Last updated: 31 December 2004
Subject: Autostar instructions Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 08:04:14 From: Robert Stenstrom (email@example.com) Is there a site where I can download an autostar instruction manual? Thanks, Bob StenstromMike here: See the FAQ page on my ETX site for info on manuals.
Did the download of the instructions. I placed the telescope in the home position and went to eazy align.Telescope slewed without stopping with no elevation slewing. To test elevation slewing I relaced the autostar with the simple controller. Scope readily slews in the elevation direction, both + and-. Any ideas?Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE and then a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)?
No, and I havent a clue how to do that. Ill look on internet for info. Your web site is amazing..rapid resp0nses! BobMike here: Both are selected from the SETUP>TELESCOPE Menu in the Autostar. CALIBRATION is an automatic step when selected. Follow the prompts when training.
Subject: RE: ETX 105 Declination"shift" Issue Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 02:39:39 From: Tim Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for your (very) speedy reply! Apologies that I did not get back to you earlier, just to update you. I have downloaded the latest version of Auto star software, calibrated the motors, and retrained both in alt and azimuth (as suggested in on your site) using Polaris as a stationary object, and to add a little load to the gears in alt where the problem seems to be occurring. Still the same problem, though the "slipping" seems to be slightly more reduced. The problem seems to be slightly more apparent using 20x Eyepiece with 2x Barlow , and I also have added the Meade electronic focus recently although I would have thought that the Meade 105 should cope with these minor additions to weight on the rear , but the slip always appears to be a downward motion. A bit frustrating as our wonderful British weather allows for very few clear nights and over the last couple of days it has been freezing! (However the odd, judicious seasonal mugs of mulled wine from my understanding partner have proved an antidote to frozen fingers and feet!!) Anyway I'm going the basics again and calibrate and retrain again, before considering more invasive action and getting stuck to the guts of the scope and degreasing as suggested elsewhere on your site as I now fear I may be starting to over clamp a little on the alt axis, to eliminate this problem, and this also may indicate that all may not be well with the dec assemblies (possible over greasing?) By the way an excellent site and an excellent book invaluable as always. Thanks & Warm Regards and a Happy New Year ! Tim Evans London UKMike here: Lets try to narrow it down. Does the "slippage" occur with the Autostar on and tracking or does it occur when the power is off as well?
Subject: autostar and my mac Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 13:26:55 From: tom (email@example.com) I finally got my ETX-125 and its superb!!! I have however had problems with autostar and my mac. I use a 15 inch powerbook running OS 10.3.7 and virtual pc 6. My ETX does not seem to be communicating with the autostar software, even though it is all set up properly using the usb to serial adapter. When i click the tab TELESCOPE / PROTOCOL / AUTOSTAR VIA COMM PORT, the message "invalid ACK response from LX200!" appears (This makes no sense to me as to why the LX200 is the default telescope). Anyway, ive clicked on the virtual pc's drive settings and then the usb tab, which shows a ticked box with the message "USB device from prolific technology, inc." The message box appears and disappears each time you plug the serial adapter in and out. Therefore it seems the adapter driver is recognised and works fine. However the COM1 port (also under the virtual pc drive settings) does not give me the option to configure the adapter. Under the faq on your website it shows the driver that you have selected, however on my computer it only gives me the option to select: modem, bluetooth-PDA-Sync, or bluetooth modem. Any advice you have on configuring the autosatr would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance, Tom.Mike here: It sounds like the Windows serial port is not being recognized. I suspect the VPC setting since it isn't showing the port like it does with the Keyspan driver. You will need to get that working first. Check the USB-serial vendor's web site for a newer version of their driver. If you are trying to just update the Autostar, you could try AutostarX; just be certain to read through the writeup.
Subject: new autostar unreadable when scrolling Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 09:01:53 From: Joshua Feiner (firstname.lastname@example.org) I bought a brand new LX 90 last week and plugged in the autostar for the first time, and the scrolling text was smeared and unreadable. When the text is slowed down tremendously, it is readable, but there is still ghosting and it is painfully slow. (A problem I see other people have had when reading this archive). Interestingly, if I tilt the bottom of the unit about 20 degrees away from face on, the text is perfectly readable, even at the highest scroll speed. I called meade and got a nasty service rep that told me he had never heard of this problem before (clearly implying that I did not know what I was talking about),then, after being placed on hold for 3-4 minutes, I was told that I should send the unit back to meade at my own expense for repair. He also said it could take up to three weeks to fix "if there even is something wrong with it". I felt this was completely unacceptable for a brand new 1400 dollar telescope that had never been used, so I called the people at OPT where I bought it on-line, who were very helpful and said they would take care of it for me. They were very nice and offered a reasonable and proper solution. Mead has a lot to learn about treating its customers properly if they want us to spend thousands of dollars on their products. Just my two cents...Mike here: Sorry you got a bad response from Meade. I presume OPT said to adjust the contrast and/or brightness.
Subject: Autostar download problem Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 17:11:43 From: Frank Coulter (email@example.com) I attempted to update my Autostar 497 software, using the Meade 505 serial cable from my PC to the handbox. (I did this some time ago, without problems). This time, it seemed to take an age (10 minutes?) with nothing happening. The system seemed to have frozen, so (to my mortification, and despite the warning) I shut it down. The result is that my handbox is not working. After some reading from your website and Meade's, I did the following:- 1. I held down the Enter and Scroll Down keys on the handbox and turned the power on. It showed a message "Flash Load 3.0 Ready". 2. I opened the ASU program on my PC and clicked on "Retrieve". After a short delay my monitor showed "Data successfully retrieved from Autostar". 3. I clicked the "Update Autostar Software Now" button. 4. I got a message ""Cannot connect to Auto star. Autostar Update will now perform a search of all Com ports". Then "Could not find Com port. Check your connections and try again". (I did this, and even tried a second cable. No change). Clicking OK gave another window "Upgrade Autostar Handbox Software". I specified my Autostar as a #497. There were two radio buttons, Internet and Local. For the former, "Check WWW for latest version" or pressing OK seemed to do nothing. The latter was greyed out, with a comment "Handbox is not connected". I doubt I have a faulty cable or connection. The fact that I could retrieve my data from the Autostar, and that I tried two cables seems to show this. On my PC I also went to Control Panel/System/Device Manager/Ports /Com 1, and it showed the expected settings BPS 9600 Data bits 8 Parity None Stop bits 1 Flow Control None Any suggestions please? I suspect I may have to return the handbox to Meade to get the software running again. Regards Frank CoulterMike here: The update can take about 30 minutes using the Meade application. So the problem was that you aborted it too soon. That said however, you should be able to load using the SAFE LOAD mode, which is what you tried to do. I suggest manually downloading the 3.3Ef file from Meade's site and unzip it to the Ephemerides folder inside the Autostar folder on your hard disk. If your ports are confused you might have to restart your PC to get it to wake up the port. Assuming there is no port conflict on your PC, the updater application will detect that the Autostar is in the SAFE LOAD mode and you should be able to update it using the local file.
At first I didn't think that what you suggested was very different from what I had been doing, apart from putting the download into the Ephemerides folder in ASU. But, I was able to carry on and this time the "Local" radio button was not greyed out, and there was no error message about COM1. It loaded successfully, and I am now back in business! Thanks for your help - I"m very grateful! Frank Coulter PS It would be great if Meade had some moving display like a bar graph while the downloading to Autostar takes place, just to show something is happening.Mike here: Glad you got it working. There is a percentage done display but a moving progress would be helpful. Send your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org; just don't expect a response to your email.
Subject: ETX 105 Declination"shift" Issue Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 18:21:18 From: Tim Evans (email@example.com) I'm a little bit of a "newbie" when it comes to using the ETX105. Presently I have an issue that when I have slewed and centered on an object at high magnification using the alt drive control, the object will slowly creep downwards out of view immediately after the drive motors have stopped. The whole of the OTA appears rock solid and well locked down on the dec clamp, and this does not appear to be apparent at lower magnifications, so I'm a little lost as to what is actually going on? Is this the same as "slop" which is referred to on your site, or is this entirely different problem? Apologies if this is an obvious question, but any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks & Warm Regards Tim Evans London UKMike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES per the manual?
Subject: Handset Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 04:35:53 From: richard phipps (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have recently had an Autostar handset replaced due to failure and have tried to re-use I with the autostar software. However the handset just gets stuck at the initialization stage. Have downloaded v3.18 of the software but still no change. The N-S-E-W buttons work fine. But the initialization just says that! The previous handset worked fine. Anyone know whats up? Richard PhippsMike here: Download the Autostar Updater application 3.61 from Meade's site (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html) and install it on your computer. Put the Autostar into SAFE LOAD mode (hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and power on the telescope). Run the Updater application; it should detect this mode and let you reinstall the Autostar software from scratch. HOWEVER, do NOT do this if you have an Autostar #494 (one without number keys). You didn't say which model you have.
Thank you very much indeed! I did what you said and am happy sitting here manipulating the scope...it is great! Richard Phipps
Subject: Problem updating ISS information with TLE Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2004 20:57:28 From: Bob Carlin (email@example.com) Hope you can help with this problem. I'm trying to update my Autostar (#497) with the TLE's for the ISS. I have managed to get the TLE information and edited the ISS. However, once I have update it, it tells me that the ISS will appear at 11:55 pm - the information from NASA tells me it should appear 5:55am (the next day) is it is about 6 hours early. I'm pretty sure I've set up the autostar with all the correct information. Any help or pointers would be greatly appreciated. Regards BobMike here: Have you followed the EXACT steps as described in the ISS articles on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page?
Yeah, I have gone through the steps several times. I've even created a new Satellite within the Autostar and I get the same result. I've also tried loading different TLE's. Again the results are the same. It's as if the Autostar itself were out by 6 hours; but I checked the time and location and they are all correct too.And:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Autostar reports the *next* pass which will be in your neighborhood. Without trying to determine if it's -visible- (Due to the earth's shadow) So the ISS may well be coming overhead 6 hours before the pass you're expecting (the orbital period is 90 minutes, so that's an integer number of passes). To test the Autostar, set the time to a few (30? 10?) minutes before the expected pass, and -then- ask it to predict. If it's still confused, please send the TLE's you're using, plus your site details (so i can set -my- Autostar to match -your- Autostar, and see what you're seeing.). To further confuse things, sometimes the TLEs are wrong. (errors in data reduction, etc.) It doesn't hurt to use two sources when something like this arises... visit www.heavens-above.com, and click around until you reach the "Orbit" page about the ISS: http://www.heavens-above.com/orbitdisplay.asp?satid=25544 crank those numbers in, too (i frequently have two ISS's in my list) have fun --dickAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Bob Carlin wrote: >Dick, >Thanks for your help. I think the *visible* was the clue. I did as you >suggested and set the time a few mins before and got something that looked >reasonable. But late... interesting (yet another example of: set up early, watch the skies) >Interestingly, I found some software that does Satellite tracking ( I'm sure >you know it ) - Satellite Tracker. I used this to upload a TLE file (from >Heavens-above) and get a predicted pass. I then keyed the same data into >Autostar. There was a difference of about 2 mins between the Autostar >calculations and the one from Satellite tracker even though I'm using the >same TLE data. Is this to be expected, since I'm assuming that Satellite >tracker can use the TLE data to it's full precision...? History Repeats Itself: Question is asked with providing the supporting data.... "2 mins": earlier? Later? Elevation of time-point? Who's on first? (you can scroll down when the Autostar reports an AOS time to see the angles involved). (my testing shows the Autostar as "late") Brent's Satellite Tracker -does- carry out the caculations with far more accuracy than the Autostar. so i'd tend to believe it. But the Autostar's a lot lighter... >Anyway, here is my Autostar information and TLE that I'm using - if you >could verify, that would be fantastic. > >Location: Redwood City, California Lat: 37.485 Long: -122.235 Heavens-Above shows it as coming over the horizon in the shadow, then becoming visible at 11 deg elevation, Az=311 (NW) at 6:39:33 Maximum elevation is 87 degrees, at 6:42:10, Az=13 (NNE) Drops below 10 deg elevation at 6:45:14, Az=130 (SE) sets (zero elevation) at 6:47:14, Az=131 (SE) TLEs used: 1 25544U 98067A 04362.95450231 .00026401 00000-0 20211-3 0 4597 2 25544 51.6388 56.5276 0003957 140.6175 221.1690 15.71932524348760 Note that they're slightly different from yours. Yours were based upon 2004 362.78813657, H-A's upon 2004 362.95450231 >Here is the TLE I'm using... > >1 25544U 98067A 04362.78813657 .00026149 00000-0 20031-3 0 4581 >2 25544 51.6389 57.3798 0004027 140.2998 359.3992 15.71923124348739 > >The predicted pass from Autostar is 6:41am Dec 28th 2004. 6:41 does seem ferociously late There -are- TLE sets which confuse the Autostar. This may just be one of them... if you're Alt/Az mounted, expect the telescope to lose track as the elevation gets above 75 degrees. (it can't spin fast enough to handle a zenith pass). You are allowed to start the pass tracking when you get the satellite in your sights, rather than waiting for the clock... have fun --dick (who will NOT be up at 6:41am)
Subject: Oops Sent: Friday, December 24, 2004 13:57:37 From: David Guibert (PlutoVIP1@cfl.rr.com) I blew it and should have known better. I just got my Deep Space Imager from Meade. I loaded the software and performed an upgrade. My new laptop decided to go to sleep and shut everything down. I had it set not to do that but for some reason maybe due to an update or whatever it reverted unbeknownst to me. The connection to Meade was severed and yet the hand set to my ETX-105 said it was still downloading. Yep, I took the chance and turned it off. Now it's locked up, it says Meade Autostar with a [33E] in the upper right hand corner. Don't know if that means anything I don't remember if I've ever seen that before. No beep or nothing. I've turned it off, unplugged it gently slapped it in my hand (hey, it worked in the movie Armageddon) Is this gonna be a ship it back to Meade thing? David Guibert Melbourne, FLMike here: Hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and turn on the ETX. That puts the Autostar in a SAFE LOAD mode. Fire up the Autostar Updater application; it will recognize this mode and let you download a fresh copy to the Autostar.
Thanks for the ultra fast responce. Dave
Subject: Dead Autostar!! Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2004 14:15:35 From: Tom and Kathi (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was wondering if anyone has come up with a parts layout or schematic for the 497 Autostar? My Autostar has a burnt IC inside and was wondering if I could somehow find replacement parts. Thanks for your help. Tom LI,NYMike here: Do you mean like that shown in the article "Dick Seymour's Autostar Schematics" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page?
Subject: The Mac and Autostar Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 12:54:05 From: philip call (email@example.com) Would you consider writing a tutorial on using the Mac and VPC in conjunction with the Autostar along the Autostar Suite when they are used for updating software for the Autostar meades. I have never used a Windows machine, nor have I ever used VPC with my Macs. However, when I receive my ETX PE, I don't see any other way to maintain the instrument properly. I am currently running MacOS 10.3.37 on both my eMac and iBook and am prepared to do what it takes to acquire and use VPC in order to meet the needs of the Meade. I have read the Autostar and the Mac information on your website and have a pretty good idea of what I will need in the way of hardware. However, I would like, if at all possible, to have a little more detailed step by step procedure that you use when you download and use the software. If you do not feel like doing a tutorial, perhaps you could go through and edit and/or update the info on this subject. The last posting is 8 Dec 02. I don't know if you have any info on the Autostar Suite. Over the years has VPC become a little more user friendly than it appears to have been in 2002? I don't know of any other Mac users in this area that use VPC and more especially, Autostar. Myself, and I am sure other Mac users would appreciate your consideration on this matter. Phil CallMike here: What's missing from that "Update Autostar using a Mac" article? That's what do. As the Autostar Suite, check out the article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. One caveat for using VPC: you will need a fast G4 processor for the Autostar Suite to work. By the way, there is now a Mac OS X Autostar updater application (not from Meade). Info is further down this page.
Subject: Alignment star Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 02:38:31 From: Peter Bostrm (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello everyone I have an ETX-105AT and i have some qustion aboat alignment , when i choose Alt/Az easy alignment and press ENTER and ETX seeking after a star (often capella and vega) but i cant see any star brighter then another , all stars are the same .. small . how bright will the alignment star be in the viewfinder and eyepiece 26mm (X56) When i cant see any brighte star in the viewfinder i press go to and the ETX going around but no brighter star will appear. any advice Thanks Peter Bostroem ,SWEDENMike here: The Autostar selects bright stars for its alignment. Depending upon your sky brightness, you may or may not be able to see fainter stars nearby. Try using the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Helpful information: Autostar Info page as a guide to where the alignments stars are located. As to the "size" of stars, you won't see any difference in all but one star in the sky as they are all too distant. The only visible star that shows any "size" is our Sun but it is not used as an alignment star (for obvious reasons).
Subject: Re: Subject: oem gps for etx-90 Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2004 04:31:29 From: Colin Dawson (email@example.com) I was just catching up with the latest additions to your site, when I noticed a question that's right up my street. Torsten Pichler asked about there being there being some way to connect his current GPS to the Autostar. There's basically two answers to this, yes and yes (soon). The first answer is that there are some bits of hardware on software that you can buy, to plug a GPS direct into an Autostar, but they may require the Autostar to be flashed with a modified Firmware. The Second answer is a Utility that I've created called AstroGPS, you can download it from www.cjdawson.com. The current version will update the information in SkyMap Pro V5 and upwards. You can then use Skymap Pro to upload the current date time, location etc direct into the Autostar. I know this isn't a complete solution, but it's a start. Hopefully, in the next few months I'll find the time to add an Autostar upload feature into AstroGPS, this will setup the scope's location information in the same way that SkyMap Pro does, thus meaning that you'll be able to go direct from NMEA compatibly GPS to Autostar, via laptop! I'll keep you posted on this and let you know when the first version is available. Regards Colin Dawson www.cjdawson.com
Subject: Autostar flasher for Mac OS X Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2004 21:47:13 From: Rodolphe Pineau (firstname.lastname@example.org) For all the mac users of this group, I have some good news. I finally took some times to write an application to upgrade the autostar from Mac OS X. Here is the link : http://www.rti-zone.org/macosx_autostarx.php Regards, Rodolphe -- | Rodolphe Pineau RTI-Zone | | http://www.rti-zone.org/ | | Coldfire Robot / Unix / Atari / Astronomy |Mike here: I haven't had a chance yet to check this out. I welcome any comments from the Mac OS X users out there.
Subject: Autostar display led's Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2004 08:32:20 From: Gerry Cassidy (email@example.com) Just to update you with my problem re. dim display. I have sourced the required surface mount led's. for the autostar display and torch. They are both siemens SIDELED. On either side of the display are two LS A670 Side Emitting SIDELED each side and the torch uses the higher intensity type LS A676 Hi Luminosity SIDELED. Just in case anybody needs to change them. regards Gerry Cassidy
Subject: oem gps for etx-90 Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 09:49:17 From: Torsten Pichler (firstname.lastname@example.org) great site, great information ! i have a question about the gps capability of the autostar 497. theres the possibility to add a gps device direct to the autostar serialport. there a many more or less expensive solutions for this. i own a serial gps device for my laptop with a ps/2 power connector. the data is transmitted via a 9pin RS232 Cable. There must be a way to easy connect this plug to the autostar without buying a new gps reciver?! any ideas ? Greetings from Germany torstenMike here: Do a web browser "find" on "GPS" on this Autostar Feedback page; you will find some relevant info.
Subject: Creep after the beep Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2004 08:46:43 From: email@example.com How do i make adjustments to my scope(ETX90ec) to aleaveate this condition?Anything you can tell me would be helpful. With the grace of God Jim AbbeyMike here: Did you recently upgrade the Autostar software? If so, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. If you didn't upgrade the software, still do a TRAIN DRIVES; normally that will fix it. If you still have problems, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. Don't forget to TRAIN DRIVES on BOTH axes. Let me know.
Thanks.Mike I will try that during the day so after I do the reset, I will train the drives..I understand that some earlier upgrades,I have done might have caused this? Would this be the case?Mike here: If you do a RESET, then do a CALIBRATE followed by the TRAIN DRIVES. And yes, anytime you do an Autostar upgrade you should do the TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject: autostar [failure] when uploading updates from meade Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 16:28:56 From: Paul Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) There was a man who wrote you about losing his power while he was uploading his autostar and the thing went dead. The same thing happend to me three days ago I talked to meade and they gave me a fix. When this sort of thing happens to you. 1st. unplug the power to the telescope. 2nd. hold down the down scroll key and the enter key at the same time 3rd. while holding down on both keys power up your telescope, the hand set should wake up and you should see a prompt. When you see the prompt start your up load and do not shut it down untill done. When the upload is done you must enter all your information as if it was being done for the first time. I hope this helps yours in the way Paul F. CampbellMike here: Yep, that's the SAFE LOAD (or FLASH LOAD) procedure. Works fine as long as the Autostar #497 has the FLASH LOAD code installed, and all do as long as they have something newer than 1.something.
Subject: Autostar telescope compatibility Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 10:14:02 From: Lasse Lindh (3L@comhem.se) Does the Autostar #494, #495 and #497 work with any of the Meade ETX and LXD-telescopes? Or do they need a modification or software update? Best regards LasseMike here: The #497 (or a #495 upgraded via software to a #497) will work with any ETX or LXD55/75 model. The #494 only works with the ETX-60/70 models. For more on Autostar compatibility, included DS models, see the Meade Autostar page:
Thanks for your reply. It turns out that the EC-models are not compatible between different telescopes. The ETX-EC does not work with the LXD-series and vise versa. Best regards LasseMike here: The standard handcontroller that came with the EC models are probably not compatible but the Autostar #497 IS with recent software.
Subject: Smart Drive function in 32Eh Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2004 14:11:03 From: Jay Lewis (email@example.com) I noticed (while scrolling through the Autostar functions) that the version currently loaded into my Autostar (32Ei) has Smart Drive to Correct PEC errors in polar mode. Can this be used with my ETX 125? And, if so, how do I use it? Thanks in advance. Jay LewisMike here: Yep, it can be used, if you mount the ETX in Polar Mode.
Wow... are you on top of things. I saw the post you referenced after I e-mailed you. It says in part " To train use the handbox, AutostarSuite with the LPI, or any other autoguider using the #909 Accessory Port Module (if the scope will allow the #909). " OK. How do I use the handbox to train? You must have done all of your Christmas shopping to be able to respond so quickly...Mike here: Follow the onscreen prompts.
Subject: Autostar updates (different versions cited) Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2004 13:44:53 From: Jay Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org) First, Happy Holidays to you and your family. All the good stuff on your site is like 12 months of Christmas. Next, I'm confused... In Autostar Information (Autostar Downloads) you indicate that Meade has a new update for the #497. They do. On their site it's referenced as 33Ef. When downloaded and unzipped it creates Build 33Ef.ROM. In Autostar Information (Autostar Software Archive (unofficial), you reference a link on your site to #497 Autostar ROM 3.2Ei -- NEW dated 121/10/04. I have 3.2Ei. It was downloaded from the Meade site in August and Dick S. had a patch kit for it dated 09/08/04. Typo's or something I'm not just not getting right? As always, I look forward to your response... Best, Jay Lewis Executive Director Passenger & Shipping Institute Coral Gables, FloridaMike here: When Meade releases a NEW Autostar ROM I place the previous version in the archive. Hence, the new one, 3.3Ef is on Meade's site and the previous one, 3.2Ei, is on mine.
All cleared up. I guess I'll wait for Dick's patch and then upgrade. The ability to "input" a site's lat and lon by zipcode is an excellent idea (unless you are in Montana where the zips are as big as Rhode Island!).
Subject: New Autostar and Autostar II updates Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2004 11:12:31 From: H B (email@example.com) Any word from our good friend Dick Seymour on patch kits for both new versions? Hank
Subject: Autostar Ver 32Ei and Smart Drive?? Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2004 10:54:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Autostar Ver 32Ei and Smart Drive?? I had downloaded Ver 32Ei to my ETX105 and noticed through the remote Handbox in the Autostar suite that there was a menu item "Smart Drive" that did not show up on the handset. I checked the instructions on the LX-90 manual and the ETX appeared to be collecting the PEC data and the "Smart drive" could be enabled. It worked like the LX90 instructions said. I recently updated to 33Ef and noticed that all the SmartDrive and PEC settings were now removed. The question is, was the "Smart Drive" actually working on the ETX and if so is it worth keeping....ie not upgrade to the latest. Will it help the ETX in longer exposure imaging or is the ETX not fine enough to make a difference? Too bad Meade did not have a version description so one could see what the changes actually were. Great Site...Thanks Jim ThomassonAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Smart Drive (Meade's term for "PEC") only appears on your 497's menus IF you have the Mount set to "Polar". So do: Setup > Telescope > Mount > Polar [enter] and "Smart Deive" will reappear. Its appearance on the Autostar Suite menu (when not in Polar mode) was actually a "bug", since it wouldn't be properly functional in Alt/Az. >Too bad Meade did not have a version description so one could see what >the changes actually were. Smart Drive was covered in the v32Ea ReadMe (when it was introduced)... (Dick pulls it from Mike's archives): --- PEC added for Polar mounted scopes PEC can be found under Setup - Telescope - Smart Drive. Smart Drive will only appear for Polar Mounted scopes. Smart Drive is for the RA motor only. Run PEC Train first and if needed then run PEC Update after to improve the table. Training for LX90 and LXD55/75 will take about 8 - 9 mins. Training for ETX 90/105/125 will take about 24 mins. To train use the handbox, AutostarSuite with the LPI, or any other autoguider using the #909 Accessory Port Module (if the scope will allow the #909). After training PEC, go to PEC On/Off to turn on PEC to have the scope follow the commands. At the end of your session if you want to keep your training, you have to Park your scope. If you do not park your scope the Autostar will not be able to remember its position on the worm. --- have fun --dickAnd:
Thanks for the info....I guess it was a bit of a fluke I found it in the first place since it's not in my ETX documentation.....now to the latest SW!! And try it out! And since I use the Autostar update utility, I didn't get the readme's. Any hint of putting a GPS input to read NMEA inputs? (I mean without StarGPS) Mighty ETX is a great resource! Jim T
Subject: ETX 90 and Autostar 497 Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2004 07:45:22 From: Jan H Kolst (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm stll working with my telescope , but I'm not able to work it. It slews around no matter if ti runs on batteries or using the adapter.I've tried the new update from Meade with ASU 33Ef and yours 32IA.The scope won't act on orders from Autostar. Immediately after downloads and initialsation of the scope I start calibrate and Train drives which I managed before it starts slewing.After some time it just starts slewing around in both alt and az and ends pointing straight up.The motors are running.This was also the case before I updated.I'm afraid that I can't cope with the problem.Please give me some advice! Regards Jan NorwayAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) I cannot think of a specific cause... although i usually blame bad connections as a first thing to check. So reverse the cable end-to-end and wiggle the connectors. Investigate what happens when you turn on the telescope with -no- Autostar connected... does it start moving in the same way? Some Autostars have their connector sockets poorly soldered to the circuit board, and that can create random motions. Very low (or "noisy") voltage levels can also do this. good luck --dick
And when I just turn on the scope it immediately starts slewing in both axes.I' ve now ASU33Ef . Have a nice weekend,anyway! Regards Jan NorwayMike here: Definitely sounds like something has failed. Do you have the standard EC handcontroller? Does it work normally?
I've the Autostar 497,the one with numberbottons.There are no problems when I download.But the scope starts slewing immediately when I turn it on.Autostar goes on initilazing and I can give it the date, time etc.Did I actually answer your question?I bought the scope new in Bremen Germany May 04.It has worked OK up to now.Mike here: You bought it after Meade stopped including the standard handcontroller.
And an update:
Good news.I've solved part of the problem.I examined the contact where Autostar is connected to the scope (Handbox inlet) but I couldn't spot any faults.Then I softly moved the Autostar plug inside the "plughole"Kind of softly withdrawing it .The scope stopped moving and everything was normal.The scope moved nicely after Autostars commands.But there must be something in the "plughole" or the Autostar contactplug.Any suggestions? I've tried the scope a couple of times now turning it on and off.It works OK every time.Mike here: There have been reports of the "pins" in the LXD55 mounts becoming depressed and not making good contact. That could be the culprit.
This seems to be my problem as well. Here is exactly what happens:When I plug the Autostar cable into the scope (and hear a click), the scope slews on its own with no control. If I withdraw the Autostar-plug very little (the plug is not in the "bottom" of the connection hole where it used to be) it works perfectly. Any suggestions what I should do ? Or just leave things as they are? Thanks a lot for all the quick replies!!! Regards Jan NorwayMike here: You would need to pry them back up so that they make good contact with the pins on the Autostar connector.
I haven't dared to do anything yet.I understand that I should try to push the pins gently upwards in the Handbox on the scope?Mike here: You need to pry them so that they will stick up more into the path where the Autostar connector slides in. But be careful and don't break them.
And the final report:
Now I've carefully pried them and everything seems to work well. Thanks again for helping me. Have a nice week! Regards Jan Norway
Subject: New update 32Ef Sent: Thursday, December 9, 2004 13:34:07 From: Jan H Kolst (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for all the advice concerning the trouble with my "wild" telescope.Today I discovered the new update 32Ef and downloaded it.I reset ,and time, date etc.I did not calibrate and train drives because of the nasty weather.But I think it's ok to do that during the daytime before I start the first night out.I noticed that both altitude and azimut were set to 50% in the new version of Autostar.The former version had 10 % in both.Would you stick to the 50 % or what? I haven't tried my scope during frosty nights , but the adapter works well so far and hopfully in the mountains where it normally is between -10 to -20 degr. C during wintertime.If it doesn't work ,I'll take a nice skiing trip with my wife in the moonshine during Christmas. Regards Jan NorwayMike here: TRAIN DRIVES; you may find that the values change.
Subject: Connecting an autostar to a laptop Sent: Thursday, December 9, 2004 12:40:40 From: CN (email@example.com) How do you connect an Autostar to a laptop when the laptop does not have a serial port? Can the handbox be conected directly to the network port of the laptop because, after all, the hhandbox is another computer and in theory should be recognised as a network place. Any suggestions? Chris Newsome Derby, UKMike here: The Autostar is a serial device not a network device. You can use a USB to serial adapter however. See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for articles on USB.
Subject: New firmware at Meade's site Sent: Monday, December 6, 2004 18:42:33 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) v33Ef for the 497 Autostar v3.0i for the LX200gps Autostar II All from: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html have fun --dick
Subject: Re: Bluetooth Connection to Autostar Sent: Monday, December 6, 2004 16:43:04 From: Robert J. Brich (email@example.com) Joe, I did as you suggested and it worked! I modified the #505 by adding female pins into the #7 and #8 sockets of the DB9 whose wires were soldered together to create a loop. I used the configuration for the CSA as you suggested and did not use a null modem as depicted on the Sky and PocketSky user instructions for connecting to Autostar. I connected the Socket CSA to the #505, then connected the laptop to the CSA via hyperterminal, turned on the scope and watched the "x" appear on the screen. I transmitted the "#:GR#" and got an immediate response on the scopes pointing location. I also tried it with the PocketSky program using a PDA and found that it connected and I could control the scope using the BlueTooth connection. I would say problem solved thanks to your gracious assist. Many thanks to you, Mike and Richard for the super support and assistance to a fellow enthusiast. Had it not been for the exchange over the web site, I may have given up this venture in technology as a lost cause. I'm sure Socket will be pleased to close the trouble report! Thank you again. Best/Bob Brich -------Original Message------- From: jwlk3 Date: 12/05/04 09:31:50 Robert, You make reference to a null modem port. What null modem port are you using? Here's my specific setup: 1. CSA is connected directly to the Meade #505 cable DB9 female connector. 2. I modified the Meade DB9 connect with a jumper between pins 7 and 8. The CSA will not work without this jumper. 3. Here's the CSA configuration: General Tab * Friendly Name: Any * Class of device - Unclassified * Service Class - None * Service Name - Socket Serial Port -- Connection Tab * Connectable and discoverable * Do not generate notification -- Security Tab * None -- Port Settings Tab * 9600, 8 Bits, Parity None, 1 Stop Bit, Flow RTS/CTS (Required) -- Advanced Tab * Page Scan Timing: -- Interval: 512 Slots -- Window: 128 Slots * Inquiry: 512 Slots * Window: 128 Slots Don't feel bad about talking with the Socket tech support people. I also spent many days with them trying to get this to work. I finally fixed the problem through trial and error. One problem with the CSA is that it has a very limited memory. You won't be able to use the Meade ASU to upload/download firmware updates or object files. Since Meade does not supprt hardware handshaking, the CSA buffer will overflow and the data will be garbled. Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have other questions. Joe Rochester, NY ----- Original Message ----- From: Robert J. Brich To: jwlk3 Sent: 12/5/2004 8:12:12 AM Subject: Re: Bluetooth Connection to Autostar Joe, I have had no success as yet with the CSA. I have good connection via Hyperterminal between a PDA and Laptop with the CSA but when connected to the ETX, no communications. I tried to connect the RTS and CTS (pins 7 and 8) together by inserting a common pin into null modem port. Not sure if that succeded in bridging as you did. Please explain how you enabled the bridge so that I can duplicate. Also include the settings that you loaded into and used on the CSA. Appreciate the response. I have been working on trying to solve this problem for weeks. I'm sure Socket would be pleased to have me stop sending problem reports as well. Best/Bob Brich Virginia Beach, VA -------Original Message------- From: jwlk3 Date: 12/05/04 01:28:11 To: Robert Brich Subject: Bluetooth Connection to Autostar Robert, I saw your message exchanges with Dick Seymour on Mike Weasner's website. I have a Socket CSA working with my Autostar and it works fine. Here's what I had to do to get it to work. 1. You need to connect RTS and CTS together. The CSA will not work without RTS/CTS tied together. I'm using a Linksys Bluetooth dongle and it works great with TheSky and my Palm T3 using Planetarium. I've used other Bluetooth dongles and they all work. Let me know if you need more specific information about my configuration, but from what I read in your emails, it should work as you have it configured. Joe Rochester, NY
Subject: Dead Autostar Sent: Monday, December 6, 2004 05:18:06 From: Michael Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have an dead Autostar 497 from an ETX 90EC. It is quite old and was running on a very early version of the firmware which I later (too late) found out did not have the SAFELOAD function installed. I tried to update it but I had a power failure at home during the download. My autostar no longer works and I cannot use SAFELOAD to revive it as this function has never been installed on it (don't worry, I've tried). Has anyone got any ideas about how to revive it? replies to: email@example.com thanks Michael Morris- Environment OfficerMike here: You will either have to contact Meade or replace it.
Subject: Re: Problem: failure autostar? on an ETX-70AT Sent: Monday, December 6, 2004 01:46:57 From: Pascal (firstname.lastname@example.org) thank you for the reply, I adjusted the Declination scale, sorry I should find this by my self when read well... When tried the movement inside yesterday and all movement and aiming went normal... I just noticed that the display of the autostar still went black for a fraction of a second, sometimes several times, especially when it goes from a higher slewing speed to the more precise adjusting of the aiming position... Wondering is that common, do you or other users have noticed the same? Best regards, Pascal Vreuls Kerkrade, the Netherlands.Mike here: The display blanking out is due to low battery reaching it at higher demands (higher slew speeds). Either the batteries are weak or the temps too low for the batteries to supply normal output.
Subject: 32ei Sent: Sunday, December 5, 2004 07:58:53 From: George Giesen (email@example.com) hello, i need to know how to revert back to 22eh.I downloaded 32ei.Also could you help me on a question? I built a fork mount telescope (8in celestron) using ds motors and autostar from steve belair site.I use the etx90 to controll my scope. The questions is i am using a wedge to polar alighn and when i am tracking both gears are running.I thought only one motor is supposed to be running.Dec motor is running when tracking. Do you know why or if this isnt a problem, even when i am doing long exposures with webcams. thank george. Oh steve belair didnt have an answer to this because he has done polar with ds motors.Mike here: Old versions of the Autostar ROM will do that. If you want an old version, see the archive page on the Helpful information: Autostar Info page.
Subject: I think I wiped my autostar #497 controller - can you please help? Sent: Sunday, December 5, 2004 03:08:47 From: IAN FERRIS (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have just purchased my first proper scope which is an ETX125 with all the autostar #497 goto controller and Lpi etc. I am very pleased with the results and it made me feel more confident as I used it more and read a lot from your Mighty site. Unfortunately the confidence grew into cockiness which I feel may cost me a pretty penny. I was controlling my ETX with my Laptop (not a Mac I am sorry to say), and was having no problems at all and started to capture some images. However today I was looking around the Autostar suite (ver 3.18) when I looked at the handset which was still connected and it said 'Downloading, do not turn off'. Now I had NOT selected update autostar but was unsure what info was being transferred so I thought to leave it alone as I have read enough of your site to realise not to disconnect anything during this procedure. This went on for 10-15 mins but when I looked at the hand controller again it was blank. Now nothing was happening so I got to the stage where I had to turn it all off, or it would still be sitting outside now. I had checked the power and connections and all were fine so it had not disconnected by outside means. Now when I turn on the scope, the controller is blank (sometimes with some strange characters on the screen) and it doesn't do anything else (it is as if it is wiped). I cant connect the computer as it doesn't see the controller anymore, so I find myself stuck. Can you please give me any advise or point me in the right direction. Sorry for the lengthy email but I feel the more info the better. Many thanks from sunny Scotland. Ian.Mike here: Strange. But you may be able to recover it. Put the Autostar into SAFE LOAD (also known as FLASH LOAD) mode. Do this by holding down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys on the Autostar, then power on the ETX. Then run the Autostar Updater Application; it should detect that the Autostar is in this special download mode. Then do the update (either by connecting to Meade's site or from a local build.rom file).
Firstly, WOW, what a quick response. You must have replied to my email over breakfast. It looks like your advice has dug me out of a hole. My first sigh of relief was when 'FLASH LOAD 3.0 READY' appeared on the screen instead of the previously blank one. Then the autostar update suite handshook the controller, I clicked to update from the WWW and the loading started (cue the second sigh of relief). I seem to be up and running as before, but I am waiting for nightfall now for good test. I am doing some in the house training to check it all out first. So many thanks to your advice. As an aside, I haven't got the bottom of the fault yet but I am starting to suspect a micro power cut or fault in the power lead as it was running on the mains (without any batteries installed), although I cannot rule out human error either. I will continue with fresh batteries until I resolve the problem. Once again, many thanks. Ian Ferris.
Subject: re: Autostar language problem Sent: Saturday, December 4, 2004 22:34:34 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Meade stopped programming the Autostar as multi-language with the introduction of firmware version 21Ek in January 2001. Since then, the first letter after the number (E in 21Ek) is the language identifier. All of the updates at Meade US site, and most of Mike's archives, are in English. The Meade Europe site ( www.meade.de ) has German and English versions. Once in a while i get Spanish, Italian and French version sent to me from users in those countries for patching. As Mike suggested, if you download v32Ei from Meade's US site, it will convert your 497 to English. have fun --dick
Subject: re: Autostar 497 Dim Display Sent: Saturday, December 4, 2004 22:24:17 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Autostar's display is back-illuminated by four light emitting diodes (LEDs), two on each side, all driven by one common transistor circuit. If you look at the sketch at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_schematic.html the LED's are identified, and in the photo lower on that page they appear as white squares to the sides of the display panel area. From the sounds of it, you have either lost one or both of the LEDs on the left side. If only one, it's just random chance. If two have turned off, then it might be a damaged circuit trace leading to them, or their common "ground" ... visual study of the trace might reveal the gap and you could bridge it with a thin wire and solder. If this is a new Autostar, you might return it for exchange. good luck --dickAnd:
From: Gerry Cassidy (email@example.com) Update on the dim display. Checked out unit and found one of the backlighting led's was use. Changed it out with the illumination led on the top of the unit. Now have a fully lit display. regards Gerry Cassidy Thanks for your help...
Subject: Re: GPS Sent: Saturday, December 4, 2004 15:29:21 From: Jan H Kolst (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks for a fast reply, as always you're great helper for people trying to get along in the sky! Could you possibly explain more exactly how to utilize my handheld GPS? Gegards Jan NorwayMike here: Probably not. The GPS articles on the Autostar Info page might help though.
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) The StarGPS product provides the firmware and Cable required to connect your Garmin to the Autostar's rs232 socket for direct automated entry of time/date/location on every power-up. Visit http://www.stargps.ca The current pricing is us$129 + $7 shipping world-wide have fun --dickAnd more:
The patch modifies the ROM file in your PC before you send the ROM file to the Autostar via either StarPatch from www.stargps.ca or with Meade's Updater. The patch kit modifies and adds a few hundred bytes of the megabyte which is Meade's firmware in order to provide additional features or fix a few bugs (bug fixes do not appear in all versions). As Mike said, the instructions for patching and updating are included in the ReadMe file contained in the patch's .zip file. have fun --dick
Subject: GPS Sent: Saturday, December 4, 2004 10:32:15 From: Jan H Kolst (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've a handheld GPS (Garmin 12).It can be connected to the PC which I've done frequently.Is there any way that I can incorporate/use it along with my ETX 90 and autostar?Another matter. How do I upload Patch 32IA? Does it work along with Meade's 32Ei or what? Regards Jan NorwayMike here: It could possibly work, if it sends the right data. You would also need the right serial cable. As to patches, I believe they include the instructions. The Autostar ROM version for each patch is noted on the patch page.
Subject: Problem: failure autostar? on an ETX-70AT Sent: Saturday, December 4, 2004 04:42:38 From: Pascal (email@example.com) first I want to thank you for having a great informative site! I now have the Meade ETX-70AT for 2 days and this was my first real test with it... After I had all things going well, I have seen Saturn, Andromeda, the moon craters and lots of other nice things ( I was stunned by all did go so well and easy), my telescope did a movement that was "forbidden" when tried to move (in high precision) to the sombrero nebula. (this after 2 hours in freezing temp) it aimed to a start below the horizon to adjust position, it almost pointed to my neighbours pond ...lol... After I tried to forget this problem, it went wrong again when go to the Betelgeuse in Orion, it complete missed the star and did a rare move again, it aimed to 100 degree so 10 more then the "store" position (complete over the top)...no bright star in that area.. and no way you can look into it in this position.. what could it be?? I am thinking of a short power lost (batteries to cold???) I noticed that when the telescope moves, the autostar screen and light when to black for a fraction of a second and at that same time the sound of the drive was like it was struggled/hold back, like it was asking much power to get further... The batteries where "new" (came with the telescope) , the temperature was about 28 Fahrenheit. (-2 Celsius) The latitude and longitude is right so where time, date and daylight savings time (no) and set to astronomical. The scale ring is also not good, when the telescope is horizontal it shows 93 degree, is this to adjust?? (poor quality inspection in my eyes) You got some good advice for me in this cases? Thank you very much! Best regards, Pascal Vreuls Kerkrade, the NetherlandsMike here: See the FAQ page for info on adjusting the Declination scale. As to the movement problems, I suspect that the cold temperature was the culprit. Do you experience similar problems when indoors where it is (hopefully) warmer?
Subject: Autostar 497 Dim Display Sent: Friday, December 3, 2004 14:05:13 From: Gerry Cassidy (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have just became the proud owner of a second hand ETX90 EC telescope. I also purchased a 497 Autostar Contoller, however the display on the controller appears to be in 2 parts. The left hand side of the display although visible is a lot dimmer than the right hand half of the display. Adjusting the brightness/contrast only appears to work on the right hand side. Any ideas would be appreciated. regards Gerry CassidyMike here: Sounds like a bad one. Does the display change over time, like when it gets warm?
Thanks for the quick response. I haven't really used it long enough yet. I need an eyepiece, which should arrive tomorrow. It looks as though half the display is getting a reduced supply, it does read abeit, dull. It does increase with the brightness control and characters are visible so I don't think it is too serious. I just wondered if any other members have experienced this problem. regards Gerry Cassidy
Subject: Updating the Autostar Sent: Friday, December 3, 2004 12:52:31 From: shirley m feickert (email@example.com) I was looking at Your site on updating the autostar. I have a 8" LX200gps that has the Autostar II. I was told I needed the #607 cord. does that mean I can't use your update way? Cause I have a eMac also. Happy Holidays to You and Yours JIM FeickertMike here: Besides the right serial cable for the Autostar II you will still need Virtual PC and a USB-serial adapter. So, yes, my info would still likely be applicable.
Subject: Adding User Object - Comet Sent: Friday, December 3, 2004 02:33:24 From: Schlatter (firstname.lastname@example.org) I want to add the Comet Machholz to my User Objects but I cannot figure out how to do it. I found the orbital data for the comet -- Perigee, Node, Inclination, and Epoch. Can you provide step-by-step instructions as to how to add this to the User Objects, or to the Comets list? Thank you. ----- Joe Bristol TNMike here: See the article "Adding Comets" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Also, see the articles "How to use the 3.x Updater" and "How to use the Updater: Manipulating Libraries" on that page.
I sent a query to you earlier about adding user objects, specifically a comet. I searched more diligently and found detailed instructions on your site and Dr. Clay's site. http://www.arksky.org/autostar.htm http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/guide-libraries.html http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html Thanks -- as always, the Mighty ETX Site comes through.And more:
Thanks. I followed Dick's instructions and loaded the full suite of visible comets into my ETX-90 -- now I'm off to capture Comet Machholz.
Subject: Another person with Autostar and alignment troubles... Sent: Thursday, December 2, 2004 21:10:35 From: Kevin Finke (email@example.com) First off, let me say like everyone else your site is a great resource, thanks! OK, I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times before, but I think something may be wrong with my ETX-125. I've only had it for about 2 weeks, and it's been horribly cloudy, so I've only used it like 3 or 4 times. On my first night, after my second alignment, things were working pretty well. It was locating objects within the eyepiece or at least within the finder scope. It kept moving things out of center and "fighting" me, but I had not yet trained the drives. A few days later, I trained the drives. Went smoothly. Then, next night out I did an alignment (easy). Seemed to go OK. Found the first few objects just fine. However, at some point, it said it was locating an object that was supposed to be under Sirius, and it pointed due west. I'm pretty new to all of this, but was pretty sure Sirius was SE! So, having not found what I was looking for, I told it to find Saturn, which we had already visited. Sure enough, it pointed the complete opposite direction. I was with it the whole time, I don't think I lost power or anything, but it was just lost. So, I easy-aligned again. Not quite as accurate at finding the stars, but I adjusted them and went back to the goto feature. It never again located anything correctly. So, tonight I tried again. Set it up. Leveled the tube with a level. North was pretty accurate. Did an alignment. Pretty far off on finding its stars. I again corrected. Again, couldn't find anything. Picking on known objects like the Moon, Saturn, and the Orion Nebula, it was just horribly far off. I went through everything I could think of -- checked the time, location, astronomical mode, telescope model. Retrained the drives. Did another alignment. And tried again... And here's the reason I think something is wrong. The second alignment star was Pollux. I'm pretty sure I had it. Then I told it to goto the Moon. It only slewed a few degrees. The higher speeds didn't even kick in. Then I said find Orion Nebula. Again, it hardly moved. So, please, shed some light. Do I need to upgrade the Autostar? I think it said it was 3.1E. Do I have a bad unit? Is it the Autostar controller or the scope itself? Please help! Kevin FinkeMike here: There is a step that you didn't say you did: CALIBRATE. That needs to be done on first use of the Autostar or when you change the power source. Do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES; be certain to do the training on BOTH axes (it is easy to miss that and only do one axis). Let me know.
Wow, thanks for the reply! When you say "change the power source", what do you mean? I think it calibrated the first time it turned on, correct? Each time I've set it up and taken it down, I just turn the scope off. I don't park it, cause it's not staying in the same place. On my first two times out (moderately successful), I was using the AC adapter. The first night I had troubles, I was using the car adapter only from my lighter. Then again tonight, I was back to the AC adapter. Can you explain? KevinAnd:
Thought of a few more things to say. It was pretty cold outside, like 29F. Not sure if that matters. I'm pretty sure I understand home position. Read it on your site, the manual, and watched the video. I'd be pretty disappointed, but boy the views are awesome! I just wish I could find some new stuff!! Thanks again, KevinMike here: Any time there is a possibility that the power source voltage could be different you should calibrate. That means switching from batteries to an AC adapter. Or changing to a car battery from AC. CALIBRATE is a manually selected step from the Autostar menus. Low temperatures can affect battery power.
Subject: 90ETX and Autostar 497 From: Jan H Kolst (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: December 2, 2004 14:11:22 PST The telescope acts normally in the house. Might the problems I wrote about earlier today have anything to do with humidity? Just a guess since the humidity was not that strong tonight. Best wishes with your computer! Regards Jan NorwayAnd:
The scope that I wrote about some days ago,that lived its own life, acts and slews normally when I tried it indoors. I've bought an adapter now, so it's not the batteries.The temperature was about +3 I've reloaded update 32ei,reset,calibrated,trained drives(both), but after some time outside , it starts its "own" life. I'm sure there is a logical solution, but so far it hides. Any suggestions that I should try. Regards Jan NorwayMike here: I doubt it is the humidity but the temperature could be causing some problem. Try keeping the telescope warm (bundle it up!).
Subject: Autostar language problem From: "Rafal Szymanski" (email@example.com) Date: December 2, 2004 11:31:54 PST Hello. I just bought a brand new ETX-105 with UHTC coatings. Unfortunately I bought it in Belgium. I opened it, put batteries in and all that. After, I plugged the Autostar in and turned the telescope on. Unfortunately there was no language option and the telescope automatically goes to French. I tried following the instructions on your Faq page, I reseted the scope, but there was not language option again. Itried that 2 more times and nothing. Is there a possibility that there is NO English on it. If yes, is there any way to get it uploaded on the Autostar. Thanks for any information.Mike here: That is certainly possible. To get English you can do the update from Meade's site.
Subject: a problem with my ETX-90 From: "Enes Zlatar" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: November 28, 2004 14:20:17 PST I have an ETX-90 telescope and tonight I've had a strange problem. I just aligned it and pressed GO TO Andromeda galaxy. It started rotating and then it stopped saying that there was a problem with motors and that my batteries were maybe weak. I turned it off and then on again, but then it displayed its first message - warning not to look at the sun - and above the message instead of "Attention" i said "En construction" (my Autostar is in French). Whatever button I pressed it said "Test motors", turned the motors a bit and then again "En construction". I bought new batteries and turned the telescope on again, but again, the same thing. I left it turned on for a while not touching anything, and then a new message appeared - "Proc.Trap 2" and a +, like when calculating something. Again, I turned it off and on and after a while all the messages dissapeared and I had just blank screen. Then again - this time after waiting it said "Proc. Trap 4". Also, during the first message (the sun message with "En construction") I am able to move motors left and right, but not up and down. thanks in advance for your help. EnesMike here: There is an article "Autostar Proc Traps" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page but that is really only info.
And from our resident Autostar expert:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) First, I would try a RESET ( Setup > Reset [enter][enter] ) The low batteries may have caused bad data to be written to the "parameter rom". If the RESET (and new batteries) does not cure the Autostar, you may need to reload the firmware with the Meade Updater. Which version of firmware are you running? There is also the rare possibility of a damaged wire inside the telescope base, but that is a tiny chance. (it happened to me) good luck --dickAnd:
Thanks very much for your quick reply. Mr Seymour gave me useful information Regards, Enes
Subject: Autostar #494 and updates From: "g0lws" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: November 28, 2004 07:01:51 PST I have the Autostar #494 on my ETX70. I have the #506 cable attached to my PC running Windows 2000. I have waded through all the notes on yours and Meade's sites and downloaded lots of software and patches, but nothing works. Most of the notes go on about the #497 handset and my one is hardly mentioned. I just need to know which version of AS and which patches do I need and what the procedure used. At the moment, the software I have (ASU 3.61) just says COM port not found and URL of web site not found. (The scope is on with Autostar in Download mode and the PC is connected to the net via ADSL.) Can you help please?Mike here: There is no update for the #494 Autostar. But you should be able to use the Autostar Updater Application to manipulate objects in the Autostar. Check for a port conflict.
Ok Thanks I will give it a go. Would upgrading to a #495 or #497 help?Mike here: That won't help the connection problem. Plus you would need to buy or make a #505 cable.
Subject: autostar to pc From: Infobud1@aol.com Date: November 28, 2004 06:36:35 PST I wonder if you can help? I have an HP pavillion laptop and it doesnt have a nine pin connection to go to the auto star handset. Is there a commercially available connection? I haveusb and a 15 pin connection Thanks Ray Baldock UKMike here: There are several USB-Serial converters. Meade has one, Belkin has one, Keyspan has one. I use a Keyspan one on my Macintosh (see the article "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page). Also see the article "PCs and USB" on the same page.
Subject: ETX 125 Alignment Problem From: Petz2@aol.com Date: November 28, 2004 05:59:18 PST I am the custodian of an ETX 125. It has an an Autostar 497, software version 31E. The problem is in the alignment of the scope. When I get to the menu item align easy I make sure the locks are set and press the "enter button". OTA pointed north and level. The telescope moves clockwise (RA)but the scope does not move along the declination axis (up ). I believe I can hear two different motors working and there is no grinding sound. When the scope is done slewing I can use the up arrow to raise the OTA with no problem. I am in Santa Clarita, CA for reference. So the alignment goes like this. Date, Time, Daylight Savings are input. Easy align is selected, locks are set, pointed North and level. Autostar selects Cappella and rotates clockwise to approximate position of Cappella in the sky. OTA does not ascend. I can use the up arrow to raise the OTA. The same sequence of events happens whether it is powered by an AC adaptor or batteries. Any suggestions you have will be appreciated. Steve Petzold Borrego Springs 1991Mike here: Since you can slew in altitude with the Autostar, I suggest doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. If that doesn't cure it, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES.
Will attempt. Thanks Steve Petzold
Subject: Closing down AUTOSTAR of ETX-70 TA From: "Cox Eddy" (Eddy.Cox@mil.be) Date: November 25, 2004 01:56:01 PST I bought this week the refractor in subject, being very pleased by it's performance. However, when starting up, the Autostar (as being a processor) has to boot up like a P.C. Quite normal. But a P.C. you can not simply press the button to shut it down. Is there a certain procedure to shut down the Autostar down or do I simply have to switch the button to off? Already thanks for the answer. By the way, very nice and usefull site! Greetings, Eddy Cox Belgium. P.S. Is it possible to send the answer towardes email@example.com also, cause I'm not always at work?Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Site home page for info on email addresses. Thanks.
Subject: RE: ETX 70 Go To stopped working without apparent reason From: Narayan_MUKKAVILLI@rta.nsw.gov.au Date: November 24, 2004 17:53:53 PST Finally I had a small window of opportunity last night to try your suggestion below before it clouded up again. I did the RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN DRIVES and then set location date and Time and model number Unfortunately it didn't work I had only four stars visible so I aligned with Altair and Alnair and tried to GoTO Formalhaut but missed big time. (The fourth star the Peacock Star is not in the Autostar database) The readout said align successful after two star alignment, and when I tried to GoTO Altair again ( one of my alignment stars) it was spot on.. There was no other star or object visible before cloud again covered the sky so I didn't have a lot of time to redo the whole process again. So unfortunately that's where I am as of now. Should the cloud clear over the weekend as is forecast I will try the whole thing again..though I have tried RESET and TRAIN DRIVES once before as well without success. It's almost as if the internal clock in the system has somehow gone awry Thanks for your interest and help Regards Narayan -----Original Message----- From: Mike Weasner Since it is the #494 the version doesn't matter much since you can't upgrade it. But lets have you do the following: RESET, CALIBRATE, and then TRAIN DRIVES. Check the date when entering it (year and Daylight Savings).Mike here: Be certain alignment stars are about 90 degrees apart. Other than that, got me stumped at this point.
And the "cure":
I know you probably wont be able to reply for a while but this is just to let you know that I think I found the problem last night and fixed it and want to share the fix with you -and through your site- with others In the end the fix was simple: I had the time in 12 hour format-i.e. 08:00:00PM. I changed to 24 hour format- 20:00:00 and voila! GoTO works again! Is that weird or what! Why this should happen I don't know-it's got be a bug in the software- but anyway my ETX is working again. Thanks for your interest and help Regards Narayan
Subject: WIRELESS TO THE ETX125 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: November 24, 2004 16:55:20 PST I have been attempting to establish a wireless connection between my laptop and ETX125 via a bluetooth connection. However, I have as yet been without success. I am using a Socket Cordless Serial Adapter (CSA) and a null modem connected to the 497 unit and a Socket Bluetooth Connection at the other end on the PC I have test and connected the 497 to the laptop via a serial/USB connection and had excellent communications both in AutoStar as well as when testing with hyperterminal. I have also tested the CSA with hyperterminal between PC's and know that there is communication and a connection is being made between the Bluetooth send and receive units. I am using the prescribed settings of 9600/8/1/none/none. Unfortunately, I have yet to get a response from the telescope when sending the #:GR# transmission via the CSA. Have you or any of the other users attempted to establish a wireless Bluethooth connection using the Socket CSA? Is there something I am missing in setting up the protocols with the CSA and the 497? I'm at a loss as to why I can not establish an exchange between the telescope via the Bluetooth system when it is no problem with a wire. Best/ Robert J. Brich Va. Beach, VA
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) My first guess is that you haven't turned off the flow control (which is the CSA's default, as described by the manual i just downloaded). The 497 only has a 3-wire connection: Received Data, Transmitted Data and Ground. There is no "DTR" (Data Terminal Ready) and the like. According to page 12 of the manual, you'll need to use the configuration program to UNcheck "Only when DTR is asserted by local host" And set Flow Control to "none". You'll also need to supply -power- to the 497's Bluetooth, since the signal leads don't have enough power (these units frequently depend upon the control lines for their power... and the 497 doesn't have any) ...that's my first guess. (i don't have a CSA, only book-learning from the user's guide at: http://www.socketcom.com/pdf/cordless/CSAuserguide.pdf Look at page 16, too. good luck --dick
I have been working with Socket Technical Support for about 3 weeks trying to solve the communications issue in basic and with the ETX. This was the configuration that they suggested with the CSA and that I have used. The following was suggested by Socket Technical: "Plug the CSA to our null modem adapter and hook it up to your serial com port 1 and run our configuration utility software.Click get from adapter and let me know what the current settings are for the Device Role. Then click properties and tell me what settings you have selected for the General, Connections, Security, Port settings and advanced tabs. With your scenario I would assume these settings: Acceptor General Tab: Friendly Name (whatever you wish) unclassified major and minor and nothing checked Connections Tab: connectable and discoverable; uncheck the DTR setting do not generate notifications Security Tab: unchecked Port settings: com port settings matching your built in serial port Advanced Tab: uncheck enable sniff mode" Do you have another serial port device you can connect to test with such as hooking the CSA and the null modem adapter to a serial port of another PC and seeing if you can open a Hyperterminal window and communicate that way? (This I can do and can send signal to the Meade,,,,,,,#:GR# ......but get no response in return via the CSA.) After the last session where I have established communications between the computer and a PDA with the CSA using hyperterminal, Socket came back and asked the following questions to which I have delivered some of the wiring information but not all other data (to which I have not answered fully in return): "Can you provide some more information on the connecting hardware as that will help us figure out the issue. Most of the problems we see with users who have trouble communicating to their hardware with the CSA is due to the way the hardware handles or uses the signal lines on the RS232 serial port. The CSA only uses the standard receive and transmit lines so if any other of the lines are used to process or carry out the serial data then the hardware will not be compatible with the CSA. For the hardware you are trying to connect who makes it, what does it do and can you confirm the signal pinout of the port on the device? Can you obtain the signal pinout from the manufacturer that details out what signals are coming out of the serial port cable from the hardware? Can you please desribe all of the hardware you are using in this connection attempt including all cables, adapters and hardware in the setup? Is the hadware a DTE or DCE device? Can you describe what the serial data is as it comes out of your device? For example, when you turn on or power the device is it immediately sending out serial data right off the bat or do you initiate the data connection from the software? is it at a constant rate of a certain bps or is it ininterval steps?" Mike or Richard... perhaps you can answer some of the more detailed information such as pinout and signal. As I said, this has been more than a casual attempt to go wireless via Bluetooth with the Meade! Appreciate your interest and assistance. Best/Bob BrichMike here: You can find pinout info on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page on the ETX Site.
Yes, I in fact sent that information to Socket along with the location to find other data from your site. It was very helpful.And more info:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Things to try: >Do you have another serial port device you can connect to test with >such as hooking the CSA and the null modem adapter to a serial port >of another PC and seeing if you can open a Hyperterminal window and >communicate that way? I would try a paper clip tying pins 2 + 3 of the telescope-end DB9 socket on the CSA, and seeing if things you type on the Hyperterminal keyboard appear ("echo") on your screen. If they do, then move that "paper clip" to the far end of the 505 cable (pins 1+2 of the RJ22 plug) and see if they still echo. >(This I can do and can send signal to the Meade,,,,, >,,#:GR# ......but get no response in return via the CSA.) Now turn off the scope. Plug in the CSA and wire it all up to the PC. STart Hyperterminal. Turn on the telescope. An "X" should appear on your PC's screen (the Autostar emits one during boot-up). If it -does- appear, then at least the scope->PC is working. (you have turned off your PC's flow control in Hyperterminal, yes? "No handshake") Another test you can do is to set up your PC-end CSA the same way, and tie -its- pins 2 & 3 (on the DB9 connector) together. Connect all of the cables (except don't plug the PC CSA in). Turn on the Autostar/ETX. If the communication path is working, the Autostar should start asking you to press each of the keys. If it does that, it means that the full loop *worked*, since the Autostar's response to seeing its own initial "X" echoed back is to start the "press this key" self-test. (you can try this with just the 505 cable... tie its DB9 2&3 together and power it up). That press-this-key test will eventually "fail" with a PIC error, but that's just because you're not wired to Meade's test bench. Can you set the Autostar-end CSA to serve as a "loop back" device? Then see if -that- lump alone can trigger the "press this key" test upon Autostar power-up. >Most of the problems we see with users who have trouble communicating >to their hardware with the CSA is due to the way the hardware handles >or uses the signal lines on the RS232 serial port. >The CSA only uses the standard receive and transmit lines so if >any other of the lines are used to process or carry out the serial >data then the hardware will not be compatible with the CSA. The Autostar's rs232 socket does not provide -any- control signals. All it supplies are TX, RX and ground. >Is the hadware a DTE or DCE device? In that universe of acronyms, the Meade 505 cable is a DCE device (Data Communication Equipment vs Data Terminal Equipment) using a DB9 connector. That merely defines which pin is "out" and which is "in". At the PC end of the Meade 505 cable, pin 2 is data FROM the Autostar, and pin 3 is data TO the Autostar. You can tell the help-desk to look at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html The chip driving the rs232 lines is an AM232A, which is a fairly standard chip. Everything happens at 9600 baud. >Can you describe what the serial data is as it comes out of your device? Mostly "printable ascii without parity", although AutostarSuite and Updating exchange full-blown 8-bit binary. Third-party scope control software only uses printable. >For example, when you turn on or power the device is it immediately >sending out serial data right off the bat or do you initiate the >data connection from the software? is it at a constant >rate of a certain bps or is it ininterval steps?" 5 seconds after power up, the Autostar sends a single "X" (x58) (which is ignored by everything... it doesn't expect the PC to respond). After that, all communications are started by the PC as commands, and the Autostar responds to those commands with a few characters. 99% of the time, the lines are silent. Everything is at 9600 baud, 8 bit, no parity, one start/stop bit. ----------------- You also welcome to give Socket my email address, but remember that i don't have a CSA of any sort. As a final bit, a member of the LX200gps group has got Bluetooth running on hisLX200gps Autostar II. Here's his paragraph on it: ---------- >First, I purchased a PROMI-SD101 RS232/Bluetooth(TM) dongle. >This device connects to any RS232 port and converts that port >to a serial Bluetooth(TM) port. The dongle must be set >for NO hardware flow control. It must also be set to automatically >connect to any Bluetooth(TM) device that tries to connect to it. > (Software is provided to set up the dongle.) > >Next, I use the Bluetooth(TM) wireless adaptor in the iPAQ. >I turn it on and then look for my PROMI dongle. When the two >are talking, I can proceed with initializing the telescope. > >I set TheSkyPE to use the same COM port as Bluetooth(TM) uses >to send information. I then initialize the telescope in TheSkyPE. >Then I can use the iPAQ to control the telescope and I don't need >any cable between the iPAQ and the telescope. > >The PROMI dongle is good for up to 30 meters, so I should be able >to control the telescope from anywhere I want in the proximity of >the telescope. It has a rechargeable battery that is good for >about 3 hours of continuous use in the configuration I use. >This technology also gives me the opportunity to control the >telescope from my desktop computer in the future. All I have >to do is install Bluetooth(TM) on the serial port and I'm in >business. > >Total cost of the dongle with shipping was $166.00 > >Tony George So (in theory) it can be done. good luck --dickAnd:
Thank you much for the suggestions and information. I have relayed all to Socket for their information as well. Will give all a try and let you know what success I have. It appears that the PROMI Dongle is very similar to the CSA from Socket. Should work in theory. Best/Bob BrichAnd this:
Subject: COULD FLOW CONTROL BE THE ISSUE WITH CSA? From: "Robert J. Brich" I read your message and noticed in the section relating to a wireless application using SKYPE that the "The dongle must be set for NO hardware flow control. It must also be set to automatically > connect to any Bluetooth(TM) device that tries to connect to it. (Software is provided to set up the dongle.) I also went to the SKYPE site (at http://www.bisque.com/help/TheSkyPE%20Info/TheSky_Pocket_Edition.htm) and found this comment regarding using Bluetooth wireless applications with Autostar "successful communication between a Bluetooth-enabled device and a Bluetooth serial adaptor requires that the RTS (pin 7) and CTS (pin 8) must be tied together " Is it possible that the issue with non-communication with the Socket CSA is flow control? Unlike the PROMI dongle, the Socket CSA has only one selection for flow control which is CTS/RTS. Whereas the PROMI user manual (http://www.lemosint.com/bluetooth_specs/Promi-SD_manual.pdf ) recommends " Promi-SD101 and Promi-SD102 of version v2g & v2h are designed to use CTS/RTS for handshaking. For equipment which is not using Hardware flow control for serial communications, Promi-SD101/102s firmware should be set to turn OFF hardware flow control (CTS/RTS). Customers may indicate preferences when ordering or turn off the handshaking by bridging CTS and RTS (no. 7 and no. 8 lines) using a Gender changer." We never discussed the flow control attribute of the Meade ETX. Could that be the issue? How does one "tie the pin 7 and 8 together with a gender changer? R/Bob BrichAnd more:
Richard, Tried all that you suggested. Scope worked fine and transmitted "X" on start up all via the hard wire serial connection. Responded as it should to all. However, could not get the CSA to communicate between scope and Laptop or PDA using hyperterminal. I bridged pins 7 and 8 and still had no success in effort to circumvent the CTS/RTS issue. Even Socket thought that it was the solution to disable the flow control. Believe that I have run out of tricks. Any thoughts? Am thinking of trying the PROMI but not sure it is worth the cost or aggrevation at this point. Thank you both for your assistance and interest in what has been so far an exercise in futility. Best/Bob BrichAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) >Tried all that you suggested. Scope worked fine and transmitted "X" on >start up all via the hard wire serial connection. Responded as it should to >all. > >However, could not get the CSA to communicate between scope and Laptop or >PDA using hyperterminal. Could you bridge pins 2+3 on the "laptop" end of the wireless connection hardware to mimic the hardwire loopback? Can you bridge pins 2+3 on the CSA end of the game, and does hypterminal then "echo" on its own screen when you type characters through the wireless link? (that last test is a very clean CSA-only test) >I bridged pins 7 and 8 and still had no success in effort to circumvent >the CTS/RTS issue. Even Socket thought that it was the solution to >disable the flow control. In my experience, simply bridging the RTS/CTS is not enough. You've also got to satisfy DTR. I used to hang a 9v transistor battery on the DTR/CTS pins so that the PC would think there was something out there... (not for Autostar apps, but in the dim past...) good luck --dick
Subject: Re: My Autostar #497 locks up - any help will be appreciatet. From: "Lars Kolpen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: November 24, 2004 12:27:24 PST Thank you very much for quick response. I have now updated the handbox #497 via the FLASH MODE you said. After that I did a reset of the handbox and loaded the FACTORY SETTINGS. Handbox #497 works fine now with the [32e] update. BUT, when I try to connect PC and Handbox, my PC still locks up/freeze. Is there any solution to this? Thank you very much, I already come a long way from your first letter! Thank you. Regards Lars Kolpen Denmark ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mike Weasner" > First step would be to do the SAFE LOAD procedure. HOLD the ENTER and > SCROLLDOWN keys down and then power on the ETX. Do you get the FLASH > LOAD READY displayed? If so, reattempt the update. ASU should > recognize the mode. Also, you might want to download the update first > rather than getting real-time from the web.Mike here: Glad the Autostar and telescope are working fine together. But the PC lockup almost sounds like a problem on the computer end, perhaps some port or software conflict.
Subject: re: Goto Problem in LXD75 Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 21:55:54 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) I've got to admit that that sounds an awful lot like the simple "forgot to tap [enter] before tapping [GoTo]" symptom. If you don't tap [enter], your chosen object may not be -really- selected. Result: you GoTo where you're already at. The out-and-back is the probable result of the GEM mount going through its tripod-avoidance motions on its way from here to... er, here. good luck --dickAnd more:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Joel and Kathy Hatfield wrote: > Thanks for the tip. I hope that wasn't all it is because I sent the > mount > off to Meade for repair. After you get "align successful" then select > another object you just press goto. I don't remember using the enter > button > before. Um... bad news... for most targets (Star, Planets, Moon, Deep Sky) the above procedure is -exactly- the "forgot to tap enter" problem. Tours and the "Constellation" subcategory are the exceptions to this "rule". For normal objects, if the name/number of the object hasn't appeared on the -top- line of the display, the object is not yet selected. Examples: (not selected) Solar System Jupiter (press enter to become selected:) Jupiter RA=12:30 DEC=-5*0' (not selected) Star Polaris (press enter to become selected:) Polaris ALP UMI (or) Polaris SAO 308 --------------- And finally, check out question/answer number 7 at: http://www.meade.com/support/etxautofaq.html sorry to bear dismal tidings.... have fun (when it gets back) --dickMike here: Meade must have thought something was wrong since they want it back.
Subject: re: autostar Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 21:49:12 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Versions of the firmware before (approximately) v25E did track both motors in Polar if the alignment told the Autostar that it would help keep the star centered over a long period of time. Newer firmware does not (or, at least: should not) run the DEC motor when simply tracking in Polar. have fun --dick
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