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 email@example.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: Re: Interface with G4/450 Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 23:38:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) To: email@example.com Hi, Jim -- In regard to your question about interfacing the G4/450 with the ETX -- I wanted to add something to Mike's answer, because I just purchased a DP G4/450 about two weeks ago and I'm still having problems. First, I'm assuming you already own the ETX Interface cable kit (or made one on your own). It is designed for a 9-pin D-type serial connector for the PC, not the Mac (at least not any of the latest Macs with either 8-pin DIN or USB connectors). My old computer had the 8-pin DIN connector, and I had already made a 9-pin D-type to 8-pin DIN adapter for numerous other devices. The pinout connections for that adapter are as follows: 9-pin D-type 8-pin DIN 3 --------------- 4 5 --------------- 3 7 --------------- 2 9 --------------- 5 I had this all working on my PowerCenter Pro 210 (Mac clone), and with the ETX Interface cable and my adapter I was able to update the AutoStar handbox (running VirtualPC on the Mac), and also control the ETX directly with the Info-Genie plug-in to Starry Night Pro. Having purchased the G4/450 I lost my 8-pin DIN serial port and am now stuck with two USB ports. I purchased the Keyspan USB-to-Serial adapter (which provides two 8-pin DIN ports) and have tested it successfully with an X-10 Powerhouse CP290 RS-232 Computer Interface (which I use to control the lights, etc. in our house). That interface also has a 9-pin D-type connector, so with 9-pin-to-8-pin adapter that I made, everything worked as expected. I was, as you might guess, disappointed when I then tried to connect the ETX in the same fashion and tried to control it through Starry Night Pro. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. I tried almost everything (I say "almost" because I'm hoping I'll stumble onto something that I didn't try). So I still haven't had a successful handshake between the two devices with that setup. My other "assumed" problem is updating the Autostar, since I can't even get the simpler configuration to work (i.e., direct control using SN Pro). On the PowerCenter, I was using VirtualPC 2.1.2 with expected results. But VPC 2.x does not support the USB protocol, so it's useless on the G4/450. I haven't had time to try using VPC 3.x on the G4 (which claims to support USB) as of this writing. If you or anyone else has had any success, please e-mail me directly or to Mike Weasner. Good luck, Jim (and, as always, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions -- I just had to say that!!) Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Autostar Cable Suggestion Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 17:45:59 From: email@example.com (Tim Sheets) For those of you still looking for the easiest way to fabricate a cable for your autostar.... Radio Shack part number 279-998, Handset Quick Connect Moduler Plug. This plug, in combination with a db9 serial cable makes an easy to assemble cable, for $4.99 plus tax. As for the serial cable, I just cut the end off of an old serial mouse. Hope this helps. Tim
Subject: Re: Dec motor runs in polar mode Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 09:27:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (William D. Collins) I really believe the Autostar programmers took this into consideration. That's why I had a declination drive on my old photo-equatorial, even though it had been permanently pier-mounted and aligned with great care. While guiding a deep-sky photo for an hour or two (in the days before CCD's), I would have to "bump" the dec. drive with the guiding joystick every so often. In the case of the ETX, the Autostar does the bumping.
Subject: Autostar updates on a Mac? Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 07:49:52 From: email@example.com (Ade Ashford) I have an iMac DV with the Keyspan USB > serial adaptor, MacOS 9.04 and VirtualPC v3.03 (I also have VirtualPC v2.13 on the machine). I wish to upload updates to my Autostar using VirtualPC, but I was wondering if you knew of a dealer selling an Autostar > Mac serial cable anywhere? Any help or suggestions gratefully received. Clear skies, Ade P.S. The ETX site just keeps on getting better! -- http://www.macmad.co.uk - Lat/Long 52.7N 1.2E - iMacDV and MP2Ku owner Thinking PDA? Think 'Newton' - 'Now Everyone Wishes They Owned NewtOS'Mike here: Don't know of anyone selling a specific Mac cable but there are adapters. I use the adapter that came with one of my digital cameras. Works great. You could also build your own cable using the info on the Autostar Information page.
I found a DB-9 to Mac mini8 cable with my Olympus digital camera! Thanks for your patient advice. Had I been more attentive I would've seen the following: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_mac.html.
Subject: Dec motor runs in polar mode Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 00:45:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (William D. Collins) Regarding Phil Towers's puzzlement over the dec motor running in polar mode [Autostar Feedback, 26 September], isn't this just the Autostar compensating for less-than-perfect polar alignment? I use only alt/az myself, but it seems to me that if the AS can create a virtual polar mount in alt/az mode it can also make occasional declination adjustments while IN polar mode, no? Only with perfect PHYSICAL polar alignment (that is, with the scope's R.A. axis absolutely parallel to the Earth's axis) would the dec motor never run. Bill CollinsMike here: If you tell the Autostar it is in Polar mode, then it shouldn't know that it needs to make adjustments. But I suppose the software could have been written to use the alignment data to make slight adjustments. If so, that is a good feature by Meade.
Subject: an observing report...and a thank you to Meade Sent: Sunday, September 24, 2000 21:08:50 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) If you troll through the archives of Mike's site, you'll frequently read postings of mine picking at ETX and Autostar bugs. Well, there are times when it gets it *just right*. This evening was one of them... This evening i popped out on my deck, ETX90 in hand, to try and catch Mercury. The Seattle western horizon was ablaze with streaks of mare's tails glowing red from the sunset. I did my usual setup, thanks to using Park to put it to sleep. Aim at local North landmark, power up, give it the time, and [goto] Venus. It swept around and pointed at the clouds. Thru the viewfinder i could see it was about a degree high of Venus (dimly perceived through the clouds), and a little to one side. But i'm used to that. I moved the tripod a bit to correct the Az centering. I waited the minute after the beep, and indeed, it crept down and brought the planet to within 1/4 degree of dead center. So i selected Mercury, and it dropped a bit, and swung north. I waited. It beeped, the motors gurgled to themselves for a while, and i was left staring at pink bands of clouds, with the local horizon just below the 26mm's field of view. So i waited, watching the colors gradually change. The sky darken. I periodically peeked into the eyepiece, and checked the viewfinder. And finally... there it was.. a faint, brighter piece of the pink. Mercury is a sufficiently rare object, and i've got a number of personal memories tied to seeing it (eclipses in Africa, clear evenings discovering it shining), that it's one of my touchstone objects, and warms my heart to see it. It never fully escaped from the clouds... but continued to be easily visible through the eyepiece. Never the viewfinder. And the ETX followed it down. As it neared the horizon (some 4000-foot hills, about 50 miles away), i believe it began to show the refractive effect of the atmosphere, and began to lag behind the ETX's center of view. Not much... less than 1/5th of a degree, but perceptibly. The horizon line crossed the center of the field of view, but Mercury was still above it. Then it hit the distant trees, silhouetting the top of the one which finally swallowed it. The ETX burbled on. I peeled myself from the eyepiece, and looked to where it had gone. The horizon was still faintly visible, back lit by the darkening, but still pink, clouds. I looked for Venus... it wasn't visible. I told the ETX to [goto] it. At the sound of the beep, it appeared in the viewfinder, again about a degree low. Thirty seconds later the drive changed its sound and Venus was dragged up to the crosshairs, and centered in the eyepiece. The Autostar predicted planet-set in about 20 minutes, so i came indoors to start writing this. After a bit, i went back out. Venus was now shining like an aitplane's landing lights beneath the clouds. I dashed back in to show my wife the sight. Then back out to follow Venus down. Much to my surprise, it was going to be setting a bit North of where Mercury had gone down. It was heading towards the middle slopes of a 6000-foot mountain, about 40 miles away. Since it was higher, it didn't appear to be showing the refractive lagging that Mercury had shown, about a third-degree lower. Then it surprised me... green flares began rising from Venus's bright top. A red arc appeared hugging its lower limb. As you probably know, the sun can show green flares if viewed setting over the ocean in the proper conditions. I've watched a lot of sunsets, but have yet to catch a flare. Now here was Venus, putting on a Olympic-torch-class display. The show continued as it traversed the final fifth of a degree to the treeline. Where it pulled the final two aces from its sleeve... First, it passed directly behind a tree... Venus was large enough to -fully- silhouette the tree. Another flare flickered above it. Then it disappeared... and then winked back.. one tiny flash from far within the wall of trees, flickering between the branches, or tree-gap. Then it was truly gone. I stepped back, and looked up at the darkening skies and emerging stars. Arcturus was beckoning higher up, the Big Dipper was showing more stars than usually are seen two hours later here in-city. But i've had my dose of beauty for the night... mayhaps four of them. And i'd like to thank the folks at Meade who put those sights before my eyes. Sure, any ol' motor-drive could've done it. Any ol' careful setup. But in this instance, it was the ease of plopping the scope on the deck, aiming at the neighbor's chimney, turning it on and saying [goto] that made it an enjoyable, effortless breeze. That made it casually achieveable during a busy afternoon. Thanks --dick
Subject: Interface with G4/450 Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2000 13:39:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Wilkins) Mike, What cable do you use to interface with your Mac? I have a G4/450 that I'd like to interface with an Autostar for my ETX-90. I have USB-SCSI adapters, etc., but I'm lost as to what cable to buy? JimMike here: The Autostar cable is a serial cable so you'll need a USB-RS232 converter or a PCI serial card.
Is it that simple? I had assumed that since it was a PC cable, the pinouts would be different or something.Mike here: The converters handle the protocol differences as well as the pinout differences.
Subject: Autostar Sent: Sunday, September 24, 2000 01:19:37 From: email@example.com (Phil Towers) I downloaded the latest firmware from Meade to upgrade from my original 1.3. version. Everythings fine BUT!, I now get the dec motor running now and again.The mount is in polar mode so I assume once the scope has slewed to an object the dec motor should stop, and the R.A. drive should start tracking.I would like to hear if anyone else has had this problem. Thanks. Cheers Phil. P.S. Great web siteMike here: Normally, the DEC motor should not run in Polar mode. Is tracking accurate? If not, check that the Autostar is set for Polar and that your latitude is correct.
Subject: Meade ETX Astrostar Update Software & Windows 2000 Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 10:17:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Scherer) I have a pentium 400 Mhz Laptop which I run Windows 2000 professional on. I ran into a problem with Windows 2000 and Meade's update software for the ETX Astrostar. It won't run! Not even for a second. Not sure if anyone else has reported this problem but it sure makes it hard for me to do an upgrade. Now I have to bring everything into work just to have access to a computer with Windows 98. BTW Mike, Great, no Awesome site! Cheers John Scherer email@example.comMike here: That's true (as reported on the June 2000 Autostar Feedback). However, see the Autostar Information page for a workaround.
Subject: Back to the USB issue... Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2000 11:02:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) Well, as luck would have it, two weeks ago my PowerCenter Pro 210 (Mac Clone) finally bit the dust -- as of this moment, still don't know what's wrong with it, but screen remained black, hard disk and CD-ROM would not boot, intermittent startup bong. Basically, a SOHO owner's nightmare. I needed to get up and running in a hurry, and I'd been scoping out the new Mac G4's for over 6 months, so I dived in and bought a Dual Processor Mac G4/450. Screamer!!! This baby is F-A-S-T, even without the second processor kicking in (I'm waiting for OS X and all the software upgrade stuff that's sure to follow). When buying the new system, I also needed to get a USB-to-Serial adapter and opted for the Keyspan. So far, the things I've tested on that adapter have worked, but I haven't gotten around to testing the ETX yet. My first test will be to see if Starry Night Pro will send commands to the Autostar. But, I did a check on your site and found a message from Tom: refer to Subject: Autostar Update Sent: Friday, January 21, 2000 08:46:27 From: email@example.com (Kate Lister) wherein he states that he can't even get VirtualPC 3.0 to run on his G4 system. I was running VirtualPC 2.x on the PowerCenter Pro and was able to do Autostar updates. Without doing much experimenting yet and without trying a reinstall, I haven't been able to get VPC 2.x to run on my new G4. And I'm starting to wonder that if I ever do, will I be able to tap into that USB-to-serial adapter successfully. I know that VPC 3.0 (which I don't have yet) touts itself as having USB control, but if it doesn't even run on a G4, then who cares. I know you just got yourself a new G4/450, too -- but I think you said you'd still use your older PPC model if you did an Autostar update (I'm assuming on a test device since you own an -RA model). Since my old computer is kaput, I don't have that option (at least at the moment). We haven't seen any Autostar updates since 03/07/00 anyway, and promises from Meade have all fallen through. And the Java-enabled updater thats "coming real soon now" -- ha, that's a laugh. Any NEW insights from anybody having a G4 model with only USB connectors and an Autostar handbox that needs updating would be greatly appreciated. Take care and clear skies, Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: I do run VPC 3.0.3 on my G4/450 and it works fine. I don't use any USB devices from it however and can't attest to what happens with the Keyspan converter and VPC. And yes, I still use the 8500/G3/300 with the Autostar.
Subject: PC control of the electric focusser Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2000 04:28:14 From: email@example.com (xrr) First thank you for your site, It has been a great help and Meade should also thank you (I hope they do :-) ) as your site was also a great incentive for me to buy an ETX 90EC... I have a question concerning the electric focuser for the ETX... I saw in the LX200 commands list that some commands are used to control the focusser. I'm wondering if the autostar is able to control the focusser from a software point of view. I know that you can control the foccuser from the autostar but I'm wondering if you can do that from a PC hookded to an autostar using the LX200 commands. Many thanks, XavierAnd a response from our resident Autostar expert:
Subject: re: LX200 focussing commands Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2000 09:15:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Yes... the Autostar understands and performs the LX200 commands for focusser controls. Those are: :F+# :F-# :FQ# :FF# :FS# --dick
Subject: Autostar and cold Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2000 19:06:58 From: email@example.com (Thomas Brown) Just read the note from tpmiles about the autostar blanking in not so cold termperatures. I was one of the people who had significant trouble with this back in the winter months. I reported the problem to Meade and they suggested that this was a problem with the electronics in my particular unit, and not some defect in the Autostar design. I sent the Autostar in and about 3 weeks later a new unit showed up. I've had no problem since then and it's been approxmately 6 months since the unit was replaced. Of course these were spring and summer months. Hoping that problems don't show up when its really cold again. Tom Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Autostar and NOT-SO-COLD Temperatures. Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2000 04:33:12 From: email@example.com (Tony Miles) Well, this morning my Autostar 497 suffered the infamous screen blanking at cold temps. However, the temperature was not that cold. The low was around 48 degrees and the blanking took place after about 30 minutes of use. When it started happening I would have to cut off power to the scope and turn it back on. However, it would blank out again before it would slew to the second alignment star. After several attempts to realign I decided to take the Autostar in and let it warm up to room temp. I brought it back outside and kept it in my pocket to keep it warm between use. No problems when I would do that. And to think this is only mid-September...looks like I've got a long, frustrating winter to look forward to... See ya.Mike here: Last winter (Northern Hemisphere) there were similar reports. Just something to be aware of for colder climates.
Well, I don't know if I consider Atlanta, Georgia a colder climate...but it's just one of those things to deal with.
Subject: Question on Autostar... Sent: Friday, September 15, 2000 10:01:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Luca) I am a novice "Astronomer".... I've been through your webstie 5 or 6 times and I find it very informative. But I haven't found the answer to the question I have: If I install the Autostar Accessory on my ETX90/EC, someone told me that there is a possibility to make the telescope move automatically from the computer, just by simply clicking on the stars, comets, ect of interest on the pc screen; I need to know, is this possible, or is there a modify that must be done? Please let me know, or address me to a website that can clear my questions... Thank you very much and congratulaions on your website!!!! -- LucaMike here: Yes, you can control the ETX from SOME astronomy software packages. Unfortunately, I don't have a definitive list online (anyone want to prepare one?) so it is necessary to read through the Autostar Feedback pages. You can search for "Autostar" and "software", which should limit the search somewhat. If you already have a software package that you like, check with the company that did it and ask if they have an ETX driver or one that will work.
Subject: ETX AUTOSTAR Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 22:36:04 From: email@example.com (Jerry Burrell) Can you tell me if the autostar works in hawaii? Iv'e heard that because hawaii is so close to the equator it does not work. Sincerly jerryMike here: The Autostar should work from Hawaii. Don't know why it wouldn't.
Subject: intriguing stuff Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 20:51:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tony Bulat) I was able to replace my autostar within 10 days, thank to John Piper and Meade. The new one is version 2.0g, and works great. I tried to upgrade the autostar to version 2.0h(i), but I don't know if I succeeded or not. Upon rechecking the version, it still said 2.0g I will attempt this again as I downloaded again as per Dick Seymor's instructions and have a different looking product staring me in the face. The download and attempt to upgrade to version 2.0h(i) went perfectly, the version # shown on the auto- star remained unchanged. Is this normal? You'll find this interesting. With my new autostar,I was attempting to enter all the correct data following startup and initialization. I inserted the correct coordinates, local time, yes to daylight savings time, properly alighned and leveled the base, set it up properly in the home position for "polar" alighnment, did the easy 2 star alighnment, and found myself 10-15 degrees off my intended target (the moon). I checked, and rechecked 2-3 times with the same results. I finally decided to check the info in the autostar under setup>site>edit. The home name was OK, the Lat/Long was OK ( even tho Long. has a minus sign infront) the kicker was the time difference from local to GMT. My local time here is MST, and on DST. I thought the difference was -7.0 hrs. That didn't work, the target was still off 10-15. Next I tried -6.0 hrs. and it was twice as bad in the same direction-lower and further left. So, I tried -8.0 hrs. and then it hit the nail right on the head. This makes no sense! I'm on MST and DST and the time difference between here and GMT is -6.0 hrs. My A-7D background and all my maps say West Long. is positive. Where did I go wrong? Are cartographers and fighter pilots that dumb, and astronomers that smart? Thanks for your website, and thanks to you Tony BulatMike here: Don't know about the time problem but in Autostar older versions, west longitude was positive. It was changed in 1.1m to west being negative. As to the version number, that is odd.
Subject: proc trap question Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 00:12:35 From: email@example.com (Jason M. Striegel) I attempted to polar align my ETX 125 today and managed to snag a Proc. Trap 2 error with my new autostar. After searching Meade's info in vain I came across your site which documents these problems. Perhaps this is a question already answered on your site, but is there any way to manually reset the device? I am stuck now with the two options of returning it through Meade or purchasing the rs232 adapter and having a hack at it. Somehow, purchasing more equipment from Meade to make their defective product function correctly seems a little strage :) I'd like to send a little rant off to them, but it's just my luck that they don't have an email adress posted.. ugh.. Anyway. If you happen to know of any way of resetting the autostar to it's purchased state, your knowledge would help me immensely. Thanks for your time. Jason Striegel firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Do you mean it comes up in this error mode every time you apply power to the ETX? If you the download cable you can install the latest version (which may or may not be newer than what was in the Autostar when you purchased it). You go into the SAFE LOAD mode (Enter/Scrolldown at power on) which allows you to download again.
Yeah, as soon as the Autostar starts spitting out the sun warning, it crashes. It only gets about half of "WARNING" out. From your reply I am guessing that this isn't common behaviour. Perhaps it is defective.Mike here: Can you get it into the SAFE LOAD mode?
I don't have an rs232 adapter yet. I am debating whether to take it back or get a cable and hack at it... of course I could take it back and get a cable to hack at the new one :)
Subject: re: List of stars in the Autostar Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 23:12:57 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Don, Whenever you see a commercial product offering "9,000 stars", suspect that they're using the Yale Bright Star Catalog. The Autostar is probably using the 5th edition, and frequently refers to entries in it as HR 5455 or some such. The "HR" is the Harvard Revision of the (football-rival Yale's named dropped) Bright Star Catalog. IF you web-search for "Bright Star Catalog" you'll find a few sites which offer it. The double star catalog looks suspiciously like: www.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/double.html and that www.chara.gsu.edu link may lead you to others. There is a NASA site which has many many catalogs, many of which combine to create the Autostar's databases. As i write this, I'm on the wrong PC to locate all of the bookmarks i made to -that- site. --dickMike here: Thanks to Dick, there is now a more complete (but unofficial) listing on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: re: autostar woes Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 22:56:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) or: scaring the Daylights out of it. Whenever you see a 15 degree RA error, suspect Daylight Savings. Even if you "correct" the error by slewing during Easy Align, it's still going to mess up in surprising ways ... such as planet and Moon calculations... it's going to calculate where they should be in RA and Dec, and even if it's correcting where RA/Dec so-and-so is, it'll think the Moon (especially) is elsewhere. (about a half-degree, or one full moon width, off). The DEFAULT setting for Daylight Savings is "off" So if your first Date/Time setting just blew past that answer, it's blown. A week ago i mis-set the time, the alignment slews were way off, and it was a half-hour fight to point at -anything-. Until i turned it off in disgust (planning to restart and try again). Even as the glow of the display was still fading in the dark my original time mis-set stomped on my memory... (followed rapidly by a slap-to-forehead, then "ouch" 'cause i still had the Autostar in my hand). Once you've -set- the Daylight Savings to ON, it'll remain there in subsequent power-ups. --dick (of the frequently bruised forehead)And:
Subject: Re: autostar woes Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 09:49:55 From: email@example.com (Rob Moore) Dick, Both you and Mike indicated that the daylight savings setting was the problem and sure enough, when I checked it last night, it was set to off. I've set it to on and now I have to wait until a reasonably clear night to try it out. Thanks for much for getting back to me! Regards, Rob (whose forehead is also bruised!)
Subject: List of Stars in Autostar Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 19:21:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don DeNatale) Has anyone compiled a list of stars that the Autostar contains? I suppose it would actually be several lists since we have Named, SAO Catalog, Double, etc. If you know of such a set of lists, I would really like to get it. Thanks in advance for your help. Iguana DonMike here: There is a list on the November 1999 Autostar Feedback page.
Thank you. I now have a list of the Named Stars. Do you think anyone has listed the Doubles, SAOs, or Variables? I appreciate your help.
Subject: Autostar woes... Sent: Monday, September 11, 2000 16:31:36 From: email@example.com (Rob Moore) I've recently purchased an ETX-125 and after three or four tries have become pretty discouraged with the Autostar alignment. I've found the home position as shown in the manual, leveled the base by using a spirit level, and pointed it north by using the North star. I've followed the instructions carefully according to the manual and they agree with what the AutoStar controller is asking for. When I use Easy Align, it invariably tells me to find Arcturas and slews somewhere over near there. Arcturas is never within the the finder (carefully aligned) and I have to move the scope with the controller, at least 10-15 degrees to get it centered. The next star has similar results, but isn't quite as far off. From then on, I can tell it to goto a given object and it points somewhere in the vicinity but the object usually isn't even in the finder scope by 5-10 degrees. I've trained the drives twice carefully on an object at least 10 miles away. What am I doing wrong? Is there a software update that I need for the Autostar? Should I return the entire scope to the dealer and try to get another or get it repaired? Any help would be gratefully appreciated. I also have a Questar and have at least some experiance with these things.... RobMike here: Sorry you're having trouble. I have 2.0h in the Autostar on the ETX-125EC and it performed flawlessly on a demo for a local person last Friday night. You didn't indicate what version you're running so don't know if updating will help or not. But from your description of being off 10-15 degrees, gee, that sounds like a Daylight or Standard Time error. This may be a dumb question but have you selected the proper site location and time?
Well, I've selected San Jose, California as the site and put in the correct time to within a minute or so. I don't recall if the controller said that daylight savings time was in effect or not but I left it at the same setting. I'll check when I get home tonight and make sure that it's set properly. Actually, the time setting shouldn't make any difference once you've aligned on two stars would it?
Subject: re: alignment Sent: Saturday, September 9, 2000 21:20:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Tim, Having a level table is perhaps the most important part of Alt/Az alignment. Anything providing over a degree of tilt to the base is going to really mess up the poor Autostar's attempts at alignment and subsequent GoToing. And yes, the Andromeda Galaxy is "merely" a broad "faint fuzzy". It's also the furthest object you can see by naked eye... 2.2 million light years away. (ok, ok... having the correct Latitude, Longitude, Time Zone, Local Time all affect it too... it took me fifteen minutes of air-turned-blue-by-swearing a week ago before i turned it off and -then- realized i hadn't set the time correctly because i was "only" going to adjust my Site data... but i forgot and moved on to alignment with a 1.5 hour error in the clock...) (this was during the -only- clear night of an 8-day drive through British Columbia -specifically- to take my ETX to dark skies.... they were dark, alright... dark clouds.) --dick (after correcting the clock, it was a very successful viewing night... many Messier objects which are simply invisible in city haze were standouts... and it was the first night in a year that i was able to naked-eye the Milky Way) (it was also coincidentally my ETX90's first anniversary)
Subject: Re: Autostar Update Failure Sent: Friday, September 8, 2000 21:11:52 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Rob, My usual first step when hit with such a message is a complete re-install of the Updater kit. i.e. download http://www.meade.com/support/auto/auto.zip -again-, unpack it to an empty folder, and click on Setup in there to fully install the package. *then* try another Updater session. That error message is not in clear text in any file in the Updater's directory. --dick ok..ok... it takes about 14 steps before i lower myself to doing the correct thing... do what i say, not what i do...
Subject: Star 2000 guider and ETX Sent: Thursday, September 7, 2000 18:58:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Edwards) Just a quick update on a recent posting by Paul Boudreaux (Sept 6, 2000) regarding the Star 2000 self-guiding software for the MX series of CCD cameras from Starlight Xpress. According to the information available on the Starlight Xpress message board, it is unlikely that the Star 2000 would work successfully with an ETX/Autostar combination. For example, Terry Platt writes that "The ETX is unlikely to guide well with STAR 2000. It has small drive gears and plenty of backlash, so lots of guiding problems." Even the LX50s seem to have problems. I hope this helps. PS I'm actually planning to purchase an MX516 Starlight Xpress and the Star 2000 self-guiding software for use on my LX50/piggybacked ETX (call me a masochist!), so I'll keep you posted on how this turns out. Best wishes, Kevin
Subject: Help with Autostar alignment please Sent: Wednesday, September 6, 2000 22:59:53 From: email@example.com (Tim Sheets) As I have noted previously, I am overwhelmingly pleased with the ETX90/EC's optics, wow! But I am having trouble with the Autostar alignment. I've tried a dozen times to no avail. I believe I trained the Autostar properly. When I am asked to put the scope in the home position, what I have been doing, since I don't own a compass, is centering Polaris, then moving the scope's vertical axis down to level with a carpenters level. Then I hit enter, the scope slews to the first "easy align" star, and even when it's a star that I am familiar with, it doesn't hardly get even close. After aligning the star properly, the second one isn't close. The only thing I can figure is that the "table" that I set the scope on must be perfectly level as well. My driveway is sloped so the "mount" or in truth "table" is not level. So, this mount is not level, the the scope, in home position is. Is this my problem? Thanks in advance for your help. TimMike here: In Alt/Az mode, the ETX base must be level or nearly so.
Subject: STAR 2000 Selfguiding software for the MX5 series CCD camera Sent: Wednesday, September 6, 2000 08:57:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul J. Boudreaux) I just thought I would let your readers know about a new posting on the Starlight-Xpress home page for their MX5 series CCD imagers. Their STAR2000 selfguiding software works just fine with the ETX90/125EC Meade series telescopes. This downloadable upgrade software uses the MX5(B&W) or the MX5-C(single shot color) CCD camera to autoguide the ETX telescope with the Autostar controller. No additional hardware is needed for the ETX other than the serial control cable from the computer to the ETX/Autostar controler (which your home page shows you how to make). The latest color and also B&W versions of the software are available at www.starlight-xpress.co.uk/ along with a quantity of useful information at the site on CCD imaging. I just downloaded the software and am anxiously awaiting the first clear night to try it out. It seems we had nearly 50 cloudy nights in a row in the Washington DC area this summer - bummer! Not much has been posted at the Starlight-Xpress site on using the ETX with the MX5 series CCD cameras, but the site claims that all will work just fine. I'll try to keep you informed on my progress in using this new selfguiding technique with my MX5-C color CCD camera and the ETX125EC. Paul Boudreaux
Subject: Autostar Update Failure Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2000 19:10:45 From: email@example.com (radowning) I have searched through the archives, and either I'm a complete dolt, or the message I'm looking for is not there... There, now that I've lowered your expectations, let me describe what I'm seeing. When I try to run the Updater, I get the message 'Windows Read Error' from the program, which then closes. Now, I know that I saw those symptoms before, but alack and alas, I am unable to find the old report. Currently using 1.3c (working, for all of that) but trying to go to 2.1... Thanks, RobMike here: The only "read error" I could find was on the Feb 2000 Autostar Feedback page (in the Feedback Archives).
Ahhh. OK, thanks, Mike. I'll look it up.
Subject: Re: Fwd: Autostar High Precision mode/ M81 and 82 Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2000 10:27:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) re: High Prec to m81 and friends... I agree with Bill... and i've sent notes to Meade asking that other non-obvious stuff get added to the HP list... like Neptune, Uranus and Pluto... --dick (on vacation 'til Sept 9th)
Subject: Autostar High Precision mode/ M81 and 82 Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2000 00:24:35 From: email@example.com (William D. Collins) Perhaps the answer to Pierre Henrotay's question as to why high precision mode doesn't work with M 81 or 82 is that the Autostar programmers inadvertently omitted them from the special data set which triggers the two-step HP behavior. I suspect that there is a flag field for each object in the AS database. IF the flag is set AND high precision is ON, then the HP process begins. Otherwise the AS treats the object as it would a star, that is, it just slews directly to it. This is a guess, of course, but something of the sort is going on. Maybe you can call this to the attention of your contacts at Meade. HP mode works every time the user selects Go To for a manually keyed RA/Dec position (assuming it's been turned on), so one could just use M 81's / 82's co-ordinates to invoke the HP process. Bill Collins
Subject: re: exiting a Tour Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 20:34:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To exit a tour is harder than it used to be. Basically... LEAN on the Mode key. Hold it down for more than 3 seconds. Release. Be prepared to repeat. At some point you -will- catch it just right, and either pop up to the RA/Dec display, or to simply the Tour's name. Then one more [mode] brings you fully out. At least, that's how it is in a 497 Autostar. I hope there's enough of a common code-base that 494's (the new lil' fellers) perform the same. Agreed... it's a pain in the finger --dick
Subject: Autostar cel. coordinates Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 09:31:42 From: email@example.com (cdcopy) is it possible to get the cel. coordinates when slewed to a specific point to position afterward to that point? e.g. Set the scope to M31 - make some corrections -> Get the coordinates Markus Barth http://www.cdcopy.sk http://www.s35expl.de http://www.MarkusBarth.comMike here: I believe the answer is "yes". But I'm traveling and don't have access to my Autostar. Try holding down the MODE key for a couple of seconds (or is the ENTER key?).
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