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:	ladgerson@netzero.net (ladgerson@netzero.net)
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
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 (graeme_de@yahoo.co.uk)
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.
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.
Graeme ;-)

Subject:	Autostar/ DS2090AT-TC
Sent:	Tuesday, January 17, 2006 13:59:41
From:	Amy DaSilva (adasilva@nac.net)
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 DaSilva
Mike 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 (mike.hall@jdsu.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.

Mike 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.


Subject:	Re: Calc North is always East.
Sent:	Wednesday, January 11, 2006 21:18:52
From:	Troy M. Barnhart (barney@rapidnet.com)
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,
Mike 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
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,
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.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
Mike 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".

It doesn't. At least, not on my PE.
I just want to confirm something. When you've indicated that the scope is off by 90 and pointing east, do you mean that at the end of the "leveling and northing" the telescope ends up pointing east? If so, that is normal. In fact, there is a comment (at least in the ETX PE manual) that the telescope may not end up level and pointing north at the end of the leveling/northing.


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
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.

Mike 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 (cub@sunlink.net)
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.

Mike 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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Copyright © 2006 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2006 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackJan06/ds.html