Last updated: 30 April 2004
Subject: LPI & Autostar Menu Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 12:39:24 From: "b1rxpb88" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am a beginner, just finding my way through LPI and its confusing manuals. I am using the " Autostar via Comm Port " protocol to connect to my ETX125, but cannot bring up the Autostar menu. Is this only available with the "Remote Handbox" protocol? Thank you for any help you may be able to give!!! Keith McCollMike here: I suggest reading through my "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page. And I suspect you are getting the com port conflict.
Subject: A heads-up about the Meade LPI Suite Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 10:06:56 From: "Dave Wallace" (email@example.com) I just checked Meade's website and there's a newer version of the LPI software available for downloading. http://www.meade.com/autostar/update/ Some interesting additions.And:
Subject: Meade posts Autostar Suite update Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 12:37:06 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Visit: http://www.meade.com/autostar/update/ to download a (nearly) 4 megabyte update to the Autostar Suite package. The -previous- update affected the LPI Imager program. This update affects everything else (the StarMap, the Image Processor, etc.) Details at the page cited above. have fun --dickMike here: It is version 3.16a.
Subject: Autostar Suite User Feedback Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 06:19:25 From: "Dave Wallace" (email@example.com) Like several other people who have sent you email, I had trouble with the 505 cable Meade supplied with the Autostar Suite. In my case, the cable was mis-wired. (The data-in and data-out of wires were interchanged.) Since I didn't have the tools to replace the connectors on the telephone-style (black) cable, I solved the problem by re-wiring the DB-9 connector in the adapter. But I suppose I was lucky; had other wires been crossed instead, circuit damage might have resulted. The moral of the story is that had I not first attempted to run the software with my own home-built 505 (thanks again for the wiring diagrams for that!), I'd have been looking for software conflicts on the com port when the problem was actually hardware-related. (Why I thought to initially try the stuff with my own cable I have no idea, but I'm glad I did.) Ringing out a cable during manufacture seems like a no-brainer to me. Too bad Meade can't get the simple stuff right; they do such a good job with the optics.
Subject: re: AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 23:00:07 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Yes, the Autostar Suite serial cable and the 505 cable are exactly the same (i use them interchangably). Since they both do the same =job= (serial communications to the autostar), it stands to reason they'd be the same. have fun --dickAnd:
Thanks for the info. Given that the #505 is the same, I think I will just live with the solution I have now. If it becomes too annoying, then I will make my own. Many thanks for your help. Kind regards, BillMike here: There have been some reports of bad #505 cables shipped with the Autostar Suite however.
Yes, i took the inference of his question to be that he -had- a 505, and was wondering if he could use it in place. (egad... seeking subtle nuances in -between- the lines of email... what -was- i thinking? ('twas a long day)) have fun --dick
Subject: AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2004 11:15:18 From: "William Pinnington" (email@example.com) Thought I would provide some feedback about the DB-9 to RJ11 adapter that is included with the LPI and Autostar Suite. Like Jim Beston (April 7th), I had been struggling to get my computer to "find" my telescope. Not knowing which link in the chain to start with, I went to your website and Jim's email made me check the DB-9 to RJ11 adapter. After discovering the loose female connectors, dismantling/putting back together properly/wiggling the autostar #497 serial cable, it eventually connected. However, the slightest movement and it disconnects. I can now take some comfort in knowing where the problem is and how to work around it. Thought I would share this with your readers incase anyone else is having a similar problem. I am thinking of making my own cable and adapter in order to get a robust solution. I was also wondering if the adapter and cable included with the Autostar Suite is the same as the #505 cable which seems work for most of the people most of the time? As always, many thanks for your dedication to the site. Kind regards, Bill Pinnington Manchester, UK
Subject: Autostar suite Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2004 14:10:22 From: "Roger Killackey" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Ok so Meade sells a nice little LPI with USB connections. Cool. The connections are easy. But what is with the rs232 jack to a serial connector? My laptop computers are all new and do not have serial connections. I tried a couple of serial to USB adapters Belkin and Cyber power and still cannot get a connection. I played around with com port changes to no avail. Help please. Ardmore, OKMike here: The Autostar uses a serial connection, hence the RS-232 adapter. Meade sells a separate product to convert it to use on a USB port on a Windows computer. I've successfully used a Keyspan serial-USB converter on my Macintosh (they also have a Windows driver).
Coolness. Your email made me think of updating the Belkin converter. The CD it came had a Windows XP driver however the update allowed it to work. Thanks. It does surprise me though that a new LX200 14" would not come with a USB converter. Thanks.
Subject: Problems with Autostar connections Date: 4/7/04, 05:22 From: Jim.Beston@questintl.com To: email@example.com You may remember that in March I had problems with getting my Autostar Suite connections set up and working between my PC and 105. At the time I thought I was simply doing something wrong and I eventually got it to work. Lately I have again had difficulties with the connections and I have now traced the problem to the adaptor which connects to the serial port of the PC and to the cable to the Hand box. This adaptor is supplied with the LPI imager: The hollow pins in the female "D" plug side were not fixed firmly in place and were able to slide a little in their plastic housing. This meant that they were not contacting one or more of the male pins - I think three of the nine are actually used. It is possible to prise appart the plastic housing on the adaptor to gain access to the female pins. I have now wedged these forward in the adaptor and everthing works, every time. I obviously wasn't the idiot I first thought I was. I hope this helps others and alerts Meade to the problem. Kind Regards Jim
Subject: Re: Problems connecting a laptop to a LXD55 and getting Autostar suite working (from the March 2004 feedback) Date: 4/6/04, 12:32 From: Lankreijer-Kroon (firstname.lastname@example.org) I had the drivers installed from the beginning. In the meantime I have searched on the Internet for more recent drivers, but I could not find any. Keyspan and Belkin USB-serial converters are obtainable in the Netherlands, but do you think they will make the difference ? As far as I can see, there are no special references to the Meade bridge cable on your site; I suppose that means that this cable does not have exclusive characteristics. Jos LankreijerMike here: I can't speak about the Belkin from experience but the Keyspan one works fine on my Macintosh for both Mac OS X and Windows 2000 access to the Autostar. I seem to recall one report of the Meade cable working OK for Windows users.
Subject: autosuite software Date: 4/6/04, 11:14 From: Margaret Cain (email@example.com) Just bought the autosuite & LPI. Works OK on my desktop PC which runs XP, but started installing it on my laptop which has Windows 98 and encountered a problem. The autosuite side of things seem to work OK but when I click on Image and try to access LPI imaging from the drop down menu I get the following message 'A required DLL file MSCOREE.DLL is required.' I have tried deleting the program and reinstalling, but still get the same problem. Wondered if you had come across this problem before, or if you had any ideas. Thanks, Margaret Cain Lancashire. England.Mike here: I don't know if this will help but there is an update to the Autostar Suite available on Meade's Autostar Suite Troubleshooting page (http://www.meade.com/autostar/tsguide.html). There is also a new Quick Start Guide on this page, which adds serial cable instructions for the Autostar #497. There is a FAQ page at http://www.meade.com/autostar/faq.html, which currently mentions a Microsoft file error that may occur during installation.
Subject: LTI Date: 4/5/04, 18:20 From: Gerald Jenny (firstname.lastname@example.org) Well the saga is still running I got my desktop computer to run Meade Autostar Suite but as of yet the laptop is not having anything to do with it I called Meade and they said they would send me another disk.Waht I don't under stand is why one works and not the other.I have a HP Pavilion N3215 with 256mg memory running Windows XP Pro that is the same OS I run on the desktop. So as soon as I receive the other disk I'll let you know if that works.Boy what a chore. Gerald Jenny email@example.comMike here: Could be almost anything causing the problem. If you did the updates as I noted in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page then you should have the latest version. But perhaps something was wrong with the CD and it didn't install everything properly.
well as of yet I have not received anything from Meade so I went ahead and downloaded all the critical update from Micreosoft it took al nite after that I reinstalled the Meade Autostar suite It did load as per advertised and then I tried it out and got a picture very fuzzy,but a picture no the less will work on that some more.I guess the moral of this exercise is to dowload all of the critical updates from Microsoft.I'am still not sure why the picture is so fuzzy but I know my desktop is a lot faster and I get a fair picture from it Maybe the faster the CPU the better the Picture.Any other thing you can think of let me know JerryMike here: Glad you got it working. Fuzzy image can be due to many things: out of focus, image/telescope movement, etc.
A big thanks for suport as always your web site is awsume keep up the great work ew all need suport at time and to have some one like you is really the greatest Thank again and clear skies Jerry
Subject: re: Dome Control Date: 4/4/04, 22:37 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com There are two answers to your questions (or two questions needing answering) The first is the AutostarSuite Dome Control: no one knows what it's supposed to control. We're all guessing that it's some as-yet unannounced Meade dome controller. That aside, there are a number of dome-control systems which can work with your PC or Autostar. Most were designed to work with the classic LX200, which has -two- serial ports. The PC would connect to one (telling the telescope where to go), and the dome would connect to the other, and would -ask- the LX200 where it was pointing. Then the Dome controller would move the slit to keep up with the telescope's motions. If you were using an Autostar, without a PC, such Dome Controllers would work with it, too. But the Autostar has only one serial port, so it would be slightly difficult to combine PC control of the Autostar, -and- Dome-asks-Autostar dome control. But there are also Dome Control systems which operate with a PC, instead of with an LX200. ------ On the "who does it" front, i Google'd "observatory dome control", ( http://www.google.com ) and found a goodly number of hits. Some are: http://www.homedome.com http://directory.google.com/Top/Science/Astronomy/Business/Domes_and_Observatories/ http://www.astronomical.com/DomeControl.htm http://www.company7.com/techin/ http://www.bisque.com/Products/SBOS/Default.asp to name a few. There's also a few Yahoo groups dedicated to the home observatory crowd: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eots-robotics-telescope-observatory/ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newastro_remote/ .. oh, heck... just view the list yourself: http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=observatory&sc=-1&sg=20&ss=1 (there were 93 hits, many irrelevant to your needs, and i can't even see the one i was -looking- for.. no, wait.. here it is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Amateur_Astronomical_Observatories/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/home_dome_users/ have fun --dick
Subject: Autostar Suite problem. Date: 4/4/04, 10:22 From: Richard Shoesmith (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just thought I'd share this with other users who may be experiencing problems getting the 'Suite' to recognize or communicate with the Autostar. My initial attempts to connect continually resulted in Com 1 timeouts and Autostar not present messages. I knew some communication was going on because as soon as I powered up the laptop ( Win XP ), the Autostar screen would go blank. Com protocols were fine, no modem interfering ( Com 4 ). Not having any method of checking the integrity of the supplied serial connector cable I substituted my tried and tested #505 cable and everything worked flawlessly. I think this is worth a try if you having similar problems. Regards, Richard Shoesmith Orkney, UK.
Subject: Dome Control Date: 4/2/04, 06:10 From: The Blaisdells (email@example.com) I recently purchased an LPI and noticed a dome control feature but have not the foggiest idea how one would make a connection to one. I have an ETX 125 EC. Am I out of luck? I am considering construction af a 7 ft. dome. This would really be perfection. Richard W. BlaisdellMike here: If you make a dome with remote control capabilities you could use that feature.
Any suggestion as to how the connection would be made? Is it via the AUX port on my scope or directly to the computer? I am confused. If constructed,it would be a homebrew projectand not factory made. Suggestions for construction of motor assembly or a link to info also appreciated. Please post my email address in case any one visiting your site could offer help. Thanks again, Rick.Mike here: I had assumed it would be a serial connection between the computer and the dome control electronics. As to sources, all I can suggest is to search the Internet. Let me know what you find.
I've searched the web with no avail as to dome controls.
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