AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 May 2004
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade Autostar Suite. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks. (The Lunar Planetary Imager, LPI, is covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Subject:	Re: AutoStar Suite and network connection problem
Sent:	Saturday, May 29, 2004 11:10:49
From:	Keith Bryant (keith@keithbryant.demon.co.uk)
Have read and followed through your notes on the network connection but
cannot make the connection 'stick'. It reports 'Connected to ..'
whatever address I use whether it be 127.0.0.1 or the IP of my laptop
when I have it connected to my home network (192.168.0.4) but the the
Autostar Suite is unresponsive and after about 15 or so seconds the
'Timeout' massage appears. I am completey stymied.
Mike here: Not being a Windows expert I wonder if something needs to be set up in Windows. I didn't have such problems once I solved the password problem using Windows 2000 in Virtual PC on my Macintosh, which also has wireless (as well as wired) network connectivity.

And:

I have now solved the timeout problem. It was all a matter of the order
in which I made the selections from the menus.

What worked (with or without a password) was:

Start by selecting telescope/communications/start network server select
'listen'

Now back to the telescope menu and in protocol select Autostar via
network

Enter the address 127.0.0.1 and click connect.

Up pops the warning message and the connection is up and running.

Keith
Mike here: Well, yes, the "server" does need to be started first. Glad you solved the problem.
Subject:	AutoStar Suite and network connection problem
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 2004 10:16:18
From:	Keith Bryant (keith@keithbryant.demon.co.uk)
 I power up the scope, open Autostar Suite (latest version), select
Telescope menu/communications/start network server.
I set a password (ASS seems appropriate) and click 'listen'
Return to Autostar Suite Telescope menu /protocol/autostar via network.
I enter 127.0.0.1 as the scope address and click 'connect'.
The AutoStar network window shows 'connected to 127.0.0.1'
The mouse is now inoperative in AutoStar Suite. A few seconds elapse and I
the get a 'Communication Error'
Read Timeout..Communications terminated!
This happens whatever I try
I have a home wireless network. With the laptop connected to the home net I
enter 192.168.0.4 as the telescope address and the same thing happens...Read
Timeout.!
I disconnect from the home network, disable Norton Internet Security but no
difference.
I now cannot think why this thing times out.
Can anyone help?
Mike here: Read through my comments on "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page; I discuss some of the "network" issues there.
Subject:	autostar suite !!!
Sent:	Wednesday, May 26, 2004 07:20:04
From:	kos (pilot001@freemail.hu)
I have a meade DS-2114. and i have 2 CD's... but those are the same. so
i need a autostar suite.... can you give me a address to dowload? So i
need the "root" program cose i have some updaters but no programm......
can you help me ?

AKOS
Mike here: You can get the Autostar Update application and the associated Autostar #497 ROM file from Meade's site:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html
You can get the Autostar Suite update from Meade's site:
http://www.meade.com/autostar/update/
Keep in mind that you need an Autostar #497 to update the ROM in the Autostar and use the Autostar Suite software.
Subject:	Using Autostar with Virtual PC--can it be done?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 2004 13:47:57
From:	Erika Blumenfeld (erikablumenfeld@earthlink.net)
I got your contact info from Mike Fowler at OPT--I just bought an LX90
last week from them.  I have been trying to install the Autostar Suite
onto my Mac using Virtual PC (Windows 2000 Professional) and I can't
seem to get it to install successfully.  It will seem to get almost all
the way through, tell me there is only 15 to 30 seconds before its
finished, and then hours go by while the little icon of paper moves from
one file to another...it just gets stuck in that place every time.  Do
you have any suggestions or advice?  Is it possible to install on a Mac
with Virtual PC?  Any information you could send my way would be greatly
appreciated!

Thanks very much for your time!
Cheers,
Erika
Mike here: Yes, it is possible to install AND use the Autostar Suite on a Macintosh with Virtual PC 6.1. See my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page. Be certain to grab the latest version from Meade's site (link on the Autostar Info page).
Subject:	ETX and LPI and Handset and network
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 2004 09:46:40
From:	Keith Bryant (keith@keithbryant.co.uk)
I too have problems (sometimes) with AutoStar Suite and the Com port
assignments. One solution I found was to unplug the USB to serial cable
from the PC, give it a few seconds to sound the 'hey you've disconnected
something' signal and the reinsert it [when you should hear the 'Hey
you've plugged something in' signal. Then I check the telescope
communication option and see what port it thinks the connection is
using. If I have had problems I then do a quick look at the 'devices'
via control/system and view the Com ports. If all is well I see that the
USB to serial is recognised and on which port it is.[usually port 5
which I then have to type in and select] Although I am puzzled by the
choice of port 5 and also by the fact that the device manager tells me
that ports 2,3 and 4 are in use. By what and how I do not know. My
laptop has 3 USB ports, only one is in use with the ETX assigned to Com
5 so who are the mystery users of 2,3 and 4?

Hope that helps with Com port problem.

Subject:	Re: Problems updating the Autostar 497 handbox
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 2004 08:55:03
From:	Alfred Heusner (aaheusner@ucdavis.edu)
I just would like to inform you that the Autostar Suite is now working
properly in Windows XP. It was a Port  Com Problem. The program assigns
Port Com # ranging from 5 to 9. So before doing anything one has to
check the Port # in the device manager.

Thank you for your help.
With best regards,
Fred

Subject:	re:    ETX125 and LPI
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 21:13:17
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To: 	  dkmccoll@sympatico.ca
Hoo, boy... the list  is long...

(a) have you installed the -updates- to AutostarSuite?
http://www.meade.com/autostar/update/

(b) have you followed the litany of steps at:
http://www.meade.com/autostar/tsguide.html  ?

(c) assuming you have, then try the test-com-port steps at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_testing.html 

(you might try step (c) first, since it validates the hardware
hookup to the Autostar, before adding the thousand-layer-cake
of the AutostarSuite package)

Hyperterminal is under Programs>Accessories>Communication,
assuming you have the "communications" portion of windows installed.

good luck, report results
--dick

Subject:	ETX125 and LPI
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 18:24:30
From:	"b1rxpb88" (dkmccoll@sympatico.ca)
Recently I emailed you about a problem with LPI You mentioned in your
reply that it seemed as if I am confronting "com port conflict." I think
that may be the situation. With the camera in the eyepiece focusser of
my ETX125 Ifollow the correct procedure. I click on Protocol and then "
Autostar via Comm _Port." I get an error message," Can't open Comm"

The device manager in my IBM Thinkpad ( with XP)shows no comm port
connected. I get mixed messages from the hardware wizard. It tells me
that the LPI is working properly but that the software is installed but
may not work correctly and that the device cannot start( Code 10)

If I go to Remote Handbox and try to connect the Com Port,an error
message tells me " Port is already in use or not present."

I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling Autosuite and the camera
drivers with no change. It seems as if the camera software cannot
connect to the comm port.

I called Meade about this but they suggested I fax or write! I have
tried to fax but cannot connect to their machine over a period of
several hours during the regular working day in California. Their manual
offers no help.

Mike, I have gone through your article on " Autostar suite on a
Macintosh" but cannot identify a similar problem and solution.Can you or
one of the many people who use your great site help me with this
problem? I would really appreciate hearing from someone who has solved
this problem.

  Keith McColl
Mike here: The com port error you are getting is from the RS-232 Autostar connection attempt NOT the LPI. When using the serial port, you can have only one application using the port UNLESS you use the networking capability (as mentioned in my article). However, even that has to have one access to the Autostar so if something else (like fax software) has the port tied up you will get the error.
Subject:	re: Auotstar suite hook up to had controller
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 2004 07:40:17
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The second page of this document:

http://www.meade.com/autostar/AS_%20Suite_Instl_QuikGuid%2082.pdf

describes the hookup.

(that page is a link from Meade's AutostarSuite troubleshooting page:
http://www.meade.com/autostar/tsguide.html  )

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Auotstar suite hook up to had controller
Sent:	Sunday, May 16, 2004 10:37:46
From:	EWil1779@aol.com
This might be answered somewhere else and sorry if I have missed it.

But after careful reading of all the meade manuals. I am not sure the
proper sequence for hook up of the autostar suite to the autostar 497.
Do you start the 497 then hook up after set up? Does the suite after
hook up do the alignment of the scope? I am somewhat confused. Do you do
all then just hook both up running??

I know I sound like a dummy, but I did graduate from college, but look
as I might, I cannot find anything in either instructions to tell me.

Thanks,
Emmit Wilson
Mike here: Check out my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page. That may help.
Subject:	Minimum PC etc.
Sent:	Saturday, May 8, 2004 16:32:57
From:	"W. Sumner Davis" (drwdavis@dialmaine.com)
Thanks for the info on your site concerning Meades LPI. I have decided
that is the way to go...BUT..all I have in my obervatory now is a Mac
running 8.5 which has no usb. What is the minimum PC I should have to
use this imager?

Thanks

Bill
_______________________
Dr. W. Sumner Davis
Affiliate: New York Academy of Sciences
Fellow: Royal Astronomical Society
Member: American Geophysical Union
Mike here: According to Meade's web page: "Recommended Minimum System For Installing Autostar Suite: PC running Windows 98SE with 64 MB and 100 MB free disk space." The specs on the Autostar Suite troubleshooting guide web page:
1. Computer Speed (333 Mhz Min)
2. Processor type (PentiumII Min)
3. Memory RAM (64Meg Min)
4. Operating System (Win3.1, Win95, Win NT All will not work)
5. USB port (1.1 Min)

As you may have read in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page, the Suite works fine on my Powerbook 17" with a 1GHz G4 and Virtual PC 6.1 with Windows 2000.
Subject:	Autostar Suite -  a good investment?
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 2004 07:50:34
From:	tcd423@comcast.net
I was considering buying the Autostart Suite / LPI for my ETX 125, until
I started looking through your feedback archives on this package. All
the complaints listed there suggest that the Suite is a major
compatability and wiring headache. Even your own review of the product
sounded mixed at best (bluriness, software crashes, etc.). It sounds
like a poor investment for someone just interested in taking pictures of
the moons and planets (which are obviously pretty easy to locate and
track without software). Is this an accurate takeway from your review? I
already own a high quality digital camera. Would my $150 be better spent
towards a good camara adapter?

Thank you for the great, informative website.
Mike here: As I stated in my comments, "Bottom line: the LPI works and can do some nice astrophotography with any telescope. Using it can be a challenge (as with most imagers) but the results can be worth it." Certainly there is nothing wrong with using a digital camera; I do that more often myself than using the LPI.
Subject:	How do you disconnect Autostar Suite from the Autostar?
Sent:	Wednesday, May 5, 2004 20:19:38
From:	Alfred Heusner (aaheusner@ucdavis.edu)
I am using Windows 2000 to run Autostar Suite with a LXD55 8 inches
telescope. The handbox is connected through Meade's Serial USB converter
cable. I cannot get the connection to work. There seems to be a conflict
with the COM1 port. On your site you mentioned that disconnecting the
Autostar suite from the Autostar would solve this problem. However, I
don't know how to disconnect?
With best regards,
Fred

Alfred Heusner
Professor Emeritus UCD
819 Malaga Ave.
Davis, Ca 95616
Mike here: Select None under the Telescope --> Protocol menu.
Subject:	CCD and LPI package
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 2004 09:27:26
From:	"W. Sumner Davis" (drwdavis@dialmaine.com)
Any idea what the oprice is on the ETX suite that has the LPI? I just
browsed through some of the photo's and am quite astounded. They are on
par and in some cases better than the photo's we took a few years back
with the colleges C-14 and the $19,000 nitrogen cooled CCD camera!
Amazing, simply amazing. Thanks to developments like this and your web
site, astronomomy and astrophotography are accessable at last. It is
worth buying a second PC for my observatory.

Thanks.
Bill
_______________________
Dr. W. Sumner Davis
Affiliate: New York Academy of Sciences
Fellow: Royal Astronomical Society
Member: American Geophysical Union
Mike here: $149. For more info, take a look at my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page.

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