AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 4 August 2006

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, and Deep Sky Imager, DSI, are covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Subject:	RE: Controlling Telescope from DSI "Envisage" softwarew
Sent:	Sunday, July 16, 2006 03:42:50
From:	Jim Beston (james.beston@btinternet.com)
I have had another session with the connection problem.

To summarise:

Connection through Comm 4 allows both control of the ETX via "Remote
Handbox" or within the Skymap - I can slew the etx to any point on the
map by clicking on it. Therefore the physical connection is OK.

Opening envisage software either alone or from the Autostar suite and
clicking on "Connect" produces the same error:

Invalid IP address
No such host is known

And, on closing the error box:

ConnectError: Server not found.

Presumably the IP address is 127.0.0.1 which I have thought is fixed for
a windows system - or can I change it.

I have created an exception for port 5401.

Am I getting confused between two modes of communication?

Thanks once more (it will be very satisfying and I hope informative for
all when this problem is licked!)

Jim

P.S.  One further thing, If I open up the envisage software alone, there
is no facility to set up a communications protocol so this has to be
done from autostar suite which I must have open.
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
No, you're still not getting it...

Envisage *does* have the capability to connect directly to the
serial port... (that's how i run it... i have not started "NetScope"
in over a year...)

I've attached a screen grab showing the connection choice i use.

have fun
--dick

photo

And an update:

Well Dick and Mike I think that the light has dawned:

You see when I first opened the Envisage software I saw the Tab labeled
"Telescope". On clicking on this the telescope controls were revealed.
Just above the direction controls was an empty window with Telescope in
Bold just above it. So, I did what perhaps a lot of people in my state
of ignorance would do and that is to promptly type in the name of the
Telescope "LX200GPS". Your screen shot has revealed that this is where
you should put the com port address, in my case Com4. I did actually
think of this prior to receiving your last mail but I actually typed in
Comm4 which was rejected.

I currently have my ETX scope connected to my Laptop on my PC desk and
in the status box is written Autostar ver:4.0EB Autotrack only. Since
clicking on the four direction tabs doesn't seem to move the scope (eg.
Slew:N@1 appears in status box when "pressing" N tab)- I presume that
control is only by Drizzle? Will this be different when I connect to my
Autostar II and LX200GPS ie will I be able to use the various slew
sppeds?

I have just taken the trouble to look through the DSI manual where. In
fairness to Meade (about whom I was having some very uncharitable
thoughts) the Com port field (where I had wrongly written the name of my
scope) is clearly identified.

Anyway Gentlemen, thankyou very much for your help and I guess the
lesson I have learn't is READ THE MANUAL!! Too much excitement an
impatience - even at age 62!

Jim Beston
Mike here: Yes, reading AND understanding the manual are always valuable.
Subject:	re: Controlling Telescope from DSI "Envisage" softwarew
Sent:	Thursday, July 13, 2006 19:07:03
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Envisage should be able to connect to the scope
if you do NOT have -any- other portion of Autostar Suite
talking to it.
So set StarMap to   Telescope/Protocol "None"
and -then- start the imaging process.

have fun
--dick

And:

Thank you for this, Gentlemen.

I shall be having another try in the next couple of days I'll let you
both know the outcome.

Best Regards,

Jim

And more:

I have continued to try and connect a 'scope to the Autostar suite to
allow control via the Envisage software - using my ETX and basic
Autostar controller.
This is what happens:

1)  PC (Laptop with good connection too internet) connected to Autostar
RS232 socket
2)  Autostar connected to ETX HBX socket
3)  Start Autostar suite (Version 3.23):

4)  In Starmap clicking:
Telescope, Protocol and Remote Handbox 

Brings up autostar Control screen . Ticking "Connect" (Com Port =4)
Activates Autostar control by the PC which works fine.

5)  Autostar  Control disconnected & program closed. PC re booted.
6)  In Starmap clicking:

Communications, Start Network Server
Opens Autostar Net Scope: Scope Port = 4 Dome Port =2 (No Dome
connected)
    Set Password & ticking "Listen" Box, Status becomes:
    "Listening on Port 5401"

7)  In Starmap, clicking:

Telescope, Protocol (initially "none" is shown as ticked), Autostar by
Network, brings up:
"Remote Telescope address" (Previously set at 127.0.0.1)
Clicking on "Connect" : NO Password prompt comes up BUT Net Scope shows
"Connected to 127.1.0.0.1"

    After a few secs. the communications Error box pops up:

"Read Timeout!
Attempting to read from an unopened port!
Attempting to output to an unlocked port!
Lock Timeout

    Communications Terminated

But the warning about moving an unattended scope comes up.

After clicking on "OK" Autorstar suite freezes for a few secs then the
same Communications error box pops up again.

If I try to connect telescope in Envisage (with or without Autostar
suite running and with Net Scope connected the connect error:

    Invalid IP address
    No such host is known
And on clicking on "OK":
    Connection Error: ServerNotFound is displayed.
Other than try this on another PC I'm stumped!

I'd be VERY glad of any further advice.

Thanks,

Jim
Mike here: I think I will leave this one to Dick as he understands Windows networking much better than I since I use a Macintosh for most important things. At work I use a Windows machine but I have a $2B IT group to solve all the Windows problems that come up multiple times a day...

And:

I might be wrong, but I get the impression that you are not that keen on
windows! Can't imagine why....................

Jim

And:

Do NOT use the Network server.

My suggestion was to use Envisage *only*.
Have it directly connect to the telescope using the same COM
port which you used for StarMap and Remote Handbox.
But **only** have Envisage connected... no other programs
 (they can be running, but do not have them connected to the scope)

This will let you run Envisage.

I am 2500 miles from my telescopes, so i cannot test Network Server
with a 'real' connection.   I will re-read your note and see if
anything "leaps" out at me (have you turned off your Windows Firewall?,
or at least created an "exception" for port 5401 ?)

have fun
--dick

And:

Did you mean just boot up, open the envisage software and click on
connect without any prior port configuration? I'll try this tomorrow
(midnight here now).

I must admit I did think it could be a firewall problem so I'll try
experimenting with those settings tomorrow also.

Thanks for your kind help.

Jim

And:

Jim Beston wrote:
> Hi Dick & Mike,
> 
> Did you mean just boot up, open the envisage software and click on
> connect without any prior port configuration? I'll try this tomorrow
> (midnight here now).

Well, you may have to -tell- it which port the telescope is on
(if i recall correctly, there are tick-boxes and a little window
you can type  "COM6" in if the number is greater than 4)

> I must admit I did think it could be a firewall problem so I'll try
> experimenting with those settings tomorrow also.

The NetScope system *is* a "network" operation.. so the firewall
has to be told to let it pass (or kill the firewall)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Controlling Telescope from DSI "Envisage" softwarew
Sent:	Wednesday, July 12, 2006 08:40:14
From:	Jim Beston (james.beston@btinternet.com)
I have a problem with setting up the connection between my 'scope
(LX200GPS) and the new "Envisage" Autostar (V 4.1h) software which I
hope that you can help me with.

Firstly,  the connection between the PC and scope is via a
USB/Serial.RS232 adaptor. Via this connection I can control using the
on-screen "handbox" in the suite, Furthermore I can also control the
Telescope using the Telescope function in Starry Night Pro.

It therefore came as a complete surprise when I found that I could not
connect to the scope by clicking on the Telescope Tab and then on
"Connect" in the Envisage (DSI) software. There are obviously some
subtleties about these connections of which I am not aware. From
scanning some messages on your site I think I might have to set up this
control link by starting the "Network Server" but I haven't got much of
a clue about exactly how to do it. Can you advise please?

For various reasons, not the least generally awful weather for months, I
have not done much observing for nearly a year, but now I am getting
going again and, I must admit I have been very impressed with Meade's
"Drizzle" software and retirement has given me the opportunity to
Stargaze all night  now!
 
Kindest Regards and thanks for your kind help, as always.
 
Jim Beston
Mike here: Yes, you need to set up the "network", which allows the "suite" of applications to talk through the single serial port connection to the Autostar. See the articles "Network Server Capability" and "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.

And:

Thanks for your reply MIke.
I did find an article on your site which detailed setting up the network
server Everything did seem to connect but I get a timeout error. I
haven't got a clue why I should get this error and I shall investigate
further and let you know if I fix it/
 
THANKS AGAIN
 
jIM

Subject:	LPI Imager and Voyager for Mac OSX
Sent:	Monday, July 10, 2006 10:41:39
From:	Rori Baldari (astra59@verizon.net)
Does the Autostar Suite software for LPI and DSI imagers run on Windows
PCs only? If so, what alternatives are there for Mac OS X users?

I know the Voyager 4 (Carina Software) has a telescope control
interface, and can drive ETXs. Can I use this in conjunction with the
LPI?

Thanks, Rori
Mike here: The Meade software is Windows only. You can use Mac OS X software to control the telescope (via the Autostar). To use the LPI with Mac OS X, see the article "LPI with Mac OS X" on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.

And:

ok thanks.

Subject:	RE: Software for the DSI
Sent:	Thursday, July 6, 2006 05:40:39
From:	Johnson, David A (david-a-johnson@uiowa.edu)
Yeah, I've tried that with very limited success.  I think the
coordination of when the DSI software makes the file and when another
ftp program moves the file tends to be tricky.  Not to mention it uses
up more resources.  It would be really nice if they just added a few
more lines of code and integrated it.

Thanks,
David 
Mike here: True that you don't want to ftp the file while it is still being processed. Suggest the feature to Meade at engineer@meade.com.

And:

Will do!

Subject:	Software for the DSI
Sent:	Wednesday, July 5, 2006 10:49:12
From:	Johnson, David A (david-a-johnson@uiowa.edu)
Currently the software that you get with a DSI Pro has a setting for
webcam pages, but this only seems to work if you are hosting your own
web server.  It will not take an ftp address or an http url to a
commercial website.  Do you know if they plan to correct this?

Thanks,
David

David Johnson
Mike here: Don't know but you can always use another ftp package to upload images.

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