AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 25 July 2005
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade Autostar Suite. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks. (The Lunar Planetary Imager, LPI, is covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Subject:	Re: Autoguiding with Autostar Suite
Sent:	Monday, July 25, 2005 08:13:45
From:	dmcleod999@comcast.net (dmcleod999@comcast.net)
Thank you ! re-loading the Autostar the  RESET, CALIBRATE Motors, and
re-trainig corrected the problem.
 
Thanks again
Dennis

Subject:	Re: Autoguiding with Autostar Suite
Sent:	Friday, July 22, 2005 06:46:02
From:	dmcleod999@comcast.net (dmcleod999@comcast.net)
Some time ago I wrote an E-Mail to your site on an Autoguiding issue
Well, I believe I have discovered the problem. I have an ETX-105 UTC
with an Autostar 497  (Ver 3.4 Ec) operating in POLAR mode. The RA
tracing is excellent no problem; but there is a problem with the DEC
tracking. What is happening when I press the DEC arrow key, the image
will move in the opposite direction completely out of the field of view
(on a computer display) before moving in the direction of the pressed
arrow key. For example, pressing the DEC up arrow key, (call it north),
will cause the star to move south completely out of the field of view
before the star begins moving north. In addition pressing the south
arrow key will cause the star to move North until it is completely out
of view before moving south. I have done the process listed below
multiple times to eliminate this DEC problem. I have tried multiple DEC
percent settings (BACKLASH) from 00 to 99 - this did not help. In Guide
mode the DEC axis is very, very slow, at 2X response is better; but
oince again the image moves outside of the field of view before moving
in the correct direction - The RA axis works correctly, pressing either
key will cause the scope to move properly even in guide mode.
 
   a. RESET
   b. CALIBRATE MOTORS 
   c. TRAINED - very high magnification, RA and DEC percents at zero (POLAR MODE)
   d. CALIBRATE MOTORS
   e. SET RA and DEC Percents to 10 % and 7 %
   f. try all different DEC percents during use.
 
Any ideas where to look to correct this problem ?
 
Thanks for you help and your Web site
Dennis
Mike here: I seem to recall other similar reports. Reloading the Autostar ROM sometimes resolved it.
Subject:	Wireless ETX to Computer - AutoStar BlueTooth serial port + LPI USB<->bluetoth?
Sent:	Sunday, July 17, 2005 11:28:41
From:	Allen Jensen (allen_astro@jensenworld.net)
Here is an idea for people wanting to cut down on cables - Get a
bluetooth serial port and plug your 9-pin serial port into the bluetooth
serial port.  Now, for the PC side, either a laptop that already has
bluetooth, or a bluetooth/USB adapter for your PC (plugs into USB port).
Now, you will see a com port on your PC that is wireless to your
Autostar.

Next , you need a way to get the camera back to the PC - I have not
figured out how to do that yet but am working on a solution.  If I
cannot find off-the-shelf, I may build my own bluetooth module for the
LPI.  Think people would be willing to pay, say $70-$90 for wireless
LPI?

Allen Jensen
Mike here: Wireless (USB) adapter, either Bluetooth or WiFi would be nice!
Subject:	RE: Wireless connectivity
Sent:	Wednesday, July 6, 2005 12:33:08
From:	Tom and Lori (lortom7@earthlink.net)
Dick,

I understand what you're saying, and will try your recommendations.

Thanks, and as always clear skies to you.

Tom

C: Mike - thanks to you also.
And:
Do I start Autostar Suite on both Computer 1 and 2, then put in Computer
1's IP address in the "Connect to . . ." part?

Will I then be working Computer 2's Autostar Suite from Computer 1 or
will I be controlling the scope (connected to Computer 2 from Computer
1)?

Thanks Dick.

Tom
And:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>Do I start Autostar Suite on both Computer 1 and 2, then put in Computer 1's
>IP address in the "Connect to . . ." part?  

On the telescope end (Computer 1), you just start the Network Server.
That's all.  It will listen on the network for commands.

On the "desktop" (computer 2) end, you start Autostar Suite, and the subchunk(s) 
you wish (Remote Handbox, StarMap, etc.).  In those subchunks, you specify
the network (and c 1's IP address) as the connection medium.

>Will I then be working Computer 2's Autostar Suite from Computer 1 or will I
>be controlling the scope (connected to Computer 2 from Computer 1)?  

You will be using Computer 2's  AutostarSuite environment as if it were
directly attached to the telescope.  The only difference (vast hurricane 
of armwaves in that "only") is that you're using a network connection 
instead of the COM port.

At the telescope (Computer 1) end is the simple 
"listen to network, spit out to COM port" network server.

have fun
--dick
And an update:
It worked !!!  I am now able to control my telescope located upstairs on
my balcony from my computer downstairs in my family room and by a
wireless connection.  However, I am not able to use the LPI through the
wireless connection.  I probably will need to utilize my powered USB
cables for this. Any suggestions?

I followed Dick's suggestions from his 7/29/04 write up titled,
"Autostar Suite Networking"
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/autostar_suite/networking.html with
the attached above, and I have a connection!

Since I already went into my Norton Internet Security to allow both
computers to talk to one another (home network) the Firewall was not an
issue.  Just for good measure I added the Autostar Suite to my allowed
Programs in my Internet Security "Program Control."

Last question, in Autostar how do I reduce the number of stars on the
screen to reflect an area with heavy light pollution?

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us . . . . .

Clear skies,

Tom
And more:
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
Dick Seymour's info should help get you connected but you will still not
be able to use the LPI imager.  The problem is the LPI application is
not controllable via the AS Suite network server.  The two solutions I'm
aware of use remote control of all keyboard and screen functions on the
destination computer; in your example, computer 2 takes over complete
control of computer 1.

The two solutions are Remote Desktop which is part of XP Pro and VNC.
Either of these methods will allow you to operate the remote machine
(computer 1) and view its display on the local machine (computer 2). Any
data created, such as LPI images, will be saved on computer 1 and can be
viewed on, but not transferred to, computer 2.

Since I have the identical configuration you describe (inside desktop
controlling outside laptop via wireless home network) I can probably
help get you going if you'd like. Let me know.  I'm using VNC since I
don't have XP Pro.

Mike Hogan

Subject:	Wireless connectivity 
Sent:	Wednesday, July 6, 2005 02:01:53
From:	Tom and Lori (lortom7@earthlink.net)
Ok, so I followed Dick Seymour's 7/29/04 write up titled, "Autostar
Suite Networking" and can now control my ETX125 AT from my PC (thanks
Dick).  Next question, could you direct me to where I can find info
about controlling my scope from ANOTHER computer in my house while using
my LPI?

My scope will be outside connected to Computer 1 which has a wireless
card installed and is on my network.  Computer 2 is connected directly
to my Linksys wireless/hardwired router (same network).

I am sure you can point me to the right area of your sight to find this
info.

As always, thanks Mike (and Dick) for your knowledge.  This hobby
wouldn't be as fun without you!
 
Clear skies,
 
Tom
And:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
It's (almost) simple:  you have to tell Computer 2 the IP address of
computer 1, so it'll know who to shout at.

So instead of telling Computer 2 "connect to 127.0.0.1", you'd
say "connect to 192.168.0.7" or some such.

That leads to the obvious question: "what's Computer 1's number?"

The answer can be found in many places, one being the wireless base
station's list of connected systems.
The (almost) easier way is to ask computer 1.
Start a "command window" (or "MS Dos prompt") on computer 1.
If it's Windows 98, type the command:  winipcfg
If it's Windows XP, type the command:  ipconfig

(i'm doing this on a w98 system, so you'll have to poke around the wXP
screen to locate the similar info)
On my w98 system, a grey window pops up.  Click [More info].
In -that- window, use the "drop box" to choose your wireless connection.
That produces a display with "IP Address" as one of the lines.
There's the number to tell computer 2.

I think that winXP's output is more instantly usable... if it doesn't
show the number, try    ipconfig /?    to see the list of optional
"switches", and choose the one which tells "all".

If you have a wireless icon in your system tray (near the time display
in the lower right of your screen), it might have a fairly reachable 
display of  that same number... each wireless vendor's system is
different, so i'm not going to even -try- to describe where to find the info
via that route...

The number given to Computer 1 may -change- on subsequent reboots,
expecially if you add or remove computers from your home network.
(mine seems to -not- change, although i vaguely remember it being "3"
instead of "5" in the dim past).  Only the final .xxx will change.

Sometimes you can tell computer 1 to use a "fixed" address (manual IP)
instead of relying upon the wireless base station to assign it one (DHCP).
See your base station's documentation for details (although if you had to
ask me your original question, that documentation may be worse than 
impenetrable).  If you set a fixed address, then it won't change (unless
you reset your base station, or fiddle with the computer's network settings).

Complicating matters are any firewalls you have running.
I don't know/remember which "port" (socket) the telescope protocol uses.
If you have a firewall running on Computer 1, you'll need to either turn
it off, or create an "exception" for the telescope's protocol.
Your wireless base station probably has its own firewall, so killing Computer
1's firewall is -probably- safe.   (when my laptop is running wireless, its
internal firewall is never pestered... when the laptop is on a modem, the
firewall fends off 5 attacks/probes per second, on average, from the outside
world)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Autostar Suite Astronomer Edition
Sent:	Tuesday, July 5, 2005 07:16:42
From:	Stephen Bird (stephen.bird@btconnect.com)
The version of Autostar Suite with LPI / DSI Original support is
different for the DSI Pro, updates for the LPI and DSI Original on
Meade's site should not be used for the DSI Pro or you risk corrupting
the extra features that DSI Pro offers, such as Drizzle, dual tracking
centroids to remove image rotation and multiple camera support.

Interestingly I have seen some reprobate on E-Bay selling the freebie
Telestar Astronomy software from Meade's site, he seems to have a few
customers willing to pay a few dollars for a copy on CD!
 
Regards
 
Stephen Bird

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