel Store as being a reputable and
trustworthy company.
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
congratulations on the new scope!  You will be very happy with the ETX
125; there is quite a difference in performance optically.

First you must use the 505 cable set to download the Meade AutoLoad
program ("A2.4 Autoload" which is a direct-to-file program off the Meade
web site - this will allow new updates as they happen.  BE SURE to print
and read the "READ ME" file carefully.  Once you have that, it will
contain new software for v2.1ek which you will want to change out to the
newer one.  Under Meade/AutoStar/Autostar Updates/Ephemerides (folder)
on your computer you can locate the two files "Autostar" ROM (640k,
dated 12-13-00) and "Database" ROM (same size and date);  THOSE are for
the v2.1ek and you will want to update those to the new Version v2.2eH
(presently shown on the Meade web site (www.meade.com under "AutoStar
Updates"); just double click on the highlighted "v2.2eH" label (after
you have the A2.4 Autoload on your computer) and it will allow you to
save the new version to a ZIP file on your computer; use a zip program
to "unzip" and it will place it whereever you indicate as a "v22eHROMS"
file;  when you can access that, merely COPY each of the two ROM files
("autostar" and "database", both 640k, dated 5-10-01) one at a time and
PASTE in place under "Ephemerides" each of those two files.  That will
allow you to THEN hook up your AutoStar and upload the new version and
its files for your use.  When you activate to upload, you will see "Safe
load.."  press "yes" and it will automatically go into the edit screen
where you press (send to Autostar....) "New Software" (lower right of
screen).  that takes about 40 minutes.  When done, GO BACK and do it all
again, but instead of pressing "Safe Load/ YES" press "NO" and that will
allow you to get into the comets, asteroids, satellites and tours and
pick and load all or any you want.

Good luck.....the READ ME files will help very much.  You might try
testing the scope FIRST with the version that is on the Autostar (likely
it will be v2.0g) and make sure all is working well which I am sure it

Clay Sherrod
And a reply:
I already updated the new version (it appears on the statistics). 
However, I am having many problems sending the astronomical data to the
autostar. I already downloaded the tutorial from the site and I am doing
exactly that.

I first thought it was the installed program, but I unstalled V2.4 -
reboot machine - install again V2.4 - reboot machine - and final reboot
with autostar connected and computer control on, run the program and
still the same problem of not being able to send the ephemeride data in
the library.

In the count of astronomical data I have (after downloading from the web
new epherides):

Handbox     Nothing (all ceros)!!!!
Available   1131 - 136 - 1264 - 64493 - 2579 - 2223
In library  58 - 157 - 162 - 5 - 0 - 0
When trying to send the astronomical bodies in the library to the
Autostar using the "send ephemeride" botton, the windows displays the
data in the handbox (which of course is all ceros) instead of the data
in the library.  And nothing is send.
Thanks in advance people,   

PS.  I have tried several times without results. 
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Rodolfo - you are experiencing a common problem.  Go back to the main
edit screen on the A2.4 autoload by chosing "NO" when it asks if you are
attempting a "safe load;"  that will take you to the ephemeride edit
screen. click on asteroids, then open the entire list....select "send
all to Autostar" and it will quickly close out the dialog box at which
time you click "FINISHED" in the upper left corner of the asteroid
database box; that will take you BACK to the main edit screen.  NOW pick
"comets" and the same thing will happen.  You MUST open up the entire
list window and see the entire database.  Once it is opened, again click
"Send all to Autostar" (at the very top) and then Finished....it will
again go back to the edit screen where you can pick Satellites....do the
same thing, then "finished" and finally your Tours.....ONCE ALL OF THEM
ARE SELECTED, then you go to "Send Ephemerides" (button at lower right),
click and a small dialog box will appear that will show how many you
have selected of each (which in this example should be all the library
listings which you noted).  Once you see that it is loaded with these
objects, press "Okay" or whatever it says to do and that will
automatically begin upload into your system.

the top LEFT of the main edit box to revert back to the Autostar
initialization which locks in your objects.

That should do it....it is NOT very clear, but becomes easier with time.

Best of luck....even if you still have problems, you can still use the
AutoStar; you merely will not have the entire database of ONLY comets,
asteroids, satellites and tours until you do.

Clay Sherrod
From:	rodolfo_mier@yahoo.com.mx (Rodolfo Mier)
I appreciate the quick feedback.

I did exactly what told, however ONLY the asteroids and comets can be
selected (after several times of trying).  It was not possible to make
the satellites and tours appear in the "send to autostar" window after
clicking on the "send ephemeride". I tried until the idea "well, at
least I have the asteroids and comets" came into my mind and I clicked

After exiting the program I thought to give one more try, which was a
bad idea since the asteroids and comets didn't appeared on the handbox
and selecting them was more difficult than before.  Finally, I had the
asteroids and comets once again on the autostar and click "Finished".

I have several questions:
1)  How can I load the satellites and tours?
2)  How can I verify the asteroids and comets really 
    are stored on the autostar?
3)  Is the "astronomical data" erased after a reset? 

and Regarding the new firmware version
4)  Should I modify the percentages before training?
5)  What about the browse function?  

Once again thank you for the support!

Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 14:55:13
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Hi Dick -
I find it really interesting that you are reporting an acceleration of
sidereal tracking (apparently a good deal of it!) from your tests on the
ETX 90 and v2.2eH.  What is interesting is that when I FIRST started
checking mine on Wednesday night (after you alerted me to its posting),
I noticed that stars directly overhead were drifting faster than
sidereal as well, perhaps only 0.2x sidereal rate at most.  The really
interesting thing is that this stopped after some time, and I wrote it
off to user error of some type.  It lasted at most an hour and as I
remember ONLY affected stars at high magnification near the meridian and
near the celestial equator as well.  The only reason I remembered this
is because it happened right after I loaded up and retrained and thought
to myself...."Well, they fixed it....but in the wrong direction!"

Any thoughts on this?  I am going to load the v2.2eH tonight on backup
A.S., but I am hanging on to the other one (v2.2eG) until the jury comes
back.  I was VERY happy with my early results the last two nights.
Please let me (us) know what you are hearing and I will do the same.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	new version 2.2eH from Meade
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 14:08:27
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Well, Dick you need to go away more often....no sooner than you left two
weeks ago all heck broke loose and you predicted it.  Meade did not just
introduce ONE new AutoStar version....it has put out rabbit broods of

Here is the latest:  version v2.2eH to take the place of version v2.2eG
which took the place of v2.2eF, which was hurriedly introduced to get
rid of the ill-fated version v2.2eD.....[and now the chorus....]

According to Meade's web page:

Improvements to the 497 AutoStar from 21Ek

1) Added controls for #909 Accessory Port Module to use with LX90.
2) Made corrections to Guided Tours.
3) Improvements to LX200 command set.
4) For ETX-90 and ETX-125, park position is always home position.
5) Arrow to show tracking speed.
6) Minor corrections to the data base.
7) Smoother landings on GOTO's for LX90's

8) Fixed tracking problem with #909 w/LX90's. (from version 22Ef)
9) Fixed polar sidereal tracking rate.

Note:  Remember to re-train your telescope after loading new program.

Now I just lost TWO DAYS sleep - really did - testing the v2.2eG since
its predecessor really messed up my LX 90 and caused tracking problems
in my ETX 125 in polar mode.  I was able to track Arcturus on 5-11-01
for over four hours at very high (427x on the ETX 125 and 447x on the LX
90) with 2.2eG with no problems.  I had significant problems with v2.2eF
on the LX 90 since I have the LX 200 #1206 electric focuser that must be
used through the new Auxiliary port (#909) which has a "mind" of its own
and was throwing off the firmware from v2.2eF.  My results with v2.2eG
were very good....excellent.

I have no problems if this is a better version, but I am concerned about
"9)" above....I exclusively use my scopes in Polar and I could not ask
for better sidereal rate than what I was getting with v2.2eG over the
last two nights....my only big problem with that version is the horrible
job it does bringing in the first two EASY align stars upon
initialization, the first of which is always outside the finder field. 
If they can fix "sidereal tracking rate" any better than it seems to be
on the last version (2.2eG) then NASA needs to get hold of this one and
rescue the free world.

Now they've gone and changed it again and I have downloaded it;   I have
it on my spare AutoStar right now and ready to try out on both scopes.
(but I am saving the v2.2eG version in case).  ONE THING:  I believe
that it is critically important - more on these newest versions - to
RESET / RETRAIN than on any versions before them.  There is a strong
(really strong - about 1.5 to 2 degrees) rubber banding after centering
on GO TO objects without accurate training!  I saw this in both the ETX
and LX scopes.

However once trained properly, the GO TO's and sidereal tracking were
very good.

I am saving all the outdated versions of AutoStar in hopes that I can
decorate my Christmas tree with them this December.

Clay Sherrod
And from Dick Seymour:
Yet Another New Version... correcting Polar Sidereal

(i noticed last night that my tracking drifted 20 arcminutes -ahead-
 of the star across a 45 minute period... Polar ETX90.)
(yes, i dropped them a note)

this was posted at 1pm today (Fri 11 May)


Subject:	ETX 90 basic questions.
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 08:17:42
From:	r.g.hooper@worldnet.att.net (Ron Hooper)
Just downloaded the new 2.2ef version and trained it last night using
Polaris.  I overshot on one of the centerings and exited the menu (mode)
and started over.  Trained it and then Aligned.  It worked perfectly for
the first 7 or 8 items (I used a few bright starts (spica etc) and
Jupiter for the test, all where nearly centered in the eyepiece.  Then
it seemed to start missing  everything.   Shut it down and did the
alignment again.  Worked great for the rest of the time I was out.  This
brings up three questions.

1) Do you have to do a reset if you mess up the training or can you do
as I did?
2) Should you set the Alt/Az percents before or after training?  I have
not set them yet.
3) Any idea why it would start missing after working perfectly?


Ron Hooper
Mike here: As long as the RESET was done automatically (or manually) and you did the RETRAIN at some point, then you should be OK. Don't know why things would get flakey unless the batteries were getting low.

Subject:	etx-90 alignment
Sent:	Friday, May 11, 2001 08:06:38
From:	marc_windrich@hotmail.com (marcus windrich)
I was looking through your website and didn't find anything on how to
"easy align" the telescope in Polar mode(not alt/az) with the autostar.
The instruction manual only tells how to do it in alt/az. So when using
the tripod legs and trying to align, should I put the optical tube at
90deg to the ground or at the 90deg mark on my declination circle(which
I set according to the instruction manual)?

By the way, when I turn the base counterclockwise all the way to avoid
hardstop and then turn it clockwise till the fork arm is directly over
the control panel.....is that supposed to be the first fork arm that
crosses over the control panel or should there be at least a 180deg

One more question...I have the right-angle viewfinder, tilted at an
angle....has anyone actually got it to fit in the Meade hard case by
cutting out some foam or something? I have seen it suggested several
times on your website, but have never heard of anyone actually doing it.

Thanks for all your help.

Marcus Windrich
Mike here: In Polar mode, the OTA is pointed at Polaris (in the Northern Hemisphere). So 90 degrees on the DEC setting circle is correct. When rotating from the hard stop, the rotation is about 120 degrees.

Subject:	Re: newest v2.2eG firmware from Meade
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 23:15:22
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
> by the way I am hearing of some serious runaway slews in the ETX 90's
>  and  125's from the v2.2eF version.  It goes to the object and keeps
> on going....people with uploads form v2.0 and v2.1 are reporting less
> than happy results in some cases.
hmmm... the "keeps on going" -could- be a lack of training (i.e. i
saw some (slight) go-past-object until i -did- train tonight.)
But the go-past was under 30 arcminutes.  I ran a bunch of 22eF
 tests and didn't see runaways.

I've been running 22eG for a couple of hours, chasing Mercury down
 'til it set, nailing Jupiter, Arcturus, Capella, Polaris, Procyon.
Polar and Alt/Az.  With/without focuser and other homemade toys.

Following up something Clay and i were batting about this afternoon,
 i see about the same initial align star offset under F and G.
And the  "off" amount is consistent with a not-quite level tripod
(i.e. scope too high on the East, too low on the West star)...
Multiple alignments with a bewildering collection of firmware versions
 didn't show a solid trend (other than i don't -quite- hit the same
 Az point when doing a bunch of sequential setups in Polar)

My main grumpiness about eG is that my disassembly of eF is now
 obsolete...back to the keyboard...
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
after a night with v2.2eG it shows great promise.  I continued to track
Arcturus for 2 hours 13 minutes dead center at 447x on the LX 90 until I
finally shut it off.  The ETX 125 is showing better go-tos and slews as
well;  tracking is outstanding.  I think the "fix" built into the v2.2eG
over v2.2eF helps all the scopes on AutoStar, not just the LX 90.

My alignment stars are still a puzzle....I ran several tests and ALL
came up due south (again about 3 degrees almost every time) and in some
cases just a slight bit WEST for an Eastern star....and a bit EAST for a
Western star. It is annoying,but something I can live with, because once
done....it hits every target, Dick.

With v2.2eG, I tried 14 targets (before I locked onto Arcturus) and
nailed every single on dead center at 447x.  At 447x!!  And when they
stopped, they stopped cold and the excellent tracking took over. 
Focuser, reticle, etc. works just fine going in and out of "Mode"....no
problems whatsoever!

I'll keep you posted!

Subject:	2.2ef
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 22:48:19
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
Hope the clouds missed you.  What % are you using on the ALT and AZ 
since you uploaded 2.2ef.  My Dec.  is great but the RA is rough running
when centering and has a little "coasting" after release, but not all
the time.  Also is slow starting in # 4 on the handbox and then jerks to
catch up. All rubber banding seems to be corrected.  The go-to will put
the star in the FOV of the 8x25mm finder but not always in  the 26mm
EP--Not good enough! Tracks pretty good in the Alt/Az mode.  Still
waiting for the Rigel   All mechanics are great (thanks to your articles
and the info on the site).  A little work yet  to be done on the

I really don't understand the comments I am hearing on the e-group about
the ETX 125.  A little research will reveal the shortcomings of the
scope and you make your decision  to buy or not based on that research. 
Anyway, I feel the scope is being maligned unnecessarily and a little
effort can make it a great scope for it's size.  There, another old man
has gotten "it" off his chest.

Mike here: I haven't checked my percentages; I have NEVER adjusted them, before or after 2.2Ef. Always stayed with the default values.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Careful drive training -greatly- affects (kills) rubber banding
and (it's still achievable) creep-after-beep.

Percentage-wise, My ETX90 likes about 11% for Az, and 21% for Alt.
But i have a very sloppy Alt system.  My Az % may be a little -low-,
but i find it acceptable. (i'd rather have delayed startup than 

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Murray - the "coasting" you are mentioning is apparently a "bug" for the
ETX in the new v2.2eF software.  I am getting reports like crazy from
folks and from scopes that I am tuning up here are showing it as soon as
I upload that version.  It drifts after you let up on the slew key with
no quick shut-off....right??  Many times it will do the same thing (but
not always) when your reverse to correct, right?

Adjusting the azimuth percent will NOT take this out....I have tried,
even after a complete drive mod. on the ETX....it is showing up in both
-90s and -125s.

Meade has just put out (thursday afternoon) a NEW firmware version that
corrects driving/tracking and alignment problems in the LX 90.  It works
very well as I have been up all night working with it.  It ALSO - even
though not stated in the Meade update read file - helps tremendously
eliminate the symptom you have described.

So.....I think another download from Meade and an upload into your
Autostar is in order.  You will be glad you did. Forget the percentages,
they will not help this problem. Many people who uploaded the v2.2eF are
showing this drifting.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Help w/Autostar 2.1ek
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 21:40:59
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
Thanks, I did find the bulk deletion information. I have read more in
the last twenty-four hours than I thought I was capable of. I did hook
my scope back up to my Micron notebook and ran the Autostar updater
program and managed to free up considerable memory. When than was done,
and after reading more from my desktop, I decided to check the battery
voltage in the pack. I tested the voltage with digital voltmeter and
found that the pack still had 7.69 volts. While testing I inserted new
alkaline batteries and re-read the voltage and got the expected 9.61
voltage. The original batteries probably have only about 8-10 hours on
them total. I left the new batteries in the pack and stuck it back in
the scope and flipped it on. I setup the scope up on the deck and since
it was daylight I skipped the alignment process and went straight to
Objects. When I slewed the scope to a target the motor speed increase
was immediately improved. Now my curiosity is up. Would the 50k+ char.
free make an improvement like that, or would the two volts. I haven't
had the time to read much on battery life from actual owners, just the
manuals suggested battery life.

Thanks again for your time and help!
Mike here: Battery life is important. Under load (slewing), the batteries really need to be nearly full.

Subject:	Autostar Death
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 21:35:41
From:	RLibby@aol.com
After putting the 2.2. in the folder you suggested, and loading it into
the autostar, I got the following message as it was "initialising"
Proc Trap #4
Now the loader program wont recognize the autostar, so I cant do
anything. The next day, all it gives is meaningless characters (after
telling me it has version 22) and "Rifle"
A call to meade suggested sending it in, which I wll do as soon as they
call back with some numbers.
Oh well!

Mike here: Sorry to hear this. I don't know why this would happen unless your Autostar was flakey to begin with. The ROM files (assuming they weren't corrupted during your download from Meade's site) should have been OK for the #497 Autostar if you were using the Autostar Updater v2.4. You might try the SAFE LOAD mode.


The "safe Load" was my first thought, but the Update program does not
now recognize the fact that there is an Autostar attached! Silly


Subject:	newest v2.2eG firmware from Meade
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 21:02:43
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Just six hours after its introduction, I have been able to confirm that
the newest v2.2eG firmware (5-10-01) does indeed, improve tracking
across the board in the LX 90 and even in my ETX 125; by the way I am
hearing of some serious runaway slews in the ETX 90's and 125's from the
v2.2eF version.  It goes to the object and keeps on going....people with
uploads form v2.0 and v2.1 are reporting less than happy results in some

Right now I am holding Arcturus steady at 447x, where it has been
centered for 36 minutes and counting.  The Go To's seem about the same
as with v2.2eF, but the tracking is noticably better.  Some improvement
MAY be there in getting closer to alignment stars, as v2.2eF was putting
them outside the field of view of the finderscopes in the LX 90.  Many
corresponsdents are reporting "rubber banding" from v2.0 all but gone
with the new (2.2eF) firmware as well.

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: I've not seen the runaway slews with 2.2Ef. Perhaps those users need to look at the Meade announcement on my site. Maybe it is a hardware problem.

Subject:	v22eG  on Meade's website
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 18:11:43
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
it corrects the lagging-tracking symdrome which Clay was seeing
(if you have an LX90 and if you have the 909 Accessory Port Module)

it also properly designates Caldwell 6 (NGC 6543) as the Cat's Eye
 Nebula, not the previous versions faux pas of calling it Caldwell 9.

not a needed update if you are an ETX person.


Subject:	Re: Autostar - how to use South of the Equator?
Sent:	Thursday, May 10, 2001 03:15:02
From:	dadriance@EngenderHealth.org (David Adriance)
To:	gerald_wechselberger@at.ibm.com
Hi Gerald,

Saw your posting on the Mighty ETX web site.  I live in Nairobi, just
south of the equator.  Have been using Autostar without any problems. 
Although Nairobi is on the list of cities, I prefer to plug in my own
coordinates.  Would suggest you find the lat and long for Lusaka (or
wherever you'll be) and add the site to your Autostar.

I'm envious - Zambia's a wonderful country, I used to live in Lusaka. 
Have fun!


Subject:	2.2ef upgrade
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 19:01:59
From:	f.lundberg@att.net
I have just upgraded my ETX Autostar #497 from version 2.0g to 2.2ef,
following your outline of Tuesday, may 8. I had anticipated that I would
now have the new catalog containing over 30,000 objects. However it
appears I still have the original catalog containing 14,487 objects. Can
you tell me how to get the new catalog.

Thank you for your assistance

F. Lundberg
Mike here: Did you count them? Anyway, if you replaced the old ROM files in the Empherides folder with the 2.2Ef ones you should have the complete database. Does the Autostar show 2.2Ef in the Statistics menu?


Thanks for your prompt response to my Autostar object catalog concern.
It looks like you are right. After downloading 2.2ef into my Autostar, I
had tried without sucess to find several fairly bright named stars which
I knew were not in the original catalog. Having found nothing, I thought
that I had made a mistake downloading, and E-mailed you for help. Since
recieving your response, I have done a more thorough search using a list
of bright double stars (both stars brighter than magnitude 7) which are
not in the original catalog. I was sucessful in finding about 20% of
them by their SAO numbers. I am kind of disapointed in the poor sucess
ratio, but it does indicate that I have the new catalog. for what ever
value it is?

Thanks again for your help

Forrest Lundberg

Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 17:48:21
From:	pjr@eclipse.net (Paul Roberts)
I was thinking of upgrading to the new 2.2ef autostar software and have
two quick questions.  1) I remember Clay saying something about a bug in
the last update where some new problem occurred with the scope whenever
you downloaded a new update ( I don't remember the problem but hopefully
you do).  Is this still a problem if this is my first update?  2)  I
don't have the Meade cable to connect the scope/autostar to my computer.
Is this a proprietary item or can I pick up something similar in any
computer store?   

Once again, thanks for your time and excellent site.  
Mike here: 2.2Ef is good; get it. You will need to make or buy a cable. Details on making one are on the Autostar Information page. You can also buy a Meade cable from any Meade dealer or a non-Meade cable from Scopetronix. It is not a standard cable you can buy at the local computer store. Once you download the new software into your Autostar #497 do the recalibration (should happen automatically), RESET, and RETRAIN.

Subject:	Help w/Autostar 2.1ek
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 11:35:29
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
Pardon my ignorance, but as a novice, I am not certain what to do. I
downloaded the 2.1EK update from Meade's web site for my ETX-70AT and
494 Autostar controller, but after I ran the program things started
going wrong. I read the articles concerning the bugs in 2.1EK, but as a
novice, I still don't know what to do.

After I updated the handbox it still says (c)00 Meade[1.0] when I turn
on the scope. Everything else looks fine right up until I do an EASY
align. The scope identifies a star for my location and starts it's
slewing. The scope never stops attempting to slew to the star and the
handbox says to press enter as if it had acquired it's first target. At
this point I aborted the setup and parked the scope and turned it off
for fear of causing damage to it. Is there anything I can do to put my
scope back to the way it was, or fix what's wrong?

Deeply Appreciative,

Mike here: The 2.1Ek ROMs files are not for the #494 Autostar. Where the confusion comes from is that the current Autostar Updater application (2.4) is for the #494, #495, and #497 Autostars. There hasn't been any new release of the ROM files for the #494. You might want to try RESET to see if that clears the problem.


Thank you for the suggestion. I do appreciate your help and
understanding for those of us who have jumped in to star gazing and
conputer controlled telescopes. I did download the correct file. After
doing more investigation, and in depth reading, I think I may have
uploaded too much information to the hand box controller. Under
statistics the hand box tells me that I only have 0.1k char. free. I
would like to delete some of the sattelites and comets that in my
ignorance were up loaded to the hand box. I am not totally sure what
steps are involved in doing so however.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding.


Mike here: You can edit and delete individual items from the Autostar controller. Or see the "Bulk Deletions" on the Autostar Information page for more massive deletions.

Subject:	Tracking Problems
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 02:59:16
From:	jhiken@home.com (James Hiken)
I'm one of those who recently purchased an ETX-90EC from Natural Wonders
along with an Autostar.  Whenever I center on the moon or any other
object and the scope begins to auto-track, it immediately slews
approximately 1 degree horizontally to the left (north) before settling
in and tracking appropriately.  This occurs every time regardless of
initial good or bad "easy alignment".  If I center to the right (south)
of the moon by 1 degree in the finder, it will wind up tracking the
desired location but that is difficult with smaller targets as any
adjustment that I make to center the target within the eyepiece winds up
beginning the initial drift sequence all over again.  Also, there is an
assymetric pause while slewing to the left versus the right where the
motor hums before movement occurs, especially at slower slewing speeds. 
It is really quite difficult to finely control to the left.  Sound
defective or is it all due to my inexperience?  Thanks for the great

James Hiken
Mike here: From your message it sounds like the GOTOs are accurate but that you are experiencing the "rubberbanding" seen in some versions of the Autostar software prior to the current one, 2.2Ef. If you have the capability to download and install the new software, I highly recommend you do it. If you don't have the capability, then see the "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Autostar Information page for some tweaks you can make which may reduce the rubberbanding. As to the backlash you describe when beginning to slew in one direction vs the opposite the direction, some backlash is normal but should not be excessive.

Subject:	Autostars in the Southern HEmi...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 23:06:14
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	gerald_wechselberger@at.ibm.com
Well, you didn't mention if you'd prefer Alt/Az or Polar mounting.

IF alt/az, setup is *exactly* like Northern Hemi...
 power panel west, barrel pointing north.  
Power up.  IT'll take it from there.

If Polar, it may become power panel on the east, point at SCP,
and let'er rip.  (i've tried it, i just forget)

You can do test runs at home, with a star chart to tell if it's
going (Vaguely) in the correct part of the sky for objects.

good luck

Subject:	autostar on GEM mounts...
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 23:01:35
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	atlanticp95@adelphia.net
that is what the Meade 4504 or 114EQ-DH4 are...
autostar-driven GEM telescopes.

The Autostar -will- drive almost anything.
See Steve Bedair's site 

for inspiring examples...

good luck

Subject:	494 vs. 22eF ... nope.
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 22:49:55
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	krugagc@hotmail.com
>I have recently aquired the #506 software and cable connector package
>from Meade for my ETX60AT. I however recieved no instruction on how to
>use it or what updates I can use. As everyone has seen the Meade 
>website unavailable for no apparent reason other than everyone wants
> the new version 2.2ef. Which brings me to my question...Is this
> something that can be used in the 494 autostar? 
Unfortunately, no.

v22eF only works in 497 (and magically converted 495) Autostars.
The models with numeric keypads.

The 506 cable set DOES allow you to Update your Tours and User Bodies
(Comets, Asteroids, Satellites, etc0 from MEade's free Updater,
AND allows you to control the scope's motion from a variety of
programs (StarryNight, TheSky, others)
But Meade does not currently have any -firmware- updates out for
the 494/Starfinders.

The "download instructions" (such that they are) are on Meade's 
website under the 505 product manual.  You use your AUX port 
instead of the on-Autostar rs232 port.
Other than that, it's quite similar.

>If so how do I proceed?
er, buy a 497?

good luck
Mike here: Oops, you're right and I was wrong. I misread Meade's page.


Thanks for the update on the 494 and 22ef!
Glad I didnt try it yet!
My Autostar is actually working great so I'll just update my stuff, you
know to get rid of MIR, sniff..sniff.
Hey by the way if anyone out there in the Omaha, Ne area is interested,
Canfields sporting goods is selling out there entire stock of telescope
equipment at 50% off! I bought a Celestron C150 HD reflector with a CG4
mount for $299.00! (I know its not a Meade, but I just could not resist)
Keep up the good work guys, I check on ya every day
Bill Weatherford
Omaha, Ne     Clear Skies All!

Subject:	autostar update
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 21:13:09
From:	RLibby@aol.com
Stupid question # 64
Well, I updated to 21 ek , using the Updater A 2.4, but havent a clue as
to how to get  22ef., besides downloading it.
Where do I put the files so that the A 2.4 will read them?
Things are working much better since 21 ek, and a little tightening of
bolts here and there, but now I am running into the "slew after
locating" problem

Ralph Libby
Mike here: Download the new 2.2Ef ROM files and put them in the Empherides folder, replacing the old ROM files. Then run the Autostar Updater application again.


Thanks...that is simple enough even for me to understand!

Subject:	ETX-125 Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 10:51:47
From:	c.zurevinski@home.com (Conrad Zurevinski)
I'm a new owner of the ETX-125
I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with.

1. My initial easy align puts the alignment stars in the same general
area of the sky as the tube is pointing. It seems to put them a
consistent amount out of the FOV. I believe my home position and entered
data is correct.

2. On both the clear nights I've had it out the LED display has
disappeared after 5-10 minutes of use.I had it on battery power,the temp
was about 35-40 deg F. It had been outside for approximately 1.5 hours

3. The autostar did not slew to a new location. I was in the best of the
night section of the auto tour. It had gone to the moon with no
problem,when I selected the next planet in the go to function it made a
bit of noise like it was trying to move but it did nothing. I tryed a
few other go to planets and  it also did not respond. I backed out to
deep sky and the scope appeared to slew to the correct positions.

I purchased the scope in early May 2001. My software version is 2.0 g.
Should I upgrade this to the latest version? If so could you outline the
correct procedure.

Thankyou  for any assistance you can give.

Conrad Zurevinski

Mike here: I would suggest upgrading to 2.2Ef. Once you have downloaded the application (2.4) and new 2.2Ef ROM files, run the application to install and setup the software. Then quit the Updater. Copy the new ROM files into the Empherides folder inside the Autostar folder, replacing the old ones. Then re-run the Updater application. Then click the button on the right side of the window to update the Autostar's software. The problem you've experienced can come from multiple sources, including a slightly off North Home Position (where you using Magnetic or True North) or location entry in error. Also, it sounds like you may have been hitting one of the hard stops; did you do the scope rotation on the base as part of the Home position setup? Finally, the Autostar automatically turns off the display to save power. Just press a button to get it back.

Subject:	upgrade 2.2 ef
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 06:21:36
From:	luisguillermo@cantv.net (Luis G. Delgado)
Greetings Mike, I want to comment you that your www is very good, he
gave me the knowledge that for a long time would not have.

I write you from Venezuela 10 10 00 - 68 00 00. my autostart has the
vercion 2.0g and I wanted to upgrade 2.2 EF for all that I have read. My
question is if this vercion allows to select Spanish.  and like I should

Thank you and I thank you your attention   
It excuses my English that is poor
Mike here: According to Meade's Autostar Update page, 2.2Ef is English only.

Subject:	2.2ef
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 00:37:12
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
The web-site on this 2.2ef version  has been so very helpful. My thanks
again for you interest and time in keeping this site as the best on the
web.  Murray

Subject:	2.2Ef and sidereal time and comments
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2001 23:46:07
From:	edutton@infi.net (Ells Dutton)
First upgrade I've done since 2.0h and this is the one I(we) was(were)
waiting for.  In the excitement over this version, Mike forgot retrain
his drives, I forgot to select the correct telescope model, it defaults
to the ETX-90 in Alt/Azi mode, which caused me a little concern at
first. Also had to recall how to get rid of the start-up messages and
set my location, all trivial of course, but had used it many hundred
hours without thinking of that stuff.

Obviously, there is a new search algorithm and guess what? Not only is
it fast and accurate, but the LST displayed in the Status mode is always
correct, the true local sidereal time!  Didn't test it well, but bet-ya
that Sync does just what it should now too.

Am enjoying the other new features that you guys have had with the other
versions since 2.0h.  Interesting to note that High Precision now works
on all (well, a bunch of different ones I tried) objects except the
finder stars themselves, even on the Moon!  Although need to use High
Precision may be history with this version.   I still have enough
mechanical slop that I will still want to use it sometimes.

GoToing and tracking are a done deals with this version, just have to
deal with the mechanical now, nice positioning Clay.

Better buy up a few of these scopes while they are cheap? (smile)


From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Ells, you are absolutely right....this IS the one we've been waiting
for. The v2.2eF is absolutely fantastic, particularly on the ETX.
Somehow....maybe through all the input/complaints/suggestions from our
ETX group....the messages of "we need!" have finally been heard.  I know
that Dick has been instrumental behind the scenes in getting some of the
guts of what needed to be done heard at higher places, and certainly the
Mighty ETX site has been nothing less than a platform for badly needed

Let's all get  into politics!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	2.2EF, Where's Polaris?
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2001 23:29:10
From:	JACTHEO@aol.com
Thanks for a constant source of entertainment and information.  I
eagerly await each update.  To my question.  I have an ETX 125, and had
been using Autostar version 2.0g until this most recent update.  Decided
to bite the bullet and go for the upgrade after reading the initial rave
reviews from you and Clay Sherrod.  Download from your website using a
Homemade cable was a snap.  Autostar upgrade also went without a hitch. 
Then did "Reset-Calibrate-Train".  Then went out to align (2 star
method).  I usually use Polaris as one of my alignment stars (Alt-Az
mount).  To my surprise Polaris was no linger in the list of alignment
stars.  It's still in the data base for GOTO.  I am pleased with the
improvement in GOTO speed and accuracy.  Have only had 1 opportunity to
use the new version.  Have you or anyone else noted changes to the
databases, and are there any other little surprises in store?

Thanks again for your efforts.  They are greatly appreciated.

John  T.
Walnut Creek, CA
Mike here: re: the disappearance of Polaris, I hadn't noticed it but saw a similar comment on the ETX mailing list about that.

Subject:	entering location
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2001 19:20:39
From:	pjr@eclipse.net (Paul Roberts)
Thank you once again for your excellent site.  When I first set up my
ETX-90,  I was asked to pick my location from a list of cities and the
closest location was about 20 miles away.  Is this enough discrepancy to
throw off the autostar significantly?  How accurate is necessary?  Is it
possible to enter a longitude and latitude directly into the autostar
instead of picking a city from the autostar list?  I saw something about
adding extra cities but I don't have a cable to hook up the scope to the
computer and I doubt this would help anyway. 
Thanks, Paul 
Mike here: Well, lets see, there are about 60+ miles per degree of latitude (circumference of the Earth divided by 360). So you are about a third of a degree off. Will that matter for most things over a short period of time? Nope, not once you align. If you want more accuracy, you can select the nearest city and then EDIT it's values. You can then save it under a new name.

Subject:	i have a question
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2001 18:50:07
From:	atlanticp95@adelphia.net (anthony martin)
I have a Meade Lxd-500 102mm achromatic refractor. It is on a GEM mount
and i wanted to know if their is a way to put a goto system on it.
Whether it be autostar or something else. I just really wanted a goto
system for my telescope.

Mike here: The Autostar requires an Autostar-compatible drive system. I doubt that the GEM has that.

Subject:	Autostar - how to use South of the Equator?
Sent:	Monday, May 7, 2001 07:02:05
From:	gerald_wechselberger@at.ibm.com
this time i am coming with a question.
I will go to Zambia for the June total solar eclipse (together with  my
ETX EC125)! Checking the Autostar Manual i did not find any hint how to
use Autostar in the Southern Hemisphere. I have entered the coordinates 
for -15 declination into the Autostar - No change in running direction.
Do you have a hint how to use the Autostar in  the South?

The basic control handle (without Autostar) works for the Southern

Gerald Wechselberger - Storage Channel CER
IBM Central and Eastern Europe/Middle East/Africa
Tel.: +43-1-21145-5726, Fax: -5714
Mobile: +43-664-6185032
Home office +43(0)2254 75026
E-mail: gerald_wechselberger@at.ibm.com

Subject:	2.2Ef acting funny
Sent:	Sunday, May 6, 2001 10:31:29
From:	bryangm@excite.com (Bryan Morris)
I tried 2.2Ef.... don't like it.  I wonder if the same thing happens to
anyone else or I found a bug...  I can align from Alt/Az and then GoTo
all the stars and the moon just fine.  It will track them for as long as
I want.....  But as soon as I hit enter for Deep Sky the telescope
climbs about 20 degrees and turns clockwise about 10 degrees.  I
repeated it 4 times... Only when I hit enter for deep sky though...
everything else works ok...

weird huh?

I'm going to try going back to 2.2Ek and see what happens.

Mike here: I had no problems with 2.2Ef. I had been looking at Mars and then did a GOTO M57 (from the Deep Sky object selection). Worked perfectly on the ETX-125EC. Did you get a good RESET from the download? You might try RESET and RETRAIN again. As I mentioned in Saturday's update, I had a problem until I did a RETRAIN. After that, all was well.

Mike here: This is a followup on my earlier item about the new Autostar 2.2Ef on the ETX-125EC. On the morning of 5 May I went out to look at Mars (which was beautiful, by the way). This was my first time out with the new version after my initial indoor testing. I did the setup in HOME position, aligned, and then GOTO Mars. It went right to Mars but within a couple of seconds Mars began drifting across the 26mm eyepiece (73X) field-of-view (FOV). I immediately realized that something was not right. Oops, forgot to RE-TRAIN the drives after I did the 2.2Ef download. So, re-TRAINed using Polaris, and then put into the Alt/Az HOME position, two-star aligned, and GOTO Mars. Centered in the 26mm FOV. Stayed centered! Cool. Slewed around a little bit; no rubberbanding by the Autostar (that is, it did not try to put Mars back in the position of the original GOTO). Super. Tracking was perfect. Even when viewing Mars with the 9.7mm eyepiece plus 2X Barlow lens (392X), the planet would stay centered in the FOV for as long as I was viewing it (several minutes, at least). GOTO M57; bingo - right in the center of the 26mm eyepiece. GOTO Moon - right in the 26mm eyepiece. As of now it looks like Meade may have addressed all the operational flaws of prior versions of the Autostar ROMs. This update is highly recommended.

Subject:	Random slewing fixed in v. 2.2Ef?
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 12:05:42
From:	billcollins3@juno.com (William D.  Collins)
Since updating to Autostar firmware v. 2.2Ef I have not experienced any
random slewing with the ETX-125. Granted, this is a history of only
about eight operating hours, but with earlier versions I would have had
an average of two or three un-commanded slews during that time. I wonder
if any other users have noted this improvement.

This is in addition to all the other good stuff which 2.2Ef hath

Bill Collins
Walnut Creek, California

Subject:	meade autoststar ver 2.2ef
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 07:53:31
From:	garydavi@bellsouth.net (Gary Davis)
I've been trying to download the latest version of Meade's Autostar
software (2.2ef) for two days now, but their server seems to have
crashed! (too many requests?)

When do you think you will be adding it to your UNOFFICIAL Autostar
software archive? Your web site seems to be more reliable than Meade's.

        Gary Davis
Mike here: I just tried to connect and their whole site seems to be down. I normally don't post a version until a new one appears to replace it. Then I post the replaced one in the Archive. But due to the improvements in the 2.2Ef version and since Meade's site is offline, I have decided to make it available on the Autostar Downloads page.

Subject:	Re: Autostar Ef
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 06:04:50
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Graeme
That is fantastic.  The new v2.2eF is indeed a Godsend and well worth
the wait.  The odd behavior toward the end of your GO TO's is reportedly
common on the ETX; on the LX 90 now they have got it down so smooth that
you cannot see nor hear the motors centering the object, but it does so
very quickly.

I sounds like your work on the Alt axis paid off.  It is a shame we have
to break into brand new telescopes just to get them in the shape they
should be when we first get them.  At any rate, it is good that we CAN
fix the problems and it sounds like yours is doing well.

I note you are having the same problem in observing I am....no
opportunity to observe.

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Graeme
>Hi Clay,
>As promised, I'm reporting my progress with the ETX :o)
>Since tuning up my Alt axis a couple of months ago (I had the one where it
>was binding!), I've only managed to get the scope out once. Performance was
>much better with most things in the FOV using the 26mm EP. Strangely, the
>initial alignments stars were never in the FOV with Ek no matter how well
>"homed" the telescope was (Scope north aligned using Polaris). I went as far
>as to enter my site coordinates ensuring I was on the right Hemisphere!
>Now, since installing Ef (and doing the obligatory Reset-Calibrate-Train)
>the alignments stars are practically in the centre of the FOV! Goto accuracy
>is fantastic too! The only thing I'm not sure about is the final motor
>slewing antics before the completion beep. There seems to be a slight
>oscillation (3-4Hz) in the motor speed and the OTA seems to oscillate very
>slightly during the slew. I can appreciate that a larger telescope would not
>take kindly to this oscillation and I suppose that's why Meade fixed it for
>the LX90!
>Doing a Goto with the clutches disengaged reveals that the motors themselves
>oscillate. I wonder if this is deliberate. I know my scope had an anomaly in
>the Dec axis whereby the Goto accuracy was improved if I gave the OTA a
>small tap after the beep - especially at low Dec angles. With 2.1e, the
>oscillation has shaken out the stiction\flexure and I no longer need to give
>it a tap!
>Another observation I made was that the Dec axis motors behave differently.
>After a Goto  Arcturus, it was apparent that the Dec motor was stopped.
>After 5 seconds it started up for a few seconds and stopped. It repeated
>this cycle but with ever decreasing idle periods until it ran continuously.
>During this, there was no perceivable target drift. I can't help but feel
>this may a clever way of taking up any flexure in the axis. It could prove
>to be an issue on mechanically better scopes as it would be stair stepping
>initially. However, if Meade have been really clever, perhaps during drive
>training it can be established you do have drive flexure and the Goto motor
>behaviour is altered to suit.
>I'm much happier now but getting some darkness is a problem! At the moment,
>it gets dark at 11.15 and light at 3.45. All the  obvious interesting stuff
>seems to have slipped off below the Horizon. The "Tonight's Best" tour was
>considerably truncated in comparison to January's one. With the Moon being
>the first item on the tour, viewing the other objects proved fruitless!
>Ef was worth the wait!
Mike here: I haven't worked on the loaner ETX-125EC from Meade nor adjusted the percentages but with 2.2Ef it works beautifully!


From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Mike - mine is working perfectly, better than ever before; the big
difference is in the speed and accuracy of the GO TO's; I too have taken
my Alt and Az percentages back down to 01% because of it!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Re: Re: 2.2Ef
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 19:11:27
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I have loaded four (7) autostars with v2.2eF so far (two ETX 90's, four
ETX 125's and two LX 90's) and my tests show perfect GO TO's and
slewing/tracking accuracy;  absolutely NO odd behavior at all, no
rubberbanding and absolutely no random slew in the ETX; in the LX 90 the
GO TO's are perfectlly centered (on my permanent pier) at 227x in 100%
of 83 targets and within 1/4 field of perfect center in the 407x
eyepiece with 85% of objects;  ALL (100%) are found within the field of
the 227x magnification field.

v2.2eF is fantastically accurate....I cannot image an improvement over
this smooth, quiet and rapidly precise GO TO accuracy.

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: I totally agree!

Subject:	Autostar and time
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 18:56:38
From:	phillips@vzpacifica.net (Jim Phillips)
I have been comtemplating how to improve the acquisition and tracking
accuracy of the Autostar in terms of the role that the "time" and GMT
Offset entries play in the autostar's computations.  I'll admit upfront
not having a clue about the actual algorithms employed in the Autostar's
logic, so if you have that actual knowledge please jump in and correct
my hypothesis.

Hundreds of years ago when man first set out to navigate the seas, he
used time and longitude to successfully navigate the Earth.  Modern time
conventions have reduced the planet to 24 zones, but I think we may be
able to make more accurate navigation of the celestial sphere by going
back to a longitudinally based time standard for our specific location
as far as the autostar time and GMT entries are concerned.

Specifically, I am located at Long. 145'44"E and the conventional GMT
offset here is +10.  Now, there are some tedious decimal conversions to
do, but the short of it is 44" of longiude is equal to .73333, so I'm
located longitudinally at 145.73333 East.

By longitude, my GMT offset is ACTUALLY +9.71566 hours, not +10.  Sound
trivial?  Read on......

+9.71566 hours is actually 17 minutes and 6 seconds shy of +10 hours. 
If I set my local time and GMT to +10, I'm intentionally enterning a
time error of +17 minutes into the autostar.  I think this will have a
negative impact on the GOTO and tracking accuracy of the Autostar, and
the error will compound (for my location) by 17m 6s every hour.

My next step is to calculate the ACTUAL LONGITUDINAL TIME and
LONGITUDINAL GMT OFFSET for my location and enter those numbers at the
time of Autostar power-up, and see if there is any difference in GOTO
and tracking accuracy.  Of course, this all assumes an accurate and
level tripod/scope setup and proper alt/az or polar alignment.  It also
does not take into consideration whether or not the Autostar logic is
already taking longitudinal time offsets into consideration in its own
algorithms.  I will test this theory tonight (it's 11:30 a.m. here now),
and I have left a copy of the excel spreadsheet for the time offsets on
my ftp server at:


Feel free to download it (7k) and try it out.  Let me know if you notice
any difference in accuracy.

Jim Phillips
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, USA
15'09"N  145'44"E  GMT +10 (well, actually +9.71556)
Mike here: I would think the act of aligning the Autostar to the actual position of stars in the sky removes TIME from the equation as far as where static objects are. Once aligned, time is probably only used for moving objects (planets, satellites, etc) and to determine whether something is above the horizon.


You are correct.  I've already disproved my own hypothesis.  Ain't
learning fun?!  =)

There is a slight gain vs. satellites and planets, and there may have
been a slight gain in the initial GOTO accuracy of the alignment stars,
but once the celestial sphere has been tirangulated through the 2 star
alignment process, the point is mute.

Save the electrons and not post it, unless you just want to rattle a few

Mike here: Others have and will go through the same thought processes for the same reasons as you. So you are helping others to learn. And that is one of the purposes of the ETX site!

Subject:	2.2Ef
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 14:21:17
From:	jps@jswann.fsnet.co.uk (John Swann)
To:	sherrodc@ipa.net
Hi Clay,

Firstly, many thanks for all your most helpful input to the site. But
now my problem.

You scared me to death two days ago when I read your comments about
2.2Ed. I had just uploaded it to my Autostar. So I gave it a whirl in
bright daylight. Easy align on stars I could not see and then did a GOTO
on the Sun using RA & Dec. No Problem at all and tracked perfectly. Even
got a good sight of Venus in daylight.

After logging on today and seeing the comments about 2.2Ef, duly updated
Autostar with same. This is the third clear evening we have had in six
weeks. What a waste. When trying to align, either Easy or two star, the
scope now swings in both directions until it hits the stops. I've never
had this before. I have had this 125 for 18 months and it has been
working fine. In the past I have had some problems with file corruption
with the Zip files as opposed to downloading the Rom files separately. I
have tried both in this instance. The files are both 640K dated 2.5.01.
Any ideas??? Tomorrow I shall go back to 2.1Ek which I know works.

Best regards.

John Swann, Chichester,UK
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
John - somehow you have loaded the WRONG files; they should be DATED: 
5-2-01 or very close to that, as that is when the new version was
corrected and posted.  I think you have picked up the WRONG dowload from
Meade which would explain the weird motion of your scope.  GO BACK AND
DOWNLOAD directly from the Meade site one more time and over-write what
you have now.  THEN do a brand new upload on your AutoStar, making sure
that you copy and paste the TWO new ROM files (dated May 01) under the
EPHEMERIDE FOLDER in the overall Meade Program.

That should do it.....Dick - can you add anything that may clear this up
even better??

Thanks - Clay Sherrod
Mike here: If the wrong files wasn't the problem, then doing a RESET and RETRAIN may help. I didn't see any odd behavior in my indoor testing.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
it sounds more like he needs to Setup > telescope >Telescope Model
and -select- your particular model.
If it looks like it -is- selected, then select a -different- one,
then -reselect- your model.

I'll betcha you've got ETX90 selected now, instead of LX90.
Since RESET forces a model select, it'll clear it up, too.

Mike here: I went out Saturday morning to view Mars. Forget to RETRAIN following the download of 2.2Ef and had some odd behavior. Once I did that, EVERYTHING was perfect with the Autostar.

Subject:	Re: 909 Port
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 06:46:47
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Garrett
No, sorry but the port is NOT for the ETX 125, as all accessories for
that scope plug into the AUX ports that you already have.  The 909 is
strictly for the LX 90 which also has the AUX ports, but NOT adaptable
for plugging in the electric focuser, the reticle eyepiece nor the CCD
accessories.....I don't even know why they put the AUX on the thing if
you can't use it. Nothing new for the ETX (it already has everything!).

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: Garrett
>Gonna try F tonight.....
>Whats this I hear about a new port for the 125? Suitable for autoguiders?
>will it be retro for the 125?
Boy - quick reply.....

I know the aux port on the 125 is used for the electric focuser. Can it
be used for anything else (since there are 2)?

I did your tune up, by the way, it worked great. Helped alot. You might
be interested - My "new" scope had a screw that holds the worm gear
assembly down totally stripped out in the arm. Maybe a little over
zealous at the factory.

I am contemplating the Starlight MX7 - actually arguing with myself. One
shoulder says save for a 200, the other says get the camera. Haven't
been able to find anyone that's used it on a 125 (tried all the boards
but this one) Have the SACIV - but it's only good for the moon and

Thanks for the great dialogue on Mike's site...
Since the AUX port puts out about 12V (or whatever you put IN), anything
that has that phone plug configuration (provided that the two hot wires
are in the proper sequence) can be activated.  However, Meade nor anyone
else has yet to come up with anything to go in there but the focuser! 
Promises, promises.

Thanks for reading my stuff on the web....I enjoy getting the word out.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	how to tell tracking rate
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 21:37:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	iacuzzoj@email.msn.com

You -did- change the tracking rate.

The only way to see what you've done is to go back into the
Setup>Telescope>Tracking  display, and choose CUSTOM
It will then show the -current- value, and offer to let you
change it.

If the current value shows "00", then that's normal Sidereal.
If it shows "-35", than it's Lunar.

It beeps if you enter numbers outside the range of +999 to -999,
but stuffs them in anyway.

I haven't firmly nailed down the UNITs they're using, 
but i suspect (from the Lunar value) that 
it's roughly arcseconds per clock minute.
(or arc minutes per clock hour... same thing).
So the moon would lag behind true sidereal by about a half-degree per
hour, which is about right.

--dick (lagging)

Subject:	Autostar version 2.2ef is already out
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 13:31:56
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
May 2.2ed rest in peace.

Subject:	Autostar 2.2Ef
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 12:54:14
From:	bernard.fournier12@wanadoo.fr (Bernard Fournier)
Just drop a line to tell you (maybe you already know that) there is a
new file Roms 2.2Ef

Hope to be able to give you some news soon


Bernard Fournier
N 5 09 / W 52 39
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hi Barnard and great to hear from you!!  How are things in the south??

I have loaded (last night) and I think Mike has as well, the new v2.2eF.
It is fantastic, particularly for your ETX 125.  You will notice the
difference immediately in accuracy of GO TO's and the smoothness of
slewing.  It is the best yet....don't forget to
RESET....CALIBRATE....TRAIN MOTORS (in that sequence) and then reload
you comets, satellites, asteroids and tours!!

Best wishes!
Clay Sherrod

Subject:	2.2Ef
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 08:52:41
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Well, finally I have had a chance to try out the newest Meade version
after the all-night fiasco with v2.2ed problems.  In the LX 90 scopes
this version resulted in considerable kicking when zeroing in on a slew
and potentially could have resulted in vibration damage over the long
haul...it DID show great GO TO's, but the centering and tracking
problems were there too.  The ETX series of scopes did not show the
horrible jerking motion at the end of GO TO's and none of the
tracking/slewing problems.  It, indeed, worked very well for those
scopes through all my tests and those of users worldwide. Although Meade
purportedly had "....not heard of any problems" with the LX 90 as we
were all scrambling around trying to get it out of our systems, they
were diligently correcting all those problems they had "never heard of."

The end result (and Thanks, Meade) is fantastic.  Version v2.2eF is
absolutely perfect in so many ways.  It now has us ready for the #909
accessory port that is NOW AVAILABLE from Meade; the jerking motion is
completely gone and the final run at GO TO slewing is even better than
ever before....you can hardly see the scope even move.  You CANNOT hear
it as in the past.  Yet the GO TO's are dead center on my pier-mounted
scopes.  I mean DEAD CENTER in 227x, and barely off to the side with the
4.7mm at 420x.

I have yet to look at long-term tracking but early reports are
favorable. Those of you who put off loading (or took off!) v.2.2ed did
the right thing. NOW, it is time for you to go ahead and upload to the
v2.2eF version.  It is much better than what came with the scope.

BE SURE TO RESET....."Calibrate Motors,"  THEN "Train Motors."  If you
do not do in that exact sequence, you will not have the accuracy and
precision that this newest version is giving us, both for the ETX and
the LX scopes.

P. Clay Sherrod
(reporting for both ETX 125 and 90 results and for the LX 90)

Subject:	Re: v22eF works well... even tracks satellites
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 04:19:24
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hi Dick - I loaded late last night but have not had a chance to check on
the LX 90.  On the ETX 125 the new firmware appears fantastically
accurate and very smooth for GO TO's and tracking.  No random motion at
all, but I never had much anyway.  VERY precise dead-on GO TO targeting.

I am going to work the LX 90 today and train carefully; it will be
tonight before I can actually star test it; random dry runs indoors look
very good. There is a curious motion effect, however on the LX 90; in
both axes, the arrow keys will take you in one direction very "hard" to
an abrupt stop. The, reversing that direction in the same axis using the
arrow key, it comes to a "slewing/centering" gentle stop like the old
v2.1ek.  This is evdient only in rapid movement of the scope, although I
suspect it is happening without notice at very slow rates as well. 
Strange.  I will play with it and see if this mirror-image motion is
evident in accuracy.

Keep us posted!

-----Original Message-----
From: richard seymour 
>first hour or so shows happy operation with my ETX90.
>Accurate GoTos (altho a long-term tracking test is occurring
>as i write this), two satellites acceptably tracked.
>All testing so far via Alt/Az.
>Now to try the lunar-feature program.
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Does the hard/soft slew-stop symptom occur if the sidereal drive is
*not* running?  (Setup> targets >terrestrail, or [goto] a landmark.)
The sidereal drive is also not running immediately after powerup,
and immediately after Training or Calibration.

All my testing last night was Alt/Az ... tonight will be Polar.

22eF worked well for me last night, including a 45-minute track of
 Procyon... less than 5 arcminutes drift by the end of the period
(or: "did it really move"?)  If it -did- drift, it was in the 
"scope lagging behind the sky" direction.
Two very decent satellite tracks, too.

> VERY precise dead-on GO TO targeting.
after landmark training, (and verification that slew-away, [goto]-back
arrived at the same spot irrespective of direction slewed) i was 
seeing an up/down variation of a half degree when [goto]ing between
Jupiter and Capella (dead on if approached from above, half a degree
-overshoot- if approached from below)
After training-on-Polaris, the effect disappeared.  Dead-on arrivals.

> There is a curious motion effect, however on the LX 90; in both axes,
> the arrow keys will take you in one direction very "hard" to an abrupt
> stop. 
> Then, reversing that direction in the same axis using the arrow key,
> it comes to a "slewing/centering" gentle stop like the old v2.1ek.
>  This is evdient only in rapid movement of the scope, although I
> suspect it is happening without notice at very slow rates as well.

--dick (ditto)
Dick - I just came in from another total RESET / CALIBRATE MOTORS /
TRAIN MOTORS ( in that exact sequence).  I have now got a perfect
operation going. No hard stops, no jerking, no moving around.  It
rapidly goes right to the object (dry run here), rapidly zeroes in with
no shaking nor ANT sound at all comes to a dead stop much quicker than
even v2.1ek did.  The above carefully-done sequence eliminated ALL minor
problems that v2.2eF was showing....this is great stuff!  I am going to
put it through the acid test on the sky tonight...bright moon, so I may
as well slew away!


Subject:	Autostar problems, continued [not 2.2Ef related]
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 22:10:10
From:	RLibby@aol.com
Well, after talking to several Meade Service people, who were nice, but
didnt contribute much to the solution..

Here is what I found out.

If you are going to download anything, make sure that the COM 1 port is
set for 9600 baud..If you have been using COM 1 for a Palm synchronizer,
for instance, you have to go to the Palm program to reset this to 9600,
just doing it on the Control Panel of the PC doesnt do it.

The download program would quit after about 29 pages of 32 were
downloaded into the autostar..After 3 tries, it worked so that all were
downloaded. Using that Autostar test that is mentioned elsewhere on this
site voids the warranty, according to the nice people at Meade, and they
wont tell you what the error codes mean.

So I still dont know what "PIC Failure  V12 C001 " means.

At any rate, running Ver 21EK, the scope gets pretty close to the
calibration stars, and after they are set, and "guided tour" is
selected, gets right on the selected target..All set for clear skies
this summer

Ralph Libby

Subject:	Autostar 2.2Ef ROMS
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 20:24:49
From:	etx@me.com
I installed the A2.4 updater, replaced the ROM files with the 2.2Ef
ones, and downloaded to the Autostar (which had 2.1Ek).  All went well
on my G3/300 Mac with VirtualPC 3.0.2.

At the completion of the download the Autostar beeped and reset itself.
It did a motors test of the ETX-125EC on its own.
Had to enter all the initialization steps (date/time/location/scope/etc).
Did a fake easy align indoors.
Seemed OK, with no obvious change in motor speed or behavior from 2.1Ek.
Did a fake GOTO to Jupiter.
Seemed OK, with no obvious change in motor speed or behavior from 2.1Ek.
Did a fake GOTO to M42.
Seemed OK, with no obvious change in motor speed or behavior from 2.1Ek.

In the GOTO tests, the beep would occur within a few seconds of arriving
at the location.

I checked the Setup-->Statistics and it does show 2.2Ef.

I'll give it a real test outside soon.
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Mike - this version looks really good; so far I am having success with
both ETX and LX with it....it is much faster and more accurate with both
than the v2.1 and the v2.2ed versions.  Glad yours went well.


Subject:	yep...another new AutoStar version "v2.2ef"
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 19:19:34
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
You probably have heard that Meade has put out yet another version today
(5-2-01) of AutoStar, version v2.2ef, which has the added features
"smooth landing on GO TO for LX 90."  This is in response to the
jerkiness and shaking that the LX 90 users have reported since loading
the other version v2.2ed onto their AutoStars.  It pretty well confirms
my hunch that this was an "LX -90 only" problem and did not affect the
ETX, as there were too many good reports of th ev2.2ed to disregard. 
Something perhaps in the translations?

Clay Sherrod
Subject:	arrows?
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 19:54:10
Ok... i give up...

in the Update.txt, they talk about "arrow to show tracking speed"

what ARE they talking about?

I haven't seen (or, at least, noticed) any new speed indicators.

and now, another half-hour devoted to a souffle' mode Autostar...
(make loud noises and it collapses)
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dick - if you look "quickly enough" as you change slew speeds via the
number keys....you will see a little arrow that points to "2x
sidereal..." etc. and then goes away.  Wow, talk about great value
features....I suppose you are playing with the NEWEST v2.2ef by now??  I
am fixing to download and put into one of my AutoStars and check it
out....my suspicions were correct that the 2.2 firmware was good for the
ETX but no so the LX 90.

Let me know if you have a chance to check out the newest one!

Subject:	an ETX90 masquerading as an LX90
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 13:13:24
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
So last night i told my v22eD Autostar i had an LX90, and set the Ratios
 back to 1.36889, and Polar'ed about the mostly-cloudy sky.

result: no stairstepping seen.   No strange motor noises.

At least, not as resolvable in my 26mm eyepiece.
The Autostar did do -some- LX90 stuff for/to me: it let me turn on/off
 cord wrap (but still hit the CCW hardstop), and, in fake-mode,
  the [zero] key no longer offered to control Focus.
The hold-Mode method -did- offer (and perform) focus control.

I used Capella, Spica, Procyon, Jupiter, Arcturus, Pollux, Dubne,
 Regulus, Polaris and the Moon as targets throughout the two-hour session.
My longest tracking exercise was with Spica (low SouthEast), and the
 sidereal drive apperaed a little -slower- (hence possibly Lunar) than truth.
About one RA minute slow after ten clock minutes (or about 15 arcminutes).

The longterm tracking was done as an "ETX90", not LX90.
An earlier 5-minute track of Jupiter (as LX90) did -not- seem to lag.
The "lag" could also have had a backlash component, but i think i approached
 Spica from a with-sidereal direction.

I haven't taken a stopwatch to my slewing yet, but memory tells me that
previous versions took (fast slew time) plus 20 or 30 seconds before beep.
The fast slew time depends upon distance travelled.
Even [goto]ing the spot i'm already at took 20 seconds in earlier versions.

If you hark back to v2.0i, you also had to factor in the 30-second
after-beep period when creep-after-beep would kick in, and then the 30 seconds
 it crept .
If you harken -way- back (1.5 years) to v1.3, the "Slewing..." message
would show during the fast-slew, then the keypad would become active 
during the "home-in" (so you could scroll up/down thru the data),
and finally the beep would happen 30 seconds after the end of the "Slewing"

forecast clear tonight (i have my doubts).. more tales forthcoming...
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I am hearing some great stuff about v2.2ed on the ETX scopes,
particularly the ETX 125; I have re-loaded and instructed others to do
the same with a complete shutdown, total reset, retrain,etc.  I have it
now ready for both the -125 and the LX 90 and will have a chance to try
tonight.  My indoor "GO TO's" are very precise appearing, but are still
very, very rough on v2.2, with the "stepping" so pronounced that you can
actually watch the scope jump.  This is the MOST reported symptom.....GO
TO's appear to be dead-on with this new version....

Thanks for the test....very interesting.  I will let you know what
happens on this end!


Subject:	Home Position of ETX-90 EC
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 02:19:29
From:	SchafeWe@ch.sibt.com (Schfer Werner)
I have an ETX-90 EC with Autostar relatively new. My question is the

I understand that before an alignement I had to bring the telescope in
an proper Home-Position. I usualy level the tripod with a spirit-level
and point it True-North using a compass. The ETX is in its Home-Position
in accordance with the manual (Dec setting circle above the computer
control panel). Horizontal and vertical locks tightened.

Can I now make a fine adjustment (especially for the North position)
using the arrow keys on Autostar before the first ENTER in the
alignement procedure, or is it necessary to do that manualy with the
locks untightened?

Thank you.

Werner Schaefer

(I hope you can understand my English, my mothertongue is German)
Mike here: First off, be certain to compensate for any local magnetic variation when using a compass to locate TRUE NORTH. But other than that, moving the scope with the arrow keys is acceptable, before or after alignment.


Thanks for your quick answer. Here in Switzerland magnetic variation is
unsignificant. But anywhere, thanks for the hint.


Subject:	More on 2.2Ed
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 18:01:59
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
I just spent a couple of hours with my ETX-90 with the new FW.  I did
alignments both in Alt/Az and in Polar.  I did several GOTOs in both
modes and did not see the problems that Clay mentioned.  In polar mode, 
I tracked the Ring Nebula and then Arcturus for about a half hour each
with my zoom at 8mm (156X) and they both stayed in the FOV.  I did
notice that it took about one to two minutes  for an object to stabalize
after a GOTO.  There was a slow drift where the object would move out of
the FOV to the left at 8mm but when I zoomed out to 24mm it would
stabilize while still in the FOV.

Mike H.

Subject:	help!
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 17:19:31
From:	Alanbettina@cs.com
I have owned the ETX 125 plus Autostar for about a year. I have never
been able to get the Autostar to work properly. The last time I tried,
about two weeks ago, using the easy alignment, it wound up telling me
that Sirius was rising in the norheast. I have read all the manuals,
called Meade enough to be on a first name basis, bought the new
software, read all the tips on the Internet to no avail. Either I'm
defective, the unit is defective, or both. If anyone lives in the
Chicagoland area, and knows how to use this thing, I will pay for
Please send private e-mail to:alanbettina@cs.com
Thanks, in advance.
Mike here: I suspect you have mis-read the setup HOME position instructions. There are a lot of tips on this on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Autostar Firmware 2.2Ed First Experience
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 10:25:54
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
After "upgrading" to 2.2Ed, re-training the scope and taking my ETX-90
out for a spin in Alt/Az mode on 4/30, I found no problems. In fact, Go
To accuracy seemed a bit better, and tracking accuracy was about the
same as 2.1Ek. Of course, this is only the first try and problems may
still arise, so I'll revert back to 2.1Ek, if necessary. But so far, so

I do have a question regarding the Alt/Az percentages. What is the best
method for determining the correct numbers?


Mike here: I wouldn't adjust them since you have loaded a new version. See how that works out. But if you want to try, see "Setting Percentages For Better Tracking" on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	Lunar Tracking rate
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 04:54:29
From:	iacuzzoj@email.msn.com (iacuzzoj)
I can't switch the tracking rate from sidereal to lunar. After locating
the Moon, I go to set-up--telescope--tracking rate--lunar.  When I hit
enter, the category returns to tracking rate , and does not appear to
accept the lunar tracking rate.  Performed this function not only when
the moon is in my eyepiece, but also before alignment.  What am I doing
Mike here: Is the scope tracking at lunar rate even though it doesn't appear to be selected? There have been some comments that the ">" doesn't show by the lunar rate even though it has been selected.

Subject:	Database content Autostar on an ETX-70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 04:16:55
From:	dave.mccracken@bt.com
Is there a list of the current content of the database available from
Meade or others, or a way to dump it on to a PC ?

Dave McCracken
Mike here: There is some Autostar database information available on the Autostar Information page.

Subject:	RE: summary of new version 2.2ed AutoStar
Sent:	Monday, April 30, 2001 23:59:22
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
To:	sherrodc@ipa.net ('Clay Sherrod')
Hi again Clay,

I just re-read your message and realized that you were talking about alt
& az Ratios and I responded about alt & az %.  I have never paid any
attention to the Ratios and have never tried to change them.

Mike H.

Subject:	Autostar Ver 2.2 ed
Sent:	Monday, April 30, 2001 23:26:36
From:	billcollins3@juno.com (William D.  Collins)
Well, like a dummy I just went ahead and installed version 2.2ed in my
Autostar then took the scope out this evening before reading Clay's
critique posted today (30th). But --- surprise -- it worked just fine!
Trained the drives on Polaris, set the Alt/Az percentages to 5% and away
we went. GoTos were smooth and reasonably quick, accuracy was very, very
good, rubber banding was not evident at all nor was "creep after beep."
At one point I set the scope on Cor Caroli at about 150x, went in to
watch forty-five minutes of "Antique Roadshow" and when I came back out
that lovely double was still perfectly centered. The only problem I
found was garbled text (the crawling text on the AS's second line) after
doing a GoTo in the "Double Club" guided tour -- but only if High
Precision was in use. The "center Spica" (or whatever) message would get
carried down into the crawler and render it illegible. If High Precision
was off the problem did not crop up.

Imagine my surprise when I put the scope away and booted up your site,
Mike. I don't know if I just lucked out or if I'm not sufficiently

Bill Collins
Walnut Creek, California
Mike here: It seems that some have problems and some don't. We are still trying to sort out the reasons for the differences.

Subject:	re: v21EK still in Autostar after Updating
Sent:	Monday, April 30, 2001 21:23:35
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	jeffhelps@home.com
Your symptoms tell me that you did not place the Autostar.rom and
Dbase.rom from the -new- ZIP file into the ProgramFiles > Meade >
Autostar > AutostarUpdate > Ephemerides directory. Thus the Updater
dutifully (re)loaded v21Ek into the Autostar.

So: unpack the v22eD ZIP file, copy the two rom files into that
above-cited folder, and tell the Updater to "send software" to the

Good luck

Subject:	summary of new version 2.2ed AutoStar
Sent:	Monday, April 30, 2001 21:15:22
From:	mdr@HONet.com (Michael Rathbun)
On the Mighty ETX Site, sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod) wrote:

>5)  tracking - sidereal tracking on v2.2ed equals lunar rate on v2.1ek;
>you cannot track at medium power for more than 8 minutes with v2.2ed,

Bizarre.  Last night I centered Jupiter with the -125 when it was about
30 degrees above horizon and tracked it flawlessly until it disappeared
into the muck about 40 minutes later.  Never could come close to that
performance with earlier firmware.

Then I spent about 20 minutes centered on Theophilus with tracking rate
set to "lunar".  About 1/2 total FOV drift with a 9 mm eyepiece.
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Thanks for that update.  The v2.2ed is working quite well on many ETX
scopes.  I thing that the software to control rubber banding is designed
for that application and the effects are seen in exaggerated form with
the LX 90 as reports.  That is great...it sounds like it is working well
for you!

clay Sherrod

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