Last updated: 31 August 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 email@example.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: How to make (pin-configuration) the ETX PC cable? Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 04:46:39 From: Dirk Nijs (Dirk.Nijs@jcacademy.be) I just red on your webpage how to make the seria cable for my ETX 70 AT. The only thing I 'm missing is the pin-configuration Is it just a straight -through? Where should I connect the cable running from the first position in the RJ11 to which pin of the DB9? Where . Second . See also Hardwarebook Thanks in advance! Kind Regards, Dirk Nijs BelgiumMike here: First off, are you talking about the #506 cable for the #494 AutoStar (normally supplied with the ETX-70) or the #505 cable (which only works with the #497 AutoStar)?
Thanks for your reply! In the meantime I found the wright explaination concerning the ETX PC cable for my ETX-70 AT. So it is indeed an 506 cable. As I red, it is not just a cable. There is more... So, my resume is... Buy the original... Or am I wrong? In that case, I do have the wright software as well as the cable. What is your advice for a store? Or what is your advice in general? Kind regards, DirkMike here: Yes, the #506 is more complex and not as easily made as the simple #505 cable. You could use a #505 cable but you would have to purchase a #497 Autostar. The costs are almost (but not quite equal, at least for Meade's #506 cable, which comes with planetarium software). But with the #497 you get upgradeability and more objects in the database (many of which won't be visible in the ETX-70). As to a dealer, I recommend you locate one your in country; check Meade's web site for a dealer listing.
Subject: Help with ETX 90 in Africa Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 04:33:23 From: George Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've used your site for quite a while at my home in the USA but I am now traveling in Africa and have limited access so I am contacting you directly. Here's a little background: I have been doing astronomy programs for lodge companies in Southern Africa since 2003. I spend most of my time at one lodge in Namibia (great skies!!). Near the lodge is a non-profit environmental education center called NaDEET (www.nadeet.org). Local communities raise funds to rent a bus and then students are transported to NaDEET and NaDEET houses and feeds then for a week while they learn about the Namib Desert and sustainable living. All food is prepared by solar cooking or by burning renewables. I and some of the other astronomers visiting the lodge volunteer to give astronomy programs to the youngsters. A local family donated a small refractor to NaDEET a few years ago. In May a fire destroyed the main building at NaDEET and the telescope was destroyed also. The main building has been rebuilt and a local wildlife group donated about $700 to purchase a new telescope. NaDEET and I decided the best fit was an ETX 90 PE with an Autostar. I ordered it and my wife and I added our donation to the wildlfe group's and were able to cover the $700 price as well as the $224 shipping. Unfortunately when the telescope arrived it would not function correctly and I had left Namibia for South Africa. There are some bright people at NaDEET but they have no experience with telescopes. Both the retailer (telescopes.com) and Meade have refused to help NaDEET diagnois/repair the problem and have insisted the charity return the telescope to the USA for replacement at NaDEET's cost. This will amount to $450, more money than NaDEET can afford. They have also stated that there is no assurance that the replacement telescope will work and if it doesn't, NaDEET will have to pay shipping costs again. I am hoping either you could help them with their problem or you could forward this message to a board where others might be able to guide them through the troubleshooting. Here is the description of the problem: "We have set up the telescope and are using the Autostar Handset to align it. After a few minutes it says: Motor Unit Failure. It then gives three reasons why this is happening: 1) Handset is between scopes- Not possible as we are holding the handset next to the telescope. 2) Low Batteries- Also not possible as we have plugged into the electricity in our house. 3) Obstructed scope- The telescope is outside on our front lawn. In addition when we use the Autostar to align it ourselves the down button does not work at all and the motor really struggles to go up. Right and left are no problem at all." The Director of NaDEET is Viktoria Keding and her email is email@example.com I sent her a few suggestions (don't over-tighten altitude knobs, press mode for 2-3 sec. check power) but I may not have internet access to follow-up. Thanks for your site and appreciate any help you can offer. Regards, George Tucker George F. Tucker Ph.D. Physics Department The Sage CollegesMike here: Was a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES done? If not, do that. These will typically fix a MUF error. If that doesn't cure it, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES. If that doesn't cure the problem then reverser the AutoStar-ETX cable. If still no go then some questions: Does the error occur before, during, or after an alignment? Does the error occur with the AutoAlign or Easy Align or both?
Subject: wacky auto align- 1 more question Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 22:31:38 From: Steve Ritter (firstname.lastname@example.org) Calibrating and training seems to have solved that problem. Perhaps you would indulge me 1 more question. Since my other scope is an LX200GPS there are a few things I forgot about the ETX 90. When it's facing the home position (north) and alt/az aligned, the ETX seems to only be able to rotate about 120 degrees counter-clockwise before it hits the stop, but like 520 degrees clockwise before it hits the stop. Is this right? Thanks again. SteveMike here: You are correct. BUT the problem is not with the ETX, it is with your memory about the proper HOME position! You forget to do the counterclockwise rotation to the first hard stop and then back about 120 degrees to North.
Ah, but in order for this to be possible the control panel must be on the east side. If the cp is on the west side, the stops don't allow enough rotation. This tip isn't given in the instructions that I (re)read. Thanks again. Stephen RitterMike here: CP on West, rotate CCW (looking down on the ETX from above) until you hit the first hard stop. Then rotate CW back to North (about 120 degrees). If that isn't what you are seeing AND if the ETX will not rotate nearly twice around hardstop-to-hardstop then there is some obstruction (a wire?) that is interferring. Open up the base and see if you can see a wire that is catching. USE CAUTION: you don't want to do the rotation with so much force that you cut that wire (assuming it is a wire causing the problem).
But is 120 degrees maximum CCW rotation (when the scope is pointing north in the home position) the way its supposed to be? It seems odd because there's about 540 degrees rotation in a CW direction when you start from the home position. But according to your response below that IS the correct starting point. SteveMike here: It is slightly less than 720 degrees, hardstop to hardstop. So, yes, when you move CW 120 degrees from the first hard stop to North, you have about 500 degrees more of rotation.
And is that the right position to start an Easy Align?Mike here: For Altazimuth, yes. For more on alignment tips, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject: re: Az Train - Alt Train value Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 21:27:26 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) > The value turns out AZ TRAIN +62 and ALT TRAIN +24 I would rate those as "very good". have fun --dick
Subject: re: strange Autostar 497 rom update problem Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 21:25:39 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here's what's going on: First, 497 firmware versions earlier than 1.3 require setting into Download mode manually. Either by the Safe Load method, or simply by menuing to Setup/Download 2nd: you can tell StarPatch to -not- load the GPS-seeker, just untick it from the list of patch options presented in its display window. 3rd: Although your problem was the truly ancient version of firmware in the Autostar, many USB-to-serial adapters -can- successfully *control* the scope (a la' Voyager), but still cannot -download- firmware. The control commands are all short 7-bit printable ascii, whereas the download is a series of bursts of longer multi-byte 8-bit binary transfers. As it happens, my own ETX90 was bought in 1999, and my first Autostar version was also 1.1j. have fun --dick
Subject: wacky auto align Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 21:46:07 From: Steve Ritter (email@example.com) I have an ETX90 which has always worked pretty well. Now, on auto-align, it wants to point straight up and even beyond where it could physically move. Tried resetting, no luck. Any ideas? Stephen Ritter San Diego, CAMike here: Have you replaced the batteries? Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Does the same thing happen with Easy Align?
Thanks for your quick response. > Have you replaced the batteries? I'm using a 12V power source. > Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? No, not since I did it when I first bought it, a few years ago. >Does the same thing happen with Easy Align? Yes.Mike here: Anytime the power source is changed (including significant draining and recharging) you should do a CALIBRATE MOTOR. This will likely solve the odd movement. You should also do it and a TRAIN DRIVES following any RESET. This should cure your problem.
Thanks ! I'll give it a try. Steve
Subject: Az Train - Alt Train value Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 12:49:48 From: PATRIZIO CARATTO (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have installed the patch 43aa in my Autostar 497 (LX90). I have executed RESET - CALIBRATE MOTOR - TRAIN DRIVE with percentage of 50% AZ and 50% ALT. The value turns out AZ TRAIN +62 and ALT TRAIN +24. Thus goes well? How much must be the optimal value? Excusing me for my ugly English, it compliments for the web site and THANKS YOU. Patrizio Caratto (GENOA - ITALY)Mike here: Optimal values depend on the telescope and your personal preferences. I don't have a LX90 so can't comment on that model.
Subject: lxd75 p.e.c. training Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2006 09:24:40 From: roger schultz (email@example.com) I have a quick question for you. On two occasions now, I have tried to do a PEC train procedure with my ar6. I think I am doing it wrong. I thought I was supposed to turn on the pec first, before I do the training. This is probably wrong isn't it. Every time after activating the pec, I go to the train p.e.c. and hit enter, the scope stops tracking completely. Am I supposed to do the training, and updating first, before turning on the PEC? Please set my brain straight for me. Thanks very much!
From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Well, that's a toughie... Whups! No, it's not (inspiration hit) what firmware version are you running? (setup/statistics/[enter][scroll up]) First, as with Train Drives, it doesn't matter if you have PEC On or Off when you start a PEC Training session... the Autostar -will- turn it On as a part of the Train procedure. And that's why it stopped... i'll just bet you did not ERASE the PEC data before attempting the train.. and the Autostar stands a moderate chance of having the data are preloaded with (hexadecimal) xFF's. Which tell the Pec System to bring the scope to a dead halt. What you -should- do for a Train is: (a) do PEC / Erase [enter] (b) do PEC / Train [enter] (c) follow the prompts. See if that's any better... PEC Training is conceptually simple: keep the star centered as best you can during the procedure. At the -end- of the procedure, the Autostar will declare (well, beep) "Done" and PEC will be turned on and engaged. Many people see their LXD's *slow down* when that happens.. i don't know why (i don't have an LXD), but they do. So they ahve to increase their tracking rate to compensate. It's possible that you could -not- increase the tracking rate, and do a PEC Update cycle or two and perhaps overcome the slower tracking rate. If not, then use Setup/Telescope/Tracking Rate/Custom and enter numbers to speed it up. If you can measure the drift in terms of arcseconds per clock minute, that would be the number to use. (an example: if you have an eyepiece with a 10 arcminute field of view, and the stars are drifting from center to edge in 30 minutes, that would be (5 arcmin (half the field of view) * 60 (conversion to arcseconds)/(30 clock minutes)= 5*60/30= 10 So you'd enter "10" as the custom tracking rate. have fun --dick
Subject: ETX-125PE Retaining Site Information Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 17:35:05 From: RLPJP@cs.com (RLPJP@cs.com) When I enter the site information into my 125PE it works fine for that session but as soon as I turn the scope off the site information is lost and has to be reentered the next time I use it. I always use the scope from my home location and would like it ro retain this information. I use an external power pack to power the scope with no internal batteries, could this be the problem. Thanks, Rod ParkMike here: This sounds like the problem I had with the PE model when I first received one. I had the problem with Zipcodes. So try using City Name if you have been using Zipcode. Also, check to see whether the Site list is full; you may have to delete one.
Thanks Mike. It sure is nice having someplace to go for help. Happy Star Gazing, Rod
Subject: strange Autostar 497 rom update problem Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 08:48:00 From: Robert and Sigrid (email@example.com) Here's a little brain teaser for you. I bought my ETX 90EC in the early days of its release (1999). And a couple of months later also got myself a #497 ETX Autostar. At the time I was a bit disappointed with its performance, but didn't have time to thoroughly test it, since we relocated back to the Netherlands from CA. I only recently got to get my telescope back to point to the sky once more and wanted to get to the bottom of things. In the process I found your site, with wonderful tips that got me going real well. So I decided to update my Autostar's ROM, and got myself a #505 cable and serial to USB cable. Since I've got a Macbook Pro, I figured I could try the update from either the Mac or PC side (running XP under Boot Camp). So here's the problem: In OS 10.4.7 using the right (prolific) driver for the USB to serial cable the AutostarX program complains that it can't connect to the autostar. Under XP, using Meade's ASU program it says it can't find the autostar at first and suggest to search all com ports (I've put the prolific cable to be at COM2 (COM1 is in use)). It then says it found the autostar at COM2 (surprise surprise!) but when I try the update it then says there is a problem with the connection, and suggests to check the connections (the same happens if I try this from my wife's DELL PC). I do get a piece of info though: the ROM version is 1.1j. Now here's a real strange thing. When I leave all cables as they are, start my copy of Voyager 4, and connect to the telescope ... I CAN OPERATE THE SCOPE FROM MY MAC IN OS 10 ENVIRONMENT! How's that possible? Here's my setup: ETX 90EC, with #497 ETX Autostar, powered by a 12V lead-acid battery, #505 cable with prolific serial to USB cable, MacBook Pro 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo, 1GB RAM with OS 10.4.7 and Boot Camp 1.1 running XP pro. On the software side: I use AutostarX 1.4, and Voyager 4.0.1; on the XP side I only used Meade's ASU to try and upgrade to ROM version 43Ea. Can you shed some light on this? Cheers, RobertMike here: You didn't specify whose USB-serial adapter you have but I suspect it could be one that doesn't work with the Autostar update process. See the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. I have successfully used my Keyspan adapter from VirtualPC (Meade's ASU) and Mac OS 10.4 (with AutostarX).
Well, the adapter wasn't to blame after all. I figured it was worth a try and spend 45,- ($50.-) on a Keyspan usb to serial adapter, and now am the proud owner of a Prolific USB to Serial adapter (which came from Green Witch as a Meade cable), as well as one from KeySpan. However, with the Keyspan adapter I got the same messages/behaviour from AutostarX (Check connections with autostar), and ASU under XP (first can't find the autostar, does a com port sweep, tells me it found an autostar at COM1 (with keyspan I can use COM1), and then doesn't do anything.). I knew the connections were OK because when I try to connect to the telescope with Voyager 4 (my planetarium software package for OS X), it worked well (slewing, finding targets, syncing [even the autostar handbox said so!] etc as it did with the Prolific adapter). As I understood from your site the new ROM versions are much better, for instance in terms of drive training etc, so I followed your advice and double checked the "Autostar and USB" article. That's where I found the mention of StarPatch. So I gave the trial version a go. This was the first of all packages to tell me after I tried to upload the new ROM version that I should reconnect to the Autostar in save load mode (!!). I did, could download the ROM version (with the StarPatch GPS patch, which I found a bit annoying because my handbox now started looking for a GPS box and said it would do that as a trail version). Went back to OS X, and ran AutostarX to reload the ROM version 4.3Ea and it now went swimmingly! So I guess the old ROM version was to blame and starting the Autostar in save mode did the trick. It's a shame that AutostarX OR ASU didn't mention this as an alternative. Do you know anyone interested in a Prolific USB to serial adapter cable (it's as good as new)? Cheers, RobertMike here: Sorry that you needlessly purchased an adapter. But glad you got the Autostar upload working. All Autostars (with ROMs from the last few years) have had SAFE LOAD mode, which works with AutostarX or Meade's app. But that is only a last-resort option normally.
Subject: Autostar-ETX motors overshoot Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 05:30:32 From: Greg Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am a grateful user of your site, and have read thouroughly all of the Autostar and ETX info you've provided. However I can't shake motor overshoot errors I get when controlling my ETX 125EC via Autostar, particularly at speeds of 4 and lower. To give you a quick overview, I have done all of the upgrades on my ETX as per Dr Clay's and RB Ingersoll's tips. My Autostar has been upgraded to version 43Ea and the drives have been calibrated and very meticulously trained with a reticle eyepiece. All this, coupled with very careful setting up routines gives me very close to smack-on GO-TOs. (I use Alt-Az alignment for various reasons - polar is not sufficient for what I want to view here in Aust.) The problem I have is that at low speeds some arrow buttons respond perfectly. But some of the arrow buttons will very briefly send the motors in the opposite direction to what I've asked for, then go the correct direction way. When I *stop* pushing the button, the motors will overshoot, then come back the other way a bit before stopping (is this rubber-banding). The motors do not often come back to where I orginally wanted them to stop. Motor percentages do not fix this problem (and can exacerbate it). Further, the buttons giving problems change depend on what section of the sky I'm in. E.G. Looking north, the right arrow button gives overshoot problems, all others are ok. Looking east, the left and right buttons are perfect, but the down arrow gives problems. Needless to say, trying to position anything like the LPI is just maddening. I think I've done everything correctly, but I can't fix this one. Do I have to live with this? I suspect that this is a problem with the Alt-Az tracking functions in Autostar. But if you have a solution I've love to hear it. Thanks, Greg Campbell
And from our resident Autostar expert:
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) >> Further, the buttons giving problems change depend on what section of >> the sky I'm in. E.G. Looking north, the right arrow button gives >> overshoot problems, all others are ok. Looking east, the left and >> right buttons are perfect, but the down arrow gives problems. I was about to write "assuming you're in the northern hemisphere..." when i noticed your email address... So i'll have to change that to "assuming you have not set 'Rev L/R' to 'On'... I -think- all of your example button descriptors work out to: "If i slew -against- the sidereal motion of the sky" (since stars are rising in the east, 'down' is against them) (since stars (for you in Australia) are moving right-to-left when you're pointed north, then 'right' is against them, too) So it does bubble down to "reversing the motor causes the symptom". Have you tried setting the percentages (both RA and DEC) to -zero-? >> Needless to say, trying to position anything like the LPI is just >> maddening. The trick is to always approach the target "from the east" so that your final slews are -with- (not against) sidereal motion. This requires a bit of a head-spin to work out which vector that is. At Speed 1, the scope "does it for you" (works out the vector), since Meade has the slew keys become true RA and DEC, not the usual up/down/right/left which all other speeds do. Unfortunately, it's at such slow rates that it may not be useful for -positioning-, but at least it will show you which way is the direction of lowering RA values (up in the east, down in the west, with a contribution of "poleward", unless you're at latitude zero). >> But some of the arrow buttons will very briefly send the >> motors in the opposite direction to what I've asked for, Hmmm... i wonder if Meade has a sign wrong here? They are reknowned for getting some bits backwards in the southern (and eastern) hemispheres. However: further thought leads me to suspect a worm/final drive or bearings problem. See two paragraphs below: >> then go the correct direction way. >> When I *stop* pushing the button, the motors >> will overshoot, then come back the other way a bit before stopping >> (is this rubber-banding). Then again, perhaps your percentages are too low... What's really happening is that you are performing an eastward slew. When you release the key, the motors reverse to drive the scope westwards with sidereal motion. But the gears have backlash/slop. Until the motor overcomes that slop, the telescope itself is -stationary-. But the star is still moving westward sidereally. What you see in the eyepiece is 'drift', but it -appears- as if the telescope was still slewing eastwards. The motor eventually overcomes the slop, and starts driving westward. The overshoot may be caused by a too HIGH percentage (and Training issue.. although good GoTo's are the measure of good training), if the following paragraph holds any water: However, in your case, i think there might -also- be a mechanical issue. It could be that the worm is walking out of mesh from the driven gear, or that one of your DEC bearings is loose (in my ETX90 the dec bearings are plastic sleeves... and one has worn into an elliptical shape.. thus the motor-side dec axle can lift and drop over a millimeter when the loads reverse... and -that- causes erratic lag and overshoot corrections, even with 'perfect' settings, since the direction of that slop varies with where i am in the sky). Another item to look for is worm end play. good luck --dick
Thank you for the very informative email - it confirms some of my suspicions. Just for some feedback for you: I doubt the mechanics are a problem for a few reasons. I didn't find any end play in the worm drives during tune-up, and if there was I would have expected to see the problems a bit more consistently across the sky. All of the ojects used in my test were within a few degrees of each other in altitude, so there shouldn't have been the marked difference in the altitude overshoot if it was mechanical in the worm drive end play or the drive gear. My scope is approx. two years old: the dec bearings are proper ball bearings and the whole setup is in good shape - it seems Meade has been getting their act together on some of the mechnical issues as I've noticed a lot of differences between my scope and the website tune-up tips. I think the slight kick in the opposite direction is a backlash issue because I am driving back across the tracking. I didn't check too much if percentages helped this, because it was honestly so minor compared to the overshoot/drift that I didn't concentrate on it. I now think that the "driving the scope against the tracking" is almost certainly the problem. What I didn't mention last email (because I thought I had gone crazy) was that the "down" arrow key when facing Vega to the north was giving overshoot/drift until abruptly it stopped its nonsense. I've just worked out that right then Vega had probably hit its highest point for the night - so the altitude tracking for Vega would have been netural - hence the up and down arrows giving no trouble. As for the percentages, I experimented between 1% and 90% for some time, but all with varying degrees of success - probably because what worked in one part of the sky was not so useful for another. I didn't try 0%, but I'll have a go tonight. So it appears that I am up against possibly a limitation of the scope itself rather than an error or failure. This will make me a lot happier driving it, and I'll try to approach things from the same direction as the tracking for fine tuning. Finally, I'll specify Australia on my future emails! It only just occurred to me that "Aust" could have meant Austria or Austin, Texas. Thank you both, this has been a great help to me. Greg Campbell
Subject: two autostars Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 14:28:43 From: Richard Blaisdell (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an LX90 pre-LNT.I have two Autostars and was wondering if I could do a Calibrate,Train Drives on both so if one fails during observing I can just switch to the other without too much fuss other than shutting down and restarting with the second Autostar or must I go through the whole process again? I use an AC adapter for power.Thanks,Rick BlaisdellMike here: That will work fine. It is when switching one Autostar between two telescopes that you need to CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject: #497 Autostar not working at all Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 13:51:44 From: MichaB S. (email@example.com) I have a #497 Autostar controller for my ETX 125, and some day I was downloading a new data and after 30 sec. by mistake I was disconnected cable between pc and handbox, and now when I turn on a telescope, autostar only show me " (c) 03 Meade [31E] AUTOSTAR" on screen and it's not working at all. Even my computer can't see this telescope. Can I repair this somehow ? Please help me. MichaelMike here: See the "Q. The power went off while I was updating my Autostar and now it doesn't work. Did I kill it?" on the FAQ page.
Subject: #497 Autostar Display Lower Line Scrolls way too fast all the time Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 09:39:40 From: Barry Young (firstname.lastname@example.org) This has probably been covered somewhere on your site, but I cannot find it. I have a #497 Autostar controller for my ETX90EC and the second line in the display scrolls at high speed like it is unable to stop when it should. If I move my eyes rapidly from right to left, I can make out words. My question is, should I throw out this #497 controller or is it possible to repair it? Thank You Barry Young Young Camera CompanyMike here: This frequently asked question comes up a lot (which is why it is a "Frequently Asked Question"). You can find the answer (and many more) on the FAQ page.
Thank you Mike: I figured it out. Duh! I downloaded a manual and there it was. I just had to slow down the scan. I did look through the FAQ, I guess I missed it. Sorry to have bothered you. Barry Young Young Camera Company
Subject: Meade Mount Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 07:16:14 From: Frank Puzycki (email@example.com) I own an 8" Schimdt Newtonian from Meade - the go to mount is giving me problems. The right ascension slewing control, does a counterslew everytime I execute a go-to or slewing command. Dave at High Point Scientific recommended I give you a call. Do you repair Meade hardware or have you seen problems like this? Can you give me any direction here? Any help you can offer is appreciated! Frank PuzyckiMike here: This sounds like what we call "rubberbanding". Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES recently? That typically cures rubberbanding. Have you upgraded to the current version of the Autostar software? You need to do the CALIBRATE and TRAIN steps following the update.
Mike - thanks for prompt reply - thta is the problem - after I upgraded to latest autostar version (done by high point), I calibrated and trained and even did procedure to assure mount axis were aligned after first discovering this problem - it has not gone away. FrankMike here: Is this mount a LXD55 or LXD75? You might try adjusting the percentages (article on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page).
It is an LXD 55 - interestingly, rubber band issue occurred right after upgrading software to latest version of autostar in June. Initially was a nuisance but in trying to do autoguiding, has become a downright obstacle. I'll look at the article you reference and thanks again Mike! Do you consider this LXD 55 mount to be capable of reasonable astrophotog application? FrankMike here: Be certain you do an accurate TRAIN DRIVES; use a high power eyepiece and/or reticle eyepiece if possible. As to astrophotography, yes, as can be seen by the many examples on my LXD site.
I used a Meade 10mm reticle eyepiece - I am beginning to suspect the update of the autostar software caused this issue. I literally used a white glove approach to this last weekend. I am going to try your most recent suggestion this weekend. Thanks again. FrankMike here: It is possible the download or the upload was corrupted. Try redownloading the update directly to your hard disk and do the upload from the file.
Subject: etx125 Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2006 18:43:42 From: Beachboy255@aol.com (Beachboy255@aol.com) Have you ever heard of any problems with the autostar remote (etx125) just conking out. It just goes blank and goes out after a few seconds and comes back on and repeats that process. Does it sound like a short in the Autostar. The telescope works fine and tracks fine. Thanks, JohnMike here: Sounds like it could be a bad connection. Check the pins inside the jacks on the ETX base and the Autostar base as well as the cable ends. Check for pins that are depressed or dirty.
Subject: Display, GOTO to coordinates Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2006 18:10:08 From: Wayne Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Do you happen to know how I can see the ra,dec and az, el using what is probably autostar I for the lxd55? Is there a way to set az,el and go to it? I finally got the loan of a cheshire collimator and used it on my lxd55.Mike here: See the entry "How do I enter Right Ascension and Declination and have the Autostar GOTO it?" on the ETX Site FAQ page.
Thanks. Who woulda guessed! Is it different in the latest autostar for the lxd55? Is there a way to shutdown so the time is saved? I'm getting ready for a sky show in about 90 minutes and it's been awhile since I've used this scope.Mike here: When you power off, the time is always set to the default of 8pm (or 2000) on the next power on. If you don't move the telescope you could put the Autostar to sleep however. But that is really just a power saving mode (but it does retain the alignment).
Thanks. Has there been an improvement in the software along these lines? I'm still using the original s/w. I had spent many hours repairing and cleaning up the scope, and pretty much had completed it on Friday before tonight's sky show. I didn't want to update the s/w until after the show, since it might have further complicated matters. Unfortunately, the scope failed tonight. I hypertuned it but maybe didn't use enough grease. It was balky when I tried it Friday and today. If I could of poured a pint of oil in, I would have. Well, I've got 6 weeks until the next sky show. It may require more grease, and some motor adjustment. Three times tonight it shut down with motor messages.Mike here: Definitely the software is improved over the original version that shipped with the first LXD55 models. As to your problems, keep in mind that it is possible to make things worse rather than better. Too much grease, especially in the wrong place (like covering the encoder and sensors) can cause problems.
Thanks for the info and tip. Since I've become familiar with the inner workings, I'll probably be able to ease into greasing what is probably the troublesome axis to solve the problem. I should be able to work much more quickly and freely than the first time around.
Subject: Auto Star will not work in the Manual mode Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:27:41 From: Shdrbrown@aol.com (Shdrbrown@aol.com) my ETX-105 and the Auto Star unit work perfectly, except when trying to slew the telescope in the Manual mode. The Up, Down, Left, Right buttons do nothing. The telescope has been aligned, initialized with current date/time data entered, but unlike what the operating manual says on page 4, the manual slew buttons do not work. Personally, I think the manual slew buttons should operate anytime power has been applied to the unit. Any ideas? Thank you for your time. Don BrownMike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Did the arrow keys work there? Have you increased the slewing speed (using the number keys; 1 is slowest and 9 fastest)?
thanks for the answer, but I finally figured out what the problem was! Problem solved by unplugging the cord from the Auto Star handset and plugging it in again. Evidently it "wiped the pins clean" as the manual mode is now functioning normally. Brownie
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