Last updated: 28 February 2005
Subject: Autostar Suite Question - length of USB cable Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2005 17:47:05 From: Tom and Lori (email@example.com) I recently purchased the ETX-125 EC UHTC (upgraded from the Celestron Nexstar 114GT) and it came with the Autostar Suite LPI. I have not used it yet, however when I do, I would like to hook it up to my desktop computer. Only problem is that my desktop computer is about 25 feet away from where my telescope will be. I have searched all over for a 25 foot USB cable and have been unsuccessful. What do you recommend, and for that matter, what are your peers doing in cases like this? Thanks. Tom P.S. I just ordered your book to go along with the scope, and am looking forward to many enjoyable nights!Mike here: I don't use a long extension cable on the LPI but do use a short run to reach the Apple PowerBook. Some users have added a powered USB hub to extend the distance.
Subject: Autostar Suite Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 19:14:37 From: greslerr (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm looking for Autostar Suite program - any ideas?? Please let me know. DerekMike here: It comes bundled with the Meade LPI and Meade DSI.
I just purchased etx-60 and need only software for it. Could I purchase this separatelly from you ?? DerekMike here: The Autostar Suite requires the #497 Autostar; you probably have the #494 (no number keys on the Autostar). There are other alternatives for computer control IF you have the #506 serial cable (which can not be homemade). See the Accessory Reviews: Software and Helpful Information: Autostar Info pages for more info. There are currently Autostar Suite updaters (old versions) available on my ETX Site (Autostar Info page) but not the full version. Currently, the full version is only available from Meade.
Subject: Autostar Suite - Network Server Capability Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 17:46:09 From: Zero Effect I've been investigating the NETSCOPE.EXE program and have found what I think is a concern of which users should be aware. NETSCOPE.EXE allows the user to specify a network Port number. When the user selects the LISTEN checkbox, the port number entered AND THE NEXT FOUR PORT NUMBERS are opened and set to listening mode. If the user unchecks the LISTEN checkbox, ONLY the first port is closed - the other four ports remain open and listening. The status window says 'Idle', however, if a remote computer attempts to connect to these ports, they can actually control the telescope when the user may think they had disabled NETSCOPE. If a remote user connects, the first port is actually re-opened in listening mode and the status window can show the details of the connection while the LISTEN checkbox remains UNCHECKED. Therefore - user beware that unchecking the LISTEN checkbox does NOT take the telescope off the 'Net. Closing NETSCOPE is the sure way of going off the 'Net. Best Wishes - Zero Effect
Subject: Re: Autostar suite Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 19:59:01 From: Aaron Craig (email@example.com) Sorry for all the questions, one more, is it possible to update the alignment of the scope through autoatar suite? Say I select the moon to veiw, but my alignment is off a bit so I manualy slew it to the center of my FOV, can I click the moon on suite and update the alignment of the scope?Mike here: no
Subject: LX200 Error 491 Object below horizon? Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 04:19:34 From: Komazu (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here I have a problem I can't fix it by myself , please give me a help. I have setup my ETX125 with Polar mode and it run very well, I can use hand controller to found (GoTo) any object successfully. And then I setup my autostar suite "location as Brisbane (27,153)" and it run very well with my laptop and show the sky object as same as sky I saw in Brisbane, but when I connect to ETX125 with laptop Com port( Telescope setup as Polar Mode), I find I only can slew telescope use Autostar Suite in the half side of Northern sky(about 90 degree north of local sky), if I try to slew telescope down south with autostar suite "slew telescope"funtion it will give massage"LX200 Error 491 Object below horizon" (But in autostar suite the object is not below horizon), If I try slew to north side even the object really under the horizon, telescope will keep going until it touch the dead end of scope. PS. My ASS version is 3.18 and there is no such a problem in ALT,AZ mode. Thank ! Best Regard, Frank Yeh Brisbane , Australia.Mike here: Have you applied "Update 2" from Meade's site?
Thank you for reply so quickly! My ASS is the latest version( I just bought it few week ago), but however I have try to install "update 2" , but still got the same problem, by the way, I search your site last night and found some people in Southern Hemisphere have same problem, on the AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK ,August 2004 page, I found an article: And a fix: Well, here's the patch... if you append the following two lines to the end of my usual patch kit, or simply apply them (as a text file) as a standalone patch, or use a hex editor to change bytes x41fa2 and x41fa5 in Build32ea.rom, they will simply skip the "below lower limit" test at the :MS command. The tests done at the GoTo section itself -should- prevent beyond-limits damage to the scope, but they won't tell AutostarSuite the "1" it should hear to tell you that it couldn't make it. I see that the "below horizon" doesn't care about east/west ("not risen yet","already set" concerns. It depends upon the StarryNight/AutostarSuite/whatever to not ask for such silly things) R 41fa2 2f 20 R 41fa5 31 40 have fun --dick It seen like a "Firmware bug" , But I am not a programmer and not really know how to fallow the step to fix this file. Best Regards, Frank YehMike here: OK. If it is a problem with the Autostar software, do the update to 3.3Ef from Meade's site.
Thank you for reply, I'll try update Autostar software, and I'll inform local dealer about this problem. Best Regards, Frank
Subject: autostar suite connection problems Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2005 08:21:33 From: Varge Craig (email@example.com) im using a toshiba laptop that meet all the requirements of Autostar, except i dont have a serial port. So instead of using the adaptor which i cant use, i just plugged my #497 version 33E autostar into my modem using the #505 cord. I have an LXD 75 Schmit-Newtonian 8inch with autostar and autostar suite/LPI. Ok, so i connect my modem to my #497 hand controller, then the #497 to the telescope hbx port. I now go into Autostar suite and click telescope>communications>commport setup. I set my commport to 3 as that is what my modem is set at, baud rate to 9600, flow control to none, stop bits 1, data bits 8, parity to none and both parity check and carrier detect are unchecked. Then Telescope>set telescope feilds amd put my finder in the finder box and telescope in the telescope box (LDX 55 8" because i figure its the closes to the LDX 75 SN 8") and my eye peice in the accessories box. Then i goto telescope>protocol and select autostar via commport and get a ""Communication Error" "Invalid ACK response from LX200!"". So i know its connecting, but i dont have an LX200 and my #497 setup>telescope>model is set to my telescope. After getting the message i click ok and now everything in the telescope menu is accessable, but when i click a star it doesnt say slew telescope, and the Handbox feture in telescope>protocol just says initialising when i set my commport to 3 and click connect. AND in my Autostar updater 3.61, I set my commport to 3, click upgrade autostar software now and i get a message saying ""Error" "Could not connect to autostar. Autostar Update will now perform a search of all com ports. OK to Proceed?"" I click yes and it brings up this error ""Error" Could not find COM Port. Check your connection and try again."" I have checked my connection an its fine so it should have worked. Then i tried Options>Set Com Port and auto detect and it says ""Error" "Could not find Autostar. Check Connections."" My autostar is on and initialized and set up when i do all of this. Please help me out here, id like to get this working. The only thing i can thind of maybe i need the serial port and cant use my modem as a commport, but then i think why does it connect and say "Invalid ACK response from LX200!" when i dont even have an LX200!! Thank you Aaron CraigMike here: Simple answer: the modem port is NOT a RS-232 serial port. You have two choices: add a serial port via a PC Card (assuming your laptop has a PC Card slot) or use a USB to serial converter. See the article "PCs and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. As noted there, I use one with my Macintosh, which doesn't have a serial port but does have USB.
Thanks, i got a serial to usb converter and it works great! Thanks alot! One last question, do i need filters to take pics with the lunar plantetary imager? I tried to take pics of the moon last night and it was to brightand could only get a portion of it. Auto adjust was on and everything. Thanks again for your help. Aaron CraigMike here: Filters can help but are not required. You may have to manually tweak the exposure though to get the best results.
Subject: re: ETX 125 PE Laptop Autostar Suite to Autostar Interface Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 22:37:34 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Gary wrote: > There is a design flaw in the supplied PC to Autostar interface cable. > The 9 pin adapter has only 3 wire connectors. That isn't a flaw, it's indeed only a 3-wire connection (transmitted data, received data, common ground) Pins 2,3 and 5 on the DB9 When you were trying to connect with Remote Handbox, had you disconnected the -other- portions of Autostar Suite? (StarMap following the scope, the little "hand control") Unless you engage their Network Server application, the various pieces of Autostar Suite will get in each other's way. (and that -is- a design flaw... the combining of signals should be invisible to the user) The error message you're getting has nothing to do with the physical cable, it's Meade and Windows fighting over who has access to the COM 1 socket. have fun --dickAnd:
From: Mike Hogan (email@example.com) A response to Gary's message of Feb. 9. The 9-pin to RJ11 adapter supplied by Meade only needs three pins, TX data, RX data, and Ground. The interface cable is non-standard, as it uses a 6-pin (4 used) connector on one end and a 4-pin (all used) connector on the other. The cable itself is standard 4-conductor telephone wire. You can easily make a longer cable, but that's a another topic. There are options other than the Meade serial to USB adapter for laptop connection. I use a Belkin USB to PDA adapter, Part # F5U109, which is available for about $20. It comes with the necessary drivers and creates a virtual serial port. I use it with my Garmin GPS receivers as well as with AutoStar Suite. When connecting to AutoStar from the PC, you have to make sure the Com Port you select is the same as the one assigned to the USB adapter. You can check Windows Device Manager to verify which port is the USB-Serial one. Also, you should be aware that Com1 and Com3 share certain computer resources as do Com2 and Com4. Sometimes this can create a problem if you're trying to use both shared ports simultaneously. Once you're sure what ports you will use, try restarting AutoStar Suite and configuring it. I've noticed that sometimes when you try to open the wrong port, then select the correct port, the program will still not connect. Restarting helps. Also checkout the "Single Computer Network" option described in the manual. This configuration can be very useful. Good Luck
Subject: Another ETX AutoStar suite question Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 06:38:59 From: Jim Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've searched the Autostar Suite Manual's and got no hits. Could have been using bad search criteria (or didn't read enough on the Web site). I'm wondering: Since autostar suite is connected to the 497 controller. Is it possible to update the controller with the latest version without buying/making the download cable and/or using the update program from Meade? Seems like if there is a connection to the controller from a PC that you would be able to update the controller. Surely Meade thought of that! Regards Jim HollandMike here: The Autostar Suite package includes the serial connection cable. So, yes, you can use the same cable to update the Autostar.
Never mind - my bad!
Subject: ETX 125 PE Laptop Autostar Suite to Autostar Interface Sent: Wednesday, February 9, 2005 17:23:44 From: Gszientara@aol.com (Gszientara@aol.com) There is a design flaw in the supplied PC to Autostar interface cable. The 9 pin adapter has only 3 wire connectors. The cable (looks like a phone cable with phone jacks at each end) has four contacts. Also, if you own a laptop that has USB ports, you probably don't have a 9 pin COM port. You will have to buy the #505 USB to Serial kit from Meade ($51.00). Meanwhile, I am waiting for Meade to send me a 9 pin adapter with the required four wire connector. Hopefully, this will fix the problem and allow me to use the advanced features of the Autostar such as a user defined tour and auto update from the Meade web site. Below is the description I sent to Meade engineering: Problem: Autostar Suite will not interface with my telescope. Error message is "Can't open Com 1." When I select other Com ports in the "Communications" window, the same error message occurs except it says it can't open any of the selected Com ports. When I try the "Remote Hand Box Protocol," I get a "port already in use or not present" message. I have the adapter connected to the USB port that was recognized during the USB to Serial cable driver (version 2.0) installation. I carefully followed the installation wizard and rebooted the computer after installation by turning it completely OFF then ON. The adapter is connected to the supplied cable that came with my telescope. The cable is connected to my Autostar controller and the telescope power switch is ON with the Autostar coil connected to the HBX port on the computer control panel. Telescope: Meade ETX 125 PE purchased February 1, 2005 Autostar controller and telescope operate normally Meade USB to RS232 adapter kit: purchased February 3, 2005 installed USB TO SERIAL DRIVER DISK VERSION 2.0 Meade Autostar Suite: Astronomer Edition included with ETX 125 PE installed successfully on PC My Computer: Gateway Tablet PC purchased January 2004 Intel Pentium Microprocessor 1400MHz 585 MHz, 248 MB of RAM 2 USB Ports -no other systems (other than Meade adapter cable) are connected to either USB port -computer recognizes hardware connection when used on either USB port -no matter which USB port is used, the problem is the same Operating System: Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 Version 2002 Service Pack 2 All updates checked and current as of February 5, 2005Mike here: I use a DB9 adapter (connected to a Keyspan USB-serial converter) on my Macintosh. The adapter was included with a digital camera I bought years ago.
Wow! You must live next to your computer. Thanks for such a quick reply. If the new adapter from Meade doesn't work, I'll try the DB9. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing on your ETX site. We ALL appreciate your efforts! Gary Zientara
Subject: I got your book and a autostar suite question Sent: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 15:10:31 From: Jim Holland (email@example.com) I got you book and it supplements the web site nicely. It's been cloudy in the southeast, so I've been playing some more with the autostar suite and I'm wonder about something. I've reviewed the web site under software but didn't get any hits and I've looked thru much of the software page. I've got my laptop communicating with my trusty ETX. (at least I think, as it slews up and down, focuses slow/fast etc. and I put the mouse/pointer over an object and the scope started slewing) My question is: When I launch the autostar suite program and Telescope>Protocal>Remote handbox Should I be able to do handbox "stuff" using that portion of the software? It's all all blank (everything is powered up) at my laptop/telescope/hand box, but nothing displays on the laptop and none of the buttons work on the laptop Thanks JimMike here: Yes, you can control the Autostar with the remote handbox function. But if the serial port is tied up talking to the Autostar then the remote handbox application can't talk to it. Hence, the "networking" mode that the Autostar Suite has. See my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for more on networking. It is the "Autostar Use" section of the article.
Never mind, I got it figured out. This documentation is as bad as some of the other computer (oracle etc)) documentation I've worked with. Thanks Jim
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