Last updated: 31 January 2006
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Question about settig up DS-114AT telescope with Autostar Sent: Monday, January 30, 2006 10:17:20 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I purchased a DS-114AT telescope with Autostar. When I set-up the telescope and attached the autostar computer to it, the telescope moved by itself and the autostar computer was operating fine. After attempting to calibrate the telescope, I notices that the autostar computer does not operate. When it comes on, a message scrolls on the LCD, then the LCD is blank. I tried to press the buttons, on the device but noting happens. I have new batteries in the battery pack so I know that is not the problem. I tried contacting Meade but have not been successful with resolving this problem. Is there a way I could reprogram the autostar computer? Thank you in advance for your assistance.Mike here: Have you attempted to adjust the display brightness/contrast from the Autostar menus? Have you tried a higher slewing speed to see if there is movement?
Subject: eq5 with ds motors Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 12:31:09 From: Graeme Glasgow (email@example.com) I've picked up an eq5 mount second hand which has the ds motors fitted. The azimuth axis however has a small problem, the drive slips in one direction. The motor is running but the mount isn't moving and there is a rat-a-tat sound which sounds to me like the final drive cog and spindle cog are slipping or the cogs inside the motor itself maybe. I've had a look at the teeth and they look fine with no obvious sign of wear. The mount moves freely by hand so doesn't seem to be the problem. Does this sound familiar, has anyone seen this before and know of a remedy? Any help much appreciated. Cheers Graeme ;-)Mike here: Does any gear slip on its shaft while it is turning or reversing direction?
I opened the motor and found several damaged teeth on one of the cogs. Fortunately, a couple of spare motors came with the deal so I'll try them out. Cheers Graeme ;-)
Subject: Autostar/ DS2090AT-TC Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 13:59:41 From: Amy DaSilva (firstname.lastname@example.org) I hope you can help me. My father bought my 10 year old son his first beginner telescope. Which by the way, I am a beginner too! It is a Meade DS 2090 AT-TC telescope. Anyway, I am trying to set up the alignment with Autostar but the telescope won't rotate. It will skew up and down, but not sideways. You can hear the motors...but nothing happens. I have tried tightening and loosening. I have tried taking it back a part and following the directions again...and again. I keep calling Meade, but I either get busy signals or no answer at all. I have not tired faxing yet because I don't have one readily available to me. I am about ready to ask my father to take it back. My son however, is extremely and wonderfully patient... I really don't want to let him down if there is some way to fix this...or if I am doing something wrong. Do you have any suggestions or ideas? Would I be better off bringing it back to the dealer...that is, is something is major wrong that I need to exchange it for a different one? I would really appreciate any advice you could give us. We are really looking forward to using it, but afraid to even use it outside manually just in case it needs to go back. Thank you for you time. I hope to here from you soon! -Amy DaSilvaMike here: Hard to say whether there something mechanically or electrically wrong or whether you just need to CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. Have you done these steps (I don't have a DS model so I don't know if these steps are mentioned in the manual)? Have you tried using a higher slew speed?
Subject: DS02130AT slew problem Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 11:39:35 From: Mike Hall (email@example.com) Hello, I have a Meade DS2130AT that I received as a gift. I am a totally inexperienced amateur. But I am also a mechanical engineer so I have a very good idea how things work mechanically. I started out by getting the thing put together and manually trying to get some decent views of planets (Mars & Saturn primarily) to no avail. I then got the Autostar system set up and lo and behold while trying to get the altitude slew to move up and down it worked maybe once then nothing. I do hear the motor spinning but there is no movement. I've done quite a bit of Internet searching and found that this appears to be a common problem. I have tried everything that I've seen suggested. I've partially disassembled the portion of the arm that contains the slew gears and was amazed at the poor mechanics of the thing. I have been trying relentlessly to get hold of Meade technical support with no success. They just put me on hold forever. Can anyone recommend anything I might be able to do to get this thing to work or maybe an alternate way to communicate with Meade's technical support other than FAX or mail. I can't believe they don't accept e-mails for support. Please don't try to tell me I should buy another scope due to the poor Chinese-made quality of my current unit. It was a gift and I would really like to get it to work correctly and after that maybe I'll be inclined to graduate to a better scope. ThanksMike here: You say you tried everything suggested. But have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES? I don't know if they are required on the DS models but they are on the ETX Autostar models. What happens during the alignment steps? When manually slewing using the Autostar, what happens if you increase the slewing speed?
Thanks for the quick response. I did notice the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES functions in the manual. I tried the CALIBRATE MOTORS and that didn't do the job. I don't believe I tried the TRAIN DRIVES. But I would think that the scope should move horizontally and vertically when using the Autostar keys even without doing both of those things. The manual does not state anywhere that it is necessary to perform those steps for it to work correctly. But, I will give them both a try this evening and see if that does the trick. Once again, thanks. Mike
Subject: Re: Calc North is always East. Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 21:18:52 From: Troy M. Barnhart (firstname.lastname@example.org) Well, I received the new module and... Due East again. In the time while the module was shipping, I went to a local mega-homestore and purchased a couple of small bubble-levels and a small-but-quality compass. Well, I live on a hill in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Specifically, Tomaha Point in Hisega on the western edge of Rapid City - if you use Google Earth you get a decent idea of my terrain. I hiked a half-mile away (around the hill) from my house to see if the LNT align would change. The compass pointed north and even matched the 9.5 magnetic declination for this area - based on Polaris. I used the levels to set the tripod. I reset the whole autostar, and then re-ran through all the calibrations and training. Then, I restarted and tried the "Easy" Align. Due East. Now, I fully admit I'm a beginner. But, I think I'm covering all my bases, and I'm at a loss. I'm going to try and go north of Newell, South Dakota, way out on the Prairie and very dark skies this weekend - if skies are clear. It's no man-made lights and flat for miles, except for a few buttes. Up on a butte, you get the full hemisphere. Hence, no possible geological magnetic interference. Nothing but sedimentary layers. My local dealer said, "Call Meade..." (cordial, but no help.) After that attempt this weekend - It's one more chance for Meade. I gotta admit though that I've learned alot about astronomy with this experience. I was just looking for a few more ooo's and aaah's - sort of like an older Harley. 4 hours in the garage wrenching on the bike for every one hour of riding. 3 hours of working on alignment problems and 1 hour of manually pushing the scope to where I want it... The moon was nice the last few nights... Haha... Thanks again, TroyMike here: This is so odd that it defies explanation!
Well, some success tonight. Two-Star Align method was fairly close. I went about 20 miles (15 as the crow flies) away from my home. A small mining ghost-town called Mystic, South Dakota. Around 5000 feet in elevation on a ridge that gave me a fairly clear view all the way around me. It was about 28 deg. F. out... 1) Setup scope to Home Position w/ level and compass and 26mm Plossl. 2) Got into the Mode menu. 3) Calibrated the Sensors and Motors. 4) Went back to Align - tried the EASY one first. 5) "Calc North..." spun a dozen times. 6) Cycled the power. 7) Went to Align - tried the Two-Star method. 8) I used Rigel and Capella - it lined up and gave me a Align Success. 9) I punched in the Mars GoTo - dang close... Orange Spot in the DS2130. 10) Punched in Saturn GoTo - clicked into spiral search and quickly found a yellow dot. 11) Centered and switched to 26mm plossl and 2x Barlow. 12) Off a bit - due to the Cold and change-out - and clicked spiral search again... 13) Holy Ringed Planets!!! Very Tiny, but crystal clear, yellowish Saturn with the separation between the planet and ring - and then another slight separation in the ring itself. 14) I only saw it for a couple of minutes - but Wow! 15) I spent another half-hour looking at some different constellations. 16) I didn't train the drives. 17) But, I did test the local magnetic field idea - nothing abnormal. I informed my wife when I got back home that I'm ready for the $4000 GPS-model now. I'll try the LNT again this weekend out on the prairie. Thanks for all the ideas and time, Troy
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) > Well, some success tonight. Two-Star Align method was fairly close. Yea! Just like the pre-LNT 125's... > 1) Setup scope to Home Position w/ level and compass and 26mm Plossl. > 2) Got into the Mode menu. > 3) Calibrated the Sensors and Motors. > 4) Went back to Align - tried the EASY one first. > 5) "Calc North..." spun a dozen times. OK... thanks... i wasn't aware that Easy invoked "find north". > 6) Cycled the power. Good idea. > 13) Holy Ringed Planets!!! Very Tiny, but crystal clear, yellowish Saturn with > the separation between the planet and ring - and then another slight separation > in the ring itself. You probably didn't realize it, but one of the faint stars near the planet was probably its largest moon: Triton. > I informed my wife when I got back home that I'm ready for the $4000 GPS-model now. To which she undoubtedly replied: "No, the big one is -mine-." have fun --dickMike here: Troy and Dick said:
>> 4) Went back to Align - tried the EASY one first. >> 5) "Calc North..." spun a dozen times. > >OK... thanks... i wasn't aware that Easy invoked "find north".
From the DS2130-LNT Manual... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4. Alignment Option Screen: "Setup: Align" displays. Press ENTER. 5. Select Alignment : "Align: Automatic" displays. Press ENTER. 6. Autostar Detects North and Level: When you press Enter, Autostar calculates North and where level is for the telescope. While it is calculating, it displays "Calc North" and "Calc Level." While it is calculating, it does not necessarily move to point North or actually level the telescopeit is just detecting where these positions are. When it is finished calculating, "Searching...." displays as it begins Star Alignment. 7. Star Alignment - Autostar then chooses two stars to align upon. When the telescope slews to the first star for alignment, it may not appear in the field of view in the eyepiece. The alignment star should be easily recognized and be the brightest star in the area of the sky where the telescope is pointing. Use the Arrow keys to move the telescope until the star is visible and centered in the eyepiece. Press ENTER. Repeat procedure for the second alignment star. When the procedure is performed correctly, "Alignment Successful" displays. If Autostar does not display this message, perform this procedure again. NOTE: Autostar locates alignment stars based on the date, time, and location entered. The alignment stars may change from night to night. All that is required is for the observer to center the selected stars in the eyepiece when prompted. NOTE: The GO TO key also allows you to perform a "spiral search." A spiral search is useful when the telescope slews to an object, but that object is not visible in the eyepiece after the telescope finishes its search. (This sometimes occurs during an alignment procedure.) Press GO TO when the slew is finished and the telescope starts slewing in a spiral pattern at a very slow speed around the search area. Look through the eyepiece and when the object does become visible, press MODE to stop the spiral search. Then use the Arrow keys to center the object. Three other methods of alignment are available to the observer: Easy, Two-Star and One-Star. These methods are included in case the observer prefers to pick out his or her own alignment stars. See page 25 for more information. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now, between steps #6 and #7 when it chooses the next two stars to align on... It's always off and pointing due East and I do get a "Alignment Successful" message. Then if I use the GoTo to go to Polaris. I'm off 90 deg. (I don't always get the step to do the two-star align after the LNT step.) The only time that the GoTo function has been reasonably close is when I cycled the power, held the "Mode" button to get to the "Align" menu, and then performed a Two-Star alignment w/o using the LNT functions. Good point - though - I'll retry everything completely from scratch tonite and redo my alignment steps. Thanks, TroyMike here: When doing an Automatic Alignment (at least on the ETX PE models) you still have to center the two alignment stars. If you don't get that then it would seem that there is something amiss in the Autostar code.
Subject: DS 114 Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2006 08:08:42 From: Jim Weisbruch (firstname.lastname@example.org) Got the DS2114 for Christmas (bought Sams Club) and after your comments on your site was wondering if it should be kept or return it and upgrade to a good one. It is my first experience and have wanted one for years - don't need any unenjoyable viewing. Can go a couple hundred bucks more on a good one - any suggestions? Thankyou for your web service - much appreciated!Mike here: The DS is a good scope. Could you get a better one? Yes. Do you need a better one? That depends upon whether or not the DS will live up to your expectations. And the only way you will be able to tell that is to use it.
Want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my forum input - much appreciated. Guess what bothered me(not knowing what I am talking about)with the DS114 was the comments made in the forum about the software problem and focusing(hard to) issue. Had a like scope years ago and never could get a real good focus - don't want to put up with this issue again. Have to take it back before the 15th - not much time for a limited experienced guy to evaluate. Would appreciate you thoughts - willing to upgrade in price if you have that suggestion also. Am 63 now and have waited a long time to fulfill my desire to get into this wonderful world of scoping so to speak. Sincerely, JimMike here: If there is a local astronomy club or group near you (check your local telescope dealers, Meade's site, and the Sky and Telescope site for info) then visiting them can help you make a decision. They likely have "star parties" where you can look through lots of different telescopes and talk to the owners. Lacking that, here's run up of the various Meade models (Celestron has similar models): DS, DSX, ETX, LXD75, LX90, LX200. Cost, capabilities, and performance generally increase as you go from DS to LX200. By performance I mean overall performance: optical, mechanical, electronic, software, guiding, stability, etc.
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