Last updated: 31 July 2005
Subject: Autostar upate Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2005 18:13:56 From: Steven Lucchesi (email@example.com) I recently purchased an ETX90AT. I really like this telescope. The VAST amount of information on your website has helped me learn a great deal too. I do have a question about the "reset" after an Autostar download. The other day I upgraded to the 34EC version. I've read over and over on your sight that after downloading you should reset-calibrate motors-train drives, etc. When I finished this particular download a dialog box came up and said after a reset, the calibrate and train motors would be left unchanged. Does this mean that you no longer have to calibrate and train the drive after a reset? I understand that the calibrate, and retraining after a reset were done to clear up some problems that came up, but based on this message I received after the download is it still necessary? I have been getting great GOTO capabilites from my ETX, and I don't want to make changes unless I need to. Any light you can shed on this would be great. Thanks, Steve Lucchesi IllinoisMike here: My experience has been that I've needed to do a TRAIN DRIVES after every update, even though the update was supposed to retain the values. This was evident by the "rubberbanding" until I did the TRAIN DRIVES. CALIBRATE MOTORS is less an issue with the recent updates but does need to be done whenever you change power supplies or as battery power gets lower. HOWEVER, as you note, if you are getting good results, why mess with anything.
Thanks Mike for your quick reply. I did calibrate and train the drives (reluctantly) after the download. That was the second time I've trained the drives, the first was right out of the box. Per Dr. Sherrod's instructions, while training the drives I started with a low power eyepiece, and incrementally moved up to a high power eyepiece until the object was dead center in the field of view using #2 for a slew speed. It took a while, but it seems worth it. Every visible object that I select is within the viewfinder field of view, and better than 90% of those objects are within the low power eyepiece field of view, often dead center. This was why I was reluctant to train the drives over again if they didn't HAVE to be. But I did, and I am getting the same good results. Thanks Mike, Steve LucchesiMike here: Accurate training really does help with the GOTO accuracy.
Subject: Meade and Macs Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2005 05:27:21 From: John W Babiak (firstname.lastname@example.org) I really enjoy reading your site. I am a LX200 owner and Mac user. I find it terrible that Meade does not offer an OSX client for updating their telescopes. How about using the power of the web and your web site to start a write-in campaign to pressure Meade into developing a Mac version? John Blainville, Qc J7B 1L2 CanadaMike here: I and powerful others have tried the direct approach. Meade doesn't see a business case (yet) for doing that. Since a third party has come through with a Mac OS X Autostar #497 updater (AutostarX; read about it on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page). Hopefully there will be a version of AutostarX that supports the Autostar II at some point.
That's a shame. When you spend thousands of dollars on a telescope, it seems that the least that they can do is provide support to their Mac customers. I'm sure that if they bought out and took over the development of the 497 updater, it wouldn't cost them a fortune. You don't feel that asking Mac users to write Meade (via a link on your site or a message in a mailing list) would be worth a try? I can also get some pro-Mac sites involved. Sometimes when the direct approach doesn't work, shaming them into doing it could make things happen. JohnMike here: In this case, no. They know the demand and the need. It is just a matter of resources for Meade. Maybe if Celestron started supporting the Mac, then Meade would...
Subject: Autostar Logging Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 03:26:37 From: Mike Hogan (email@example.com) I'm wondering if there is a simple way to intercept and log the serial communications between the Autostar and AS Suite during a session. Besides general curiosity, it might be useful to record and later plot the path of the scope when tracking an object. My first thought was for satellite tracking, but then it occurred to me it might be useful for analysis of drift rates and patterns during tracking of celestial objects. That info might be useful in evaluating drive performance. I tried running Hyper Terminal but it reported the COM port was in use by another program. DUH! I should have realized that would happen. Anyway, your thoughts would be welcome. Regards, Mike HoganAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The program you want is called "PortMon" It's free, and is a -very- powerful tool. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896644.aspx tested, recommended... have fun --dick
Subject: ETX & Satellite Observing Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 03:00:24 From: Mike Hogan (email@example.com) With the Return to Flight of STS-114, I thought I might take a shot at observing it with the '125PE. I won't have a good visible pass until near the end of the mission, so I thought I'd do a little testing in preparation. Naturally, I had some problems and questions. Every day there is a series of 3 to 4 passes that are above my horizon, some almost directly overhead. Using the latest TLE's, I set up the scope to follow the predicted trajectory and started tracking when the countdown reached zero. I had the Autostar Suite configured to follow the scope position. The resulting path of the scope was no where near the predicted trajectory. I am using David Ransom's excellent program, STSPLUS (freeware), to display realtime position and provide predicts during the mission. My first question is, What prediction model does Autostar use to process the TLE's? They are generated by NORAD using the SGP4 model and my understanding is any processing must use that model for accuracy. Second, What is the maximum slew rate of the RA/Az axis in the ETX series? I noticed that during the high elevation passes, the Az axis could not keep up, resulting in a very large "keyhole". For those not familiar with the term, a "keyhole" is the area of the sky near zenith where a Alt/Az or Az/El telescope or antenna loses track of an object due to the high rate of acceleration required in the Az axis. The best example is a pass directly overhead where the axis must slew 180 deg. instantaneously. There is a similar area near the horizon for X-Y mounted antennas. One cautionary note for those trying satellite tracking for the first time. I learned this the hard way. Before loading new TLE's into the Autostar database using ASU, you must first download all existing objects, add the new objects and then upload. The ASU program doesn't have an "Add" function, just Replace All. The first time I tried this I ended up deleting all existing objects, landmarks, tours, comets etc. Fortunately, I had previously saved a copy of the database. I would appreciate advice from anyone who has had success tracking the Space Station or Shuttle in the past. Regards, Mike HoganMike here: There are several articles on satellites and ISS tracking on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Have a read through those.
And from our Autostar expert:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) ======== Every day there is a series of 3 to 4 passes that are above my horizon, some almost directly overhead. Using the latest TLE's, I set up the scope to follow the predicted trajectory and started tracking when the countdown reached zero. I had the Autostar Suite configured to follow the scope position. ========== I haven't tried using Autostar Suite to monitor the position during a sat pass with the 497. It may be confusing things. Try a simple "just watch the scope" pass *without a computer connection* and see if it follows the same path. You can override the ETX125PE's time/date setting from the Setup menu, and thereby replay the same pass over and over. You can also "play" a pass many times -before- the countdown reaches zero, it'll follow the same path each time. The pass is pre-loaded as a list of 200 relative motions (well, speed/durations) from the AOS point. Once that list is made (and that happens before it shows you the AOS data), it's not recalculated on-the-fly.. that's why you can start a pass 2 hours before the predicted time, and it'll still move the scope along the same path. Very handy for testing. ========= The resulting path of the scope was no where near the predicted trajectory. I am using David Ransom's excellent program, STSPLUS (freeware), to display realtime position and provide predicts during the mission. ============ I tend to use www.heavens-above.com predictions, and their sky charts... but they do have the limit of only showing the visible portion of passes, and only after sunset. ========== My first question is, What prediction model does Autostar use to process the TLE's? They are generated by NORAD using the SG P4 model and my understanding is any processing must use that model for accuracy. ========== I can't tell you (for sure) what they -use-, but if you manually enter a set of TLE's, you'll see that they -don't- use some of the E's... such as the drag coefficients. =========== Second, What is the maximum slew rate of the RA/Az axis in the ETX series? =========== Roughly 8 degrees per second (although "Maximum" can be more). This is a case where your power supply can make a difference, since the scope will try to slew as fast at possible at times (such as a high-elevation track) =========== I noticed that during the high elevation passes, the Az axis could not keep up, resulting in a very large "keyhole". ================= What i do is assess the predicted path, and if it's going to be above 75 degrees elevation, i either accept that i'll have to jump the keyhole manually, *or* i'll mount the telescope on my wooden wedgie (two pieces of plywood, a piano hinge, two turnbuckles as "latitude adjusters"... c-clamped to my platform.) so it's "Polar", which turns an "overhead" to an easy side-shot. (in Polar, don't try to track satellites which approach the pole). ========== One cautionary note for those trying satellite tracking for the first time. I learned this the hard way. Before loading new TLE's into the Autostar database using ASU, you must first download all existing objects, add the new objects and then upload. The ASU program doesn't have an "Add" function, just Replace All. The first time I tried this I ended up deleting all existing objects, landmarks, tours, comets etc. Fortunately, I had previously saved a copy of the database. ============== How to avoid that: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_iss.html <-- short http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_satellite.html <---long ============ I would appreciate advice from anyone who has had success tracking the Space Station or Shuttle in the past. =========== If you look in Mike's -ancient- archives (year 2000), you'll see my long postings of my first successful (and the 5 or 6 previous unsuccessful) tracks... Other handy resources: Brent Boshart's excellent SatelliteTracker program from http://www.heavenscape.com There's a Yahoo webgroup devoted to it: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/satellitetracker/ ... it -far- more accurately drives your ETX across the sky for tracking. have fun --dick
Subject: Autostar 494 corrupt EEPROM Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 12:48:55 From: Ian & Marlen (email@example.com) My 494 has suffered a corruption and won't boot. I can communicate with it in boot strap mode and can see that at boot up the reset vector causes a jump to E000 and a few instructions later causes a jump to the internal EEPROM at B600. However, dis-assembling that area results in junk instructions so it looks like it got wiped. Do you have a listing of the boot EEPROM so I can re-programme it? I read on Gene Chimahusky's page (on your site) that he had done a similar thing and it fixed the problem. Thanks for a great web site Best regards IanMike here: That's all that is there about the #494 code.
And from our resident Autostar expert:
From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) I think you're mixing modes... if you're running it in Motorola's embedded bootstrap mode, the memory map is completely different than when it's running as an Autostar. I suspect you're seeing the B600/B7FF -data- (since that's what the Autostar puts there, not code). If you see your site name in there, at around B6D2, that's a dead giveaway... All of the 494's i've ever seen (and i have -not- seen recent ones) have reset vectors which point to address B363, where there's runnable code, not a secondary vector. In a separate mailing, i'll send my EEPROM's contents, but i doubt it'll help much. It would help in diagnosis to learn -how- your 494 became corrupted. good luck --dickAnd:
Wow! Thanks very much to both of you. Looks like I've got an interesting evening ahead of me. BTW I believe the corruption occurred during power on with a poor power connection i.e. low voltage. Thanks again Ian
Subject: Re: AutoStar 34Ec Upgrade Questions Sent: Monday, July 25, 2005 18:34:49 From: MikeRoni@aol.com (MikeRoni@aol.com) Thanks for your fast response! I will be posting several questions regarding AutoStar updating using AutoStarX for your consideration. Mike BoydMike here: Feel free to search the site, view the Helpful Information: Autostar Info pages, read the FAQ, even read the manual, before asking questions. Many times the answers are there.
Subject: AutoStar 34Ec Upgrade Questions Sent: Monday, July 25, 2005 10:04:52 From: MikeRoni@aol.com (MikeRoni@aol.com) I have an April 2003 vintage ETX105EC using AutoStar 497 v26Ec. I have two questions. I downloaded a file from Meade support by clicking on a link titled "34Ec." That put a file "Build.zip" on my desktop. This, in turn, created a folder "Build" which contains "Build34Ec.ROM" and "readme34Ec.txt." The readme says: "Upgrades to 33Ef Added Zip Codes. Some serial strings fixed. Upgrades to 33El Fixed site problem Fixed LST display Upgrades to 34Ec Fixes moon tracking problem Improved pointing on second star with LNT module New LX90 scopes added" First, the text refers to 33Ef and 34Ec upgrades. I thought this was version 34Ec. Can you help clarify this? Second, if I upgrade from 26Ec to 34Ec (or whatever the latest version is) will I get any significant improvements in functionality, performance or reliability (as opposed to database-type information) on the ETX 105EC? To my knowledge I haven't had any site or moon tracking problems, but I may have just been lucky of not very observant. And, other upgrades before 34Ec may have had significant changes that I should have. Thanks for you help. Mike BoydMike here: There are bug fixes and new features in the newer versions. 3.3Ec is the current version. But like any software upgrade, you should only do it if you are having problems with your current version OR you need a new feature. If you are happy with what you have, then doing the upgrade is NOT mandatory. That said, there really isn't any reason NOT to upgrade to 3.4Ec. As to the differing versions in the README, that may be there for historical reasons.
Subject: re: Meade Autostar manuals Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 20:12:48 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) They can be downloaded from http://www.meade.com/manuals/ or a phone call to 800-626-3233 will also get them. You will want -both- an Autostar manual http://www.meade.com/manuals/TelescopeManuals/AutostarManuals/Autostar497english.pdf and the manual for whatever telescope you are connecting it to. Also check out the FAQ: http://www.meade.com/support/etxautofaq.html There is a set of web pages which are actually -better- than the manual, and they start here: http://www.meade.com/manuals/autostar/index.html If you have a 494 Autostar (no numeric keypad), then the manual is: http://www.meade.com/manuals/TelescopeManuals/AutostarManuals/autostar494.pdf have fun --dick
Subject: re: autostar help Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 19:58:25 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The fact you're getting question marks using Hyperterminal in Flash Load means that you do have successful communications. There is only -one- useful command in Flash Load that Hyperterminal -won't- get "?" as a response: "V" should return your current version. So start up the Autostar Updater, read the Help page on "damaged handbox" and try again. IF it still can't connect and download, try StarPatch from http://www.stargps.ca as an alternate downloader. It's much more robust in these situations. good luck --dickAnd:
From: dave (Dave@usfinancialservice.com) thanks for the reply WHEN I FIRST CONNECT THE AUTOSTAR NOW WITHOUT USING THE FLASH MODE IT WONT DETECT THE AUTOSTAR AND THE AUTO STAR LCD DISPLAY IS GARBLED JIBBERISH. BUT IF I USE THE FLASH MODE"ENTER+DOWNARROW THEN CONNECT TO AUTOSTAR UPDATE IT ASKS IF IM IN FLASH MODE SO I KNOW IT IS DETECTING THE COM PORT BUT IT WILL START TO PUSH THE SOFTWARE TO THE CONTROLLER AS I CAN SEE THE SERIAL BLINK.OH JEEZE AS I AM TYPING this from my pc i have my laptop next to me that only has usb connectors so i have a usb to serial connector well to make my letter wrighting easier i hooked the autostar up to my regular desktop to send you screen shots and it appears to be loading now...lol. so i guess i will just thank you for your time and if anyone out there is using a belkin usb to serial adaptor be warned it wont flash a autostar controller. thanks mike oh btw sorry for the caps.Mike here: There have been reports of problems with Belkin converters. I use a Keyspan one with my Macintosh.
Subject: autostar help Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 11:50:17 From: dave (Dave@usfinancialservice.com) hello your site is great. I am a beginner and I think I fried my 497 controller "un plugged during download". I can get to the flash load 3.0 screen auto suite detects it but when it goes to send the file I get a no response. HyperTerminal only gives me question marks when I try to type commands. and I tested my cables they seem to be fine. oh also my apologies if this is not the right place to ask a question. regards DaveMike here: Was the first download proceeding OK before you disconnected the Autostar? If so, that means that your computer and the Autostar were communicating. If not, then you have some other problem (i.e., port conflict possibly). In the current situation after the ASU app detects the Autostar and you start the update, what error message do you get?
Subject: autostar495 to497 conversion for etx90 Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 09:14:49 From: AWard14583@aol.com (AWard14583@aol.com) I have acquired a autostar 495 which I wish to use with an etx90. It contains 2 rom chips (i think) marked U5 and U80. Is it easy to convert 495 to497. I can access cables etc. I hope that you can help Thanks AndyMike here: Just run the Meade Autostar Updater Application; it will update it.
Subject: autostar newbie Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 05:43:36 From: Andy Lancour (email@example.com) I purchased an etx 90 used and was wonderingif I should reset it from scratch for its new observing site? I'm about 50 miles from the previous owner. I have your excellent book, but I couldn't find an answer. Also, if I take it camping, do I need to enter new info as well? Is there a guide to help me w/ these questions? Thank you.Mike here: It is always a good idea to RESET when purchasing a used system. That clears out any adjustments and mods that the previous owner may have done. These may or may not cause difficulties. But always better to start from scratch, especially if troubleshooting becomes necessary. As to using a different location when camping, that depends on how far away it is and how much an error you are willing to put up with on the initial alignment. As to a guide, did you get a manual with it? If not, see the FAQ page for links to manuals.
One more thing. What is the procedure for saving a separate viewing location? Sorry to be a painMike here: Site --> Add
Subject: information...please... Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005 05:51:40 From: Mimi04minnie@wmconnect.com (Mimi04minnie@wmconnect.com) my autostar was bought for my grandson and he is now old enough to learn ...I have the software but cannot locate the meade booklet of instructions that came with the telescope....please let me know if one can be sent to my grandson......and many thankyous......mimi matheson.....Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the subject. Thanks for understanding. For info on Meade manuals, see the FAQ page on the ETX Site.
Subject: re: New Autostar Motor Fault Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 21:43:27 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) The fact that reversing the cable seemed to fix it leads to two more things you should try: (a) put the cable -back- into the original orientation. (b) if the problem returns, then you -still- have a bad cable, and really should replace it (a phone call to Meade...) have fun --dick
Subject: re: Wireless Autostar Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 21:40:57 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Um... why not just call Meade ( 800-626-3233) and get it replaced under warranty? If it was already malfunctioning, you can probably talk around the visit to the ground. (er, "damaged in shipping"?) Many people posting to the LX200GPS yahoo group are quite happy with theirs. They -would- have preferred that the keypad be other than the rubber membrane of the original Autostars, but that's about the only complaint. good luck --dick
Subject: Wireless Autostar Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 17:55:49 From: Roy (firstname.lastname@example.org) I don't know how this fits into your site, I know you guys talk about some LX200 stuff here. I am writing to try to get the word out. If anybody has purchased the wireless autostar controller, don't open the box - just send it back! This is the worst engineered piece of crap I have ever seen. It is soooo fragile it makes one wonder how intelligent people could pass this trash off on an unsuspecting (and loyal) customer. The idea is great of course, and I bet they have sold a million of them already. I think we should get together an sue them for stupidity for what they have pulled on us. I bet you can't guess that I am mad as heck. I dropped mine the first night and it bounced off my shoe. When it hit the asphalt, it literally exploded. That was after it started flickering because the on/off switch was faulty. On top of that, the display was loose inside case and I had to tip the unit towards the ground to read the top line. Even with the obvious defects, I was trying to evaluate it before I sent it back to determine if I wanted to replace it or get my money back. I should have put it back in the box when it was obviously already screwed up. Too late now, I'm out $249. Roy McCabe
Subject: New Autostar Motor Fault Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2005 11:21:58 From: Marc (email@example.com) My Autostar for my 2 month old ETX-125AT would reset nearly everytime I handled the controller. It was returned to Meade and replaced within 3 weeks. My current problem is a Motor Fault error. Nothing has changed since I last used the scope only the new Autostar. I have reset the controller and can't train the drives. When I press the up or down arrow buttons nothing happens. I am using new batteries and the Autostar reports 100 percent batteries. I have seen the drives work in all directions. I enjoyed the scope for it's easy align and setup. Could the Autostar be the root of this problem? Should I purchase a 12v adapter and try it? I'd hate to send this Autostar back. Costs time and money. Thank you, Marc CaronMike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS? Is the proper telescope model and mounting mode selected? Have you tried changing to a higher slew speed?
Thanks for the quick reply! I have reset the controller. The scope goes into a quick Calibrate Motors Test then fails. The proper telescope and mount are selected. I have tried a higher slew speed. I am assuming that when you change slew speeds both axix change. Marc CaronMike here: Yes, one speed for both axes. Try reversing the cable.
And an update:
When I reverse the cable as suggested the motor test at start up completed this time, last time it did not. I re-calibrated the motors and everyrhing seems fine. Now to keep this setup permanent. Thank you for your help and time. Marc
Subject: Autostar Feedback: USB to RS232 converter Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2005 02:07:22 From: Mike Hogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Belkin has two (that I know of) converters. The one I use with my Dell laptop is F5U109. On their website, Belkin refers to it as a "USB PDA Adapter", and it lists for $29.95. You can find it for about $20. The other one is F5U103 and lists for $59.95. I don't know anything about it so I can't comment on function. The '109 works fine for connecting Autostar Suite to the Autostar handbox and controlling the 'scope. I have had problems trying to update the Autostar software version with it using the Update function, but only on the laptop. It works on my desktop machine. I also use it on the laptop with my Garmin eTrex GPS. One caution on using it with a laptop - if the laptop goes to "sleep" or suspend, the the connection is lost. You have to physically remove and reconnect it for the system to establish a link again. At least, that's what happens on mine using WinXP Home Edition. Hope this helps. Mike Hogan
Subject: USB to RS323 Converter Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 19:29:09 From: Robert C. Maples (email@example.com) Bob Maples here again. I noticed in the Autostar Information page under Software, PCs and USB ... last updated 9/26/04, you make mention of a Belkin USB to RS232 Converter. I have searched through the archives trying to find the particular message that references this hoping to find a model number for the device as I have a Sony Viao laptop I want to connect to my 125 PE, but the laptop does not have a serial port ... thus I need the converter to accomplish my task. Can you perhaps point me to the message? I have been out once (weather has not co-operated) since getting the scope last Friday and was extremely impressed after I get a couple more sessions under my belt I will send my comments and thoughts for addition to the site. Thanks for the wealth of Info on the site. Sincerely, Robert C. MaplesMike here: I didn't see mention of another message from that page. But if you check the Belkin web site you should be able to find one. NOTE: it is RS-232, not 323 as you have in the message subject.
Subject: Telescope Target "sticking" to Terrestrial vs Astronomical setting Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 09:37:34 From: Caroline Elliott (firstname.lastname@example.org) I've become a little more disturbed by reading about glitches and such since I discovered the community boards around the world discussing LX90. Yep, I bought the Autostar 497 package and uploaded the 34Ec(05) version. What the heck? It solved most of the 33Cf (04) set up problems and I did become adept at guessing what to do for next time update is required. Problem still remains though in the Telescope Target setting menu. I cannot make the setting stick to the Astronomical selection. It reverts to Terrestrial. Have you any guesses as to what I can do to solve this? I just received my scope last week and already discovered that the customer service rep wouldn't have a clue and the manager doesn't return calls. If I didn't have some time and a computer and research ability, I would still be "jiggling the battery in the LNT module" as was suggested by the customer service rep. And yes, the sales person at the store would be selling me another 505 cable that I already had on-hand in my Autosuite Lunar Planetary Imager kit. No news from Meade following my online registration regarding updating of program. Won't it be fun at the next Star Party when I figure out what the Meade Presentation speaker actually means when he begins talking? Cheerios, Careoline (a one week novice who is ...already... tired of being publically embarrassed for Meade. Alignment Set up at local club's outreach observation night was a dismal failure due to software glitches. I did like pointing it at those lovely shiny points of light and tracking it for myself. Too bad the line up of kids were turned away though.)Mike here: Are you SURE that the setting isn't being kept? Just having the ">" show the target selection sometimes just means that is the one that will be saved when you press ENTER.
Thanks Mike for your response. I thought about your question. You see when I go to Astronomical, there is no > next to it until after I select it and then go back down the menu to see if it "took". But then, after I change a site or turn off the machine this setting does not "stick". Needless to say, I am not "resetting". I am supposedly able to just go to align when I turn on the machine. No way! I have to correct the Target to be Astronomical. I checked the menu and see that Terresterial is below the Astronomical Target selection. Repeatedly, I have already selected Astronomical and confirmed the > is present, then entered to firm that choice. Then, I press mode button to immediately move back out of the Target menu. So, I am frantically checking myself each and everytime I do this and am absolutely sure that this is all I do, so as not to remove my selection. To double-check the menu logic: Where else is the > resting against the menu item when not selected? If I check the Target selected, shouldn't I see displayed the > there to indicate my previous selection ? I don't understand why the scope points low for Vega when in our summer sky it is high near the zenith. I am wondering if it is because the scope reverts to Terrestrial? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, especially if you can reassure me that it doesn't matter whether I see a > next to Astronomical or next to Terrestrial. Yours truly, Caroline ElliottMike here: There are many places in the menu tree that use the ">" but I forget which ones don't display the current setting. When you do the Autostar alignment steps Astronomical is automatically selected. You can confirm this by noting that the drives are running.
Mike, you are terrific. I am so happy you wrote back. I have heard the motor running and now I will be content to let the matter alone in my mind. We have haze in our evening sky....oh well. Thank you for your help, Caroline and Chris Elliott
Subject: Post Beep refinement Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 07:46:24 From: Tom Stock (email@example.com) Would you happen to know if post beep "refinement" has been killed in the later version of autostar (34ec)? I just upgraded and have had some rubberbanding and am hoping it's not due to this rediculous "feature". If it is, then I am considering going all the way back to 26ec! Thanks! -tomMike here: I don't recall noticing it. But have you done a TRAIN DRIVES following the upgrade?
Hi Mike, thanks for the reply. Turned out I had the Percentages up too high, and my batteries were falling below 70%. Replaced batteries and did reset, calib, train. Did some tests and it looks like the creep is not in 34ec (thankfully). BTW, thanks for the time and effort you put into your website, I find it very useful. I've saved many of your articles as reminders for when the scope acts. up. -tomMike here: Yep, easy to miss doing a CALIBRATE MOTORS after a power source change and a TRAIN DRIVES after a ROM update.
Subject: autostar speed controls fail in altitude Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 06:33:45 From: Royston Spears (firstname.lastname@example.org) have just bought ETX 125 with autostar. most of my manuals and books deal with the old controller (so I am having problems!). to change manual slewing speeds I type in a no. from 1-9 (9 is fastest). the horizontal control seems to change speed fine (goes very slow on 1 and very fast on 9). but the altitude speed always stays fast. Is this normal or am I overlooking something? presumably both the altitude and the azimuth should respond to the speed changes? enjoy your great site, Many thanks Royce (England)Mike here: Yes, both axes should be essentially the same speed. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES? If so, do a RESET, check that the proper telescope model and mounting mode is selected, then do the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. When doing the TRAIN DRIVES be certain to do both axes.
Subject: AutoStar Controler question Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 10:43:29 From: Shanna L. Schultz (email@example.com) I have used my newly acquired telescope a few times recently and have noticed that the AutoStar controler screen is not clear. There are lines that run through the screen. Is this a mistake that should be corrected by the company? Or is there something that I can do to fix this problem? Thank you. ShannaMike here: It sounds like the Brightness and/or Contrast may be turned up too high. You can adjust them from the Utilities menu.
Subject: Autostar Full ?? Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 10:34:33 From: NEIL MCGARRITY (firstname.lastname@example.org) Firstly, let me say your site is fantastic and I am sure we all appreciate the time you put in, to keep it going. It will certainly help me in the future as I learn to use my Meade telescope. I am not afraid to say I am a "newbie". I have an ETX125 with a 497 Autostar which I got very recently and am having some problems getting it up to date. I have managed to upgrade to the latest software release (version 34E I believe) however, when I tried to update the asteroids, comets, satellite etc information, I appear to have run out of memory. I currently now have no asteroid information in the handbox and there is only space for 1 tour (Tonights Best), although the rest of the information appears to have updated as best as I can tell. If I try to bring across the missing information from my PC to the handbox, I get a negative "Total Memory" figure. Around -117,000 if I remember correctly. Is there a way I can clear some memory so I can get all the information in there, or is there a way to get the things that a "new person" is likely to look at of which I think relatively bright asteroids may be one? Best regards, Neil McGarrity, Scotland, UKMike here: Have you added a lot of information yourself into the Autostar? If not, you should not be getting this error.
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) The 497 Autostar only has 63 KB available for all user objects (including Tours). Each satellite is 51 bytes, each Comet is near that, etc.etc. > > I currently now have no asteroid information in the handbox and there > > is only space for 1 tour (Tonights Best), although the rest of the > > information appears to have updated as best as I can tell. If I try to > > bring across the missing information from my PC to the handbox, I get > > a negative "Total Memory" figure. Around -117,000 if I remember > > correctly. Well, there are about six classes of object, and the bottom of the Library Pane (and Handbox pane) on the Updater tell you how many you have in each. So: How many Comets? Asteroids? User Objects? Landmarks? Tours (and sizes)? Satellites? (if you used the Updater to fetch just the brightest, that's about 150, of 7.6 KB, more than 20% of the total space). If you asked the Updater to "update" its lists, rather than "erase and replace", it can sometimes double-enter the objects (so that 150 satellites becomes 15KB). Check for that... > > Is there a way I can clear some memory so I can get all the > > information in there, Not really... 63 KB is it, unless Meade redesigns how they do it. The LX200gps (which has lots more memory) gives over 300 KB for user objects. You'd half-fill that. > > or is there a way to get the things that a "new > > person" is likely to look at of which I think relatively bright > > asteroids may be one? The asteroids were discovered in more-or-less "brightness" order. So if you just load the first twenty, you're probably covering all the bases. NEW, interesting, Asteroids can be added from the keypad (since that'll happen only about 4 times per year) It's usually the Comets and Satellites which eat an excessive amount of memory... look at http://www.heavens-above.com to get an idea of how many are bright enough to chase amongst the satellites. have fun, don't try to see everything the first night... --dickAnd:
Hi Richard/Mike, Firstly thank you to both of you for responding so quickly. I had 1029 satellites in the handbox, 0 asteroids, 190 comets, 0 landmarks, 0 user objects and 1 tour (Tonights best). The available memory was 1788 bytes. When I "get export data from WWW.." and downloaded to my PC, it downloaded 1242 asteroids, 1029 satellites, 192 comets, 0 landmarks, 6 tours and 0 user objects. This is the data I was tyring to send to the handbox. I realised by your email that this was FAR too much data. I was not aware I could filter what comes down from the Net. Having changed some of the options (like "download 100 or so brightest satellites") I have now got the following in the handbox with some memory to spare. 69 asteroids, 116 satellites, 192 comets, and 5 tours with 11,958 bytes to spare. Much better, and I now presume this is much more like what you would expect to see. Thank you very much for your time. Best regards, Neil McGarrity, Scotland, UK
Subject: Autostar "Motor Unit Fault" - with or without motors attached Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 20:47:20 From: Jeremy Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here is my dilemma. I've upgraded my SVP mount to goto with the AutoStar #497 controller and DS motors. Here is text I've posted on other forums (Cloudy Nights "Mounts" - Re: SVP goto conversion - in chronological order), but so far no answers: ------------------------------ DAY ONE: Well, here is the story. I installed everything and of course played around with the controller connected to see if the motors worke and if I could "slew" around. It worked fine. Then I remembered Dick's patches so I went in search of them here. Found them and installed the newest patch 34cc (I had already installed the 34Ec patch from Meade). Shortly after installing that patch ang going into to choose the 144eq scope, it started reading motor failures, with no motors attached. I've since tried to re-patch the 34cc, Flash load twice and now I'm flash loading the 34Ec meade patch to see if that will work. Before I continue, I must mention the the original power adapter (a 12v 300ma Universal Adapter) gave out after the original re-patch (second time). I assume the adapter was going out before that and figured that might have been causing the "motor failures". (also, becuase when I was trying it out, it was doing the random slewing like crazy and "creep 'n beep") Well, I have a new 12v 1000ma Universal adapter and am still having this problem. I re-installed the 34Ec update from a Flash reset and no dice. Hooked it back up to the mount to see if I could troubleshoot some more. Well, here's what I got: 1) I power up the autostar, after warnings it immediately does a "Motor test" 2) It slews the RA quite a bit and a little on the DEC, then registeres a "motor unit fault", I hit and the same thing. 3) I can, however, use the DEC slewing button - While the fault still registers - (ALT plug) and it works with no problem, but I only get "spurts" out of the other motor - I can't even tell if it's me or just random. 4) so I switch the plugs on the interface plate, now I can operate the RA motor (like the DEC motor before), but get spurts out of the DEC motor now. So, it seems the problem may lay in the ALT plug on the interface, or maybe on the connectors themselves - I don't know. So now, I might try to clean the plugs with alcohol and blow out any debris, it's all I can think of right now. The "motor unit fault" (MUF) happened even when they weren't connected, so that may point to the paddle or interface, but why? ------------------------ DAY TWO: Since I've switched the motors cables (as mentioned in my last message) and got the results I did, wouldn't that point to something else? Please let me know, I'm sure you understand the amount of frustration I've experienced. I spent over 12 hours on Saturday cleaning and re-lubing the mount, and another 2 hours installing the GOTO. To have it all hang on a power issue, well, that's just too much! -------------------------- DAY THREE: The motors are "spurting" like I described, but all the time - connected in either Alt or AZ plug. Both of my motors work fine, but only in the AZ plug. It's the Alt plug that seems to be the common factor in the "spurting". That being said, with the controller constantly reading "Motor Unit Failure",with out being connected to motors or not, seems to be my biggest issue. I think if that gets solved, maybe the other problems will go away - or at least I can troubleshoot them after the controller exhibits normal behavior. I just turn it on, it loads up like normal and immediately starts drive testing - then immediate "MUF". ---------------------- DAY FOUR: Ok, so I've been switching the motor's plugs between ALT and AZ to see if it's consistent, here's what I've found: 1) It always works in the AZ plug, but never in the ALT (manually works that is, it runs for 2 seconds and off for 3 sec. by itself) Either motor 2) With the HBX plugged in and turned on (both motors plugged in) it will say "testing motors", then run the AZ motor for a second or so the read a MUF. 3) Doing the same thing, but unplugging the AZ motor (leaving the ALT in) it flashing quickly "testing motors" but the motor does not run and it immediately says registers a MUF. (this is the same for either motor. 4) While power is on, both motors plugged in (same as #2) then pressing "Mode" to re-try the motors, it performs the same as #2 and #3, AZ plug will try the motor and fail it, but ALT plug will not try the motor and fail it. A New Finding: 1) I unplugged the paddle from the interface panel (to check the connection) and the motors started intermittantly working by themselves - with no HBX hooked up. 2) Left alone (after power was plugged in) they would start about 5-12 seconds later, each motor running for 3 seconds or so, off for 2 - but not at the same time, but overlapping slightly. 3) Tried to "reposition" the plugs, thought that made a difference - but could not get consistent results, but it did alter the cycles somewhat. So, Does this confirm that it is the interface panel? I will take a closer look but I'm no electrician. I have a multi meter but am not very good at using it but I'll give it a try. In the meantime, where can one of these things be bought? That might be a good investment at this point... ------------------------------- DAY FIVE: I think I can rule out the motors, but I will probably order some more just in case. I did reverse the HBX cable, no results. I checked the interface board for bad soldering, or anything but could not find anything out of place or burnt out. (so, I don't think a mulitmeter check will tell me anything that I can fix, replacement is probably a better option). The motors seemed to work prior to the firm ware updates. Both motors slewed on command (manually and when given a command) I didn't have a chance to try it in the field, only in my workshop. (It did creep and beep, and randome slewed quite a bit too before anyway) After the firmware (Dick's Patch) it worked (without motors) until I started messing around with the setup options, then it read a MUF and hasn't stopped. I can't remember exactly what I was on, maybe Telescope selection. Anyway, no motors were connected only the computer cable and power. I would like to reload the firmware, but maybe a different way than before. How many ways are there to reset it? Only the ENTER/DOWNSCROLL method? I've heard about a "Hard Reset" but I cannot find out how to do it with the Updater software. ----------------------------------------------- DAY SIX: I can't get away from the MUF. After I turn it on and press "5" to acknowledge the sun warning, it registers a MUF. Once the Motor Unit Fault is detected, I can't go on from there. I only can press MODE to get it to try the motors again or press 1-4, 6-9 to change motor speed. I'll go ahead ad update with the 34i you sent and see if that helps. In the meantime I've ordered some new motors, a new HBX cable, and interface panel from Telescope Warehouse (wow, their cheap!) So, maybe then I can really troubleshoot the problem if it isn't corrected by then. Let me know your thoughts about the "hard reset" ---------------------------------------------- RECAP: -Motors or not, the controller will only say MUF after sun warning, regardless of the updates I load (34i, 34Ec, 34cc, etc, Flashloaded or regular) -Motors work separately (using slewing buttons) in the AZ plug, but not in the ALT plug (they did before the original update) -Highly possible lost power during or shortly after the original update - (I've done several Flashloads since then successfully, no results) -Except for the "random slewing" and creep after beep, the system seemed to work fine before the original update. - Circuit boards look fine in the interface panel and motors, cables look ok too. No multi-meter tester done however. -HBX menus un-accessible, no settings can be changed on the controller except for motor speed. -New motors, HBX cable, & Interface Cable ordered and on their way. -1000ma 12V Universal Power Supply (wall outlet) used to power Autostar -Updated with 34i, 34Ec, 34cc with ASU v4.2 regular method and FlashLoaded many times - all successful - No Results --------------------------------------------- Mike, sorry for this expansive email, but I've run out of options. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. -JeremyMike here: Some comments. 1) The 1000mA power supply may be too anemic for your motors, hence the MUF. 2) Without the Autostar connected, MUFs should not be surprising since it can't talk to the motors. Also, it is not uncommon for the motors to go berserk without an Autostar attached. 3) You didn't mention that you had done a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. Those are absolutely necessary, especially to avoid random slewing and creep after beep.
Thanks Mike for your comments. 1)About the power supply, what specifications would be ideal? 2) The MUF's first happened (and continue to happen) with the motors connected. They happen with or without, only when they are connected the AZ is tested for a few seconds then MUF. 3) I didn't do a Calibratation or Training because I was not under the stars yet, only testing functionality in the daytime. The MUF's started happening and now I can't access any HBX menus. Is there a way to "hard reset" via the updater? -JeremyMike here: You may need 1500-2500mA, depending upon the motors and the load when slewing, especially at higher speeds. No way to reset from updater.
From: Dick Seymour (email@example.com) Mike's points are all correct: (a) 1000 ma is whimpy for any kind of load, but not an issue here. (b) Since the Autostar can't talk to non-existent motors, MUF for no motors seems reasonable. (c) you can't Calibrate, since you can't get that far. (d) from the sounds of it, it's bad connections between the Autostar and the Alt motor unit. Either a fault in the power panel, cold solder joint in the Autostar (where the RJ45 connector attaches to the board), or something died in the Autostar in the final driver/receiver circuit for the Alt. (e) i've got to admit, i'm now confused about which axis is really at fault. Day 1, Step 3: the "spurting" socket is the one i'm talking about. You're able to send motion commands -to- the motor, but feedback is failing. (which indicates it's the receiver circuit in the Autostar. Maybe.) Day 1, Step 4: is sounds like the (old) RA motor is working properly in the DEC socket??? Which would mean is was the RA socket at fault. Here's where i lost track of which is which, and whether you're descibing a motor or a socket when you use "RA", "DEC", Alt and Az. (f) given (e), let's rephrase it to: one socket seems to give reasonable slewing control. The other socket doesn't (either motor in the "good" socket works). So it's the socket or Autostar, not the motors. It's still a puzzle as to whether it's a driver or receiver at fault, since noise could mimic the existence of a driver (when it's dead), and the MUF could be because the receiver is properly reporting weird motions. A dead driver would also mean that the Autostar commands for the motor to report its position are not being really sent, so the autostar sees the lack of a response as a motor problem. (g) if you have a friend (or store) with any Autostar scope, can you test your Autostar on that scope? (h) as Mike said, motors without a controlling autostar simply run randomly. They have "noise" coming in on the un-driven wires (which are now antennae listening to your local electronic environment) and respond noisly. (i) the power panel can be replaced with a bunch of appropriately wired telephone connectors/sockets... but you might enlist the help of a more electronically-comfortable friend (know any ham radio operators?). This page: http://m1.aol.com/kewtasheck/powerpanel.html gives the functionally equivalent circuit. You could ohmmeter the panel just to verify that each motor socket's 4 leads all make it to the HBX socket (do this with NO batteries, NO motors and NO autostar attached.. just the powerpanel alone.). good luck --dickAnd:
> Is there a way to "hard reset" via the updater? I think the -old- (v2.4) Updater used to have that ability. The current v3.61/v4.2 version doesn't. There's a binary command sequence which could be put into a file, then sent to the Autostar via Hyperterminal which would force a reset, but i really think your problem is hardware-based. I'll try to create the "reset" file and attach it to a subsequent message. (i have to do some homework on it first) good luck --dickAnd more:
Whups... Meade has -removed- the downloader firmware command which could be used to force a full reset (it's there in v22Er, gone in v34Ec). This is going to take a lot longer, so don't expect an answer today (Wednesday) have fun --dickMike here: Dick has now written a file that can be sent to the Autostar using the Windows hyperteminal(or I suspect any serial comm app on any OS). It is available at http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2005/reset.html.
> By the way, both motors work perfectly Yes, that was blatantly clear from your posting. **it ain't the motors at fault** (although one could conceivably be damaging the Autostar's driver circuits, and swapping them could therefore damage the other channel, but that doesn't seem to be happening) > - only in the AZ/RA terminal on the interface panel, > none work in the ALT/DEC terminal - it only "spurts". So it's the "ALT" socket driver (or wiring) which is sick. It could be a hairline crack in the copper traces on the power panel circuit card. On the HBX socket, the ALT lines are the middle two. (see http://members.aol.com/kewtasheck/pinouts.html ) >I think I could get this thing troubleshooted if only the HBX would load up >and I could deal with the settings. > If this file doesn't reset the HBX, can I download the proper ASU and have it > do it? The current proper ASU can't. I can't guarantee that the older one can, but you can ceretainly try... Mike has them archived on his site (Autostar Info page, left column, bottom of first group of links) good luck --dickAnd:
Jeremy Davis wrote: > > Dick, > > You are a genius. You've solved my problem. The reset patch worked just fine, > now my HBX has restarted and I can access the menus. To recap what I did: > > 1) Downloaded your "Boot.rom" patch to force a HBX Reset. > 2) Used HyperTerminal to upload the patch. > a) Started HyperTerminal > b) Created a New connections with 9600baud, No Flow Control, No Parity, 1 Stop Bit, Com 2, etc. > c) With HyperTerminal Running I then started the Autostar w(motors connected) in the Regular mode > (not Flash Load) > d) Typed Ctrl "D" to verify Connection (Received ">" for confirmation) > e) Went to Transfer, then Send Text File and choose the "Boot.rom" > f) Upon successful transfer I received "Y34CA" back > g) I then typed "I" to restart the HBX > 3) Autostar successfully restarted and all menus were accessible again, No MUF (motor unit fault) > > Equipment & Details: Autostar 497 w/DS motors SVP GOTO Upgrade. StarPatch 34CA > > I won't have an opportunity to check the functionality of the system till this > weekend. It does appear the ALT/DEC plug isn't working as the Up/Down toggle buttons > have no effect on either motors (they work for menu options). I'll be able to > confirm/dismiss an interface panel malfunction upon arrival of my new one. The > engines appear to still "Random Slew" or Creep after Beep, No sure if this will > be corrected later after Calibration and Training - probably so. Thank you again > for all your help, > > Sincerely, > Jeremy Davis > > On Wed, 13 Jul 2005 16:15:06 -0700 (GMT-07:00), Richard Seymour wrote: > > Hi... > > > >> Thank you for the patch and instructions. I did manage to upload > >> it, but only in "regular mode". Every time I tried to send via > >> "Flash mode" it would only give me a "?" when I pressed Ctrl D, > >> > > > > That's correct behaviour (since i can't guess what version your > > Safe Load code is) I think that's one way the ASU can distinguish > > between "download" mode and "safe mode" > > > >> in regular mode (normal boot) it would give me the ">" and the > >> "Y34EC" after sending the file. > >> > > The "Y" means that the patch "took". (otherwise you'd get a "N") > > > >> However, once I did that, nothing happened. The HBX continued to > >> say > >> "Downloading, do not turn off", and never rebooted on it's own. > >> > > Try typing an uppercase "I" in Hyperterminal, after sending the > > file. > > (typing a "V" should get a repeat of the "34EC") > > > >> Even after trying a manual reboot, or getting the ASU to "restart > >> the handbox", there was no change in behavior. > >> > > > > The patched byte may have been overwritten by the regular system > > continuing > > to run. > > > >> I can only think that maybe it would have worked better in Flash > >> mode, > >> but I couldn't get the file uploaded that way. > >> > > I'll try to find out if Flash Mode accepts the "P" protocol i was > > using. > > > > good luck > > --dick
Subject: AutoStar Reset Questions Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 14:50:28 From: MikeRoni@aol.com (MikeRoni@aol.com) This is a two question follow-up to KK Blankenheim's 07/08/05 questions on AutoStar. First, does reset delete user settings (locations, telescope info, etc)? Second, under what conditions is it necessary to use reset? Thank you for your excellent site. Mike BoydMike here: No, it doesn't erase those settings. RESET is really only required when the Autostar goes berserk. Sometimes it may be required following a ROM update.
Subject: re: Why does one Autostar go brighter than the other? Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 22:20:52 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) There are (at least) -two- models of 497 Autostar (internally). That could be the reason for the brightness difference. Externally, the only way to tell them apart is to bring up the Status Display (press [mode] 3 seconds, release), and look in the upper rightmost character position. "Old" ones will have a graphic character (a vertical bar) whose height corresponds to the Slew Speed setting. "New" ones don't have that character group in their repitoire. Now tell us if it's the "new" or "old" one which is brighter... In my internal photos at http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_schematic.html i'm picturing my "old" one. The new ones have the display module's cable displaced to the side. have fun --dick
From: Dennis Rogers (email@example.com) There is another way to tell the Model Autostar controllers as well. With StarGPS the older version shows bar graphs and Numerical display when it shows what satelites it has found, and their strenght also as a bargraphic display whereas the newer Hand controller only displays the Numercial values only. So the less brighter one was the older model. Cheers Dennis P.S. Thanks for the Tip on holding the Mode button for 3 seconds. It shows other things as well like your battery level. You can scroll through several screens. With different info. I don't know with the ordinary Autostar, but with the StarGPS you get to see the UTC plus your local time as well.And: And:
Except for the boot-time signal acquisition messages from StarGPS, all of the rest of the displays are the same for both normal and GPS'd Autostars. If you are using a StarGPS-LX, then it does set the Autostar to UTC instead of local civilian time. The "LST" display is your Local Sidereal Time, a measure of the RA value currently crossing the central meridian, i.e. straight overhead. If you are using a "normal" StarGPS, then you have the option of having the Autostar operate displaying any civilian time zone you wish. have fun --dick
Subject: Faulty Autostar 497 Sent: Saturday, July 9, 2005 01:05:46 From: Dennis Rogers (firstname.lastname@example.org) My Autostar 497 has developed a sudden fault and lucky I accually have two of them. One I bought here, and the other I imported. The one I bought here is 2 months old and was working fine up till now. What happens is I get the message come up motor fault, maybe caused by low battery, motor loaded, obstruction etc. What I did was tried my other Autostar 497 and runs fine, no problems. Tried the Autostar with the fault on my other Telescope, same message. So plugged the one I imported into my Telescope and no faulty motor message at all, even with motor callibration. Also tried the Meade non Autostar in my telescope and both motors are fine. My Telescope uses the LXD 75 mount, and my other telescope is a converted GOTO mount. I tried swapping cables to see if it was a cable problem but nothing works with the faulty autostar controller, even a reset and recallibration fails to correct the problem and still continues with the faulty motor problem, but know it's not the motors because the imported one works fine. The only thing I have done was Update the ROM in Autostar Hand Controller That I bought from here, and have ROM version 34C this contains the StarGPS patch, and up till now this worked fine even with the updated Rom, which would have been updated a week ago. Cheers DennisMike here: I got a little confused from your message. It sounds like the faulty Autostar has a patch applied. Have you tried it without a patch? I would suggest redownloading the Meade ROM and give that a try alone while connected to the LXD75 before trying with a non-Meade mount.
Subject: autostar storage Sent: Friday, July 8, 2005 20:23:10 From: Dan and Joan Mattes (email@example.com) Just purchased the ETX 125-AT and noticed that there is no place on the tripod or the accessory tray to attach the Autostar hand controller. Is there any recommendation on using velcro, etc? Dan Mattes Shrewsbury, Pa. firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Many of us use Velcro. Soft part on the back of the Autostar and "prickly" part on the tripod legs. Works great.
Subject: General Feedback Sent: Friday, July 8, 2005 14:17:55 From: Kevin.K.Blankenheim@rolls-royce.com (Kevin.K.Blankenheim@rolls-royce.com) I've been reading your book. It's full of great info. I find it ironic that you went to UI like my wife did, and went to UW-Madison like I did. I received my BS in Electrical Engineering in 85, small world. I've finally updated my Autostar to 34E. I haven't done anything else, yet. In reading your book, I came across the backlash percent settings. I checked my Autostar and discovered they were both 50%, so I changed them to 20% and 10% as your book suggests. I have not executed the Reset since updating my Autostar. I know I should do this next. When I do it, I assume it losses my location, date, time and any calibration values. After performing a Reset, I'll re-enter the zip code, time, data, telescope model, etc.... I'll check the backlash percent and make sure they are still 20% and 10%. Than, I'll Calibrate Motors, next, Train Drives. Next, I plan on using Polaris to Calibrate Sensor (LNT). After all this I hope the telescope perform all "goto's" perfectly. If this is not correct, please e-mail me at home (email@example.com), because I hope to try this over the weekend.Mike here: When you update you need to reTRAIN DRIVES. As to backlash percentages, I would keep the values set by the Autostar after doing a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES. Only change them if you know they need to be changed.
Subject: Stopping tracking without loosing Autostar alignment. Sent: Friday, July 8, 2005 13:44:19 From: Michael Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org) There a quite a few occasions on which I have thought it would be useful to be able to stop an Autostar tracking (in alt/az. or polar mode) for a few seconds or minutes and then resume without loosing alignment. For instance, to find the cardinal points when sketching at the eyepiece (stars always drift to the west), or when you want an image to stay very still in the eyepiece and you don't mind if it drifts. Do you know if this can be done without turning off the power to the scope or undoing the clutches? Michael MorrisMike here: You could put the Autostar to sleep. That would work fine for longer periods. It could also be the simplest, quickest, and safest method as well to do what you want to do.
Subject: Why does one Autostar go brighter than the other? Sent: Thursday, July 7, 2005 02:18:37 From: Dennis Rogers (email@example.com) I have two 497 Autostars and want to know when I adjust both using the brightness and contrast, one goes a lot brighter then the other? Both are new. One has the normal coil cable, and the other has a coil cable with one of those things that I think meant to cut down on interferance, or something, and are common on the likes of the Playstation 2, and Xbox controllers and cables etc. Is there an internal manual adjustment for brightness on the circuit board that governs the brightness of the overall display? with one of my Autostar controllers up at the brightest setting would be more like a normal level of brighness, whereas adjusting the other one can go to bright and need to turn it down in brightness. Also have an Autostar 494 which is an older version and that can also go very bright. Are all Autostars set at different preset brightness levels set on the circuit board, or does it depend on where they are made, as my two Autostar 497's are different meaning the thing on the coil card to cut interferance. Cheers DennisMike here: I guess you will be surprised to learn that there is a brightness and contrast adjustment available. It is under the UTILITIES menu.
I know that and tried that, but the only brightness it seems to go is just bright and comfortable enough to see the display, while the other one turning it up full is a lot brighter by far. It does not affect the Autostar at all. So one goes from no brightness to normal brightness, while the other goes from no brightness to bring to bright you have to turn back the brightness, while the other is normal brightness at full brightness level adjustment. Cheers DennisMike here: Apparently some difference then in the display and/or display circuit.
Subject: Help!!! Sent: Wednesday, July 6, 2005 20:16:10 From: Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just attempted to update my autostar controller from 33C to 34Ec. Now I my telescope is dead. Before the update, I was experimenting with the autostar update software, I loaded some objects from the internet into the Library. When I started the autostar software to perform the update, it loaded a bunch of objects into the library. I connected to the handset controller, the handset responded with something about do not power down. That's when I noticed the objects loaded in the library, I panicked and didn't want those objects loaded into the controller, so I clicked the "X" in the upper right hand corner. When I started the Autostar update software again, it could not establish communication. I felt I had to turn off the telescope and try the update over. When I turned the telescope back on, the controller stays blank and the autostar software tells me no connection. Did I accidentally erased the 33C program and now my Autostar model #497 is dead???? What should I do??? Meade does not have 24 hour support and their support times place me a work???? Does Meade need to reprogram my telescope?? Can the Autostar software really leave me dead??? I'm a software engineer and can't believe a company would allow software leave a customer helpless?? Thanks again for any advice, KevinMike here: I just noticed that your message was bounced as "undeliverable" due to the non-Email Etiquette compliant subject line. Please review the Email Etiquette item on my ETX.
Thanks for your help, yes, it seems to be loading, but very slowly, 1 minute into to dowload and it shows 4% complete, I guess I should be happy, thanks for the help with getting into SAFE MODE. I searched the MEADE web site and didn't find anything about my problem, so I'm glad you advised me. Sorry about the ETX etiquette, it is just my frustration..... KevinAnd:
It took about 20 minutes, but version 34C loaded and I'm back to star watching, I'll try again when the weather cooperates and see if my telescope work and better??? Thanks again, Kevin PS. I'll perform a RESET, than Calibrate Motors, than Train Drives and do some alignments.........
Subject: Autostar 494 Sent: Tuesday, July 5, 2005 13:34:48 From: Robert Sheaffer (email@example.com) Is your website down? I can't connect to it. It has been brought to my attention that the Goto in my RTGUI program doesn't work with the Autostar 494. However, it works just fine with the 497. I am not aware of any software differences between them for the Goto? Are there any? It occurs to me that perhaps the 494 requires you to do something to it first, and the 497 does not. Do you know anything about this? best, Robert Sheaffer
Subject: Re: Solar Astronomy/tracking the sun with an ETX-- part 3 Sent: Friday, July 1, 2005 14:52:38 From: Richard Varner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you, again. No, I cannot do a proper alignment because there is no sun in the object list of the Autostar software. I am pointing the leveled scope at the sun and then synchronizing to it, using the sync function as explained in the Autostar users manual pp 7&8. The scope then tracks at the sidereal rate but loses the sun in about a minute. Regards, Richard VarnerMike here: SYNCing to a non-fixed object like planets, Moon, and Sun is not a reliable technique. If you know your HOME Position very accurately you would be better off just faking the alignment. That is what I do. Just use the Easy Alignment and assume the stars are centered. The more accurate your HOME position the more precise the alignment will be.
This morning I faked the alignment. I set the clock to 22hrs , leveled and pointed north. The scope swung to Arcturus back to Altaire, and then I slewed it over to the sun, where it tracked. Nice! Best regards, Richard VarnerMike here: Not that it matters much, but I usually use the real time for the alignment faking. That way if I want to observe some planet, say Venus, in the daytime, the GOTO is pretty good.
You took me to the bottom of the problem in a hurry. Thank you! Best regards, Richard Varner
Subject: re: meade autostar control 35-4700-03 defect Sent: Friday, July 1, 2005 07:42:20 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Meade has a one-year warranty, so if it was last December, the replacement should be free (perhaps requiring postage). If it is out-of-warranty, i believe the from-Meade replacement cost is $75 (requiring that you return the dead one) If you are in the USA, call 1-800-626-3233 If you are not in the USA, contact your country's Meade distributor. good luck --dick
Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Autostar Feedback page.
Return to the top of this page.
Go to the ETX Home Page.