AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 27 April 2006

Welcome to the Autostar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar, cables, and the 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. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranties on your ETX and accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.


Subject:	LED scroll tip on autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, April 26, 2006 13:33:08
From:	Carleton Gotlieb (gotliebc@msn.com)
I haven't seen this on your website so here's a small tip I just
discovered for myself. When you read an autostar message or "goto"
description as it slowly scrolls from right to left on line 2 of the
LED, you may lose patience. However, if you make the words scroll too
fast (using the scroll up key at the bottom-left of the hand
controller), the letters blur together and you can't read them at all.
To increase legibility even while speeding up the scroll, instead of
holding the hand controller LED perpendicular to your line of sight,
simply angle the top of the controller towards you about 30 degrees.
This makes a dramatic difference.

Carl
Mike here: This question usually comes up as "My Autostar scrolls text too fast to read. How do I change it?" So that is addressed on the FAQ page. Interesting solution!
Subject:	Motor unit fault on new ETX-70AT right out of the box
Sent:	Tuesday, April 25, 2006 09:35:31
From:	Chris.Mahar@aps.com
My new ETX-70AT arrived yesterday, though all I had time for last night
was to take it our of the box, put six new AA batteries in and power it
up.  I just wanted that satisfying feeling of steering it around with
the arrow buttons.  But I got a 'motor unit fault' at first power-up. 
Downpower, wait a few seconds, then power up again.  Same fault.  Loosen
clutch on RA and DEC and move the OTA around.  Free movement.  Same
fault with the clutches disengaged.  Hmmm.

I have a 497 paddle from another scope I converted to a goto, so I plug
that in to the ETX-70.  Initialization goes fine, motors calibrate fine,
scope slews beautifully.  So I plug the 494 back in and now everything
works.  No more faults.  So what's up with that?  Not that I'm
complaining, mind you.  It just seems strange.

Many thanks for the great website.  It lets me scratch my astronomy itch
even at work.

Chris Mahar 
Peoria, AZ
Mike here: The MUF message can occur when there is a problem with the motors, slewing, or a communication problem between the Autostar and telescope. In this case, it sounds like the problem was a comm problem, probably because the cable connected didn't fully seat in the first time.
Subject:	your Etx site - Q? about 497 contoller
Sent:	Sunday, April 23, 2006 21:17:02
From:	chrisjmaher@comcast.net (chrisjmaher@comcast.net)
I was on your excellent site tonight for the first time. You are an
exception for the astronomical community that has virtually all gone
with the bigger LX200. I have both the ETX 70AT and a 10" LX200. I am
very impressed with the quality of the view of the ETX but am at a
crossroad with it. While both have the GOTO on both scopes, the LX200 is
an older, "Classic" and is unable to be upgraded. The ETX however can be
but it has the 494 handbox, as supplied by Meade. I read in your column
that the ETX 70 can also utilize the 497 handbox and the 505 cable.
Please confirm this as I want to jump in and get the 497 so I can
upgrade and use it to track the latest comet and other NASA objects,
thus using it as my means of directing my LX200 to bring thing in
closer.
Thanks,
Chris
Mike here: Yes, the #497 will control ALL ETX models.
Subject:	New firmware v42Ed on Meade's site
Sent:	Friday, April 21, 2006 17:46:41
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html

Quoth the readme:
-----------------
Upgrades to 42Ed

Displays how far off polar on two star polar alignment.
Fixed park position on LXD55/75's
Get serial command for daylight savings
   (:GH# returns 0 for diabled 1 for enabled)
Set serial command for saylight savings
   (:SH0# disables, :SH1# enables)
---------------------

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Calibrate Motors Question for ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, April 18, 2006 07:06:17
From:	Michael Lang (Lang.Michael@orbital.com)
I've never really been clear on "Calibrate Motors".

I know from scanning your website, that anytime the power is "changed"
be it a switch between a battery and wall-wart or after recharging the
battery, one must use the calibrate function to adjust the encoder LED
(light) intensities.

My question is, after the initial power on, when should CALIBRATE be
performed ? Should it be performed after the telescope is powered on and
the alignment process complete ? Does the answer depend on whether
Azimuth or Polar mode is used ?

I primarily use Polar mode and 2-star alignment. When I once (and only
once) calibrated immediately after power on, before star alignment, the
telescope moved toward the elevation stop (I hit the power off switch
before things got bad).

Now I power on, 2-star align, go to an easy object (like an bright
planet or star) and once centered, perform a calibrate.

Is this correct ?

And shouldn't one perform the calibrate process each time the telescope
is powered on, just to ensure the most precise adjustment of the Encoder
LED intensities ?

thanks !

Michael Lang
Mike here: Some people DO do the CALIBRATE MOTOR and even TRAIN DRIVES on each power on (and that order is correct). Personally I just do it after recharging the external battery or when switching to/from AC, or perhaps after a LONG session with the camera and telescope running off the external power supply. As to WHEN to do it, since the Autostar needs to know a good level for the encoders, if you plan to use the Autostar to GOTO or slew the telescope, one guess when would be the best time. If you guessed BEFORE going through the star alignment steps you would be correct.

And:

In Polar mode, calibrate before star align moves the telescope elevation
"up" and towards the stops.

I've performed these steps and as soon as the tube began to rotate up,
powered off.

Then I unlocked the elevation clutch and attempted to manually rotate
the tube further up, and discovered it to be within a degree or so of
the stops.

So perhaps the unfortunate answer is that a 2-step operation must be
performed in Polar mode to acheive calibrate to avoid stressing the
drive mechanism:

1. Power up, star align, go to an object, then perform calibrate, then
return to the celestial pole and power off. 2. Manually re-align the
telescope tube if required (to be aimed at the pole), then power on,
star align, and finally - begin normal operation.

I believe the Autostar saves the previous LED intensity settings, and
the typical Gel-Battery output voltage change will be undetectable
between the power cycles.

Of course in Az/El mode, these steps wouldn't be required. But I use
Polar most of the time because it is easier (for me) to perform fine
tracking adjustments when using the telescope for photography.

Michael
Mike here: During the CALIBRATE MOTOR step, the telescope should only move a small amount, a few degrees (I haven't measured it). So, if the OTA is pointed around 45 degrees from the fork arms you shouldn't come close to the hard stop. The same applies to the horizontal movement; don't be close to the hard stop position.
Subject:	Re: MEADE ETX125EC: Autostar software version
Sent:	Tuesday, April 18, 2006 00:19:35
From:	Minos Minos (minosc@gmail.com)
I finally managed to upgrade my Autostar with 41Ec through the latest
ASU on COM1. I have done a couple of things namely:

1 Re-installed Windows XP
2 Bought a new cable to link the Autostar with the PC
3 Cleaned the terminals on the Autostar.

After doing this I had no problem updating the Autostar. I suspect
however that in the end the problem might have been with the cable. I
also used the new cable with a USB converter through COM2 without any
problems.

Thanks a lot for your assistance and advice.

Minos

Subject:	Re:more LNT problems: reguarding time
Sent:	Monday, April 17, 2006 09:44:17
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
LNT time is maintained and provided using an internal lithium battery,
not the main ETX power source.  These batteries have been known to pop
out of their holder so I'd suggest checking to make sure it is securely
seated.  See the ETX PE manual for instructions on replacing the LNT
battery, Appendix D if I remember.
 
Regards,
Mike Hogan

Subject:	Re: #497 Autostar Troubleshooting
Sent:	Friday, April 14, 2006 10:38:51
From:	jbgoodwyn (jbg13@alu.ua.es)
thanks for your answers. Finally following Dick idea (from the ETX Yahoo
Group), I have been able last Friday to connect  my Autostar  with  the
coiled cord of one of another ETX owner  and it worked!  Last Tuesday a
brand new coiled cable, much longer, arrived by courier.

It's good to belong to ETX owners groups and being help by Internet.
Regards
Jeanine, jbgfrukes

Subject:	I need your help
Sent:	Thursday, April 13, 2006 23:29:36
From:	Fabrizio Almazn (bicharajo69@yahoo.com)
I recently bought an ETX PE 125 that has the Autostar #497, Autostar
Suite Astronomer Edition, ecc.  I live in Mexico City, everything works
fine, but I still cannot connect the scope to my notebook. I own an
Inspiron 630m and I'm pretty lost about the way I should connect the
scope to the notebook.I have this black cable that looks like a
telephone cable (I guess it's the RJ 11 or something right) and have the
adapter that was given to me by Meade, but my notebook does not have an
entrance for the adapter besides the fact that I really don't know the
proper names for the cables and adapters.

The problem is that I don't know how to connect the scope to my
notebook, do I need to buy another cable or can it be done with the one
that was given to me. Anyway I was wondering if you could help me out,
 
best regards
 
Fabrizio
Mike here: First, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous and SPAM-like Subject line.
It sounds like you need a USB-serial adapter if your computer doesn't have a real RS-232 port. If your computer has a USB port, see the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.

And:

Thank you for your information, it was very helpful and I have been able
to connect the scope to my notebook, all I needed was the serial
adapter.
 
best regards,
Fabrizio

Subject:	re: Autostar #497 asking for German North
Sent:	Thursday, April 13, 2006 20:32:56
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The Autostar will offer a "German North" alignment
if the user has selected a GEM (German Equatorial Mount)
model, such as any of the LXD families of scope.

If you select any other model (ETX, DS, LX90),
you will -not- be offered German North.

I didn't dig up the reference, but if the June 2004 message
was concerning a 494 (not 497) Autostar, then they probably
had the "STarfinder" model provided with Meade's 4504 or
114EQ/DH-4 telescopes, and that flavor of 494 -only- knows
German Mounts.

But the 497 is fully flexible, and not broken. Just misinformed.

Select ETX90 from the Setup/Telescope/Telescope Model  list
and tap [enter].  That should end the "German North" stuff.
(although it is faintly possible that the one bit which
flags "GEM" could be stuck...)

The "Runaway Slew" was probably caused by lack of doing a
Setup/Telescope/Calibrate Drive   operation..
A reset sometimes causes a Calibration to happen, which
would clear the symptom.

have fun
--dick
Sent:	Friday, April 14, 2006 06:50:49
From:	Burks, Brad (Brad.Burks@sage.com)
Thanks guys! I'll try it out tonight

Subject:	Autostar #497 asking for German North
Sent:	Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:25:50
From:	Burks, Brad (Brad.Burks@sage.com)
Sorry to bother you with this. But I saw that a thread on your site from
June 2004, where a reader had a "German North" message when aligning his
Autostar. The reader decided to go buy a new Autostar to resolve his
issue.  I was wondering if you had heard of any other issues like this
and if there is fix available. Here is the info on my telescope and
autostar

Meade ETX-90 EC   (2 yrs old)
Autostar #497 (bought off eBay in January 2006)
Brief Issue History: 

Originally when I received it and hooked it up....my ETX would go into a
"Runaway Slew". I finally figure out how to restore the Autostar default
settings. After resetting the Autostar...the "runaway slew" stopped.
Then I went in and set the Time and Date. I then selected "Easy Align".
Then it says "Set to German North". After reading the manual
extensively...it appears that it should ask for my geographical
area..like CITY and etc.  My thinking is that the software is skipping
that section for some reason and needs to be updated. Unfortunately I
don't have a cable to hook the handset to my PC for the update. Before I
purchase the cable...I wanted to see if this is the correct path...or if
I need to purchase a new Autostar altogether.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated
Thanks
Brad Burks
Mike here: You can easily make the #505 cable; see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. NOTE that you will need a RS-232 serial port (or a USB-serial adapter that works with the Autostar; see the article "Autostar and USB" on the Autostar Info page). As to the message, be certain that you have the ETX model selected and Alt/Az (or Polar) mounting mode selected.
Subject:	Updating firmware for Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, April 11, 2006 13:17:49
From:	Jan H Kolst (jan.kolsto@online.no)
I've been wondering about the following.When I update my firmware for
Autostar I usually use wireless connection to the net (D-Link 624+).
When updating some firmware , I'm recommended to use cable connection,
not wireless. What about updating Autostar? Is it ok to use wireless or
is it better to use update by a cable connection? Or is this no issue at
all?
 
Regards
Jan H Kolstoe
Norway
Mike here: When I used to update my Autostars via Windows (in VirtualPC on my Mac) I did it wirelessly. No problems. Now that I update using native Mac software I download the file via a wired connection (the software only reads a local file).
Subject:	Autostar #495 to #497
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2006 20:12:02
From:	PatusRatus (patusratus@sympatico.ca)
I was surfing around your site for information on upgrading a #495
controller to a #497 controller. I have an LXD75 SN-10. I had an old
#495 controller from years ago I picked up at a liquidation store for
$10. When I connected it to my LXD75, it just locked up, I guess since
it needs to detect being on a different mount. Another article on your
site talks about just supplying only power to the handset so it doesn't
lock up, but I was a little hesitant about doing that. Then I read on
your site that if a flash ROM upgrade goes bad, to hold down the Enter
key and the ScrollDown key when you turn on the power. So I did that!
When I did, it displayed "Flash Load Ready". Then I started the Meade
Updater program on my computer. It connected and I was able to load the
latest #497 software into the controller!

I haven't taken it outside yet, since I just did the upgrade. But
everything else seems functional! I input my location and did a 'fake' 2
star alignment, then I did a GOTO to the moon. It seems to be working!
 
Patrick Whelan
Mike here: Yep, that should work just fine since FLASH LOAD appeared on the screen.
Subject:	more LNT problems: reguarding time
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2006 19:53:45
From:	Scott Schreiner (rentacow@gmail.com)
Your site has been really useful and helpful in leading me to buy an
ETX-105PE, I think Meade should endorse you or somthing. 

Anyways, I have Autostar 33EC or somthing like that. Some times it
-will- ask for the time and date on start up or, it wont ask me at all
and get it way wrong, could you help me out?

thanks,
scott
Mike here: The Autostar (non LNT or GPS telescopes), will always ask for the current date and time. It always defaults to the last date entered and 2000 hours (or 8PM). What specifically are you seeing when it doesn't prompt for the date and time?
Oh wait, you HAVE a LNT. Either the communication is being interrupted so that the Autostar doesn't see the LNT (bad LNT connection, loose LNT battery, bad LNT module) OR you need to upgrade to the current Autostar version. Start with upgrading.

And:

lol... yes i do have the LNT. thank you for the quick response. btw, its
2200 and iam just now letting it de-fog after 2 hrs of observing. i
didnt log anything but next time i will and ill try and write a review.
i need to know how to update my autostar, also. i will look on your site
for info in the meantime. pardon my grammar, iam tired.

scott

And:

ok, i updated to ver. 41 and its still not remembering the time. it says
"recieving time..." for a half second then asks for the date that i gave
last time i turned it on and the time. iam trying to contact meade but i
think their on lunch. do you know the customer support email, if their
is one?
Mike here: Starting to sound like a bad LNT module. Contact Meade for a replacement. And no, there is no tech support email.

And:

thanks for your help, i will contact them when i can.

Subject:	Re:Using Garmin Vista Cx.....
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2006 14:11:15
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
I think the problem here is that the Vista Cx uses true USB I/O protocol
vs. the RS-232 signals expected by the Autostar and provided by older
Garmin models.  I've not seen the Cx, but I'd guess it has a USB "B"
type device connector and uses a normal A/B cable to connect to a
computer host. This would mean that any required power must be provided
by the host USB.

I believe the Autostar only uses 3 lines, Tx, Rx, GND, for the serial
connection and does not supply any power.  So, beyond protocol
incompatibility, there is no combination of adapters or cables that will
provide power for the devices to communicate with each other.

Keep in mind this is only an armchair anaylsis so take it for what it's
worth. Maybe someone has found a solution, but I doubt it would be cost
effective or easily implemented.
 
Regards,
Mike Hogan
From:	Attree, Kevin (K.Attree@kingston.ac.uk)
many thanks for your thoughts on the subject, I had not gotten round to
acquiring the various cables and connectors needed to link the ETX and
Etrex, so you have saved me from many hours of frustration! If I do find
someone who has come up with a solution I will let you know, in the
meantime I will make do with inputting the GPS data manually.
 
Again many thanks, regards, Kevin

Subject:	495 / ETX / Safe Load
Sent:	Saturday, April 8, 2006 22:21:07
From:	D.R. Huard (d-huard@cox.net)
I have an early 495 (VER 2) and an ETX 90 EC. I wanted to upgrade the
495 to 497 but when I plugged it into the ETX it responded with USE ETX
Autostar with this Scope.

I don't know if you have already done this, I didn't see it on your
site, but I haven't even put a dent in that and I have been reading
every night for a week or more.. LOL

Anyway, forcing the handbox into Safe Load allowed me to upgrade it with
no problems.
 
Doc Huard

Subject:	autostar 497 controller apparent malfunction
Sent:	Saturday, April 8, 2006 13:10:58
From:	william coghlan (wpcoghlan@yahoo.ie)
I took out my etx125 about 2 hours ago for some solar observing.
Unfortunately my batteries were dead (or so I thought). I guided by hand
for a while and got some good views but frustration got the better of me
at about 7pm so I rushed out and got replacements before the sun went
down. Now for the bad news. Each time I plug in the controller to the
hbx port the screen lights up and initialisation begins.......then
nothing. The screen goes blank. (some residual red led light remains).
I've had the scope for a year now and love it.I have dropped the
controller a couple of times; not recently. (Why isnt there a holder on
the tripod) I would appreciate your comments as you offered me some good
advice on rubberbanding a few months ago.
Mike here: Did you insert the batteries correctly? Can you get to a MENU at all? As to a mount point, velcro works great. Just place a strip of the soft material on the back of the Autostar and the sticky material on one or more of the tripod legs.

And:

No, I'm afraid I can't get a menu. I plug autostar cable into rbx port
and turn on switch. Copyright message flashes as per usual ("03 meade
31E"). Controller beeps as usual. "Initialisation" flashes then
disappears. Red background light remains but the hand controller is not
responding to anything. Red light in computer control section of fork
mount remains lit.
Mike here: I presume by "not responding" you mean you can't slew either. So, go ahead and do a SAFE LOAD, that is if you have done an Autostar update before. If you haven't done one before you will need a few things: a #505 serial cable, a RS-232 port (one of the known good USB adapters), and the Autostar Update application (for Windows, from Meade's site) or the AutostarX app (for Mac OS X, from the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page).
Subject:	Mead LX90
Sent:	Thursday, April 6, 2006 15:25:21
From:	McThorpe@aol.com
My newfound hobby using the LX90 is about to end!

Your work (31 Oct 2002) detailing technical tips for the ETX and LX90 is
exceptional.

Apart from the mechanical modifications, and the downloading of any new
software, I have set up in the way you have suggested. Alas, my selected
object, either GoTo or tracking, still, simply drops out of view. I
guess my next move is to try and download a newer version of AutoStar,
and start all over again.

I have had my LX90 (first scope) now for 2 months, and my experience so
far has not been enjoyable at all.

I would not sell/give my telescope to anyone as it is, so, if a new
software download fails to resolve the issues I will take a sledgehammer
to it. I intend to video the event live on the Internet, and I will let
you know in due course should this take place. Likewise, I will post
details of the event to relevant forums.

I am very sorry to be venting my frustrations out on you (of all people)
 
My best regards,
 
Mike Thorpe
London (UK)
Mike here: I don't have a LX90 so I don't know if this applies but have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES (drive training needs to be done on both axes)?

And:

I have not calibrated the motor, but have trained drives on both axes (
I think )
I will do it again ... Thanks for your help
 
Mike Thorpe
Mike here: I believe that all Autostar telescopes need a CALIBRATE MOTOR done on first use, when swapping the Autostar, and when exchanging power sources, including installing fresh batteries. It should also be done when battery power gets low and you don't have new ones available.
Subject:	Using Garmin Vista Cx hand-held GPS with ETX 125 c/w 497 Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, April 6, 2006 00:26:23
From:	Attree, Kevin (K.Attree@kingston.ac.uk)
I have recently acquired a Garmin Vista Cx GPS, and I thought it would
be interesting to connect it to my ETX. I have looked at the STARGPS
site which tells me that I cannot link this GPS model to the ETX because
it has a USB connection.

The first part of my question is: has anyone come up with a solution to
this problem, i.e. is a hybrid cable available, and the second part of
my question is; assuming it is possible to connect my Cx GPS to the ETX,
will I need additional software?

Thanks for reading this email, and many thanks for maintaining such a
valuable site.
 
Regards, Kevin Attree 
Mike here: You may be able to use it with a USB-serial adapter; see the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. As to software, this subject has come up before; search the site for "GPS Autostar" and you will get lots of references.
Subject:	Meade Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, April 5, 2006 09:36:27
From:	JShep91121@aol.com
I have corresponded with you once before which resulted in a prompt and
very satisfactory reply. Many thanks.

I have to say that I find your book 'Using the Meade ETX' invaluable.

I have a query regarding my Autostar. You mention three models 497, 495
and 494, my telescope is a 105 and I wonder which model I have. The
initial fleeting scrolled lettering when the machine is switched on is
(c)01 Meade (22E), I presume this refers to the version of the software,
is it possible to determine or can you advise me of the size of the
database from this. I was surprised to find in the 'Deep Sky, Named
Objects' section some quasars which have in the description, magnitude
19, can only be seen by the largest telescopes on Earth! Hardly of
interest to amateurs with Meade ETX's or indeed any other Meade amateur
telescope. Perhaps I'm missing something in this.

Regards
John Shepherd
Mike here: You have the #497. The #495 was discontinued years ago and the #494 won't work with the ETX-105. The database has >30,000 objects, and yes, many objects can't be seen with the ETX telescopes.
Subject:	Re: MEADE ETX125EC: Autostar software version
Sent:	Monday, April 3, 2006 21:42:19
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Well... i installed the old Updater on my WindowsXPhome laptop.
I do not see the crash that you are seeing, i can click [continue].
What -does- happen is that the ASU then tries to connect to
my Autostar on the wrong port.
Even though i have changed my KEyspan from COM 6 (its usual place)
to COM 2, the old ASU cannot find it...
The old ASU does find "COM 4", but i think that's my modem.

But at least it does not crash.

However: i was reading the "readme.txt" file which came with
v1.3, and -it- says that "SafeLoad" is available from firmware
1.1g and newer.

So you -should- be able to update -directly- to 41Ec:
(a) remove the OLD ASU updater (with Windows/ControlPanel/Add-RemovePrograms)
(b) install the NEW ASU Updater
(c) on your Autostar: select  Setup/Download [enter]
  (or use the "press ENTER and [Scroll Down], then turn ON the Autostar)
(d) start the NEW ASU (or StarPatch) and perform the Update.
  The Updater (and StarPatch) will ask if you are in Safe Load,
 answer 'yes' and the download of 41Ec should happen.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	RE: ETX-125 Autostar handbox crashed during update
Sent:	Monday, April 3, 2006 02:45:33
From:	Ian Hargraves (ian.hargraves@se-systems.co.uk)
Thanks again to both of you. Will try the StarPatch program with my
USB-Serial cable next time, once I have fixed the LCD display that I
broke immediately after updating the controller through a real RS232
port.

Regards

Ian  Hargraves

Subject:	#497 Autostar Troubleshooting
Sent:	Sunday, April 2, 2006 23:10:58
From:	Jeanine Bajol Goodwyn (jbg13@alu.ua.es)
#497 Autostar Troubleshooting

Hi Mike, I am in great trouble:

About my MEADE ETX125PE  purchased, DSI purchased  and Meade AutoStar
Suite purchased, installed and updated  in UK August 2005

#497 AutoStar LCD display DOESNT DISPLAY any message as usual
(Initialising, warning  getting started, etc) when I flip the telescope
power switch on the ON position (Power indicator` LIGHT on the telescope
comes  ON)

That  happened on 2/04/2006 around midnight after performing an
alignment procedure and a successful go to Jupiter.  The AutoStar was
then on his tripod support when I heard a bip and then the LCD wasnt
displaying any message.. I checked the troubleshooting suggestions and
finally turn off the power, unplug AutoStar, plug AutoStar back, turn
the power back on WITHOUT ANY SUCCESS.

My telescope is not moved between observing sessions and I use very
often the Park Scope function.

What can I do?? Thanks for your help
Jeanine from Spain
Mike here: Do the arrow keys still work? That is, can you slew the telescope using the Autostar?

And:

Thanks for your reply: NO I can't do anything with the Autostar
controler  which is completely mute!
Waiting for your suggestions
Regards Jeanine
Mike here: If there is no beep or display then there could be several causes, some easy, some not so easy. Check the batteries (replace with fresh ones and ensure they are inserted correctly). Check the cable connections (even try reversing it; but check the condition of the pins to ensure they are not bent or too depressed to make good contact). That's the easy ones. The other culprits could be a dead Autostar (which, unless you are good at soldering and swapping components, you will need to replace) or a failed component or broken wire inside on the ETX base (which you may or may not be able to easily correct).
Subject:	ETX-125 Autostar handbox crashed during update
Sent:	Saturday, April 1, 2006 09:16:57
From:	Ian Hargraves (ian.hargraves@se-systems.co.uk)
I have looked through Mike's web site to try to find a way of
resurrecting my autostar 497 handbox.

I was attempting to update the autostar firmware to the latest version
41Ec using the Autostar Updater.

I had all the cables plugged in correctly and the updater correctly
found the handbox on COM 4. It then said that I should update to the
41Ec version which I then tried to do.

Then I got an error dialog box come up that said something like "check
autostar cable and power cycle the Autostar and try again".

So I power cycled the Autostar and it is totally stuffed! I get the
display come up with all rectangles and no words.

I have found a note on Mike's site saying how to power up in safe mode
which I have now done. The display now reads FLASH LOAD 3.0 READY.

I have run the autostar updater again and it asks me if the autostar is
in Safe Mode. When I click Yes it comes up again with the check autostar
cable and power cycle the Autostar and try again".

Any help would be greatly appreciated as the Autostar and ETX is now
totally unusable.
 
Regards
 
Ian  Hargraves
Mike here: Are you using a real serial port or a USB adapter?

And:

Where does one get real serial ports these days? I wish!

No I am using a Mutek USB-Serial adapter which has always worked on my
LX200 when controlling it from Starry Night Pro.

Regards

Ian  Hargraves
Mike here: For some reason, the Autostar seems more finicky. See the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for some known good and bad adapters.

And:

Thanks for your help. After your previous question about the Com Port I
found that one of my sons had a computer with a real serial port.

I managed to get that working and have now reprogrammed the Autostar. As
you say they do appear very finicky. It took me a long time to find a
USB-Serial converter that worked with my LX200 so I assumed that it
would also work with the ETX. It appears to work to control it from
Starry Night Pro but not to programme it.

However, just finished programming it, put the handset down on the
table, and then the coiled lead pulled it off the table straight onto
the floor. Now the LCD is cracked and the top half of the lower line of
characters doesn't work.

Such is life!!!!!

Many thanks for all your help. One day I might get this ETX-125 outside
for some observing, that is if the clouds ever part here in the UK.

Ian  Hargraves

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
But i suspect that the message is telling the truth: however
 you're connecting to the Autostar isn't capable of carry a
 full binary conversation (it only takes one byte to kick
 the Autostar to 'download', but it takes a million of them to
actually -do- the download.

Serial Telescope commands are merely 7-bit printable ascii,
 vs. the full 8-bit patterns of downloading.

have fun
--dick

And:

You could also try StarPAtch, from http://www.stargps.ca
It's a not-by-Meade updater, and is a lot more intelligent
about working with problematical connections.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: MEADE ETX125EC: Autostar software version
Sent:	Sunday, April 2, 2006 11:24:07
From:	Minos Minos (minosc@gmail.com)
Hi Richard,
 
Thanks for your advice. I have installed version 1.3 (it shows "Version
Autostar UpdateIAI1.4I2 Nov1999@18:36:24"). As soon as I click the
"Continue" button a window pops up with the following error

Autostar Minor Planet and Satellites: AutostarUpdate.exe - Application
Error

The instruction at "0x7c93426d" referenced memory at "0x00000000". The
memory could not be "read"
 
Click on OK to terminate the program
Click on CANCEL to debug the program.
 
I have searched the Microsoft knowledge base but could not find this
specific error although there are other similar errors but with
different memory codes, each for which there is a specific solution.

I have tried running the program on different computers (all with
Windows XP Service Pack 2) and have also tried all the different
compatability options, all with the same result. I also made sure that I
uninstalled previous installations. I have also tried it with a direct
serial connection as well as via a USB to RS 232 cable.

Any other suggestions on how to upgrade my "ancient" contoller will be
appreciated.
 
Thanks
 
Minos

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I can think of only two quick answers/tests:
(a) try downloading the -next- version of the updater: v2.1
  From Mike's archive as:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_archive/auto20.zip
..and see if it's any happier.
(b) i shall try the v1.3 package on my own WXP PC, but that will
 take a few hours before i can fully run the test.

The "Autostar UpdateIAI1.4I2 "  (specficially the IAI  and I2)
puzzles me... but it has been over 5 years since i last ran
that version.

There's also: (c) find a Windows 98 PC and try that?

Recently someone -else- with the same problem -did- successfully
use the v1.3 package to bring his Autostar up.  So do i believe
it's possible.

good luck
i'll try mine tonight...
--dick

Subject:	Problem Connecting To Autostar
Sent:	Friday, March 31, 2006 13:56:59
From:	Gary Wilkes (Gary.Wilkes@Videotron.Ca)
Great site, gathered alot of helpful info over the years from here, but
can't find an answer to this problem.

Short story, laptop got screwed up so had to re-install Windows XP Pro. 
I reinstalled Starry Night 5 Pro Plus and connect to my Autostart of my
ETX-125 no problem.  However, when I re-installed the Autostar updater,
it can't find the Autostar on my COM port.  I've checked all the
settings for the com port, even tried Hyperterminal and get the
responses D from ctl-F and I get a ? response from ctl-D as opposed to
the > response as indicated in
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_safeload.html .
 
Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Thanks
Gary
Mike here: Did you remove the older version of the ASU app before installing the new one? Other than that, sounds like a port conflict (fax software?). Or are you using a USB-serial adapter? Did you re-install any needed drivers?

And:

Thanks for the quick reply.

Since I wrote you the note a few hours ago, I tore the house apart and
found the CD that came with my LPI.  I uninstalled the Autostar Updater,
and installed the Autostar Suite.  Now the Updater connects.and all is
right with world.  No other changes, still don't get it, but it
everything seems to be working now.

Thanks again,
Gary
Mike here: I guess that is why Meade recommends (on the Autostar Update web page) that the old version be removed first.
Subject:	Re: advice for 497
Sent:	Friday, March 31, 2006 09:43:31
From:	lawrence fry (lawrencefry03@hotmail.com)
Thanks for the tip. I will also send an email to meade.
with kind regards,
Lawrence

Subject:	Re: Autostar 497 (30e) comm port problem
Sent:	Friday, March 31, 2006 05:43:05
From:	ray maclean (raynmac@blueyonder.co.uk)
Hello again Mike. Thanks for your reply. I still encountered problems re
com1 connection but no more. There is an excellent software called
eltima serial port monitor which enabled a good connection. the address
is 

www.eltima.com/products/serial-port-monitor/

and there is a 14 day free trial.

Good luck to you and your website.
Ray MacLean

Subject:	re: about alt/dec & az/ra ratios on autostar 494
Sent:	Thursday, March 30, 2006 22:03:36
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
There were two models of ETX70... the "blue tube" and the "black tube"

They did have different gear ratios.

One has Az Ratio=  0.951968     Alt Ratio =  1.01500

What ratio numbers does your 494 report?

have fun
--dick

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