|Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, cables, and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.|
Subject: ETX90 Alignment and Goto Questions Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010 14:08:49 From: Alan Bodnar (email@example.com) I have enjoyed your web site and my Meade ETX 90 with Autostar for many years but recently encountered a problem with alignment and tracking. After putting the scope in the Home position and attempting any kind of alignment, one star or two star, I select the target, press enter, and the scope moves first in altitude and then begins to move clockwise in azimuth but keeps going more than 360 degrees until it hits a stop. The same thing happens when I try to skip the alignment altogether and select an easy target like Jupiter. I have had my ETX 90 since 1996 and have never encountered anything like this. My autostar is running an old version of the software (1.3) but this hasn't been a problem and I never wanted to take a chance on updating it. (Now I have a MacBook and don't know how to update the software even if I wanted to). The scope has been sitting on its tripod for the last 3 years with minimal use (4 or 5 times at most) but, in the past, I have used it frequently and would like to get back to this pattern. I have changed the batteries but haven't attempted to Calibrate or re-train the drives. Any idea what is wrong and how I can fix it? Keep in mind that I am not especially technically-minded and I wouldn't rule out simply buying a new autostar unit if that would do the trick. Thanks, Alan Bodnar (firstname.lastname@example.org)Mike here: Do the CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES. Anytime you swap batteries, you should do a CALIBRATE MOTOR. As to updating with a Mac, you can use AutoStarX (link on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. You will need a USB-serial adapter (I recommend Keyspan) and the #505 serial cable (which you can easily make).
Thanks for you quick reply. I will let you know how this works. Alan
And an update:
I did a quick Calibrate Motor in the warmth of the house and this solved the problem! Then it was out on the driveway to look for Uranus. Even with a very rough alignment procedure, the tracking was excellent and the reward was an unforgettable view of Jupiter and Uranus in the same wide field of view! I'm not sure I actually saw the disc of Uranus even at 120x but it was pale blue and close enough. Thanks again for your help and your excellent web site. Alan
Subject: re: Changing alignment information Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 15:30:30 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) You can change the state of the Daylight Savings question *after* going through an alignment. So, let it do an alignment, and then get to the Menu system. (Press Mode for Menu, or when it's offering to look something up) Then tap MODE until you see: Select/Object Now tap SCROLL UP (the lower rightmost key) until you see: Select/Setup Tap ENTER once, you'll see Setup/Align Now tap SCROLL DOWN a few times. It will pass through Setup/Time, Setup/Date and eventually get to Setup/Daylight Savings. Now tap ENTER, and it will show Daylight Savings / >Yes Tap Scroll Down once, it will show Daylight Savings / No (note the lack of the ">", which shows you which answer is "selected") Now press ENTER. That will Select the "No" state, and that's what will hold the *next* time you set up the scope. have fun --dick
Whoops... i forgot about: >> the same problem if I were to switch zip codes ..that's under Setup/Site , a few scroll-down presses from Setup/Daylight Feel free to explore the menu system... there's also a map of it in the manual. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: AutoStar 497 Proc Trap 2 Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 08:18:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I tried using star patch to fix it and it didn't work. I tried using the old update software for the new Rom and that didn't work either. In desperation I just used the newer software with the 43Eg Rom you suggested and it worked. It has been working ever since and I haven't gotten a single Proc Trap error. The only thing I don't know is why didn't work the first time. Thank you very much for all your help, Eric
And this from before the above was posted to the Site:
Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 15:55:56 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sigh... where to begin? First, turning off the 497 Autostar for 15 seconds is as good as turning it off for days. There are no significant "energy storage" devices inside the telescope or Autostar. 5 seconds will drain them all, but 10 or 15 seconds certainly doesn't hurt. The only reason i'd ever advise "15 hours" would just be as a gentle way to say "get some sleep and try it when you're fresh". Next, once you have Safe Load (also called Flash Load on the screen) into your Autostar, the Flash Load version will *not* change. That's why it's "Safe" ... it's not destroyed by the typical update process. If you can start your Autostar in Safe (Flash) Load mode, then you should be able to leap to v4.3g in one step. The Proc 2 Trap is most likely due to one bad bit (thus byte) in the memory. You can *try* simply doing Setup/Reset [enter][enter] on the key pad (when running in "normal" mode). That does a lot of clean-up in one of the memory areas (the Autostar has three: EEROM on the cpu chip itself (this is what Reset cleans), Static Ram which gets erased and rewritten every time you turn it on, and Flash Ram (just like a digital camera's SD chip) which holds the firmware and astronomy object database. ((EEPROM means "Electrically Erasable Read Only Memory"))) The reason updating the firmware *may* help the Proc 2 Trap is that it may "fix" the bad byte by rewriting it, or by writing something useless on the sick memory, so that the symptom disappears. If the problem is in your Static Ram, or a referenced-by-all-version in the EEROM or the Flash Ram, then simply updating the firmware version probably won't help. If it's in the Flash Ram, the act of updating *should* reveal it, since even ASU checks to see if the update "took" by quickly comparing what was written with what's in there a few microseconds later. If the bad bit had the problem of *slowly* reverting from a zero to a one (the "erased" state of Flash memory), then ASU's "quick test" wouldn't catch it. Bad bytes in the Static Ram (which is the fast "scratchpad" memory used at all times during Autostar operation) wouldn't show up during firmware updates, since that chunk of memory is not written at that time. It's refilled at the start of the next autostar reboot. Truly fixing it would require soldering in a new memory chip. good luck --dick
Subject: AutoStar 497 Proc Trap 2 Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 19:06:27 From: Eric (email@example.com) I own an AutoStar 497 Handbox with a Flash ROM of 1.2 that is almost 10 years old. I only recently received the means to update it with a 505 cable. I realized too later that the ROM version of my handbox was too old for the updates I was putting on it. When I realized this I decided to use the proper ROM file and Safe Mode to knock it back down in order to try to get it working again. I was partially successful, the unit will power up normally, go through the setup and allow for connection with the PC for AutoStar pointing, but then occasionally I still get the "Proc Trap 2" error. I spoke with Meade customer service and they pretty much a broken record, once you see a Proc Trap they won't even talk to you. I was hoping you might have an idea on how to get rid of this error. Right now the ROM on it is 1.2 and it is working a little. I still have the 494 handbox it came with so if it can't be fixed it will not be a big deal, even though I will have to buy the 506 cable to get it working with the PC again. If you have any advice to offer please let me know. Thank you, EricMike here: You should be able to install 4.3Eg on your AutoStar #497. If you find you can't jump directly to that version, try one of the 3.x versions first (available on the "Autostar Software Archive" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. If that install goes OK, then go to 4.3Eg. As to the Proc 2 error, many times there isn't much you can do if it occurs continuously. However, sometimes a remedy can be to disconnect the AutoStar from the telescope and let it sit for 15 minutes (or several hours). Then reconnect it to the telescope.
Thank you for your advice, after I got your e-mail I realized that I hadn't had the 497 unplugged for more than a few minutes since this whole thing started. I am leaving it completely disconnected overnight. Tomorrow I am going to see if the error comes back, regardless I may try to do the increments slowly, installing something in the 2.0 range then the 3.0 and if everything is alright then go on to 4. I do have a question though, when I start the 497 in safe mode it says that the Flash Rom is 1.2, does that ever change with these upgrades or it is stuck at this level forever. I am hoping that with the proper update of ROMs whatever caused the error might simply be overridden with the proper code as I go, but since there doesn't seem to be a way to return it to it's absolutely pre-update state I have nowhere to go but up. One day I hope to control the telescope completely with the PC, use Auto Focus and see what the scope is seeing on my PC. Be able to take pictures of the Nebulas and distant galaxies. Thank you again, EricMike here: Yes, the FLASH LOAD READY version number will change. However, it may not match the ROM version installed.
If it barely works with the 1.2 installed what version would you suggest I go to? I'm not doing it until tomorrow but my thought was to go to 2 and gradually to 3. I figured that way I can monitor how it was reacting each time. Is it better to do each and every patch in sequence? I will go slow and let you know how it goes. Thank you, EricMike here: I'd suggest trying 4.3Eg first. As long as you have a good #505 serial cable and a RS-232 serial port, it should install OK. However, if you are using a USB-serial adapter then be aware that not all adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. If you are using the Meade AutoStar Update application, you might try StarPatch (from http://www.stargps.ca).
I haven't tried it yet but the 497 is still unplugged and hopefully not Proc Trapping anymore. On your advice I will try the 43Eg update, but I was hoping you could tell me which program I should use along with which Star patch from the StarGPS website, I wasn't sure. I have the Auto 2.4 software which seems to work but I am not sure it will work with the newer Roms. Please let me know. Thanks, EricMike here: StarPatch is a standalone program. The free version allows you to update the ROM. Meade's ASU 4.6 (from the archive page) should be used if you want to update to 4.3Eg using Meade's program. However, really old ROM files may require a "matching" ASU version. Older versions are on the archive page.
Okay so you use the Starpatch to update the 43Eg Rom ( both of which are available on the star patch website) and then use the AutoStar 4.6 updater in order to send it to the AutoStar 497. I'm starting to understand why this thing didn't work for me the first time. I'll try it out as soon as I get home today. Thank you very much, EricMike here: NO. ROM file 4.3Eg is available on the "AutoStar Software Archive" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site. StarPatch OR ASU can then be used to update the AutoStar #497.
Ok, I found the location of the 4.3Eg Rom file on your website, I will download it for my 497. I guess I just used the wrong program to update it. So which program do you recommend for that job, ASU 4.6 or Starpatch? I am also hoping that keeping it unplugged for so long and putting such a huge update on it will get rid of my errors, do you think so? Thanks, EricMike here: Either program will work IF you have a real RS-232 serial port. If you are using a USB-serial adapter then StarPatch may work more reliably (or not, depending on the adapter). As to unpowering the AutoStar for a long time, that has been known to help but not always.
Subject: LX90 and Autostar version Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 05:57:53 From: Kidd, Greg First, thanks for the site, a great resource :) I have an old 8" LX90 (bought in first year of production so the oldest version you can get. What is the most recent version of Autostar that you would suggest to install, I have not updated for around 5 years, I've seen all the new features being added but I don't have these on my scope Thanks for any advice Best wishes GregMike here: Version 4.3Eg would be the latest.
That's great, I'll download that now. Thanks for the quick response, it's great service you offer to us Meade fanatics :) This is the first time I've contacted your site after happily using it for years, keep up the great work. Have a happy Christmas and clear sky's Best wishes Greg
Subject: Changing alignment information Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 10:00:31 From: Andy Dodge (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you for your wonderful site. I have a new ETX 125. As I was first inputting my zip code and daylight savings status into the autostar I inadvertently, and incorrectly, entered that I was on daylight savings time. Each time I try to correct the error the autostar bypasses that section and instructs me to put the telescope in the home position. Whatever I do, I can't seem to return to that section to correct the error. How does one fix this? I imagine that it would be the same problem if I were to switch zip codes. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.MIke here: When you power on the ETX, are you prompted to enter the date and time?
Thanks for the fast response! No, I'm not prompted to, only my zip code and daylight savings status when I press "0" for automatic alignment. I have since called Meade, and had someone walk me through the change through the settings mode. I'll see tonight if it works. Thanks so much for your help. It is appreciated more than you know. Andy
Subject: RE: LX90GPS with LNT module not working with Autostar Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2010 15:14:41 From: Cindy Patterson (email@example.com) Thank you to all for your help. turns out our problem was we plugged the LNT module into autostar instead of the scope. No where in the LX90 manual did it say where to plug in. Of course we feel a bit sheepish that solution was so simple. Kept looking for complex software causes. thank you again for pointing us in the right direction with all your questions and thoughts as expressed below. Randy & Cindy
Subject: re: autostar error Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 14:49:35 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) What version firmware is running in the Autostar? (under Setup/Statistics (enter)(scroll up). What flavor of Autostar is it? If no numeric keys: it's a 494, otherwise, if it has numeric keys, it's a 497 You can press MODE for three seconds, then release. The Autostar will display the RA and DEC that it thinks it's pointing at. If you tap Scroll Down, it will then display the Alt and Az that it thinks it's pointing at. If you now slew the scope, you should see those numbers change to match your motions. If you tap Scroll Down many times, you will see many "status" displays. Verify that the Time, Date and Site are correct. (Date and Time errors are the usual source of 20 to 30 degree errors of the planets) (tap Mode to return to the normal menus) The "Sunflower Galaxy" issue may be a bug (although i don't remember hearing of it before). The RA/DEC and Alt/Az displays will let you know if something is "stuck" (i sincerely doubt that things are stuck). good luck --dick
From: Warren Maclean (email@example.com) Hello Dick .. Thanks for the email and advice .. Weather here is socked in for the moment so cannot go outside to view .. You may know ( or you may not know ) that I live in Brittany, France .. Lovely dark skies here during summer and winter most times. However during these past two days my wife Bernadette and I have been preparing to go to England for the Xmas holidays, so I have not had time to carry out the advice you have so promply sent me. We will be returning just after the new year and then I will catch up on the calibration of the scope .. Meanwhile, depending on clear skies in the UK, I will still get some sightings in .. Craftilly persuaded my wife to purchase the ' Firstscope' for an Xmas present for our grandson, she says it's only because I want to play with It !! ( She knows me well ) Thankyou ever so much for your help .. I will be in touch soon after the new year, hopefully with some better news .. The handbox is a 494 and the autostar version is '13 e1 ' Merry Xmas to you and all at Mike Weasners ' mighty ETX site ' Warren.
Subject: RE: autostar problems Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 08:31:04 From: Joaquim Gomes (firstname.lastname@example.org) 1st i tried in the menu acording to the manual pressing mode... But I couldn't get this done , after I tried to upgrade it with ASU after that I couldn't done nothing more Thanks jgMike here: If you have a really old version of the AutoStar ROM installed in your AutoStar, then you can change the language. HOWEVER, versions since around 2000 (I forget exactly when) have not had multiple languages installed. So, besides the version of the AutoStar installed, what version of ASU are you using and is it an English or German language version?
the Asu version is the latest from meades web for the autostar i wll include to jpegs for you to see thanks again
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) I would recommend trying another upload with the English firmware. From your description, it looks like the previous upload did not successfully complete. I recommend using StarPatch from http://www.stargps.ca/pub/setupSP.exe to perform the upload. You can probably make the Autostar recognized by ASU and/or StarPatch by performing the Safe Load procedure: (a) connect the cables to the PC (and telescope) (b) Press and hold the ENTER and SCROLL DOWN (lower rightmost key) and *then* turn on the power (while holding the keys). (c) The Autostar should boot and then say "Flash Load", followed by "Downloading". (d) Now start ASU or StarPAtch and re-do the upload. good luck --dick
Subject: autostar problems Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 07:54:00 From: Joaquim Gomes (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an autostar 497 in german language. I tried to change it to English but it seems that something went wrong because now It's not recognized by the updater and it began unusable , I can only move electrically the motors up and down after pressing 3 or 4 times the mode button , and nothing more It began inicializing , after the beep it identifies the autostar with the full letters on the display for a little moment , an after that the display is jerky and confused(missing letters and so Wath can I do Please advise J gomesMike here: How did you try to change the language? What version of the AutoStar ROM is installed in the AutoStar?
Subject: autostar error Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 04:12:09 From: Warren Maclean (email@example.com) My name is Warren Maclean, I am english, but living in France at present .. My recently purchased ( from Ebay) ETX60AT backpack scope( looks in as new condtion ) is giving me the wrong location coordinates when I ask it to 'identify' an object it is pointed at and despite pointing the scope at different areas of the sky ( north, south, east or west ) it allways says it is looking at the 'sunflower galaxy' ?? I have trained the drives according to instructions also have entered my lat' and long' coordinates into autostar and set the rings to zero whilst pointing the whole scope and tripod level / due north etc' Is it possible that something is'stuck' inside ? Please advise. The first time I used it, after easy alignment it did not 'goto' Jupiter as instructed .. In fact it was pointing about 20 - 30 degrees away from Jupiter. Also I might add that whilst easy alignment was taking place, with two stars .. I could not identify if they were the correct ones due to my inexperience. I am an absolute beginner ! Your site has excellent information and meaningful advice on it. Thankyou, and Kind Regards ... WarrenMike here: First, there are AutoStar Alignment Star Charts on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page; print them out and use them to help identify the alignment stars used by the AutoStar. Second, be certain you use True North when setting up the telescope in the HOME position; Magnetic North as shown on a compass must be corrected for your local "Magnetic Variation". Or use the "North Star" Polaris to help you identify where True North is on the horizon. Next, check your location settings in the AutoStar as well as the Daylight Saving setting. And do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES (do the TRAINing on both axes). Don't worry about using the Setting Circles; they have no affect on the AutoStar. See if any of these tips help and let me know.
Thanks mike .. Will carry out your advice soonest today .. Have already investigated magnetic declinination on http://www.magnetic-declination.com/ .. It's 1 degree 51' west ( Negative ) Somewhat cloudy / rainy here at present so unlikely to get outside to do a final test using pole star, but will report back asap .. Again, many thanks for your advice .. Warren
Subject: Update a ETX80 autostard handset Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 08:41:22 From: John Stafford (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am quite new to astronomy and have a ETX80 AT with a #494 and I have connected it to my PC using a # 506 serial cable. I can slew the telescope from the PC but I am unable to update the handset or send to the telescope. When I am in the set telescope fields in the Autostar suite it doesn't have the option to select the ETX-80 so I have selected the ETX-70. When I try to do the autoupdate it says that the handset isn't connected. Also when I try to send all from the telescope set telescope fields I get the error LX200 error : 48. I would be gratefull if you could tell me if it is possibe to connect the handset and what I would need to do so. My PC is running windows xp SP3. regards John Stafford(staffyboy)Mike here: Unlike the AutoStar #497, the software in the AutoStar #494 is not currently user updateable.
Subject: LX90GPS with LNT module not working with Autostar Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 17:38:26 From: Cindy Patterson (email@example.com) We have a LX90GPS 8" with LNT. The LNT unit connects directly to our Autostar 497EP which is currently 30Eb, version 5CE1. Ever since Meade advised us to reset our Autostar the autoalign doesn't work the same way. We now have to put the scope in the home position instead of Autostar using the LNT unit to do it automatically. We have gone to Meade's site and used ASU to download the recent Autostar updates but we still can't use the LNT function. Autostar doesn't recognize that our LX90 has a LNT unit and there is no menu item besides auto align which now requires us manually level and point the scope north before the 2 star alignment finish. We don't know what else to do or where to go for answers and appreciate any help you can give. Thanks, Randy & CindyMike here: Perhaps our resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour, has an idea.
From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm forwarding this to Andrew, perhaps he has a clue. --dick
OK... we have questions: > On Dec 14, 2010, at 17:38, Cindy Patterson wrote: > >> We have a LX90GPS 8" with LNT. >> The LNT unit connects directly to our Autostar 497EP The LNT should not connect to the *Autostar*, its connections should be either inside the LX90, or external using the AUX socket on the LX90's base/fork. >> which is currently 30Eb, version 5CE1. Why do you quote two version numbers? 5CE1 is the correct version for a 497EP (is the "30Eb" what you're seeing for about one second during the initial boot-up?) >> Ever since Meade advised us to reset our Autostar the autoalign doesn't work the same way. >> We now have to put the scope in the home position instead of Autostar using >> the LNT unit to do it automatically. Andrew and i have both used Reset on the 497EP, and mine still sees my LNT unit. If you have a GPS, that causes the logic to ignore the LNT for figuring out time and date, but it should still be interrogated for alignment. >> We have gone to Meade's site and used ASU to download the recent Autostar updates >> but we still can't use the LNT function. >> Autostar doesn't recognize that our LX90 has a LNT unit and there is no >> menu item besides auto align which now requires us manually level and point >> the scope north before the 2 star alignment finish. >> >> We don't know what else to do or where to go for answers and appreciate >> any help you can give. We (Andrew and I) are digging into it... but we're slightly hampered by not having an LX90GPS with LNT to play with. I've got an LNT unit on my ETX-90, but no Meade GPS. We may ask you to load a "patched" version of 5EC1 to install additional "peek inside" capabilities. more later, have (LNT-less, at the moment) fun --dick
From: Andrew Johansen (email@example.com) I tried my "plug into Aux" LNT module on my "bench test" LX90 ( which has a gps unit ). As Dick Mentioned, if there is a GPS card fitted to the scope, the LNT unit is ignored for date time, but good for Nth / Level. If the LNT is detected, after the scope gets its date/time it should default to Align>Automatic. In all my tests, i get Align>Automatic if the LNT is plugged in I note the initial mention of "and there is no menu item besides auto align" This confuses me as there is no "Auto Align" menu prompt You get Align>Automatic if you have an LNT If no LNT is detected, it defaults to Align>Easy Need to get exact clarification on what you are seeing on the hbx. Andrew
Subject: Re: download not working Sent: Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:38:59 From: Lawrence Sagan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Dear Chris Thank you so much for your info. It seems I had an old version of "Star Patch" I downloaded the new one, and everything worked fine.
Subject: download not working Sent: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 00:00:28 From: Lawrence Sagan (email@example.com) Once again I am having trouble downloading the latest program for LX -90 8" control # 497. Every time I try to download the patch 43GF.spf I get the message " Invalad R parameter at line 51, while Applying the GPS Setup patch RBAD 0000000 Could you please tell me what to do, to correct this problem. I am missing some great telescope weather. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Lawrence SaganMike here: Not certain why the patch should keep you from using the telescope; just download the unpatched version of the ROM file. As to the patch error, I'll let Dick Seymour, author of the patches, reply.
From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The "43GF.spf" file is actually Chris Carson's version, so i'm forwarding this to him good luck --dick
From: Chris Carson (email@example.com) Please see the 3rd item at http://www.stargps.ca/manual.htm#trouble Regards, Chris Carson www.stargps.ca
Subject: from Butakov Yuri (Russia) Meade Autostar #494 Question Sent: Monday, December 6, 2010 10:38:05 From: Бутаков Юрий Владимирович (firstname.lastname@example.org) My name is Yury. I from Russia. Has casually found your site in the Internet. If it is possible, write the answer. Question. I have purchased telescope MEADE 2080 + a control panel 494 (Meade Autostar #494). It (panel) in Japanese language. Whether probably to reprogram the panel on English language.? Thanks. (The text is written by means of the electronic translator)Mike here: See the ETX FAQ page on the ETX Site for information on changing the language. However, it may or may not be possible with your #494.
Thanks for the answer.
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