Last updated: 31 March 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Meade DS 90EC vs 114EC
Sent:	Sunday, March 31, 2002 5:24:14
From:	Thea@forextrader.co.za (Thea Iding)
I am a beginner star gazer. I have an option between two telescopes. The
Meade DS90 EC and Meade 114 EC. Can you help with the difference and
recommend one or the other. please?
Kind regards
- Joshua Iding
Mike here: Well, I can't recommend one over the other since I've never used either and only you know what your expectations are and how you will use the telescope. However, there are two major differences. The DS-90EC is a refractor and the DC-114EC is a reflector. There are pros and cons to either. Also the -90 is has a 90mm aperture and the -114 a 114mm aperture. Larger aperture yields more "light gathering power" (meaning it is capable of letting you more easily see fainter objects) and a larger maximum magnification (yielding clearer views at higher magnifications).
Subject:	Autostar (494) replaces Starfinder??
Sent:	Thursday, March 28, 2002 3:00:29
From:	Steve.Johns@LAKENHEATH.AF.MIL (Johns Steve Civ 48CS/SCBBA)
Hello fello Star-Gazers...

We recently bought a used MEADE Infinity Model 114EQ-DH4 4.5" Reflecting
scope (4500-series) complete with motorized axies, which are controlled
by a Digital Starfinder gizmo.  Can we buy a '494 Autostar (much better
we hear) and just plug it in??

All help appreciated!

I'm really impressed with the quality and durability of the MEADE scope
I bought yesterday, Waaay better than the cheapie we had been using....
but my dream is to own a 12.5" ETX w/ GPS and Autostar. ;-)
And from the Expert:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
The answer is -NO-.

The 114eq requires that the controller understand german equatorial
mounts. The normal 494 does not. Although it can be told to operate in
polar mode, (and you'd have to manually change the ratio numbers), it
doesn't realize that the back (mirror) end of the telescope can/will hit
the tripod.

The 4504's Starfinder has that knowledge.

BUT: you -can- buy a 495 or 497 ($50 for a 495 at RitzCamera, $70
(special!) for a 497 at JCPenny.com), buy/build a 505 cable (see Mike's
site), and download my patch  (from Mike's site) and version v24Ea...
and that will make the Autostar know about your telescope... i added the
4504/114eq-dh4. The 495 and 497 are -exactly- the same hardware-wise,
and the download would convert the 495 -into- a 497.  You'd also be
ahead of the game if you ever wish to control the telescope from a
computer. (the combined cost of a 494 and the cannot-be-homebuilt 506
cable exceed the 495/505 route).

But a standard 494 will only be a problem.  The firmware cannot be
currently upgraded, and i haven't heard anything to ever suggest that
Meade will post an upgrade for it.  You -might- be able to get Meade to
sell you a Starfinder controller. but the 495/497 route would probably
be cheaper (and provide a numeric keypad).

have fun... i think the 114eq/4504 are excellent scopes
Be sure to visit the 4504 group at Yahoo...
And then this:
Ahhh... you may -have- a Starfinder.  (i'd missed that).
The Starfinder and 494 are -exactly- the same hardware-wise. No numbers.
"Only" the programming differs.  Starfinders know about the 114eq's
mount. New 494s will have some errors corrected that the Starfinder may
suffer, but they  still don't know about 114eq's.

Perhaps you were -really- referring to the 495/497 (with numeric
keypad). In which case the rest of my first note pertains.  A patched
495/497 -will- operate the 114eq.

have fun

Subject:	Re: scope question
Sent:	Tuesday, March 26, 2002 8:27:41
From:	rvdh@csun.edu (Robert G. Van den Heuvel)
What is the contrast difference & brightness of images between the
DS90EC and the ETX, roughly? Will I notice? I figure that with the motor
drive the DS90 should be able to drive magnification much higher + slew
& stuff, so that helps out with other issues the ETX-RA cannot handle.
Mike here: I suspect the contrast will be better with the ETX vs the DS refractor. And the drive has nothing to do with magnification. The maximum for the DS-90EC and ETX-90 are the same (180X). And the DS-90 has a slightly shorter focal length so it will take a shorter focal length eyepiece to yield the same magnification on the DS-90 as on the ETX-90.


OK. Thanks. BTW what is your opinion of the Edmund Astroscan for general
low-power use, no more than 70x say. I would like an extremely easy to
use, portable scope in my arsenal some day.
Mike here: Never used one. Looks cute.
Subject:	re:  Autostar and #1240 electric focuser
Sent:	Wednesday, March 6, 2002 21:59:30
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	peter@TurboPress.com
If it's an Autostar 495 or 497 with semi-recent firmware,
then tapping the Zero key will also kick you into focus-control mode.
The rest of the number keys control speed, the big slew keys control
 direction (in/out).  There are only 4 speed settings.
Tapping zero brings you back out, too.

The mode key method involves -holding- the mode key for 3 seconds, 
then releasing.
If the Autostar senses the focus unit, the display will then talk
about Focus.
If the Autostar does -not- recognize the focus unit, the display 
will revert to its normal RA/Dec readout.

have fun


22eh -- I'm just building a cable with which to upgrade it to 23Eb and
your excellent patch.

Fascinating, the cable specs on one of the Web pages says its an RJ- 11
connector at the Autostar end but, actually, it's one of the smaller
ones often used to connect telephone handsets to their base -- RJ-?9? or
something. Still, I'm hoping the RJ-11 I just hand-carved down to size
will do the trick.

I plan to get the ROM right up to date before getting into the
intricacies of training et al. It's sure nice to have the Web site
pointing the way -- spreadsheet training schedule, the works! Wonderful

> then tapping the Zero key will also kick you into focus-control mode.
> The rest of the number keys control speed, the big slew keys control

Thanks for the hint about that. Will be a while before I get the
focus-controller, I suspect, but definitely good to know its "there".

> have fun

Having <g>.

Thanks again.

Mike here: It is an RJ11 that goes into the #497 handcontroller. The AUX port on the ETX is the smaller size. I don't know about the port on the DS.

And this:

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
etx@me.com wrote:  (and may regret):

> It is an RJ11 that goes into the #497 handcontroller.   The AUX port on
> the ETX is the smaller size.  I don't know about the port on the DS.

Nope... the AUX and the rs232 socket are the same size (which is why
many people make the mistake of plugging their 505 cable into the AUX
port, or their focusers into the Autostar (and complain about the cable

When i wrote up mu cable instructions i dug through dozens of catalogs
trying to find the correct RJ number for the handset-style connector.
I tried RJ-12, RJ-22.. and don't remember seeing RJ-79 at all...
What i -did- find in many places was the syntax:
RJ-11 4/4   (versus RJ-11 4/6)  which means RJ-11 style,
4 pins in a 4-pin-wide plastic carrier.  (vs the normal "telephone-line"
style 4-pins in a six-wide carrier)

Peter wrote: i hope my shaved-down RJ-11 works.
That is one of my common techniques.. beltsander whilst holding the
RJ-11 in a pair of visegrips.

The other way is to use a telephone handset cable (pretty coilcord,
available in many colors) and shim the 4/6 sockte in the db-9 to rj-11
adapter to guarantee proper seating (after a year of being gentle to
it so the connector wouldn't shift)

have fun
In my case in the absence of a beltsander, paring with a Stanley knife.
It took a long time to get it "right" (and many continuity re- tests of
the cable when it seemed to be "in", but in restrospect obviously

Eventually I got the paring symmetrical enough for the contacts to be
spot on, and all is very good at this point: ROM patched and upgraded,
ready to start training today...


Subject:	Autostar and #1240 electric focuser
Sent:	Wednesday, March 6, 2002 17:26:06
From:	peter@TurboPress.com (Peter Hyde)
If there's somewhere else I should send this, my apologies -- I found
your DS series and Autostar feedback pages, but no other relevant email
address (especially not on Meade's site).

Anyway, this is a very easy question: does the Autostar controller have
focus control capabilities (using the #1240 electric focus)? My guess is
"not", having checked the specs and manual for the Autostar which Meade
have online, but I may have missed it.

It seems odd the basic hand controller that comes with my DS80 *will* do
focus, if the Autostar (which of course I now want to upgrade to) does't
do it.  C'est la vie, I suppose.

I will be avidly reading your site, particularly for info on reducing
"play" in the mount system, and of course everything to do with the
Autostar, once I get one.  Many thanks for a great resource.

All the best.


Peter Hyde, SPIS Ltd & WebCentre Ltd , Christchurch, New Zealand
* http://BusinessDailyReview.com - daily analysis, strategy, ideas
* http://TurboNote.com - sticky notes and instant messaging
* Web automation for online periodicals: http://TurboPress.com
Mike here: I don't have one but I believe it will focus it. But it is a multi-step process; I think you get to it from the MODE key once the electric focuser is connected to the proper port.


I was hoping that might be it, just wasn't spelt out anywhere in the
docs I skimmed through online.  Will find out soon, about to go off and
buy a 497 (the autofocuser decision is secondary to the controller one,

Subject:	telestar ds-114az or at
Sent:	Monday, March 4, 2002 9:19:22
From:	hipbull88@hotmail.com (Rachelle Smith)
I am trying to find out where I can get the manual to my telescope.  I
lent it to a friend and he lost the manual.  I have a telestar ds-114az

Mike here: Assuming that's a Meade telescope, contact them. See their web page (www.meade.com) for contact info.

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