Last updated: 30 June 2005
Subject: Solar Astronomy/tracking the sun with an ETX Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 20:30:43 From: Richard Varner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Coronado tells me Meade already has, or will soon have, Autostar software for accurately tracking the sun when using a solar filter with an ETX. Is this true? If so, how can I get it? Thank you, Richard VarnerMike here: I have no info on unreleased versions. But for most purposes, you can use the standard sidereal rate for tracking the Sun. Afterall, the Sun only moves about 360 degrees in 365 days. That is about 1 degree per day, or twice its diameter over a 24 hour period.
Thank you for the opinion. I hear you and agree -- in theory. In practice, though, the sun slides out of my eye piece in about a minute. I am using an ETX-90 EC, which otherwise tracks nighttime objects (Vega, Arcturus, M-13) very well. I have the same problem using a white glass filter and a piggybacked Coronado PST. The tracking rate is set to sidereal and the motors are operating. Why doesn't it track the sun as we both agree it should? regards, Richard VarnerMike here: At night you are probably able to do a pretty good Autostar alignment. During the day, assuming you don't leave the telescope set up in the same location overnight and sleep or park the scope, then you probably have not been able to do as accurate an Autostar alignment. Hence, the Alt/Az tracking is slightly off. I'm assuming that you ARE using the Autostar and the telescope is mounted in Alt/Az mode.
Subject: meade autostar control 35-4700-03 defect Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 19:32:29 From: luis wills (email@example.com) I saw your web-page with manifold information about Meade Autostar. I have one question. I gave to two of my nephews a Meade Autostar a while ago for Christmas. One of them had problems with the handset control, which is inoperative, it gives no light whatsoever when plugged in. I used the handset control of the other nephew in the same telescope, and it worked well, so it is not the telescope the one with problems, it is the handset control. My question is simple: is there a way to send the handset control for repari anywhere? and if not, Can I buy the handset control replacement? The handset has the following number in the back: 35-4700-03. Best regards, and thanks a lot for your attention, Luis Alberto WillsMike here: Did you also try swapping the cable? But yes, you can buy a replacement Autostar from any Meade dealer. You can also find some used ones online. If you find a #495 Autostar, it can be upgraded to a #497 via software using a #505 serial cable. If you want to return it to Meade you can (if new, it may be replaceable under warranty); otherwise you will have to pay them for the repair, which will likely cost almost as much as a new one.
Subject: Autostar 494 handbox caused Motor Failure Error Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2005 08:15:02 From: Ron Masters (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks again for a system-saving webpage - your schematic for the 494 helped me identify a problem inside the handbox that was resulting in a motor failure error (Meade support assured me the problem had to be the 492 motor unit - however, testing with new motors did not help). Upon opening the handbox (no screws anywhere - had to pry apart gently - assumed it would snap together again), I found the green wire had become disconnected inside - this handbox does not have a plug-in connector at the box - it is hard-wired. With the help of the schematic I was able to resolder the wire and all works OK now. So, if you get a motor failure error with this unit, it might be a wire in the handbox. Now, to my question - the handbox does not snap together again - I currently have it assembled and taped together, and it is working. I need to know what others have done to assemble it - glue? Thanks, Ron
Subject: Re: Follow-up Japanese Autostar 497 Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 19:26:26 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks again, Mike. I called Meade's licensee in Japan, and they're going to swap my Japanese-only Autostar for an English-language version. Should receive the replacement on Monday. I'm quite pleased with their service. Cheers, Glenn
Subject: Re: Updated Autostar Manuals Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 23:49:57 From: Stephen Bird (email@example.com) Certainly some new info is in those later manuals, but features added after the manuals were first published do not get described in any detail. We are still it seems left to get to grips with new features by trial and error. The only real clues for latest features from Meade, are vague notes in the Readme files attached to each software update. A good example is the Autostar Suite Autoguiding feature. Something that many people will want, but something not described in any of the current manuals. Surely someone in Meade must have written an operational instruction for the feature, there seems no point in investing time and money in a feature that is not revealed to users, where is the return for Meade? Regards Stephen Bird
Subject: Japanese Autostar 497 Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 04:58:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Greetings from Tokyo! Great site you have here! It helped me a lot when researching what scope to purchase. I just received my ETX-90AT from Meade's authorized distributor here in Japan. The Autostar 497 that was included in the package only displays the Japanese language. There is no option for switching languages. I'm wondering whether you or any of your readers know whether it's possible to flash this Japanese unit with the upgrade software available from the Meade US website. I'm semi-functional in Japanese, but I'd much prefer to use the Autostar in my native language. Cheers, GlennAnd:
A quick follow-up to my previous inquiry. I read the FAQ on your website, and attempted the Autostar reset as explained. The unit does reset as described, but there is no language selection option once the reset is completed. Apparently, this Autostar is only loaded with Japanese software (version 32J, according to the startup screen). Frustrating, to say the least, especially when Meade's authorized dealer charges about twice the price for the ETX-90 in Japan ($1,100) as it does in the United States. Anyway, if you or any of your readers know if it's possible to flash this unit with the English software, I'd love to learn how. Thanks again, GlennMike here: Current and recent versions of the Autostar ROM have not included the language option. However you should be able to update to the current version using the ROM file on Meade's site. You will need a #505 serial cable and a RS-232 serial port and updater software (Meade's, StarGPS, or AutostarX).
Thank you for your very fast reply. You do a wonderful service to ETX users worldwide! I will attempt to upgrade the ROM from the Japanese version to the current English version on the Meade site. (Guess I should have ordered that serial cable when I had the chance earlier!) Another quick question, if you don't mind. When I peer through the lens at the front of the telescope, I can see a few bits of dust or lint on the back mirror. The mirror isn't caked in dust (thank goodness!), but there are a few stray bits here and there. I'm just wondering if this is normal from the factory, or something I should be concerned about. Best wishes, GlennMike here: A few bits of debris is not going to affect the view. By the way, you can easily make the cable; see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject: Updated Autostar Manuals Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 04:36:25 From: Stephen Bird (firstname.lastname@example.org) Does Meade ever update its manuals to cover the procedure for later software facilities such as Autostar Autoguiding? Seems we get hints of these new features on the ETX site, vary vague mentions of them in the Readme files with the updates from Meade, better hints from Dick Seymour, but I have not been able to find an updated manual on Meade's site. I would write to Meade, but they seldom if ever respond, and if they do, just refer me to the UK distributor, who are just box shifters! Regards Stephen BirdMike here: The separate Autostar manual does not seem to get updated. But new info is in the latest telescope manuals like for the PE and LXD75 models, available on Meade's manual page (http://www.meade.com/manuals/index.html).
Subject: Autostar is dead Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 10:27:23 From: a.desmarais (email@example.com) I was upgrading my autostar when i had a power failure and everyting shut down. After power came back on i tried to reload autostar but now i have no display. I have check the connections it seem fine still no display I did tried to safe load but no response. Is it ready for the trash or could it be repairedMike here: By power failure you mean a general AC power failure? Have you tried using fresh batteries (not that that should matter)? Does the ETX power on LED come on?
Yes the power on led does come on but still the autostar does not show any display and will not respond to any buttons.Thank you for your prompt reply regarding my autostar problem.Mike here: When you put the Autostar into SAFE LOAD mode I presume that the display was still blank but does the Autostar Update application see the Autostar or not?
Subject: eratic autostar behavior Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2005 11:11:21 From: Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was taking some pictures of the moon last night and have the camera mounted on the scope for eyepiece projection photos. The moon pictures were fine but when I went to Jupiter it would track erratic after I made some minor adjustments in object centering. I've never seen it be so jumpy before....do you think I need to train the drives again?....is it necessary when you change batteries?...can low battery power do this?.....MarkMike here: Whenever the power source is changed (batteries or switching between AC and batteries) a CALIBRATE MOTORS motors needs to be done.
Well I calibrated the motors like you said and tried using the scope (ETX 90AT) again and I could fine tune slew sometimes with no trouble but then at others it would start jumping instead of moving smoothly. at one point it even took off in the opposite direction at a faster speed then I had it set for....don't know what's wrong. I don't think it is anything with the gears. The tracking once it is on an object is fairly good... there is some rubber banding when trying to center something and some drift too......some of these things were there before but the jumping around is new . I am wondering if having the camera bracket on the scope is too much weight for it. It jumps around now even when the adaptor is not on. I'm using the Scopetronix EZ PIX 2 adaptor that clamps on the eyepiece..Hope I did not do anything to damage the autostar system...MarkMike here: Well, any time the Autostar misbehaves a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and TRAIN DRIVES can be a good remedy.
Subject: AutostarX First Flash Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 15:56:35 From: thomas robison (email@example.com) sorry i hadn't responded sooner to some of the help you sent my way a month or so ago, just got back from europe and didn't have the chance to try out AutostarX until now. i am happy to report that everything seems to have worked perfectly in respect to updating my autostar 497 hand controller to Build 34 Ec. i wasn't exactly sure how to use the application but this is what i did: connected the hand controller to the etx-125, connected the powerbook via usb to serial adpater (Keyspan 28X), connected serial adapter to hand controller. turned on etx-125, started AutostarX application, located new Build 34Ec file on desktop, navigated to "download" on hand controller and pressed enter, pressed "connect" in AutostarX application and then "Flash". Everything went smoothly after that and update was completed. here's a question; was it necessary to navigate to "download" on the hand controller followed by pressing "enter"? or would AutostarX have taken over without doing that step? thanks for your site and your help. i will definitely be emailing the creator of AutostarX with a big thanks, too. indebted, tom robisonMike here: AutostarX use is as you did; very straightforward. The "Download" menu item in the Autostar is a holdover from early version of Meade's updater application and ROM code in the Autostar; it was necessary to manually put the Autostar into download mode. That is no longer necessary.
Subject: Autostar / ASU ver 4.1? Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 13:51:23 From: Ken Jeffrey (firstname.lastname@example.org) You have recently shown communications relating to the new ASU posted on the Meade site. This is listed on the site as version 4.1. It seemed that this version had a bug which was reported by one of your readers. Downloading the file though reveals something different. The Meade site download now delivers a version tagged 4.2 which I would hope has the bug fixed. You published a message stating the date stamp has changed which prompted me to try installing the version. I have not had the opportunity to check weather the problem has been fixed but I can report the version number is definitely not 4.1 any more. Perhaps Meade will change its web site soon to reflect this. Thanks for a great site, I access it most days and find all the info very interesting. Now all I need is a few clear nights so I can put some of this knowledge into practice. Ken Jeffrey London EnglandMike here: Thanks for the report. They did change the date from 06/09 to 06/13; just not the version number in the description. I have just installed this in Virtual PC and it is version 4.2.
Subject: Autostar 497 language Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 07:06:09 From: Keith Bryant (email@example.com) Having fried my Autostar handset I set about finding a replacement in the UK. To cut a long story short no one in the UK could lay there hands on on! Trawling the Internet I found one in Munich and bought it, Arrived today and all the menus are in Germa (but of course!) I cannot find any way of switching the language to English. Is it possible? Can it be done by downloading the English version of the latest update? I suppose I could learn German but at the age of 74 that would present a kleine difficulty! Keith BryantMike here: You need to install the English version.
Thanks for the prompt reply. I assume I can install the English versio using the ASU program? KeithMike here: Yep.
And a followup:
Some weeks ago my 497 handset stopped working after I tried to upgrade the software. Having just prviously had the kitten drag it of the scope onto a tiled floor I assumed it was broken. I could get it to the 'safe mode' and tried several times to upload a new ROM set but the 'serial to USB' setup kept failing to maintain contact between laptop and handset. To shorten a long episode I purchased a replacement via the internet from Munich (no one in the UK could get their hands on one for me). It arrived but all menus were in German (of course, 20/20 hindsight) I set about uploading the latest firmware and found myself in the same position, unable to make contact between laptop and handset. Carting the scope into the den where I connected it to my main computer and still the problem remained. Finally I recalled that the main comp had a proper com port! Plugging directly into this and everything worked smoothly. I uploaded the English version to the German sourced 497. Then I tried the 'broken' handset and it too was revived! So all the time the problem lay with the Meade supplied USB to Serial cable. The only downside (apart from the coct of the replacement, part of which was covered by our household insurance) is that the screen on the original is very dim and unstable. Moral of this tale is that Serial to Usb kit is unreliable. Keith in cloudy UKMike here: There have been some reports of that!
Subject: re: Autostar displaying date 66 Jun 2005 Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2005 21:20:56 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) From the -symptoms-, it sounds like your "6" key was stuck (or a bit of conductive dirt was caught behind the membrane). have fun --dickAnd another odd date report:
Subject: Goofy Autostar dates Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2005 01:51:55 From: Rogerarlngtn@aol.com (Rogerarlngtn@aol.com) When doing some warranty-voiding tuneup work the other day on the 125, I was running the RA motor for an extended period on high slew speed with marginally charged batteries. Sure enough, when the motor started slowing down and growling somewhat, the keypad began to become unresponsive; I turned the autostar off, then on again, and noticed that after initialization, the version number on the display was incomplete, and then it was the 33rd of June, 2005. Upon recharging the batteries, then turning the autostar off and on a couple of times (or three), the display version number and date entry screen returned to its normal self; I breathed a sigh of relief, just grateful that I had not corrupted the program. Roger JohnsonAnd:
Letting an Autostar run too low on the batteries can seriously corrupt its programming. In some cases (such as older 494's) it can be rendered (functionally) inoperable. That was the problem faced by: http://home.comcast.net/~lynol1000/as_494_gc/index.html Never keep it running on weak batteries! have fun --dick
Subject: Meade ASU update update? Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2005 09:45:46 From: adam reisner (email@example.com) the date stamp on the ASU update is now 6/13/05... did they fix the bug??? if they did, strange that file size remains the same unless they just changed an address value or something... gee sure would be nice if they hinted what they did?!?!?Mike here: I haven't installed it yet so haven't looked for any README file.
Subject: Changing Language Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 06:58:55 From: Abel Cardia (firstname.lastname@example.org) Recently I proudly bought Meade ETX125 AT and I can't change the language from Spanish to English. In the manual says to:"Press the key for the desired language". My question is: wich key and how can I do this? Thanks in advance. Abel Cardia Porto, PortugalMike here: I don't know if the latest Spanish version has this. But you can download the latest ROM (in English) from Meade's site). You will need a #505 serial cable.
Subject: lx90 not listed in new firmware Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 02:26:22 From: Richard Pigott (email@example.com) just updated my autostar to the very latest firmware using meades new autostar update software and the lx90 is not listed in the telescope model list. Where am I going wrong or is this a bug? Thank you Richard PigottMike here: Was your Autostar connected to another scope when you did the upgrade? While the LX90 should appear when you switch to the LX90, maybe it needs to be connected to the LX90 and then upgraded. Otherwise, it should just show up. Try removing the Autostar and reconnecting it (with the power off).
i used to the usb power cable made with instructions from your site (a wonderful device which allows me to plan my night in astroplanner and create a guide in advance) i have not had chance to connect the autostar to my scope yet it just looked odd that nearly all other autostar telescopes are listed. thanks for the help will test straight away - and fantastic site :)
Subject: Autostar displaying date 66 Jun 2005 Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 23:02:46 From: Garry Telford (firstname.lastname@example.org) Great web-site for ETX owners thanks Mike. My Autostar connected to the ETX-105, which I've only had a month, is exhibiting an intermittent fault where the keypad intermittently freezes after pressing GOTO to view an object. The telescope won't even begin the slew and no single button being pressed will do anything.. I switched Autostar off at the telescope, waited a few seconds then switched back on. This time after the brief initialization process it displayed the non-sensical date of 66 Jun 2005 as the default, with the cursor blinking on the second digit of the 66. This immediately caused the keypad to re-freeze. Eventually after a LOT of experimentation I found by simultaneously pressing ? and 9 I could get the keypad buttons working again, so I changed the date to 10 Jun 2005, repeated the two star alignment and continued observing - much delayed. I thought this had fixed it but the next evening after an hour of trouble free viewing the same thing happened again! I can fix it with my ? and 9 trick, but the whole process gets a bit tedious and annoying after a while having to go through the two star alignment process yet again. Could it be a faulty chip in Autostar or perhaps a bug in the software? I have Autostar version 32. Have any other owners seen this date of 66 June come up on their Autostar? Garry Telford Australia.Mike here: I don't recall any similar reports. It could be that a RESET will fix the problem or you may have to redownload the ROM (upgrading to 3.4Ec in the process!). Either way, you should CALBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES again.
Did a RESET followed by CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES and sure enough that fixed it. Thanks again Mike. GARRY TELFORD
Subject: NEW Meade ASU 4.1 updater is now posted Sent: Thursday, June 9, 2005 23:44:51 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) NOTE that the new Autostar updater program is now available for putting on your PC: 06/9/05 Autostar Update (ASU) Client Application for Windows, Version 4.1 (1,692 KB). This is the latest Autostar Update. Rev. 4.1 is compatible with the RCX400 Telescope. This version is compatible with all versions of AutoStar II, #497 and #494 AutoStar computer controllers. This installation will automatically update the Update Client Application in AutoStar SuiteT Software. If you have previously installed the Autostar Update (ASU) Client Application for Windows, Uninstall the old version before installing this new version Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt. MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain MPC/cbat Obs. H45 / Petit Jean Mountain South MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain http://www.arksky.org/And this:
Subject: bug in new ASU Updater Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 07:47:07 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) At the moment (v4.1), the new Updater will crash if you attempt to do a Tools -> Edit User Data to a 497 Autostar. have (careful) fun --dick
Subject: Autostar Upgrade info Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2005 04:36:21 From: Christos Bohoris (email@example.com) Do you know of any guide for upgrading the autostar firmware (version 34ec)? Any experiences to share? Any problems/things to be careful of? Any USB to serial connection issues? How much time it takes? Thanks, ChrisMike here: See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for upgrading information. This is not specific to 3.4Ec but may help you. There can always be issues with USB converters (problems have been noted most recently with Belkin ones). I haven't done the upgrade yet but I presume it will take the same time as time (25-30 minutes).
Subject: v34Ec released by Meade Sent: Monday, June 6, 2005 18:30:59 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Meade has released v3.4Ec on their support page http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html The ReadMe says: ----- Upgrades to 34Ec Fixes moon tracking problem Improved pointing on second star with LNT module New LX90 scopes added ----------- have fun -dickAnd:
From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) A new Autostar firmware for the LX90, ETX and LXD55 scopes is available at the Meade site: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html It is version 3.4eC; note that a new uploader program to replace v3.61 ASU is also going to be posted very soon. Dr. Clay -------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Upgrading an older Autostar 497 Sent: Monday, June 6, 2005 04:06:26 From: Bill Kamon (firstname.lastname@example.org) I haven't used my ETX-90 with an Autostar 497 in years and I'm ready to start up observing again. I'm not sure what version of Autostar software (firmware?) I have, but it's pre 2000. Can I just download the latest version from Meade and upgrade or do I need to go through several upgrades first? Thanks in advance. Bill KamonMike here: Check the version via the Statistics menu item. If newer than 1.1 (I think it was) then you can go right to the latest version. Otherwise install 1.2 from my Autostar archive and then go to the latest version.
Subject: Autostar Update - No Handbox detection Sent: Monday, June 6, 2005 02:03:01 From: Tom and Lori (email@example.com) Very simple question, however, not an easy answer; I have taken the initiative to update my Autostar, however when I click on Update Autostar, I get a box that says the progam cannot detect my Autostar. I am using the #505 Connector Cable set. Is there a driver I am missing, or something else? Thanks Mike. TFMike here: Simple question but many possible answers depending upon your hardware and software. Check for serial port conflicts (fax software typically). If using a USB-serial adapter, check for driver issues. Did you make or buy the cable? Check for cable connection issues or continuity or wiring issues.
I do have a Fax Software program installed; however, it utilizes the phone jack input on my computer. Do you think it might conflict with the serial port? I have the Dell 8400, and it looks like there are two serial ports (one male and one female) the same size as the connection jack. I am using the port with the male pins (of course). The cable I am using is the one which came in the Autostar Suite with LPI pack, not a homemade one. I'll report back with my findings. Thanks again, and also for the great site!!! TomMike here: If the fax software has the serial port tied up as well as the modem port, then yes it would a culprit.
And an update:
Ok, it worked! I found the best way to download the update . . . Use my other computer. My other Dell does not have anything tying up the Com1 port. It worked and I'm good to go. One other question. Since I only updated the firmware, could you please point me in the right direction to update the comets/asteroids, etc to current ones? Thanks for your help . . . You're a great resource!! Get ready for Deep Impact !! Clear skies, TomMike here: Check the links at the bottom of Meade's Autostar Update page.
Subject: Up-dateing (Autostar) Software Sent: Sunday, June 5, 2005 12:16:11 From: Billy (firstname.lastname@example.org) Can you tell me what cable I need to connect my ETX-125EC to my laptop. This is to facilitate updateing any software needed. The laptop has no serial port, so I pressume I need a USB from laptop to Scope. Can you tell me what is needed and vendors if possible. Meade will not sell outside USA. Any Ideas Mike! Best Regards, William Conlan. Limerick, S.Ireland.Mike here: Yes, you will need a USB-serial converter. I use a Keyspan with my Mac laptop; works fine. I've had reports of difficulties with Belkin converters. You will also need a #505 serial cable, which you can easily make. See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for more on USB and making the cable.
Thanks Mike..will do a search now.
Subject: ETX125 Sent: Saturday, June 4, 2005 21:26:59 From: Frank George (email@example.com) I have a problem with my 125AT. I have been doing an align and it slews to Arcturus and hits the DEC hard stops or clutch stops and grinds away till I shut it off. It does it on every align, I do and now it is clicking in elevation every time it moves. I guess I am going to have to send it back to Meade for warranty repair. Also prior to our last e-mail I have reset, trained drives, calibrated motors and yet it does this off of my AC adapter or my portable battery supply. I checked the output voltage again on the 541 AC power supply and it has yet gotten higher than last time it is up to 16.57 volts DC when I first got it it only put out 15.4 volts so do you think it fried something in my Autostar making it act crazy? Thanks Frank GeorgeMike here: The order needs to be RESET, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and then TRAIN DRIVES. When doing the training, be certain you are doing both axes. Also, after the RESET, check the site location and telescope model and mounting mode.
I am sorry that is the order I did it in! Just was putting it down rambling tired and frustrated after fooling with it for about 2hrs! What about the heavy clicking sound I am getting out of the right side clutch when it is moving? Do I need to call Meade about it?? Thanks again! Frank GeorgeMike here: Could you be overtightening the axis lock? It might be that the Autostar ROM has become corrupted. Is this the first time you've used the Autostar or has it been working well for a long time? You might try reloading the ROM from Meade's site; you will need a serial port and a #505 serial cable.
I don't think I am overtightening the lock as I thought that might be it, so I loosened it and tried it again. It really sounds like something is damaged or broken to me. All of this started one night when hooking up my 541 it made the Autostar screen corrupt and lock when I turned the scope on so I turned it off and back on and it worked ok, but everytime I hooked it up that way it would always do that everytime. Then recently I downloaded and installed the newest rom and it started having alignment problems so in reference to your site and my own computer knowledge I then redownloaded and installed it again and did all necessary things that you do when you update the rom as far as reset ,calibrate and retrain and it still was acting up last night so I installed the old 33ef rom and did the same reset, calibrate and retrain and am still having this alignment problem where the scope is driving itself to the DEC limits and trying to go overcenter in elevation and starts clicking so I turn it off and try the alignment again and now it has the heavy clicking noise in the R/H side where the DEC clutch is. So I am at a loss for ideas so I wrote you. I have had this AutoStar since I got this ETX 125 back in March. Never gave me any problems at all and I thought I had gotten a good scope then here in the last month bam it has gone crazy and acting weird and stuff. I am saddened by these events having been working hard on a roll off roof observatory to put my scope in at night and now the scope is gone off the deep-end on me! Thanks Frank GeorgeMike here: I'm surprised the Meade power supply did this. Have you tried regular batteries? Remember, you need to CALIBRATE again.
I feel I have tried everything to this point!
Subject: Autostar help - termination during upload Sent: Saturday, June 4, 2005 19:56:20 From: Matt (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm the scopesim.com author... I was getting my LX90 ready to snap some pics of Mars for a summer update. In the preparation process, I have crashed my Autostar. I have followed the instructions throughout your site, but no avail. Cause of Problem: I downloaded the current version of ASU and was learning the system. I downloaded the handbox data and then clicked an upload for a new guided tour. I thought the ASU indicated complete, however Autostar indicated download still in progress. I stupidly powered down Autostar, thinking it was a glitch. This results in dead Autostar. Attempted Solution: To remedy the problem I have tried the following procedure several times using 2 diff PC's. Each time the whole process takes only a few seconds, making me think the ASU is not talking to Autostar. 1. Power up LX90, holding "enter" "down" (SAFE MODE) 2. Dialog: "Flash Load 1.2 Ready" 3. Launch ASU program 4. Dialog: "Is the handbox in SAFE MODE? (does the display read FLASH LOAD READY?)" 5. Click "Yes" 6. Click "Upgrade Autostar Software Now" 7. Select "Local", Select "33IE" (also have tried 23eb) 8. Dialog: Click "OK" 9. Dialog: "Are you sure you want to upgrade now?" 10. Dialog: Click "OK" 11. Dialog: Clear "User Data: User objects, Blacklash Training, User Sites and Motor Calibration will be retained. Use <SETUP> - <RESET> from handbox to reset." 12. Dialog: Click "OK" 13. Status bar reads: "Initializing Handbox" lasts 1 second 14. Status bar reads: "Sending Program... Please wait" lasts 1 second 15. Dialog: "Complete: Data successfully sent to Autostar" 16. Click "OK" 17. Status bar reads: "Upload Complete" 18. Turn off/ on LX90... Autostar displays blank screen & clicks a little. Help! What's the prognosis? Thanks for all your help! Very impressed with amount of info on your site. Matt / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." ~ David, Psalm 19 Matt's Telescope Simulator: http://www.scopesim.com / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /Mike here: You didn't say whether you were using a serial-USB converter but if so, you might need to re-install its driver. Has the Autostar updating ever worked or was this the first time you have done it? If you are using a real serial port you might try the StarGPS software from www.stargps.ca. If you have a Mac OS X system you might try AutostarX from http://www.rti-zone.org/macosx_autostarx.php. If you have Linux, try Lin Autostar from http://www.rti-zone.org/lin_autostar.php. I suggest these alternatives as they sometimes work when Meade's software won't.
Using a USB / Serial Portable Adapter from Belkin. Just bought the adapter this afternoon. Will re-install the driver. This was my first try at updating. Thanks for such fast response! MattAnd an update:
I reinstalled the USB driver & had the same problem. Your suggestion sparked an idea to removed the USB adapter from the equation and connect directly to the serial port. Seems to be working... the ASU upload is showing status now... it's now 18% complete. My other PC, a laptop, does not have a serial port, so the USB adapter seemed like a good idea. My actual plan was to use the laptop to drive some observation and imaging using the DSI connected via USB. Guess I'll tackle that tomorrow Thanks again for your FAST help! MattMike here: I see more problem reports with Belkin adapters. I use a Keyspan one with my Apple PowerBooks running Mac OS X 10.3.9 and 10.4.
Subject: Re: F/back: Autostar 497 wiring Sent: Saturday, June 4, 2005 18:16:02 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) firstname.lastname@example.org said: > Hope you realise that I'm not a fully registered geek - There's no escaping it, you've already mentioned being an engineer... that's a geek, just harder to spell, (and a lot of geeks don't seem to be able to spell)... and predates the invention of the word (just 'cause there wasn't the term doesn't mean that the "position" didn't exist). > I mentioned in my original mail to Mike that a list of numbered pin outs is > the safest bet- sequential data will usually scan, one way or another. For many people, a picture is better than a list. For many people, a list is better than a picture. If you ever look up Meade's official pin-out on the Classic LX200 serial socket, it the worst of both worlds... they provide a "1-2-3-4..." list. But the -=picture=- showed that the arrangment was "officialUS phone company" arrangement in the socket:6-3-1-2-4-5 or some such (i -know- the "1-2" was in the middle, straddled by 3/4)) > If jpg's are ok, that is what I use for screen capture of scanned > images/schematics(Grabzilla is OK). I actually prefer GIFs for line drawings... jpegs are fuzzy due to the compression algorithm (low-pass filters). But folks can do jpegs. Cameras do. > The pics some people put on, showing 'work done' are well meant but it's > impossible to see much real detail. As i mentioned in the original response, we have a wide variety of submitters... ANY information, even if fuzzy, is better than NO info. Putting a "must be thus" hurdle is a great way to dry up the flow... (this attitude is dangerous in submarines, but neccessary in back-and-forth banter of ideas, techniques and discoveries). Take (well, don't if you're sensitive) my photos on LX200gps Polar setup. Fuzzy, poorly focused, but **it's the only digital camera i had** (then). They convey the -idea- (focuser -under- the OTA), if fuzzily. > IMHO One of the major problems all round, on line ,is the 'Lack of Feedback' > on how things get across...hence my comments....all part of the fun till > things cook up. Many of Mike's "info" pages have multiple postings and follow-ups, which is frequently -exactly- such feedback... That's another reason his site is so valuable. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: cables for AutoStar Update Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2005 07:38:20 From: Mike Hogan (email@example.com) I saw your post on the ETX site about which cable to use for updating. Check the round cable again. While both ends have four pins, one end is slightly larger than the other and has space for two more pins which are empty. The end with empty spaces goes to the Serial adapter, the other to the AutoStar. If this is not the case, then it _is_ and incorrect cable. Hope this helps.And:
From: David Frieslander (firstname.lastname@example.org) For your info the cables that come with the LPI are not the 505 cable needed to update the Autostar. I have now purchased the correct cable and updated the software. Regards David
Subject: RE: Problems connecting Meade ETX105/Autostar/PC Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2005 06:22:50 From: John Mitchell (email@example.com) I continued to have a problem with the serial connection once we resolved the cable adaptor. However we solved this after a while - so thought you might like to have something in return. One of my other software apps (for linking and updating a Sony Ericson cellphone) had control of Com-1 and didn't let go despite being "inactive". A standard configuration has an icon on the toolbar and that was grabbing Com-1 FIRST. The solution is to disable the connection prior to attempting to connect the telescope(right click on the icon and the offending connection shows itself which you can click off) . Hope you can use this snippet for another! Best Wishes John C Mitchell
Subject: Autostar 497 wiring Sent: Thursday, June 2, 2005 06:11:33 From: Trevor Gillett (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanx for your good site. I just need to comment that a lot of burn outs seem to be reported regarding usage and 'modding' of connections,power supplies cables etc, and it is noticeable that people are posting pin outs that don't translate the format barrier on posts getting offset in display on your site. Even if the information is correct at source it will cause more confusion and worse- damage if people are not on guard here !! A particularly bad case is how this text presents http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_power.html Maybe a format /protocol is needed to be established on your site? A physical list of pins -stating Male/ Female and orientation would be safest, .....schematics..er... No !! I agree with you that http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/power4.html is the best 505 data on your site, but even that could be corrupted in transmission from different fonts, when relayed via 3rd parties. I hope you don't see this as carping from outside. I'm a retired engineer !! Best regards TrevorAnd:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) Thank you for the comment (i have occasionally pestered Mike when other format problems occur, such as only /lf in Unix-sourced files). On the as_power.html page you cited, the text is designed for the oldest format: fixed-width characters (Courier, for example). If you have your reader insisting upon variable-width (Times Roman), it will, indeed, destroy the ascii images. The critical information in the power4 page is a jpeg file which is also a very basic format. Only GIF files are "simpler". What format would you suggest, and then how would we convince all of the senders (with a -wide- range of computer expertise) to conform to it? Telling us there's a problem is merely "preaching to the choir"... telling us how to -fix- it is magic... have fun --dick (this message composed in fixed-with, pure-ascii, no-markup form) (all electrons used in this message were fully recycled)Mike here: As I note on the Email Etiquette page, I do prefer plain text email as opposed to html formatted email.
Hi Dick I 've seen your many useful tips on the use of electron flow in the line of sight application ;) Hope you realise that I'm not a fully registered geek - so will just give a quick follow up. (I have my kids for the week !) I mentioned in my original mail to Mike that a list of numbered pin outs is the safest bet- sequential data will usually scan, one way or another. If jpg's are ok, that is what I use for screen capture of scanned images/schematics(Grabzilla is OK). The pics some people put on, showing 'work done' are well meant but it's impossible to see much real detail. I almost always have to use IrfanView to lighten pics to see any useful detail IMHO One of the major problems all round, on line ,is the 'Lack of Feedback' on how things get across...hence my comments....all part of the fun till things cook up. (I just had to send a just aquired etx90 back to seller for refurb! - nothing to do with current discussion btw) My view on Meade- ref.all the finger trouble people have is- a good source of dodgy toys to keep us going but I wouldn't sail on one !!
Regards Trevor PS Ex RN submariner !
Subject: Your Faulty Autostar Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 15:30:16 From: Niall J. Saunders (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com I saw your plea for help on Weasner's site - and sympathise with you. My own LX90 Autostar blew the other night as well. So I swapped it out with the one off my ETX105 - and blew that one as well !!! If you open up the Autostar (you probably have nothing to lose !!) I think that you will find one of the larger black i.c.'s will have a small crater in it. It is a proprietary Meade component - so no chance of getting it replaced outwith Meade themselves. By the time you ship it back and forth to Meade, and by the time they fail to help you replace it for free, you would be better off trying to get a replacement through the likes of eBay. The only problem is - will you blow the new one up as soon as you connect it to your LX90? The answer to that is a very highly probable "YES" My symptoms were that the scope was forever 'dying' - usually within minutes of it being switched on - and seemingly as a result of loose connections at the Autostar end of the curly cable. However, with both an ETX105 and an LX90 at my disposal (and an LXD55 in my neighbour's observatory - although he had been using the ETX Autostar for the last three months whilst his brand new Autostar was being swapped out under warranty for an unresponsive keypad) I had been swapping curly cables around without improving matters. I haven't opened up my LX90 yet so see if there is a problem (basically because I am currently fed-up with the whole hobby, having now seen a $3000 investment evaporate in smoke and flames). But, once I get over my anger at not being able to get decent customer service from Meade here in the UK, I will get inside the scope and see what is amiss (I had to totally strip and rebuild my ETX105 because that arrived from the previous owner with a smashed RA stop peg, and totally mangled wiring running up through the RA axis). After all, I still have the several thousands of dollars invested in accessories to consider - as well as a rather nice shed at the foot of the garden that burned up another $2000-odd to provide me with a solid base and roll-off roof - just for the two or three semi-clear evenings that we get each month !! Perhaps my wife IS correct - I really AM totally mad. After all, if I want nice pictures of stars, why can't I just download them from the Internet?? (It is certainly a LOT cheaper). Regards from Scotland (where it is a fine summer evening - total cloud cover and a cloud base of about 6 inches, with visibility of around ten feet!) Niall Saunders Clinterty Observatories
Subject: RE: Autostar Upgrade (Denis Simoneau) Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 15:12:32 From: Niall J. Saunders (firstname.lastname@example.org) Yes - 'real' serial ports seem to be harder to find - but they ARE available. And they are definitely worth looking out for. As someone with a controlling influence on commercial purchasing of PCs, I absolutely INSIST on 'legacy compatibility', especially when specifying serial ports. As a result it also gives me great satisfaction NOT to have to deal with some of the major 'brand names' - companies who are just too 'mean' or 'lazy' to consider incorporating such a useful piece of hardware into their PC designs. Whilst the USB interface has its uses it should not EVER be considered as being a replacement for the RS232 serial interface. Moreover, everyone should, at all times, bear in mind that a USB to Serial converter is NOT (and can NEVER be) anything but an APPROXIMATION of the original specification of a hardware-based Serial port. If you really DON'T want to have serial connection problems, then use a PC with a TRUE serial port. Bon Chance, Niall Saunders Clinterty Observatories Aberdeen, SCOTLAND
Subject: 105 PE Dead Battery Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 13:25:30 From: Ron Wright (email@example.com) I was out last night and inadvertently ran my batteries down to the point that I got a motor fault. The autostar said right on the screen that the fault could be from dead batteries. I checked and I was down to 3% on the battery level. My question is, did I loose all my calibration settings or will I be able to put fresh batteries in and go. Thanks RonMike here: Whenever the power source is changed (AC to battery, battery to AC, or battery to battery) a CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES should be done.
Subject: Re: Autostar command line syntax? Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 06:09:21 From: George Dongarra (firstname.lastname@example.org) after briefly reading through the command set, my hunch is that you cannot do the alignment via the CLI (command line interface). That is unless a combination of the S Telescope Set Commands might achieve the same thing. These are the commands Im going to play with first: --- mount mode? :AA# Sets telescope the AltAz alignment mode --- Time: :SLHH:MM:SS# Set the local Time :SGsHH.H# Set the number of hours added to local time to yield UTC --- Location: :SgDDD*MM# Set current site's longitude to DDD*MM an ASCII position string :StsDD*MM# Sets the current site latitdue to sDD*MM# --- Target position: :SrHH:MM.T# :SrHH:MM:SS# Set target object RA to HH:MM.T or HH:MM:SS depending on the current precision setting. :SdsDD*MM# Set target object declination to sDD*MM or sDD*MM:SS depending on the current precision setting I'm feeling kinda pessimistic because of the need to target more than one object for alignment and that I'll need to rely on the accuracy of my software's object position information. I'll let you know Regards, George Dongarra
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