AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
[Home!]
Last updated: 28 February 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade AutoStar Suite. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks. (The Lunar Planetary Imager, LPI, and Deep Sky Imager, DSI, are covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Mike here: With the release of Apple's Intel based Macintosh systems, it is now possible to run Windows applications natively on Macs. I want to post some information on using the Meade AutoStar Suite application (with or without the LPI and DSI models). (No, I don't have one, yet. iPhone purchase comes first since I have a PowerBook G4 17".) If you have a Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, or the Intel based Mac mini or iMac models and have tried one of the following with AutoStar Suite, please send your experiences to me at etx@me.com. I will compile the information and post it. Thanks. Please specify your Mac model, the version of Windows, and which of the following you have used:

Boot Camp
CrossOver Mac
Parallels Desktop
WINE
VMWare

Subject:	re:  LX200 classic
Sent:	Monday, February 5, 2007 21:36:28
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
What Sync Does (in Autostar Suite/StarMap):

(a) It notes the position of the spot you clicked with your mouse.
(b) It sends those coordinates to the telescope as a "target"
  via the Sr and Sd serial commands.
(c) It sends a ":CM#" command to the scope.

What -that- does is tell the telescope to copy its current internal
"target" location information to its current internal idea of
"where am i really pointing?".  End of SYNC action.

Both before and after the SYNC operation, Autostar Suite/StarMap
issues :GR and :GD (get scope RA and Dec) every half second to
keep track of where the scope is pointing.

The scope's idea of where it is can drift over time, even a
very short time. How it responds to the SYNC operation may
vary from model to model.
I ran a test of SYNC with my ETX90 with the program "PortMon"
capturing the command and response stream between the PC and the scope.
The results were:
------------------
Time(ms) Duration   Function    Result
300268  0.00433184  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GR#
300580  0.00000866  IRP_MJ_READ Length 9: 23:17:28#
300583  0.00459975  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GD#
300587  0.00000559  IRP_MJ_READ Length 10: +03.18:58#
300590  0.01277956  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 12: :Sr23:05:06#
301443  0.00000643  IRP_MJ_READ Length 1: 1
301446  0.01367688  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 13: :Sd+15.14:37#
301450  0.00000782  IRP_MJ_READ Length 1: 1
301453  0.00432318  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :CM#
302542  0.00000782  IRP_MJ_READ Length 34:    M31    EX GAL MAG 3.5 SZ178.0'#
302546  0.00416701  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GR#
305387  0.0000067   IRP_MJ_READ Length 9: 23:05:04#
305665  0.00414131  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GD#
305668  0.00000615  IRP_MJ_READ Length 10: +15.13:59#
305671  0.00428015  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GR#
306149  0.00000978  IRP_MJ_READ Length 9: 23:05:04#
306260  0.00419942  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GD#
306582  0.00000838  IRP_MJ_READ Length 10: +15.13:59#
306585  0.00423154  IRP_MJ_WRITE    Length 4: :GR#
306588  0.0000095   IRP_MJ_READ Length 9: 23:05:04#
------------------

Note that the Sr23:05:06#  and Sd+15.14:37#
(the decimal point is actually an unprintable separator)
don't -exactly- match the GR and GD results which
are returned one second later: 23:05:04  and +15.13:59

So the "error" is introduced by the *scope*, not by AutostarSuite/StarMap.

As to the version question:  the -package- AutostarSuite consists
of -many- programs.  Although it's the 4th update, each program
which makes up the Suite has its own version tracking numbering.
You've been reporting StarMap's currrent "3.23" level.
But if you look at Envisage, ImageProcessor, RemoteHandbox
and the other pieces, they each have their own (non-"4") version.

So yes, you -are- running the updated copy.

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Allen Robnett (alrobnett@alumni.princeton.edu)
Thanks, Dick, for your very informative and complete answer to my
questions. It is the ability to get info from people like yourself that
make the Internet even more significant than the advent of the printing
press.

Thanks again,
Allen

Curiosity is the cure for boredom
There is no cure for curiosity

Subject:	re: networking ETX
Sent:	Monday, February 5, 2007 18:51:53
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You may need to open the firewall on the PCs involved
to allow traffic on whatever port/socket you've set
in the Network Server (i think 501 is Meade's 'default').

It's under
Setup/Control Panel/Network Connections
Then click once on the appropriate connection,
then choose "Change Windows Firewall settings"
from the left task menu.
In the Firewall window that appears, click the "Exceptions" tab,
then use the "Add port..." button to tell it to allow 501 traffic.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	networking ETX
Sent:	Friday, February 2, 2007 14:39:00
From:	David G. Iadevaia, Ph.D (api@dakotacom.net)
I have yet to be able to use my ETX 90 remotely over my wireless
network. I am using Windows XP home edition and AutoStar Suite. Is there
a tutorial explaining each step in configuring the computer to run
Autostar remotely?

Thanks,

David Iadevaia
Mike here: I don't have a remote tutorial. There are some articles (including the one on using the AutoStar Suite with the Mac) on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page that discuss the Network capability of the AutoStar Suite. How did you plan to connect the AutoStar wirelessly? Bluetooth? If so, you might also want to read the "StarLink Bluetooth Wireless AutoStar Control" on the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page.

And:

Thanks for the info. I will check it out. I am hoping to have my
students control the telescope from their laptops on the wireless
college network. Not BlueTooth. I was wondering if I had to configure
the PC someway before I run Autostar. I can not run AutoStar in the Hand
Box mode. It just sits there saying Initializing. I can run it in
Network mode on the computer that is running Autostar but can not access
it from another computer on the network says Server timed out.

David
Mike here: Have you tried using any VNC software to control the remote (telescope connected) computer? That should avoid any timeout problems.

And:

THanks. I'll like that. I downloaded VNC 4
Mike here: I use VNC on my Macs wirelessly. Works great!

And:

VNC worked perfectly. Thanks for the help.

Subject:	LX200 classic
Sent:	Thursday, February 1, 2007 20:10:06
From:	Allen Robnett (alrobnett@alumni.princeton.edu)
We are using AutoStar Suite to control our 12" LX200 classic at Gallatin
High School. I have identified our telescope type as an LX200GPS even
though it is a classic. The slew control  seems to work fine. I am
puzzled about the sync effect, though. The LX200 control handset shows a
declination that is higher than the AutoSuite value by more than a
minute. The LX200 RA is also high, but by only 20 seconds. It seems to
me that these should match exactly, regardless of concerns like system
time, polar alignment, etc. Any ideas?
Allen Robnett
Mike here: Yours is the first report I've received of anyone using the AutoStar Suite with a classic LX200 so I don't know if this is a known problem or not. Are you running the latest version (4; released a year ago)?

And:

The test version that I  have on my home computer was updated with what
is called update4 but the Help/About shows version 3.23. I will have to
go to school to find out for sure whether I remembered to update the
software in the observatory.

Thanks,
Allen
Mike here: Probably the latest since it is "Update 4".

And:

As I mentioned before, I have been using AutoStar Suite to control a 12"
LX200 classic. I have downloaded and executed the update4 files, but
AutoStar Suite/Help/About still says 3.23. I have repeated the entire
process, just to be sure. Do I have update4 or not?
Allen Robnett
Mike here: Meade has never been known for clearly indicating versions and updates. I haven't installed the update myself (since I avoid using Windows on my Macs). But if you have done the update you should be running the latest available version.

Feedback Archives

Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the User Feedback pages.


Go to the ETX Home Page.


Copyright ©2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2007 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feb07/autostar_suite.html