Last updated: 31 October 1999

Welcome to the Autostar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar, cables, and the Autostar updater software. See the Autostar Info page for information from Meade and other users on the Autostar, cables, and software. Send your comments and tips to etx@me.com. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranties on your ETX and accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	 Autostar/serial port problem and solution
Sent:	Sunday, October 31, 1999 08:34:50
From:	dsiegel@netpath.net (Drew Siegel)
I downloaded some scope control software as a trial- unfortunately was
not able to get my computer to "talk" to the telescope. After several
hours, running diagnostics and even calling my computer manufacturer
support (Dell)- I arrived at the solution.

While trying to connect my computer to my telescope, I kept receiving an
error message - "port open" referring to Com 1. All other ports were
either used (Com 2-modem) or n/a. The solution finally hit me- many
users have PalmPilots and use the HotSync manager. If this is active
(icon in system tray), it ties up the serial port. Turning the Hot Sync
manager off resolves the problem. You may want to post this simple
solution, which although obvious, took several hours of trial and error
to arrive at.

Great site- keep up the good work. Let the people who are complaining
start their own site. Best wishes- Drew

Subject:	 Type of Coordinates for Observing Site?
Sent:	Saturday, October 30, 1999 17:58:26
From:	vegar@sprintmail.com (Ramon Vega)
I was wondering if you know the type of coordinates the Autostar (and I
assume LX200 series) requires when entering a user defined observing
site?  Does it expect Latitude/Longitude in WGS-84, NAD-27, or what?  I
couldn't find a reference to this in the instruction manual.

Thanks for the great site!


Subject:	 DS/AutoStar 495 vs 497
Sent:	Wednesday, October 27, 1999 20:39:01
From:	wmbrady@olg.com (Bill Brady)
Jims 2 questions

The 495 has a smaller eeprom, resulting in a smaller object database.
Both appear to have the same microprocessor. Please note, both boxes are
quite powerful.

Otherwise, the 495 has all of the functions of the 497, perhaps even a
few more. It has meny items for clone, download etc.

I have not done a download, primarily because Meade has not posted any
files for the 495. I am sure that a 497 download would not work.

The DS comes with a manual controller (492 I think). You cannot hook a
computer to the scope without a controller. The computer would have to
provide the current and accept the feedback to/from the motors. There is
no way to do this over an rs-232 data link. What the computer does is
send RA & Declination data to the 495/497.

Subject:	 Meade's Autostar support
Sent:	Wednesday, October 27, 1999 10:56:09
From:	Donald.Phipps@kp.org (Donald Phipps)
I was attempting to upload the new version of the Autostar software to
my autostar when I experienced an electrical storm and my PC locked up. 
This wiped out the autostar firmware, and made it no longer recognizable
as an Autostar by the PC.

I sent it to Meade for repair.  Their support personnel and service were
great! When I received the "repaired" Autostar with the software version
1.3, it was a great relief.  The ETX seemed to respond better to the new
version of software, and was far more accurate in locating celestial

My service needs came during the time that Meade is in full swing
getting ready for Christmas purchases.  Yet, the support personnel were
extremely responsive and helpful.  I thought that this experience was
one that may put others at ease with the promised and delivered suport
from Meade.

May you have clear skies ahead.

Don Phipps

Subject:	 Southern Hemisphere
Sent:	Tuesday, October 26, 1999 14:29:09
From:	jim_datec@yahoo.com (Jim D)
Would like to hear from anyone using the ETX/EC/AUTOSTAR below the
equator. IS there any problem with allignment? Which star(s) to start up


Jim ( 4 degrees south)

Sent:	Tuesday, October 26, 1999 08:06:19
From:	piros_de@hotmail.com (Daniel Ercolani)
First off i would like to thank you for having the best etx site!!

I have a question for you I am interested in purchasing the autostar
1.1, And was wondering if I must use the meade tripod in order to use
the automatic tracking, or can I use a photo tripod?

Mike here: Any tripod (or no tripod; just sit the ETX-90EC or ETX-125EC base on a flat, level surface for Alt/Az usage) can be used. Just be certain it is sturdy enough to support the weight. Also, you'll likely need an adapter plate to match the single tripod screw to the ETX base.

Subject:	 [Fwd: ETX, Mercury, school...]
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 21:27:10
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
I sent this to Steve

> I saw your note on Mike's page...
> when aiming at the sun with a 'scope, you can get pretty accurate by
> simply watching the barrel's shadow... when it's smallest and circular,
>  you're dead on (the center of the sun).
> What i do for no-star-available alignment is set up the scope at night,
>  then tell it to PARK as the final activity.
>    Menu-->Utilities-->Park Scope [enter]
> Then either use a magnetic compass (and call a local airport) to find out
>  your -true- magnetic deviation from true nort, or (with luck) the school
>  might -have- a north-pointing object (sundial gnomon?) for reference.
> Having PARKed the scope the night before, it won't ask to be aligned!
> You could even do a daytime "test" of alignment (depending upon how well
> your scope points at planets... mine's always off, even though it nails
> stars
> and nebulae) by doing a daytime "goto Venus".  Venus is usually an "easy"
> object...
> if you've  got a smart scope.
> good luck..
> --dick

Added: and DO remove the viewfinder... don't just mask it. Monitor the
solar filter (lots of Ductape).

Subject:	 Autostar's REAL manual... on the web!
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 21:16:21
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
A lot of folks justly complain about the Autostar manual... I suspect
they haven't noticed that Meade has a **much** better one on their
website... "simply" go to
and you're at the index of a manual with clear explanations,
**pictures** and flowcharts of what you should see and do for Autostar
operation. The -words- almost match the whimpy pamphlet which comes with
the Autostar... but the layout and additional diagrams greatly add
clarity. Print this, 3-ring bind it, read it, and you'll probably find
the Autostar a much friendlier beastie (who may, it's true, still hit
the stops when friends come to see it dance...).

p.s. while you're there, enjoy Appendix A of the LX200 manual... which
basically lists the stars used for alignment...
puts you at the index to all available online manuals.

Subject:	 Autostar Info
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 10:56:26
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I haven't written in at least a day, so i thought i'd put my two cents
in...I wanted to thank Don for writing back with suggestions on the Sync
command - I understand the greatest accuracy would be distant stars away
from the zenith or horizon - but again, i thought the sync command would
throw the rest of the sky out of sync...

Moving on, I saw a poster had a problem with 1.0c? software about the
GMT times being wrong - whenever i've upgraded the software (or my FOUR
scopes now - oy!) i've always tested the correctness of my time
setting/negative value on the longitude by checking the sunrise/sunset
times - as long as they're ballpark, i know i'm generally "there" -
also, my alignment stars make sense - if i've input completely wrong
values (in other words, wrong + or - value for time or lat/long) then
sunrise might be at 4:00 p.m. or the alignment stars may be on the wrong
side of the globe - thought this might help a bit!  Users can check the
sunrise/sunset times (or moon rise/set) times from links from your


Subject:	 ETX & AUTOSTAR & MAC
Sent:	Saturday, October 23, 1999 08:34:11
From:	wd@pixxelfactory.net (wd)
your site is great.
I'm a happy new Meade ETX 90EC w. Autostar user. I buyed my telescope
just a week ago. My final goal was to control the telescope with my
favorite programm StarryNight  (Sienna-Software) using obviously my Mac
Powerbook G3/300 (the last Mac with a serial port !!!!). In Sienna site
(http://www.siennasoftware.com) I've found a plugin from Casadey & Green
for Starrynight Mac. This plugin is for Meade LX200 and neither Sienna
nor C&C did'nt know if it would work with Autostar. The second problem
was the cable. Fortunately thank's to your site I've built a serial
cable for Mac. It works great !! Now I can select an object in Starry
Night and then tell the ETX to Slew, or I can point ETX everywhere and
tell Starry Night to Follow, Starry Night center exactly  this point.
I've also downloaded firmware v. 1.3b from Meade and through VirtualPC
updated my Autostar (ca. 30 minutes).
Ciao from Italy


Excuse my poor english writing.

Walter Donega'
Via Crispi 32/7
Cell. +39-0335- 6 74 74 01
Ufficio: 0471-30 12 78
Fax 0471- 32 71 90

Subject:	ETX (Transit of Mercury, 15-16 Nov)
Sent:	Saturday, October 23, 1999 06:22:40
From:	Petz2@aol.com
Is there an area where I can post a question?

I am taking my ETX to my son's school for the Mercury transit and want
to know how best to align my scope for solar observation.  FYI I have
the Thousand Oaks solar filter.

Since, about 60 children will use the scope during the transit I want to
minimize the adjustments I need to make.  S & T recommends an equatorial
mount and I always use alt. az since the instructions in the manual for
polar alignment were so lame.

Any other hints you might have will be appreciated.

Thanks for your site.  Remember, no good deed goes unpunished.  I read
your editorial page this am.

Best Wishes,

Mike here: You can always assume that any alignment stars are correctly centered when they are first selected and centered by the Autostar. I haven't tried this in the daytime yet but if no stars are selectable when you set the correct time, set the time 12 hours later. Let the Autostar select the alignment stars in Alt/Az mode. This will probably get you a "good enough" alignment to allow reasonable tracking. You will likely have to make some corrections over the duration of the transit. One caution: be certain to securely cover the finderscope (or better yet, remove it). You don't want any prying eyes looking through it!

Subject:	 Re:  DS80EC/AutiStar question
Sent:	Friday, October 22, 1999 04:00:16
From:	wmbrady@olg.com (Bill Brady)
I have found that training is *very* critical and have developed a
procedure using a simple piece of string to tell if training has been
effective. (This scope has been well trained.)

The business about waiting for the beep was my first thought as well.
One problem is that I can't hear it. (I'm deaf in a very narrow freq.
band, comes from being around too many fighter planes in the USAF). I
double checked that. Also, the problem develops over time while tracking
objects, when it first happened, I had been on the moon about 15

You know, the manual and on-line stuff from Meade is *very* vauge about
operating the scope. Lots of menu explainations, setup, etcetra, but it
peters out when it comes to actual observation/tracking.

BTW, I have been following all of the ETX conversations (I may get a
125) and I can say that the DS series shows a much more integrated
design. It is modular as well, maintenance should be a cinch, the drive
motors pop right off. Initially, the two biggest problems are cable
hangups (I have a solution), and clutch slippage. Then comes finding....

Wm. "Bill" Brady, Harwood MD - Time out to put in the garden ...
Added later:
I am running more tests. I've found that sometimes the computer "fights"
and sometimes it "helps". For example: I start by point at Polaris for
20 minutes, then slew 1/4 degree east then remove my finger from the
button, after a few seconds the computer moves the scope 1/2 degree
still further east! Then, if I recenter Polaris by slewing 3/4 degree
west, the computer will soon slew still further westward.

I guess this must be a characteristic of the 495 computer, else I'm sure
some ETX user would have seen it by now.

I am going to retrain today, and run further tests.

I am slowly, but surely, printing out all of your pages in color. I
thank you again for providing this site. You have done a great job, and
a conspicuous amount of work!

ps my hearing loss is in a very narrow freq band. Some beeps I can hear
from the next room, others, not at all. It just depends on the beep

Subject:	 DS80EC/AutiStar question
Sent:	Thursday, October 21, 1999 19:39:29
From:	wmbrady@olg.com (Bill Brady)
Howdy folks,

I'm feeling my way through getting up a working DS80EC system. I plan do
post a report later (when I feel that I have it working).

My current problem is that the AutoStar "fights" me. I slew (GOTO) to an
object, say the moon, and slew around a bit to center the desired point,
or to correct for a slight GOTO "miss" . I might do this several times.

Then, all of a sudden, the Autostar slews the mount off in one direction
or the other. I slew to bring it back, then, after a few seconds, the
Autostar slews off the object again. The more manual tweaks I do, the
bigger the magnitude and speed of the AutoStar slew.

It's as if the AutoStar is determined to go to  where it "thinks" the
object is now.

I thought the thing was supposed to GOTO and object, then automatically
go into tracking mode, and that you can make minor corrections during
tracking. Does "Precision Tracking" have something to do with this?


Bill Brady

ps: does anyone know if a GOTO the Moon automatically switches to lunar
tracking mode? Seems to, and I cannot manually change the
Sideral/Moon/Custom setting.

Also, the AutoStar is a 495 which will control all of the EC 'scopes.
Ver 1.2c (I Think).
Mike here: One cause of this type of problem could be if you are NOT waiting for the beep that sounds when the Autostar is ready (or thinks it is ready) for either centering after each alignment star selection or after a GOTO. Also, be certain you have properly "trained" the drives.

Subject:	 Home Position on the 90
Sent:	Thursday, October 21, 1999 07:36:42
From:	maebrown@netcom.ca (Mark A Brown)
I've enjoyed your site and followed a number of the links for some
really good tips.  You're right, Scopetronix has some great gadgets.

I'm a new owner of a 90EC after many years away from astronomy, and I'm
looking forward to sharing it with my children.

I do have a question that the documentation from Meade is not clear on.

To set up my scope for the home position, should the Computer control
panel be on the same side as the degree indicators on the field tripod,
or the opposite side, or does it matter.

Look forward to hearing from you.

M. Brown
Oakville, Canada
Mike here: The HOME position is with the left fork (the one with the degree numbers, not just the markings) over the control panel.

Subject:	 Autostar madness
Sent:	Wednesday, October 20, 1999 07:08:16
From:	kurber@mims.mot.com (Keith Kurber)
I purchased a ETX90/ec and Autostar control. The 1st week I went
absolutly nuts trying to find out why I could not get this thing to GOTO
without slinging itself way out in the sky somewhere else. I tried
everything I knew how to do. Polar mode, AltAx mode, changing mounts..
etc.., nothing but madness! Meade Manuals leave much to be desired in
many ways and their customer service is horrid. So I found your site and
it helped me out immensely!

My Autostar had version 1.1j in it and this is what I found. The time
was way off GMT for my area. It should have been GMT -6, it had GMT +6.
After finding that and fixing it, I found there was many problems with
the way it was trying to find the objects. Being a software engineer and
testing things like this every day, I finally resolved myself to
download the new 1.3 version off the Meade site.

Using your suggestion for Safe Mode, the program locked up on me once,
and I had to reboot the system and the autostar. The autostar came back
up in the Safe Mode, and the second time it loaded perfectly. After
reinitializing it, training the drive etc...I took it outside...and
wham! It worked perfectly! That thing finally worked the way it was
designed to work, and for the 1st time since I owned it in 2 weeks, I
was happy I had gotten it! I decided after reading your feedback section
and seeing all the software problems, it had to be it. Meade should give
you commission, because if I had to use the information from meade, and
their much to be desired technical support staff, ( who always seem to
think the problem is original, C'mon Meade, and give your consumers some
credit here), I would have taken it back and gone to Celestron, which
was my intention until I saw your site. They need to thank you for
keeping a customer by doing their job!

Thanks for all the great info on your site, which without I would have
had a more frustrating and much less enjoyable experience than I had.   

Subject:	 Autostar Freeze-Up Solution?
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 16:00:00
From:	jwiedle@gci.net (James Wiedle)

I thought I would drop you a line to tell you that your web-site is an
invaluable resource, especially for us ETX newbies.  I recently
purchased an ETX90 with a couple of lenses and accessories using your
site as a guide..  Just last week I purchased the ETX Autostar.  Right
out of the box, it appeared to be having problems with the alignment
procedure. The instrument would freeze up before it actually finished
alt/az alignment.  I had read on your site that another user was having
a similar problem, so I followed up your hint about the firmware
upgrade.  After upgrading, it appears that my Autostar is doing better.
I'm not a hundred-percent sure (I'm a researcher, so I have to be
skeptical : ) ) but after running the Autostar through six test
alignments, it appears that the "freeze-up" problem is gone!  I'll let
you know if it's a permanent fix.

Thanks for the great web site.

James Wiedle

Subject:	 AUTOSTAR backlight problems (keys 1,2,3 and 0)
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 14:05:51
From:	tuomo@tuomo.screaming.net (Tuomo)
I have purchased an ETX90EC with Autostar last Saturday.

So far I am pleased with the scope but one thing is bothering me. The
backlight on the autostar controller isn't on for numbers 1,2,3 and 0.
This is the case all the time. I've tried resetting the Autostar but
this didn't help. I managed to get the lights to work for a few seconds
but by pressing enter or mode they would go off again. Sometimes, while
adjusting the message scrolling speed, I can see the lights blinking
rapidly (1,2,3,0). All other keys are backlit just fine.

Any clues?


Tuomo Yillipulli
Mike here: Sounds like a bum unit. Your dealer can replace it.

Subject:	 Autostar Feedback
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 10:15:36
From:	thedbarbee@yahoo.com (Don Barbee)
This is in responce to "Gary" (gbgesq@earthlink.net), It doesn't matter
who's system you use (Meade or Celestron) if you 'Sync' or 'replace' a
star alignment you will affect the alignment in other locations in the
sky.  Simple geometry will show you why.  The greatest accuracy will
alway be 'between' the alignment stars period.  Celestron may not
indicate that in their manual or literature but that is the case. As to
improving accuracy I would direct Gary to the 'High Precision' selection
which has always been available on the Autostar.

BTW, I'm still using 1.0c although I am about to upgrade now that there
have been some major revs issued.  My ETX doesn't have gear slop, has
never had the declination breakage, no image shift when focusing.  I
guess I was either extremely lucky or perhaps I'm one of the 'quiet'
majority who had no problems with their ETX.

Don B

Subject:	 Autostar changes that would be nice
Sent:	Thursday, October 14, 1999 10:15:18
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
Couple of things - 

I've written to engineer@meade.com about some changes i thought would be
beneficial to the autostar - and as promised, they've ignored my e-mail
(i know, they MIGHT be able to reply, and the mail is supposed to be
passed on - seems like a bad system to me!) In a nutshell, I've been
reading that the NexStar 5 (I know, the "N" word) has the ability to
"replace" a star alignment during a session to improve accuracy.  I
suppose the Autostar has a somewhat similar feature ala "Sync" although
the Meade FAQ indicates SYNCing will improve accuracy FOR THAT PART OF
THE SKY, and will throw off accuracy for the rest of the sky - it seems
to me that the goto functionality would be greatly improved if there was
a way to center a missed object, and have the scope AVERAGE the
alignment values - preferably weighted,  with the most recent alignment
object (nebula, star, planet, moon, dust on my sneaker) having the
greatest effect on that night's session - perhaps even saving some sort
of value through the course of the sessions to make up for gear backlash
or alignment inaccuracies.

I had read that the newer versions of the Autostar software had a more
intelligent menu to access the optional focuser - kudos to meade - the
NexStar doesn't have upgradability (unless you pull out PROMs) and the
consensus seemd to be the unit worked as advertised, so you didn't need
to upgrade, but then on the discussions group i was reading how the
newer scopes have upgraded proms, which INCLUDE goto for the moon
(originally omitted from the first run) so even a nearly perfect product
does need upgrading - perhaps as we move away from 1999, 2000 in the
near future (or further down) we'll need "EPOCH 2010" or other values,
which the autostar would be able to handle due to it's upgrading, but i
wonder about the NexStar (although they could throw in new PROMs again).

The main reason I'm sending this post to the site is so that at least
I'll have some belief that it was read by Meade - their "black hole"
method of dealing with e-mail (not to mention my faxes) does leave a lot
to be desired!

Keep up the great work,
Mike here: The engineer@meade.com email is read and acted upon appropriately. I've received email from the Autostar software developer referencing comments from users who sent email to that address. So, while you may not get a response, and suggestions for improvements may not appear in the next release (if ever), they are read. One suggestion is to always use professional language and tone when emailing Meade. Anything less could make Meade less likely to listen to your suggestions. I'm not saying this is what they do; only that this is what *I* do. I'm also not saying that your email was in this category but I make this note so that everyone will read it.

Subject:	 Relocate = retrain ??
Sent:	Monday, October 11, 1999 18:41:42
From:	dbjarnas@toronto.cbc.ca
Do you need to retrain the ETC 90 EC/ Autostar if you move to a
different location? I dont understand why this should be necessary.
Mike here: Drive training only applies to the drive/Autostar combination. Changing locations doesn't make retraining necessary. However, occasional retraining does seem to keep things in proper operation.

Subject:	 Re: ETX-125EC report
Sent:	Monday, October 11, 1999 10:07:28
From:	kretschk@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
Re: Wayne Gatschet's ETX-125 report, 10th October 1999.
I have two quick points which may help. (BTW, I'm using a 90EC, not a
125, with Autostar 1.3b)

1) Before using the slower slew speeds, I give a quick single push of a
faster speed, say 3 or 4, in the same direction, and then go to the
slower speeds. The short fast burst takes most of the the slop out

2) Aligning Autostar: When training autostar, notice how it only lets
you centre the reference object with one key at a time, all the others
are disabled? This allows Autostar to correct for the backlash. If
Autostar accuracy is not what you would expect, try a number of bright
stars, and note which direction and how far out the are. My bet is that
they are all about the same amount out in the same direction. If so,
backlash is the major culprit. When doing star alignment, try doing the
same thing that Autostar does during drive training...

When the alignment star is in the eyepiece field of view, position it to
say, the south east edge of the vield of view. Then use ONLY the North
and West buttons for centering. This removes all the backlash in the
gears before the alignment is completed. Once centered using only these
two keys, then press ENTER as normal. I have found that this helps
tremendously with accuracy. (As I recall, somebody said that Celestron
tell people to do this in the Nexstar manual, so it's not just an ETX

Regards, and clear skies,


P.S. Mike, don't kill yourself over the 125EC report. Believe it or not,
we can wait until it's good and ready. If that means next week or next
month, so be it. There's no rush. (It's not like we're paying you!)
- - - - -
Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys
Photonic Materials Group,
Department of Physics,
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.

Tel:  +353 1 608 1324
Fax:  +353 1 671 1759
E-Mail:  kretschk@tcd.ie
Added later:
Kevin, Thanks for the tips, that is pretty much what I was having to do.
Once I got the object centered and all the backlash out, the scope was
very accurate in tracking, zero detectable drift over about ten minutes.
When doing the goto the scope was always off in the same direction by
the same amount, depending in which direction the scope was skewing
(east or west), and always in the RA axis, about 1/4 of the field of
view in the view finder which put it out of the field of the EP. The Dec
axis was very accurate.

Subject:	 Re-calibrating the Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, October 6, 1999 04:54:48
From:	dbjarnas@toronto.cbc.ca
In the ETX 90 EC, if you re-calibrate the Autostar, does that mean you
also have to re-train or re-set it all over again from scratch? Or can
you just do the recalibrating every so often without doing the other
Many thanks (again)
Mike here: The occasional drive training does not hurt. Only takes a couple of minutes and adjusts for any changes that might have occurred. You don't have to repeat all the other setups.

Subject:	 autostar #495 ?
Sent:	Monday, October 4, 1999 08:40:11
From:	FLamorce@dataradio.com (Frederic Lamorce)
I'm looking for infos on the autostar #495, the one to use with the
Meade Digital Electronic Serie, it has 1586 objects in database. I think
i'll buy a DS-114EC, newtonian 4.5", and the optional AutoStar. I know
the ROM are not compatible nor the cloning between #495 and #497, on
meade web site they said that, however on their support page there's ROM
only for the #497 it seems?

so some questions to put in your FAQ if you know the answer?

can i plug a #497 instead of a #495 on a Meade DS?

is it pin compatible so i can build the cable RJ<->DB9 to control it via
a computer?

does the #495 LX200 compatible to use with others software?

TIA, Frdric.

Frdric Lamorce, http://www.dataradio.com, 1-514-737-0020 #74, UIN 4940051
Dataradio Inc., 5500 Av. Royalmount #200, Ville Mont Royal, Qubec, H4P 1H7
BeDevId #15453 - Q: what's be? A: http://www.be.com
Mike here: I believe you can use the 497 with the DS line. Pinouts should be the same. Don't know if the 495 works with other astronomy software. I'll post your message in case someone else has more definitive answers.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC/ Autstar Reliability: what experiences?
Sent:	Saturday, October 2, 1999 05:38:14
From:	Mick.Wilson@unep.org (Mick Wilson, UNEPnet Services)
I purchased an ETX-90 back in May. At that time, the Autostar controller
was not in stock, so for the first 6 or 8 weeks I used the thing with
the standard contoller. I was a pleased customer - optics were fine,
portability was excellent etc. etc.

This changed when I got the Autostar. I could not "train" the
controller, despite repeated efforts, new batteries and so on. Each
time, the unit would either "hang" or return a "drive motor error".
Meade accepted to have the goods returned under warranty (NOT a trivial
undertaking from here in Nairobi!)

Anyway, I have just got the unit back and lo! *exactly* the same
symptoms! Meade are yet to forward details of what repairs (if any) they
effected but my questions are:

Has anyone else out there had these types of problems? Are they common?
Is there a known solution or work-around?

I am now a frustrated customer. The features that most attracted me to
the product are being denied to me and my family. I now face the
questions of whether I keep the thing and forego its "brain" or ditch it
entirely and get a refund to go of an by Celestron's offering?
Advice and guidance appreciated.
| Mick Wilson                        mick.wilson@unep.org |
| Chief, UNEPnet Services           phone +254 (2) 623436 |
| Environment Information Systems   fax   +254 (2) 623495 |
| UN Environment Programme            http://www.unep.org |
| P.O. Box 30552 Nairobi, Kenya    gopher unephq.unep.org |
Mike here: Since the ETX-90EC worked fine with the standard controller there is likely nothing wrong mechanically with the drive. Have you upgraded the Autostar to the current version (on Meade's web site)? But even if still running an older version, will the Autostar move the ETX in both Altitude and Azimuth without binding? If not, are you way over-tightening the locks? Just a thought.

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