AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 May 2004
Welcome to the Autostar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar, cables, and the Autostar updater software. See the Autostar Info page for information from Meade and other users on the Autostar, cables, and software. Send your comments and tips to etx@me.com. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranties on your ETX and accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	meade #506 question (I know, old news)
Sent:	Saturday, May 29, 2004 14:47:49
From:	Randy (slimcuban69@hotmail.com)
Hi I just got a ds 2130AT from walmart (you know, $298), and i got the
506 cable and everything, but i broke it. I was just wondering if you
knew where I can get just the cable.Everywhere (even meade) wants to
sell me the astrofinder software and all the crap that comes with it,
which i already have. Any help? thanks in advance
Mike here: Don't know where you can buy just the single cable.
Subject:	enterning Latitude into 497
Sent:	Friday, May 28, 2004 11:00:45
From:	EWil1779@aol.com (EWil1779@aol.com)
Is there a way to enter directly your Latitude and longitude, rather
than using the close city selection.  I Know my location to the second.

Thanks,
Emmit
Mike here: Yes, you can. The simplest way is to use the SITE-->EDIT menu and pick a nearby city (same time zone) and edit that entry.
Subject:	re: [Autostar]  Request for Assistance
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 2004 20:31:01
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I can't think of a single "program" that will do precisely that
(AstroPlanner can emit commands, but the 20 seconds is a bit long).

But you can -write- one in a variety of ways.

(you give no hint as to the level of programming, or resources
you have available).

The Autostar will slew left and right (east and west) if you
give it commands such as   :Me#   and :Mw#
Those are Alt/Az commands.
You -stop- the motion by sending either :Qe# and :Qw#, or simply :Q#

So, you'd create a program (visual Basic, or any Basic, can do it)
which would OPEN the COM port as if it were a file,
issue the appropriate MODE command to set the baud rate
and (no) handshaking, 
write the ":Me#"  string to it. (motion starts)
wait 20 seconds
write the ":Q#"  string to it (motion stops)
write the ":Mw#" string to it (motion starts, other direction)
wait 20  seconds
write the ":Q#" string to it (motion stops)

If you wish to keep sweeping the scope left and right, 
just loop through that set of "writes".

If you'd like to try it "by hand", you can use Hyperterminal
to send commands from your PC's keyboard.

See:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_testing.html 
for examples and "how to set up hyperterminal"

have fun
--dick

Subject:	DS 80 or Autostar slewing wrong direction sometimes.
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 2004 17:32:52
From:	T Lee (t65lee@hotmail.com)
I have my DS 80 and a new autostar 497 all set up but am running into a
small problem.

When I do a two star allign, for example, lets say I use the star
Capella as the first star, everything is fine to start, the scope slews
counter clockwise to the west and finds Capella. Now lets say I choose
as my second star Betelgeuse. The scope SHOULD continue on in a counter
clockwise slew towards Betelgeuse, but it slews CLOCKWISE, traveling
almost, a what, 300 degrees in the wrong direction!! I mean it finds
what it is supposed to with no problem. And it won't do this all the
time, either. Sometimes it will take the shortest route, but most of the
time it slews all the way around when it could have just made a short
trip in the other direction.

I have trained the drives and done everything else, I do not believe it
is the autostar, it did the same thing with a 494 I have too.

The only thing is I am using one of the Celestron Power Tank for my
power source, not the original battery pack. The ETX 60 I have runs fine
on the Power Tank, but who knows.

Any ideas....?

Thanks
TLee
Mike here: This is normal. The Autostar slews so as to avoid hardstops or other mount restrictions. It doesn't always go the shortest way.
Subject:	Request for Assistance
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 2004 12:30:06
From:	Kevin Kiehlmeier (warkev@verizon.net)
You helped me out a few years ago with the construction of an interface
cable for my ds60-ec with an autostar.

I am again asking for your assistance with a software issue is there a
program out there tha works with the autostar and pc cable that will
slew and or do a sweep for example 20 seconds to the east then back for
20 seconds to the west.

I hope that is a good enough explanation..

In other words i want to move the scope left and right automatically for
a certain amount of time and or example move scope to left until 20
seconds goes by then move back to the right..

Your help is appreciated once again

Kevin Kiehlmeier
Mike here: Your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM. To avoid this in the future, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site home page.
I don't recall any software that does that but maybe someone else does.
Subject:	Autostar 497 archives
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 2004 00:15:52
From:	Mark Humphries (m.humphries@tiscali.fr)
I've just updated my Autostar to the latest version via ASU and am
experiencing the 'dance and drift' problems described by Stephen Bird
back in Nov last year. I have decided to go back to v2.6ed but can't
find the file in in the Autostar Archive page. Has it been moved,
deleted or am I looking in the wrong place? I have build26ec.rom so can
use that if 26ed is no longer available.

Many thanks for your help and the great site of course.

Mark
Mike here: All the archived versions I've ever had are there on the Autostar Archive page, linked from the Autostar Info page, including 2.6Ed.
Subject:	help me please
Sent:	Wednesday, May 26, 2004 05:23:07
From:	Gennaro Paraggio (gennaroparaggio@virgilio.it)
my name is Gennaro. Since a few timeI have got a lsd-55 8c but I can't
do align to use the automaticgoto. I follow all procedures
ofinitialization, calibrate and train drive but when i try to do easy
align or two stars align it always fail. Can you help me?

Excuse me for bad english
gennaro
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item. Your email was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the subject entry.
Describe the exact steps you are taking to do the alignment.

And:

I have "calibrate" procedure, "reset" autostar, "initialing" (time,
date, site, telescope model lxd-55 8c), "train drive". I have followed
with attention the handbook in order to avoid errors. then I have press
"easy align". The telescope has centered vega with little error and
pollux whit very big error. I have followed with attention the handbook,
i have centered pollux, and I have read on autostar's dysplay: "easy
align succesfully" but "goto" is very mistaken.
Mike here: Have you set the telescope tripod mount to have its polar axis set for your latitude? That is, when you put the telescope in the proper HOME position, Polaris is at least in the finderscope field of view? You might try the one star align; that helps align the polar axis.

And:

>Have you set the telescope tripod mount to have its polar axis set for 
your latitude?  
yes

>That is, when you put the telescope in the proper HOME 
>position, Polaris is at least in the finderscope field of view?  
yes

We are sure that the polar alignement is correct, because Polaris is
well centered into the polar scope. Our guess is that, someway, Autostar
is not able to properly set the parameters for the RA and DEC axes.
Could you please send us the parameters set on your Autostar? In case
the parameters are correct, do you have any suggestion?

Thanks for your time and patience on this topic.
Mike here: What happens with the one-star aligning? What Autostar ROM version do you have?
Subject:	Home position
Sent:	Monday, May 24, 2004 10:54:54
From:	Sviatyi, Serguei (DC) (SergueiSviatyi@hillintl.com)
Thank you for you website, it has been a great help with my ETX 125
telescope upgrades.

On your web site it you say that that Alt/Az home position is with the
ETX control panel pointing West. I have not been doing that since I got
EXT (November 2003) and I did not have any problems with GOTO. A moth or
so ago I found your website and read that it should be pointing west so
I started to do that and I did not notice any difference I GOTO, it was
still good not better or worth in any significant way. A few weeks ago I
download and the purchased AstroPlaner, it took me some time to learn
the software, but what I noticed is when telescope is setup with control
panel to the west Alt/Az reading in the software are about 40 to 60
degrees off (I'm not sure of the exact number but I can give it later if
need be, I also thing that number is always the same or very close);
however if control panel is to the east computer and telescope show same
Alt/Az. I believe that you use AstroPlaner and I am wondering if:

1. It is a problem

2. You have the same problem

3. It is USER ERROR (I think I can tell east and west, but I would not
be so surprised if I can't. To my knowledge West is 90 degrees to the
left of the north).

4. It should be that way.

It is not a huge issue telescope will to point to the star selected on
the computer, FOV on the computer will move to the correct position if I
slew telescope using AutoStar's HHC. I guess it is purely academic issue
to me; I'm network admin/computer programmer so I like for the sings to
match when they can and when they do match but it is in the opposite
from "correct position" - beggs for a question. Also article on Home
Position is about 4 years all and may be something's have changed.

Thank You,

Serguei Sviatyi

P.S. Excuse my english. I'm to a native speaker so you may find a lot of
error.
Mike here: With the control panel on the West side you ensure that the azimuth hard stops are in known positions. Once you have done the alignment, the azimuth readings should be the same either way. But you run the risk of hitting a hard stop while the Autostar is doing a GOTO.

And:

Thank you for the information, it was helpful. 
I have another question if you could answer.

I'm trying my hand at Austro photography and interested to know if I
should train and calibrate drives with the camera attached to it? I was
thinking that all the added weight must make a difference.

Thank You,

Serguei Sviatyi
Hill International
Mike here: Shouldn't make any difference since encoder pulses are what are counted. HOWEVER, if the camera is heavy, you should add a counterweight.
Subject:	Using a Network CAT5 cable on a Meade AutoStar
Sent:	Monday, May 24, 2004 02:43:40
From:	Niall Saunders (niall@njs101.com)
DON'T !!

Unless you are making up the cable 'from scratch' and have taken the
time to determine how the pins are connected. Standard CAT 5 patch leads
will NOT work with the AutoStar - and may well cause serious damage.

Hopefully, this information is NOT too late to be of use!

Cheers,
Niall
Aberdeen, Scotland

Subject:	ASCOM, Starry Night, USB to RS232
Sent:	Sunday, May 23, 2004 17:11:03
From:	Len Haertter (lwh@haerttertravel.com)
First, awesome site - the best.

I am having problems getting Starry Nights Pro 4.5.2 to connect with my
Alienware Sentina laptop using Meade's USB to RS-232 Bridge Cable.

I have ASCOM 3.0 installed. The Meade driver (Version 2.0) for the cable
is working because it appear as "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port
(COM4)" in the device manager in XP. I have configured Starry Night to
match my scope, a Meade ETX-125AT by selecting in Starry Nights the
"Meade LX200 and Autostar" and setting it to COM4. When it tries to
connect, a ASCOM Meade Driver window pops up saying "There does not
appear to be anything connected with this com port". I have heard/read
that not all cables are created equal.

I have decided to order a different USB to RS232 cable to see if that
helps, but I was hoping someone might have a suggestion while I wait for
it to arrive. I have a had time believing that Meade's cable and driver
wont work with Starry Nights - but stranger things have happened.

If  I remove the cable and hook it up to the COM1 port on my home
computer, everything works great. I have switched the cable in the
Device Manager to COM 1,2,3 and 4 with no luck. The USB to RS232 cable
will not work on my home pc either.

Len
Mike here: Have you tried different software, especially Meade's Autostar Update application version 3.61?

And:

Just to make sure, I redownloaded it. It is the app used to update the
hand unit right? I'm running  [31E].

Well I hooked it up to my computer again, but no luck with the Meade USB
to RS232 cable, but it works without it - just the RS232 into COM1.

Am I the only one who has ever had this problem?
Mike here: Yes, that's the right app and since it can't talk to the Autostar either, it sounds like a problem with the cable. If memory serves, some people have reported problems with the cable from Meade. Contact them. I use the Keyspan serial-USB with my Macintosh and it works fine to talk to the Autostar.

And an update:

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know my problem was
the Meade cable.

I ordered a different one and Starry Night now works like a champ.

Thanks for your help.

Len 

Subject:	re:  precise tracking rate
Sent:	Sunday, May 23, 2004 17:13:08
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: 	  kangwen@tm.net.my
As Mike said, you probably really don't need to adjust your
tracking rate (and they don't always move faster than
the stars, sometimes they move "slower". It depends upon
their relative position in their orbits as viewed from
earth).

You -can- adjust the tracking rate of your telescope
(if it has an Autostar), it's under
Setup > Telescope > Tracking Rate > [enter][scroll up]> Custom
This allows you to enter an adjustment relative to
sidereal rate.
The units are tenths of a percent, or roughly 
one arcsecond of adjustment per minute of clock-time.

(so a dead-stop would be -1000, and twice sidereal
would be +1000).

If you know your target's relative motion to the stars,
you can set the tracking to match.
(the sun is about -3, the moon is -35)

have fun
--dick
Mike here: As I indicated, it is difficult to KNOW what adjustment is required.
Subject:	newest autostar version
Sent:	Sunday, May 23, 2004 08:03:28
From:	MICHAEL SANDERS (michaelsanders580@msn.com)
could you please tell me what the latest version of autostar is
available.
Mike here: As shown on Meade's Autostar page:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html
version 3.1Ee is the latest for the Autostar #497.
Subject:	precise tracking rate
Sent:	Saturday, May 22, 2004 20:27:18
From:	Tommy Lim (kangwen@tm.net.my)
How can i get a precise tracking rate for planets and comets/asteroids
since they move a little bit faster than stars?

Regards,
Tommy
Mike here: Generally speaking, there isn't much need for that, especially for planets and most asteroids and comets. Closer in asteroids (duck!) and comets do have a different rate but there is no easy accurate way to change that rate.
Subject:	i've been reading about the 506 and 505 cable...
Sent:	Saturday, May 22, 2004 11:30:17
From:	Dr Blackross (drblackross@yahoo.com)
i have a lil meade etx-60, and i need a cable (it requires the 506).

http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2004/494-506.html

soooo after reading all that stuff.. i was wondering if anyone has ever
asked meade for the addresses and commands sent out on the i2c bus?

its not hard to adapt just convert and push it out.

toSTROBE (pin 1) SCLK (i2c)
toD0 (pin 2) Cathode diode
toPE (pin 12) anode diode SDATA (i2c)
toD1 (pin 3)

circuit
and this was just to a simple dallas chip.... now all that would be needed is a driver or a printer driver plugin to read the PE paper(out)-error and place data out to D0
And this from our resident Autostar expert:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The 506 answers to an "are you there?" interrogation from
the i2c bus, and replies to "what character?" and "what state?"
prompts.  The PIC chip on the 506  card (or is it a dallas?) 
obviously performs serial-in,latch,rs232-out duties (bidirectional).
The i2c bus does NOT operate at 9600 baud.  (if memory serves,
it's about 100 KHz clock rate)

I'll try to excavate whatever gleanings i found (that was years
ago, and i don't have a 506 at hand to analyze), and send them
along.

I'm -not- an i2c wizard (nor do i have development kits and tools for it),
 but i've yet to see anyone -with- such tools analyze the bus signals
 and produce useful substitutes for the various devices.

more later
have fun
--dick
And additional:
OH... (rereading the trailing text)... 
you're proposing putting it on a parallel printer port.

Sure... or you could use any number of standard i2c 
parallel-to-CMOS designs.  

In fact, i'm puzzled... why use the Dallas chip at all?

Since you can program a parallel printer port's pins 
for either In or Out, just watch -two- lines, (one clock,
one data), and wait until you receive a command.
(the Clock line is only driven when the Autostar
wishes to talk to the AUX devices).
Once you receive a command, reverse the direction of
the data pin and stobe out your data as the clockline
dictates.

I'm not sure what the Dallas chip is buying you that
a simple open collector 74c0(whatever) wouldn't do.

But that's beside the point.

I'll try to send examples of the bytes to expect on 
the bus, but be warned that they'll probably have errors
(i usually think more bytes are coming out than actually appear).

have fun
--dick
And yet more:
For that matter, why not simply put in (say) 2k pull-up
resistors and just tie the i2c CLK and Data lines to
your parallel port and -watch-?

Bits rates, strobes and other details you're going to need
to solve anyway would probably become moderately apparent,
and we'd all like to hear about them.
It would help improve my "byte report" if you could provide
information about the bytes you -see- arriving.
Then i can correlate those with what the listings indicate,
and provide much better suggestions of what to look for,
and what to send.

For example: the 494 holds a bit high (or low) for 
(what seems to be) 165 loops through a timing routine.
I can work out the theoretical duration from timing 
charts, but it'd be reassuring to get a hard-data timing
from watching the bus.

have fun
--dick
And:
How the Autostar appears to talk to the i2c bus 
for 506 serial communications:

It would appear that there are three stages in rs232-destined
communication with the 506 via the i2c bus.

For normal "get character into Autostar", the sequence is:
x02 x11 x02 (data)   
Where the Autostar sends "02" "11" "02" on the i2c, and
 expects to have a byte (data) supplied from the 506.

For normal "send character from Autostar", it's 
x03 x11 x01 (data) (byte)
Here, the "data" is from the Autostar, and "byte" is a 
possible byte sent back by the 506 (i believe it's "number of
characters waiting to be received).
If that final byte is other than -1 (xff) or 0, the
 Autostar will then pull data from the 506 until there are
 no more characters reported as waiting.
I do not know if -any- "(byte)" response is required from 
 the 506.

The x01 before the "send from autostar" data byte
might conceivably be a byte-count to the 506,
but i only see it ever being set to "01"

Finally, the third state: during one set-up period,
the Autostar seems to send an xE4 out the i2c bus.
It may be a reset, or a "speak if you're there".
It's difficult to tell.

There is also the chance you'll see either the 
clock or data line held low (or high, whatever
the non-rest state is) for a "long" time.
That -is- a bus reset, and all devices should return
to an idle state.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Problems updating the Autostar 497 handbox
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 2004 17:17:33
From:	Alfred Heusner (aaheusner@ucdavis.edu)
I am using the Dell Notebook 1100 with Windows XP Home edition to run
Meade's  Autostar Suite. Since this notebook does not have a serial
port, I use Meade's Serial USB converter cable. The LPI module works
well. However, the Remote Handbox does not show the menu tree, but the
arrow keys {N, E, S, W) work.

According to Meade's Autostar Suite Troubleshooting Guide, I need to
update Autostar with the latest firmware. I followed all the
instructions of this Guide and find myself in a catch-22 situation. The
computer does not recognize the Handbox, because the Handbox  does not
have the proper firmware, but since the computer does not recognize the
Handbox I cannot update it. I am  dealing with this problem since
October 2003. Meade's technical  support is of no help, they always
refer to the Internet.

With best regards,
 Fred

Alfred Heusner
Professor Emeritus UCD
Davis, Ca
Mike here: I'm confused. When running ONLY the Autostar Update 3.61 application (from Meade's site), what error are you getting?

And:

I get the following message: COM1 in use or not existent.
Mike here: Check for other software (notably fax software) tying up the port. Also, it has been reported that some Windows computers don't seem to like a serial-USB converter so a computer with a real RS-232 serial port may have to be used.
Subject:	AutoStar 497 Compatibility
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 2004 00:04:21
From:	WarpedCorp (warpcorp@swbell.net)
Here is a question for Dick, OPT and Chris Carson of StarGPS...

If the new LXD75 uses the same AutoStar 497, then there must be a
software or ROM upgrade to give it 3 Star Alignment capability.

Questions: Will this upgrade also be applicable to existing 497's which
would give you 3 star alignment capability on existing LXD55 mounts?

Will old AutoStar's (LXD55's) be able to upgrade for the new LXD75
mounts?

Will the new LXD75 AutoStars function with the existing LXD55 mounts?

Will the StarGps program be compatible with the new 497's and LXD75's?

Have at it guys.... we want to know!

Thanks
Warp
And:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>If the new LXD75 uses the same AutoStar 497, then there must be a 
>software or ROM upgrade to give it 3 Star Alignment capability.

I'm wondering if the "3 star" is simply a combination of
the "point at Polaris" portion of a One Star, with the
regular "Two Star".  But i haven't seen it, so who knows?
And there's nothing -magic- about Polaris, any star can
be used for the same operation, or you can do it mathematically.
Maybe they'll offer the option of adjusting the -mount- to
center the first star, or slewing to center the first star,
with the warning that slewing will cause Field Rotation to 
happen during the rest of the session (and the Dec motor will
run during sidereal tracking (we hope)).

Reading the advertising copy, it's plain that HPP (High
Precision Pointing) is the same High Precision we already have.

>Questions:  Will this upgrade also be applicable to existing 497's 
>which would give you 3 star alignment capability on existing LXD55 
>mounts?

I would assume so, but there may be a time-lag between 
LXD75's shipping with the new firmware, and it becoming
generally available on their website.

>Will old AutoStar's (LXD55's) be able to upgrade for the new LXD75 
>mounts?

Do you mean hardware or firmware?  If firmware, the dictum
is that "a 497 is a 497 is a 497".. the LXD75 will simply
become one of the 25 or so models that the 497 currently
supports.

>Will the new LXD75 AutoStars function with the
>existing LXD55 mounts?

Yes (that's easy).  

>Will the StarGps program be compatible with the
>new 497's and LXD75's?

(a) the new StarGPS-LX (which doesn't require patching the
firmware) is already compatible, 

(b) as with any firmware update, the "original flavor"
 StarGPS will become compatible about a week or so after
 Meade posts the firmware on their website.  
(QuitClaim: that's -me- saying that, but Chris
 writes the patches for the StarGPS, so i cannot -state-
 his timetable.  I'm using historical precedent as a guide.)

(c) Meade could always throw us a curve and do something
 specifically designed to twart StarGPS operation in the
 Autostar.  I -really, really- doubt they'd do that, since
 it would divert a LOT of programming effort from the 497's
 main mission of operating the telescope.  Since they don't
 offer an add-on GPS product, they really have no financial
 reason to block StarGPS. The existence of StarGPS highlights the
 flexibility of the Autostar design approach (and it's
 cheaper than Celestron's competing product).

>Have at it guys.... we want to know!

All above statements are guesses based upon past practices.
They're pure guesses until we -see- the LXD75 coding.
Meade could certainly program the Autostar to -only- do
3-star aligns IF it's -really- attached to a for-real LXD75.
(the 909 APM coding is like that. It won't even acknowledge
 its existence on an ETX90/105/125).  So an LXD55 may -not-
gain 3 star aligns, but i have no way of telling until we
can see one refuse.

On the "can we buy a mount?" question, i think LXD55 history
clearly indicates that all mounts will come with a 5/6/8/10
inch optical tube assembly attached.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX-105 and the latest Autostar prog
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 23:40:34
From:	"Keith Bryant" (keith@keithbryant.demon.co.uk)
Have had my 'scope for 4 weeks only.(2nd hand but new in Jan 04). Bought
the #505 extension cable and autostar prog. Had to get a USB to serial
converter.

My problem is that the communication between laptop and scope is very,
very intermittent. It sets itself on Com 4 when it does link up.Often I
just get the communication failed' error. I then unplug and replug the
USB and it then connects.

Another very odd thing is that when I check the hardware via the Control
Panel I see that the Com ports 2,3 are 'in use' when no other
connections exist!

Can anyone shed some light on this?

Newbie Keith
Mike here: Some software (like fax software) ties up ports behind the scenes. So check for that. As to the USB-serial conversion, which one did you get? Do you have the latest drivers for it? I'm using a Keyspan one on my Macintosh connecting to the Autostar software via Virtual PC with Windows2000. Works fine.
Subject:	re:  Autostar wrong programmed?
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 21:17:38
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: 	  geheniau@xs4all.nl
Meade follows the Sky & Telescope's Sky Catalog 2000 
interpretation: M101 == M102

M102 -does- exist... if you believe that Messier (or his aides)
double-entered M101 as M102, then it's "correct" for the 
Autostar to match his list.

Modern day "politically correct" (or more useful) reinterpretations 
are arguable.

(besides, i sent them the same error report in early 2000,
and you can see what's become of it...)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Autostar 2 Star Alignment and Slew Speeds
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 18:34:43
From:	"Kissel Family" (gkissel@ameritech.net)
While doing a two star alignment with my ETX 125 I typically increase
the slew speed when centeringobjects. Does this have any effect on the
accuracy of the alignment and subsequent GOTO's?

Regards,
Gery
Mike here: I've not seen any significant difference in accuracy when using different speeds except in the accuracy the alignment star manual centering.
Subject:	Autostar wrong programmed?
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 14:37:18
From:	geheniau@xs4all.nl
Two days ago I did Messier 101 with webcam and my ETX90. Took me half a
night. Yesterday I did M102, took me half a night again. After stacking
I saw M101 again. What the......?

Messier 102 doesn't really exist. It is thought that Monsieur Messier
made a mistake.

SOME people think that Messier 102 = Messier 101.

MOST people think that Messier 102 = NGC 5866 !

AUTOSTAR thinks that Messier 102 = Messier 101.

I really think that the database has to be updated to Messier 102 = NGC
5866.

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands
www.samage.net/~geheniau/astronomy2.html
email: geheniau@xs4all.nl

(One advantage: I now have 138 good frames of M101 instead of 64, so
maybe the quality will be better, tomorrow I am gonna check it out)
Mike here: You should forward it to engineer@meade.com.
Subject:	star alignment
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 2004 01:59:35
From:	"marianne/patrick" (vanpottelberge@easynet.be)
I wrote you before because of some bolts problem but this has been
solved and I'm now slowly but surely getting to know my scope.

I'm about to learn about alignment techniques with autostar and there is
something which I can't figure out yet.

I would like to choose my own stars to align without having to slew to
the Autostar proposed stars, since I have an obstructed north and
northwestern view.

For example : at this point in time, I would choose as first star
arcturus and then regulus. But.. how can I do this manually, without
having to slew the scope first to all the stars that Autostar suggests
??

Eventually, my dream is to connect to pc and use some software to guide
the scope. Too early, I know, I have a lot to learn.

Thanks for your advice.

Faithfully yours;

Patrick and Marianne
Mike here: You can scroll through the alignment star choices by using the UP/DOWN arrow keys. If one is obstructed, just scroll to the next one. This ensures that the best pairs are selected.
Subject:	re:  Autostar update problem
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 2004 08:07:23
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: 	  mike@overacker.com
Let's see if we can find that cow...

Since you're using the StarGPS which requires an Autostar Update,
I wonder if your Time Zone info is correct in your Autostar.

Check it with Setup > Site > Edit   and scroll through
the four fields.  The Time Zone value should be your
-standard- time offset from Greenwich (so -5 for Eastern, -8 for Pacific).

The StarGPS uses your time zone setting, so if that's askew,
it will think you're seeing a different sky than you are.

You can also check its results by using the hold-mode method
to reach the Status displays, and scrolling to your time
and location displays.  But they will not -directly- reveal
your Time zone setting.

IF, however, you are using the newer StarGPS-LX, 
please realize that it sets your time zone to GMT,
and works in UTC.

So, if you plugged a StarGPS-LX into your Autostar,
that will set the Time Zone to 00 offset.
IF you -then- plug in the StarGPS (not the -LX), 
your Autostar will -still- be thinking it's 00 offset
and translate the GPS data accordingly.

(since you discussed trying it on both the LXD55 -and-
 a Classic LX200, i could see this happening)

good luck
--dick
And from the StarGPS developer:
The time zone has no effect on whether my GPS Setup patch works... and
the patch should not effect the Autostar operation.  I suggest doing a
Reset, calibrate and retrain and/or try the same with 31Ee.

There is 0 to no chance that this had anything to do with StarGPS.  The
patch is only effective during the initial power-on sequence.

Regards,
Chris
And more:
I have been fighting this one LXD55 mount. Richard, I did check the time
zone, and it was off, set at -00.0. I reset that value, but to no avail.
The scope still rotates along the Dec axis and tries to find all stars
in the northern sky, and even rotates to the point of inverting the OTA
and having me reach for the off switch before damage is done.

I have backed the software all the way to the 26DD with the 26eD Rom, to
no avail. It does the same thing with each software version. I am at a
loss for what to do with this mount. This was the mount I was using for
my astrophotography, so it was a very reliable mount before this update.

Any more ideas?

Thanks for your time.

Mike Overacker
And:
I assume you probably tried 26Ed by itself (you can select the ROM file
from StarPatch if you want to try it with no patches).  I very much
doubt that this will make a difference.  I'm sure you must've done a
Reset prior to the calibrate and retrain?

Maybe you can describe what happens at power-up.  Does it star slewing?
Does it go whacky during the "Align:" or just when you try a GOTO.  Are
the latitude and longitude ok?  I think it will help to have a more
detailed step-by-step description as to what happens (symptoms, point of
failure).

One more thing, did you by chance plug the GPS-ASTAR cable in backwards
at any time and then turn on the telescope?

Thanks,
Chris
And this (Lesson learned coming...):
In the cover-all-bases-because-they-didn't-specify mode,
is the Telescope -Model- set correctly?

You'll certainly see bizarre behaviour if it thinks it's an ETX.

If i remember your posting (altho i might be confusing it
with another) you have *two* Autostars, and one works
properly.  If that Autostar and the LXD55 are operating
happily, that pretty much excludes the -mount- as the
problem.

The Autostar -can- have bits go permanently bad.
You tend to only notice this when you do an update,
since they're rewritten at this time, and the meanings
of some which were -not- rewritten get changed.
(the old "RA Training now using your Zip Code" problem)

The Autostar has three distinct areas and technology-types
of memory:  First, there's the 1 megabyte of "FlashRam" 
which the Updater updates.  That is erased to "all ones", and
written into in banks of 64 KB at a time.  During the Erase
and Write cycles, the Autostar (and Updater) cooperate
to verify that the data are written properly.  Chris's StarPatch
goes even further... it maintains checksums of each memory
page to keep better track of problems.

You could try a clean "Update" (to any version you wish)
using *Meade's* updater, and select "Verify" under the
Options menu.  This will double or triple the download time
(once to write it (35 minutes) and again to read it back (35
more)).  But it -does- verify every byte.

The second memory technology is the 512-byte EEPROM
which is on the Motorola CPU chip itself.  This is the memory
which holds your "permanent" data, such as Telescope Type,
Site data, last-date-used, Training results, etc.  All of the
"survives power-cycle" settings.  These are the areas whose 
meaning may -change- across version updates.  For example,
adding the ability to remember "silence the beeper" uses a 
bit in there which was either never used before, or was used
by something else, which has now moved.

**Nothing** checks -that- memory!   If a bit goes bad,
there's no built-in sanity check.  If a Ratio's bit gets stuck,
your Ratio will be weird until it's overwritten (then it's checked).

Finally there's 32 KB of "Static Ram"... this is the place where 
a good chunk of the Autostar program gets dropped into 
at boot-time (pulled from FlashRam), and its where *all* of
the temporary variables (current time of day, current target,
current position, (many) etc.etc.) exist.  It -also- NEVER gets
checked... a bad bit here can affect any type of operation,
and usually in wildly unpredictable ways (which may come
and go with versions).  A bit bit here might go entirely 
undetected with some verisons, and -really- nail you with
others.

Setup > Reset only does a -half-good- job of "resetting"
the EEprom (a few years ago, the Updater had a "kick it 
hard" switch, the current Updater doesn't).  But it's at
least a start.

So i'm not -too- surprised when folks see problems 
after an update.. there are LOTS of ways they can fail,
or at least introduce confusion.    And all of the above 
really does have nothing related to StarGPS... it happens
even if you are pure-Meade all the way.  (when Reverse
L/R and U/D became a "remembered" setting with v30,
Meade even wrote in the ReadMe that you may power up
with an unknown state of that setting).

good luck
--dick
Here it comes:
Ba-Da-Bing, Ba-Da-Boom

That was it. The crazy thing set itself up as an ETX90. I had it set as
an AR5, and I thought I had reset it to AR5 after the last reset, but I
guess it didn't take. I reset it again to an AR5 and it is working well.
And:
Hmm... which is going to happen first?.. is my arm going to break
whilst patting myself on the back, or will my head split the
seams of my hat as it swells excessively?

What have we learned? 
(a) it's not StarGP's fault (ever)*
(b) it's not the Autostar's fault (frequently, or at least on Tuesdays)
(c) look in the mirror for the most likely source of error  

have fun
--dick
* tongue firmly in cheek...
(right next to all the bits of crow and pieces of chewed foot)

Subject:	re: Object "moves" in the eyepiece of etx125
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 2004 07:56:20
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: 	  none_nise@telefonica.net
There are many things that can cause that motion.

First, remember that the LPI is effectively a 6mm eyepiece,
and you are magnifying the image by displaying it on your screen,
so it is more that four times more sensitive for showing the
appearance of motion, compared to the 26mm eyepiece.

If the target moves sideways, but in -both- directions without
actually walking out  of view, then you are (in part) seeing
"periodic error".  That can be caused by your worm drive
being too tightly meshed (pressed) against the final gear.
(if you are seeing "jumps", instead of smooth motion, that
is a definite symptom of this).

The fact that it gets -worse- (more side-to-side) when it
is simply tracking may indicate that the worm drive is
too -loose-, or that the spring which presses the worm
against the main gear is fighting a too-tight RA bearing.
Is your scope balanced?  
Is the RA/Azimuth system "loose" and swings freely when
-not- clamped?  (it should be loose).

What is the time required for a side-to-side motion?

Another possibility is that your worm shaft is slightly bent.
(this would cause an 8-minute period to the side-to-side.)

Since your GoTo's are good, and this is a "tracking" issue,
i would NOT think that Training will affect it.

Are you running Polar or Alt/Az?  

Some periodic error is a common trait of a worm drive.
But "some" would mean about 2 Jupiter diameters.

The Tracking function of the LPI program can handle 
fairly severe motions... so moderate motion will not damage
the center portion of images you can take with the LPI.

You might also try the Autoguider function, and see if
it can cancel the motion

good luck
--dick

And:

I'll try it this night, hope it works. I tell you if it go fine. Thanks
a lot Mike and Richard.

Miguel Rodrguez

And more:

I tried to do all you said, but the object still moving side by side :( 
I'm desesperate.

Answering your questions Richard, I'm running in Polar mode, the scope
is balanced, the RA/Azimuth sistem is freely when not clamped.

Sometimes the object is quiet, but only for a few seconds, after that it
"jump" to one side repeating all the process of side by side. It get out
of the eyepiece too because this "moves".

What can I do for fix it? I must get it back to the shop? throw it
throught the window? I'm really desesperate.

Miguel Rodriguez

And:

Things i would try:
(a) if it's still within warranty, yes: take it to the shop
(b) try -unbalancing- it: put a bit of weight at the nose
or tail to see if having gravity push against the drive
helps.  You can also simulate this by simply holding
the barrel in your hand (when it's moving side-to-side)
and add a -little- "resistance" to the motion.

(c) if it is NOT under warranty (and maybe if it is) open
the bottom plate, and look to see if the grease has been
worn off the big gear that the worm pushes.
(d) with the bottom off, and the scope held at an
angle (so that the motor is lifting or lowering the barrel,
namely similar to the Polar wedge position) -watch- the 
gears and worm.. look for any jumping, jerking or 
other motions in the gears which are not simply smooth.

>throw it throught the window? I'm really desesperate.

Defenestration would affect the symptoms.

good luck
--dick 

Subject:	Object "moves" in the eyepiece of etx125
Sent:	Saturday, May 15, 2004 19:19:35
From:	"Miguel Rodriguez" (none_nise@telefonica.net)
I have a problem with my etx-125, when I "GoTo" to any celestial object
and I look it in the computer with the LPI program, the object moves
side by side of the eyepiece. I tryed train drives in alt-az and polar
mode but this "movement" still there. At finish I update the autostar
and see that some of this "movement" is fixed, but still moving. Please
help me.

Miguel Rodriguez
Mike here: You say you updated the Autostar (I presume to the current 3.1Ee) but did you CALIBRATE and reTRAIN DRIVES following that? If that doesn't cure it, try a RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN DRIVES sequence.

And:

I try to reset, calibrate, and train drives in this sequence, but the
"moves" still there. Less than other times, but still there. When I have
the telescope aligned, I see that this movement is very poor, but when
minutes run... it moves more and more.The rom of the autostar as you
said is the 3.1Ee. Please help!
Mike here: Are the GOTOs accurate?

And:

yes, the go to is perfect
Mike here: Well, since GOTOs are good that rules out date/time/location/mounting mode/training errors. Does the drift happen with all objects or just in certain locations in the sky?

And:

The date, time,location and mounting mode are correct (or I mean that :P).
The problem happens in all the sky.
Mike here: Lets try one more test. SYNC to a nearby non-planet object and see if the tracking improves. You could also try High Precision mode and see if the tracking improves.
Subject:	strange 494 autostar
Sent:	Friday, May 14, 2004 21:58:54
From:	"T Lee" (t65lee@hotmail.com)
I just got a 494 to go with my DS80 and I am having an awfull time with
it. I already have a 494 for my ETX 60, and the new one has very
different commands. For one, it will not let me enter the model of the
scope, there simply is no option to do that. When I try to do a one or
two star allign, it tells me "German North" and tells me to put the
scope in the polar home position. The other 494 I have asks for the
model of scope, so everything is fine. I am confused.

Thank you for your time

TLee
Mike here: It sounds like an older model for a different telescope. I presume you have tried a RESET.

And:

Yeah, a couple of times...the version numbers on both autostars are the
same when they are turned on...my old one works fine on both scopes,
since it asks for the model...this one just doesn.t ask for the model of
scope...is there a chance it could be a European version of the
autostar?? I ask that just because it says German North, when I try to
allign. I have no idea what that means
Mike here: German North is a type of telescope mount. It is used on many telescopes.

And an update:

"Ya know?  That sounds like you have a 4504 (or 114EQ-DH4) "Starfinder"
version of the 494.  That model -only- does the GEM mount, and does not
offer Model or Mount changes. (i have one)."

Looks like that is it...thanks for the great site
Mike here: That's what I meant by "older model" when I first replied. I just couldn't recall the details.
Subject:	Meade Proc Tap 2
Sent:	Thursday, May 13, 2004 07:24:32
From:	MAUGHANR@aol.com
I've finally got v2.0i into my Auto star, and have just completed a
sucessfulAutomatic Align. Thanks.

I found the tension screw on theDec. motor to be too tight and also one
of the R.A. gears to be loose, giving the Interrupt, Proc Trap
2,message, presumably to prevent motor burnout.

Once again thanks fo your help.

Richard

Subject:	Autostar update problem
Sent:	Wednesday, May 12, 2004 20:29:43
From:	Mike Overacker (mike@overacker.com)
Mike Overacker here from http://www.meadelxd55.com. I was reviewing the
StarGPS systems for my lxd55 site and my LX200 Classic site 
( http://www.lx200classic.com ). I used the Updater to update my LXD55 497
Autostars to version 31Ee with the GPS add-on. One of the Autostars
updated and worked perfectly. The other now couldn't find a cow on a
chicken farm. In "Easy Alignment", it slews to an almost horizontal
position to find Arcturus, which is high in the sky. If you slew it to
Arcturus and hit "enter, it can't find Capella. When you slew to center
Capella, the alignment fails. It you let it find Arcturus (it thinks),
and then hit enter like it was correct in it's wrong guess, the the slew
to Capella almost completely inverts the tube and the mount must be shut
down before it tries to ram the OTA on the tripod leg. I have tried
everything I can think of, to no avail. I would like to get this
resolved before I finish and post my StarGPS review.

Any ideas?

 Mike Overacker
http://www.meadelxd55.com
http://www.lx200classic.com
http://www.darkskyphotos.com
Mike here: Did you do the CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES following the updating? I presume you didn't do the StarGPS patch yet. By the way, I posted a review of the StarGPS-LX model tonight.

And:

After the update, I calibrated the motors, then trained the drives. No
difference.   I started having problems after I updated one of my LXD55
mounts to the GPS Autostar Update. My other mount works fine with it,
but this one can't find anything, it seems to run the motors sporadicly,
and is being a royal pain.
Mike here: I'd suggest backing out of the StarGPS update and see if the Autostar works correctly.
Subject:	Long Autostar Cable and Rechargable Batteries do well
Sent:	Tuesday, May 11, 2004 23:10:58
From:	"Lachezar V." (callmenow_bg@yahoo.com)
I just wanted to share info for you and your site, that I successfuly
used a long HBX cable for Autostar, even though I'm on rechargable
batteries. On this page:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable3.html 

Stephen Bird worried
that HBX extension would not work when on rechargable batteries.

I made an 10 meters long Autostar HBX cable and it is working fine even
on rechargable batteries. I use GP NiMH 2100mAh batteries, and HBX 10
meters (crossed 1 to 8, 2 to 7, .. 8 to 1) CAT 5 network cable, and
Autostar and telescope work fine.

This days I'm gonna buy an active USB extender so that I extend to 10
meters the LPI as well.

Best regards.

Lachezar V.

Subject:	GPS
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 2004 08:47:05
From:	SMalin1@aol.com
just wondering if the Scopetronix GPS has been reviewed by you or anyone
else. I looked for it on your site but saw nothing. I did buy it from
Scopetronix and I think it to be a fantastic accessory. When I turn the
power on the GPS inputs to the computer the Latitude, longitude, date,
and time. Seems to work perfectly.

 Hope to hear from you.
 Selwyn Malin
Mike here: If you are referring to the StarGPS, I will be reviewing the StarGPS-LX shortly.

And:

The GPS I was refering to is the one sold by Scopetronix. Perhaps that
is the StarGps that you refered to. I did not realize it is called the
Star GPS. But thanks much for your quick reponse.
 Selwyn Malin

Mike here: Yep, that's the StarGPS.

And:

Mike will you be doing a review of the StarGPS soon? I have been using
it for quite a few months and it works beautifully. I think Jordan has
done us all a great big favor by finding this accessory.
 Thanks much to you from,
 Selwyn
Mike here: Yep, soon.
Subject:	Adding autostar control to 90mm ETX ec model
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 2004 07:02:28
From:	PlowPlane@aol.com
Hello, I have searched the website before writing and have a basic
question.  I have an opportunity to purchase a 90mm ETX EC model with
field tripod and a few extras for 250.00 shipped. This telescope would
be for my daughter..(beginner). My question is this: the scope does not
come with the autostar controller. If I purchase one seperately, which
version should I get and secondly, is this compatable with the EC model.

Thank you for the time.
Bob Thompson
Mike here: Autostars are compatible with all EC models. You should get the #497 (one with number keys).

And:

thank you for your kind help.
Best wishes,
 Bob

Subject:	Autostar extension lead
Sent:	Friday, May 7, 2004 01:28:13
From:	"Brian Crane" (brian.crane1@ntlworld.com)
As others have pointed out, the Autostar lead is a standard RJ-45
connection, as used in Ethernet networks, and the other connections are
RJ-11, as you'll find on a PC modem connection. To make life a little
easier, there is now available from Maplin UK a 10 metre RJ-45 extension
lead on a reel (RJ-45 plug to socket), complete with winder, meant for
temporary network extensions.

Maplin part number is A54BB (10m CATV Reeler) and costs 19.98 including
VAT.

Thanks for the site - it's been completely indispensable!!

Brian Crane

Subject:	Tracking the Sun with Autostar?
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 2004 12:01:11
From:	"Chandler, Bill" (bill.chandler@hp.com)
I'm sending a DS-2114S to Africa (with a friend) to view the transit of
Venus. How to I make the Autostar "GOTO" the SUN, and track it?
Obviously I'll take the proper precautions so as not to expose any
viewer toeye hazards. The scope will have a SUN filter (securely
attached) and viewing will be done via the EP. After looking through the
494 menu's, I was unable to locate 'the Sun' as an object to 'GOTO'. I
suppose I 'could' enter the RA and DEC of the SUN as a USER entry, then
use that. OR I could GOTO Venus, however I'd rather track the Sun as
opposed to Venus.

By the way, We'll be setting the scope up, the night before, and doing
our 'alignment/calibration' at that time. After that's done, we'll
simply 'SLEEP' the scope and wake-it-up the following morning (at 8AM
local time). Then perform a GOTO (the SUN). resyncing if needed once the
Sun is in the FOV.

Thanks for your advise (in advance)
Bill
And:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you are setting up the night before, you have two
easy answers:
Both involve PARKing the scope the previous night.
(a) power up scope. Since youPARKed, it won't
 ask you to Align after entering date/time/daylight.
Considering the mission: GoTo Venus. (this will
also automatically start the sidereal drive)
Now slew to minimize telescope barrel's shadow.
Done.
(b) (Classic technique) Power up scope, answer
time/date/daylight, menu to Setup > Targets
select Astronomical (sidereal drive starts)
Slew to minimize barrel shadow.

[i just re-read your message... yes, SLEEP will work]

If you forget to PARK, or otherwise mess that up,
don't panic. Simply accept ([enter]) the alignment
stars as it presents them. Now GoTo Venus.
If you have lost the True North alignment
(let's say it's pointing at "Venus", but 90 azimuth
degrees away from the sun), simply pick up the
whole thing (or unclamp the Azimuth) and swing it
in Azimuth to point as close to the sun as possible.
Put it down. Slew to minimize barrel shadow.
This will probably cause a little bit of N/S
drift of the sun during tracking, but it'll be close.

OK.. back to GoTo'ing the Sun. I have a technique
posted at Mike's Site, but it is less accurate than using
Venus. Once you've GoneTo Venus, just slew to
center the sun (or edge the sun, or whatever).
The sun moves slightly -slower- than the stars,
so you could adjust the
 Setup > Telescope > Tracking Rate
 to -3 for a "best fit".
Even if you do NOT do that, the Sun only
 moves its own diameter (compared to the sky) in a
12-hour day.
However, the Autostar does NOT take into
account the N/S component of the sun's motion
on the ecliptic, so you -will- have to occasionally
correct for that.

Thinking a bit more about it, the transit of Venus
across the face of the sun is mostly driven by the
earth's orbital motion... so "tracking Venus" is
really the correct way to go. The sun will move
behind the planet.

The Autostar firmware also is doing a lousy job (at the
 moment) in GoTo'ing Venus (by all reports). That's
a factor of the orbital dynamics at any moment, so
it may improve during the transit. You can pre-check
that by setting the date/time -now- to the Transit
date/time, and checking the Venus position
for the start, middle and end of the transit,
and then comparing those to published data
for the transit.

If memory serves, the duration of the transit
is fairly long... which means using Venus as a
 GoTo target will be very accurate as a surrogate
for the Sun.

have fun
--dick
And also from Dick:
Also see the "how to GoTo the Sun" link:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_sun.html 

Subject:	latest 494 code version?
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 2004 11:43:59
From:	"Chandler, Bill" (bill.chandler@hp.com)
What's the latest AutoStar 494 version? My handbox says 1.0F Is this
version sufficient to run one of the new DS2000 series scopes? (I have a
DS-2114S model).

Mike: I searched your site, but was unable to locate a list of firmware
version for the 494. (you have them for he 495/497, but not the 494.
Well, at least 'I' couldn't find it)

Thanks
Bill
Mike here: Meade has not released any user-installable updates to the #494. That's why there is no info on that model. I'm not certain what version is shipping on the new DS models; hopefully one of the new owners will respond.

And:

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Since you cannot (by normal mortal means) load firmware
into a 494, the question is kind'a moot.
My ETX70 came with a version 2.(something).
I would be quite surprised if the 1.0f knew about
a 2000-series telescope (but i've been wrong before).

At home (where i'm not at this instant) i have some
494 firmwares, so i can look-see if 1.0f is there,
and if it knows 2000-series. (i think i only have 1.0g
and whatever my ETX70 has).(i gotta get another 506)

If you wish to see the method required to install
firmware in a 494, visit:
http://home.comcast.net/~lynol1000/as_494_gc/index.html

have fun
--dick
And more:
>So.... let me see if I'm reading this right. 
>If I HAD a 506 cable, I still wouldn't be able to upload new firmware?  

Correct.

>(or it would be very difficult?)

Very, very, very difficult.
I can't do it.  
Lynol 
( http://home.comcast.net/~lynol1000/as_494_gc/index.html )
 did it by having the proper development
tools required to talk to the minimalist inbuilt loader in the 68hc11.

>I've uploaded firmware into my 497 no problem (many times).
>Is it the same method (other than needing the 506 cable)?

I hesitate to say "yes" or "no".
Although the 494 -has- download code in it, (that's the "yes")
what it -doesn't- have is the Safe Loader. (that's the "no")
So if -anything- goes wrong, you're toast.
(see Lynol method, above)

Plus: Meade has never posted a 494 ROM file ("no", squared)
I created one for Lynol from my extraction of an 11Ea image.
(gee, maybe i do only have 11Ea, not 21Ea)
And the one i created for him is not formatted to work with
the Autostar Updater (which may refuse to firmware-load a 494, ("no", cubed)
anyway... even StarPatch (generic) will probably refuse (maybe
we can sweettalk Chris into writing a custom version)

So, it's theoretically -feasible-, but you'd still have only a 494.

have fun
--dick
And this:
And, just to tantalize you, the 11Ea -does- know about the DS-2130
(i just checked).

--dick
And from Dick:
If you -have- a 506, i'd be happy to buy it for $30.
That would put you closer to a 497.
The members of the Roboscope group have 494's
they're using as paperweights... you might be able
to pick up a 1.1a (or newer) version for $25 or less.

Have you actually -tried- your 494 on the DS-2114?
(if it's labelled as a Starfinder on the front, it's
GEM only, but even that should "work")
You would merely have to enter Ratio values
appropriate for the telescope.
(i have them at home, not here at the moment).

There would be slight issues with max/min travel limits,
but as long as the clutches aren't -too- tight (or you're
awake) that shouldn't be a problem.

Meade -may- be willing to simply swap 494's.
It doesn't cost anything to call their 800-number.
(they may charge shipping).  The new unit can 
certainly drive everything the old one can.

For cheapest reliable 497 source, Bill Vorce
scopehed@earthlink.com   is highly recommended
by others (i've never dealt with him).

have fun
--dick

Subject:	RE: Autostar ver 24E
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 2004 03:24:59
From:	"colin matin" (colin@cfwmartin.co.uk)
Thanks for the info Mike.

Just bought your book and successfully upgraded the Autostar software to
31e, noting that I have to do a reset after the download.

All seems fine, many thanks again.

One thing I have noticed is that using the easy align that after
selecting the first star the motors have already started to track before
I centre the object. I don't remember this happening under the old
version, although do remember reading about the accuracy of the system
if one doesn't take the first choice star or so when aligning, seemingly
because of the time delay when doing this.

Regards
Colin 

Subject:	Adding comets to Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 2004 02:10:15
From:	"Schlatter" (rosenjoe@charter.net)
With the appearance of two comets in May-June, I would like to add these
comets to my Autostar 497. However, I am running Autostar version
3.1-something, not the latest version, and the two current comets are
not on my Autostar. I downgraded from the latest version because of
un-fixable problems with creep-after-beep, described in other articles
on your site..

Is there any way to add ephemeris data for the two comets -- NEAT Q4 and
LINEAR T7 -- without upgrading the Autostar software at the same time?

Thanks.
----
Joe S.
Bristol TN
Mike here: Sure is. See the article "Adding Comets" on the Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Re: Recent Autostar download problems with ETX-90
Sent:	Wednesday, May 5, 2004 22:11:47
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>I tried out v26Ed and found that I was still getting some creep after beep
>etc., -a bit dissapointing considering I used to have an ETX90 that
>performed very well once(!) the GO TOs were also not much to write home
>about either.

Training carefully will help, then patiently homing in on the
proper percentage values.

>Should I just reset, calobrate and re-train again to see if that sorts it?

Just Train and tweak.

>Failing that, any ideas.
>(by tha way, my %s are set to 15%(az) and 10%(alt) -do you think that would
>affect the creep after beep etc. or is it insignificant?)

They -directly- affect creep.  Increase (or decrease) them while 
manually slewing left and right (for Az) at a star nearly due south of you.
Then adjust the DEC/Alt setting while pointing at a star nearly 
due east or west.

>I also have alt. number and az number options, -these are new to me, -what
>should they be set to or do I leave them well alone?

Leave them alone... or, more usefully, consider them as readouts of
how much backlash your axes have (my Az is 1100, my Alt is 3300).
If you ever need to Reset, you can use the Edt feature to re-establish
them without having to actually Train.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Proc Trap 2
Sent:	Wednesday, May 5, 2004 11:37:41
From:	MAUGHANR@aol.com
I've found it at last! I've been getting this error since I first
assembled my 10" LX200 GPS, but as it kept disappearing, I didn't
doanything about it. Then disaster, for me,I was hospitsalised for last
year, and on returning, it wouldn't work at all. It would stop just
before the Sun warning. When contaced the local Meade distributor they
exchanged the Autostar, but this didn't cure it, so I contacted
Meadeagain and spoke to an engineer who explained there's an intrnal
battery!

This was news to me, and the local astronomy club, who have a 12."As it
was past it'swarranty, I decided to bite the bullet and take the top
cover off and discovered the battery and at least5 wires cut. I finally
got it to initialise, but then it started informing me that the there
was no communiction with the receiver, so off with the bottom plate and
more wires cut, and repaired. I downloaded version 3.06, and this seemed
ok.

Now I'm getting Proc Trap 2 oninitialisation, and it just sulks, this
occurs when trying to find North (which throws up "can't find North
Err". I've never known the clock to retain accurate Date/time.

I now see a new version for downloading.! I'm now trying to get the PC
coms port to work, but that's another story.

It's nice to find info from guys like yourself, I just put 'Proc trap 2'
in the search Engine and up you came.

Regards Dick Maughasn
Mike here: I presume this battery is for the Autostar II model.

And:

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>... there's an intrnal battery!

(LX200gps)

Many of us have wondered -what- that battery powers.
It's Lithium so (statistically) should last ten years.
Yours is either the first or second i've heard of failing.
(someone replaced his, but i don't think it was actually dead)

Meade's memory does not require a battery to keep alive, so
it's a puzzle as to why it's there.

>This was news to me, and the local astronomy club, who have a 12." As
>it was past it's warranty, I decided to bite the bullet and take the
>top cover off and discovered the battery and at least 5 wires cut.

And here's the second puzzle... on the 10", you can reach the
battery through the -bottom-, not the top.
Or are you referring to the GPS top cover??

>I finally got it to initialise, but then it started informing me that
>the there was no communiction with the receiver, so off with the
>bottom plate and more wires cut, and repaired. I downloaded version
>3.06, and this seemed ok.

I assume you meant to type 3.0b or 3.0d

> Now I'm getting   Proc Trap 2 on initialisation, and it just sulks,
>this occurs when trying to find North (which throws up "can't find
>North Err". I've never known the clock to retain accurate Date/time.

(a) the clock does not retain time at all. There isn't one
for when the power is off.   It will always display 8pm at power up.
(assuming no GPS fix).

(b) have you tried  Setup > Reset [enter][enter}??
That can clear up the Proc Trap 2  error.  Try that first.
If -that- fails, then the Draconian solution is to use
 the Autostar Updater to do an "Erase User Banks".
(under Tools (or Options, i forget which))
You will have to reload your User Objects after that
(Comets, Asteroids, Satellites, Tours).

> I now see a new version for downloading. ! 

Um... it's been there since early December....

The Proc Trap 2 -could- be due to faulty memory.
If it was happening before the hospitalization
-and- your internal battery went dead, that may be related.
So the internal main board may need service.
It -could- be another chopped cable.

Do the RESET and (if still needed) E.U.B. first.
If that still doesn't fix it, you can tell the Autostar
Setup > Telescope > Home Sensors > OFF [enter]
to have it skip trying to use them.

I do wonder about all of the chopped cables... any one of
those chops could have electrically fried portions of
the Autostar's electronics.

Are you missing your RA/Azimuth Hard Stop?
The base should have about a 700 degree (i.e. not quite
two full turns) travel limit, enforced by a steel pin.

good luck
--dick
And:
Am I missing something in the User Manual regarding Proc Trap? I was
surprised that the manual I received was of the quality of a ladies
magazine. I would have thought it would have been a ring binder, and
mentioned this to Meade.
Mike here: The manual has nothing about Proc Traps. See the Autostar Info page for some information.
Subject:	autostar 494 does not ask for location
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 2004 19:32:57
From:	"T Lee" (t65lee@hotmail.com)
During the initianization, my autostar asks for date, time, but does not
ask for location and goes right to allign.

I have the etx60at with the 494. I am really stumped.

TLee
Mike here: That is correct operation. The location is only entered after a RESET or by selecting SITE-ADD or SITE-EDIT.
Subject:	Tracking The Moon
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 2004 12:05:00
From:	Dtparrett@aol.com
I have a ETX105 and am a novice at astronomy. I have recently purchased
the LPI with the Autostar suite, I have been able to photograph and
track Venus, Saturn, Mars with no problems. Last night I decided to
photograph the moon, the photographs were really good but the tracking
was really bad. Also on both the Autostar and on the Autostar suite it
kept saying that the Moon was below the horizon, this was odd when it
was most prominent in the night sky, my cordinates are correct not to
sure about elevation. I would assume the inability to align the Moon
with the autostar, has some bearing on the tracking since I believe the
Moon moves faster than the planets.
Mike here: The lunar tracking rate IS slightly different than fixed objects in the sky but over a short period of time it is not that noticeable. You can set the Autostar to use sidereal or lunar rate though. However, GOTO errors on the Moon usually mean some parameter is incorrect. I assume from your description that GOTOs to the planets are good so the date and time would seem to be correct. What version of the Autostar ROM do you have? If not reasonably current you might want to get the current one (3.1Ee; you need that version anyway for the Autostar Suite to work with the Autostar).
Subject:	RE: autostar feedback 
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 2004 06:43:00
From:	"Chris Williams" (crucible@bellatlantic.net)
Your added question on slew speeds instantly rang a bell: despite
reading the manual, I had never even seen the slew speed change
commands, nor was it obvious in any of the menu screens. Sigh. I looked
around again and just did another phantom align, hit the '9' key after
the beep, and the slew speed changed on the display-something I had not
seen before. Sure enough, that's what it was! It worked doggone it, and
I can slew to align.

Sheepishly, thanks very much.

        Thanks again and regard

Subject:	etx-90 training drives
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 2004 19:13:28
From:	Tatz26@aol.com
HI.....Just got an etx-90. The manual is a little brief then I came
across your site. When training the drives shouldI focus on two
different objects? One for AZ train and then a different one for ALT
train? Or use one object for both?.......Thanks.....Jim
Mike here: You can use the same, distant object.
Subject:	ETX125 won't stay put...
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 2004 14:24:03
From:	"Lou Behrman" (lbehrman@streamlight.com)
I posted this on the Yahoo Group.  Just thought I'd toss it your way to
see if you have any thoughts...

When I do a GOTO, and let the Autostar do it's thing. More times than
not, I will have to intervene and finally center the object I'm looking
for (alignment problem). What's irritating, is the drive will let me
center the object, but, as soon as I let go of the button (on the
Autostar) it slews back to where it started.

This is happening in polar alignment on the R.A. axis (not dec). The
other problem (and I think this may be related to my alignment problem)
is when I start to drive in the R.A. axis (either manually or in GOTO)
the motor will run for some time before the clutch engages and moves the
scope. I've read on Mike Weasners site that this is a common problem
(but mentions no solution).

I know I'm asking a lot, I'm kind of just shouting in the dark here
hoping somebody may have seen these issues. This is a fairly new scope
(bought just before Christmas) and Meade customer service has been of
little help (they keep telling me to Train the drive, which I've gotten
very good at). But the problem persists.

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated...


Lou Behrman
Mike here: What you are describing sounds a lot like what we call "rubberbanding". The fix is usually to do a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). If that doesn't cure it, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and then TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	AZ ratio negative
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 2004 04:10:18
From:	Francisco de Paula Martnez (alfatauri@terra.es)
I'd appreciate you would let me know, if possible, what is the reason
for the AZ & Alt ratios negative values in Autostar (#497 & 495).

Is it to invert the the motors direction of movement or something else?.

Thanks

Francisco de Paula Martnez
And from our resident Autostar expert:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Exactly.  The negative ratio tells the motors to rotate
in the opposite ("invert") direction from the original ETX directions.
That opposite direction is required if the motor has to be
physically located at "the other end" of the worm gear,
when the telescope mount is designed.

Meade's GEM mounts (LXD55, 4504) are examples.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 2004 09:50:02
From:	"Tom Gardner" (gizwhammer@adelphia.net)
Thanks foryour help, the "Alignment/High Precision charts" look like
just the ticket for my problem. I have them copied and know this will
help with my problem of indentification. One more question, I am
thinking about purchasing the Meade 506 kit so I can download up-to-date
info. for my ETX 60. I am curious, does this info. also contain
locations of the 3 new comets this spring, or the ISS, satellites,
asteriods, etc. and how well does Meade keep this info. current and
updated? Is this info. all compatiable with my #494 controller?

Thanks again for the help.
 Tom
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.
The links on Meade's site go to non-Meade sites so Meade is not responsible for the currency. And yes, you can add that data to the #494.
Subject:	May Comets
Sent:	Saturday, May 1, 2004 17:15:43
From:	"JL COAM" <3009chinchilla@coam.es>
Can be foundin your web (or in another site) the orbital elements of the
new comets NEAT and LINEAR,needed and readyto addthem to the Autostar
memory for it to find them?.

Thanks, clear skies,

Jose L. Chinchilla
Mike here: I haven't checked these but check out the "Orbital Elements: Autostar" on the Astronomy Links page and the article "Adding Comets" on the Autostar Info page.
Subject:	Autostar software versions
Sent:	Saturday, May 1, 2004 12:50:55
From:	"Mike Barrett" (mm.barrett@btinternet.com)
Have you ever considered running a "What's new in version X.XX of
Autostar software" area? I realise you have enough on your platejust
maintaining your invaluable site, but this feature (using input and
feedback from your readers, plus the odd comment or two from a
certainDick Seymour) would be a very useful addition the wealth of
knowledge thatalready exists there. It would be a great help to anyone
trying to decide whether to upgrade, or stick with an older but stable
version. Any bugs or "features" could also be flagged to alert other
users of potential problems - who knows, someone from Meade might even
take a quick look occasionally, just to see if all is well with their
new baby!

Regards, Mike Barrett
Mike here: Generally, the Meade Autostar page has a "what's new" in the description. I then archive that with each archived version. But still a good comment. Someday maybe...
Subject:	re:    Recent Autostar download problems with ETX-90
Sent:	Friday, April 30, 2004 21:22:50
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The 50% Percentage setting you're seeing is part of MEADE's
v31Ee update.
(if you look back circa 12/2003, you'll see Clay's post
bitterly describing this as a Meade mess-up).

The fix?  Simple:  after reseting, simply get to
Setup > Telescope > RA Percent (and Dec PErcent)
and set them to something reasonable!

(if you remember your old numbers, use them,
otherwise start at 1% and build up as needed).

This has nothing to do with the StarGPS patch.

Some of the creep-after-beep is -also- due to
something Meade fixed/broke (your vote) between
v26 and v30.  There's a long message about it 
somewhere on Mike's site (i think in the Autostar Info
page,  dated in February)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re:  ETX 125 EC Question
Sent:	Friday, April 30, 2004 21:15:26
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I'm going to differ a little from Mike here...

Changing the power supply does NOT require
(or warrant) re TRAINING the drives.

Training measures the mechanical gear properties
of the telescope, and they don't change with power.

What -would- be advisable to do is to reCALIBRATE.
(it only takes 5 seconds... power up, tap [enter]
to day/date/time, then mode/scroll/menu to
Setup > Telescope > Calibrate  
and tap [enter].   
After the motors stop, power cycle, and
=now- power up and do your usual observing.

Full background info at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_info.html

have fun
--dick

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