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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK - SEPTEMBER 1999
Last updated: 30 September 1999

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



Subject:	 Autostar Alternate Power
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 1999 21:38:57
From:	tangent@sunshine.net (John S. Reynolds)
Great site!

Does anyone know the pinouts for the RJ45 connector? I need to power the
Autostar from a battery not the ETX

thanx

john
Mike here: Glad you like the site. Search my ETX site for "pinout" and you'll find some references. Also, Meade has the pinout on their site in Appendix B of the Autostar manual.

Added later:

Thanx for your response Mike, but what I am looking for (so far in vain)
is the power pinouts on the RJ45 connector of the Autostar/HBX connector
of the scope so I can power the Autostar remotely from the scope. I
assume that the red and black wires of the cable would be the positive
and negative 12V but I am not willing to open either device and kill my
warranty. I am sure the pinouts of the other connector will come in
handy when I need to update the Autostar. Boy, we Mac users sure have to
suffer, huh?

BTW my Autostar only says version 1.1 (?)

thanx

john

Subject:	 Autostar 495 vs 497
Sent:	Sunday, September 26, 1999 18:32:50
From:	deissg@sd242.k12.id.us (Greg Deiss)
I just got through looking at the 70EC  the Sears Wishbook website.
While there I also looked at what they had to say about the Autostars.
They list both of them as useable on the ETX-70 EC (there item #90559).
Is this true?  Can both Autostars run some of the Meade scopes?

Greg
Mike here: I believe both models can be used with ETX and DS lines.

Subject:	 Autostart easy alignment starts
Sent:	Sunday, September 26, 1999 17:31:20
From:	jmvdvorst@pacbell.net (Michael Vander Vorst)
I am having trouble identifying some of the named alignment starts
selected by the autostar.  Is there a list of the star names indexed by
constellation and brightness, e.g. alpha ursa major.

Thanks
Mike here: Check out some of the astronomy software listed on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX site. You can also go to Sky & Telescope's "Sights" page for the Northern Hemisphere:

www.skypub.com/sights/northern/northern.shtml

or the Southern Hemisphere:

www.skypub.com/sights/southern/southern.html

Select the current month and then click on the sky chart that appears for an enlarged view. You can print this chart. It has star and constellation names. Books like Norton's Star Atlas provide maps. Visit your location book store to check out selections.


Subject:	 controller information
Sent:	Saturday, September 25, 1999 14:14:42
From:	tomd@freewwweb.com (Tom)
can anyone tell me what the difference is fron the 495 autostar and the
497 autostar? we all know that Service merchandise sells the etx-70  and
the 495. they sell the 495 for 97.00 . if there isn't anydifference then
I can't justify buying the 497.

I also just bought the ETX-90 today. the place I bought it told me if I
didn't like it he would give me my money back or I can trade up to the
ETX-125. what is the general consensious on this? I am asking because 1)
I don't really know the difference. 2) I like others don't want to be
disappointed and get discouraged. I have always wanted a good telescope
since childhood. 45 years!  ANY  comments IS appreciated!  thanks!
Mike here: The basic difference between the 497 and 495 Autostars is the number of objects in the database: 14,000+ for the 497 and 1500+ for the 495 (according to the latest Meade catalog). So if you want more automatic GO-TO objects available you'll have to spend the extra money. The basic difference in the ETX-90EC and the ETX-125EC is size. That translates to more observing power at the price of less portability. See the ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC Feedback pages for more on these scopes.

Added later:

Thank you for the reply. can the 495  be upgraded to the higher objects?
I don't believe in going to a dept. store for telescopes but that is
quite a difference in price. just trying to save a little. I used my
ETX-90 last night. it was great! right out of the box and I saw Jupitor
and her moons and Saturn. that is more then I had with my polaris. I am
going to be a regular on your web site if that is ok with you. I do alot
of reading and that web site is the ticket! I am going to trade my 90
for a 125 when they are  corrected and sent back to the market. I
noticed the slack in the gearing on this 90. quite alot. again thanks
and clear skys!
Mike here: I didn't see any mention that the 495 was upgradable. I suspect it has limited memory in comparison to the 497.

Subject:	 Objects drift out of eyepiece
Sent:	Thursday, September 23, 1999 21:14:41
From:	dbjarnas@toronto.cbc.ca
When I'm using my ETX with Autostar, objects don't seem to be tracked
properly. They drift slowly UP and to the LEFT (that would be to the
RIGHT in the real world). Assuming nothing's wrong with my scope's
tracking mechanism (is this a reasonable assumption?) what am I doing
wrong in setting things up? Does it sound like my tripod is not level?
(and if thats the case which way is it off?); or is the scope itself
perhaps not at 90 degrees? Suggested possobilities greatly received.
Many thanks
Dan
Toronto
Mike here: There are several factors that could come into play. In no particular order: Scope leveling (if Alt/Az), HOME position accuracy (and not just the readings on the DEC circle), Alt/Az vs Polar mounting, battery life, selection and accuracy of the star alignments, version of the Autostar software, improper or no drive training, not using the Autostar for scope movements once the ETX is aligned, bumping the tripod following alignment (even a little bit), and possibly more. If you have the current version of the Autostar s/w and you believe you've done everything right, try using different alignment stars.

Subject:	 Re: Help with the so-called Easy Alignment
Sent:	Wednesday, September 22, 1999 06:12:30
From:	david.kaufman@railinc.net
Thanks for your quick and helpful response.  Meade should change the
manual to say "point the scope roughly to the north" instead of the
ominious "True North".

I think this brings up a great enhancement for the next generation of
ETX: A built-in digital compass.  (Many new cars have them built in to
the rear view mirror.)
Anyway...

Thanks again,

David K

Subject:	 Help with the so-called Easy Alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, September 21, 1999 11:54:48
From:	david.kaufman@railinc.net
This is my first month with the scope so pardon the simplistic nature of
my question...

I do not understand how to place the scope in the Alt/Az 'Home'
position. I have read the online manual, and I am fine up to the part
where it says "Pick up the telescope by its drive base and rotate the
entire assembly until the telescope is pointing True North. "

How do you do this?

I can hold a compass in my hand, and attempt to point the scope in the
same direction, but this seems so inaccurate.  The accuracy needed to
locate a star has to be more precise than pointing the scope
more-or-less in the direction of a woblly compass arrow. Also, what
about the difference between Magnetic North and True North?

I thought about pointing at Polaris and then dropping the Declination
until it was 0, but I don't have a clear view of the North Star, and I
feel like I'm missing something really obvious.

Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks,

David Kaufman
Mike here: As you noted, there can be a difference in Magnetic North vs True North. For True North you need to account for the magnetic variation of your location. But even using a compass without applying the variation will get you pretty close and possibly close enough since the Autostar will use your star alignments for its math calculations. So, with the scope in the Alt/Az Home position, just pick up the scope from the ground/table/whatever and turn it to point the tube towards the North. Then you can do the Autostar alignments. In Alt/Az mode, precise North pointing is not that necessary. In Polar mode, the more accurate the polar alignment the better since you want the ETX RA axis parallel to the earth's rotation axis.

Subject:	 ETX 90 Questions
Sent:	Tuesday, September 21, 1999 06:51:06
From:	jmannix@princesshouse.com (John Mannix)
Great site.  Being rather a novice,  I have a question about the home
position.  I have the ETX 90 mounted on the ETX field tripod set at a
laditude of 42 degrees. I believe I am polar aligned North leg of tripod
faces North and the front tube of the telescope facing somewhat up and
pointing due South.  Does this sound ok? Following the Austostar
directions I make sure my Dec is set to 0 and I rotate the telescope
counter clockwise until it hard stops then I align the fork over the
computer.  With my latitude will the front tube of the telescope appear
to be facing somewhat down and North  in the home position.  It looks
strange.  Must I repeat the autostart alignment  procedure every night
or just the polar alignment and home positioning?

Thanks for you feedback.

Sincerely John in Rhode Island
Mike here: Glad you like the site. That is the correct pointing (north and downward). You don't have to go through the whole Autostar setup but you do have to do the star alignments each night (assuming you turned the ETX off and moved it). Of course, moving the ETX will require redoing the HOME position.

Subject:	 Autostar sign change
Sent:	Saturday, September 18, 1999 13:11:27
From:	A.J.M.Weijenberg@net.HCC.nl (A.J.M. Weijenberg)
I was reading on your excellent site that people wondered about the sign
of the East/West-of-Greenwich issue. I remembered reading in one of the
files that accompanied the 1.2b update (file: ver12b.txt) that Meade
desided to switch the sign for both the time and the longitude with the
release of 1.2b.

I am also reading, and I fulhardly agree with it, that the
Person-Machine-Interface of the autostar update program is very
confusing and does not make much sence. Up till now I did not I succeed
of uploading satellite (like MIR) data to the autostar. Also I don't
like it that if you want to play with the autostar update program to
familiarize yourself, you have to be connected to the Autostar and put
it in the download mode (scary). I did sent some time ago an e-mail to
Meade about some of the things I did not understand. No response. It
looks like engineers are developing the interface without any user
input. It is maybe a good idea if you put on your site a suggestion list
of all the things of the Autostar update program and maybe the Autostar
itself, that might be improved. Maybe somebody from Meade is reading
that than :-)

Regards,

Jos Weijenberg

--------------------------------------
A.J.M.Weijenberg@net.HCC.nl
--------------------------------------
Mike here: Meade DOES read email sent to engineer@meade.com, they just don't respond individually.

Subject:	Re: ETX-90EC W/Autostar and JMI Motofocus
Sent:	Friday, September 17, 1999 14:39:49
From:	Wtbesq@aol.com
Well, Murphy's Law strikes again.  I installed the latest Autostar
software, and on the next clear night tested it.  First, the new
software did not allow me to use the JMI motofocus unit. Second, the
declination lock promptly broke, rendering my telescope useless.

I guess I'll now have to search your wonderful site for information on
how to fix the dec lock, or send my 90 ETX back to Meade. Part of life!

Bill
Mike here: See my ETX-90EC review (linked from the ETX-90EC Feedback page) for info on the DEC Lock. Also, JMI is revving their unit to work with the Autostar. Do you have the newer one?

Added later:

Thanks for the directions on the DEC lock failure.

I do not yet have the new JMI wire, but the again I haven't sent back
the original parts yet with the manual focus box they lent to me.  Sice
I will now need to wait for Meade parts, I will and report any
experiences with the new wiring.

Subject:	 Autostar display glitch
Sent:	Thursday, September 16, 1999 13:28:37
From:	skr1@aloha.net (Sheraton Kauai Resort)
HELP!

Crossed my fingers that airlines wouldn't make me check brand spankin'
new (never even setup) 90EC + Autostar and hauled it off to Kauai. (They
didn't, it traveled safely in the overhead compartment.) Spent 5 and
half hours enroute reading the manuals and a hundred or so pages
downloaded from here, and joy oh joy I have Autostar V1.2 and everything
worked perfectly. (Darling wife even reads this site and saw 20% sale at
local store). Had to visit the coast guard to get lat, long, and
variation, but set up was a snap, alignment was a snap, first attempt at
sky tour worked as advertised. EVERYTHING was in 26mm field of view and
most dead center. AMAZING!

Then I dropped the Autostar "handbox." No biggie, it was still on the
cord, but it took a thunk on the carpet. Oh, yes it was a biggie, turns
out. Now the second line is just dashes (underlines, really) with an
occasional "L." Seems like everything works still, I even managed to
find the reset by counting menu positions in hopes it would solve the
problem, but no such luck. Nothing like a telescope shop anywhere around
here, so I'm on my own. Any suggestions? My guess is its a mechanical
issue with the display (loose connector) but I haven't any idea what the
guts look like and if opening the back of the handbox (just 4 Philips
screws will ruin warranty.

(Mike, please post an ideas here on the your site, under autostar as
e-mail is problematic, but free 56K Internet access is now considered an
amenity! How times they are a changin.'. Thanks!)
Mike here: Sorry to hear about the "oops". Something probably is loose. And opening it would void any warranty but that is voided now anyway. So, no harm in opening it up but the probability of your being able to fix it is likely to be small. Contact Meade.

Subject:	 Autostar/time zone question
Sent:	Wednesday, September 15, 1999 17:24:04
From:	samos@inforamp.net
In Autostar, to  create a new site, you're asked to say how many time
zones you are removed from Greenwich ... preceeded by a plus or a minus
sign.

The on line manual says if you're west of Greewich ... it should be a
plus (+) sign  and minus (-) if you're east, so  the east coast of North
America for example would be a - sign. However, my ETX90 skews off to
the right when I have that setting. But it seems okay when I make it
minus. Is the manual wrong, or is there something wrong with my scope?
Thanks
Dan
Mike here: I seem to recall others making the same observation. So perhaps the manual is backwards. But either way, users should do what works.

Subject:	 Re: AutoStar
Sent:	Wednesday, September 15, 1999 14:25:04
From:	rraposo@brother.com (R. Reed Raposo)
That was my impression as well but it doesn't seem to work...and I'm a
IT professional so I should know what I'm doing.  Do you have any ideas.
Perhaps your readers have had similar experiences.

thanks

Reed Raposo

etx@me.com wrote:

> I haven't yet tried it but the data is supposed to go into the
> Ephemerides folder.  Then the Autostar will upload the data.

Subject:	 add sites in Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, September 15, 1999 08:04:30
From:	darnoff@Microcare.cl (Daniel Arnoff)
I wish add some sites to the Database in Autostar and I have found that
is possible to setup the data in two ways:

Lat: 39 15 S Long: 072 06 W (represented in degrees minutes direction)

or

Lat: -39.250 Long: -72.100 (represented in decimal degress and fractions
of degrees)

Do you know  wich is the correct format accepted for Autostar ?

Help will be appreciatted

daniel

Subject:	Re: uploading astronomical data (orbital elements)
Sent:	Tuesday, September 14, 1999 13:04:22
From:	Stantastic@aol.com
This is in response to R. Reed Raposo's query regarding the updating of
orbital elements.

I've upgraded the Autostar Update software to X1.2002 (which is Meade's
"beta" pre-release -- kind of weird, huh? -- you'd think that ALL the
pre-release software would be beta! -- so basically, there's TWO
versions out there) and have upgraded my Autostar controller to 1.3b.

I think the situation at the moment is that the only way to update the
orbital elements (Asteroids, Satellites, Comets, etc.) is through a
direct internet connection at the time you run the Update software.
There's a boxed group on the left of the main dialog (in the beta
release) titled "GET FROM WEB" and within that is "New Versions" (for
updating the Autostar controller) and "New Ephemerides" (for updating
the TLE data). Although you can still make "changes" to the data within
the Autostar on a satellite-by-satellite or comet-by-comet basis using
the new beta software, the only way to upload a whole new "current" set
of data is by the above method. In other words, downloading the orbital
elements from Meade's web site (or any other site for that matter),
saving it as a text file, and manually placing it within the
"Ephemerides" folder on your hard disk will NOT work -- there's no way
(at the moment) the software will read THAT text file and use it to
update the controller.

Personally, I find this method not very user friendly. It is basically
very "internet-dependent" (you MUST be connected to the internet or it
won't work). Having a Mac and needing to use Virtual PC just to upgrade
the Autostar is a pain in the butt already -- to complicate the matter
even more by requiring me to be connected to the internet while UNDER
Virtual PC just makes matters worse (in my opinion). I'm still waiting
for their "Java" based updater for the Mac ("COMING SOON!! -- yeah, but
"soon" seems to be a relative term!!!)

I have already FAXed Meade with regard to other software issues and
received a quick and responsive reply. My latest FAX, wherein I suggest
that the new software should allow the user to choose whether to update
orbital elements either by a direct web connection OR by reading a
previously downloaded text file, has yet to be answered.

If anybody has any different story about updating orbital elements and
they've found a way for the software to read it from the "Ephemerides"
folder, I'd sure appreciate hearing about it.

Stan Glaser
stantastic@aol.com

Subject:	 Re: 90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, September 14, 1999 01:34:55
From:	fyrframe@ptinet.net (Gregory David Stempel)
One other thing which may not need mentioning is that High Precision
needs to be selected each time to get the "center on star" command
before Autostar acutally slews to the intended target.

Thanks for all of your hard work.

Any advice on how to find Comet Lee? I try starting at NGC 1502, and
using the Star Atlas 2000, look for Camelopardalis Beta, but have yet to
find it or the comet. Lee is supposed to be a decent target at Mv 8 or
so.

Take care,
Gregory david Stempel
FIREFRAME

Subject:	 Updating AutoStar on a Mac
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 11:49:14
From:	aviad@broshi.com (Aviad Broshi)
Tried following your instructions on upgrading with a Mac to go from
1.2g to 1.3b, but I can't get it to work. The program can't locate the
autostar, giving me either a "Access denied" or "Windows failed read"
message. I've tried every combination of Com1 , Com2, printer port and
modem port, to no avail. Looking for suggestions, but first, I'd like to
know what state the autostar should be in when I launch the autostar
update program-- i.e what mode should the autostar's LCD display be in
when I start-- or should I start in SAFE LOAD mode? (Meade's
instructions are unclear to me).

By the way, I love your site-- incredibly helpful information.
Mike here: The mode of the Autostar doesn't matter until you get ready to actually begin the download. The software will find it as long as the Autostar is ON. I haven't tried the new beta uploader software yet. Are you using VPC 2.1.3 or SoftWindows?

Subject:	 AutoStar
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 10:53:27
From:	rraposo@brother.com (R. Reed Raposo)
I have been successful in uploading the latest firmware for my autostar
(connected to my ETX-125EC).  However, I can't figure out how to
automatically upload the astronomical data (e.g. comets, asteroids,
satellites, etc.).  I have placed the recent uploads from Mead in the
relevant Ephemerides upload directory but the information does not seem
to be uploaded properly.  I am running the last 1.2 upload program from
Mead.  Is it necessary for me to manually type the data in?  Does the
Mead upload program only provide a better methodology for data entry of
the astronomical data?  In advance, I sincerely appreciate your help.

Regards,

Reed Raposo (New Jersey)
rraposo@brother.com

Subject:	 Autostar Dead
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 05:34:43
From:	rrodri@estratel.es
I'm from outside USA  and I've bought an ETX/90/EC and one Autostar on a
business trip to Florida in March. After a few moths I decided to update
my Autostar'software , so I purchased the cable and this weekend I setup
the whole thing for the upgrade.I downloaded the last pre-release
version from the Meade site and...I connected Autostar to COM2, set the
parameters right, installed the program and started it. The software 
found the Autostar and asked me to set it in download mode. I did this,
and this was the last thing my Autostar said : "Downloading- please do
not turn off!" When the Software came up, there was nothing to select,
except something like "Update to new Software". I clicked it, but
nothing happend, no response of Autostar, no Progess in the screen, and
then the software finished after some seconds without doing anything.
Autostar was still saying, that it is downloading, but I was not able to
get in contact with it by starting the update software again. After 45
minutes, I decided to turn off the scope, due the weakness of the
batteries. After turning on with new Batteries, Autostar display
remained black, and it is completely dead. The scope itself is
workingOK. So I have tried to the last resource, "the safe load mode" 
pushin ENTER and DOWNSCROLL  when put on the control panel, but NOTHING 
HAPPEN. So my main question is : Is there any action possible to
"rescue" my autostar? What can I do without sending the autostar to
Meade?Pls help me... I'm waiting for your responses.
Best regards all of you

Rafael
Mike here: If you can't get into the Safe Load mode it sounds like you may have one of the original Autostars that I believe did not have the Safe Load mode. You'll likely have to return it to Meade or swap at a local dealer.

Subject:	 90EC
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 00:03:04
From:	fyrframe@ptinet.net (Gregory David Stempel)
I have upgraded to the latest Autostar vs. 1.3b. I took the ETX out for
a test drive and found no problems. I tried to customize my site info.
and the scope would not work, thinking it was in the southern
hemisphere. I must have added the wrong coordinates. Once I put the site
info into one offered my the Autostar (Tacoma, Wa.) I was back on track.

I tend to do a two star alignment because I have the skies near my home
pretty much memorized, and know where the easiest ones to aling on are
located.

First, does everyone know, that when you select "high-presision" it will
say it is on, but you still have to hit enter. Then, when you pick a
deep-sky object to center on, the Autostar will first center near or on
a bright star in the area of the object. Once this is centered, the
Autostar will then slew to the object picked by the user.

Second, the one post complaining about the scope constantly slewing in
the wrong directions or to a stop, may be having problems with the
Autostar itself. If you remember, my first two Autostars were defective.
One of the symptoms was erratic slewing. Also, the scope may be thinking
it is in the Southern rather than Norhtern Hemisphere. Slew to a known
star near the observer's zenith. If the Autostar says below horizon,
then it thinks it's in the South. It happened to me a couple of times.
The first time was right after downloading the latest vs. firmware. I
put the hand controller on, then turned the scope on, and slew it around
for a few minutes. I then turned it off, and replaced the hand
controller with the Autostar and everything seemed normal.

Right now, I am getting dead on slewing to objects. Everything I try, is
ending up in the ep. This is with vs. 1.3b downloaded today.

One other thing. If the scope runs into a stop. Here is a way to fix it
without having to re-home and re-align. Simply pick an obvious star like
Deneb or Vega. Tell it to go there. It will miss by quite a distance. I
then hit enter for a couple of seconds until synch mode appears. I slew
to the star, center it in the ep and hit enter again. I then do this to
another star, and have found I am back on track. Sort of a psuedo
alignment, but it works.

The longer the motors grind at the stop, the farther out of alignemt the
Autostar/scope will be. I then check this out with my two favorite
objects, Albiero and M57 (Ring Nebula). If they show up in the ep, I
know I back in business.

Hope this helps, and take care out there Mike and all.
Gregory david Stempel
FIREFRAME

Subject:	 First night with autostar
Sent:	Thursday, September 9, 1999 07:25:46
From:	filipe@robot-lda.pt (Filipe Rosa Ferreira)
After 6 monts I finally got my autostar. I upgraded to v.1.3b without
problems (used IE) and got ready to go. I trained the dreive using a
powermate 5x and the 26 mm eyepiece, did an easy aligment (Capella and
Vega) which missed the stars by almost two finders diameter, and did a
goto to Jupiter. Almost in the center of the eyepiece, yes! Then played
around with the goto (Ring Nebula, M13, Andromeda, Saturn) with almost
perfect results (always in the eyepiece). Everything was running
smoothly until I tried to goto from Saturn to Vega, which made the ETX
take the spin in the wrong direction, making it hit a hardstop. Deam!
Did a 2 star aligment on Vega and Capella again and played around a bit.
This time the goto was worst, but still in the eyepiece, but it kept
moving in the wrong direction! I tried to goto from vega to M57 and the
scope did almost a 360o spin, and kept doing this on all gotos until it
kept hitting hardstops and I quitted and gone home. Any hints why the
etx is taking the long way around and hitting hardstops?

Regards,


Filipe Rosa Ferreira
filipe@robot-lda.pt

PS - Mike, great site!
Mike here: Be certain you put the ETX into the proper HOME position. If you don't get the RA starting point set right, you can run into problems. Other than that, check the battery level on the Autostar.

Subject:	 Question on Autostar training.
Sent:	Thursday, September 9, 1999 05:57:57
From:	fgoldner@worldnet.att.net (Frank Goldner)
When the telescope is trained with Autostar, must one leave the controls
(declination and right ascention) locked to retain the benefits of
training? I still am having trouble getting two stars under easy
alignment into the finder scope. (I usually train in daylight.)

Thanks and best regards.

Frank Goldner, Bethesda Md.
fgoldner@worldnet.att.net
MIke here: As far as I know, you don't have to leave the axes locked from session to session. But once you align, you should only use the electronic controls to slew the ETX.

Subject:	 Question for the Autostar Board
Sent:	Wednesday, September 8, 1999 06:30:40
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
I seem to be having problems with version 1.3b as I did with 1.1j, which
is that the scope will not perform a proper two-star alignment and just
keeps rotating for the first star! Anyone else having this problem?
Maybe this is still a (Major) bug that needs to be fixed?

The latest version that is working best for me is 1.2g.

Thx,

KMB

Subject:	Re: ETX-90EC W/Autostar and JMI Motofocus
Sent:	Tuesday, September 7, 1999 14:20:59
From:	Wtbesq@aol.com
I called JMI and spoke first with customer service and then with Jim. 
It seems that Meade changed its Autostar software and it will not work
with present JMI motofocus.  They were very accommodating, and sent me a
hand box to use until they are able to work around the problem.  I
received a letter last week indicating they expect the new cable to
allow the JMI motofocus unit to work from the Autostar to be ready for
shipment in about two weeks.

In the meantime, I noted this morning that Meade has new software for
download (v1.3) on its website. I downloaded it and, assuming clear sky,
will test it out tonight.

Bill

Subject:	 ETX Autostar Repaired
Sent:	Saturday, September 4, 1999 07:41:21
From:	w7ox@mindspring.com (Phil Wheeler)
Good news.

Last night I dismantled the Autostar and unjammed the key that had been
wedged down due to packing when Meade returned it to me (unprogrammed!).
 The key tops are all on a single big membrane, so I just had to move it
a bit in one corner.

Then I downloaded the latest firmware (v. 1.3), dated 9/3/99, from the
Meade website.

My Autostar was dead (nothing on the display), but there is a trick to
get it to accept a reload even then: Hold down the Enter and ScrollDown
keys (opposing corners of key pad) while turning on power at the ETX
control panel.

New load went in OK and I got the usual out-of-the-box setup screen.

Alas, clouds last night, so I had no chance to test it with the
ETX/EC-90.

Today I will do the "train" step, after realigning the finder, and hope
for stars soon.

Sure did beat dealing with Meade; and now (if it works) I will have the
ETX under dark skies in a week to finally see what it can (and cannot)
do.

Phil

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