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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 28 February 2010
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Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, AutoStar III (for ETX-LS & LS), 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 etx@me.com 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.

REMINDER: Effective 1 March 2010, coverage of the LS models, formerly known as the ETX-LS, will end on the ETX Site. Since Meade removed the LS from the ETX product line in late 2009, it no longer seemed appropriate to provide support for the LS models here. Similarly, coverage of the AutoStar III will also end effective 1 March 2010. I will not be able to answer any technical support questions for the LS models. Existing feedback and technical support articles covering the ETX-LS, LS, and AutoStar III will remain available online.
Subject:	Autostar #495 Upgrade to #497 for use with EXT 90EC
Sent:	Saturday, February 27, 2010 12:33:29
From:	Wayne Salmon (wsalmon@great-yarmouth.oilfield.slb.com)
This is my first scope EXT 90ec brought second hand, it came with a
Autostar #497 which I think I have managed to destroy by powering down
during download from PC. I have tried the safe mode recovery as detailed
in EXT FAQ but the Autostar does not see any power as the LCD is blank,
also I have tried separate power supply with no success therefore I have
accepted the fact I have destroyed it.

My question is I can get a brand new replacement Autostar from local
retailer, model is listed as #495 they do also stock the #497 which is
considerably more expensive. From hours of browsing on your great site I
believe the #495 can be upgraded to perform as a #497 and compatible
with my EXT 90EC , to confirm I asked the retailer if this is possible,
retailer contacted Meade directly only to be told #495 can't be upgraded
to #497, can you please confirm this?
 
Thanks,
                Wayne
Mike here: Yes, the #495 can be upgraded to the #497 via software. However, confirm it is indeed a #495. It will have number keys just like the #497. The #494, which can not be upgraded, does not have number keys on the keypad.
Subject:	ETX Sync Command
Sent:	Wednesday, February 24, 2010 04:15:59
From:	John Farrant (johnfarrant@gmail.com)
Thanks for your keeping up your Mighty ETX Site. What we'd do without
your continual support  and knowledge I can't imagine.

I'm sorry that you are dropping reports on the LS series as I find this
very informative. Anyway, onto the point of me writing to you. The sync
command on the ETX is very useful for its purpose, ie higher precision
around the area of sky near the star synced on.

I believe the Celestron scopes have what they call an Unsync function.

Would it be possible to develop an Autostar 497 patch to emulate the
Celestron's unsync option? I appreciate that this request should be more
directed at that master patch writer, Dick Seymour, but I thought I'd
start here.

Thanks,
John Farrant
Mike here: I'll let our resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour, answer.
Subject:	new 494 handbox
Sent:	Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:09:46
From:	jeff stonehouse (jeff.stonehouse@ukonline.co.uk)
i wrote a few weeks ago about a 494 handbox with an ETX 80 telescope
problem which I had, and I think I killed the handset.I bought a new
unit from Ebay which seems to work (I hav`nt had much chance to use it
so far) but have a small query which you can  explain.

I think the original handset had  Rom version 13E but the new one is
version 10E and seems to work slightly differently in as much as you
have to enter TIME,DATE,DAYLIGHT SAVING every time you use the scope
which is a niggle but I can get by.I seem to remember you saying
something like this in an earlier posting is this correct or could maybe
a new 3 volt backup battery alleviate the problem
Mike here: Older ones sold on eBay may have older software installed. There is no user-installable software update for the #494 AutoStar. A fresh battery in the ETX-80 should allow the AutoStar to get the time from the clock chip in the ETX-80 (if that version of the #494 ROM supports that). Perhaps Dick Seymour can confirm that.

And:

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
As Mike wrote, the older 10E (there's another letter if you look under
Setup/Statistics[enter][scroll up])
version does not know about the -TC timer/calendar unit.

Therefore it will always ask for the time and date.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Meade etx 105ec
Sent:	Sunday, February 21, 2010 11:31:43
From:	Kevin Gibbs (kevin_gibbs@hotmail.co.uk)
I was wondering if you could help me.
 
I have a Meade etx 105ec and it does not seem to goto the correct place.

I make sure i follow everything ie. turn anticlockwise and line up with
triangle, move to north. make sure its also on 0 but somehow it never
callibrates at all and is a long way out. i have changed it to my
longitude and latitude aswell but miles out.
 
Can you help?
 
Kevin
Darlington UK
Mike here: There can be a couple of culprits. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Have you checked the date/time and Daylight Saving settings?

And:

daylight saving. it should be no but even tried it with yes and still
far away.
how do you calibrate the motor and train drives?  sorry. new astronomer
and boughht this second hand as i needed a goto
 
Kevin
Mike here: Can you define "far away"? As to CALIBRATE MOTOR, just select that from the Setup: Telescope menu on the AutoStar. The telescope will briefly move in both axes. You should do that whenever changing the batteries or swapping from internal batteries to an external power source or back. Also, do that whenever the battery power is low and you don't have replacements available. TRAIN DRIVES is also in the Setup: Telescope menu. Select it and you'll be prompted for the axis to Train. You want to do both axes. Just follow the prompts. Use a distance (mile or so away) object.

And:

ok, well far away i would say about a fist and a bit. so thought it
could be daylight saving but both out.

i will have to have a look as i connect it to mains when he used battery.
Mike here: Yeah, a fist sounds like 15 degrees, or one hour of time. But since you've tried the Daylight Saving setting both ways, check your Time Zone as well as doing the other two things I mentioned. By the way, are you using True North or Magnetic North when pointing the telescope towards North?
Subject:	Re: Method of sending Autostar electricity from ETX-90PE
Sent:	Thursday, February 18, 2010 04:00:46
From:	t_yashi_88@yahoo.co.jp (t_yashi_88@yahoo.co.jp)
I use an external power source for the AutoStar when I update to new
version.
I have not turned off the power supply until the display of not turning
off the power supply disappears.

I have not failed updating before.
This time is the first failure.

I was good at safe load by the use of normal Autostar.
Then, ROM of Autostar with the problem seems to have been destroyed.

Dealer (ZIZCO) in Japan told me "We do not repair. Buy new one.". 
It is regrettable.

I gave up repairing broken Autostar.
I will use another normal Autostar. 

Thank you for your advice.

Subject:	Keyspan USB to serial adapter
Sent:	Tuesday, February 16, 2010 14:53:30
From:	George Finlay (george@principiainc.com)
I took your advise and purchased the Keyspan device. Installed Keyspan
software with it, which shows the internal test passing, but external
failing which suggests to me that the AutoStar needs something to wake
it up and start it communicating. Baud is set to 9600. Might you suggest
other things I should check to enable this connection to my Autostart
497?

Thanks.

George Finlay
Mike here: First I've heard of any problems with a Keyspan adapter and the AutoStar. I assume you have a good #505 serial cable and connector to the USB-serial adapter. You do, right?

And:

It is the cable and serial connection that came with the telescope. If
it means anything, the Keyspan light is flashing green.

Thanks for helping me think this through.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Have you tried the tests outlined in:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_testing.html
?

Of the three "official Meade" 505 cables i have received over the years,
two were bad (inside the db-9/RJ12 adapter).

good luck
--dick

And:

Not a good indication for Meade's QC, eh?

I will try replacing that adapter and then the cable and see if I can
fix the problem.

George Finlay

And:

I recommend checking them with an ohmmeter... that way you'll *know* if
that's the problem.

You can use the "end-to-end pinout" diagram at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html
as a reference

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Autostar missing train drive option
Sent:	Sunday, February 14, 2010 07:46:48
From:	mioxzy@gmail.com (mioxzy@gmail.com)
I 've just discovered that my autostar ver. 4.2Ih is missing the train
drive option in the setup/telecope menu. Last couple of nights I noticed
that my mount missed the target by some amount. I realigned the scope
but the problem was there again. Today I decided to train the drive but
to my surprise, the training option was not there. Do I miss something?
How can I have the training option appear in the setup menu? My scope is
a LX90ACF GPS. I hope you can help.

Thanks in advance 
Marco Iozzi (italy) 

(ps. excuse my english)
Mike here: Was the TRAIN DRIVES menu item ever there? I'm assuming you have an Italian version of the software (the "I" in the version number). You could try a RESET. Don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES (if the option reappears) after the RESET. If that doesn't get the menu item back, you'll likely have to reinstall the software.

And from our resident AutoStar Expert:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
In v42Ih, "Train Drive" should appear as "Add. Drive"
It is the menu item between  "Alt/DEC Percent" and "Rateo inseguim" (Tracking Rate).

buona fortuna
--dick

And:

Great! I feared that my Autostar was really buggy. I had not thought of
a possible error in translation.
Richard, Mike Thank you a lot for responding so quickly to my question. 


Ciao a grazie mille! 

Subject:	Method of sending Autostar electricity from ETX-90PE
Sent:	Sunday, February 14, 2010 04:01:19
From:	t_yashi_88@yahoo.co.jp (t_yashi_88@yahoo.co.jp)
I am Yashiro. 
I live in Japan. 
I use ETX-90PE (for Japan). 
I failed update of Autostar(#497). 
And, electricity do not reach Autostar. 
Therefore, I can not tell the version of ROM to you. 
I want to update my Autostar to latest ROM. 
I saw your wonderful homepage. 
However, I could not find the method by which I can solve this problem.
Please teach me the homepage where the method of sending Autostar
electricity from ETX-90PE is written.
I am writing this mail by using the web translation.
When my mail violates Email Etiquette, I'm sorry.  

Regards,
Takashi Yashiro
Mike here: The translation was confusing, so I'll provide two answers. First, if the AutoStar or the computer doing the updating lost power during the update, then you do need to perform a "SAFE LOAD" of the AutoStar. See the item "Q. The power went off while I was updating my AutoStar and now it doesn't work. Did I kill it?" on the ETX FAQ page on the ETX Site. However, if your ETX is not supplying power to the AutoStar, you can make an external power source for the AutoStar. See the "AutoStar Power Information" section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	Home Position Prompt Missing From 5CE1 Autostar?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 10, 2010 14:24:43
From:	Tyron Yun (tyun3@austin.rr.com)
I'm writing with a question about something I've come across after I
updated my AutoStar 497EP on my ETX-125PE using version 5.9 Autostar
Updater to version 5CE1 a couple of weeks ago (whew, that's a lot of
letters and numbers but I wanted to be comprehensive!).  After the
successful update and having gone through the first time initialization
process, everything works very well including accurate go-tos and
tracking.  However, the prompt to put my scope in the LNT Home Position
doesn't display anymore (I do remember it displaying before the update).
Now, after switching on the AutoStar, I do get the 1) AutoStar version,
2) the Welcome and 3) the Press 0 to Align or Mode for Menu displays. 
But if I press 0, instead of getting the Home Position prompt the scope
will display Getting Time and then immediately begin the Automatic
Alignment process i.e. slewing begins and Finding Level displays.  If I
press Mode instead of 0 after I switch on the AutoStar, Getting Time is
displayed followed by Align: Automatic.  If I press Enter at this point,
the scope will also immediately begin the auto alignment process without
displaying the LNT Home Position prompt first.

I called Meade customer service and was told that the home position
prompt is still suppose to be there and I should re-download the
firmware update.  But since everything else is working so well, I'm
hesitate to do that.  I just need to remember to put the scope in the
home position before I press any hand controller buttons to begin
alignment.  Any thoughts as to what may be the issue?
 
Regards,
Ty          
Mike here: First I've heard of this. Perhaps our resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour, knows something.
Subject:	RE: meade autostar dead
Sent:	Sunday, February 7, 2010 12:51:54
From:	Colin Jack (colinjack2@hotmail.com)
i emailed you a couple of weeks ago about my autostar handset not
getting past the welcme screen on boot up. your advice to do a reset
worked perfectly! many thanks.

in the meantime, i bought a 2nd handset [used] as a backup in case of
further problems. the 2nd set worked perfectly, until today. first it
started behaving strangely [i was correcting a backlash problems in the
gears, and was testing the motors , which were not attached to the mount
at the time]. it started to 'act up' the motors continiung to run after
the key was released. then it went dead. no boot up, no red leds on,
nothing. the only thing that happens when i connect it is a screeching
alarm type sound, usually continuous or sometimes at a frequency of
about one second.

the voltage supply and cable are fine.

any ideas? do you think something has simply burned out, or is this
fixeable?
 
many thanks
 
colin
Mike here: Screeching doesn't sound good! Check for a stuck key. But if there is no display nor if any keys work, try doing that RESET on this one.

And:

ok, many thanks for quick reply!!  i'll try a reset.  
 
do you ever wish that telescopes were just 2 lenses in a tube like they
used to be?
 
colin
Mike here: Yep. And there is something to be said for preferring a slide rule over a computer! I still have all my slide rules!

And:

some progress since yesterday on my 'dead' handset.
 
if i switch the power on, then switch off and on v quickly, al the leds
come on, so it's not completely dead.

then that's all, just all leds on. nothing on the screen , no response
to keys. doing the reset keys in oder didnt work either.

any ideas?
 
thanks
 
colin
Mike here: Does the AutoStar Update app see it?

And:

havent tried that yet, not sure ive got the right cable##colin
Mike here: You will need a #505 serial cable, easily made using info on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. You will also need a RS-232 serial port on your computer. If your computer has only USB, then you'll also need a USB-serial adapter; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page.

And:

ok, many thanks
#colin

Subject:	Re: May I pick you brain about my Autostar?  Thanks !
Sent:	Thursday, February 4, 2010 17:49:49
From:	Kris Tutterow (ktutterow@embarqmail.com)
I wanted to email you back to let you know that my problem was a bad
Autostar.  I picked one up form Opticsplanet and it works like a champ.
Thanks you your help in the matter.  I also wanted to let you know about
the USB to Serial adapter that I purchased (thought you could pass this
info. on to others).  I bought a Sabrent adapter from Newegg and it
works great with the Autostar (uses Prolific chipset).  The best part is
that it cost a mere 10.99 plus shipping.  The link below is the adapter.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156008&cm_re=usb_to_serial-_-12-156-008-_-Product

Thank again,

Kris T.
Meade LXD75 SN6AT

Subject:	Please suggest to fixed Proc. Trap 2 error.
Sent:	Wednesday, February 3, 2010 12:26:37
From:	Chokchai Chutakositkanon (chc206@Lehigh.EDU)
I have 2 Meade DS2114 telescopes with Autostar 494, one software version
13Ei (got ?Proc. Trap 2? error), another one version software V 12E
(good), I always got Proc. Trap 2 when I alignment or push the Arrow
bottoms. To check the telescope motor I used the old ones (Autostar 494
V 12E), my telescope motor is good.

I saw your website: http://weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_proc.html Proc.
Trap 2 is Illegal Op Code. Could you suggest me how to fix this problem.
I tried to use 506 AstroFinder cable for update the Autostar 494
firmware however I can?t connect both Autostar 494. Could Autostar 494
update firmware?

Please advise me how to fixed Proc. Trap 2 error.
Thank you I appreciated in your help.
Chokchai
Mike here: There is no user-installable update for the AutoStar #494. However, you MAY be able to reset it from software, IF you can communicate to it with the #506 serial cable. If your computer has only a USB port, then you'll need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. To try to reset the AutoStar, see the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the AutoStar Info page. However, that probably won't work for you. If all else fails, you could replace with the #494 with an AutoStar #497, which is user-updateable and works with the DS models.
Subject:	Always train drives after calibrate motor?
Sent:	Monday, February 1, 2010 05:21:00
From:	Steven Meltz (driller_sm@yahoo.com)
If my go to's are good, do I have to train the drives again after a
battery change/calibrate motor? Congratulations on the observatory!!

Thanks, Steve
Mike here: No, you don't need to TRAIN DRIVES following a CALIBRATE MOTOR. CALIBRATE MOTOR should be done when swapping in fresh batteries or when switching from internal to external power source, or vice verse.

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