AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 December 2003
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, is covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Subject: re:  First - Thanks, then a question...
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 18:01:43 -0800
From: Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: micaiahsr@triad.rr.com
To run USB over fifteen feet (5 meters) you need "active"
USB extender cords, or a hub, every 15 feet.
Members of the  Yahoo autostarsuite group report good results
stringing 4 of them together to reach 60 foot lenghts.

The LPI is only a USB 1 deviuce, so both USB 1 and USB 2
extenders will work.  Extenders are reportedly available
for about $10 per cord, but i do not know where.
(BestBuy was mentioned, but i have not verified that)

have fun
--dick

Subject: First - Thanks, then a question...
From: "Mike Beasley" (micaiahsr@triad.rr.com)
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 14:19:46 -0500
I wanted to say thankyou for your very helpful website - it has been a
blessing.  Thanks for your good work - I know that it is a great help to
many, including myself.

I do have a question about the Lunar Planetary Imager (with Autostar)
that I purchased to use with my ETX 125.  I do not have a laptop
computer, but I have several desktop machines in my house.  I was hoping
to be able to use one of two options in order to place the telescope in
my frontyard or backyard, while being connected to an in-house computer:

1.  Use longer cables (I would need about 30 feet - frontyard and
backyard)

or

2.  Some wireless solution (wifi or bluetooth - if this is even possible
- I'm not sure that it is).  The idea of buying a laptop just for this
application is - well, beyond my finances and stewardship. I may need to
return the unit otherwise.  Thanks in advance for your help.


Psalm 19:1-2: 1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their
expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth
speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.

M. J. Beasley 
Mike here: You can use a long distance cable for the Autostar (see the cable information on the Autostar Information page). You would also need a long USB extension cable and there might be a problem on length. Best bet is to buy a low-end and/or used laptop. I'm testing out the Autostar Suite right now on my Apple PowerBook 17". I'll have a lot more to say on this when I complete my evaluation.

Subject:	Re: autostar suite
Sent:	Wednesday, December 10, 2003 20:02:32
From:	bullfox@comcast.net (BullFox)
Well, I got it to work like its supposed to, actually pretty neat, just
to darn cold to go outside and use it, my wife sez with all the money I
spent I ought to show more dedication.  Anyway, problem was I had the
control cable plugged into the aux port on the mount instead of the
extra socket on the hand paddle. Duh!  As soon as I got the plugs right,
it worked like a charm. The instructions don't say anything about where
to plug what into what.  The instructions are not anywhere near as
explicit as what comes with the telescope.

When I find my ear muffs, I'll send you some pics.

Subject:	autostar suite
Sent:	Monday, December 8, 2003 21:28:09
From:	bullfox@comcast.net (BullFox)
I cant get my laptop to communicate with my LXD 55.  I'm using a Belkin
USB to serial port converter and the cables that came with the Autostar
suite.  When I try to connect using the com port protocol it just times
out.  the LPI seems to work ok, but I cant control the telescope at all.
Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Steve Bull 
Mike here: Was there a driver with the USB converter? Does the Autostar Update Application see your Autostar? I don't have the Autostar Suite yet but I can control and update the Autostar via the Keyspan USB converter on my Macintosh.
Subject:	Problem with Autostar Suite software
Sent:	Sunday, November 30, 2003 17:26:38
From:	e_brentnall@hotmail.com (Ed)
I received the Autostar suite with the LPI imager the same week my scope
crashed. Well while my scope was at Meade, I played with the software.
Conclusions are that you are going to need a fast computer with a lot of
memory.

I tried to run the Autostar Suite on a Pent 466 with an OS of 98 (2) and
it would run but very slow. The local Best Buy had a sale on 2.4 GHz
Toshibas ($500) and the programs run fine (no com port but I used a comm
to usb hardware and driver and that reassigns a comm port to address a
USB port).

I do get an error message in the Suite program when moving about the
star map of:

"Error Message
Not Enough Memory To Save Last Bitmap : GetLastError return 0" 

It comes in a small pane and does not seem to cause problems with the
program. I will call Meade but I have to put aside about an hour on
hold. In the mean time, can anyone help?

Running a Toshiba Satellite A15 2.4 GHz, XP home, with 3/4 Gig of
memory.

Ed Brentnall

Subject:	LPI and Win 2000
Sent:	Saturday, November 29, 2003 14:24:56
From:	bmjc@btinternet.com (Barry and Janice  Cooke)
Have had no joy in getting LPI to operate with Win 2000 ( have failed on
2 different PCs running Win 2000 both with the latest builds from MS). 
Is this a well known/not so well known problem that LPI is not supported
for Win 2000?
regards
Barry 
Mike here: The only thing I've seen (besides comm errors) is the FAQ on Meade's site: http://www.meade.com/autostar/faq.html. As Dick Seymour noted previously, there is a troubleshooting guide http://www.meade.com/autostar/tsguide.html and an update http://www.meade.com/autostar/UpdateAsSuite.exe.
Subject: Autostar Suite and earlier Autostar ROM version
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
AutostarSuite will NOT fully work with  26ed!

It will slew, it will focus, but the full-function Remote Handbox
will not work properly (i'm pretty sure about this, but i have not
personally -tried- it.,. but i've seen postings by other who have)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Meade LPI Imager Woes
Sent:	Friday, November 28, 2003 12:42:08
From:	Kevin.Roberts@NBPCD.com (Kevin Roberts)
I know you hear this all the time but WOW, YOUR SITE IS AMAZING! It has
made this hobby that much more enjoyable.

I recently received the Meade LPI imager and installed the software on
my Laptop (which has plenty of power and space). However, when I open
the Imager section of the Autostar Suite, it says "Meade LPI not Found.
Reconnect LPI and Try Again".  I know the camera is functional because
when I open the Kodak Imaging program and select camera as source of
input, a blurry image from the LPI appears.  It is simply not being
recognized by the Autostar Suite program. Meade hasn't returned my calls
yet so I'm sending this note in hopes someone had and solved a similar
dilemma.

Keep up the awesome work Mike. And thanks to all who've contributed tips
etc.
 
Kevin Roberts
Thunder Bay
Mike here: I haven't yet received an Autostar Suite but it sounds as though something is tying up the serial port. Check for fax software, Palm HotSync, etc.
Subject:	Update to Autostar Suite posted by Meade
Sent:	Wednesday, November 19, 2003 12:36:46
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
At: 
http://www.meade.com/autostar/tsguide.html

there is a troubleshooting guide 
+plus+, at  the top of the page,
a link to an update to AutostarSuite itself.

Specifically:
http://www.meade.com/autostar/UpdateAsSuite.exe


Do a "Save As..." on that file,
and then run it on your PC to patch (at least) StarMap.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	LPI - AutoStarSuite Competition / Contest
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 17:09:27
From:	snyderld@yahoo.com (Dan and Lynn Snyder)
I love your site and have been an avid reader for 4+ years.  I thought
you might be interested in this for your readers / contributers. 
Recently I proposed a "Contest / Competetion" for the new LPI Imager on
the new Yahoo AutostarSuite group.  Here it is if you want to use it.
 
OK All,  
With the AutostarSuite / LPI - we now have a nice new tool in our
astronomy kits.  Let's put it to the test and see how well it does in
various Telescopes.

I propose we submit our "photographic evidence" in the form of a LPI
Magnitude attainment test wrt the visual magnitude limits and resolving
powers (Dawes Limits) for telescopes of various aperatures. 

Telescope Limiting Magnitudes & Resolutions
  
Aperture   Visual   LPI        Theoretical   LPI
Inches     Magn.    Magn.      Resolving     Resolving
           limit    attained   Power         Power attained "
3.00        12.6    _____      1.52          _____
4.00        13.2    _____      1.01          _____
5.00        13.7    _____      0.91          _____
6.00        14.1    _____      0.76          _____
8.00        14.7    _____      0.57          _____
10.00       15.2    _____      0.46          _____
12.50       15.7    _____      0.36          _____
14.00       16.0    _____      0.33          _____
16.00       16.2    _____      0.29          _____
     
This kind of a competetition/contest would not only be fun, but also
define the limits of LPI perfromance.  Who knows, maybe Meade will
donate a Scope to the best performances in each aperature class! So lets
dig out our Doublestar Catalogs and Crater lists.  And may the Best
LPI'er prevail !

Dan Snyder,
Cloudy Seattle Astronomer

Thanks, and Have a Great Day!

Dan and Lynn Snyder

Subject:	Autostar Suite and LPI
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 12:49:25
From:	Lrv64@aol.com
As I thought, the day I received the LPI and Suite, it happened to get
cloudy and started to rain!

BUT the good thing is that I have had a chance to upgrade to ver 3Ee
with no trouble.  Installing the software and drivers for the LPI and
the Suite was pretty straight forward, no problems to report.  I do not
have a serial port on my laptop, so I bought a serial to USB adapter at
the local Radio Shack.  I installed the drivers for the adapter first,
then when I verified everything seemed to be OK, I went ahead and
installed the Suite.

One suggestion to anybody doing this upgrade.  First make a complete
backup of the hard drive, just in case!  Then prior to installing
ANYTHING set a restore point if you are using Win XP.  AFTER you have
taken these steps follow the instructions provided for everything you
will be installing to the letter..... I have found that having a
complete backup is the best solution to any problems you might
encounter, you can smile if you run into any gremlins and restore your
hard drive to a pre installation state and start over.

An even easier solution to problems would be using GO BACK-- used to be
produced by Roxio, now I am not sure.  IF you have problems with any
installation of anything, or even if you get a VIRUS, you can just GO
BACK in time to before you started having problems, going back is a lot
faster than having to reinstall windows and everything else!

My backup program is DRIVE IMAGE, which I use to burn CD'S with the
image.

My only complaint with Autostar Suite is that the documentation is in
Adobe Acrobat format, and I have to print it out using my ink and paper,
I guess that is just one way to increase the bottom line, and keep
Autostar Suite profitable for Meade.

Now all I have to do is learn how to use the software and camera!

I will be keeping you posted and send pictures if the weather clears
this weekend!

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Copyright ©2003 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackDec03/autostar_suite.html