AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 16 August 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade Autostar Suite. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks. (The Lunar Planetary Imager, LPI, and Deep Sky Imager, DSI, are covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Subject:	Autostar telescope connection problems
Sent:	Monday, August 14, 2006 06:00:21
From:	Adam Jephson (adamint@icon.co.za)
Any idea why my computer won' t see my scope (14"lx200gps) when I use
the serial cable? It says "initializing" but nothing happens, even when
it says it is connected to a port . Scope is turned on, but the "remote
handbox" option does not function.

Checking in DSI Imager mode by  going to "telescope" it says "scope not
connected."

I can only control the scope from my pc by using the "control panel"
(under "telescope", not the remote handbox option.

Help!
Thanks
Adam, in Johannesburg South Africa
Mike here: Lets see, it sounds like you are asking about the Autostar Suite software and not just using the Autostar from a computer. Correct? If that is the case, have you enabled the Network Protocol option? See the Autostar Suite section of the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for more on "networking". This is required to use the Autostar Suite applications with the single serial port.

And:

Thanks very much!
Got it all up and running.
Saved me a lot of hassle and worry that there was something wrong with
the scope!

Best regards
Adam

Subject:	autostar suite installation problem
Sent:	Saturday, August 12, 2006 04:44:53
From:	Josh Hickey (joshdhickey@yahoo.ca)
I recently purchased a ETX 80 bundled with the autostar suite software. 
The scope is great but I cannot get the software to install.  About a
third of the way through the install process it stops and I get the
following message: "file D:\GSC\N0000\0001.GSC could not be opened".  In
addition the lunar atlas will install but encounters a serious problem
everytime I try to run the program.  My computer runs XP with all the
current updates and has the latest direct X.  I would really like the
problem fixed since I am interested in the LPI imaging product but I
will not purchase it until I know my system will run their software. 
Any help will be appreciated.
 
Thanks,
 
Josh
Mike here: Contact Meade; it is possible the CD-ROM is bad. Don't know anything about the lunar atlas program. As to the LPI, keep in mind that to use all the features of the LPI and Autostar Suite will require a #497 Autostar (has number keys).

And:

Thanks for help.  I keep trying to get into contact with meade.
 
Josh

Subject:	Re:Autostar Suite as an alignmnet tool
Sent:	Thursday, August 10, 2006 03:47:49
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
The problem with this is that Autostar terminates serial communication
with the computer during an alignment.  The reason is that until an
alignment is completed, Autostar only has an approximate idea of where
it's pointed, based on the initial "Home" position, or the LNT in the
case of a PE series scope.  The alignment process refines that
approximation to a more precise value for subsequent pointing and for
use with an external computer.

A bit of trivia is that Autostar only sends RA/Dec values to Autostar
Suite, even when it's mounted Alt/Az, and the Suite sends positioning
commands back in the same format.  It seems Autostar does all the
caculations using RA/Dec, then translates it to Alt/Az based on the Site
location and sends the necessary drive signals to the scope.

Regards,
Mike

Subject:	RE: Controlling Telescope from DSI "Envisage" softwarew
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2006 21:59:32
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You wrote:
> I currently have my ETX scope connected to my Laptop on my PC desk and
> in the status box is written Autostar ver:4.0EB Autotrack only.

If the ETX is mounted Alt/Az, then Envisage will only offer "autotrack".
If you mount POLAR, it may offer "autoguide".
If you install my patch kit for the Autostar firmware, among the
optional patches are "[LPI Autoguiding for Alt/Az]"...
and "[DSI Autoguiding for Alt/Az]"

The first overcomes an internal block in the firmware,
the second tells Envisage that the scope is -always- mounted Polar,
even if it is not (the Autostar still views itself as Alt/Az... it
only lies to external programs).

We continue:
> ... Since
> clicking on the four direction tabs doesn't seem to move the scope (eg.
> Slew:N@1 appears in status box when "pressing" N tab)- I presume that
> control is only by Drizzle?

The problem here is twofold:
(a) you need my Patch, or to be mounted in Polar  (see above)
(b) the motions will be at *guide speed*.... 67% of sidereal.
 You have to be -very patient- to see any effect.

> Will this be different when I connect to
> my Autostar II and LX200GPS ie will I be able to use the various slew
> sppeds?

Maybe.

have fun
--dick

And:

> I have not needed to use the direction keys in the telescope control
> panel in Envisage, but given the success noted above I guess everything
> must be working OK. One peculiar point though, is that after initiating
> guiding and then starting to take images I get a message to the effect
> that "Drizzle will not guide.........." but it certainly seems to be
> doing so.

There's "guide" and there's "track".

"Guiding" involves moving the -scope- to keep the target centered.

"Tracking" involves shifting the sequential -images- to keep particular bright
  pixels accumulating at the same place in the final image.

If your scope is keeping the target fairly well centered (+/- 10% of field
of view), then you may well have far better results from 'tracking',
since you're not fighting 'guiding' mechanical effects such as backlash
and overcorrections.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Autostar Suite as an alignmnet tool
Sent:	Sunday, August 6, 2006 18:29:47
From:	David (dhspas10@verizon.net)
I have notice when using the Autostar suite to control my EXT 125, That
it might be possible to use it on my PC to do indoor alignments.  It
seems to me if the star maps are accurate it should be possible to do
this.  I have very limited view of the sky at night an would like to use
this as a method for initial setup.  Could you comment on this and if
there is any merit to trying this approach?
 
David Schilling
Massachusetts
Mike here: Well, the sky maps are accurate BUT you need to actually see where the telescope is pointed and slew to the alignment stars to visually center them. For example, the Autostar slews to the first alignment star, say "Vega". You have to center that star. But unless you add an imager to the finderscope as well as the eyepiece holder, you won't know if you have centered Vega or Deneb or some other star.

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Copyright ©2006 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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