AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 July 2004
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:	Problems ETX 90
Sent:	Saturday, July 31, 2004 06:43:43
From:	Jan H Kolst (jan.kolsto@online.no)
I got a ETX 90 with Auostar(updated).I've given it the right time -
place -date(daylight setting)-trained it and followed the instruction of
"home" tube vertical and pointing North (using a compass.)

I used the Easy alignment and when it had found the 2 stars , I wanted
it to go to Jupiter.But this did not happen at all.It was far from
Jupiter pointing very far below Jupiter.

Gratefull for any help!
 
Best wishes
Jan H Kolst
Haugesund 59.25 N    05.17 E
Norway
Mike here: First off, using a compass to indicate North may be a problem, depending upon location and nearby magnetic sources. You did to correct for local magnetic variation. If you can see Polaris (the "North Star") you should use that to indicate where True North is. But once you have done the Autostar alignment steps (with the correct date/time/location; check the year), you should be OK. Does the Autostar GOTO other objects correctly?
Subject:	ETX-90 starting without orienting
Sent:	Friday, July 30, 2004 13:43:41
From:	andr hienny (andre-hienny@brutele.be)
I bought this machine last december and expect to use it for the first
time this summer : I only tried it indoors since...

But I don't know how to start the controller without first having to
orient the telescope. At home, it is hopeless to try to get the stars
the mechanism tries to find, so I have to agree with everything it
decides before being able to orient it manually.

the manual doesn't say anything about this : it doesn't even seem to be
similar to the version of the software that I have.

Is there something I miss ? Can you recommend a book for a very very
slow learning beginner ?
 
Thanks !
Mike here: I assume you have the Autostar. And yes, you have to do some steps to get the Autostar aligned to the current night sky. It is certainly possible that you have newer software in the Autostar than addressed in the manual but the initial steps are still the same. Check the Alignment Tips section on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page; lots of tips there. There is nothing wrong with skipping stars (that are behind buildings, etc) and letting the Autostar choose another one. As to a book, do you mean on basic astronomy?
Subject:	re:  Autostar not responding on ETX125
Sent:	Sunday, July 25, 2004 21:01:20
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
There are no fuses in the ETX telescopes.

Sometimes the circuit board traces on the power panel blow off,
acting as fuses (but harder to replace).

What incident happened -before- your investigations,
that made you think (hope) that a fuse was involved?

good luck
--dick
And:
From:	Prof F van Vuuren (fvuuren@eng.up.ac.za)
Thanks for the interest.
Autostar is not displaying anything - The indicator light on the scope
(switch) is illuminated when on.I have used the cable and Handbox on the
other scope - the Autostar responded normally.
Regards,
vV
Mike here: Sounds like a problem on the ETX end then.
Subject:	re:  Autostar 3-Star Alignment
Sent:	Sunday, July 25, 2004 20:55:51
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
3-star is only available for GEM mounted scopes,
such as the LXD55 and LXD75 families.

have fun
--dick
Mike here: I guess it was PEC that was available to ETX (polar mounted) as well as LXD55 and LXD75.

And:

Thanks Dick, Mike!  I didn't know if I was doing something wrong or just
wasn't looking in the right menu.  Thank you both for the quick
feedback!

Frank

Subject:	Autostar 3-Star Alignment
Sent:	Sunday, July 25, 2004 13:48:40
From:	Frank Alvarado (falvarado62@hotmail.com)
What is the 3-star alignment I have been hearing about in some of the
posts lately and how does it apply to the ETX-125?

Thanks,
Frank
Mike here: If you update an Autostar #497 to the new version 3.2Ee, there is a new alignment mode: 3-star. It should work with the ETX line. I haven't yet updated so I can't speak from personal experience. It reportedly provides more accurate GOTOs.

And:

Now see, that's what I thought.  The problem I have is that I updated a
couple of weeks ago to the new version (with Dick's patch) but the
alignment menu only has the old EASY, ONE and TWO star alignments. 
Doesn't matter if I am in ALT/AZ or POLAR mount.  I have the SMART DRIVE
option so I know I installed the correct build.

Who would know for sure?

Subject:	497 Autostar PEC data viewer/editor available
Sent:	Saturday, July 24, 2004 17:26:14
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you'd like to see what v32Ea's PEC training is doing
inside the Autostar, Andrew Johansen has modified his
PEC Editor/Viewer to include the 497 Autostar's version.

If you are not using my patch kit, the Autostar has to
go into "Download" mode for his program to extract the data.

If you -are- using my 32Ea patch kit, you can view the
PEC data "live" (during normal operation), without
requiring Download mode.

The viewer and how-to-use-it are available at:
http://members.optusnet.com.au/johansea/

He announced the program last night to the LX200gps group,
as message 60226:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LX200GPS/message/60226

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Autostar error (Motor Unit Fault)
Sent:	Friday, July 23, 2004 10:36:32
From:	Mike (mrmike987@comcast.net)
OK... I made the cable, updated AutoStar to Vers.32Ea and patched to
Vers.32a4.

I CALIBRATED and TRAINED DRIVES. I am also now on a power supply.

Basically did everything you said and the Motor Unit Fault error went
away.

But now I have a new problem.Starting from Alt/Az Home Position I do an
easy align. (Mount set to Alt/Az). The scope will go look for Arcturus.
I know exactly where it is but the scope will slew up to the 90'
protect, clockwise till the hardtop and wants to keep going. If I do a
one star align no matter what star I pick it will do the same thing. I
know this has to be Software related. Did upgrading from Vers1.2 to 32a4
cause this? I spent hours looking for the same problem on your site and
I seem to be the only one that I can find.

Thanks for all your help

BTW.. I have never got this scope aligned in the 5 years I've owned it
and I'm really looking forward to finally using it.
 
Mike
Mike here: Have you selected the right telescope model and mounting mode in the Autostar? Did the Autostar RESET following the update? If not, do that and then reset all the parameters and do another CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (don't forget that you have to TRAIN each axis separately using the menu selections). By the way, I would not have applied Dick's patch until you know that the basic version is working.

And an update:

Yes did all that.. Called Meade today and they said it was a runaway
drive... In talks now with Meade and Clay about fixing the problem..
 
Thanks
Mike
And an update:
Wow do I feel stupid. Today I was watching TV just thinking.. 1 month
for the scope to go to Meade and 2-3 weeks for a supercharge.

I had to try one more time. 2 words kept popping in my head that you
said in your email. Upload + SafeMode. I never seen anything say
SafeMode. So I go on reading, trying to find out how to upload in
SafeMode. I re-upload in SafeMode, reset, Calibrate, Traindrives ect.
Waalaa...  No more runaway drive.. You are truly a great help.. Thank
you so much..

BTW.. I'm still getting the SupperCharge cause I know it needs it..
 
Thanks again
 
Mike T.
And an update:
Another update....
 
Well I thought I had it fixed but it started screwing up again. Motor
Unit Fault and the Runaway Drive.

So back to your site I went. Did more reading and found the post on
cleaning the Declination Motor Encoder.

So I took the arm apart and not only did the Encoder have grease all
over it the circuit board it's attached to was just hanging there.

I see that it doesn't screw in it just clips in. I cleaned the encoder,
snapped the circuit board back into place and I have been testing for 3
hours now with no problems.

I think you and your site are quickly making me a pro at this..

I hope the next update is a good one. I will let you know how the
Supercharge went..
 
Thanks again...
 
Mike

Subject:	Autostar not responding on ETX125
Sent:	Friday, July 23, 2004 08:25:44
From:	Prof F van Vuuren (fvuuren@eng.up.ac.za)
I could not find any usable information of the Meade Web Page - Hope
someone can help. I have piked up a problem with the Autostar that is
not responding.

1 The Autostar was checked on another telescope - No problem

2.    Power source have been replaced (new batteries and transformer
input 12 V) - NO RESPONSE ON AUTOSTAR.

I suspect a fuse must have blown - The coverplate underneat the scope
was removed. Two PC bouards were spotted but I could not detect a fuse.
Am I looking at the right position?

Regards,
van Vuuren
Mike here: What do you mean by "no response"? Does the Autostar display illuminate? Do the menus work? Do the slewing arrow keys work? Since the Autostar works on another telescope we know it is OK? Did you also try the cable on the other telescope?
Subject:	Autostar patches (updates)
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 2004 20:32:47
From:	Lance Vicary (hobbyist@sympatico.ca)
I have version 2.5ea for Autostar 497 and this version works fine for
what I want it to do.    Anyways ....

In the Autostar Info page , I notice all those patches. Do I have to go
thru all those patches until I get the current version 3.2e or can I
just simply download from the Meade web site thru the use of ASU and get
the current. Does that current file (3.2e) update from Meade includes
all those patches/updates?

Lance
Mike here: Don't confuse Dick Seymour's Autostar patches with the Autostar updates from Meade. But you should be able to go direct to 3.2Ee. The Autostar Update application should handle things for you.
Subject:	Slop in AZ/RA Slewing
Sent:	Thursday, July 22, 2004 16:53:19
From:	Doug Gates (dagman@tampabay.rr.com)
I just purchase an ETX 90 EC and am getting used to it, but I have
noticed a little bit of slop when changing the AZ direction.  It seams
the gears turn for about  of a second before the telescope moves when I
am changing directions.  If I am not changing directions (just stopping
and then continuing to slew in the same direction) there is no
absolutely hesitation at all.  This does not occur when slewing in the
ALT direction.  Will this "AZ sloppiness" impact the ability of the
scope to align and find objects.  I have increased the AZ % and it seams
to have reduced the problem, but not eliminated it.  I am a new user and
unsure whether my problems are due to "learning curves", or whether this
slop could be hindering me.

Thanks

Doug Gates
Mike here: Some backlash is normal. Doing the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES steps should reduce it.
Subject:	Autostar updates
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 2004 08:01:56
From:	Mikel Stoer (mikel_s@verizon.net)
Is there any way of finding out what the "new autostar update" was for? 
If it isn't something that affects me and my telescopes I'm not sure I
want to upgrade.

Thank you

Mikel
Mike here: There is the readme, which Dick Seymour quoted (further down this Autostar Feedback page).
Subject:	Autostar error (Motor Unit Fault)
Sent:	Sunday, July 18, 2004 16:09:18
From:	Mike (mrmike987@comcast.net)
I have an ETX 125ec that I bought new back in 1999. At that time I lived
in Los Angeles and it was really no good there. I have now moved where
the skies are bright with stars at night. I have not used the scope in
about 3 years; it's been in its hard case put away. Early this year I
pulled it out to get familiar with it again and during the aligning
process I got "Motor Unit Fault" So I called Meade and they told me to
do a reset and that seemed to work. Well the scope got put away again
for about 8 months because of another move. This weekend I pull it out
to see what I get. After 2 hours of trying to aligning the thing I start
getting that error again "Motor Unit Fault" So I reset... Nothing. I put
in fresh batteries and reset again. Still "Motor Unit Fault" After
coming here and reading for hours (Great site BTW) I don't find a post
addressing the same issue. I did take the bottom cover off to check the
wires and they look fine and not in the way of the gears. I know I need
to update my Autostar. It still has Vers. 1.2 That it came with. I need
the cable Kit to update the Autostar but when looking for it I see
certain cables work with certain Autostar models. I have no idea witch
Autostar model I have and don't know how to find out. If anyone knows
what I can do to fix this Motor Unit Fault Error and maybe help to
determine what Autostar model I have so I can update it your help would
be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Mike T.
Mike here: You probably have a #497 Autostar (the one with number keys on the keypad). So you would need to buy or make a #505 serial cable (details on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page) and use Windows on a computer with a RS-232 port (or use a USB-serial converter). As to the Motor Fault, there are many possible causes: weak batteries, locks that are overly tightened, bad connections, dirty encoders, not doing the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES steps, not putting the telescope in the proper HOME position, not setting the proper telescope/mounting mode, etc. If you have done all those, then try redistributing the lubrication: unlock the axis locks, move the tube back and forth, several times, from hard stop to hard stop, in all directions.
Subject:	AUTOSTAR SUN WARNING
Sent:	Sunday, July 18, 2004 15:40:11
From:	Derik (derikpalmer@tiscali.co.uk)
First, thank you so much for your book.   Meade should be giving it away
with every scope purchased, since it has almost all the information they
forgot to include in what they laughingly refer to as the Autostar
instruction book.

My question:  When I fist got my 125EC, a fellow Meade user helped set
it up; one of the first things he did was turn off the sun warning.   I
have just had to do a reset and retrain drives to cure a motor drive
problem, and of course the sun warning is back.   Nowhere can I find how
to turn it off.   (If it's there in the book then please forgive me, I
have looked!)

Kind regards
 
Derik Palmer
London, UK
Mike here: Utilities --> Display Options
Subject:	meades new 3 star alignment
Sent:	Saturday, July 17, 2004 17:18:23
From:	MICHAEL SANDERS (michaelsanders580@msn.com)
i have a lxd 55 mount and also a etx125  i have downloaded the new 3
star alignment program for my lxd55 .  will this download also work for
the etx.  thanks mike
Mike here: If you mount the ETX in Polar Mode.

And:

wow what a fast response  i do use the etx in polar mode  i havent used
the lxd yet but everyone says the new 3 star align is great i will try
and see .  thanks again mike for such a great site

Subject:	ETX 105
Sent:	Friday, July 16, 2004 09:40:27
From:	tallfirs@allvantage.com (tallfirs@allvantage.com)
I recently purchased an ETX 105 used. Everything seems to be functional
on autostar except for one problem.  After I initialize and begin the
alingment process and autostar slews to the first alingment star and
asks me to center the star, the arrow keys do not work. The telescope is
just dead. Yet, they do work at other times such as when I was testing
the keypad and motors when I first set it up. I used reset but no
change. Is there some other mode or function I need to access to get
keypad slewing control back during the alingment process?  Thanks very
much.
Mike here: Have you increased the slewing speed? Usually that helps. Also, be certain you have done the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES steps.
Subject:	Latitude and Longitude
Sent:	Wednesday, July 14, 2004 19:44:42
From:	John Moloko (jvmoloko@verizon.net)
Download the "ASU" pogram from Meade. This allows you to upgrade and
load up to six different custom locations with co-ordinates.

Subject:	506 Cable
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 2004 22:32:08
From:	John Moloko (jvmoloko@verizon.net)
TelescopeWarehouse on ebay or buy just the ends and a tool from radio
Shack.
Mike here: NOT easy to make. Best to purchase one if you need it.
Subject:	re: Simple question about ETX90 Alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 2004 19:22:02
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: 	  james.jefferson@bbc.co.uk, etx@me.com
>1> Can you skip 2 star alignment and find say Vega on autostar and have
>it in your eyepiece field and then Press the Synchronise Button and
>Enter ? 

Yes... as Mike said, as long as your mechanical setup (RA axis pointed
at the pole) is accurate.  Inaccuracies cause drift.

>Or do you have to keep going through the whole process ?

Nope.  But you should do it at least once, and PARK after each session.

>2> I really want to do astrophotography and longer exposures but don't
>want star trailing, once I use goto and Find the object will it continue
>to track the object unguided ?

Yes, although there may be some short- and long-term pertubations
in the motions... each telescope is different, so you'll just have
to see how -yours- performs.

>can my ETX90 with the standard tripod, not the deluxe one ...
>Still possible ?

How about "no tripod"?  All you need is a level surface and a "wedge"
to elevate the telescope.  There are many such devices shown on Mike's
Telescope Tech Tips page  http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips.html
or my fuzzy photos at: 
http://rseymour.home.wolfenet.com/astro/etx.html

Mine is two pieces of plywood, joined with a continuous ("piano") hinge.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Gps
Sent:	Tuesday, July 13, 2004 12:59:06
From:	SMalin1@aol.com (SMalin1@aol.com)
Just wondering if you will be doing a critique of the Scopetronix GPS. I
bought one for my 90mm ETX and it works beautifully. I did have a
problem with the installation though. Had to call the fellow who made
it.

I will be going to Vermont to do the Stellafane Convention.
 Best wishes from,
 Selwyn Malin 
Mike here: I wrote up the StarGPS-LX, which is the same minus the need for updating the Autostar. See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Autostar operation
Sent:	Monday, July 12, 2004 04:03:05
From:	Frank Coulter (frank.coulter@xtra.co.nz)
I live in the Southern Hemisphere  (New Zealand) and would like to run
my Autostar so that when I am adjusting, the down arrow key moves the
view down and not up! Autostar has an adjustment for this
(Setup/Telescope/Reverse up-down). Fine, and it works, but I have to
re-enter this every time I power up!  Am I doing something wrong, or are
Meade just being a bit casual in dealing with Southern Hemisphere users?
Thanks and regards
Frank Coulter
Mike here: Since I'm on travel I can't check this, but does the ">" show the current setting regardless of the first one that appears. There are other settings that are remembered but you have to check which one has the ">" pointing at it.

And:

I hadn't appreciated the significance of the ">" sign. I have now got
the Southern Hemisphere up/down working and stored. The message shows
Reverse up/down >OFF.   I would have thought it should have said ON
rather than OFF, but I'm happy it works. Thanks for your help on my two
queries.
Frank Coulter

Subject:	125 autostar erratic (up and down)
Sent:	Saturday, July 10, 2004 07:20:03
From:	Tony Frisina (afrisina@yahoo.com)
my new 125ec does a short wrong direction when i press the up or down
key. my 90ec autostar and 200gps autostar work fine. is this a quirk in
the 125 ?... thanks
Mike here: Are you using the same Autostar with all the telescopes? If so, you need to CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES each time you switch it from one telescope to another one. If you are using a different Autostar with the -125, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES and see if that clears up the problem.

And:

thanks mike.. no, i use a separate unit for each scope, but will do as u
suggest... thanks

Subject:	Autostar 497 update
Sent:	Saturday, July 10, 2004 02:57:53
From:	Marnix Verschraegen (max2206@skynet.be)
I've read that there is a new update for the autostar 497 !

I've also read between the lines that it should give us (LX90 owners)
some new commands: SMART DRIVE, TRAIN PEC, ERASE PEC, etc ...

Do we have those commands now and can i use them ??? As i alrady
mentioned i own a LX90 with e Meade Wedge.

Marnix Verschraegen
VVS Belgium
Mike here: See the README info in Dick Seymour's email on the new update (further down this page).
Subject:	#505 Cable and the Star GPS package
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 2004 05:32:42
From:	Kiwi Forkhoists Ltd (mail@kiwi-forkhoists.co.nz)
As usual I find myself drawn to the only ETX site I trust for info :)

I am going to purchase the STARGPS for my 125 from Scopetronix, and was
about to also order the #505 cable to connect my AUTOSTAR hand
controller to the PC for updating.

Could you, or a reader, tell if I can use the cabling from the STARGPS
kit to update my Autostar controller with the Meade Autostar update
programe ( ASU ) , or I still need to purchase or make a #505 cable to
do this job?
 
Many thanks
 
Blair Slater
New Zealand
Mike here: The StarGPS (non-LX model) does come with a PC-Autostar connection cable (similar to the #505). It can be used to update the Autostar and apply the required StarGPS patch to the Autostar. You can read about both models on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.

And:

Not a bad little dollar savings you just saved me!  I quite like the
look of the Scopetronix flexi focus cable now as well as the StarGPS  :)

Regards

Blair Slater
New Zealand

Subject:	Simple question about ETX90 Alignment
Sent:	Friday, July 9, 2004 03:15:19
From:	James Jefferson-Wilson James (james.jefferson@bbc.co.uk)
Hope you had a good time away !  just 2 very simple questions ( I hope).

1> Can you skip 2 star alignment and find say Vega on autostar and have
it in your eyepiece field and then Press the Synchronise Button and
Enter ? Or do you have to keep going through the whole process ?

2> I really want to do astrophotography and longer exposures but don't
want star trailing, once I use goto and Find the object will it continue
to track the object unguided ?

Thanks !

James.
Mike here: The Autostar needs to know the current geometry of the sky at your location. That's what the alignment process does. If you mount in Polar mode the Right Ascension drive will track the sky movement without needing to go through the Autostar alignment steps BUT you would need to align the telescope mount's polar axis to be parallel to the Earth's rotational axis. Getting a good alignment can be a time-consuming process. If you mount in Alt/Az mode you will get "field rotation" as the telescope moves in altitude and azimuth to track the sky's movement so to avoid trailing you will need to mount in Polar mode.

And:

Soz to be a pain, I have downloaded information for training drives and
how to Do polar alignment (which is def what I need).  Looking at the
pics, can my ETX90 with the standard tripod, not the deluxe one ...

Still possible ?

Im joining a club nearby as a hands on approach will definitely benefit
me in The long run as I really love astrophotography and just invested
in a Nikon 4300 :-)

Anyways, enjoy the rest of your vacation ! Email me after vacation,
skies are going To be crappy this weekend anyway :-)

JJ
Mike here: The #883, #884, and #887 tripods will allow polar mounting.

And:

Ok, will really try to get this right using your instructions :-) 

Subject:	MY ETX
Sent:	Thursday, July 8, 2004 08:36:47
From:	Maximilian Bodensteiner (maxofborg1@bigpond.com)
Hello, I am from Australia and just bought my brand new etx125. Being in
the Southern Hemisphere do I need to change anything or does the fact
that I programmed my destination including Longitude and Latitude mean
that the ETX now knows I am in the Southern Hemisphere and will
automatically track objects across the sky in the right direction once
I've performed the Easy Align. Also, do I still face North when lining
up my telescope or can I face south and if so how do I tell the scope I
am facing the Southern CP for the alignment. Sorry, but the instructions
aren't that clear or I am not reading them properly. For your info I
have had two other scopes and sold them to by my 125 and have never been
happier. It is definitely a beautiful scope.

Thanks,

Max
Mike here: See the Alignment Tips section on the Autostar Info page; there are tips for Southern Hemisphere observers there.
Subject:	Interesting Info...
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 2004 11:35:03
From:	WarpedCorp (warpcorp@swbell.net)
Just got off the phone with Meade - long technical conversation.  Some
interesting info regarding the new version of AutoStar software and the
LXD75 mounts.  I didn't know if it would be appropriate to post - and
again you may already know this... so, I'll let you make the call since
you seem to have the connections... and you two know the AutoStar as
well as anyone on the planet.

First, said there is a possibility that some 75's will ship before the
end of the month... just taking longer than expected.  Substantially
beefier castings necessitated by the addition of the bearings.  Load
factors should handle the SN10 with no problem.  Biggest caveat with the
SN10 or heavier scopes is the momentum they induce and the energy needed
to start and stop them.  Quiet slew eliminates this problem.  Motors on
the new 75's have been improved and are smoother.

Biggest factor is the change in the software which corrects an error in
one of the algorithms used to compute goto coordinates.  It seems in the
previous software that the closer you were to a perfect polar alignment,
the less accurate your goto calculations would be.  If you were
"perfect" in the polar alignment, this problem did not exist.  However,
close but not perfect was a problem.  The new version of the software
fixes this problem so a one star with repetitive slews back to Polaris
should be the preferred method of alignment if someone is interested in
really good polar alignment and accurate goto's.

Really sounds like Meade has gotten their ducks in a row with this new
mount and software.  He said their biggest problem is that with the
mount priced where it is it attracts too many newbies which have no
understanding or experiences with GEMS which are by far the best type of
mount but demand the most from the user in setup and alignment.

Just FYI....

Respectfully,
 
Warp
And:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I think what you sent is/was perfectly appropriate to post,
however, it has one ambiguity... by : 
  
>  The new version of the software fixes this problem...
 
do you mean the firmware which was just released (32Ea),
(which i expect they're loading like mad)
or  The Firmware Which Is Yet To Come?
 
> ...ducks in line...
 
Never walk behind a line of ducks in bare feet....
 
have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX125 unaccurate goto
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 2004 10:25:42
From:	BENNY ---.. (benny27@hotmail.com)
A I wrote you a couple of months ago sharing you a bad experience with
my brand new ETX125 (RA gears making clicking sound and scope not moving
to the right). I decide to sent back the scope to the local dealer
(Mexico). Well, my repaired scope finally arrived yesterday, it looks
like the dealer change the hole scope base including the RA gear train
and clutch.

I gave it a first try and it slews fine left to right, up and down but I
noticed a couple of things :

1.- In the RA base ,it takes a little bit of effort turning the scope
from hardstop to hardstop, even with the RA lock totally in the unclamp
position. Is this normal ? does this movement tends to ease with use ?

2.- After reset, calibrate and train my autostar / motors, I went to
landmarks and create a new one, just for the sake of testing my goto's
accuracy. While giving it a try I noticed that my scope slews fine in
high speeds, but near at the end of the goto, when the goto's switch to
low speed to make the final adjustments and center the landmark, the
scope doesn't slews ... I can still read the "slewing" message on my
autostar and hear the RA motor running at low speed, but looking through
the eyepiece scope is not moving, leaving my target out of the eyepiece
(26mm)FOV. Is this the so called backlash ? Do you think this can be
corrected by setting a new AZ percentage and following Clay's advice in
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_percentages.html ?

Thanks for your time

Regards

Ben
Mike here: No, not backlash. Try loosening the lubrication by unlocking the axis and moving the telescope from hardstop to hardstop, back and forth, several times.
Subject:	Auto star alignment
Sent:	Wednesday, July 7, 2004 09:58:27
From:	greg adams (gregadams12@hotmail.com)
Hi i have just purchased an etx 105ec and am having difficulty aligning
autostar.

i get as far as the unit slewing to arcturus (which is the first star it
uses on easy align) then when i try to adjust it using the arrows
nothing happens. l read on this site that i need to waitr for a beep
before i touch the buttons i have done this but it still doesn't move.
Should i take the auto star back to the shop or am i missing out a
procedure. i am sure i am correctly following the instructions.

ps great site

yours
sincerely Greg adams
Mike here: Two questions: Have you done the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES steps? Have you tried a faster slewing speed?

And:

thanks for the reply several people have suggested putting the speed up
to 6 which i tried and it now works well thanks again

greg

Subject:	Autostar Initializing Problem ETX-70AT
Sent:	Monday, July 5, 2004 09:01:46
From:	GerryHaas@aol.com (GerryHaas@aol.com)
I'm trying to help a friend who purchased a ETX-70AT with 494 hand
controller a couple years ago.

She tried to use it and got fustrated and it has been in closet ever
since.

The  problem is after it is powered. It gives the sun warning, then the
date and time screens. But when it gets to Daylight savings, I press
enter and it just sits there and display does not change. So I am unable
to get into any other menus. So I'm not able to do a reset or anything.

While stuck in this mode, I can use the arrow keys to move the scope.
But the up and down arrow keys seem reversed as the bottom key moves it
up and top key moves it down.

I intend to try calling Meade, but I thought I would ask your advice
first.

Thank you very much for any advice you may have.

Sincerly,  Gerry Haas
And from our Autostar expert:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
It sounds bad... 

>She tried to use it and got fustrated and it has been in closet ever
>since.

If it's been acting like that from Day One, i can certainly understand it.

The symptoms speak of broken communications -from- the telescope
to the Autostar, or bad memory in the Autostar.
Since you can -command- motion, that shows that the wires are all
connected. (the data channel is bidirectional, so it's not a case
of one wire being loose).

The "broken communications" could be a dead peripheral processor,
or dead encoders (or even a dirty encoder pickup).

This is, unfortunately, something that should've gone for service
during the warranty period.

If there's someone near you with any Autostarred telescope
(except an LX200gps), you could try (first) plugging your
Autostar 494 into -their- telescope (even if it's an ETX125).

If the 494 is working, it will either control the scope, or
declare: "Wrong handbox, use ETX Autostar with this telescope".
Either result will demonstrate that the 494 can "hear" the 
telescope.  
If it -doesn't- do either of the above, it's the 494 at fault.

(testing your Autostar in the -other- telescope minimizes the 
chance of your (possibly) sick ETX70 killing the other Autostar).

IF your test shows that the 494 is sick, then it's a coin-flip
as to whether you should try the other Autostar on the ETX70. 
The ETX70 -may- have damaged the 494.  Plugging a borrowed 
autostar into the ETX70 may damage -that- Autostar, too.

Meade's price for a repair cycle is probably on the order of $75.
(that's a guess based upon very old data).

Sorry for the bad news... (you DID put in FRESH batteries, yes?)

good luck
--dick
And:
Thank you for the info and prompt response. I appreciate your help.
                    Thanks, Gerry Haas

Subject:	Meade posts v32Ea.. adds PEC to -all- Polar-mounted scopes!
Sent:	Thursday, July 1, 2004 17:17:33
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Meade has posted version 32Ea of the 497 firmware.
http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Build.zip

And it adds PEC to ***all*** Polar-mountable
Autostarred telescopes.

(it's more  than PEC, it's less than PPEC,
it must be SPPEC (semi-permanent PEC)).

If you PARK your scope at the end of a session,
the PEC Training is still valid the next time you power up.

This version also switches to Lunar Tracking if you
GoTo the Moon (and switches back when you GoTo 
something else (unless you mess with it))

..a patch kit will be along in a few days...

have fun
--dick
And more:
FYI, the ReadMe:
Upgrades to 32Ea

PEC added for Polar mounted scopes
    PEC can be found under Setup - Telescope - Smart Drive.  Smart Drive will only
appear for Polar Mounted scopes.  Smart Drive is for the RA motor only.  Run PEC
Train first and if needed then run PEC Update after to improve the table.  Training
for LX90 and LXD55/75 will take about 8 - 9 mins.  Training for ETX 90/105/125 will
take about 24 mins.  To train use the handbox, AutostarSuite with the LPI, or any
other autoguider using the #909 Accessory Port Module (if the scope will allow the
#909).  After training PEC, go to PEC On/Off to turn on PEC to have the scope follow
the commands.  At the end of your session if you want to keep your training, you have
to Park your scope.  If you do not park your scope the Autostar will not be able to
remember its position on the worm.

For German Mounts, Three Star has been added to the Alignment menu.  This will
improve pointing.

For Polar mounted scope you can now use any alignment star in the sky.

Improved Satellite tracking for LXD55/75 scopes.

On a Moon Goto, Autostar will change to Lunar tracking rate.  Autostar will change
back to previously selected rate on the next Goto.  Note:  If Lunar tracking rate is
selected while in Lunar Tracking, it becomes the default rate and the scope will stay
at Lunar tracking on the next Goto.

Some serial strings fixed.

Some data base errors fixed.

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