Last updated: 31 December 2001
Subject: Re: 497 Troubles Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 5:38:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Howard) To: email@example.com (Victor van Wulfen) I read through what you had posted on Weasner's site. It sounds like there is one difference between the problem that you had and the problem that I had. My autostar forced the scope to slew in 2 directions. That is, both alt and az motors ran sporadically. I am hoping that the problem is entirely in the Autostar, and I do not have 2 broken wires in the base. I will keep everyone posted. Jim
Subject: Autostar / ETX Cable Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2001 12:29:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bruce Dickson) A couple of weeks ago, I saw a post on your site commenting on the quality of connectors in the Autostar's cable. While fiddling, I discovered that the LX 200 controller cable is a form-fit-function swap for the Autostar's. (... well, it works fine on my ETX :-) ) This are a big improvement over the Autostar variety - the connectors on the LX200 cable have built in strain relief - mine has survived quite a few years of regular use. Presumably Meade will sell it as a spare. All the best for 2002 Bruce Midrand, SOUTH AFRICA email@example.com PS - sorry I couldn't find the original post.
Subject: 506 cable connector Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2001 7:49:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Walt) I've purchased a scope with a 494 controller that needs a 506 cable. Even the dealer is having trouble locating the parts. One of the problems is that Meade sells the kit (Meade part number 04513) only to dealers, which includes software, and I have software, but no cable. I have parts, but no pin-outs. Anybody help? Thanks from WaltMike here: See the FAQ for info on the #506 cable.
Subject: Meade #506 connector cable Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2001 8:28:53 From: email@example.com (Claud Downing) I have read several posts regarding the 506 cable. I want to build my own and understand that it has active electronics. I am somewhat versed in this practice and am looking for the schematic listing components and pin outs. Do you know where I can find this? I have looked everywhere to no avail. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Claud DowningMike here: As noted on the FAQ, the specs for this cable are not public available.
Subject: help please Sent: Wednesday, December 26, 2001 15:55:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (cueless) I just got a EXT-60 for x-mas and put in the wrong location during set up. how do i reset the autostar? Thank you in advance.Mike here: If you mean the wrong country, the simplest way is to RESET the Autostar from the Utilities menu. Otherwise, you can go to the Sites menu and edit the site itself.
Hi, me again. I just found the answer to my question. Thank you anyway and sorry to bother you. i found it on your site. thanx for all your hard work and informative site!
Subject: Possible cause of '497 troubles' Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2001 12:26:06 From: email@example.com (Victor van Wulfen) I just read the report under Autostar Feedback by Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org) and it all just sounds too familiar to the trouble I recently experienced with my ETX . My Autostar fried or otherwise stopped working with exactly the same symptoms. I mailed you and Clay about it earlier. My scope slewed, uncontrollably and in small intervals, in declination. If I didn't turn it off it would hit the hard stops. Swapping the wiring in the base with the R.A. wiring moved the problem to that axis. A clear indication that the problem was in either Autostar, the cable or the power panel circuit board. I've since then replaced my DEC circuit board, the wiring to the base and my Autostar. With a new DEC board an wiring the problem was still there, leaving me with the Autostar to blame. A brand new Autostar worked as advertised. What I think is the case, as with Jim's scope, is that somewhere between the power panel and the DEC board there is a short in the wiring. Since the standard controller doesn't need any info from the encoders in de drives this doesn't give any trouble. The Autostar does need this info, but if it is not receiving any or given false info (because of snapped wiring or a short) it slews uncontrollably. Like Richard Seymour described in his contributions to your site, it can fry the Autostar electronics. I'm quite sure that's what happened to my Autostar and probably also Jim's. Replacing the wiring in his ETX, or better the entire scope, should solve the problem. I hope this was of help. Enjoy the holidays!! VictorAnd from our resident Autostar expert:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org The symptoms you describe (erratic axis motion when powered up) sound dreadfully like something hashed out about a year ago. The "what does your scope do if there is *nothing* plugged into the HBX socket syndrome. So try that: don't plug -either- controller in, turn on scope. What will happen is a case-by-case operation: some sit quietly, others go into regular or randomized motion patterns. *All* motions (or lack thereof) are "OK". (the scope wasn't desgined to work without a controller). What's NOT OK is if uncommanded motion happens with a controller (Autostar/HandController) attached. Try playing with the HBX cable ends, they might have uncrimped a bit. It's also possible that your Autostar has internally fried the data driver of the motor controller side of things. (the two motors share a data line, but have separate clock lines. The AUX circuit is a spearate pair of clock and data drivers). So the -common- item leading to the two motors is the data line. If you can borrow a telephone RJ45 connector tool (visit RadioShack and look mournful), simply re-crunch the ends of the HBX cable and things may improve. good luck --dickAnd:
From: email@example.com (Jim Howard) Hello Dick, thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I took some RJ-45 jacks that I had laying around from wiring my house up, and plugged the ends of the cable into those. I then took my continuity tester, and verified the cable. It tests out 100% ok. I also took the autostar apart, and verified the plug is still solid to the circuit board (bad soldering could cause issues here). It is still firmly soldered. Since the factory controller still works good with the scope, I think I can safely rule the scope out. I can rule the actual cable out due to testing. Since they tie in to one line, and use clocking signal to seperate the commands, is there an oscilator that could be burned out? Is it a replacable unit, or built into an IC? It is sounding more and more like another bad autostar :( Thanks much, JimAnd:
I agree... too bad. You've checked out everything that's easily checked (got an oscilliscope?)... so swapping units (if you're forced to go to Meade instead of the dealer, their response is good, but their phones will be *swamped* for the next few weeks...) good luck --dickAnd an update:
It won't allow me to train. As soon as I turn the scope on, it starts doing this. It runs one of the motors, stops runs it again, stops, runs it a third time while running the other motor, etc. There seems to be some sort of a pattern, although I can't place it. The ETX and autostar were working great for the last couple weeks, then last night, while observing, this started.Mike here: It sounds like the connection between the Autostar and the electronics in the base has been lost. Time to contact your dealer or Meade.
Subject: 497 troubles Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2001 7:42:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Howard) Hi, great site! I have a question I am hoping you or one of your readers have encountered before. I was out using my scope last night with the 497 controller. I was tracking saturn just fine when all of a sudden the scope motors just start moving sporatically. I turned the scope off as it was gettin close to the hard stops, and manually moved it back to polar alignment. I then turned the scope back on, and before I could even clear the intros, It once again started running the motors. It seems to take each motor through all the steps of its speed repeatedly, it does this two or three times, then pauses, and starts doing it all over again. I cannot seem to get it to stop. I am going to try to reprogram the 497 now ("t", the latest was on it, and I am overwriting it with "t" again). All other functions of the 497 seem to be working just fine. I can have it align, find items, etc. When I plug the origional hand controller back in, everything functions perfectly. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated... This is my second 497 in 1 month, and if this is the quality of the 497, well, I am quite disapointed. Thanks for your time, JimMike here: How are the batteries? If you are running on AC, is it the standard Meade one or some third party one? Don't forget to TRAIN the drives once you upload the ROM. Let me know what happens.
Hi Mike, thanks for the quick reply. I have tried both battery and AC with the same results. I successfully uploaded the ROM, and reset the controller. It continues to do the same thing. It is as if the stepper motor controller in the handheld unit is just not connected to the scope anymore. I checked the connections, and the continuity in the wiring as well. All is as it should be. It was rather cold out last night, but then what good is a scope controller if it won't work in the cold? When I connect the controller that came with the scope, all is well. The drives do their auto-train, and I have complete control. I also checked the solder connections on the board in the 497, and they are still tight. Any other thoughts?Mike here: The only low temperature concern with the Autostar is that the display blanks out. The Autostar is still functional; you just can't see anything on the display. So now I wonder if you ETX could be suffering from the "random slew" problem. You didn't say what model you have; this problem occurred on a few early -125 models. If that is the problem and the scope is still new, exchange it at your dealer.
The scope is a ETX-90EC. It is fairly recent. Also, the scope works as it should with the factory controller. It only does this behavior with the autostar plugged in. At this point, it seems that something with the motor control unit of the autostar must be bad, but I don't know where to go or what to do beyond just taking it back to where I bought it and try a 3rd one.Mike here: The random slew problem on the older ETX-125EC model was a circuit board in the ETX base, not in the Autostar. The slews did not occur with the standard handcontroller, only when the Autostar was used. So, if that is the problem, replacing the Autostar won't help. Also, after you uploaded the ROM you said you did a RESET but you didn't say you also reTRAINed. That is required too. Be certain that model telescope is selected before you TRAIN.
Subject: #505 connector cable set uk Sent: Monday, December 24, 2001 7:55:15 From: Helen750@msn.com (helen fennah) I was wandering if you could help me, im looking for the meade #505 connector cable set to set up my telescope to the computer, is there anywhere on line or a shop where i can purchase this product in the uk I would be very gratful for your help. Yours sincerly HelenMike here: There are several UK dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page. Or you could make one; see the Autostar Information page for cable info.
Subject: Got my Autostar working (more or less) Sent: Sunday, December 23, 2001 20:00:06 From: email@example.com (John Hewit) Hi there, I have managed to update my Autostar to 2.2ET from the German version. I had my first go at GOTO. After setting it up and training the drives, I took it out to play. After a couple of attempts to set the home position, (Note to self: Remember to set the daylight saving to "no!") I had a pretty successful alignment. I was able to slew to Jupiter and Saturn with relatively small adjustment. This brings me to my problem: whenever I adjust the position to center it after the "GOTO" it re-adjusts itself! It only does it in the alt axis. Whenever I move it, it then moves itself up. It's very annoying. Is this the "Creep after beep" I've read about? How can I stop this? Tracking at sidereal rate seems fine. I also seem to have a lot of slack in the RA drive so I may have to perform little operation on it as per the Tech Tips page. Also I don't get the system calibrating the motors when it initialises. One feature I like is the Identify feature. You look at a star or try to find a named one then you can check its identity to see what it is. Nice idea. Sorta GOTO in reverse. John HewitMike here: ReTRAINing the drives following an update usually cures the problem. If not, do a RESET and then a reTRAIN. Do the TRAIN drives as accurately as you can. That should fix the rubberbanding you are experiencing.
Ok, thanks for that. I'll try retraining and I'll see how I get on. One other wee quirk I have come across when I am using the GOTO feature. I'm looking at Jupiter for example and then select Saturn When I press GOTO it moves very slightly and beeps smugly as if to say how clever it is. Trouble is, it's nowhere near Saturn! BUT, if I press it again it slews round to Saturn no problem. Two presses to GOTO?Mike here: One press to ENTER to select the choice and one press of GOTO to actually. But I don't recall hearing that two presses of GOTO were required.a
Subject: ASU 3.0 and win XP Sent: Sunday, December 23, 2001 11:18:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Cramm Patrick) It just won't work : the ASU soft cannot detect the autostar on my com port even if I force it ti COM1. Has this something to do with winXP ? I really need some help I guess... Greetings, Patrick CrammAnd:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) The best i can answer is that i've heard from at least three folks that it worked on WinXP without any problems. I have -also- heard (was it this Patrick?) from one person who can control their scope with StarryNight (or whatever), but the ASU -cannot- find their Autostar. I run Win95 and Win98se at home. I haven't tried it myself under WinXP. Can Patrick talk to the Autostar via Hyperterminal? (see pages on Mike's Site under Autostar Info re: communcating with the Autostar). Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your setup, details and results of any other tests... perhaps they have a 'how to fix" ready to ship. good luck --dickAnd:
Thanks. Tried the hyperterminal mode but could not communicate. WinXP says the connection is used by other hardware (my autostar ?) if dataflow = hardware. If i put dataflow=none, i cannot communicate. The serial port works fine for my pocket pc so there is no hardware problem. Used the cable earlier to upgrade to autostar 2.0. I forwarded my problem to the meade engineer address. Thanks again for the suggestions.And more:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Cramm Patrick wrote: > Thanks. Tried the hyperterminal mode but could not communicate. > WinXP says the connection is used by other hardware (my autostar ?) Whoa, whoa, whoa... If WinXP thinks the COM port is used by "other hardware".. then -that's- why ASU cannot reach the Autostar! ASU (being a "good" Windows-friendly program) ASKS Windows if a COM port is in use, before trying to send data to it. This prevents ASU from putting unwanted data on a port in use by another device (such as a modem or a mouse). Good programming technique. If WinXP thinks some -other- program is using the port, then check throughout WinXP to find out who/what... If you have two serial ports available, more the Autostar to COM2 and try there. ASU, when its NOT running, does -not- hold ownership of the port. > WinXP says the connection is used by other hardware (my autostar ?) > if dataflow = hardware. If i put dataflow=none, i cannot communicate. Now that's confusing: when you have dataflow=hardware, WinXP/HyperTerm won't talk to the Autostar. When you have dataflow=none, you "cannot communicate" I don't understand. When -can- you communicate? If you specify data=hardware, it certainly won't work, since the Autostar does NOT generate the hardware handshake signals needed by Windows. (you -could-, with a separate 9v battery, hold "request to send" and "clear to send" high, which would satisfy the handshake. Hyperteminal will refuse to send data to that port. When you have dataflow=none, then Hyperterminal -should- work. Things to try: FORGET the Autostar. Tie COM1's pins 2 and 3 together (or tie pins 1+2 of the Autostar-end of the 505 cable set together). You have created a "loop-back" cable. Type on the Windows keyboard. What you type should echo on your screen. (dataflow=none). If it doesn't, then it's not the Autostar's fault. > The serial port works fine for my pocket pc so there is no hardware > problem. Is it perhaps possible that the pocket PC communication program is "owning" the port, so that ASU cannot use it? > Used the cable earlier to upgrade to autostar 2.0. Under Windows XP? Or an earlier version of Windows? > I forwarded my problem to the meade engineer address. I think it's really a WinXP (and other programs) port-contention problem. I really doubt it's something the Meade folks have any chance of diagnosing beyond that statement. Check out WinXP...perhaps boot in "Safe Mode" and try the ASU -then-. Prevent startup of the PocketPC program. Use COM2 ... Those are the steps i'd try in diagnosing. If you cannot make a "loopback" cable work with Hyperterm, the ASU doesn't stand a chance. good luck --dick
Subject: Commands between Autostar and the ETX125 Sent: Sunday, December 23, 2001 1:31:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ali BATUR) I've Autostar , Pictor autoguider and ETX125. I want to design a board between Autostar and ETX125 which takes feedback from Autoguider. This board will modify the Autostar commands that sent to ETX125 by checking the feedbacks of autoguider and send corrected commands to ETX125. For example if Autoguider decides ETX slew fast it will mask the movement commands that autostar sent to ETX125 , or if it decides ETX slew slow , it will insert some movement commands. I think there is a serial communication between Autostar and ETX. Does anybody know anything about the protocol between Autostar and ETX. Best Regards Ali BATURAnd:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) > I ve Autostar , Pictor autoguider and ETX125. I want to design a board > between Autostar and ETX125 which takes feedback from Autoguider. What you -really- want/need are two things: (a) the Meade 909 Accessory Peripheral Module (APM) (us$50) (b) Meade to program that module on more scopes than just the LX90. The APM accepts the Pictor Autoguider connector, and the Autostar programming fine-adjusts the speeds (at about a 2/3 sidereal rate) based upon those signals. The APM is plugged into the AUX port. > This board will modify the Autostar commands that sent to ETX125 by > checking the feedbacks of autoguider and send corrected commands to > ETX125.... By all means try it! But it won't be easy. I -hate- to write answers like this, since it's too easy to think of reasons it -won't- work, rather than shouting encouragement. So let me start by saying the following are opinions. I could be (and, in this case, would love to be) very wrong. So i'll just list two of the difficulties the -particular- proposed approach would face: (a) the Autostar/ETX is a closed-loop feedback system. The Autostar commands a speed, and then watches for feedback to verify things are moving as expected. Your device would disrupt that loop. The Autostar would say "faster", your device would (perhaps) block or amend those commands, the Autostar would ask the ETX: "where are you now?". The ETX would reply, and the Autostar would think "it is not going as fast as i requested" and then would take one of two actions: (1) it would request even -faster- (which your device would change) (2) it would halt and declare "Motor Unit Fault!" on the display. (b) no one (that i am aware of) has yet successfully home-built a device which can fully control the telescope via the HBX cable. One person -has- successfully sent two commands to the ETX (halt and calibrate). Each of those commands is a single-byte on the cable, so they're easy. Many folks have -tried- replacing the Autostar with their PC driving an I2C bus interface, but no one has ever told me they have succeeded. > I think there is a serial communication between Autostar and ETX. > Does anybody know anything about the protocol between Autostar and > ETX. It's based upon the Phillips' I2C protocol, with some varaitions (Phillips is 9-bit, Meade is -usually- 8 bit, but apparently with occasional single bit responses or flags) I'm planning on writing up the protocol information we've figured out as a readable article for Mike's site soon. I'll try to get it up within a week (i.e. by 2-Jan-2002). Meanwhile, I'd advise reading the patent for the ETX/Autostar for their information about it. The full link address is: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1='6304376'.WKU.&OS=PN/6304376&RS=PN/6304376 Or, you can get there by starting at: patft.uspto.gov/patft/index.html On that page, in the Granted (left) column, click on "Patent Number Search" On that page, enter: 6304376 in the window. It'll bring up a results page with a single entry. Click on the "6304376" There are also hints with regards to the wiring and protocol in the Autostar Information section of Mike's site. But no page -specifically- dealing with the I2C protocol as Meade does it. Fully analyzing what they do with it requires time and equipment i don't have continuous access to. That's why it's important for folks like you to investigate and try understanding/using the protocol. good luck --dick
Subject: re: Using an LX-90 Autostar with an ETX-90EC Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 21:19:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com I suspect you -have- a 497. You didn't mention what the Autostar was plugged -into- when you were getting your status displays. A "true" 495 will refuse to operate ("Use EXT Autostar with this model") if connected to an LX90/ETX90/ETX125. Until -upgraded- to 497-hood by the Meade Updater. If you're connected to a "lesser" scope, you can check the "model" (since they're mechanically the same, it's really the programming) by trying to access an SAO star which is -not- in the 495's database. To do: Select/Object/Star [enter][scroll down] SAO Catalog [enter] and tell it "22" If it finds it, it's a 30,000-object 497. have fun --dick
Subject: re: long rs232 cables Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 21:14:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com rs232 (for the Autostar 495/497) will -easily- go 100 feet (30 mts). From a "typical" generic PC serial port. I use a string of three telephone extension cords (50", 2x25') to reach from my PC to my ETX90 and its Autostar. I have -not- tried the same arrangement to my ETX70's 506 adapter. I -have- used the 50' cable to it, and have full faith that the 100' lash-up would also work. The original rs232c standard claims 50' cable length. For the application we're doing, 100' is easy, 300' is feasible. (for 300', i'd suggest using at least 22 gauge wire). The rs232 signal level probably need only remain above 3.5 volts at the end of the wire for the 506 cable (with a 494 no-numeric- keypad Autostar) or Autostar 495/497 (internal rs232 jack) to happily operate. have fun --dick
Subject: RS232 Cable Connection Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 16:07:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Vilums) OK, I'm a newbie, but an ambitious one. I just bought the ETX 70AT. One day when my budget agrees with me, I'll upgrade to the 90 or even the 125. I bought the ETX model because the computer interface intrigued me (computer geek that I am). So here is my question: It appears that the length of the RS232 adapter is only 6 ft. One of the computers I have in my house is connected to a 60 inch TV. Computer is capable of viewing video capture while simultaneously running applications. With the meade electronic eyepiece, I was hoping to run operate my ETX from the comfort of my couch, while watching the video on my 60" TV. Problem is, the TV and Computer are approx 50ft from my back patio where the ETX sits. I'm not sure if an RS232 cable can even send data that far. I have seen RS232 extenders and was wondering if they would work possibly with even a data repeater if I can find one that uses RS232. It would have made more sense if Meade used a CAT5 connection instead. Has anybody ever been able to accomplish anything like this? Or, am I just completely out of my mind? Bob P.S. If I can pull this off, I will be able to broadcast live video from my ETX 70AT on the web.Mike here: Ask and you shall receive. See the article "Long Autostar Cable" on the Autostar Information page. HOWEVER, keep in mind that you will need a #506 cable with its active electronics for the ETX-70AT.
Subject: Using an LX-90 Autostar with an ETX-90EC Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001 18:02:10 From: email@example.com (Doug Drossman) I have an Autostar and am not sure which version it is. It just says Autostar at the top, not ETX Autostar, so I guess its not a #497. The rev it flashes is 22E. Under telescope selection it has ETX-90, ETX-125, and LX-90. Is this the LX-90's Autostar? The Autostar described in the LX-90's description on Meade's site sounds much better than the #497. If its cool to use this with my ETX-90EC please let me know. Also if you know what I could look for as far as objects or locations in this Autostar to help identify it. I picked this up at a garage sale, so help would be most appreciated. Thanks. Doug D.Mike here: It could be either a #495 or a #497, either of which will work with the ROM version you have. The ROM has the same data (with 2.2). Go to the Utilities-->Statistics to see the full ROM version (2.2Eg or something like that, 2.2Et is the current version).
Subject: No com port Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2001 1:22:43 From: Bluebags@bigpond.com (Brian Tyne) A couple of weeks ago I bought the 505 cable set & could you imagine my surprise when I realised my IBM ThinkPad doesn't have a com port. I used my desk top to load the new firmware but I am still unable to connect to the computer out in the field. would anyone know if there is an alternative connection such as USB or network maybe. "top site mate" clear skies Brian :-)Mike here: There are USB-serial converters for both PCs and Macs. Keyspan makes them for the Mac (reviewed on the "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Autostar Information page); search the Web for a PC one.
Thanks for the help Mike Its much appreciated. With thanks (from down under) Brian :-)
Subject: Help me Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2001 8:32:34 From: HMorazan@dga.gob.ni (Hctor Fabio Morazn Rodrguez) I bougth and Telescope DS-2114ATS in discovery Store Web Page. I and Nicaraguense. My country is Nicaragua in Central America. The Solar Eclipse the yesterday 14 od December was wonderfull. My AutoStart #494 Inicialized ok. I input date: OK I input Hours : OK But the AutoStar freezen in Saving Dayligth Menu. I select NO in the Menu an this menu Freezen. I tried many times access to menu. But nothing work. I move the directional botton OK for move the telescope. I think so the telescope need a RESET, but I no go to the Menu for reset. Please help me. Atte Hecto Fabio Morazan R. Managua Nicaragua.Mike here: If I understand your question correctly, every time you turn on the Autostar and make the date and time entries, when you get to the Daylight Savings Time YES/NO menu the Autostar locks up and you can not make the selection or move to other menus. Try this: instead of pressing the ENTER key at the date and time prompts, press MODE. When you get to the Daylight Savings menu item press MODE again. If you get past that point press MODE one more time and you should get to the SETUP menu. From here you can try a RESET. Let me know if that works.
I try your suggest command, but my autostar #494 is lock in Daylight Saving Time again.Mike here: So, when you got to the Daylight Savings entry using the MODE key and not the ENTER key, you can't get past that point with the MODE key. Sounds like you need to contact the dealer where you purchased it.
And this from our resident Autostar expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) What may be happening is that the Autostar is trying to talk to the telescope after the Daylight command.. and it is -that- which is locking up (the "daylight" is only the last thing on the screen). I have tried different key-presses, tricks, and [mode]-pushes with my 494 Autostar on my ETX70. And i can -not- find a way of "breaking away" from the Date/Time/Daylight sequence in order to reach the SETUP menu. I do not know how the DS2114 connects its pieces. If you can -disconnect- the motor units, but still have the Autostar receive power, try that. (this is easy on an old DS-114, impossible on a 4504, unless you build a power cable). If you can disconnect the motor units, and the Autostar does -not- freeze at "Daylight", then reconnect the motors, one at a time, to see if one of them is causing the freeze. That would be my next step in testing. Please report what you find. I fear that something (Autostar or motor unit, or perhaps the "power panel") -will- need to return to Discovery.com, or to Meade. good luck --dick
Subject: Meade madness Sent: Friday, December 14, 2001 1:01:43 From: email@example.com (David Tindall) Thanks for your emails and help so far. Your General Feedback page is great. I have one more question regarding the #497 Autostar : What is the Cord Wrap function in the Utilities menu? I can't find any reference to it in the instruction manual or on the Mead website. Cheers from Downunder, David.Mike here: Cord wrap ON/OFF is used with the hard stops of some of the ETX models. If the cable connection goes into the rotating base of the ETX, then there are no hard stops and so the feature is OFF. If the cable goes into the fixed portion of the base then there are hard stops (to keep the internal cord from wrapping around the axle) so it should be ON.
Subject: re: Lunar rate Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 22:37:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL On Mike's site you wrote: > The Meade literature tells how to change the hour-angle rate, but it > fails to suggest optimum settings for various non-sidereal objects. The Autostar -has- Lunar Rate as a built-in. Setup/Telescope/Tracking Rate/ [enter] gets you a three-way choice: Sidereal, Lunar and Custom. And the Custom -shows- you whatever's currently running, as a percentage deviation from sidereal, times ten. So, if you select LUNAR rate (Lunar, press [enter]) and then scroll to Custom, you'll see it saying: -35 (-3.5%) Meanwhile the scope is purring along, slightly slower than the stars. It's true they don't even suggest a Solar Rate, but that's in line with them Just Saying No about looking at the sun. > Better get on it, Meade. Already got on, rode off... --dick (fell off)
Subject: Autostar in German! Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 14:27:34 From: email@example.com (John Hewit) Ok, I have a small problem with my autostar. I bought it in Germany while on holiday recently. I was under the impression that I could select the language that the autostar would use. However I now find that it seems to be stuck in German. When I reset it, it comes up with (c) 01 Meade 22G, Autostar. It then goes straight into the sun warning! I read elsewhere that version 2.1 EK is English only. I presume this is a German only version? If so how can I change it? Will I need to download a new version? How do I do this? What sort of cable do I need and is it readily available or will I have to pay lots of money for a Meade one? Thanks for your Help! John Hewit. p.s. I absolutely LOVE my new ETX90!Mike here: You may have a German-only one. But downloading the current version is pretty staightforward; you just need a #505 cable from Meade or elsewhere or you can make one using the info on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Re:#497 Autostar problems Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 2:39:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Tindall) To follow up on the Autostar with corrupted star names : I purchased the cable set , downloaded Version 22Et to my computer and updated the Autostar. All is ok now!! I hope you can put my original query and this follow-up on the website in case any other Autostar owners have the same troubles, as I found the problem confusing and disapointing to encounter with a brand new product. I have one more question : With my ETX90EC I find that whilst adjusting the focus knob , the centered image tends to move slightly within in the field of view. This makes focusing on some objects difficult (ie: Orion Nebula). Is this normal? AND, has anyone had experience using the Mead electric focuser? Does the focuser eliminate the 'drift'? Thanks again, David Tindall.Mike here: Glad that solved the Autostar problem. There is some image shift with the Cassegrain-Maksutov design but it should not be excessive. The electric focuser doesn't change that since it also turns the shaft and moves the primary mirror. There are comments about the focuser on the ETX Site.
Subject: Lunar angle rate - Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 7:57:24 From: Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL (Sumner Marv C Contr CWNO) Re: 9 December "ETX-70 Tracking the Moon". Nigel Jennings might have optics in his ETX-70 that reverses the view right vs. left. He says the moon moves faster than more distant objects... Actually it appears to move more slowly. With upright and non-reversing optics, it will drift to the left (as seen from the northern hemisphere) as it lags the motion of distant stars. The Meade literature tells how to change the hour-angle rate, but it fails to suggest optimum settings for various non-sidereal objects. Better get on it, Meade. Marv SumnerAnd:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Actually of course the moon is not moving slower, it is moving to the east relative to the earth and the more distant sky, as it orbits the Earth..... the motion is equivalent to about one lunar diameter each hour, or about 15 degrees per day, thus resulting in moonrise about one hour later each night. Regardless of the view in the eyepiece, the moon's rate should be entered as "slower" than the other sky objects to compensate for this eastward motion. Good to hear from you! P. Clay Sherrod - firstname.lastname@example.org Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: WindowsXP Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2001 22:01:02 From: email@example.com (Kevin Burfitt) I have downloaded data and updated to 22et on my #497 Autostar using WinXP with no problems (on a homemade cable). -- Kevin Burfitt - Infogrames Melbourne House switch: +61-3-9867-0700 direct: +61-3-9867-0730 mobile: 0403-466-492 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.infogrames.com.au Personal Email: email@example.com http://www.torps.com
Subject: ETX-70 Tracking the Moon Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2001 16:17:25 From: NigelJennings@phantom43.demon.co.uk (Nigel Jennings) I am getting excellent results with my new ETX-70 although the weather hasn't been too kind lately here in southern England, UK. Many thanks for your site which has been a great help to a newbie. My question - although the scope accurately tracks planets and stars, it seems to have some difficulty tracking the Moon which quickly drifts out of the field at high magnification. Obviously the Moon moves across the sky at a faster rate than more distant 'fixed' objects. Does the Autostar not compensate for the difference? Is this normal or is there something I can do to overcome the problem? Kind regards Nigel Jennings 51 20N 00 35EMike here: As I recall, the Autostar does not automatically use a lunar rate when you GOTO the Moon. But you can set it to use a lunar rate from the menus.
Many thanks. I have located the lunar tracking rate in the Autostar menu and will try it out next time. Sounds like this will do the trick. Thanks also for such a prompt reply! Nigel
Subject: DIY 505 cable Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2001 22:39:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Preston Fung) I posted this to the meade-ds group on yahoo groups. Thougth you might be interested as well. BTW great site! Preston posting follows Hello all. I have just purchased a ds114ec ($135USD at Amazon)and a 495 controller ($50USD at Discovery)as a Christmas gift and have read many of the posts on this informative group. I thank all the experts for their information and would like to give back what I can. Here's the scoop. I have found online a store that has a db9 to rj-11 adapter for the price of $1. www.cableclub.com/view_product.asp?item_no=00024 I know that most of you already have the 505 cable but for those able and willing to take on the task of making one this is the ideal part to start with. Preston
Subject: Autostar controller Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2001 19:07:42 From: email@example.com (David Tindall) I have just recently purchased an ETX90EC and #497 Autostar controller. Everything works fine , however when I bring up the star catalog in the Autostar most of the star names are just garbled characters that make no sense. Scrolling through the list sometimes just shows blank lines on the LCD. I am in Australia and would like to be able to use the two-star alignment method using Sirius and Canopus as references. All other menus are clear and in English. I suspect the star data is corrupted and perhaps updating the software from the Meade website will fix it? (I don't have a cable set yet). I hope you can help, Many thanks, David Tindall.Mike here: Have you tried a RESET? If that doesn't work, reloading should.
Yes I have tried RESET 3 times so far without any change. I have ordered the cable set so I can download the lastest software. I'll let you know how it goes.
Subject: Autostar downloads Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2001 9:58:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Gallier) I recently downloaded ASU, but could not get it to load onto my Autostar 497. I went through all the same headaches that are listed by other users on your feedback site, including doubting that I had good cables. I saw an October 2001 email to you from Bill Sezenias that described exactly the same problems I was having. I sent an email to Bill in December and asked him if he ever got the problem figured out. To my delight, he told me that the Autostar download instructions forgot to mention that you need to put the Autostar into DOWNLOAD mode (go into the settings menu to do this). The Meade instructions only mention doing this if you are cloning an Autostar from one to another one. Thanks to Bill's response, I now can download the Autostar updates. And thanks to your site, I was able to locate someone to help me. Keep up the good work with your site. Best Regards, Mike GallierMike here: It has been awhile since I've done an update but if memory serves, the current Autostar Client *is* supposed to put the Autostar into download mode automatically.
Subject: Download using Windows XP Sent: Friday, December 7, 2001 19:52:37 From: email@example.com (Matthew Gertz) To: firstname.lastname@example.org In reply to loking01's mail re: Windows XP -- yes, I've downloaded the Autostar updates to my Autostar using WinXP, and it works just fine -- no special workarounds needed or anything; it works just like you expect it to. So no need put off upgrading your OS just to preserve your Autostar connectivity :-) --Matt--*
Subject: Two ETX-90EC questions Sent: Friday, December 7, 2001 17:41:46 From: email@example.com (Kevin 'Zaph' Burfitt) I love your site, a fantastic resource for ETX owners! I've just purchased an ETX-90EC and have a couple of questions that I cannot find the answers for: 1. (someone already asked this last month in your feedback, but I couldn't find your response to them) How can I stop the Autostar from tracking the sky ? After I've used the Autostar to GOTO an object I just want to wander the skies myself, with no auto-tracking - but I cannot figure out how to stop the autostar from tracking (short of turning it off, which means resetting it again when I decide to GOTO something later. 2. I want to sit on my side patio and look at the skies, but can only see about 1/8th of the sky from that point (trees, and my house, block my view). What is the best way to align the scope (RA/AZ) when I can only see a 'wedge' of the sky ? Can I do a one-star align on (say) Canopus and still expect to have the GOTO give me objects within the field of view of the 26mm eyepiece ? - should I try to use a star near the south celestial pole, or as far from it as I can ? (I'm in Melbourne Australia) Thanks for the great site, I've already built a cable to update the autostar based on info I found on these pages, Zaph -- Kevin 'Zaph' Burfitt - Cthugha, StarLego, and more firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.torps.comMike here: In general, there is no reason to not let the Autostar track. You can slew around the sky as much as you like. When you stop slewing, it will start tracking. Nothing wrong with that. But if you really want to disable tracking, put the Autostar into "terrestrial" mode. When I'm in a hurry and have limited viewing area, I still do a 2 star align and just accept the alignment star(s) that I can't see as "centered". Since I'm pretty good setting up in the proper HOME position, I can get pretty good GOTO this way. The only reason you might mount in Polar (besides long duration astrophotography) is if that area of the sky is near the zenith. If you are viewing low on the horizon, then Alt/Az might be a better choice. As to True South pointing, there is a 5.5 star near the South pole (Polaris Australis; 89 degrees).
Thanks for that - it's really just for when I can't seem to align it and I just want to look at something in the sky. I've had a lot of trouble trying to align it in the few days I've had the ETX-90EC... I finally got it right tonight: Autostar asked for Canopus, went to where it thought it should be but was a full 8-10 degrees out (horizontal only), I then went for Formalhaut (sp?) which was again about 8-10 degrees out in the same direction and a little bit (1degree?) in the vertical... to me this implies I'm about 8-10 degrees out when picking North, which suprises me... but I guess it's the logical explanation since it was consistant. Update as I'm writing this email: I've just found a link on your site talking about Magnetic Variation... and the result from that page tells me that magnetic north is 11 degrees east of true north where I am, which explains everything! Yet again your site lives up to it's "mighty" name :) Now if the clouds will stop interrupting me I'll try to see Comet LINEAR WM1 Zaph
Subject: re: downloading with Windows XP ... no problem Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2001 21:20:02 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org -i- haven't done it, but i've received reports from folks who have: the Updater works quite happily with WXP. --dick
Subject: ETX 90 EC alignment problem Sent: Wednesday, December 5, 2001 16:02:57 From: Steven.Chavez@dot.state.co.us Hello, you have a great site. I have a new etx 90 w/Autostar. I have followed the initialization process and tracking training procedures but I cannot get my scope to track accurately. I live in metro Denver and have alot of light pollution, trees, and bldgs. near my yard. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks SteveMike here: Check the obvious things: date/time/Daylight Savings/location settings in the Autostar. If the alignments go well then tracking should occur. Are you using Polar or Alt/Az? Is that setting correct in the Autostar? If everything is correct, then do a RESET and a good TRAINing of the drives. If the Autostar version is less than 2, get it upgraded to the current version 2.2Et (if you can).
Subject: Making progress. Thanks for all of the advice (everyone). Sent: Monday, December 3, 2001 14:20:10 From: Scott9482@aol.com In case you forgot, I was a very frusterated ETX-125 owner several weeks ago. (See my post from November 5th). Using all of the advice you guys gave me, I was able to fix most of the problems. First of all, the best thing I did was purchase the #887 Advanced Field Tripod. This tripod changes everything - it is like night and day. I can't believe how sturdy it is. There is no movement of the objects in the field of view, EVEN while I am focusing! More importantly, it is easy to carry out through the doorway - because as soon as you pick it up, the legs fold inward so that they are all vertical. The #883 Deluxe Field tripod is way to weak to support the ETX-125. I can't believe people are using the ETX-125 with the #883 Deluxe Field Tripod. Secondly, I updated my autostar from version 2.0 to 2.2. And the accuracy is much better. It is still not perfect. It places objects in my field of view about %50 of the time... But it places objects in my viewfinder about 98% of the time! Actually, there is one thing I've noticed about version 2.2: for some reason, it thinks that my telescope is an ETX-90, and not and ETX-125. I keep re-entering the correct data, but it always reverts back to the ETX-90 option... I hope that is not affecting the autostar accuracy... -ScottMike here: Your Autostar "knows" you have selected the ETX-125EC. The ">" just defaults back to the -90 when you bring up that display. So just set it to the -125 and don't go back to that display.
Subject: Re: Help! Lost my Autostar tours Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2001 22:31:57 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) All of the Meade tours are located at: http://www.meade.com/support/autotours.html which you can either copy and paste from that onto your AUS 3.0 Meade Autoload program (you have installed that have you.....download from: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html Once done you can merely copy that into the "Ephemerides" folder of the Updater library. Keep in mind there are some excellent tours available both on this group in the "Files" section and on Mike Weasner's ETX site at www.weasner.com/etx under the Autostar information link. These are all custom tours that take you over and beyond those that Meade provides, including specific constellations, double stars, ngc objects, etc. Best of luck......... Dr. Clay ----- Original Message ----- Ok, I'll admit I'm new at this, and I screwed up. Using the Autostar updater program, I tried downloading the "Messier Marathon" tour into my Autostar. Now it's the only Guided Tour in the Autostar. "Tonight's Best", and what was the other - "A Star's Life"? are gone. Was there also a tour called "How Far is Far"? What should I do now? Thanks, Ken
Subject: re: ETX-90EC will not stop rotating in azimuth Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2001 21:51:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Failure to RESET (and/or at least re-select the Mtelescope Model) can cause *exactly* that symptom. Setup > [enter] [scroll up once or twice to RESET] [enter]. Then answer the questions... and the Telescope Model is the one with the ">" in from of its name (resetting -should- by default select the ETX90, but even so, you should press [enter] to force the full rESET action to happen. The most likely mal-set value are the RATIOs... and re-selecting resset those to the proper values of about 1.36888 --dickAnd:
I tried both of your retraining and reseting suggestions. 1. Tried retraining the ETX again. No joy... 2. Tried reseting the telescope model alone. No Joy... 3. Tried reseting the telescope and retraining the ETX. Joy to the World!!! Thanks to both of you. It took both suggestions to get my ETX back to slewing and viewing. Jim Kraemer
Subject: ETX-90EC will not stop rotating in azimuth while performing easy alignment Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2001 17:36:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sherry Kraemer) I have had my EXT-90EC since I read on your site they had just been announced. I have used it since then and have had good success. My last observation session, however, was a total bust. Before I did my session I downloaded the latest Astrostar 22Et driver and updated my Astrostar handbox. I took the telescope out while it was still light and performed an alignment of both Az/El motors. Using the arrows on the Astrostar produced the desired movements of the scope. When I set up my ETX for the observing session problems began. I moved the scope into the Home position and started to perform an easy alignment. I took the first star offered and the scope began moving in both axis. The elevation reached the desired angle, but the scope continued to move in azimuth. I let it continue while I had my finger on the on/off switch. When it hit the clockwise Az stop, I turned it off instantly. Sigh... I tried again several times with no more success. The scope moves as commanded by the arrow keys, but the Astrostar has no idea which direction it is pointing. The next evening I tried the same experiment inside. The results were the same. I tried a second experiment using SkyMap Pro. I connected my ETX to my computer and brought up SkyMap. The program connected properly and I then asked the program to indicate the Az/El of my telescope. As I moved it up and down, the indicated elevation moved as expected. When I tried moving the ETX in azimuth, the scope moved at normal speeds but the program indicated that the indicated azimuth was changing but VERY VERY slowly. Can you give me some ideas what might have failed and how to correct the problem? I am really at a loss on how to proceed. Jim KraemerMike here: You indicated you updated the Autostar. But you didn't say you reTRAINed the drives. From the symptoms you describe it sounds like you missed that crucial step. But don't feel bad, many of us (including me!) miss it even though it has been mentioned on the Site many times.
Subject: re: Autostar 497 interchangeable with 495? Sent: Saturday, December 1, 2001 13:10:30 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com (Mike Weasner) > I have recently purchased a Meade ds-80, > which is supposed to use an autostar 495. > However, on Ebay, I notice that the autostar 497, with more memory, > etc., is only slightly more expensive. > Is the 497 compatible with the ds-80, or not? The 495 and 497 are *exactly* the same hardware. *ZERO* difference. Only the programming differs. Thus you can buy a 495, buy/build ($20) a "505 cable", use Meade's free Updater to stuff in the latest 497 firmware, and you *have* a 497. There's -no- reason to spend extra to get a 497. The 497 will control -all- of Meade's telescopes. except the 4504 and 114EQ-DH4 (both of those have German Equatorial Mounts (GEM).). But even -that- restriction should disappear when the LXD55 series finally hits the streets, since it uses the 497 and is a GEM mount. enjoy the DS-80... --dick
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