Last updated: 31 May 2002
Subject: LXD mount and Autostar Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 3:56:58 From: email@example.com (Peter van Camerijk) Hi there, perhaps a strange question: but does anyone know if the LXD 500 mount with the # 1702 motors and control panel can be used with the autostar (I have the new software version)? Thanks Peter
Subject: Autostar Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 4:10:07 From: MLacey@ScottishLife.co.uk (Lacey, Michael) Thanks for providing such a useful website I have just purchased, via eBay, an ETX 90 EC with autostar controller and various other add ons. From looking at your website I see how important it is to train the system. I set up to do it last night, plugged in the Autostar to be horrified to read the message USE ETX AUTOSTAR WITH THIS MODEL.! Is this a fix that can be remedied via a software download, or do I need a new controller? Over here they cost around $195 so I would much rather have a fix than have to spend more. Or would Meade swap? The autostar is " as new" - has not been used prior to my attempt. Regards MikeMike here: Can you get to any of the Autostar menus to set the telescope model? If not, you can make or buy the Autostar #505 cable (see the Autostar Information page) and if you have Windows, then you can update the Autostar to the current software (recommended). You will probably have to put the Autostar into SAFE LOAD mode (hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and then power on) before the Autostar update software will do its thing.
Thanks for the swift response. Cannot get the Autostar to do anything after the message displayed; I will get hold of the cable and update via Windows and the web. I really am impressed by the site - not just flattering to get an answer! there is a wealth of knowledge there and it exudes enthusiasm. I am trying to get hold of your book, looks like I will need to order via the net. thanks again Mike Lacey
Subject: Autostar ? Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 13:25:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hank Blackwood) Nice site...your advice in the past has helped me immmensly in understanding the "mighty" etx. I am still unclear on manually adding objects to my autostar. I can download new "patches" from Meade and load them into my 497 but how do I do It manually? What if I downlead just one ephimerides (sp?) - can I download it ino the 497 or do I have to enter it manually? How do I know it is in the right form? Sorry for so many questions..I do understNd the astronomical terms fully that the Autostar asks for and am not familiar with their typical written syntax. Hank B. ETX125Mike here: There are several articles on the Autostar Information page covering this, for example "How to use the Updater: Manipulating Libraries" and "Drag and Drop using Autostar application".
Subject: Solar Viewing Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 4:53:13 From: email@example.com (Michael Knapp) Is there a way to add the Sun as a "GoTo" object in the Autostar or is it in there somewhere? Regards, Mike KnappMike here: There used to be a way to add the Sun (see the Autostar Information page). But it may not be allowed anymore. However, if you get the current RA/DEC for the Sun you can always add that manually and GOTO it.
Subject: Autostar Manual Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 15:00:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Donald Winspear) Do you have the Autostar manual somewhere on your site? I tried the link at Meade, but it returned an error. I have searched around your site but have yet to see it. Cheers, Don ====================== Donald Winspear, President Crescent Research, Inc.Mike here: The best Autostar manual (for the current version) is the LX90 manual. See the FAQ page for the link.
Subject: Desperate need for original software Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 7:34:15 From: email@example.com (Geert Heremans) My question is simple: Where can i find the orginal software for the autostar? I work in a store and we get the autostars deliverd with 22F (french software). This is because meade delivers to our werehous in France. Now I'm looking for the orignale software to downgrade the autostar. Kindly regards GeertMike here: All the old versions of the Autostar software are archived on my ETX Site. Go to the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Autostar on DS Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 4:15:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wilhelm Nienhaus) I cant seem to find a contact at Meade directly and keep finding your name on the web. I wonder whether you may be able to help me. Ever since I downloaded and installed my first updated AUTOSTAR software, it doesn't seem to work anymore. Then again I am not sure that it ever did before either. I am now running version 25Ea, downloaded on 26 May 2002. I am located in Melbourne Australia. The previous download was 22Er, unfortunately I don't remember the version it had from the factory. My symptoms are as follows: - After initialization I put my DS114 in home position, i.e. level and facing north. - Using one star alignment and selected Sirius (tried the other methods as well but had similar problems). - Autostar starts moving and keeps going 360 plus another 150 odd degrees in an east bound direction. It almost turned 1.5 rotations winding up the cable around the tripod. - It pointed nowhere near Sirius' direction. The altitude was maybe half of that required and the Az was around 150 degrees off. Is it possible that maybe the gear ratios became corrupted through the downloads? Are you aware of problems like this? I would appreciate if you could give me some tips or point me somewhere (web site, news group or similar) if you don't know the answers. Is there some method available for tuning the drives, i.e. find out the gear ratios? Best regards, William NienhausMike here: After you updated the Autostar, did you do a RESET, reCALIBRATE, and reTRAIN? Did you check to be certain that the right DS model is selected in the Autostar? If the answer to all those is yes, you'll find some potential help on the Autostar Information articles.
Thanks for your quick reply. I did not do the reset and calibrate after my first download (to 22Er) some time ago. But this time (to 25Ea) I did choose the automatic "RESET" from the updater. It must have worked as it ran the calibrate automatically after the download. I also needed to re-enter my details, location, city, telescope type, etc. I ran the calibrate a few times from the setup menu. However, I did not run the TRAIN. So I went and did it tonight. The results seemed promising at first. After a few more calibrations I used some distant conspicuous city light, about 35km away, to train the Alt and Az drives. After that I used "one star alignment" using ACrux as it was nice and high tonight. Although the altitude seemed to be spot on this time, the Azimuth appears to be still about 60degrees out. Its better than before, but obviously no way good enough. I repeated the drive TRAINing with my high power eye-piece, but without success. What I did note, though, was that using #5 speed the telescope did not move in Az for quite a while despite the motor humming away. It appears to move alright in one direction but to be "sticky" in the other. I was suspicious when I first got the Telescope about the axis nuts. Despite being very tight, there seems to be quite some backlash. The whole telescope seems somewhat flimsy in its mounting. I'll have a sticky beak around your web site (It looks quite impressive!) to see if there is more information that could help me. Thanks again for your support. If you have more ideas about my problem, I would be glad to hear from you again. William NienhausMike here: Could you be overtightening the lock? It should only be "finger tight", not clamp it down until the tube can barely be moved.
Subject: Re: Autostar characters Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2002 15:50:46 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (V.A. van Wulfen) Hi.. > Any luck on inserting the characters yet? No... i've been looking into it... and still haven't discovered if the display chip has a "shift" mode to bring in any other characters. I was really hoping for the extended European set (ae, cedilla, ene) ( ). I have also be unable to find a commonly-available display chip with -exactly- the Autostar's character set, in the order they have them.. so i suspect it may be a custom chip. I have attached a GIF of the usual Japanese kata kana character set. > As you know I contacted Meade with some suggestions for firmware > enhancements. Unexpectedly, they did reply, be it no more than a > 'thank you for your suggestions'. Better than silence! > Anyway, I have since introduced the useable characters into my tours. > They'll be posted on Weasner's site on Monday, albeit only in Dutch > since I still have to translate most to English. A resource of multiple language tours is quite valuable. (you could pass through German along the way...) have fun --dick
Subject: Autostar updating Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2002 10:33:56 From: email@example.com (Duncan Radbourne) Some feed back on the up date of my Autostar . I purchaced a second hand ( although brand new and sealed in its Meade box ) 495 system and made up my own computer cable ( 505) . Successfuly down loaded the latest updater from Meade and today got up the guts to do the actual up date . Plugged all together and powered up the Handbox with the complete 492 motor set attached . Connected to the net with explorer and brought up my isp's home page ( which I minimised ). Ran the updater and it searched the web for Meade and down loaded the latest Build.rom file . When all onto the pc it asks to update now and I say yes . It initially couldnt find the handbox but did in the end , and then could not transfer the file ( should I have set up the hand box to the" Down load " section of the menu ?) However , reading from the net I put the box into safe load and tried again , Hey presto it runs the down load and udates my hand box .( truly glacial rate !!!) Now for the questions . Like somebody else I ve read about , at start up the screen is nearly completely whited out ( full brightness) on the left hand side , but as you run through the commands ( you can just about make them out ) and get to the Align set the screen drops back to the brightness and contrast set ? strange ? and the plastic below the whited out section of screen gets warm . As soon as you get to a normal display ( after align , it cools back down ) cant think why this is happening ? My hand box was version 1.2 and is now version 2.5Ea , does this just refer to the data base ? or have I successfully morphed my hand box from 495 to 497 ? how can I tell ? if not how do I go from here ??? By running a safe load have I only up dated part of the system ? So far so good , Wonderfull machine . Great web site.Mike here: Bottom line: as mentioned many times on the ETX Site, 495 Autostars can be updated to 497 Autostars by running the updater application. So, yes, you've updated the software and data to the current version and now have a #497 Autostar. The reason the download didn't start is that versions of the Autostar ROM older than 1.3 (I think it was) do not support the automatic download mode. Once upgraded to the current version, it should no longer be necessary to manually put the Autostar into download mode. You can adjust the brightness under the Utilities menu.
Subject: easy alignment Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 8:21:34 From: AEsposit@nshs.edu I cannot seem to het my auto star aligned correctly and I am following the instruction manual to the T. Everytime it slews to find an object it is not even close. Can anyone give me any good advice because I bought this telescope for the convenience of easy location because I am an amatuer. Thanks, Andrew EspositoMike here: See my comments to the Autostar alignment question from DREYNOLDS4@sc.rr.com (Doug Reynolds) further down this page.
Subject: re: dead autostar Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 0:04:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com After you talk to Meade about repairs, and if they wish to charge, you may find it cheaper to simply buy a new Autostar on the web. New-in-box from www.ritzcamera.com (495's for $50, upgrade to 497). Even J.C.Penny was selling them for $69 a couple of months ago. But maybe Meade will swap it for less... good luck --dick
Subject: Serial connection using Windows XP Pro Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 9:25:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Berg) I'm trying to run Cartes du Ciel astronomy program to drive my ETX-90/EC scope using a Compaq PC with Windows XP Pro installed. To do this, I bought a USB to DB9 (9-pin) converter cable, and installed the software, but for some reason I cannot establish a connection between the Autostar and the PC. If ANYONE has the same setup as I do, has a funtioning connection, and a clue on what I might be doing wrong, PLEASE let me know. You can contact me directly at email@example.com. Thanks in advance. KevinAnd an update:
I solved the problem. I hadn't yet tried connecting to the Autostar using the latest Autostar application, so when I did, the Autostar didn't initially connect, but after doing an automatic com port search (a great feature!), the Autostar application identified the right com port as Com 4. The default com port for Cartes du Ciel is Com 1, but that program will NOT search for an available com port! So, I just changed the com port to Com 4 in the Cartes du Ciel port configuration, and all is well. Thanks, Kevin
Subject: Autostar 497 Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 19:23:54 From: DREYNOLDS4@sc.rr.com (Doug Reynolds) I just bought a ETX125EC and the Autostar 497 never aligns correctly. I have it level pointing towards north I hit enter it goes towards Arcturus and is off center a good bit and the same for Capella. My tripod is level and in the proper position. Any ideas?Mike here: There are many variables that will affect the positioning of the alignment stars. Check the initialization settings (date, time, AM/PM, Daylight Savings, location, telescope model/mount). Also, be certain to use True North, not Magnetic North (unless you know the Magnetic Variation for your location is zero or small). Of course, most of this won't matter once you center the proper alignment stars but the more accurate the settings and Home position, the better the starting conditions, and hence the better the pointing to the alignment stars.
Subject: AutoStar problems Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 13:00:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Bloodworth) Help!! My Autostar has stopped working and I do not know what to do. I've had my ETX90EC since Meade first introduced them. The last time I used it was aweek ago. I went out the night before last switched on the ETX and the autostar did nothing. Where do I send this to get repaired? Is there something that I can check myself to get it working? Thanks for any help you can give me. KevinMike here: Two questions: Does the standard controller still work? And have you checked the batteries?
Yes, the standard controller works, I use a AC adapter to power the ETX. I've had the ETX since 1999.Mike here: OK. When you power on the ETX do you hear a beep? After a few seconds does the LED "flashlight" turn on? Even if the display is dark, can you slew with the arrow keys?
Nope, nothing. I have the ETX mounted on a permanent mount so the scope does not get moved round. I also keep it linked to my computer at all times.Mike here: Well, it does sound like the Autostar or the connection (jack or cable) may have died. Sounds like a call to Meade is in order.
Can you tell how to get in touch with them. I looked on there website but could not find a number or a way to email them.Mike here: Click the button "Customer Support" on their Home Page; you'll find all the available contact options.
Subject: A lucky break Sent: Monday, May 20, 2002 10:25:48 From: Jim.Wilkins@trw.com (Jim Wilkins) An interesting situation came up this weekend. I was trying to load the latest firmware into the Autostar and it was hanging up at the 3% mark, etc. It turns out my flow control setting was messed up (I have no idea how). Anyway, I had exited the updater which of course makes the Autostar hunger for the flash load mode. I fixed the flow control issue, and ran the updater and loaded the Autostar successfully in flash mode. I then asked the updater to download any tours from the Autostar and imagine my surprise when I discovered that all of my tours and settings had been preserved. I guess I hadn't written over those databases. Looks like the moral of this story is that after a flash load, check to see what is in the database? Jim
Subject: re: Autostar and Messiers Sent: Monday, May 20, 2002 4:29:14 From: Typec2@aol.com Thanks for the help on finding Messiers on the Autostar. Sorry about the previous bogus e-mail address. I was using a different browser without my info in it. Thanks again, Bill
Subject: Autostar Updater 495 to 495 Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2002 14:53:12 From: email@example.com (Duncan Radbourne) After a slow start Im now the proud owner of a meade Autostar 495 , wow what a tool . I brought some of the DS motors as well ( the complete 492 set ) and am now well on with the scope construction ( Autostar to be used on a home made 13" fork mount scope) Ive read many messages which say that it is possible to up date the 495 to the 497 and have , as needed checked that in fact the 495 I have does have the full 1 meg eeprom s ( rom or what ever ) On looking inside the unit it says that its loaded with version 1,3 . Can somebody now explain how to go about the up grade , it seems many people on the site have had different experiences and as a newbie to this area would like to get off to the right start . I am adept at electronics and can make or buy the 505 cable . What to do next is the problem , there sems to be too much info around for a simple mind like mine . How up to date can I make it ? RegardsMike here: Make or buy the #505 cable. Get the Autostar Updater application from Meade's site and install it on under Windows. Connect the Autostar to a serial port on your computer and power on the telescope. Run the updater application. It should detect your Autostar and display the version number. You can then just update it. If the Autostar does not automatically go into Download Mode you put it into that mode from the Setup menu on the Autostar and then do the update. For more info on the process see the article "How to use the 3.x Updater" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Re: Autostar characters Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 11:57:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com (V.A. van Wulfen) > "V.A. van Wulfen" wrote: > I tried to determine as many symbols as I could. Some (most) I can't > identify, they're probably Asian. Many are the Japanese kana set. I went through Victor's list, and have added a few more annotations. Some of the characters are from the original IBM PC Graphics character set (such as the squared corners, and block-backwards-F, and the two every-other-pixel filled character cells. I added some more Greek identifiers, and capitalized the ones which were capital letters. (Phi vs. phi) One problem Mike may have is that some of the characters are -not- the same after being processed by a Macintosh. The Autostar's display is an off-the-shelf LCD display module. The manufacturer will have character encoding charts... we only have to determine the make and model, and a chart is probably easily available... time to go digging... The attached (a ZIP of a DOC) is not finished yet... have fun --dick
Subject: MUFs Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 9:07:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ted Wilbur) I've been experiencing sporadic motor unit failures with my ETx70. Here are the symptoms: If Polar mounted I'm guaranteed to get at least 1 MUF during the course of a 2 hour session. Once it happens, I'll get them regularly (within 10 minutes or less after the first one). Switching mount to Alt Az cures the problem, I've only received 1 MUF ever in Alt Az. In either mode, the problem only occurs with the SAC7 in the eyepiece port, and only when tracking a target (i.e. slewing with the camera is ok, and the problem never occurs when just using an eyepiece). I'm not using any counterweights, but the balance of the OTA seems perfect with the camera on board. With the Alt lock completely loose, the OTA will stay wherever I put it when the camera is in place - without the camera, the front (lens end) of OTA always drops down. I opened up the base and did a degrease (wasn't much there) and tightened the RA bolt slightly, no luck. I also tried a polar mount reset/retrain but the problem occurred again during the very next session. I may have messed this up, is it reset-recalibrate-retrain, or reset-retrain-recalibrate (I did the former). Any ideas? I'd really like to keep using polar mode as I'm hooked on imaging and it seems to allow me to take higher quality long exposures. ThanksMike here: Does the problem seem to occur at a specific orientation? For example, does the problem occur when the telescope is pointed east or west? If so, perhaps the telescope just has a problem tracking with the weight in that orientation. You should recalibrate, reset, and retrain but if there some "dirt" on an encoder that won't help. You might be able to cure the problem by just moving the telescope by hand in both axes from stop to stop. That may clean off any contamination on an encoder.
You are the MAN with those fast, thoughtful responses Mike! I haven't discerned any pattern yet, and have even recreated it several times in random positions just letting it run inside the house. The 70 doesn't have hard stops, but I could move it around both axes, haven't tried that. When I had the base open the RA encoder wheel looked clean although I guess the encoder itself could have some dirt. I'm not anxious to open the fork arm so any problem with Dec grease or Dec encoder will get by me. Sounds like I didn't do the reset right so I'll try again in the order you suggest. Hoping for the best. As always, thanks a lot!Mike here: Oops, yep the ETX-70AT doesn't have stops in the azimuth but the altitude range is limited. Anyway, just moving back and forth through several full rotations in azimuth might help.
Subject: Autostar and Messiers Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 4:32:37 From: email@example.com (Your Name) <-- bogus email address I got a 495 that I upgraded to a 497 with a cable I made and now have ver 2.4e installed for use on my ETX60. The question I have is: how can I easily goto Messier objects? Can I just type in the Messier number or do I have to convert it into an NGC number? I tried finding it out using the Autostar on line manual at Meade, but couldn't. Thanks, BillMike here: Select Deep Sky, scroll to Messier, and then you can enter the Messier number.
Subject: re: search mode Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 21:13:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) The "spiral search" produces no change on the display... the scope just does it. The "Start Search " and "Next Search" are, as you suggested, sub-choices underneath the Browse function. But -that- is "merely" a parameter-keyed lookup through the NGC and IC databases. After tapping [enter] at the "Browse" display, you see "start search". If you tap scroll down, you're offered "Edit Parameters", tapping [enter] there gets you into the long list of object types, ma/min elevation, magnitude, etc.etc. which can limit the search. have fun --dick
Subject: autostar firmware enhancement suggestions Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 14:04:07 From: email@example.com (V.A. van Wulfen) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hello Meade, As a user of an ETX-125EC with a #497 Autostar I have some suggestions for enhancement of the controller's firmware. Recently I discovered, while writing my own tours that the Autostar is capable of generating symbology/characters which are not listed in the controller itself (e.g. when entering user name/adress). It is capable of reproducing most characters entered in a text (ANSI) file using [ALT]+[number]. However, some symbols show up differently when uploaded to the controller. [ALT]+133 shows to be "" in the text file, but displays as the Greek letter 'alpha' in the controller. Not a nuisance at all, actually an opportunity to enhance my tours by inserting characters instead of words! To this e-mail I have attached a 'tour' that can be uploaded to the controller to see which symbol gives which character in the Autostar display, as well as a list -Word file- of the results I got. I know when Autostar first came out it supported multiple languages. However, I have not yet learned about the capability of still generating non-standard symbology. I actually ran into it accidentally. My suggestion for improving firmware is to enter the entire greek alphabet, as well as astronomical/scientific symbology for people to use in their tours, simply by keying in the correct [ALT]+[number] in the text files. For the time being I'll use the symbols as per attached files. My next suggestion has to do with tour writing as well. Meade's object descriptions present multiple 'menu's' which can be accesed using the scroll buttons. For example: Double star's magnitudes -scroll- Class -scroll- Separation -scroll- Distance, etc. It would make a great addition in tour writing if this feature could be introduced to home made tours. I write my own tours, using multiple objects with my own descriptions in my native language (Dutch) and would like to be able to introduce this feature. My final suggestion has to do with you latest firmare enhancement, introduced in 25Ea: Rise time for all objects. A usefull addition to this feature would be a rise time for a specific altitude. Any Autostar user that has part of his horizon blocked by structure of any kind could use this. As nice as the feature is, its use is limited when there are mountains blocking the object from view until more than an hour after it rised. If an Autostar user could tell the controller to predict a rise time for rise+20 degrees, or any other amount, it would make a major difference. Observing is very poor anyway for objects close to the horizon. Maybe you could even make it possible to enter the degrees to add to rise time for several directions of the observing site (north, east, south, west, for example). Hopefully these suggestion will be taken in consideration. I'm looking forward to future releases of Autostar firmware, as well as your reply to this letter. Sincerely, Victor van Wulfen
Subject: Search mode? Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 3:58:44 From: email@example.com (marc.delaney) The other night, whilst observing with my ETX-105, I came across "SEARCH" on the autostar, but not thinking much about it just let it go. Now I cannot find it again anywhere in the menus. What and where is the "Search" function, and what does it do? All the best, MarcMike here: Check the Object-->Browse menu. Could that be what you saw? I've not used it but it is probably the spiral pattern movement to help you look for an object.
Yes, it is! Thanks! Marc
Subject: Daylight Savings Time Sent: Monday, May 13, 2002 17:10:42 From: Wryword@aol.com In an effort to find out why my scope will not align properly, I realized that I might not understand the use of the daylight savings time prompt on Autostar. I am sorry to ask such a basic question, but if you enter the current DST time, do you also tell autostar "yes" when it asks for that information? Or could you enter time an hour earlier, and enter "No" to that prompt, or does any of this matter? You may or may not recall that I wrote earlier to ask about the Meade electric focuser causing problems. It isn't. Something else is going on, but durned if I know what. Thank you again. John HenryMike here: You enter your correct local time. If it is 8:30pm on the clock on the wall (assuming it is accurate), then enter 8:30pm (or 2030) into the Autostar. If your location is observing Daylight Savings Time (as do most locations in the USA from April-October), then select "Yes".
Subject: Autostar Compatible Software Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2002 22:14:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Turner) winstars.free.fr/english/ I have been using Winstars for a while now. Good program free and comets and asteroids can be updated online from the program. It says on the web site "drives the Meade LX200 (and compatible) telescope" I don't have an autostar yet but I plan on getting one in the future. I actually bought Stella 2000 extended before I found Winstars. Says On there web site "Control your Meade ETX or LX200 Telescope automatically from within Stella 2000, via DC3 Dreams' acclaimed Astronomer's Control Panel." www.stella2000.com/ Just thought I would pass on this information to you and your web site readers. David Turner
Subject: Help with Astrostar software!!! Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2002 8:04:36 From: PierreCote@Earthlink.net (Pierre Cote) Thank you for your web site. I recently purchased a Meade ETX-125EC with an Autostar. When I updated the software from 2.2Ea that was on the Autostar to 2.5Ea, the controller stopped working. Specifically, it hangs after I press enter at the Daylight time question at startup. I have tried downloading earlier version from your web site (2.2E and 2.4Ea) and still get the same result. HELP! Do you have any suggestion? Pierre CoteAnd:
From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) I can think of only two things which might cause this: bad memory in the Autostar (which means: call Meade, request replacement), or simply a (somehow) confused parameter memory. Whoops: three: bad communication between Autostar and telescope. Try this: instead of entering any valid time/date/daylight, try pressng [mode] to escape from those questions. Then you may be able to scroll to Setup > Reset at that point press [enter] twice, and the Autostar will try to adjust some of its memory to a "factory default" condition. Then, if it happens again, do the same escape-with-mode, but this time scroll to "Setup > Telescope", press [enter] then scroll to "Calibrate", and press [enter] The telescope should make a short motion with both motors (one after the other). If it doesn't move, something is wrong in the scope (or the Autostar's communication -to- the scope... you could try swapping ends of the cable) If escaping from date/time/daylight still leaves you frozen, i'd try swapping cable ends. If you have the little "hand controller", does -it- cause the telescope to do the short up/spin motion on powerup? If it doesn't, then i would suspect the telescope. If it does do that motion, then the Autostar (or the cable not being seated firmly) is the likely culprit. If you bought your ETX125 used, you can replace the Autostar for about $50 from vendors such as www.ritzcamera.com Good luck --dickAnd this in response:
Good morning, and thanks for the suggestions. Suggestions 1: When I press MODE, it keeps going to the next question, and ends-up to the daylight question where it hangs. NOTE: When it "hangs" on the daylight question, the arrow keys still move the telescope. Suggestion 2 (bad memory): This is not funny. It is a brand new unit... On Thursday, I purchased a ETX105EC... When I got home, the vertical motion was severely limited: The mechanical stop was malfunctioning. The dealer ordered a new one. On Friday, it arrived ... with the horizontal motion limited: Another broken scope. I decided to change to a 125 the dealer had in the showroom. This would be the third hardware problem "out of the box" in a row. Suggestion 3: Since I can still move the telescope with the arrow keys, I conclude the communication is happening correctly. Not to be stubborn, I tried it: no success. As much as I would like to "reset" the Autostar, I can not get into the menus to do so. IS THERE A MAGIC KEY COMBINATION TO RESET IT FROM ANYWHERE? Thanks for the help, Pierre CoteMike here: Sorry you've had all these problems. As to the Autostar, perhaps you have corrupted download ROM files? Try grabbing a fresh one from Meade's Site. Then force the Autostar into SAFE LOAD mode (hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN key simultaneously and then power on the ETX). Next, launch the Updater application. It should detect the SAFE LOAD mode and let you proceed from there.
And the saga continues. This from Dick:
> Suggestions 1: > When I press MODE, it keeps going to the next question, and ends-up to > the daylight question where it hangs. Sigh... i was afraid that would be the case (i didn't have a chance to pre-test with my scope before answering) > NOTE: When it "hangs" on the daylight question, the arrow keys still > move the telescope. Ah... > Suggestion 2 (bad memory): > This is not funny. It is a brand new unit... Ouch... there have been other folks who have also gone through a sequence of scopes trying to find -one- which works... At least talking Meade (or your dealer) into swapping Autostars is much more casual than shipping the scope back. The Autostar is a separate beast, even though we tend to view the two objects as a system. In fact... The next step the Autostar does after the "daylight?" is attempt to interrogate the scope about its "motor type" and send the stored calibration data to it. If either of those steps were messing up, it could conceivably hang (especially on first power-up from brand new). Since you -updated- your Autostar, i was assuming that the entire scope/autostar system -was- working properly before the Update. Please advise if not, or if not tested before updating. > Suggestion 3: > Since I can still move the telescope with the arrow keys, I conclude > the communication is happening correctly. Not to be stubborn, I tried > it: no success. I fully agree with your assessment... another button-press to try (before the next paragraph) is to hold the [mode] key down for 3 seconds, then release. With luck, you'll reach the RA/Dec display. Scroll down once (or scroll lots of times and see what -all- of the status readouts say) to the Alt/Az display. Verify that they change reasonably as you slew the scope with the slew keys. (the displays may not update -during- the slewing, but should readout properly within a second of releasing the slew keys) > IS THERE A MAGIC KEY COMBINATION TO RESET IT FROM ANYWHERE? Two: the second of which is complex enough i'd have to go offline to write up a how-to, and its function can be partly achieved by the Updater. The "easier" one is to "simply" re-update the scope with 25Ea. I remember that your original posting talked about reloading older versions... and since it seemed to do that happily, i didn't suggest it the first time through. But -this- time, when updating, choose the "Verify Downloads" item under the Options menu in the Updater. That will more than double the time required by the Update process, but will verify that the write-to-memory -worked-. I still suspect Autostar-to-scope communications, if the motor-type interogation was going sideways, you'd never see a blatant display about it. There is also -another- memory in the Autostar... AH! When you power-up again after a hang-up, does it -remember- the Date you entered the time before? (the Time will always powerup to 8pm) If the date -is- retained, that's a vote for the parameter memory working properly. If it keeps kicking back to 1-jan-(whenever), it's a vote for parameter memory failure. So, there's more things to try... good luck --dickAnd more from Dick:
HOLD THE PRESSES!!!!\ Don't reload (yet) > IS THERE A MAGIC KEY COMBINATION TO RESET IT FROM ANYWHERE? Oh: the -first- magic key combo is the hold-enter-and-scroll-down keys when applying power. This doesn't do a -reset-, but does put you in Download mode for the Updater to play with. Since a lot of your functionality ..... WAIT! ... i wonder if your display brightness/contrast is simply totally -blank-!!! After entering the Daylight, the display drops from "full ON" to the contrast and brightness dictated by personal choice. Expect another message in a few moments... (it could be working, you just can't -see- it) --dickMike here: Good catch. Could be; and it would be hard to see if there was a lot of ambient light at the observing location.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) Let's assume the thing is -working-, and that you just can't -see- it. Try (among other things) simply tilting the Autsotar every which-way, with a moderate-intensity light source bouncing off the screen and reflecting towards you. Can you see slightly darker pixels on the screen? Maybe saying "Align / Easy" or "State / California"? If so, we're half-way there... (a) Press the [mode] key a few times. (4? 6?) (b) Press scroll UP once (c) press [enter] once (d) press scroll UP once (e) press [enter] twice If the system is -working-, that should walk you to the Reset function (see below) and the Autostar should restart as if you'd powered down... but the display brightness/contrast will have been reset to "normal". (a) lifts you to: "Select / Object" (b) scrolls you to: "Select / Setup" (c) enters Setup, display now says: "Setup / Align" (d) scrolls to: "Setup / Reset" (e) selects Reset function, performs Reset. give that a shot... (this is -not- the "too complex" i was talking about). good luck --dickAnd some more info:
From: PierreCote@Earthlink.net (Pierre Cote) Let me address the different suggestions one at a time. 1. Corrupted download ROM: NO, because I tried a total of THREE different versions (2.2Et, 2.4Ea and 2.5Ea). I get the exact same problem with each version. 2. Communication problem . I am trying the SAFE mode restart, then downloading with verify ON. results in about an hour. NOTE: From any version, I can still download IF I don't answer the daylight question. 3. The entire Autostar - Scope WAS functioning before the download. I think this means the communication between the Autostar and the scope is working. MORE ON THE STATUS WHEN IT HANGS. When it asks about daylight and I press Enter (or Mode), the display does not change, the serial link no longer works. The display does not change means I can still read it. The date IS preserved. In this "hung" state, the arrow keys control the scope, but the digits (1-9) no longer change the speed of slewing. Therefore, the problem is NOT that the unit is working and I can't see it (I think). Thank you for all the help. COMMENTARY: All this leads me to look into Knitting or some other non-technical hobby. Sad, because I also have the Digi-T for my Nikon Coolpix 5000 and I was looking forward to some interesting pictures. I really like the Astrostar and all its features, and am not that interested in the Celestron Nexstar line. (downloading now at 45%, I'll write again when it is completed. about 35 minutes) Pierre CoteAnd finally:
The latest, safe, download did NOT work: The same problem persists. Thanks for all your help; I now think this is a hardware problem. Pierre CoteMike here: Maybe the dealer will exchange it.
And from Dick:
sigh... take two aspirin, call Meade in the morning... 800-626-3233 good luck --dick
Subject: re: Creeping in the other axis Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 22:51:35 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: Raymond.Barbour@za.didata.com Yes, other people have seen that problem, too. Careful Training helps a lot, but it can still appear at times. You can minimize its occurrance by trying to make your final motions -with- the sidereal drive (i.e approach from the east, moving west). have fun --dick
Subject: New Patch? Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2002 8:06:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rory Calhoun) I updated my 125 with ASU 351 and 25Ea. Is there a new patch for this, or is the 24 patch covering this too! Thanks WillMike here: Dick Seymour does the patches; I'll post something once he sends me an update [which is now on the Autostar Info page].
Subject: Aligning? Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2002 6:01:43 From: Demi@imagineusa.com (Demian Burkman) My Name is Demian and I am from Israel. First I want to say I think your site is great. I find it very helpful and with lots of interesting details. Here in Israel the Astronomy is mostly professional and the amateur side is growing fast but still not much developed. I bough my first scope, ETX125ec 2 month ago after years of looking above like an In love guy. I think that the ETX is a fine scope but I can not use it in Polar alignment because I am confused. Please tell me what is the best way to prepare the scope. The fork position, control panel position..exc. I appreciate very much your help. Thank you and Clear Sky! Demian. Tel Aviv IsraelMike here: For alignment info, see the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Creeping in the other axis Sent: Monday, May 6, 2002 23:42:16 From: Raymond.Barbour@za.didata.com I've noticed that my scope "takes up the gear train slack" in an axis even if that axis wasn't moved, i.e. I move the star a bit east and the scope drives it a bit north. Have other people had this problem? B.T.W I think it would be great if you could add a glossary section to explain terms like Creep-after-beep and Rubber banding, as new people don't know them. Regards, Raymond Barbour South AfricaMike here: In Alt/Az mode the Autostar (assuming you have an Autostar although you didn't say so) moves the telescope in both directions. I suspect you may need to reTRAIN the drives. Good idea about the glossary. Maybe I will add to the FAQ page at some point.
Subject: RA-Backlash & Adjusting Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2002 6:35:52 From: email@example.com (Patrick ZIMA) One question here concerning my ETX105EC and ist ra-backlash and adjusting it via the ra-percentage from autostar: Symptom: .just after changing directions the picture jumps a bit into the other direction .after this, my ra-axis almost doesn't react using slower speeds (1-5) 1=nearly endless to 5=about 5 sec's .if i release the autostarbutton the picture seems to move a bit further than wanted Reading your site I found out, that I'm not the only one having that problem; But I just can't get that fixed. Played a lot now with that ra-percentage-setting, AND IT DOESENT SEEM TO CHANGE ANYTHING ! I haven't been into the base yet (scope is new). DEC has only the picterjump-problem; other reactions are fine. I realy tried to make everything right. Any suggestions ? I find some descriptions http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_percentages.html http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_tracking-percents.html a bit confusing ... Training, setting percentage, training (somehow loosley described). Maybe thats the Problem. The other thing is, that I upgraded AS-Version 22Gt to 25Ea , and that seems to started that all, but I cannot tell for sure, I didn't check/realised those symptoms bevore. Regards PatrickMike here: Ah ha! The magic words you said were that you updated the Autostar and then the problem started. ALWAYS reTRAIN the drives from the Setup-->Telescope-->Train menu item after installing an Autostar update. Don't forget to do both the Altitude and Azimuth axis. Normally that is sufficient. But if the "rubberbanding" is still present then RECALIBRATE, RESET, and reTRAIN. (For those new to the Autostar, "rubberbanding" is the term we use to describe the effect of having the Autostar "center" a GOTO object but not quite in the center of the eyepiece field of view, so you slew the ETX to better center the object, and then the Autostar moves it back to where it thought "center" was.) And more:
I am realy pleased, that your replies are so fast ... Some more info now ... I actualy opened my ETX105EC today (base only), after I recieved your mail: The gear is coverd with green grease (which doesnt seem to affect it anyway). ETX125 is printed on the platine *lol*; I wonder if setting the autostar to ETX125 will make any difference for my problem ? I had the autostar attached and watched the gears while modifying the ra-percentage; setting the ra-percentage, adjusts for a certain amount of time, the gear will "tighten" itself, just after changing the direction (pressing the button only once starts the prozess already). Well that is a nice feature and should work (logicaly), but it seems, that beeing able to adjust for 99% (about 10 seconds with speed 5) is not enough; At least with my telescope. Even the enginespeed seems to slow. -> With slower speeds I have to wait for the gear tightening, but it is not tigtening enough. I stil have to wait another 5 secs (Button pressed). Until the ra actualy moves in the desired direction. So much for the wormgear, which apart from the above, reacts in a reasonable time with nearly any speed, it seems that the wormwheel is the one that hesitates the movement as well. I tried to find a nut to adjust (simmilar to what Jordan Blessing described), but the nut used in the ETX105 cannot be tightened using a standard nut-tool (ist not hexagonal, ist round) Very complicatetd for me and my vocabulary, but I hope that I explained everything with the right words. Any sugestions for me Mike ? I'am just about to say: "Hey, look what a nice telescope the ETX could have been". I keep you updated ...And from our hardware expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) This sounds very much as if the worm gear is torqued entirely too tight on the bracket and the nut that he is referring to is indeed needing to be BACKED OFF, not tightened. This is "jump backlash" caused by the torque compressing the applied force and the gears responding by jumping backwards momentarily and then hesitating while they resume the appropriate direction. This is something that the user should NOT attempt to fix; I would say that a call to Meade is in order....this really has nothing to do with the firmware loaded. It is entirely a mechanical issue, provided that he HAS retrained carefully. The grease has nothing to do with the problem, although some of it should be cleaned away to prevent it from getting up into the encoder assembly. Clay
Subject: Upgrading Autostar firmware comment Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2002 13:33:44 From: email@example.com (David Jung) I got an ETX125 several years ago and due to some bouts with cancer hadn't really used it, but plan to get started now. I finally got a #505 cable (a clone cable off eBay for $1 plus shipping) and downloaded the ASU software and latest rom file from Meade. Absolutely no joy. The ASU program wouldn't automatically find the Autostar--it would locate it after a com port scan. Attempts to update the Autostar software ended with a message to check the cable and restart. Attempts to "retrieve" from the Autostar caused the ASU program to crash. I figured my cheap cable was the problem even though it looked fine, but decided to try the "Safe-Loader" option before giving up. Loading started immediately and completed fine. The only goofy thing after reinitialization of the Autostar was the brightness and contrast settings of the LCD display were way off causing part of the display to be unreadable...easily corrected. I guess the tip/comment is, if you have an older firmware in your Autostar (mine was 1.3), then don't bother trying the "upgrade", just do the safe-load method. --David David Jung Waco, TXMike here: As noted in the Download Archive, it is sometimes necessary to put really old Autostar versions into the SAFE LOAD mode first. Thanks for the reminder.
Subject: re: Autostar, cable problems? Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2002 12:37:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com Remeber that the -slightest- interruption in power can/will totally confuse the computer located in the Autostar. I would -highly- suspect the "auto adapter" cable. If it had a -slightly- too-large central hole for the power connector at the telescope end, you could see stuff like this. I remember tales of Meade shipping slight off-sized connectors in some of their products. Sometimes you're just suffering a socket on one end of the "acceptable" range, and a plug at the other. I'd try a different power cable. (maybe the cigarette plug was every-so-slightly loose?) The telescope base itself couldn't care less... that LED will happily glow with far too little voltage to keep the Autostar sane. good luck --dick
Subject: Autostar Tour Programming Sent: Friday, May 3, 2002 8:54:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (WJG) I have been looking on your site about how one creates a tour to be downloading into an Autostar. Is that documented on your webpage? A Telescope dealer I saw on the internet, has created a tour that can be downloaded into Autostar. Thanks.Mike here: I have a tour writing guide that I got from someone. There is no copyright info in the file nor author info so I don't know where it came from. I'll post it on the Autostar Information page. It was written in 2001.
Subject: Autostar, cable problems? Sent: Friday, May 3, 2002 8:24:49 From: email@example.com (Me) I set up my ETX-125 with Autostar last night, and had an unusual problem occur. First of all I was powering it through the auto-adapter; set up went well for alignment ( I run Alt/Az configuration). However the Autostar started acting peculiar right away. It lost power one time---with the power light on the base still lit. Moving it around, it came back on. So I had to re-align, and reset. Second time, the background on the autostar went "bright" and it froze up. Odd, I thought. My first inclination was to see if the cable was loose, or gaining only intermittent contact. Checking this out, I saw that it was secured tightly. So I gave up, when it went "off" for the third time. Also one time, I got the "drive motor fault" error! So I unclamped the scope and reset it, with even less tension on the clamps. The temp was in the 40's, so I assume it was not acting up because it was cold....or could I be wrong? This morning I plugged the handcontroller in, and it seemed to work fine---this time being powered through a dc converter in the house. I rechecked it with the Autostar, and it seemed to work fine. No problems, and I attempted to move, flex and play with the Autostar's cord to see if the problem would reoccur. All to no avail. I am stumped. It's nice to see it was working fine today, in controlled conditions, but if it doesn't work in the field, it's not going to be of much use! I had the Supercharge and update done to my scope last fall, and I have never encountered this before, even in the dead of winter with temps in the 0's! Now would you recommend replacing the Autostar cord, or should I have the Autostar looked at? I don't know! Any help is appreciated! Can I even buy a replacement cord? I sure don't want to replace the whole unit, unless I absolutely have to! Thanks in advance for any advice or insight!Mike here: I doubt that temperature was the culprit. Could have just been a power line glitch or perhaps moisture (although I don't recall any dew-related problems with the Autostar). You might need to reTRAIN the drives but since it worked fine indoors I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Subject: Training precision? Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2002 12:47:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dimitris Rakopoulos) I have a question. What is the best way to train the drives of my ETX? Should I use high magnification and focus on something distant? I think I read something about that on one of your daily updates. Recently, I bought the UWA 6.7mm eyepiece for my ETX90. I haven't really tried yet (just one or twice facing the moon) but I'll let you know when I do. Best regards. Thank you for giving us the greatest resource for the ETX. Dimitris Rakopoulos PS: Last night I was on Meade's authorized dealer in Greece and we installed a brand new LX200 GPS 12" (with UHTC). It was fantastic! Great instrument. Great optics, great tripod, great fork. I just loved it.Mike here: Personally I just use the 26mm eyepiece on Polaris when training the drives. I don't have any good terrestrial objects so Polaris works for me. However, for really precise training you want a stationary object and always get it back into the exact same location in the eyepiece field of view. Using a high magnification reduces the amount of error in this location.
Subject: DOA 495? Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 19:25:31 From: email@example.com (Chip Copley) Just picked up a 495 at Discovery for my ETX-70 (never browse Discovery while waiting for the better half to finish her shopping). Anyway, got home, plugged it in & nothing (zip, nada, zilch). Unless you can tell me that the power requirements for the 495 are different than those of the 494 (i.e. ETX-70 controller may not pass the same amount of juice to the Autostar that the bigger ETX & DS models do), I'll assume that I just happened to get one that was D.O.A. - Any thoughts? (Yeah, plugged the 494 in & it works). Dark,clear calm nights to you! ChipMike here: Same power requirements. Must be DOA.
Subject: polar alignment help Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 16:34:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Benyeda) Help! I have had an ETX 90 for about three years now and am interested it using it for astrophotography. My wife and I have enjoyed the scope but the Go To doesn't really work that well. I have tried everything listed on your site and it is better but still not great. I am still having trouble in trying to Polar align the scope. My wife recently purchased your book (Using the Meade ETX) and I tried to do a polar alignment. I started out by setting it up as in figure 6.19 (pg 189). Figure 6.19 seems to make sense as far as tracking a celestial object. Is this the FINAL polar alignment home position? How do you get it to the position shown in figure 6.20 (pg 191). Do I have to have it in that position or should I leave it at figure 6.19? This picture in figure 6.20 appears in many other pictures in your book. I'm confused. I would appreciate you wisdom. Thanks Paul J. BenyedaMike here: Figure 6.19 (bottom) is the correct HOME position for beginning the Autostar Polar Alignment process. Figure 6.20 is to just show the fork positioning; the telescope tube itself is in position for observing objects to the South.
Subject: Question about training drive in ETX90EC Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 13:02:03 From: email@example.com (David Carmichael) I got a lot of very helpful info from your ETX website but I have a question for you. In your Telescope Tech Tips section you say that you should use Polaris for ALT/AZ training but on Meade's website they say to use a terrestrial object for training the drives. Which is the preferred method? Does the fact that I am using Autostar change the preferred method? Thanks in advance for your help. David CarmichaelMike here: You only TRAIN when using the Autostar, not the standard handcontroller. The intention is to use a stationary target, hence Meade's recommendation to use a terrestrial object. You can use Polaris if no other source is available as it moves very little during the TRAINing operation.
Thanks Mike, I must have been having a brain cramp or I would have realized that you only have to train the Autostar. It's a moot point anyway since it turns out that I have a broken hard stop. I've already contacted Clay Sherrod and he has referred me to Meade for the repair. David Carmichael
Subject: Meade ETX-70AT Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 8:11:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Shoesmith) Just thought I'd update you on the problem I mentioned in my first e-mail. I couldn't get my scope to work with Starry Night Pro and ACP. Well since upgrading to the #497 Autostar it all works perfectly. Makes me wonder if it was due to a problem with the Aux port or the #494 Autostar. Richard
Subject: Is a "Successful" upload always 100%? Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 0:21:58 From: email@example.com (Stan Glaser) This is to Mike for general posting, and to Dick for the "professional" answer... Aside from having problems (described below) in updating the Autostar, I've noticed that for the 2.4Ea and 2.5Ea versions that were recently released, my "percentage complete" indicator at the bottom left of the ASU (both 3.5 and 3.5.1) have never reached 100% -- I think they've ended at about 86% in both cases. Everything about the Autostar SEEMS to be fine -- all menu items appear to work as expected, tours, satellites, comets, asteroids, etc. appear to be there, no glitches in the display -- all hunky-dory (or so I believe). Dick, can you (or anyone else) confirm (or deny) this, or else explain it? Is the "86% complete" really 100% -- is that last 14% data that doesn't need to be updated (user sites, user info, whatever) or is not affected by the update? As for the problems encountered in updating the Autostar, I've already posted my frustrations earlier on this site. Although the new ASU is a joy to use as far as its GUI is concerned and it is so much more "user-friendly" than the earlier updaters, I still have increasing trouble in performing a successful download to the handbox before I get a handshake problem or a time-out error. I'm running on a Mac G4 450/DP, Virtual PC, Keyspan adapter -- you know the stuff. ASU 2.4 (the last incarnation of Meade's updater before it got nice and pretty) at least allowed me to finish a complete update to the handbox every time -- the newer ASU 3.x versions have not. When I try for a "download" FROM the handbox into the ASU application, all goes well each time. But in the other direction, sending TO the handbox, it rarely, if ever, has worked. Dick already suggested that I try changing the READWAIT value from 60 (milliseconds) to 120 -- that didn't work. In trying to experiment with that value, I've "upped" it all the way to 20 and "downed" it all the way to 240 (thinking in reverse, here), but to no avail. -- same handshake loss or timing error. I've also had the "percent complete" dialog show about 3% or 5% or 7% and up pops a dialog box saying (paraphrasing) "The update to the Autostar handbox has been successful" -- not with 7% complete it ain't!! >For the last two updates, I have had to physically lug my scope, Autostar, cables, and AC power adapter to my next door neighbor's and use his Gateway running Windows to get a successful upload (and on the first attempt) -- how embarrassing :-( I'm still waiting for that Mac version we were (ahem!) promised many moons ago -- why is it I don't expect to ever see that? Thanks for any replies...(have fun -- Dick?) Stan GlaserAnd:
How's about a nice, firm "maybe"? 'm a -little- unclear... are you talking the [update now] button (in which case the answer is "yes", and it pops up a little message box saying "transfer successful" [ok] or something reasonably close to that...) Or are you talking about the [send data to handbox] button, in which case the answer is "not necessaily" In that puppy, the percentage they're talking about is -sometimes- the -possible- percentage... of the 64kb space in the 497 autostar. This is especially true when you're doing a [retrieve data] operation,... the updater doesn't know how much stuff you -have- in the autostar, so it's merely showing percentage-of-possible, not percentage of truth. This chunk: >. When I try for a "download" FROM the handbox into the ASU > application, all goes well each time. But in the other direction, > sending TO the handbox, it rarely, if ever, has worked. sure sounds like you're talking about the User Bodies, not the firmware ([update now]) itself. > I've also had the "percent complete" dialog show about 3% or 5% > or 7% and up pops a dialog box saying (paraphrasing) "The update to > the Autostar handbox has been successful" -- not with 7% complete it > ain't!! **WHICH BUTTON DID YOU PRESS???** [update] or [send data]? If [update], i would expect the above to leave you in "only Safe Load works" mode. But if User Bodies, (and you don't have many/any) then 7% is a believeable number. I've sent 0% (zero) at times, just to (try to) confuse it. > For the last two updates, I have had to physically lug my scope, > Autostar, cables, and AC power adapter to my next door neighbor's and > use his Gateway running Windows to get a successful upload (and on the > first attempt) -- how embarrassing :-( Three ideas: (a) build a power-the-autostar small unit as detailed on a few of Mike's pages (b) buy a used PC ($50 at Goodwill?) so you can do this in the closet (c) umm.. dang, i forgot the third... have fun (now that it's loaded) --dickAnd more:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) Hi, Dick -- sorry, sorry, sorry -- you engineers are all alike :-)And:How's about a nice, firm "maybe"? 'm a -little- unclear... are you talking the [update now] button (in which case the answer is "yes", and it pops up a little message box saying "transfer successful" [ok] or something reasonably close to that...)
YES, when performing an Update Now on the Autostar FIRMWARE -- and I will get a "Transfer successful" [ok] message box after only a small percentage has been transferred (maybe 5 or 7% -- something small like that) -- then I assume I'm getting the timeout/handshake error...Or are you talking about the [send data to handbox] button, in which case the answer is "not necessaily"
NO (see above) -- this all relates to the FIRMWARE update, NOT sending data (i.e., user objects, comets, etc) to the handboxIn that puppy, the percentage they're talking about is -sometimes- the -possible- percentage... of the 64kb space in the 497 autostar. This is especially true when you're doing a [retrieve data] operation,... the updater doesn't know how much stuff you -have- in the autostar, so it's merely showing percentage-of-possible, not percentage of truth. This chunk: >. When I try for a "download" FROM the handbox into the ASU > application, all goes well each time. But in the other direction, > sending TO the handbox, it rarely, if ever, has worked. sure sounds like you're talking about the User Bodies, not the firmware ([update now]) itself.
(guess I confused you here, kinda mixed apples and oranges and came up with grapefruit juice) -- YES, in THIS case I'm talking about GETing the User Bodies -- I can easily GET the user bodies each time I try -- it's the UPDATE NOW process that doesn't work (and as a new piece of FYI -- I can successfully SEND DATA to the handbox with no problem -- i.e., tours, comets, asteroids, etc. -- it's the UPDATE of the firmware that's the problem).> I've also had the "percent complete" dialog show about 3% or 5% > or 7% and up pops a dialog box saying (paraphrasing) "The update to > the Autostar handbox has been successful" -- not with 7% complete it > ain't!!
again, see above**WHICH BUTTON DID YOU PRESS???** [update] or [send data]? If [update], i would expect the above to leave you in "only Safe Load works" mode. But if User Bodies, (and you don't have many/any) then 7% is a believeable number. I've sent 0% (zero) at times, just to (try to) confuse it.
NO (to the end of your thought -- i.e., User Bodies -- i.e. Send Data button -- NO, I am not talking about User Bodies) -- YES to the Update Now button -- I am talking about UPDATING the Autostar FIRMWARE -- the percentage will show about 7% complete and the message box will come up saying "Transfer Successful" (and, of course it isn't)...> For the last two updates, I have had to physically lug my scope, > Autostar, cables, and AC power adapter to my next door neighbor's and > use his Gateway running Windows to get a successful upload (and on the > first attempt) -- how embarrassing [:-(]
but my question was, when I DO take the whole thing over to the neighbor's and I DO get a successful FIRMWARE update, the "percentage complete" showing at the bottom has been about 86% (both for version 2.4Ea and 2.5Ea) -- sooooo, is that number correct, or should it show 100%?
Three ideas: (a) build a power-the-autostar small unit as detailed onre: (a) -- thought of that, though that doesn't solve the actual upload problem described, only keeps me from getting a hernia (glad the -90EC is so light!!) (b) ix-nay on the PC -- I have enough complications in my life -- I don't want to add Bill Gates to the brew -- I'm confused enough trying to use Virtual PC half the time -- I'm a tried and true Mac diehard and (c) well, I can't think of a (c)...
a few of Mike's pages (b) buy a used PC ($50 at Goodwill?) so you can
do this in the closet (c) umm.. dang, i forgot the third...
have fun (now that it's loaded)that I CAN do!!! -- at least until the NEXT update :-)
From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) > sorry, sorry, sorry -- you engineers are all alike :-) Do you leave you car at the mechanic's saying "it's got a noise", only to get it back with (a) the same noise (b) the squeaky wheelcover removed, (c) a LARGE bill (90% "diagnosis")? Ok... so it's the UPDATE operation. Got that. > YES, when performing an Update Now on the Autostar FIRMWARE -- and I > will get a "Transfer successful" [ok] message box after only a small > percentage has been transferred (maybe 5 or 7% -- something small like > that) -- then I assume I'm getting the timeout/handshake error... Ya know? it should -say- "Check Connection" if it thinks it can't talk to the Autostar (lemme rephrase that: on a WinTel box, it does.) So you're facing a multifaceted bug: (a) it doesn't successfully Update (b) it doesn't know it (c) it lies about the outcome. Time for (yet another) note to Meade... >> (b) buy a used PC ($50 at Goodwill?) so you can >> do this in the closet .. > (b) ix-nay on the PC -- I have enough complications in my life -- > I don't want to add Bill Gates to the brew -- I'm confused enough > trying to use Virtual PC half the time -- I'm a tried and true Mac diehard I have a few old PCs (and bigger) of various brands and operating systems lying around both home and work.. which are only turned on to perform -one- task for which they're the "best answer". Then they're turned off for another long period (i power up my RadioShack Color Computer about once per four years... but when i do, it's because i need it to run programs written in 1984.). Imagine the joy of a clunky $50 laptop with crummy screen. Usually it's tossed in a corner with "I wish i was a Mac!" painted on the cover... use it as a trivet under hot dishes, as a speaker stand, cover for aquarium or support for the cat's litter box.. But once every few months, you scrape the kitty litter off, and fire it up... stuff in a PC floppy which you wrote with the Mac holding the new firmware... have a PC-conversant friend put the ASU into the "Startup folder" so it fires up at boot time too... do the download... then turn it off. No Virtual PC infiltrating/infecting your Mac, fewer frustrations due to house-of-cards emulations stacked 50-deep. Then the laptop can go back to its proper place, and the cat can resume with its business.... have fun... until 2.6Ea comes out... --dick
Subject: Re: ETX 90 EC Servicing Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 20:47:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: Linda.Jennings1@btinternet.com You asked: > I have one further question if I may. I understand from recent > advertisements that the 497 Autostar controller now contains a > database of 30,000 objects. Does the latest download from the Meade > web site cotain the extended database? Mike wasn't clear: YES. If you download the new firmware, you get 30,000 objects. > If this is not the case as I have bought my ETX-90EC kit second hand > how can I tell how many objects are currently in its database. Setup > Statistics [enter][scroll up] displays the full firmware version number. As Mike said: if it's below 21(anything) it's 14,000 If it's 21(anything) to 22eR, it's 30,000, but with a completely weird set of SAO stars (programming error on MEade's part) If it's 22eT or newer, the 30,000 objects include the 16,000 stars from the SAO catalog down to and including magnitude 7.0 The 22eR stars are described at http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_content.html and http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_stars.html The 23Eb stars are at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/23eb-db.html have fun --dick
Subject: re: Problem when installing Meade electric focuser? Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 20:37:34 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: Wryword@aol.com That's (almost) a new one on me... There -have- been issues in the past with focuser interactions with the Autsotar, but i don't remember this one. Something you can try: unplug the focuser. Then power up, align, etc. When you -want- to focus, plug it in. When you don't -need- the focuser, unplug it. (of course, the other alternative is to simply use the focuser's hand unit, so it's totally separate from the Autostar. If it's not electricalyl connected to the AUX port, there should be no way that it can affect your scope's performance. The "weight" of the beastie sure doesn't affect my ETX90. good luck --dick
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