AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 28 February 2002
Welcome to the Autostar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar, cables, and the Autostar updater software. See the Autostar Info page for information from Meade and other users on the Autostar, cables, and software. Send your comments and tips to etx@me.com. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranties on your ETX and accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	updating a 495 to run an ETX125
Sent:	Monday, February 25, 2002 21:35:31
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	CRYPTOPAL@aol.com
My "how to use the updater" instructions are at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/guide-asu3x.html

If you find them confusing or unclear, please send the confusing
portion to me with a note about -what- wasn't clear, and (maybe)
how it might be better explained.  I'll be happy for the feedback.

For your -particular- operation (upgrading a 495), i've got to ask a question:
  Do you have a telescope which -is- compatible with the 495?

If so, perform the upgrade attached to -that- telescope, -then- move it
to the ETX125.  The ETX125 will then appear on its list of known scopes.

If you -only- have the ETX125, then you must put the Autostar into
"SAFE LOAD" mode before starting the Updater.  That gets around the
495's refusal to operate with an ETX125.
To do -that-, hold down both the Autostar's ENTER key and SCROLL DOWN key
when you turn on the ETX125's power.
The Autostar should go immediately to the "SAFE LOAD... DOWNLOADING"
 (or very similar) display.
Then start the Updater and click the big [Upgrade Now] button,
 as described in the above-cited Instructions.
35 minutes later you'll have an upgraded 497.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	re: auto star date advance
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 20:34:04
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	radiodave4@juno.com
I believe the Autostar is "good" for about +/-100 years, with many
qualifications to that statement.

Stars move.  The Autostar's database and calculations do -not- take that
"apparent motion" and "proper motion" into account.

The earth moves... i don't think that the Autostar takes that
"precession" into account. This can actually accumulate to a degree or
two over that century, depending upon the chunk of the sky.

The Autostar has over 200 solar eclipses stored in the database.. i
forget when that list poops out ... somewhen around 2040? (i can't find
my notes about that particular list when i studied it in October)

Some of the orbital calculations are pretty good... i expect Jupiter's
locations will be correct for that 100 years.

I -know- that the Autostar will refuse to calculate a satellite on
elements over a year old, so that data will require update.  It won't
track the Space Station in 1920 (well, maybe it will).

I expect that Meade will update things prior to 2050 (the next time
we're kinda due for a proper motion update, if history is a guide).

As with so many factors Autostarrish, why don't -you- ask it to
calculate stuff you can verify in the past and future... the Meade
manual even suggests doing so.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Re:  Under Construction
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 17:00:00
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
To:	jkjaynes@neo.rr.com (John K Jaynes)
> Thanks for the response.
>I neglected to explain that the only thing the 495 does is the 
>following:
>     (c)99MEADE[2.0].....
>         AUTOSTAR.....
>       INITIALIZING.....
>UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Ahh... you have a VERY confused Autostar.

> I used autostar update 2.4 with original ephemeride
> then with 2.0 et. al. , flash loaded, etc.
> No change from the above.

AH!!
I recommend using the newest Updater (v3.whatever) 
http://www.meade.com/support/auto/ASU.exe

That kit includes a fairly recent, very good, firmware version
(it can also grab the NEWEST from the web during the Update).
Perform (yet another) Emergency Flash Load.
The click on the Autostar Updater's big [upgrade now] button.
When it asks, tell it you -do- want to Reset everything.

Doing the above will do two things: 
 convert your 495 to a 497  (30,000 objects!)
 erase all user bodies and Tours.

You can follow the instructions at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/guide-libraries.html

to collect new user body (and Tour) data from the web.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Regarding Meade Autostar 495
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 15:38:46
From:	CRYPTOPAL@aol.com
I have a Meade 495 Autostar hand controler. Will it work with my
ETX-125EC? I couldn't get your link to the buletin board to work.
Thanks,
Guy
Lake Worth, Florida
Mike here: There is no "bulletin board" on the ETX Site. And yes, it will work. But you should update it to version 2.3Eb (which makes it the same as a #497 Autostar).

And:

Mike,
Thanks for the quick reply.  Who or how do you recommend I do the
upgrade.  Is there someone you can link me to that can help.  I was a
bit confused reading the items you had posted at your site on upgrading
the controller.

By the way your site is amazing.  It is one of the reasons I purchased
an ETX-125.
Thanks again,
Guy
Mike here: To upgrade the Autostar you will need to purchase or make a #505 cable, the Windows operating system (on a PC or a Mac with VirtualPC), a serial connection port on your computer, and the Autostar Update Client from Meade's web site (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html). Alternatively you can ask your dealer (or a local ETX user) to "clone" it for you (if they have the cloning cable). If you decide to make the #505 cable, it is easy per the instructions on the Autostar Information page on the ETX Site. Using the Update application is pretty straightforward.

Subject:	Autostar 2.1ek Bug List-Uncommanded slewing bug
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 14:41:03
From:	earl@technostate.com (Earl Stirling)
I just got off the phone with Meade Customer Service.  They told me that
the "Un-commanded two-axis slewing" bug is due to a burned out resistor
or capacitor.  $80.81 ($75 plus California sales tax) is supposed to
take care of the issue, plus miscellaneous other parts i've banged up.
Will report back after i receive the scope back.

Earl Stirling

Subject:	RE: Can I adapt an Autostar 495 to use with an older 2120 SC
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2002 12:44:41
From:	Walter.Pigeon@gov.edmonton.ab.ca (Walter Pigeon)
My telescope is a Meade LX-6 model 2120 56H. My question is can I
convert a 495 Autostar to operate the LX-6?  The Electronic Command
Center on the scope has an 8 pin din female connector and the 495 has an
8 pin rj45 connector. Can I get away with a straight conductor to
conductor conversion and is there a pin-out available? I've had a pretty
good look around your site and must compliment you on it. Thanks. Walter
Pigeon
Mike here: The pinouts of the Autostar are available on the Autostar Information page under the cable info.

Subject:	Under Construction?
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2002 19:17:06
From:	jkjaynes@neo.rr.com (John K Jaynes)
I give up!
Do you have any idea how to correct the "under construction" message on
the autostar 495 ?
The info on your website was ambiguous.
Thank you in advance.
And from our Autostar expert:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
"Doctor, it hurts"

Well, other than the Autostar model number, you have supplied very little 
information to help us help you. (at least in this message)

My initial answer is: Update the firmware.
The "under construction" messages appear in places where Meade is/was
still working on the programming (i think there's only one spot in
the current version where that message may appear, and i haven't
tracked down -how- you can reach it).  In older versions there were many.

So: what version firmware? (Setup>Statistics[enter][scroll up])
What did you press/do to -reach- that message?

With at least that much information i can provide -much- better diagnostics.
But, if it is a message you are hitting every time you do something,
 I suspect that "Update" is going to be the answer.

More details, please...
--dick

Subject:	SUPER FRIED AUTOSTAR
Sent:	Thursday, February 21, 2002 12:30:14
From:	simonstonecottage@hotmail.com (Nigel Thomas)
Trapped in download as Deren Jan 4th 2001

My Autostar 497 is dead I have tried the reset (enter+scroll down) no
joy, screen dead. First showed Autostar plus version, no other functions
available, even RED LED light, second time of, off+on screen blank. Top
row very faintly lit to show row of boxes (very dark grey).

Any suggestions, computer will not recognise scope or autostar on com 1
(used hyperterminal, com port ok, leads could be u/s, but new in post
this a.m.

Help

Thanks

Nigel
Mike here: Any idea on what you were doing when this happened? But I suspect you'll have to contact Meade or buy a new/used one.

And:

Thanks for the quick reply, at the time i was updating the 497 autostar
via the meade ASU program, everything went ok from recognising the
handset to the pc downloading the new software. but the download from
the pc to the autostar just froze, left it for an hour plus to see if it
would free itself. no joy. Then as i explained the display showed
initial screen, then dead.

Have contacted local agent so we will see what happens next.
Mike here: The SAFE LOAD mode should have worked. Maybe the key contacts were dirty? Holding down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and then powering on the ETX should bring it up in SAFE LOAD mode.
Subject:	Chasing Satellites
Sent:	Wednesday, February 20, 2002 16:50:17
From:	pjones@visiluna.com (Philip Jones)
I have an ETX-70AT and want to track and view satellites such as the
ISS.

Using the TLE data from Heavens Above (yesterday's set), I edited the
ISS Satellite Object to make it current for last night's pass. After
setting the date, time and location, I selected the ISS and the Autostar
found the sighting at 7:56PM (local time).

Heavens Above said it would be at 7:54PM. Heavens Above was right. The
Autostar was wrong. I got to watch the ISS with my naked eye while my
ETX just sat there waiting for 7:56 to roll around.

The Autostar's time was set according to a clock that is set by the
atomic clock signal. My location was set using the Lat and Long for my
backyard (not a nearby city).

Any idea why the Autostar would be so far off? Any suggestions on how to
compensate for this? I also notice that the Autostar also rounds off to
the nearest minute, while 15 seconds can mean the difference between
seeing and missing a satellite.

Additionally, I would think that if I selected the ISS Satellite Object
while the ISS was currently in the visible sky, the scope should slew
and track it. But no. Instead the scope goes to where the ISS should
appear and waits for me to hit enter. Kinda hard when it already
appeared 48 seconds ago.

I know this sounds like so much ranting and raving, but I'd really
appreciate any advise you or your readers could give me to help me
succeed at satellite viewing. (And the first person who says "Go buy a
good pair of binoculars," gets a smack in the head.)

Thank you,
Philip Jones
Arlington, TX
And from our resident Autostar expert:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
> Heavens Above said it would be at 7:54PM. Heavens Above was right. The
> Autostar was wrong. I got to watch the ISS with my naked eye while my ETX
> just sat there waiting for 7:56 to roll around.

See below... you didn't -have- to sit there.  You can press [enter] to
start the track at any time.

> Any idea why the Autostar would be so far off? Any suggestions on how to
> compensate for this? I also notice that the Autostar also rounds off to
> the nearest minute, while 15 seconds can mean the difference between seeing
> and missing a satellite.

OK... i think the manual says: "start looking early" (or words to that effect).
When you -see- the satellite, if it's below the telescope's waiting spot,
slew the telescope so that the rising satellite hits the field of view
(this is easier with a viewfinder). Press [enter] when the satellite gets
within the eyepiece's field of view, and then slew to center it.
If you don't see the satellite (by eyeball or binoculars) until it's -above-
the waiting teelscope, press [enter] to start tracking and -then- madly slew
to catch it.  If you had a 495/497 autostar, i'd suggest speed 7 be pre-set
(that's 1 degree per second).  As the satellite rises above 60 degrees 
elevation, you may need to step up to the next faster speed.

If you read the postings on Mike's site under
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_iss.html
and
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_satellite.html
You'll see that it's *not* a drop-in-your-lap operation.

It took me six frantic evenings before i even got a satellite to pass 
briefly through my main field of view, and another couple of tries before
"tracking" was even vaguely accomplished.
Now it's almost simple... after two years of practice.

Dig back into Mike's archives circa Oct, Nov and Dec 1999 for my learning-
curve descriptions of trying to track satellites... it's "easy" now, 
but so's piloting an airplane, building stained glass windows, or playing
a musical instrument.
Once you've learned -how- to work with the tools at hand.
And a -big- factor is to take it -far- less seriously.
 (i cannot even remember how to -hold- a saxaphone.. practice requires upkeep)

Now: WHY is it wrong?  Because the Autostar is a -very- limited computer,
and you're not telling it everything (such as drag factor).  Having fresh
TLE's loaded (as you did) helps by minimizing the accumulated error inherent
in its calculations (the TLEs describe where the satellite -was- at the 
"epoch" moment... then the Autostar determines the time between then and
now, divides by the Mean Motion (orbits per day), and cranks it along the
orbit from there...  and, as you've seen, the TLEs have -many- more digits
than the Autostar's 6-digit capability.  Compromises to meet price points.

> Additionally, I would think that if I selected the ISS Satellite Object
> while the ISS was currently in the visible sky, the scope should slew and
> track it. But no. Instead the scope goes to where the ISS should appear
> and waits for me to hit enter. Kinda hard when it already appeared 48 seconds
> ago.
Actually, if you play with it, you'll see that it -does- go to where the 
satellite was ... at the -beginning of the calculation.
Your PC is probably a 32-bit Pentium running at more than 500 MHz.
The Autostar is an 8-bit Motorola 1985-design 6811, running at 8 MHz.
With no floating point processor... it calculates Sines and Cosines with
-integer- arithmetic.
It's literally hundreds of times less capable than the cheapest laptop.
And only cost $50 retail.

> I know this sounds like so much ranting and raving, but I'd really
> appreciate any advise you or your readers could give me to help me
> succeed at satellite viewing. (And the first person who says 
> "Go buy a good pair of binoculars," gets a smack in the head.)

Well, then buy a  -cheap- pair of binoculars... they were instrumental
in helping me see the satellite early enough to slew the telescope to it
at the beginning of the pass.  Now my ETX90's viewfinder serves as
the "binoculars"... giving me a magnified view near the AOS point.
Your satellite chasing would probably get a lot easier with a 6x viewfinder.

My last successful ISS pass (friday night, tonight's was clouded out)
had the telescope waiting one degree too far south, and the satellite
arrive 16 seconds early. (from the Autostar's point of view).
So, when i saw it coming up, i slewed that one degree, and pressed [enter]
as the satellite hit my center of view... 

Each pass's particulars are -different-... one pass may be pretty good (as
above), and the next one 90 minutes later may be (relatively) wildly off.
And different satellites have different orbital characteristics which may,
er, "explore" the shortcuts Meade's calculations have made (highly eccentric
orbits drive it batty... geostationaries are fun: the AOS point is -correct-,
then mine predicts that the satellite will set 4 hours later. Wrong)

You mention the truncated-minute time display... that if my -first- patch
to every release of Autostar firmware: to change that display to hh:mm:ss
You are encouraged to send a note to engineer@meade.com requesting that
change be done to Autostar firmware at -their- end.
(put "Autostar Firmware" somewhere in the subject to route it properly.)

You don't mention your Autostar model, i assume it's a no-numeric-keypad
494.  That's unfortunate, since that model cannot receive Meade's firmware
updates (ask for -that- from Meade, too...), and my patches to those updates.
My current patch kit includes: AOS time display to the second, automatic
start-of-tracking (instead of beep), and control over the lowest angle the
Autostar will choose for an AOS point.  The patches are at Mike's site.

Anyway: just keep trying, also try for other satellites than just the ISS
(more chances to practice).. i have had results ranging from -way- off,
to an almost no-touchups-required pass (twice... out of probably 100 passes).
Usually a pass requires near-constant (or very ten seconds) adjustment...
but i'm running at 96x magnification, (so the moon -fills- my eyepiece)
so i have to be busier to keep it in the eyepiece.  I still lose it near 
zenith.  But recapture on the down-track.

keep trying... it WILL work out...and it'll feel -really- good
(much more rewarding than if it was so easy it was boring...)

--dick
And more:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Philip Jones wrote:
> Thank you for the plethora of helpful information. I do realize that the
> Autostar is not my desktop computer (though I was unaware that it was so
> old as to not have a FP co-processor).
Yes, it is an interesting design, and i'm amazed at what they've made it do.
The Autostar II uses the same processor (perhaps at a different speed, but
close)

> I have been seriously considering buying a #495 controller, mainly
> because entering TLEs by the key scroll method is somewhat akin to
> writing email by telegraph. If I upgrade the #495 to a #497, am I losing
> anything at all, or is it truly everything a boxed #497 would be? 

An upgraded 495 *is* a 497.  No difference whatsoever.  Nada.

> Also, do future firmware updates involve redoing the whole upgrade process
> over again?

It takes a half hour... and you need only do it if you wish.

> It sounds like your code tweaks are a must have. As a programmer, I
> would love to learn more about how the Autostar can be tweaked. After,
> of course, I graduate from my current 494 controller.
It's a fun project for me... but so far no one else seems to have devoted
 that much effort to it.  It is -not- a short undertaking (ever worked 
with disassemblies?)

> As far as the precision, or lack thereof, of the Autostar computer,
> would I get more precision by controlling the scope from my laptop,

Yes... your laptop is far more capable than the Autostar.

> or is it still subject to the Autostar's limitations (let's assume, for the
> sake of this question, that I would be interfacing with the computer via
> a 495/497 and 505 cable combo)?

Your computer would figure out where to go far more precisely than the
Autostar.. but then the Autostar (even the 494) will place the scope 
-there- to the best of its abilities (with 5 or 10 arcminutes with my
ETX90)

> I had a suspicion that all the rounding I was having to do to my TLE
> entries would probably effect my success rate to some degree.

As long as you "roud", rather than truncate, you'll do all right.

> I was under the impression that manual slewing would throw off the
> tracking accuracy. 

Not at all.  It helps.
> Is that a misconception on my part?
Yes... you and the Autostar are a -team-... it'll do the bulk of the
tracking, you kick in with lots of adjustments.

> If the satellite is already visible, should I slew before I hit ENTER,
> or after?
Either/both ... whatever the circumstances of the moment seem to want.

> I'm using a 9mm EP with my ETX70. Is that too ambitious for early target
> practice? Should I widen out to my 25mm to start with?
Yes, yes... walk before you run... get the ISS in the  field of view 
-at all- before trying to magnify... i didn't drop away from my 26mm
(1.1 degree field of view) for at least 6 successful passes...
And then going to the 13mm (26mm and barlow) took me another few weeks to
get running smoothly.

> Even with my 9mm, the moon doesn't come close to filling the eyepiece.
> My current viewfinder is a one-power red dot. I didn't want to spend more
> on a viewfinder than I spent on the scope. :-)

But if your chosen mission demands it, you'll need to accessorize to match.
Or suffer more frustrations trying to capture it in the FOV.

> I did get to see the ISS last night with the naked eye and through my
> binoculars. Very bright it was. Not quite Jupiter bright, but certainly
> close. It was very exciting nonetheless. I can't wait to experience the
> satisfaction of catching it with the scope.

Just wait... it has **shape** !!! 

> I didn't even try the scope last night because the ISS pass was during
> twilight and I couldn't see it until it was halfway through it's pass.
A fine instance of "press ENTER when it beeps", and see how close it
is when your finally -do- catch it ..
And also a sopt where binoculars would've allowed you to -see- the ISS
in the low twilight... it *is* a bright object.

> Would there be any advantage at all for this purpose to running the
> scope in Polar mode instead of Alt/Az?
Currently the firmware will only track satellites in Alt/Az mode.
So "very little advantage.. dang close to None" to answer your question.

And there's another pass every 90 minutes...

have fun
--dick
And:
I forgot to mention... i -also- have an ETX70... and -have- chased
the ISS with it, in parallel with my ETX90. (stereo whirrr!)
 It did quite well.
With its native 494.  

(it's on loan to a friend...)
have fun
--dick

Subject:	Can I adapt an Autostar 495 to use with an older 2120 SC
Sent:	Wednesday, February 20, 2002 9:22:24
From:	Walter.Pigeon@gov.edmonton.ab.ca (Walter Pigeon)
Mike, to your knowledge, is there any way of converting an Autostar 495
controller to make it function in place of the existing controller on an
old 2120. Both have 8 conductor cables - the old one has a round eight
pin connector and the Autostar has a RJ 45 eight conductor connector.
Any suggestions? Thanks. Walter Pigeon
Mike here: I have no familiarity with this telescope but you might want to see "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts (Autostar info)" linked on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	auto star date advance
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 9:02:18
From:	radiodave4@juno.com (David A Tinney)
hi mike just wondering if you can post this on the site or perhaps anser
it for me. i got a etx60at this past christmas and i cant tell you the
wonderful time im having with it. i went out and got a 2x barlow lens
for it and it made a wonderful difference. i wrote before asking you
about them and your site help me alot as for understanding how to set up
autostar with the 2 star alignment. its working wonderful........hey!!!!
i have a question.....this is 2002...how far ahead will autostar go in
date configuration when setting up or !! will i have to do some kind of
update to autostar to use it years ahead..say maybe 5 years or
so....just curious about how far you can go with the date and have it
really be accurate........please reply to me email if you can as well as
posting this..
David Tinney-AA2XL
radiodave4@juno.com
aa2xlradio@juno.com
My Webpage
http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/dave2xl
Mike here: Well, I haven't tried but I suspect you can at least go a few years. Hopefully Meade will release a ROM update prior to it getting so out-of-date as to be a problem. Only the Moon position will vary from the calculations in any noticeable amount over a few years. So, don't loose any sleep over that; loose it outside using the telescope!
Subject:	HOW CAN I CONNECT MY MEADE TELESCOPE TO A COMPUTER
Sent:	Monday, February 18, 2002 8:53:46
From:	rdhatten@yahoo.com (Raymond Hatten)
I HAVE A MEADE AUTOSTAR. THERE ARE TWO PORTS. THE FIRST IS AN HBX AND
THE SECOND IS AUX. THE HBX IS A RJ45 8 PIN CONNECTOR. DO YOU HAVE
PINOUTS TO FABRICATE A CABLE FROM A DB9 SERIAL CABLE TO THE HBX.
Mike here: Depends upon the Autostar model. The #494 (with the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT) requires a #506 cable (which can not be homemade due to some active electronics). The #495 and #407 Autostars use the #505 cable, which can be homemade. See the cable information on the Autostar Information page. The #505 cable plugs into the open port on the Autostar.
Subject:	re:  A Couple of Very Basic Questions
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2002 21:45:13
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	jparisi@markem.com (Joe Parisi)
i saw your note on Mike's site...

There are really only two reasons to run an ETX scope in Polar mode:
(1) for astrophotography... if you do -not- operate in polar mode, the
   image will slowly rotate in the eyepiece.  That spoils long-exposure
   photographs.
(2) for vibration: in alt/az mode there -are- more minor vibrations during
    long term tracking... at very high magnification some people find them
   distracting.  In polar mode only one motor is running, so it's smoother.

One of the true advances that the ETX models provide -is- the ability to
 track stars (sidereal drive) with a simple alt/azimuth mount.
I use my ETX90 in Alt/Az 95% of the time.  And the other 5% are for testing
 for oddities of operation...

As to the version upgrade: many people liked v1.2, and its immediate 
successor v1.3.  Since then there have been lots of improvements..
amongst them are improved Moon and outer (Mars, Jupiter and beyond)
 planet targeting.  But the scope can deliver the sky quite nicely
with "just" 1.2.
If you -do- upgrade, you must choose  Setup> Download>[enter]  first.

Have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: question about the ETX 60
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2002 21:27:54
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	bretbenziger@yahoo.com
Bret wrote:
>  They [satellite parameters] couldn't all have expired.  

If you choose  Satellite> Edit> and look at any of the satellite's
data, the first item is the "epoch date".  If that's over a year old,
the Autostar -will- declare them "expired".

As Mike said, you can enter current data (from www.heavens-above.com
 or www.celestrak.com) and have much better results.  Satellite data over
a month old is rarely accurate enough.  Space Station data needs to be
within a week, and if the Shuttle is visiting, daily updates are desirable,
since they're using the shuttle's thrusters to raise the orbit!

have fun chasing
--dick

Subject:	#494 on ETX-125EC?
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2002 18:04:23
From:	CAMDRA11@aol.com
Just a quick question....
Would the Autostar from a ETX 60 work on a ETX 125???
Thanks for your time!!
Peter C.
Mike here: See the Autostar Models article on the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Question about Autostar 494
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2002 15:43:34
From:	GarryM8734@aol.com
Thanks for the ETX website...it's very helpful.  I have a question about
Autostar that I haven't seen posted on the site, so I thought I'd ask
here.

I live in a very light polluted area and I find it easier to aim my
ETX-70 manually than with the auto alignment features of the Autostar. 
The problem is, once I get something lined up in the eyepiece the way I
want, I have to keep adjusting it manually to keep it in the frame.  Can
the Autostar be used to automatically track an object that has been
manually selected; that is, can I locate the object myself and then turn
the automatic tracking on once I've found it so it doesn't drift out of
sight all the time?

Many thanks for the assistance and the site.

Sincerely,

Garry Mason
GarryM8734@aol.com
Mike here: I'd suggest doing the following: do a normal alignment. If you can't see the alignment stars (due to obstacles or sky brightness) just accept them as centered. When you go to a known object that you can see, once it is centered press and hold the ENTER key. This puts the Autostar into the SYNC mode. Press Enter at the prompt. This basically adjusts the alignment geometry to that portion of the sky and tracking will be more accurate.
Subject:	A Couple of Very Basic Questions
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2002 5:42:22
From:	jparisi@markem.com (Joe Parisi)
I have a couple of questions that I'm almost too embarrassed to ask. 
You've got some great stuff at your site and a bunch of very qualified
people inputting good information and this may be a real stupid
question...

What is the benefit of using the scope in Polar Alignment versus
Azimuth/Altitude?  I assumed that in Azi/Alt you could not automatically
track objects in the sky.  Is this true?

Part of the reason I ask is that I've polar alignment my scope (and
re-aligned and re-aligned, etc.) but can not seem to automatically get
to the objects I select.  I fear I'm doing something stupid and was
considering trying Azi/Alt mode...will this allow me to track objects.

Also, I bought my scope two years ago and I've used it exclusively for
terrestrial viewing.  It has version 1.2 firmware.  Are there any know
problems with this version of firmware that could explain my
difficulties (or is it simply "operator error")?

Joe
Mike here: This is a question that comes up now and then. One of the benefits of the Autostar besides its GOTO capabilities is that it will move the scope to track objects when the telescope is mounted in Alt/Az mode. Many users find this mode simpler to setup and use. And the telescope/tripod combination is more stable in Alt/Az. The down side is slightly more drive-induced vibrations (two motors running instead of one). And I would recommend upgrading the Autostar to the current version.
Subject:	Question
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 20:03:33
From:	l.cohen@acsalaska.net (Larry & Caren Cohen)
I looked on the site for this answer but apparently couldn't find it.  I
finally got the 497 controller, and a 505 cable.  I followed the
directions, hook it up, plug 505 into handset, and than into the
corresponding port (it seems it is the game port, rather than a comm.
Cable?)  and than started it all up.  I ran the starry night, ACP and
even the Meade ASU program but nothing seems to recognize the scope.  I
also tried another computer (lap top) and it was the same, and also
tried the (506?) cable designed for the 494 controller (rehooked the
494) and it was the same.  Am I doing something wrong? Or am I supposed
to hook up the port somewhere?  I'd appreciate any ideas you might have.

Thanks
Larry Cohen
Anchorage, Alaska
Mike here: The connection to the Autostar is a serial connection so the cable MUST be plugged into a Com1 or Com2 port.
Subject:	Autostar Update from a Mac Again
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 9:15:17
From:	mk@frasercre.com (Michael Kaye)
Reply-to:	mk@frasercre.com (Michael Kaye)
Once again been reading your site on updating Autostar from a mac. I've
got myself somewhat confused about what cables I need to update from a
USB only mac.

Some of the emails talk of using a "DB-9 > Mac mini-8 adaptor cable" as
well as a Keyspan USB to Serial Adaptor and I can't see why they would
need this. From reading the spec's all I need is the Meade 505 connector
kit, a Keyspan USB to DB-9 adaptor  and Virtual PC. Is that right or am
I missing something?

Thanks again, Michael.
Mike here: If the Keyspan converter you get has the DB-9 then you'll be OK. If not, you'll need a mini-8 to DB-9 adapter.
Subject:	re: autostar bugs...
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 7:38:59
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	andrew.johansen@tenix.com
i'd love to replicate the LED-triggered custard.

Could you provide a "push this, tap that, slew there" sequence
of steps which would (almost) guarantee hitting it?
(i'll be trying to do what your note on Mike's site said:
it sounded like an RA/Dec GoTo, followed tapping the zero key.
I -assume- it's an RA/Dec goto (hold MODE to see RA/Dec, then
press GoTo, then enter numbers, pressing enter after each) since
you said "leave the coordinates displaying ".
If i'm incorrct, and you were really GoToing some specific object,
please advise.

also (just for the records) scope type, do you have an electric focuser,
Alt/Az or Polar, site, date/time/daylight ... and any factors which
might pertain...

thanks!
--dick

Subject:	Re: Re: RE: Subject: AutoStar Bug?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 13, 2002 4:28:34
From:	simo5@mindspring.com (MindSpring Account)
I would have expected it was the software, but I also retested on my
ext-105 replacement scope.  I don't know the details, but I assume that
the scope is only supplying power to the autostar.

Dave

Subject:	re:  Getting it out of Park
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 23:55:45
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	pjones@visiluna.com
You wrote:
>When the scope it "Parked" from the utilities menu, the Autostar is
>effectively frozen until you turn off the scope.
yes, that's what it's supposed to do.

>Sometimes, after lots of viewing, I just want to realign from the start,
>but I don't want to reenter the time and all that mess. Is there a way
>to return the scope to it's home position without having to turn it off
>before realigning?

Quite simple: define a LANDMARK at az 000, alt 000.
GoTo it.

(i have one for the north celestial pole, too... az=000 alt=my latitude)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: Alignment question
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 23:52:23
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	josemabcn@teleline.es
jose,

I saw your note on Mike's site.

What is your location?  
What site does the Autostar think you are at?
And (perhaps more important) what Time Zone offset?
( Setup > Site > [enter][scroll up] Edit > [enter][scroll up] Time Zone. )

Are you using a City, or manually entering Latitude/Longitude?

Which version of Autostar firmware?
( Setup > Statistics > [enter][scroll up] )

There have been (and still are) errors in the Autostar's city 
 database, and sometimes the errors are in the Time Zone setting.

good luck
--dick
And an update:
From:	josemabcn@teleline.es (Jose Manuel Surez)
I find my problem, I put my date 14-Jan-2002 when the correct date is
14-Feb-2002, one month ago of difference. The works OK now.

Thank for your response,

Jose Manuel Surez Romn

Subject:	Re: Park Position
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 23:52:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	jparisi@markem.com
If you are operating in Polar mode, the ETX should return to Polar
Park/Home position.. effectively pointing at Polaris, but with the
eyepiece on top (so Azimuth at 000, Elevation at 90).

The -exact- Park location varied with versions of the firmware. Older
(pre 22) versions would take the shortest path... so the Azimuth
rotation compared to the hard stops might not be "true home". But the
Autostar -remembered- which "home" it used, and handled it properly upon
the next power up.  v22 and newer are using the method of truly
returning to Polar Home, nearer the CCW hard stop.

--dick

Subject:	question about the ETX 60
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 22:53:42
From:	bretbenziger@yahoo.com (Bret Benziger)
I just got the 60mm for christmas (like everyone else and their mother)
and I've used it off and on for a couple of months.  Just recently when
I was looking at some random star clusters I noticed a faint pinpoint of
light zooming with constant speed past my field of view.  I knew
instantly what it was and began to hand track the sucker!  It was
exhiliarating for it was the first time I've tracked a satellite.  So,
now with this new avenue to explore I decided to use the autostar
computer to track a satellite.  But, for every single satellite selected
it always says "Elements Expire |" and it does it's little flashing
sign, |,-,| (comma's seperating the individual flashing) but every once
and a while the symbol changed into a "d" to said, "Expired"  Then it
just says.  "No Passes Soone"  with an "e" at the end.  My mother
laughed at the mis-spelling, but I think it's digital error.  They
couldn't all have expired.  I reset the autostar but that seems to do
nothing to fix the problem.  I even downloaded an independent satellite
tracker program onto my PC to verify that satellites were going to come
into my view; still the autostar said there were no passes soon.
Thanks,
Bret
Mike here: Satellite orbital parameters do get old. You can enter new ones by hand on the #494. See the Autostar Information page for a lot more on satellite and International Space Station tracking.
Subject:	Autostar bug
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2002 13:16:04
From:	andrew.johansen@tenix.com (JOHANSEN Andrew)
I have just recently purchased an ETX125 ( even after reading a lot of
the negative reviews ) and would not have been able to get past some
problems without user feedback from your site. I concur with many
previous reviewers about the build quality of the base units and the
information ( or lack thereof ) in the supplied autostar manual. ( but
the optics are great )

First.The manual supplied with autostar is most unhelpful. Why meade
dont even photocopy/print/ point you to their online version is beyond
me.

Second. I, like several others had problems with the photo port in the
rear panel being very loose. I returned my unit for checking and was
given a loan unit, which I checked in the shop and was solid as a rock.
Next evening whilst using a prism via the rear port, the new units port
just rotated around ( all by itself ) until the prism pointed at the
ground.( great if you observe from a lilo ). Checked next morning, prior
to returning, and it was solid as a rock again? The only difference was
temperature so I carefully pointed a floodlight at the rear panel to
warm it up a bit and the port went very loose fairly quickly. ( Rotated
as smoothly as a ball bearing with about 2mm axial play as well ). I was
initially observing/ training motors etc in 35deg C temperatures ( but
well shaded ) so i would suggest that a few more people are going to
have problems when your temperatures warm up over there. I read clays
earlier comments on this port re possibly loose threads in the plastic
and locktite to fix. I do not believe the insert has any threads,
knurling or the like. It appears to be just a smooth tube pressed in and
partially flared internally. Anyone using this port with a camera
hanging off it in warm temperatures is going to have problems? ( We used
araldite to completely lock the port in place by packing behind the
internal swaging as well ( to lock axial movement and prevent rocking vs
rotating ), so there could be no possible tensile loading at the top of
the insert due to the leverage created by the weight of a camera on an
adapter. ( This requires access to the inside of the rear plastic box
but results in a much more solid fix )

Third. I have loaded the latest Autostar update 2.3Eb and am having
problems with the autostar locking up after using the light. ( I noted
simo5@mindspring 6/2/2002 ) has just mentioned a similar problem but
after using the help function. I am getting it after doing several
gotos. In most cases i do a goto, leave the coordinates displaying and
press the 0 key to activate the light. Custard. The problem is
intermittent but is definitely there as i had eight lockups in three
hours last night, and three in one hour two nights ago. Gives me plenty
of alignment practice though.

A Johansen
Melbourne Australia

Subject:	Alignment question
Sent:	Monday, February 11, 2002 22:52:12
From:	josemabcn@teleline.es (Jose Manuel Surez)
Congraulations for your webpage Weasner,
 
I buy a ETX 125 two weeks ago and I have a problem. Its impossible for
me to align the telescope. Always the telescope has an error about 40 to
the correct positions, and I think that this is not possible, because
the reference of alt/az is correct in frotn the declination circle and
RA setting circle. The references of RA and DEC respecte the skymap is
the same, but the alt/az is different. Only have 3 variables to put the
telescope in the correct position: the correcte time, the position (lat.
and long) and the object coordinates, the rest is only a matematic
calcul. I test the align put in the telescope the local time plus 3
houres and then the telescope not have the 40 error. Is possible this?,
is possible that Autostar have a error in the calculation respecte the
time?.
 
Sorry for my English,
 
Jose Manuel Suarez Romn
Mike here: You indicated that you are using the RA and DEC setting circles to put the telescope into the Alt/Az HOME position. That won't work for the Azimuth position and may or may not be accurate for the Altitude position. I eyeball the leveling of the tube and point the tube at Polaris (Northern Hemisphere). That's the HOME position (don't forget to do the counterclockwise rotation to the hard stop first). You are correct that the date/time/location (don't forget the Daylight Savings setting) will influence the Autostar. Let me know if this tip helps. By the way, for more on using the Setting Circles for other purposes, see the article "Using Setting Circles" on the Observational Guides/References page.
Subject:	Re: Park Position
Sent:	Monday, February 11, 2002 6:22:50
From:	jparisi@markem.com (Joe Parisi)
Mike, thanx for the quick response.  Glad to hear your clarification on
the switch...I was beginning to think I was going crazy.

I repeated the motor TRAINING and after using PARK, it seem to return to
the Polar Aligned home position.  Given that you mentioned that you have
not used PARK with the polar mode, you've got me curious if I'm using it
properly.  It seems as though after one finishes using the scope that
you would want to return it to the home position.  Am I thinking about
this properly?

Joe
Mike here: It should return to a position it knows. Whether that is the HOME position or some other position really shouldn't matter as long as it is correct.
Subject:	Getting it out of Park
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 9:24:32
From:	pjones@visiluna.com (Philip Jones)
I have an ETX-70AT with the included Autostar #494.

When the scope it "Parked" from the utilities menu, the Autostar is
effectively frozen until you turn off the scope.

Sometimes, after lots of viewing, I just want to realign from the start,
but I don't want to reenter the time and all that mess. Is there a way
to return the scope to it's home position without having to turn it off
before realigning?
 
Thanks,

Philip Jones
Mike here: Not that I know of. You can use the Sleep function (which just turns off the drives but keeps track of time). You can also use the SYNC function to update an alignment.
Subject:	RE: Subject: AutoStar Bug?
Sent:	Sunday, February 10, 2002 7:20:25
From:	simo5@mindspring.com (MindSpring Account)
The Version is 22Es form the Statistics menu.

When any help message is scrolling across the screen, I press the
utility light button.  The light blinks twice then the hang.   The only
way to get back any functionality is to turn off the power and start
over.

I also should mention that everything stops working after the hang.  The
motors stop and the telescope stops tracking.  The scope and Autostar
are 3 weeks old now.

Dave
Mike here: I tested this with 2.3Eb on the ETX-125EC. While the alignment star help was scrolling I pressed the light (0) button. The light came on and the text continued to scroll. The Autostar did not lock up.

And an update:

Since upgrading to Ver 2.3Eb the problem has gone away with my new
ETX-105.

Thanks again for the help.

Subject:	problems with alignment
Sent:	Friday, February 8, 2002 20:39:15
From:	MKmanic@aol.com
I received an ETX-70AT for Christmas, and have tried it several times. 
Each time the two-star alignment has not worked.  When the telescope
slews to the first alignment star, I check to make sure the telescope is
centered on the star, then press the enter button to find the second
star.  When I do that, the telescope doesn't move, but just keeps
beeping.  Is this my error or a faulty part in the telescope?  I checked
that the locks were properly tightened, so thats not it.  Thanks for
your feedback.
Mike here: The scope SHOULD move to the second alignment star, assuming you select an Easy Two Star alignment (and not a One Star alignment). Check the telescope model selection in the Autostar, check the date/time/location (although these shouldn't cause this problem). If these are OK, try a RESET (from the Autostar menus). See if that clears out any "data corruption" that might have occurred. Lastly, if you have the #506 cable and Windows, you can run the Autostar Updater Client 3.0; it has been known to clean up some data corruption on the Autostar.

And:

It turned out that the telescope needed only fresh batteries (stupid
me), but thank you for the help anyway.  I tried the telescope again,
and it was working fine.  I told it to go to Jupiter, which it did, but
then started jerking to the right.  I assume this is to track the planet
as it moves, but the telescope is moving way to fast to track it.  Also,
it is not a smooth movement; it jerks a little, then stops, then jerks a
little, then stops, etc.  I read someone's elses complaint in the
archives about jerky slewing, and I could try what you suggested, but
I'm more concerned about the speed.  Why is it going so fast?  Thanks
again for your help.  Love the website.
Mike here: There are several potential causes of not tracking accurately. Really bad HOME position and alignment. The date/time/location in the Autostar are incorrect. The telescope model in the Autostar is incorrect. The drives need TRAINing. Fiddling with the drive ratios (don't). Setting the wrong speed (lunar vs sidereal). Check all those.
Subject:	Park Position
Sent:	Friday, February 8, 2002 7:51:45
From:	jparisi@markem.com (Joe Parisi)
I've had an ETX-90 for about a year now but have used it sparingly with
the Autostar controller.  I'm just starting to get back into it for
astronomical viewing.  I've struggled through the alignment process but
think I've now gotten it aligned and set-up properly.  I do have a
remaining question or problem...when I PARK the scope (using the
selection the UTILITY Menu), it does not return to the exact polar
aligned home position.  When I use it again, I have to re set it up.  Is
this normal? or should I expect it to PARK properly?

Thanx in advance for your help,
Joe Parisi
Spofford, New Hampshire

P.S. The manual for the Meade field tripod refers to a switch on the
base of the scope to select for use in the northern or southern
hemisphere.  I can't find this switch anywhere...does one indeed exists?
maybe this was a feature on older models?
Mike here: I've never used Park in Polar Mode. Perhaps this was a bug in an older version. Are you using the current version (2.3Eb)? Seems to work fine in Alt/Az. And yep, that switch was on the original ETX (now known as the ETX-90RA). It doesn't exist on the EC models.
Subject:	Meade LX90 User Manual
Sent:	Thursday, February 7, 2002 18:19:11
From:	john_clendinneng@videotron.ca (John Clendinneng)
I found this manual on the web.  It has more detailed information on the
Autostar than in the Autostar manual you get when you purchase the
autostar separately, Also a good section on polar alignment.

Hope you like it.

Regards, John Clendinneng
Mike here: That is why I have it linked on the FAQ page!
Subject:	AutoStar Bug?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 6, 2002 19:21:17
From:	simo5@mindspring.com (MindSpring Account)
I have a new Autostar 497 with version 22E loaded.  I have noticed that
if I attempt to use the Utility Light which is the "0 key" while Help is
running the Autostat freezes up.  Nothing but a reset works to clear the
problem. Same thing happens inside where it's nice and warm so it's not
a temp issue. Is anyone else seeing the same problem?

Thanks,
Dave

P.S.  Great site.  Couldn't have gotten the Autostar working at all
without this site.  The Meade supplied manual is not very clear on many
issues.  The On-line manual is much much better.
Mike here: What's the full version (from the Statistics menu)? I haven't seen this. If the Autostar is frozen, how do you get to the RESET menu item?
Subject:	to ENTER or not to ENTER
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 12:11:33
From:	maestro.vp@verizon.net (Bob Vilums)
I figured out what I was doing wrong.  When I hooked up the 497 to my
new 90ec it did the same thing I explained before.  In guided tour mode
you just scroll to the object and hit "go to".  In object mode, you must
first hit "enter", then "go to".  DUH!!  I guess if anybody writes to
you with the same problem..  that might be the answer

Thanx again for all your help.  

Bob

Subject:	Reset
Sent:	Sunday, February 3, 2002 9:18:19
From:	Zzplin@aol.com
Hi  I just tried to set up the autostar. The problem after pressing the
speed button to get rid of the warning. I put in the wrong country by
mistake. i cannot get back to country/state. I do not know how to reset.
Can you help me with this?
                            Thank you
Mike here: See the article "Setting/Resetting Any Autostar Model" on the Autostar Information page.

And:

Great Thank you this site will be very helpful. This is my first time
with a telescope.

Subject:	Object Order
Sent:	Saturday, February 2, 2002 14:16:26
From:	pjones@visiluna.com (Philip Jones)
In the January 1 message from gvblk4@msn.com entitled "DS-114 AT," Greg
mentions that object to not appear to be in any particular order. The
stars within constellations are in descending order of magnitude. I
don't know if this could also explain the seeming lack of order in other
object libraries.

Philip Jones

Subject:	ETX-70 extension cable
Sent:	Saturday, February 2, 2002 10:14:02
From:	buffuno@iglou.com
Hi, great site. I tried to extend the ETX-70 Autotsar controller cable
with a 8-pin coupler and cable.. All pins were straight through, pin to
pin no swap, so each pin went to the same socket on the scope. No dice. 
I have read that the computer control cable 506 has active components in
it but does the coil cord to the autostar have them as well? I was
trying to use the Electronic Eyepiece which does work fine with
extension (ttl video) and control the scope from inside the house.
Mike here: It should have worked if the extension was not too long and the cable and connections were OK. You might want to see the article "Long Autostar Cable" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	Azimuth and Altitude ratios
Sent:	Saturday, February 2, 2002 7:06:19
From:	KingLear3@aol.com
While I was resetting the Autostar on an ETX 125, I might have
mistakenly changed these ratios.  How can I check and if need be put in
the correct values?

Looking forward to seeing you again at your next Star Party !!

Leary
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Simply re-select the model  (Setup > Telescope > Model > etx125 [enter] ).
Doing so re-sets the Ratios.

As a check, they're the same as the ETX90's: 1.36889 for both axes.
(i just told my ETX90 it was an ETX125, and that's what it said)

--dick
(owner of a frequently confused etx90)

Subject:	Re: questions on two star align
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:55:54
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	jennyart@hotmail.com
(i'm just back from a two-week vacation, and am catching up on Mike's site)

Ok... re: your problems (and 180 degrees off) aligning.

I need to know the whole kit:
where are you? (i.e. what city does the Autostar think you're near?)
Or, if you have manually keyed in Lat/Long/TimeZone,  what are those 3 values?
Time/date of one of your Moon-wrong tests.
Version of your Autostar Firmware (Setup > Statistics [enter][scroll up])

On just pure random guesses, I'd suspect the wrong -year- in the setup.
Or the wrong TimeZone offset.

IF the Autostar thinks you have a different scope -model-, that could cause
the wrong-way slewing, but not the "below horizon" moon.
When it -reports- "below horizon", it will also report the RA/Dec of the
Moon's location just before that.. what are they?
 (Object > SolarSystem> Moon [enter] (RA/DEC displayed) [goto] )

Press-and-hold MODE for 3 seconds. Release.  
There is the current RA/Dec it thinks it's pointing at.
Slew in Azimuth so that it's pointing due south.
What does the RA say?
Now press the scroll UP key a few times until you see LST= hh:mm:ss
What's that value?
LST is local sidereal time, or the RA value of a star passing due overhead
-right now-.  IF the calculated Moon RA is more than (say) 6 hours from
the Autostar's idea of LST, that's why it's "below horizon"

Lots of stuff to fiddle with
good luck
--dick
And:
From:	jennyart@hotmail.com (Jenny Mehlenbeck)
Thought you should know.  The scope is back at the hobby shop where I
bought it.  It DOES in fact have something wrong with it's computer and
a replacement is on order.  So.  I'm not daffy after all.  :)

One thing is certain, I got plenty of practice configuring everything. 
When I get it back hopefully I'll be able to set it correctly and see
Jupiter for the first time.

By the way, according to spaceweather.com  Jupiter has a large white
storm about the size of the great red spot.  Supposed to be some
interesting viewing.   I can't wait!

Thanks for all the help.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Jenny
http://artmakersworlds.com

Subject:	re: LXD55 Support on Autostar
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:55:52
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	jr@oce.co.uk
If you power-up attached to an ETX90, the LXD models also appear in the
"Models" list.

I'm planning a patch to allow all models to appear, but i haven't
figured it out yet (been gone for two weeks).  It's not blatantly
simple. (hence the specific 4504/114eq patch)

patience...
--dick

Subject:	Re: re: Motor Unit Fault 
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:55:36
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	King.Spainhour@mainline.com
(actually: loss of Tours)

If you told/allowed the Updater to "reset all training values, etc."
then -that- step erased all guided tours.

You now need to visit Meade's web site, follow the Tour link, 
and reload your favorite tours (there are also many other tours
sprinkled through Mike's site, and elsewhere on the web).

You may also want to restore the Asteroid and Comet databases
from the link on Meade's page.

http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re:  ETX70 AT
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:55:34
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	ylaya@yahoo.com
Regarding changing the sidereal tracking rate, it's easy:

Setup > Telescope > Tracking Rate [enter]

You then have three choices: sidereal, lunar and custom.

Pressing [enter] for sidereal or lunar gets what Meade thinks
they should be.  "Custom" invites entering a number.
The number you enter is in tenths of percents of sidereal rate.
(hence, if you select Lunar, and then scroll to Custom, you'll
see it shows -35, which means -3.5% (slower) from normal sidereal.

A number of LX90 users find "12" a required offset for accurate
astrophotography.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: ETX training improvement
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:55:27
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	mjedwards@taz.qinetiq.com, victorvanwulfen@hotmail.com
or: Why I said that...

Martyn quotes Victor quoting my training-patch instructions as saying:
  ;  Training results Display and Edit:
  ; Under Setup > Telescope > Train Drive
  ; are now (scroll up or down from the "Az/RA Train" or "Alt/Dec Train")
  ;  Edit: > Az/RA Train
  ;    and
  ;  Edit: > Alt/Dec Train
  ; press [enter] to allow direct display and manipulation of the results of training.
  ;    a power cycle (without using Park Scope) is needed for
  ;     the  new values to be fully implemented.

The reason i say to simply power-down is that older versions (and perhaps
this one) of the firmware carried training values internally in -two-
locations.  One was what was used during power cycles, and the other was
-only- used during power-up after a Park cycle.
If you power up from a non-Parked cycle, the non-parked value was placed into
the Parked location, thereby controlling all future operations.

In my first version of that patch, i provided edit-access to -both- locations.
But the "after park" editing only took affect if you Parked. If you ever 
-didn't- Park, then those edits were lost due to the overwriting performed
 during a non-Parked wakeup.

So i took the easy way out: my Edit now only affects the non-Park values.
And the instructions tell you to power down without Parking
(to get them to affect Park operations from then on).

I have not -checked- if Meade has changed how 23Eb now handles the two states.
It's possible that both park/non-park use the same value, but i simply haven't 
looked (it's messy in there!).

To achieve the ease of repeatable setup for Training operations, i'd suggest
creating a Landmark called HOME, and simply GoTo it before powering down.
You can also simply MODE out of alignment before/when Training, rather than
puttering through faked Easy Aligns.   That's what i do. (i also have a landmark
called Polaris).

Have fun
--dick

Subject:	re:  AC adapter may make a difference on alignment
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:55:22
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	swartout@ict.usc.edu
I just saw your note on Mike's site...

something you do NOT mention trying is "Calibration"... which is -very-
much affected by power supply characteristics.
Performing a Setup > Telescope > Calibrate motors    step takes 5 seconds,
does not affect training (does mangle alignment).

It tunes the LED brightness in the optical encoder assemblies to generate a
square wave under motion.  I believe it may also affect the current profile
delivered to the motors to achieve specific speeds.

It used to be recommended if you were changing from batteries to AC lump.

have fun
--dick
And:
From:	swartout@ict.usc.edu (Bill Swartout)
I did do a motor calibration, but forgot to mention it in my email.  At
any rate, the results were the same.  When I get a few moments (which I
haven't had recently due to work) I'm going to try using a known 12V
source and do the experiment again.  My current suspicion is that the
Meade adapter is just a bit overvoltage, this experiment would help pin
it down.

Best,
  Bill

Subject:	Re: Fwd:  autostar command set
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 13:57:25
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	mew180@psu.edu
The entire Library :L(anything) command set is *not* implemented
in the Autostar.

The only commands it even responds to are:

           Response
:Lf#  "Objects:   0#"  Library setting
:LI#  "M31 EX GAL..." (same as CM response)
:Lo#    Set library type
:Ls#    Set Star library

And those "responses" are fixed strings, (so it'll always say
 "M31 EX GAL..." to an :LI# command).

I do NOT know how the Autostar II on an LX200gps will respond.
(but i'll try to find out)

--dick

Subject:	autostar woes
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 17:47:37
From:	victorpena200@netzero.net (Victor Pena)
great site!!!

i am just getting my feet wet(well, i hasvent actually stepped in/hehe)
and am liking the etx 90 iii have.

my question is this, i was upgrading my autostar(497)brand new too,
never been used, powered up fine lalala and was upgrading via pc(was
working;about 5%)when i had the great idea and check to see if my 12v ac
adapter for my speakers would work on it. it was not plugged in and
simply checked to see if the plug would fit and as soon as i inserted it
in the scope the power went off, i assume it was switching from battery
to ac and i lost pc connectivity. the autostar went blank and now wont
power up. any ideas? did i fry the scope,autostar or what?

what a shame. i havent even had a chance to use it.

thanks in advance for your help

victor
Mike here: There is a SAFE LOAD mode which can help you recover. While holding down the ENTER and SCROLL DOWN keys (opposite corners of the handcontroller face), turn on the ETX power. You should (hopefully) see a display that indicates you are in the SAFE LOAD mode. Now run the Autostar Updater application again. It should detect the SAFE LOAD condition and redo the download into the Autostar. If you don't see a display then you may have a more serious problem. Let me know.

And:

thanks for the quick response. you were right. it loaded it fine. i dont
see why they dont post that in their FAQ or in the manual. i saw it in
the autostar update help sectioon of the software.

what do you know of mfg's other than Meade that sell lenses ect for
around half the price? heres a example

http://www.handsonoptics.com/astronomy/GTO_series/gto_series.html

thanks again
victor
Mike here: Glad that worked. As to the GTO eyepieces, there was a discussion on one of the mailing lists about them some weeks back. I don't recall the details but don't remember any negative comments. There are many sources of perfectly acceptable eyepieces for use in DS and ETX telescopes.
Subject:	Re: Using the Optimising Training Values Spreadsheet on my DS-127
Sent:	Friday, February 1, 2002 3:20:51
From:	mjedwards@taz.qinetiq.com (Martyn Edwards)
To:	Raymond.Barbour@za.didata.com
Raymond

Thanks for the email - I'm really pleased that you have found the
spreadsheet useful.

I've had a number of mails like yours; this would seem to indicate that
there is a real need in Autostar-land for Dick Seymour's patch which
allows training values to be edited.

Wouldn't it be nice if Meade took this on board and made training values
editable as a standard feature in their next release........

Regards,

Martyn Edwards
Tresaith
Wales

Subject:	Patches with WinXP
Sent:	Wednesday, January 30, 2002 18:50:17
From:	srife@swbell.net (Stan Rife)
Question for Dick. I don't seem to be able to get the patch to work with
WinXP. I assume this is because there is no DOS in WinXP. Is this
correct and will you be providing something in the future that will work
with it?

Stan Rife
Houston, TX
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Maybe.  The contributed (volunteers welcome!) program is a dos
application, which -should- be runnable under XP's "Run..." facility (if
it has one). (Guess who -doesn't- have XP at home, and so far only two
XP systems at work to, er, explore) It take two arguments: the file to
patch, and the fil containing the patch list. So, if you can figure out
what directory it (the "Run..." environment) works in, you could issue
the    run "astarpat build.rom  22eb.txt"    command, and it should
work.

I'll try to play with it next week.

--dick
(back from a two=week haitus... which is -why- it snowed in Santa Cruz
last week)
And an update:
Stan Rife wrote:
 
>         OK!! Ran it from the "Command Prompt" (found under Accessories) and it
> worked like a champ. They tell me there is NO Dos in WinXP, but I guess it
> still has some functionality. The .bak file got created and that was how I
> could tell that it worked. Will reload 23eb in to the Autostar now.
>         Command was "astarpat build.rom patch23bb.txt" (file name as downloaded).

It is correct to say "there is no DOS in WinXP"... what that -means- is
that the operating system -itself- no longer contains any DOS elements. 
It's totally virtual memory, and fully protected against user programs
trying to manipulate raw memory or device addresses.

Which is a -different- statement from "will not run simple DOS
applications". (programs which do not require/request "legacy system"
hardware manipulation) It  will.  Happily.

have fun
--dick

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