Last updated: 30 June 2002
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 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:	The ghost is Scrolling it...
Sent:	Friday, June 28, 2002 20:45:25
From: (Tim Sheets)
Though I have frequented, and greatly enjoyed your fabulous site since
well before I got My ETX-90EC over two years ago, this is the first time
in a very long time I've written.

Tonight, I went out for the first time in weeks.  Clouds finally broke.
Anyway, I had a fairly poor Alt/Az easy alignment, but I don't think it
should cause this problem.

After an object was in the field of view with GOTO (M57 in this case),
and I attempted to center it in the FOV, the scope scrolled back to the
original GOTO location.  I moved it again, and sure enough, it scrolled
back again.

Have you heard of this behavior?  What might I do about it?

I realize this is probably already somewhere on this site, but with the
incredible amount of info, I would never find it.

Thanks, Tim
Mike here: Glad you like the Site. Thanks. The behavior you are experiencing is known as "rubberbanding". RETRAINING the drives will usually fix it.
Subject:	505 Cable
Sent:	Thursday, June 27, 2002 17:24:06
From: (Marvin & Tina)
I have tried to make a the 505 cable as described on your site with no
luck.  I have the ETX 125 scope with the 407 autostar.  I would like to
download updates.  Any suggestions?

Mike here: The cable info is correct and has been used successfully by others. Can you describe the problem and your computer system in more detail?


I built the cable using a phone handset cord and a serial plug from
radio shack.  wire 1 to 3 wire 2 to 2 and 4 to 5.  When I connect it to
my computer, starry night or astronomer's control panel do not find a
scope connected.  As far as the autostar goes it starts the test every
button. When it finishes it says PIC failure V13 C001.  Any suggestions
to what I am doing wrong or the error I have?
Mike here: Sounds correct. So check your connections and be certain the serial port is not in use by other software (Palm Hotsync, fax, etc.). But that error code bothers me; the software should only report a connection failure.

And from our Autostar expert:

From: (Richard Seymour)
Ahhh... very easy to diagnose:  you have the signal wires from the
Autostar short-circuited.  You are seeing the "factory test" which
the Autostar performs if, upon power-up, it "receives" the same 
character that it sends out (an "X") during initialization.

(i should add the PIC Failure V13 message to the self-test instructions
which form a part of:

So either the handset cord or the serial adapter have a short circuit.
(or your PC's serial port is "echoing" what it receives back out,
but i've never seen that in the past 10 years)
You can test -which- one is the guilty party by 
(a) plug the handset cord into the Autostar... but NOT into the adapter
Power up the Autostar... key test?  Bad cord.
(b) if the power up in (a) was normal (asked you the date), power down,
plug the adapter onto the handset cord, but NOT into the PC.
Power up.... key test?  bad adapter.
(c) is (b) didn't get the key test, start the Autostar Update program
on the PC, attact the adapter... try a "connect" or [retrieve]

Good luck

Subject:	ETX home position
Sent:	Thursday, June 27, 2002 12:33:31
From: (Roy Faiman)
I'm not sure I understand the Autostar manual clearly enough reguarding
the "Home position" for my scope. After each time I put the scope in
this position, it slews and stops in some strange angle whilst looking
for a star in "easy align" mode.
Thanks again...
Mike here: There are several alignment and home position tip articles on the Autostar Information page. Check those.
Subject:	Re: Supercharged scope - changing location
Sent:	Thursday, June 27, 2002 1:22:20
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	John
Hello John and congratulations on the scope!  It truly is a great scope
and Tim took excellent care and pride in it.

No, you will NOT have to do a reset!  The quickest and most accurate way
of entering a new location is to go to SETUP/Site....and select Tim's
location; then press ENTER and scroll down until you get to "ADD"; this
will bring up CALIFORNIA as the first option; scroll until you get to
YOUR state (Press ENTER) and then scroll to the closest city listed in
the database to YOU and press ENTER again; that will place that city in
the locations (SITE) file for you.  Now to change that select that new
city by pressing ENTER and scroll down until you get to EDIT and press
ENTER again, at which time you are prompted to change the name; do so if
you like; ENTER it and scroll down (lower right scroll key) to the next
Edit Entry which is LATITUDE and press enter.  At this time it shows the
Lat. for the city you just selected...if you press ENTER, the cursor
starts blinking and you can change to exactly your latitude.  The next
EDIT is Longitude!

This automatically will set you time zone, etc., so that there can be no
error in that!

Good luck!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  Hello Dr. Sherrod,
  I purchased a used supercharged ETX125-EC scope and have just received
  it (unfortunately, tonight the skies over the western Chicago suburbs
  are overcast and threatening storms - figures !)

  I purchased the scope from a gentleman (Tim, you might remember him as
  he is from AR) who had your supercharge service done very recently
  (May of this year).  I have read much about your service, and frequent
  Weasners Mighty ETX site - I am very excited to have found a scope
  that you have worked on used.

  If you don't mind, even though I myself didn't order the supercharge
  service from you, I'd like to pose a quick question:

  Tim's location is obviously much different than mine.  If I change the
  observing location via Autostar, do I have to do a complete reset of
  the scope ?  I wouldn't think so, but thought I should ask.  If I
  don't need to do a reset after I modify the observing location, do I
  need to re-train the drives ?
  Thanks much,
  - John

Subject:	Training Drives and Percent Az/Alt
Sent:	Wednesday, June 26, 2002 8:48:02
While following Clay Sherrod's Reset/Initialization/Training procedure
outlined in the Tech Tips, Part II, it instructs one to set some nominal
(or small) percent AZ and Alt values BEFORE training the drives (Fig.
2b). I'm assuming it means it's OK to set relatively SMALL percentages
before the training (??)

In an archive message thread of around Feb. 26, 2001, "Re: Percentages
and Training," it is implied (I think) that one should set the
percentages AFTER the training.

In my case, I am setting the percentages AFTER the training, since they
are fairly large percentages (50%). Is this the correct sequence to set

I left them at the default 1%; trained the drives; then increased the
percentages to reduce the "wind up" time for the two axes. Is this the
way it should be done?

Thank you in advance for your help and excellent advice.

I don't know how long we'd flounder around without these published
procedures. (In fact, I don't even SEE any reference to the Percent
Az/Alt issue in Meade's instruction manual on their site.)

Thanks again.

Art Kotz
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Art - that procedure is absolutely perfect;  the only time it is really
necessary to have a "bit" of value in the Alt-Az percentages is if you
have a serious delay in either axis going into training the prevents the
scope from moving immediately upon the training commands.

But to set the values AFTER training is completed is perfect!  Good

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Is this "Rubber Banding?"
Sent:	Tuesday, June 25, 2002 9:13:15
Thanks again for the great site!
I've looked through the archives, etc. and am not quite sure if I'm
experiencing "creep-after-beep," "rubber banding," or whatever.

I have an almost unused Feb 1999 vintage ETX-90EC, but with a new
Autostar 497, running Ver. 2.2E (I had to practically stomp on the
pushbuttons of the original Autostar to make them work -- right out of
the box, yet).

I removed most of the slop from the dec axis ala Sherrod's et al posts.

I've done the reset, calibrate, and careful train on the unit. It can
"goto" fairly well, but after slewing to some keypad-chosen object, if
the object is, say at the bottom of the FOV, and I use the arrow keys to
move it to center, the dec drives move it back to the original "goto"
position (bottom of FOV). It will keep doing this until I give up on it.
Is this the infamous "rubber banding," or is it the "creep-after- beep,"
or what? I didn't notice if it is restricted to the dec axis (I use it
in alt-az, and so far, the RA part of the "goto" puts the object in the
center of the FOV). I gather, if it is rubberbanding, I just need to try
more resets, calibration, and careful training.(?)

BTW, is the Ver 2.2E the "version from hell," or is it OK? I'd just as
soon get one thing working before adding upgrades to the "pie."

I have some more questions and comments, but I'll post them separately,
to keep the S/N up.

Thanks for any help.

Art Kotz
Mike here: Returning the original position is the "rubberbanding". I'd strongly recommending upgrading to the current version (but don't forget the reset, retraining).
Subject:	Autostar problem
Sent:	Monday, June 24, 2002 5:10:23
From: (Chris Prarie)
First, thanks for hosting such a site!  After looking over all your
information I decided to make the jump and bought a ETX-105 a few months
ago.  Anyways, the reason for this e-mail is a problem I am having with
my Autostar.  Everything was working fine until the last time I took the
telescope out.  Now, when I turn the scope and Autostar on (using
battery power), I can manually control the scope with the keypad, no
problems...  Then when I try to do an easy align, the scope slews to a
star, but I then lose control of the scope (I can not move the scope
with the key pad any longer).  I switched out the Autostar for the
controller that came with the telescope, and had no problems moving the
scope...  Also I can power the scope off then turn it on with the
Autostar, and the same problem occurs again...

Any ideas?  Also, I have not updated the Autostar, nor made any other
modifications to my setup.

Mike here: I suggest replacing the batteries; they may be too drained for Autostar operation. Let me know if that helps.


Well I lower my head in embarrassment...  Changed the batteries and all
is good!!

Subject:	Autostar help
Sent:	Sunday, June 23, 2002 21:58:50
I emailed you several questions about the ETX in the past few weeks, and
thanks for the info it helped a lot.  Anyway, I have an autostar, and
follow the procedures listed in the manual and your book on how to align
it properly, a couple of questions though.

1.  How do I get the text to slow down so I can read it?
2.  When I align it using the recommended method and search for, like
the moon, it says it is below the horizon, when it is clearly out?

Any info would be great.

Gene Kenney, PN2/USN
Mike here: Use the up/down scroll arrow keys to change the scrolling text speed. Check the date/time/daylight savings settings in the Autostar; incorrect entries can result in below-the-horizon or other errors, especially on objects that change over time (moon, planets, etc).
Subject:	Re: Autostar Tracking Backwards?
Sent:	Saturday, June 22, 2002 18:56:26
From: (Tony & Bridgette Leff)
G'day Mike,
Thanks for your reply...
After discussions with Dick Seymour, it seems there is nothing wrong
with the Autostar after all. The mistake was mine...I was expecting the
RA reading of the autostar to mirror the Southern Hemisphere RA reading
on my setting circles.

  Thanks for all your help.

Subject:	re: A couple of questions - if I may.
Sent:	Friday, June 21, 2002 23:06:08
From: (Richard Seymour)
All LXD55 owners should be aware of (and/or join) the Yahoo
LXD55 discussion group.  It's at:

and has dozens of messages per day by LXD55 owners and users.

> Will the 3.51 updater work with my Autostar 497?

Yes, it is Meade's ONLY updater for the current firmware.
If your Autostar is not already running v25Ea, then you will
need/want to download that file, too.  The Updater can do it for you.

> If so, what other patches would you recommend?
that you be using 25Ea.  I have written a patch kit for it, (on
Mike's site in the Autostar Info section), but you really do NOT
need to patch to enjoy and use the scope to its fullest.

have fun

Subject:	Using the AutoStar
Sent:	Wednesday, June 19, 2002 1:24:28
From: (roy faiman)
I trust you are well and hope you are not too tired of people like my
self, bothering you endlessly...

I now have the Autostar in hand (got it yesturday!). When I align the
scope using one or two stars, as stressed out in the menu, the alignment
is far from being correct (I used Spica and Regulus), and when I tryed
to Sync. it, it would'nt stay on the star, but drifted els where. What
can be doen?

PS I use the telescope from my apprtment and don't have view of Polaris
nor to any of the stars used by "Align: Easy".

Thanks again,
Roy Faiman.
Mike here: Check all the settings (date, time, location, daylight savings, telescope model, mounting mode). If that doesn't help, do a RESET, CALIBRATION, and TRAIN the drives from the appropriate menus. You also might try stars further apart. You can also "fake the alignment"; if you can start in a good HOME position, just try accepting the Easy Alignment stars as being centered even though you can not see them.
Subject:	Re: Autostar LST dual value report
Sent:	Tuesday, June 18, 2002 23:20:45
From: (Richard Seymour)
> Does the LX200GPS behaves more like a LX200 or like Autostar?

I've never played with a Classic LX200, so i can't answer from 
But i suspect the answer is "like Autostar"... since the computer
chip is the same, and a lot of the programming is byte-for-byte 
the same.  Conversely, a lot is -not- the same. PEC, for example.

> I understand it used Autostar II.
...and i wonder what that implies to you?  Since Meade hasn't 
"defined" (in their advertising) what an Autostar II -is- (other 
than 3.5x more memory), it's kind'a fuzzy.  I can see many esoteric
differences under the hood, but the family resemblence is strong.

> I have StaryNight Pro and I don't see a telescope connection. Is there
> another version?

There are at least three versions, but all share the same method
of reaching the telescope: they depend upon a -different- program.
My "bundle" edition (comes free with ETX70's) has Astronomer's
Control Panel (ACP) to perform the speak-to-telescope function.
Along the top line of menu items in SN's screen is "Telescope",
which activates the connection (by starting ACP in the background).
I believe SNP can also make use of ASCOM drivers, but i don't know.
I rarely use my laptop for scope control... it's not my style of

> Why after alignment successful and having the LX90 goto OK for a
> while, after a couple of hours it goes-to the wrong place?

Difficult to guess... one bad SYNC can blow the rest of the evening.
(if you're running in High Precision mode... NEVER [mode] during the
slew to the "guide star"... sever misalignment will ensue.
At least it's easily fixed by doing a Setup/Align operation.

> I use high precision and spiral search to center the objects and
> then press enter and hold to sync. Is sync used several times ruining
> the alignment?

You use the Autostar's High Precision -and- still need to Sync on 
the final target??
High Precision -is- SYNC, just semi-automated.... every slew to
 a guide star is a Sync operation.

> Also I use the STV for guiding, does the calibration/tracking ruin the
> alignment?

I'm lost... what's STV?  But genericly, Autoguiding and tracking do
*not* adversely affect alignment... all of those inputs are processed
by the Autostar, so it knows what it's doing.

> I believe I understand the steps for alignment and the coordinate
> system but is there a place (book, web site) to really learn how the
> Autostar or the LX90 goes about alignment at a deeper level?

No. Well, maybe.
To my knowledge, Meade hasn't divulged what algorithms they're using,
except in the disclosures in the Patents issued for Autostar operation.
Those are numbers  6,304,376  and (i forget the second).
You can access them through  by either a numeric
lookup or searching for "Meade" as assignee.

> I don't expect to learn all the tricks and bugs that you learned in
> many years but it may help to communicate and understand better
> about the equipment I have.

That chunk of the code is convoluted enough that i've never been
able to follow it (my analogy is "like trying to understand the
growth of a forest by looking at the vein pattern on a few leaves").
Even figuring out when they're calling "Cosine" is difficult, and
figuring out which data are being fed to the Cosine is nearly 
impossible.  Although i'd find it intellectually interesting to
trace, it's beyond my abilities (and patience).

have fun

Subject:	A couple of questions - if I may.
Sent:	Tuesday, June 18, 2002 12:48:45
From: (David P. Sherfy)
I have a new LXD55 scope.  Will the 3.51 updater work with my Autostar
497? If so, what other patches would you recommend?

Thanks a lot for the help - you have a great site!

Mike here: According to the info on Meade's site, the updater should work.
Subject:	etx 125ec astro telescope
Sent:	Tuesday, June 18, 2002 7:51:25
From: (ernie duncan)
i bought a etx 125 several years ago and still can not get the
electronic go to controller to work correctly. when used it tries to
push the scope down between the mounts. there is a scale with numbers
(two sets one on base other vertical) i do not know what these numbered
scales are use for. the set up for polar view etc never makes reference
to these numbers.

  please help or advise.
  thank you.

completely lost in space 

ernie duncan

ps the scope does work i can find jupiter etc the moons around jupiter
are clear and the rings around saturn are good. the scopes i had as a
child in the 70"s did not find these. have a great day   ernie
Mike here: See the Autostar Information page on the ETX Site. There are a lot of alignment and HOME position tips there. Once you've looked at some of those items and have tried to make things work, if you are still having a problem drop me a note with specifics. As to the Altitude (DEC) scale, if it doesn't read correctly, see the item on the FAQ page. But you really don't need to use the scale with the Autostar.
Subject:	Re: autostar
Sent:	Monday, June 17, 2002 14:49:19
To:	Mike L
> I have downloaded the ASU; problems with th 25 EA - do I need it? Would it 
> be downloaded when I try to update my 495?

Yes, you will eventually need it.

Yes, the Updater can download it for you.

The Updater can also download it -without- having your Autostar attached.

I do NOT recommend having the Autostar hung in the "Downloading... do not turn off" 
mode while you're trying to have a (near) megabyte
arrive across the wires.

Simply start the Updater (without attaching your Autostar), and click the [update now] button.
It will notice the absence of Autostar, and
provide a box with two menu slots:
one is "what kind of Autostar?" (497, or ETX)
The other is the "where to get the code?" choice.

If you answer "497" and "Internet", it will bring over the file for you, and leave it 
in the proper folder 

Then, after that's successful, you can connect your Autostar, do the two-finger power-up,
and then tell the Updater to [update now],
this time choosing the Local file option.

> problems getting 25ea
What kind of problems?

good luck

Subject:	Docs for Autostar 2.5?
Sent:	Monday, June 17, 2002 8:36:15
From: (Donald Davenport)
Just upgraded from 2.0.  Is there documentation (either here or at
Meade's site) that explains the new features (Max Elev, Min AOS, etc.)
in 2.5? Simply wouldn't do to have any bell or whistle remain unused if
I can help it.


Don Davenport 
Mike here: The LX90 docs (see the FAQ page on the ETX Site) seem to have the most complete info but it is now out-of-date (the last time I looked).
Subject:	Autostar Tracking Backwards?
Sent:	Sunday, June 16, 2002 21:42:12
From: (Tony & Bridgette Leff)
I'm hoping you may be able to help me with a problem.

I'm trying to convert my 10" LX50 for use with a 495 Autostar.  I have
installed the R.A. motor up to the existing worm gear in the telescope,
and the Autostar seems to work fairly well...except..the telescope seems
to track in the wrong direction (i.e west to east).  First, some
background info. that may or may not be relevent.

I live in Brisbane, Australia (ie.  the southern hemisphere).  The scope
is permanently mounted on a pier, and polar aligned to the south
celestial pole.  The autostar is set up for Brisbane, and selects stars
in the southern hemisphere.

If I change the sign of the azimuth gear ratio, the telescope tracks in
the right direction, but the R.A. shown by the autostar, corresponds to
the R.A. reading on the Northern Hemisphere setting circle.

Can you offer any advice on what may be causing this problem, and how to
get around it.

Kind Regards,
Tony Leff

Subject:	I need your help with my ETX
Sent:	Sunday, June 16, 2002 15:38:44
From: (Jason Inamoto)
Hello I recently bought a ETX -90EC telescope and I am having trouble
with it. This is my very first telescope and I don't really understand
the instruction manual. I have read it many times, but I still don't
understand it. The part that I don't understand the most is training the
telescope. I think the instruction manual talks too brief on it, so can
you please elaborate on the subject? Thankyou.

Jason Inamoto

PS Also, do you know if there is any way I can get my hands on a
Japanese version of my instruction manual? Because I am having a very
hard time comprehending the words in the English instruction manual.
Mike here: Training the drives with the Autostar is simple (if you don't use the Autostar then drive training is not required). You train in both axes, one at a time. Pick a stationary distant object or you can use Polaris at night (if you can see it). Follow the Autostar menu prompts. Center the object, press ENTER, the telescope slews in one direction and then back, recenter the object using the indicated Autostar slewing arrow key and press ENTER once centered. The process repeats for the other direction. Repeat for other axis. For a Japanese version, see this web page for contact info:
Subject:	GPS use
Sent:	Saturday, June 15, 2002 17:45:30
From: (drew)
Im just wondering (gears turning, light bulbs lighting) I see that there
are a few Hand held GPSr's(Global Positioning System recievers) that
have a 3-axis electronic compass as well as "Live" Barometers/altimetor.
These units use the ASCII lingo to comunicate with a PC as well as NMEA
My question is......
Would you think it possible to Connect and set your location on the
autostar units to match your exact location/altitude?

would you think it possible to mount the GPSr on the OTA and have the
Autostar unit receive data from the GPSr via laptop/pda to help control
the scope. I know that it would be hard for the angle to be determind by
The GPSr but the "true" pointing relation of the OTA would be Accurate
(set to true north on the GPSr).

Mike here: There is software that will take the input from a GPS and then pass the location info to the Autostar. Which one it is escapes me at the moment but I do recall one for the Macintosh. As to whether that would be THAT MUCH more accurate remains as an exercise for the interested reader!
Subject:	Autostar update from ver 2.0
Sent:	Saturday, June 15, 2002 11:05:47
From: (David Volpe)
The web sight and scope are truely mighty!  I have an ETX-125 and an
Autostar handbox.  The software version is 2.0.  I have read a fair
amount about updating the software yet am still confused about what I
specifically need to do.  This may have a little to do with the fact
that I have two toddlers that refuse to give me the time to study up on
the subject.  Sorry to bother you with such an elementary request, but
even as I write my 3 yr old is pouting because I'm preventing her ffrom
playing Blue's Clues on the (MY)computer.

PLEASE HELP!  I'm suffering data overload, and don't know where to

1.  Where can I purchase the cable to connect my PC to the AUTOSTAR.
2.  Do I need any special software to update?  If so where can I get it?
3.  There seems to be a lot of downloads to choose and various patches,
what order should I use?

Like many you've helped, I'm trying to get that perfect "ETX GO TO"
you've refered to.  Ultimately my goal is to do some astrophotography.

No I have to make a PB&J.


PS.  Will your book be available Barnes&Noble or Books a Million, or
should I use Amazon.
Mike here: See the article "How to use the 3.x Updater" on the Autostar Information page. It is fairly straightforward to update the Autostar. You can either make a cable (info on the Autostar Information page) or buy one from your favorite Meade dealer. Don't worry about patches (yet or at all, depending upon your level of experience); just enjoy using the current version. As to the book, BN has it online. Don't know if the local stores have it yet.
Subject:	oeps!
Sent:	Saturday, June 15, 2002 6:58:45
I think I just f*cked up my autostar!!!
I was fabricating my own autostar extention-cable and I think it had a
false connection doesn't do nothing anymore!(Only the
Autostar, my scope (ETX-125) still works with the standard
What do I have to do? Go to the nearest Meade dealer and let it fix by
Meade or you know another solution?
How can I safely make my extention-cable?I used a class5 network cable,
RJ45 plugs and a special tool to bring it all together!


Mike here: If you mean it doesn't the Autostar doesn't come one when the ETX is powered up, yep, you probably fried the Autostar. You can either return it for a repair/replacement (and pay a lot) or buy a used one (eBay; elsewhere). As to a long Autostar cable, see the info on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	Polar alignment
Sent:	Friday, June 14, 2002 23:09:56
From: (ken w anderson)
I am in need of advice. Ive had an Etx for a couple of years and have
used it successfully to produce some astrophotography pics. Its that
time of the year when you can really get out . Once I set up my scope
and go thru the 2 star alignment in polar mode and walaa it zips right
past the star and completely to the opposite side of the sky. Im pretty
sure ive set up correctly, so what might the problem be? Attached is a
pic of my scope in the polar home position and the RA is turned
clockwise until the hardstop and then backed up to a fork over the
computer control panel.
Mike here: You should be rotating counterclockwise to the hardstop. See the article "Polar Alignment Tips" on the Autostar Information page for more info.


Im sorry i did turn it counterclockwise.My mistake in the way I wrote
this to you.
Mike here: See the article anyway.


OK I just did a simulated test and now it works. I just dont get it.
Mike here: Somebody once said "practice makes perfect".

And more:

Now I seem to have a new problem. I was able to get the stars to align
in polar mode and when I would input a stars name it would get fairly
close, but I would still have to adjust a little to find the mark. Once
the autostar would give me a message alignment successful I thought I
was ready. I inputted the moon and it started to move but it rolled past
close to the same track parralel to the moon. Is this because my initial
alignment is not perfect?
Mike here: Your latitude adjustment on your tripod might not be accurate, your site location in your Autostar might not be accurate, your time might not have been accurate, and if you are not running a reasonably current Autostar version, the Moon's position might not be as accurate. So, check all those.
Subject:	Autostar LST dual value report
Sent:	Friday, June 14, 2002 22:42:44
I'm having a problem with my Autostar.

After "align successful" if I read the value of LST from the paddle
using MODE, arrows,etc, I get a value of say 08:15 which is the correct
value as per other sources.

Using HyperTerminal and the command #:GS# I often get a completely
different value, say 23:19 Sometimes it reports the same value but often
it is different.

This behavior causes problem in linking to TheSky and I don't know how
to solve or explain it.

I got a second paddle and the problem persists.

The LX90 and Autostar seem to work fine but i cannot get a link to
TheSky due to the fact that a different value is reported by #:GS#

Any ideas?? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

And from Dick:
> I'm having a problem with my Autostar.

Ahem: which firmware version?  (Setup > Statistics > (scroll up) )
Are you Polar or Alt/Az mounted. (i suspect Polar)
Whenever reporting/suspecting an Autostar problem, -please- include
that information.
> ... value of LST from the paddle using MODE, arrows,etc,
> I get a value of say 08:15 which is the correct value as per
> other sources.
> Using HyperTerminal and the command #:GS# I often get a completely
> different value, say 23:19
> Sometimes it reports the same value but often it is different.

> This behavior causes problem in linking to TheSky and I don't know
> how to solve or explain it.

I think i can -explain- it (and i'll try my v25Ea later)...
In older versions of the firmware, the displayed LST used to be
"strange", too.  What they were -really- showing was the RA value
where the RA (or Az, if Alt/Az) axle "pierced the sky".
It's the value calculated during alignment.  After years of confusing
us, they finally made the -display- simply show the LST as determined
by time of year and local time. (longitude).
I'll bet that the :GS# value is still the Calculated-from-alignment
If you are Polar mounted, the -tinyest- error in Polar Axis alignment
can yield -any- RA value (since they're all converging there).
If you are Alt/Az mounted, the alignment-LST error is much less, just
a measure of the east/west tilt of the base.

Quick tests: "fake" an alignment.. just let it slew to the targets
and press [enter]... if the :GS# and the LST agree, that's because 
it thinks the base is level.

But i'll go play with it, too... it's been a long while since i looked
at that particular thing.

have fun
From: (Richard Seymour) wrote:

> Thank you for your response.
> You are the first one that come up with an answer.

> I'm using version 25Ea and I'm Polar mounted.
The swami guessed the mounting....
> Either using a "Fake" or real alignment, sometimes it gives the right
> LST value and some other days it doesn't.

Some days your Wedge is pointing a little -above- the pole (and
LST agrees with :GS#) and some days your Wedge is pointing elsewhere.
Next test (at night): deliberately -drop- your polar-point (i.e.
decrease latitude angle, increase tilt of base) to definitely
-below- the Pole...  Align.
The :GS# should be about 12 hours off.

> Actually, the paddle display has the correct value of LST
> consistently.

Yes... since (i forget the version... 20-something) they've 
substituted a longitude-based number for that display. So it's right.

> It is the value returned from HyperTerminal (#:GS#) or TheSky that is
> often wrong and prevents linking the PC to the LX90.
> Most frustrating...

> Do you know any way to go around this so that I can link to TheSky and
> use these programs?

Is there a way to convince the program to -not- require sync between
the PC clock and the Telescope clock?
Otherwise, the work-around is to be sure that your Polar Alignment
is at least an arc minute "above" the pole... or that the Autostar
thinks it is (so if you're aligning on Arcturus at the moment, err
a little bit to the south of it (i think)... 
ah another daytime test... do a Polar One Star align on Arcturus.
When the slew gets there, burp the Down (south) key, press Enter.
See if the :GS# is correct, or 12 hours off.
If it's 12 hours off, repeat the test, but this time burp the Dec Up.

The "burp" can be a -very- short keypress at a slow speed.

I'll be looking into it over the next few hours.
It might be fairly easily patchable... but it might not.
It depends upon how they do it...
But it's easily -fixable- Meade's end... 
Send a note with "autostar virmware 25ea BUG" in the title,
and a description of the problem, and the desired solution,
They may not -answer- (directly)... but the bug may disappear...

have fun
And more from our Autostar expert:
I've duplicated your situation in my ETX90... v25Ea, too.
I'll try the LX200gps later.
I have sent a note to Meade about it.

> Arcturus is below the horizon now and I can't get to align on one star
> using it.
> I will have to wait a few hours. I'll try tonight both tests.

I was using Arcturus as an example of a near-zenith alignment star.
Many others would serve... having it near the central meridian (the
line going from the pole directly overhead to due south) is handy
since it removes accidental east/west effects.

> I've been trying to work this out with Daniel Bisque and he contacted
> someone at Meade.
> So far they have no idea what the problem is.

Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it...
It was an old syndrome of the Displayed value, too.
I can only think of one or two people at Meade who would've been
aware of it at all.

> Can I share your comments with them or you prefer to keep it just to
> us. Maybe they can make changes to TheSky or the Autostar.

Any bugs i find should be spread as far as useful... certainly
tell 'em what's happening.   As i said, i've already sent a note
to Meade... and i'll dig into my disassemblies later for further

Although do-it-all-for-you programs (such as TheSky) are useful and
fun, there -are- times when you need/want to break their little 
fingers tonot -do- certain steps (often to get around Meade firmware).
"Sync" is a good example of pitfalls.  So is:
The classic LX200, LX90 and new LX200gps all have some slight quirks
which means that "one size" of control program cannot work -all- of
(example: during a slew, the LX200 reports rough distance-remaining
by sending a number of special characters.  The LX90 only sends -one-
of those characters, irregardless of distance to travel.  I haven't
checked the LX200gps yet on that one...)

have fun
And this too:
> It's great that you duplicated the situation yourself.
> I was feeling very lonely and unbelieved

? even though Daniel is looking into it, and contacted Meade?

> I tried your suggestions but I believe that I didn't get the results
> expected, maybe  because I'm "parking" in between and that may carry
> some of the alignment parameter with it.

That's exactly what it does...

> Earlier today when Arcturus was visible I tried one star alignment on
> Arcturus, above and below it (about 3 degrees - more than a "burp" I
> guess) 

I am also a fan of "kick it HARD to see it wiggle..."

> and in all cases the LST values were the same correct ones on the
> paddle and from HyperTerminal. Arcturus was at 34 degrees altitude,
> not near zenith. So I didn't duplicate the experiment as you indicated.

Well, you did... i -should- have said "central meridian", but lazily
typed "zenith"

> Just now I aligned with two stars setting the latitude above and
> below and got in both cases different values, the paddle had the
> correct LST (14:11) and Hyper Terminal reported a different one (2:14). 
> The difference being as you indicated 12 hours. Maybe I didn't go past
> the celestial pole enough.

Even two arcminutes should be "enough".  
When i did my quick-look, the values were different by a few minutes
(i didn't play much with it yet), not by hours.  Equivalent to your
Arcturus test.  But they -were- different.

> LST (14:11) and Hyper Terminal reported a different one (2:14).
Something which bit me on the LX200gps was that they were showing
the LST in AM/PM values!  So 14:12 showed as 2:12 PM
I hadn't -noticed- the AM/PM when i was reading it, and was SURE it
was 12 hours off... I don't think the LX90 does that (i forgot to

> Daniel Bisque suggested to change the value of MaxSideralDiffSec in
> the register from 10 minutes to a higher value to allow a larger
> difference in the LSTs. I changed it up to 86400 sec (=24 hrs) but
> didn't help and TheSky still didn't link.
Does it see the telescope at -all-?  What happens if you tell it it
is connected to an ETX90 (for example, if that's offered as a separate

> I believe that we are finally making real progress.
I hope so...

> I've been reading your valuable posted material on the Internet for
> some time and followed your suggestions regarding tuning the telescope
> and Autostar.
> Does your new book cover the LX90 also?
It's Mike Weasner's book, with a few bits from me, and a lot from Clay
Sherrod included.  Much is spefically directed at the ETX90, but
the LX90 can be considered as an 8" ETX90 (an ETX200 ?)
So all of the -operational- guides apply fairly directly.
The "what you can see" becomes "what you can see MUCH BETTER"

have fun
And continuing:
> One thing I don't understand is why to connect the Autostar it ask so
> many questions and checks so many parameters. Connecting to the LX200
> is fast and doesn't ask any questions besides COM port.

The LX200 is more wiloling to be -told- what to do than the Autostar.
The Autostar is not programmed to accept complete re-alignment from
the rs232 serial port.  
The LX200 was probably programmed with the idea that the PC was 
better equipped to direct the operation.
The Autostar was programmed with the idea that -it- would control 
the telescope, and the PC would merely suggest target coordinates.

Finally, add in the possibility of a bug (in this case the LX90's
idea of "LST") and things break.   Once Meade (or a patch) fixes 
the :GS#, it'll work properly (or find the -next- problem).

I'm surprised that other folks haven't hit this... TheSky must be
particularly picky about coordinating LST's (i have no idea -why-).
It really has no need to do so...  (StarryNight works OK.. you just
tell it once not to try to SYNC the telescope)

> Like I said before, if I use LX200 instead of Autostar
> it connects and points exactly where the telescope is pointing at.
> Unfortunately, from then on other things like slews does not work
> properly, perhaps because the command code is different.

The command codes are the same ... except that the Autostar does not
-perform- all of the codes an LX200 does.

a fix will arise, i'm sure...

Subject:	ISS tracking
Sent:	Friday, June 14, 2002 21:45:20
From: (Cary)
Yeah I was playing around with it tonight and was able to get the
accurate time for the ISS to come over my horizon and the etx started
slewing in the wrong direction then went to the direction that the
station was coming over the horizon. Sure enough we saw it come over and
it counted down the AOS, but then it went -1 -2 -3 etc. and it did not
track it. I know this is advanced to track a satellite but would went
Mike here: From the "Tracking ISS" article on the Autostar Information page: "...and start counting down the seconds until the expected passage. Press enter when you see the satellite cross the crosshairs." You said it started counting down but did you press ENTER?


Yes I did and it did not move.
Mike here: Well, as Dick Seymour has noted many times, getting some experience with the satellite tracking is usually required before you get successes. Keep working at it.
Subject:	RE: RE: Autostar updating
Sent:	Thursday, June 13, 2002 7:49:33
From: (Cary)
I love your site, I have been trying to find out how to train the
drives, but even your site still has me clueless on how to do it
properly. I guess I am telescope stupid since I just got mine this week.
I was able to align it to alt/az and get some what close to 'goto'
accuracy. Can you give me basic steps for a beginner on training drives?
I have to wait until July 10th until I get my cable in the mail so I'll
be unable to update the autostar until then, many thanks to you in

Mike here: TRAINing is simple. Just follow the Autostar prompts. Select Setup-->Telescope-->Train Drive. Select Altitude (or Azimuth). Read the help information that appears. It basically says to center a stationary distant object in the eyepiece (the higher the power the more accurate the training will be). Press ENTER when centered. The telescope will slew away from the object. Press the indicated arrow key to recenter the object and press ENTER when you have recentered the object. The process repeats in the other direction. The select the other axis (Azimuth or Altitude) and repeat the process. That's it!


Question Since I have a EXT-105 when I scroll through the telescope
setup options to train the drive I noticed that it registred my model at
a etx90. I tried to change it to EXT-125 since the ext-105 is not an
option. I can not get it to stay or save the information I selected, it
rolls back to EXT90. Is this a faulty unit or am I doing something
wrong? Please note: I am hitting the 'enter' button when I choose
ext125. Maybe I need to update the firmware. I wonder if Meade has the
option in the new firware for my scope. Jut wondering. Thanks, wish you
lived in the south, I'd love to meet ya some time :)

Mike here: Selecting the ETX-125EC is the right thing to do with older Autostar ROM versions. If you do update you'll get the ETX-105EC selection. And once you select the model it is stored; the display just shows ETX-90EC first when you go back to setup the model.


Oh ok so it is actually saving ETX-125, it just shows the 90 everytime I
go back in? Makes sense. I will update the ROM when I am able, once
again thanks.

And this:

If I have a ext-105 I have the 497 autostar right? I threw out the box
and I'm trying to make sure.
Mike here: The ETX-105EC does not come with the Autostar; it is an extra cost item. If your Autostar has a numeric keypad it is either a #495 or #497. But the #495 can be upgraded to a #497 using the Meade Autostar Update software. However, a new purchase of an Autostar with a keypad is likely to be a #497.


I am going to upgrade my firmware when I can other than retraining
re-initializing the drives etc. Is there anything else I need to do to
track satellites?
Mike here: See the satellite and space station articles on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	alignment and motor fault problems
Sent:	Wednesday, June 12, 2002 3:27:27
From: (Bob Rose)
You may have already learned this. In Alt-Az the autostar wants the
alignment start to be between 30 and 65 degrees above the horizon and
about 90 degrees apart. You mentioned Arcturus. From my latitude it is a
bout 70d by 9:00pm and the autostar will not pick it. You could use
Spica and Regulus.

Motor faults can be caused by a number of things. Running into a hard
stop is one of them. Like Mike says Reset, Calibrate, and Retrain. One
other thing to watch out for is battery condition. You can find this out
by pressing the MODE key for about 3 seconds then using the scroll keys
(arrows at the bottom) to get to the battery percentage.

bob rose
From: (Richard Seymour)
>I think I've read on the website (it doesn't seem to be mentioned in
>the manual) that if I type an up or down arrow key after Autostar
>picks a star to slew to for Easy Align, this will over-rule the
>selection and Autostar will pick a new star.  I'll give it a try.

That is correct... you are given up to ten choices, brightest first.

If you have a good landmark for a North reference, you could do an
Alt/Az One Star alignment... it depends upon the accuracy of your
initial Home position for its accuracy.

Depending upon your latitude, and the time of night, Arcturus
can certainly move into, and out of, the "computationally difficult"
part of the sky... Meade uses the Tangent function as part of their
math, and that goes to infinity if the scope is pointed straight up.
-close- to straight up it can overpower the accuracy of the rest of
the math.
(that paragraph should not be taken to imply that the Autostar
cannot GoTo objects located exactly overhead... it can)

>About the Motor Unit Faults, the instructions you give below are very
>clear but appear to disagree on one point with the manual.
>I had understood from the manual that the power panel should face
>North (underneath the telescope barrel),

When you re-read the manual, it will say "west".
Or refer to the text on Clay Sherrod's page
just below figure 3-c.  (numbered item (2))
And Mike's text on


>but you write that the power panel should face West (with the barrel
>North).  Are you sure on this point?
Sure as sure can be...
The programming expects to be able to swing to due west (Az=270),
when moving counterclockwise from North.

The -only- time when the power panel goes elsewhere is if you are
setting up in Polar Mode in the Southern Hemisphere... then it
goes on the East side.  But that's the only excetion.
For Northern Hemisphere Piolar, and both hemispheres' Alt/Az: West.

>If so, this might account for most of my MUF's since they were
>almost all (or all) with the telescope trying to point West
>- maybe it couldn't rotate far enough that way if the panel should
>have been West and wasn't.  I am going to check the manual again but I
>think I read it carefully!

Listen to your own experience, too... the grinding sounds of the motors
are trying to tell you: "Move it West, young man"

>My power supply consists of 8 AA batteries - do you have any idea what
>battery percentage is safe?

My ETX90 gets erratic below 68%  (70%= ok, 65%= wild slews)

I usually use a RadioShack 500ma power adapter (adaptaplug "N")
(5.5mm outside, 2.5mm inside)  with a loooong cord.  1000ma (1 amp)
would be  better.  When i am not near a wall outlet, i use the AA's.
For my LX200gps i am using an automotive "Jump Start" battery unit.

have fun
From: (Richard Seymour)
Edward Witten wrote:
> Many thanks for your message.
> The reason I was not using Easy Align was that Autostar tends to pick a
> star that is
> hidden behind trees at my observing site.  I think I've read on the
> website (it doesn't
> seem to be mentioned in the manual) that if I type an up or down arrow
> key after Autostar
> picks a star to slew to for Easy Align, this will over-rule the
> selection and Autostar will
> pick a new star.  I'll give it a try.
> At any rate, last night, after a Reset, the two star alignment worked
> fine using
> Vega and Arcturus.
> About the Motor Unit Faults, the instructions you give below are very
> clear but appear to
> disagree on one point with the manual.  I had understood from the manual
> that the power
> panel should face North (underneath the telescope barrel), but you write
> that the power
> panel should face West (with the barrel North).  Are you sure on this
> point?   If so, this
> might account for most of my MUF's since they were almost all (or all)
> with the telescope
> trying to point West - maybe it couldn't rotate far enough that way if
> the panel should
> have been West and wasn't.  I am going to check the manual again but I
> think I read
> it carefully!
> My power supply consists of 8 AA batteries - do you have any idea what
> battery
> percentage is safe?
>  - Edward Witten

I think the answers to both of your problems are fairly simple:
(or complex)

(a) two star alignment: you're either choosing bad pairs of stars,
or the encoders are misreporting... although the latter should get
a Motor Unit Fault here, too.
Whenever Two Star is giving you "alignment failed", it means that
the stars are either way different in spacing than the Autostar
thinks they should be, or they're too close together (or in
mathematically ambiguous places) for the algorithms.
In your case, i'll bet it's that Arcturus is too high.
Why not try an Easy Align?  Let the -Autostar- choose its stars.
The Autostar's choice criteria are:
between 20 and 65 degrees elevation
at least 30 Az degrees apart
the ten brightest which fit that selection (exclude Polaris).

(b) MUFs and hitting the stops.  You didn't specify your firmware
version, but that shouldn't happen for any version newer than 2.0
**IF** you power up at the correct position.  Read the manual (or
Mike's site) and you'll see:
Place base on table (or whatever), power panel on west side.
Unclamp the Az clamp, and spin the forks counterclockwise until they
 hit the stop (which should point you vaguely WSW).
Now spin the forks about 120 degrees CW until the Declination scale
is above the power panel, and the barrel is pointing due north.
Level the barrel.
NOW power up.  For the rest of the evening, you shouldn't hit the
stops (unless -you- manually slew into them).
If you're still getting MUF's, by all means
Setup > Telescope > Calibrate ... it only takes a few seconds.
And suspect your power supply.

good luck
And this:
I really appreciate your giving these detailed explanations.
I think they'll help a lot.
Edward Witten

Subject:	re: Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, June 11, 2002 22:36:50
From: (Richard Seymour)
I'm going to have to contradict Mike on this one...
(although the links he suggested are correct)

The 494 is -not- compatible with the ETX90ec.
The 495 requires reprogramming before it will operate one.

Only the 497 (or a reprogrammed 495) can operate the ETX90ec.

The 495's and 497's have numeric keypads.
The 494 does not have a numeric keypad.

You can reprogram the 495 yourself, even if it refuses to
operate the telescope at this time... if you wish instructions,
feel free to inquire (i womn't bury you with words at this moment)

have fun
Mike here: My error on the #494; I misread the page.
Subject:	Re: alignment and motor fault problems
Sent:	Tuesday, June 11, 2002 21:26:23
From: (Edward Witten)
Many thanks for the prompt and helpful response,
After the Reset and Recalibrate, the problem with two star alignment
disappeared -
it worked fine on the first try.
I didn't run into any Motor Unit Faults tonight, but I think it may take
longer to see if this problem recurs.
  Edward Witten

(after a little more practice, I'll write again about whether I am
having MUF's)
And in response to the original question (further down the page):
From: (Richard Seymour)
I think the answers to both of your problems are fairly simple:
(or complex)

(a) two star alignment: you're either choosing bad pairs of stars,
or the encoders are misreporting... although the latter should get
a Motor Unit Fault here, too.
Whenever Two Star is giving you "alignment failed", it means that
the stars are either way different in spacing than the Autostar
thinks they should be, or they're too close together (or in 
mathematically ambiguous places) for the algorithms.
In your case, i'll bet it's that Arcturus is too high.
Why not try an Easy Align?  Let the -Autostar- choose its stars.
The Autostar's choice criteria are:
between 20 and 65 degrees elevation
at least 30 Az degrees apart
the ten brightest which fit that selection (exclude Polaris).

(b) MUFs and hitting the stops.  You didn't specify your firmware
version, but that shouldn't happen for any version newer than 2.0
**IF** you power up at the correct position.  Read the manual (or
Mike's site) and you'll see:
Place base on table (or whatever), power panel on west side.
Unclamp the Az clamp, and spin the forks counterclockwise until they
 hit the stop (which should point you vaguely WSW).
Now spin the forks about 120 degrees CW until the Declination scale
is above the power panel, and the barrel is pointing due north.
Level the barrel.
NOW power up.  For the rest of the evening, you shouldn't hit the
stops (unless -you- manually slew into them).
If you're still getting MUF's, by all means 
Setup > Telescope > Calibrate ... it only takes a few seconds.
And suspect your power supply.

good luck

Subject:	alignment and motor fault problems
Sent:	Monday, June 10, 2002 20:59:35
From: (Edward Witten)
I purchased a new ETX125 about a month ago, and I am having two problems
with it.

I successfully carried out two star alignment (Alt-Az) about five or six
times, so I am sure I understand the procedure.  However, lately, the
last dozen times I've attempted two star alignment, after I center the
scope on the two stars (after the scope has slewed to their approximate
locations), the Autostar immediately replies,  ``Alignment Failed -
Check Stars.''  The two stars I used were very bright ones (like Vega
and Arcturus) and I am really pretty sure I have the right stars.  I'd
like to point out that the Autostar doesn't pause for ``Calculating,''
it just immediately says ``Alignment Failed - Check Stars.''

Is there any aspect of finding the telescope's home position, prior to
the two star alignment, that has to be done with great accuracy?

The other thing that has happened is that on some of the five or six
occasions when I did get successful two star alignment, after I viewed a
number of objects, the scope got stuck and Autostar reported ``Motor
Unit Fault.''  This frequently happened with the scope running into one
of the hard stops - I am not sure if this was always so. Also, it always
or almost always happened when I was trying to look at an object that
was to the West.

Thanks for any help,

Edward Witten
Mike here: Lets start with the simple steps. Do a RESET, select the right telescope model, and then reCALIBRATE. If that doesn't help, reTRAIN the drives. Let me know what happens.
Subject:	Re: Question Regarding ETX90 Autostar Spreadsheet
Sent:	Monday, June 10, 2002 5:44:00
From: (Martyn Edwards)
To:	Anonymous
If you look at cell A20 in the spreadsheet in what I'm trying to do
is get you to move away from the target by moving up and left - it
doesn't matter how far - and then move back toward the target by just
tapping right and down. It's the last bit that's important - you need to
come onto the target by just using the right and down keys. If you
overshoot then move back up and left and re-approach using the right and
down keys.

The reason is that when the motors reverse direction they will take up
the backlash first (in other words the scope is not going to move until
this backlash is taken up), and it is this backlash that I'm eliminating
by asking you to move up/left before bringing the scope back to the
target by moving down/right.

By doing this in four directions (i.e. the instructions in cells A20 to
A23) the spreadsheet calculates an average for the individual azimuth
and altitude settings. This whole thing is then replicated a further
three times with different training values, from which the spreadsheet
can then calculate a best fit straight line to optimise the training

Have a go and, after you have entered all the data, take a good look at
the graphs at the bottom of the screen - these should be straight lines.
If they aren't then either you've made a cods of entering the data, or
one or both of your drives may be slipping or sticking.

Hope this helps,


Martyn Edwards

----- Original Message -----
> I was looking over your spreadsheet and I got somewhat confused.
> It told me to slew 'up left' and then the comment told me to return to
> target by scrolling in one direction. Do I scroll in one direction to the
> bottom and to the right to return to target? What exactly should I do?
> Thanks.

Subject:	autostar
Sent:	Monday, June 10, 2002 4:04:14
From: (Clare Brannigan)
I have a ETX90C telescope,I am told  the autostar is for the DS series,
are these compatible.
Mike here: The Autostar #494, 495, and 497 work with both the ETX-90EC and the DS models. See the Meade Autostar Update page for more info.
Subject:	Mount Check error
Sent:	Sunday, June 9, 2002 10:40:15
From: (Jim Wilkins)
My Autostar 497 has developed a "Mount Check" error.  My backup
Autostar, using the same firmware, has no such issue.  Any ideas on what
could be the problem?

From: (Richard Seymour)
Try doing a "Calibrate " operation on the ... whoops.. 

you didn't say "Motor Unit Fault", you said "Mount Check".

-That- message appears when you are trying to move above/below
the travel limits for the scope.
Reselect your Telescope's Model
(of, if it's 25Ea, play with Setup>Telescope>MAx Elev )
doing that resets the internal travel limits to factory defaults.
(which vary from model to model.. an ETX90 is +90, -20 degrees)

have fun
And an update:
I reselected both the telescope model and the max el limit.  I am now in
Autostar bliss.


Subject:	etx125ec
Sent:	Sunday, June 9, 2002 7:31:55
From: (Richard Romansky)
I have hade my scope for over a year being able to do basic alignment
and focus mostly on the moon.

Now that the weather is nice I want to get more outside.

I am looking for instructions very  very basic

set 1, step 2 etc.

It is mounted to a heave duty tripod.  WE are lost as to how to begin
the alignment for tracking-- I have the auto star attached but
instructions are vague (to me) as to which instructions to begin
with--the controller that was included or the auto star   controller. 
Can you point me in a direction??

Many thanks

Massillon Ohio
Mike here: See the Autostar Information page; there are alignment tips there.
Subject:	Autostar slewing speed
Sent:	Friday, June 7, 2002 13:01:55
From: (Mark McBurney)
Wonderful site.  Just ordered the book.

A question for you:
Is it possible to reduce Autostar's GOTO slewing speed (and thus the
noise from the motors)?  Pressing one of the number keys mid-slew aborts
the GOTO and I haven't found a way to change the default speed.

I have a #497 Controller at v.22E.

Grateful for any help.  

And from our Autostar expert:
From: (Richard Seymour)
This is something i've tried to patch in the past, and have been
completely unsuccessful... 
However, the LX200gps offers this feature, and i hoped to be able to
figure out a way to modify that code to fit the 497.  I looked
at it a month or so ago, but it was very complex in that area.

So, for the foreseeable future, no. (at least not by me)

have fun (if noisily)

Subject:	Autostar #495 & #497
Sent:	Wednesday, June 5, 2002 20:30:37
From: (Sergey F. Volokitin)
Today, i'm update #495 to #497 ver25Ea. All work fine, but i can't find
LX90 model in the "telescope model" menu. Why?

Best regards,
 Sergey F. Volokitin                          
St.Petersburg, Russia
Mike here: You have to connect the Autostar to a LX90.
Subject:	usb to serial adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, June 5, 2002 6:48:08
From: (Joe L. Smith)
Great site, allot of info! I bought your book and it really helps. I am
having trouble concerning the Meade 07507 usb to serial adapter cable. I
am running windows xp home and have installed the driver software as
described in the instructions. I con not seem to get the ASU software to
recognize the autostar 497 when using this cable and the Meade tech's
have been no help at all. They seem to not know about this cable that
they are selling! Do you know any one that may be able to help with
this? The ASU and autostar work great using the serial port but my
laptop doesn't have a serial port. I am really wanting to use the starry
night software to control my EXT 105.  HELP!

Thanks ..........Joe Smith
And an update:
Finally got the Meade usb to serial cable working! Go to the
manufacturer (Prolific Technology) at and download
the latest driver. Be sure to un install the old driver first. Hope this

Subject:	Re: Autostar Question
Sent:	Wednesday, June 5, 2002 0:46:13
Is the numeric keypad better to have??       Should I try to get the 495

          sorry for bugging you,
                John Vicini
Mike here: The keypad is handy since it allows direct entry of numbers. With the #494 you have to scroll through numbers to select them. But a keypad is NOT required.
Subject:	Autostar Question
Sent:	Tuesday, June 4, 2002 1:08:46
One last question about the autostar Hand-controller. I was sent
the 494 instead of the 495 and you mentioned it would work.  What
then is the difference if any?? I havent opened the 494 box yet, was
the 495 an upgrade??

Mike here: There are significant differences in the #494 and the #495/497 Autostars. The #494 does not have a numeric keypad; the others do. Currently the #494 can NOT be updated to a newer ROM version; the others can. The #494 will NOT work with the ETX-90/105/125EC models; the others will.
Subject:	questions
Sent:	Monday, June 3, 2002 12:39:19
From: (N O V A)
I have owned my ETX90EC for about 2-3 years. I've been busy over the
past year and haven't used my telescope too extensively. Now I see that
my Autostar is way outdated and I am unsure if my motors are trained
accurately. In fact, my Autostar is still the 1.2 version. What updates
for the Autostar do you think are the most important that I should get?
What are some of the more important guides I should use to help upgrade
my telescope and train the motors correctly?

Secondly, how should the telescope be set up again? Is it when you turn
the telescope all the way to the left as far as it can go and then turn
it back around 270 degrees? After doing this should it be pointing north
or south?

Please give me your answers along with some suggestions and ideas as
soon as possible. Thanks.
Mike here: I strongly suggest you upgrade to the current Autostar version on Meade's site. You may have to put your Autostar into SAFE LOAD mode (hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and then power on the ETX); later versions of the Autostar ROM will automatically put the Autostar into Download mode. Once you've upgraded the Autostar, do a RESET, RECALIBRATE, and TRAIN the drives on a distant object. With the control panel on the west side, and the tube rotated counterclockwise to the hardstop, it is a rotation of about 120 degrees back to North. For more on the Autostar and alignments, see the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	re: Desperate need for original software
Sent:	Friday, May 31, 2002 23:08:28
From: (Richard Seymour)
What version do you really want?
What language?

(and, for curiosity, why?)

The 2.0 versions are still Multi-language

Fixed language versions only started with v2.1

Old versions (before 21) will not recognize the LX90

German versions of newer firmware are available on the German
Meade distributor's website

good luck

Subject:	re: Solar Viewing
Sent:	Friday, May 31, 2002 22:57:50
From: (Richard Seymour)
The Sun-as-Asteroid method still works in all Autostar firmwares.


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