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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK

Last updated: 29 February 2012

Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, AudioStar, 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.


Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, February 25, 2012 09:13:21
From:	Monaco, Mario T (Mario.Monaco@bakerhughes.com)
I just purchased a used ETX 125, and once I turn the autostar on, the
computer goes thru its initiation process,  once I am ready to align the
scope the motors will only move the scope up or down, but not sideways. 
I have remove the handbox and installed the manual movement handbox
and with this one it works perfectly. 

I have tried to do a calibration of the scope and it comes out with a
motor fault.  I have tried to find this fault on the web but no luck
yet,  I just wander if it is the handbox computer module that is not
sending the signal to the motor to move and thus giving the error
message.
 
Thank you for your help.
 
Regards
Mario T. Monaco L. | Project Manager
Mike here: Could you be overtightning the axis lock? Also, have you set in the proper HOME position for your ETX? Depending on the model (AT or PE), there are different HOME positions.

And:

Thanks for the quick response,  I have check the tightening and no, I
tried loose, and more tight and still nothing, the scope did not come
with a manual and I am using the reference from the online manuals and
on youtube,  (turn the scope counterclockwise until stops then clockwise
until the arm reaches the power supply) move the scope (all) and point
north and make sure is level..   I will check the model in a few minutes
and see what model I got..

Thanks again
MIke here: That's the HOME position for the AT model. Since the EC handcontroller works fine, there is no obstruction or other mechanical problem, nor a wiring problem. Do a RESET on the AutoStar, followed by the CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES (if you get no motor fault).

And:

Just to let you know the autostar handcontrol was the one with the
problem, I drove 2 hrs to LA to get another one and it worked just
fine.. thank you for your help.. 


Subject:	Re:ETX90 PE sleep mode -AS FB 2/24/12
Sent:	Saturday, February 25, 2012 08:51:13
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
Since you have the PE model, it should always know the correct
time when you turn on power if the LNT is working and has been
properly set. If it doesn't, try checking the LNT battery to see if it
has become dislodged or needs replacing.
 
Regards,
Mike Hogan

And:

From:	David Stockwell (david-stockwell@tiscali.co.uk)
Thanks for the advice  I'll change the LNT battery.
 
Good of you to help
 
Best wishes
 
David


Subject:	ETX90 PE sleep mode
Sent:	Friday, February 24, 2012 12:36:43
From:	David Stockwell (david-stockwell@tiscali.co.uk)
Thank you for your amazing site.
 
I have an ETX90 PE, Autostar 497 running 43Eg
 
When I put my telescope in "sleep mode" and then "push any button except
Enter" the scope fails to remember its alignment because it has
forgotten the correct time.  The time issue also arises when I first
turn the scope on, but this is a minor issue as I always enter the
correct time at the start of observing.  I use a mains power supply, not
batteries to run the scope and don't turn it off whilst "sleeping".  
The scope is only left for about 30minutes before I try to wake it from
sleep.

Thanks in advance.
Best wishes from England
 
David
 
David Stockwell
Mike here: The AutoStar does not "remember" the time on a normal power on. It will always default to 2000 hours (8 PM) on the last date set. BUT it should stay aligned when you wake it from "sleep" mode. How far off are the GOTOs following the wake from sleep?

And:

Wow what a quick response!

Just been back out after a "sleep mode" and all seems fine.  Don't know
what I did wrong last time!  Fingers crossed all will be ok.  Sorry to have
wasted your time.

Many thanks for your help

David
Mike here: Glad the "problem" went away. If there was a power interruption while in sleep mode, the AutoStar will act just like the telescope was powered off.


Subject:	AutoStar upgrade - should I, or should I not
Sent:	Saturday, February 18, 2012 06:39:16
From:	Peter Lhde Svarre (peterls@youmail.dk)
My AutoStar #497 (older version) is running firmware version 43Eg. I
have a Meade ETX-105PE telescope.
 
I downloaded a wrong firmware last time I did the automatic upgrade, and
I struggled a lot to get my AutoStar Up and running again, so I would
like to know, do I get any benefits by upgrading to Version 5BE2
together with my ETX-105PE telescope.
 
This is the new version that I have discovered:
 
07/27/09 #497 AutoStar hand controller software update. Version 5BE2
(1,039 KB).
General update. Fixes many known bugs. Real time clock corrections.
LXD75 polar alignment. Various LX90 pointing and tracking fixes. Adds
new magnetic/true north alignment. REQUIRES VERSION 5.9 AUTOSTAR
UPDATER.
 
This is the version I am currently running:
4/13/07 #497 AutoStar hand controller software update. Version 43Eg (479
KB) is available. 
 
I would like to keep my stuff updated, but I am also aware of the
sentence "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it."
 
I have downloaded the latest version of ASU, which should be capable of
determining which version of AutoStar is being used, and finding the
right update automatically, but this was where things got wrong last
time I performed the update.
 
So I would very much appreciate - before I do anything - to hear from
someone of you guys, which version of AutoStar you are running together
with your Meade ETX telescopes. And can I safely use the latest version
of ASU (5.9.3) to upgrade my AutoStar firmware without messing
everything up!
 
All the best
Peter
Mike here: The best version for the older AutoStar #497 is 4.3Eg, which you have. Stick with it.


Subject:	More fun from Meade (AutoStar 59Ef vs 5CE1)
Sent:	Tuesday, January 31, 2012 18:55:42
From:	Andrew Johansen (johansea@optusnet.com.au)
Just saw the following.

If the handbox truly has 59Ef on it
then other users need to know that 59Ef is basically not fit for purpose
and will not work properly.
I thought Meade had totally swapped to Audiostars, so dont know how/why
an old 497EP has resurfaced???

Anyway, If it truly is a 497EP handbox
I would strongly suggest updating to 5CE1 and also ask Meade why they
have sent out such out of date firmware.
( I suggest 5CE1 as it is the latest version we have patched
and depending on what Ron wants to do with the scope,
some patches may be required )

Andrew

	Subject:	New 497EP Firmware label
	Sent:	Tuesday, January 31, 2012 16:49:36
	From:	Ron (nh6wl@sbcglobal.net)
	I have just received my ETX 125 back from Meade maintenance Shop.
	
	One on the problems it went in with was the 'old' 497 Handset had died
	after an attempted update using AutoStar Update 5.9.3.
	
	The handset was replaced with a 497EP and it shows the firmware edition
	to be 59Ef both in the startup screen and the Statistics section.
	
	I don't remember seeing this and checked the Meade website and they
	still show the 5CE2.
	
	I can not tell any difference in the menu screens but I have not gone
	thought them in any detail yet.

And:

From:	Ron (nh6wl@sbcglobal.net)
Thanks to both of you.  I have the patches and 5CE1 ROM Build.  I will
update it tomorrow when I have time.

I remember reading long time ago that Meade loaded the latest firmware
before every telescope computer that left the repair facility even
writing over those with the latest patched firmware.   Anyway, a little
disappointed with the repairs performed or not performed on the
mechanical part of the little ETX.

This is a replacement handset for the 497 that got 'bricked' by ASU
5.9.3. I was updating my sites using ASU 5.9.3 and accidently clicked 
update. it apparently didn't check the type of handset and loaded the EP
firmware into it.  I was never asked which handset was needing update 
though ASU 5.9.3 did show that it was a 497 with 43Eg in it.

The 497EP is working and can be updated easy enough.  It definitely was
not a new unit probably from a returned repair or replacement program
but I am happy to have a working handset.

Again, thanks to you both

Ron

And:

>  This is a replacement handset for the 497 that got 'bricked' by ASU 5.9.3.
> I was updating my sites using ASU 5.9.3 and accidently clicked  update. 
> it apparently didn't check the type of handset and loaded the EP firmware 
> into it.

That should have been recoverable.
The original 497s have a safeload section that cant be accidentally erased.
Even if ASU did load 497EP firmware, the old Hbx should
have been able to be rebooted in safeload mode and restored.

>  I was never asked which handset was needing update  though ASU  5.9.3
> did show that it was a 497 with 43Eg in it.

Thats one of the reasons we always suggest using Starpatch now.
It has a very rigorous set of tests to ensure that accidental mixing
of 497, 497EP and Audiostar1 and Audiostar2 firmwares doesnt happen.

Andrew

>  The 497EP is working and can be updated easy enough.

Just for fun, turn it on and set the time.
Go back in one hour.
IIRC it should have lost nearly 2 mins of time :-)
59Ef is bad news.

And:

I am back and after about 2 hours it had lost close to 30 seconds just
sitting and doing nothing while I was gone.

I am going to update now and press on.

Thanks for the comments.  Maybe it is dj vu all over again.

Ron
Mike here: re: time lost, sheesh.

And:

That was one of the prime bugs that got us
looking into the new firmware.
59Ef had quite a few more nasties in it as well.
Even 5CE1 still has bugs, that if left unpatched,
will prevent many extended actions working properly.
Just read the text in the patch file to see what
new bugs got added in the new processor switch.

Andrew
Mike here: Guess Meade needs more external beta testers.

And:

>  I tried to see if it would restart several times by turning off the power
> and turning it back on but nothing happened and still a blank or black
> screen.  I connected to your PEC/Jack-of-all-trades program to see if it
> could peek inside it and maybe wake it up with out any results or any
> information being transferred.  At this point I tired the safeload but the
> handset never responded to that effort which I tired several times.  I 
> also
> connected the handset to Starpatch which did not recognize it either.

Just for others info, after a 497 is wiped by loading 497EP firmware
( i havent personally tried, but have read reports )
nothing will connect unless you can get it to start in safeload mode first.
Sooo if it wont boot into safeload mode, then its probably very dead
( which is unusual based on previous reports )

>  Sorry I am replying during your sleep time

Doesnt bother me.
I dont read it till i wake up :-)

Andrew 

And more:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
59Ef  is an *older* version of the firmware, and was released in Jan
2009.

Offhand, i don't remember the things they fixed between 59Ef and the
current 5CE2.

If you wish, you can safely update it to 5CE2, or use StarPatch and
update it to our patched (many bugs fixed) version of 5CE1.  (there are
no Meade-fixes between 5CE1 and 5CE2).

As always, StarPatch is available for free from:  http://www.stargps.ca
specifically: http://www.stargps.ca/pub/setupSP.exe

have fun
--dick

And:

Yes.  I am  on my way to update the handset to 5CE1 with patches now.  I
bought Starpatch to have the GPS capability for my LXD75 Which travels
with us on our camping trips.  Quick update are a nice extra.

I bought an 'overstock' handset for a spare 'way back when' just as the
497 EP was introduced and got one in that sale which was confusing at
the time.  I was among the first to say Whassup?  I am over 40 and
forgot that it was the 59 series of firmware that had the label changed
later.

Thanks for memory jogging.

Ron


Subject:	Re: help: advice on programming target lists into etx60 at
Sent:	Tuesday, January 31, 2012 18:28:34
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The 494 Autostar has only 31 KB available for all User Data (asteroids,
comets, user objects, satellites, landmarks, tours)

If you were to group your objects into Tours (by area of sky, time of
year, etc) that would at least let you break your scrolling task into a
two-level menu set.
(or only load some of the tours per night).
If you key the objects in from the keypad, be aware that "deleting" them
does NOT free up memory.  It only renders the "deleted" objects
inaccessible.
To truly free the memory you have to use a Meade 506 cable/converter and
Meade's ASU application.

I'm rushed right now, so i can't provide the "number of bytes consumed
per object" at this moment...  I'll try to provide that within 24 hours.
(a satellite consumes 51 bytes... i remember that one...)

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	tomwall1953@comcast.net (tomwall1953@comcast.net)
That is a very important piece of information. I'm surprised that
"delete" doesn't free up space. It should still work out though. Today I
went through Cas, Gem, and Ori and only located 11 DSO targets that were
8.5 and below that weren't already in the database. Meade did a pretty
good job.

Thanks again Mike.
The "snowman" on the Moon is calling.
Time to get my lunartic on. 

Tom,
Tucson

And:

Quick update: a User Object record in a 494/497 is 29 bytes.

So 31KB/29= roughly 1000 entries (and one Heck of a lot of scrolling...)
(at least you can scroll up as well as down)

good luck
--dick


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