Last updated: 30 November 2003
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 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 ETX 105 adjustment
Sent:	Thursday, November 27, 2003 14:27:56
From: (Domi)
Subject :Meade ETX 105 adjustment

It is not possible to read all achives so have you a list of all the
subjext in archives

The point I would like to know is:

With an ETX 105 , autostar , Have you a CLEAR procedure to adjust it in
Alt/Az  and polar alignment
Mike here: Depends upon what you mean by "adjustment". See the Autostar Information page for info on alignment.


Thanks a lot for your quick reply
I am a new user of ETX 105 and I  do know  "nothing" about ETX and
astronomy but I would want to invest me in this science My yesterday
question was : I buy a ETX 105 and now how to handle , train , aligne,
use ....this instrument I saw the last moon eclipse , it was fabulous (
without autostar ) , the instrument is really very good BUT the Meade
documentation is VERY VERY POOR . I found yesterday evening how to
aligne the ETX in the part 3 of your tech tips Thanks a lot for infos ,
I think I will mail you in the future I will print all parts and  "

With my best regards
Feel free to mail me infos

Grenoble  France
Mike here: Read the manual three times and play with the telescope indoors where you can see what you and the telescope are doing. Once you get comfortable using the telescope and its controls, then go outside in the dark. This avoids a lot of frustration. And yes, the info on the ETX website also helps!
Subject:	A Question on Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 10:29:00
From: (Anne Macfarlane)
first of all a vote of thanks for the web site and the book - both great
and perused by me regularly.

I am new to astronomy and getting to grips with ny ETX90EC - my question
is this:

I think I may have damaged my autostar unit (although it has now been
replaced) but would like your opinion.

I upgraded the autostar to 31e OK and all was fine however when I added
the tours etc the computer crashed and although I thought it was OK
afterwards - when I next connected it to the telescope it was completely
dead.  Is this a coincidence or did my computer crash  screw it up. If
it did then I would be worried about performing another / any update on
the new unit.  I am sure the shop won't be so sympathetic if I have to
go back again. Perhaps the tour data filled up the autostar memory which
in turn caused the crash.  I tried re-setting but no matter how often I
tried the enter and scroll down button - not a peep was heard from the
unit -indeed the shop could get no response either - hence the

Grateful for your advice

Kind regards
Anne Macfarlane
Mike here: Under normal circumstances, the computer crash should not cause the Autostar to die. It is possible that the SAFE LOAD code could be corrupted but it would still turn on (display would have something on it). So I suspect it was just a coincidence.
Subject:	Addition for ETX site - Connect to 497 conflict with Palm Pilot
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 08:42:14
From: (William K. Foster)
Thanks for your great site.

I have an addition for you.

I was having trouble getting my computer to recognize the Autostar 497.

It turned out the issue was that I have a Palm Pilot and the HotSync
Manager was using COM1 which was eclipsing the connection to the
Autostar.  To resolve this you must exit the HotSync Manager before
trying to connect to the Autostar.

Thanks again for your great site.


Subject:	Autostar update problem
Sent:	Tuesday, November 25, 2003 04:35:20
From: (John Roth)
First off, thanks for providing us all with an awesome site to look at.

I just wanted to chime in to say that I've been experiencing some of the
same difficulties with Autostar software version 30Ee.  Last weekend it
appeared that all was well when suddenly every planet was going to rise
at 12:42.  The problem is easily corrected by powering down and
realigning the telescope, but I'm really anxious for Meade to post new
software to see if this corrects everything.  I've had additional
difficulties with the new update in other areas of the controller, but
normally it seems that one particular function will go out alltogether
and return to normal once re-aligned.

John Roth
Baltimore, MD

Subject:	Re:  autostar problems
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2003 14:03:26
From: (tom huyser)'s the info....the version is 22Es, and when the malfunction
occurs the time and date are still correct.  While checking for the
version, I noticed that the "scope model" was set at 90 instead of 125,
which I know I set properly last time I reset, cal'ed and trained.  Last
night when the problems happened I did my usual shutdowns and restarts,
and everytime I checked it was back at 90 instead of 125 for scope
model.  By the way lately my goto's have been the best ever, and
evidently that was with the scope model even being set wrong.  Prior to
this latest round of problems, I did have one time that the scope slewed
until it was pointing as far down as it could go, and then beeped that
it had found its target.
Mike here: You might want to update to something newer than 2.2. 3.0Ee is on Meade's site; some glitches have been reported with that version so if you like you can get a 2.6 version from the archive on my Autostar Information page. You'll need a serial port, Windows, and a #505 cable (which you can buy or easily make). As to the model showing wrong, I suspect that the setting is being retained; it is just that the 90 model appears first but if you scroll the display you should see the ETX-125 with a ">" next to it.
Subject:	Old Autostar version
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2003 08:33:50
From: (Jay Lewis)
How can I obtain a copy of 2.6e (the version immediately preceding the
current 3.0x versions)?

As always -- thanks.
Jay Lewis
Coral Gables, FL
Mike here: See the Autostar Information page for archives of all the older versions.
Subject:	AutoStar 497 does not start/initialize after loading 3.0Ee.
Sent:	Monday, November 24, 2003 07:22:27
From: (Ricardo Claudio)
First time I request counsel from you, so here it goes.  I have an
ETX-125 e/w Autostar 497.  While attempting to load the new Meade
Autostar update 3.0Ee from the PC (ASU) to the Autostar, the ASU
download complete message appeared but the Autostar screen continued
with the message "Downloading - Do not turn off".  I waited at least ten
minutes and no change.  Then, I turned it off and on again and all that
was shown on the Autostar screen was either garbled or it went blank
after the initial message appeared.  I tried to re-load but the ASU
would not recognize that the Autostar was connected (physically it was
and turned on).  I tried the Safe Mode, but the ASU would not recognized
it either.  I did notice that the download time from Meade's site to the
ASU was strangely fast (on a dial up connection) and that the upload
from the ASU to the Autostar was too fast as well.  Could it be that the
download and upload to the Autostar be incomplete?

Any suggestions would be appreciated,


Ricardo J. Claudio

ETX-125EC e/w 497 Autostar + StarGPS (plus Autostar Suite and LPI Imager
to be installed this week if I can get the Autostar working)

PC:  Toshiba P25 Satellite, 3.0Ghz, 1.0Gb Ram e/w Meade USB - Serial
Adapter and drivers.

Puerto Rico
Mike here: Yes, it sounds like you have a download problem with the ROM build file. Try downloading it separately and place it in the Emphemerides folder after you unzip it. Then put the Autostar into the SAFE LOAD mode and try the update again.


Thanks for the quick response!  Well, to my surprise, the problem seemed
to have been a "low battery condition"  I have not been able to use it
for a few weeks so the batteries were running low and it has been
raining a lot lately down here so humidity has been high.  I then
plugged it in with the AC Adapter, put it in Safe Mode, and loaded the
Dick Seymour patch through the StarPatch program.  It Worked!!  My
AutoStar is alive and well (so far).

I still think that I have an ASU program problem though in getting it to
work right.  I will try re-loading the ASU.  I hope this helps with your
fellow readers in your Great Web Site.  Have a Great Thanksgiving Week!
(and yes, we do also take the day off and have turkey here in PR with
pumpkin flan).


And an update:
Follow up to the update....You also were right.  The Build Rom was
corrupted in the ASU!.  I guess it was a combination of low battery and
corrupted data.  Oh well, so many details...but it is fun, specially
when it all works out.

Thanks again.


Subject:	Autostar update problem - laptop connection tip
Sent:	Sunday, November 23, 2003 18:54:55
From:	Ashley.Cooper@Sun.COM (Ashley Cooper)
I have read that some users have had issues in getting their PCs to
recognise that Autostar is connected and wanted to contribute a tip.
I've found that, for whatever reason, some laptops simply don't like to
play with the Autostar or anything else that needs a connection, like
Epoch 2000.

I have a #497 and have had trouble getting it, and my copy of Epoch,
working with my laptop (Toshiba TE2000 running Win98). I have wasted
countless hours trying everything under the sun to get it to "see" the
Autostar, but I've been only intermittently successful. When trying to
update the Autostar software, the ASU reports that the upload is
complete after only 2 seconds ! (That is when I can get some sort of
connection). I've tried every technique listed on the web, and I've had
a Windows expert look at it, and even he is stumped ! I am suspecting
that there are built-in comms hardware devices that are hogging system
resources. Some of these devices can't be configured. I have also
experienced this issue with other Toshiba laptops.

However, on moving the ASU and Epoch software to a desktop machine (Dell
running XP), both apps run beautifully.

If anyone is having difficulty getting their laptop communicating with
the Autostar, can I suggest trying a different machine, if one is
available. Obviously this is impractical for using Epoch software in the
field, but for stuff like updates and restoration after an Autostar
corruption, I've found it's been the only way.

Now if I can only get my employer to buy me a new laptop!


Ashley Cooper
Sydney, Australia

Subject:	tracking ISS using Autostar
Sent:	Sunday, November 23, 2003 08:28:43
From:	"Thomas Fly" (
Somebody passed along your link
in response to a question I posed on SeeSat-L
(  Now that I "know where you
are," I'll peruse your site more fully when I have a bit of time.

You might be interested in my ISS transit prediction email alert
Tom Fly

Subject:	autostar problems
Sent:	Saturday, November 22, 2003 03:27:14
From: (tom huyser)
The last 2 times I used my 125, I had no problems aligning, nor any
problems with goto's for the first hour or so.  After about an hour of
viewing ( with almost perfect goto's) every item I select results in a
"below horizon" message.  Even ones that I had just looked at 5 minutes
Mike here: What version? Next time that happens, check the date and time display to see if it is correct. Let me know. Also, when it occurs, what are you doing to correct it?
Subject:	Autostar 26Ec versus 30Ee
Sent:	Friday, November 21, 2003 05:56:38
From: (Luc Janssens)
Referring to Stephen Bird's story about the steering problems I 'would
like to add that this is not related to the 30Ee version.

I bought my ETX105 a few weeks ago and did quit a bit of testing. The
scope showed a lot of unexpected reactions when manual steering was used
while tracking stars. Very much like Stephen described. Calling the
vendor and talking about the problem he promised me a new scope in a
couple of days, then weeks... Since a new ETX105 was not available
shortly the vendor was so kind to lend me a ETX125 to test.

So I did a test with the ETX125 and found exactly the same behavior.
Interchanging controllers and doing all the necessary things I have not
found a way out of that problem. Since the last weeks weather did not
allow outside testing I have done indoor testing. First I did the
complete initialization, calibration of motors etc. Then with 'TARGETS'
on >ASTRONOMICAL I found the same behavior as before. To mention creep,
lag, moving down when I asked for left, moving along a diagonal when
asking to move down,  etc. It is my impression that this is more
important on the AZ/RA movement than on the ALT/DEC.

After this test I was curious to see how the system would respond  when
TERRESTRIAL TARGETS were selected in the autostar menu. And guess... NO
SUCH PROBLEMS. The scope follows exactly the commands given by the slew
buttons, allowing for a little lag. From this experience I have a strong
impression that the autostar software is not correctly handling the
combination of star tracking and manual adjustments. Just want to
mention that I did the testing on both models almost simultaneously.

I' am looking out for an autostar software that cures this disease.

Other remark, not to forget, it is a fine scope.  ;-)

Kind regards,
Luc Janssens, Brussels
And another:
From: Jay Lewis
Well, you can add my scope to Meade's 5 others.

Jay Lewis
Mike here: We are investigating some oddities about 3.0Ed and Ee.
Subject:	Autostar good goto but bounce
Sent:	Wednesday, November 19, 2003 21:16:33
From: (Daniel Hayes)
First of, Thanks for the tremendous service you provide, love it!

My question:

I had the ETX-90 out tonight for the first time in a while, I use the
497 autostar with it.  I trained the motors and aligned.  It jumped from
Vega to M57 no problem, From M57 to M27 (the long way around) with no
problem, then from M27 to NGC6543 (the short way) no problems, all of
these were in the inner 75% of a 26mm plossl.  The problem was this: 
When I tried to center the object, I would get it where I want it, then
the object would creep up and right as you see it through the scope. 
This happened on all the objects I saw.  Yet the goto was the best it
has ever been for me.  Suggestions?

Thanks again,
Daniel Hayes

PS, looked at mars and uranus as well through the scope before I
aligned, still pretty impressed with how well this tiny scope does...
it's not my 10" dob, but it's nice in it's own right.
Mike here: What you are describing sounds like the common "rubberbanding" that occurs after doing an update to the software AND/OR when DRIVE TRAINING needs to be done. Since you say you did that I'd suggest doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (don't forget to do both axes). If possible use a high power eyepiece to make the training as accurate as possible. If that doesn't clear up the problem do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. Lastly you might want to consider updating to the current version from Meade's site.
Subject:	re:  #495 or #497
Sent:	Tuesday, November 18, 2003 20:00:19
From: (Richard Seymour)
You have an ETX125, and you have an Autostar.

It's very simple to tell if it's a 495 or a 497.

Attach it to the telescope.
Turn it on.

If it's a 497, it'll say "Initializing..." and then will
either warn you about looking at the sun, or will ask what
model telescope you have.

If it's a 495, it will say something on the order of:
"Incompatible Handbox"
"Use ETX Autostar with this model"

As Mike said, you -can- convert a 495 to a 497 with a simple
download, but the above test is the instant watershed.

have fun (and good luck)
From: (Mel Richman)
Thanks for the info.  It appears that I do have a #497.

In researching the specification difference between the #495 and #497,
the #495 has 1/2meg of memory and the #497 has 1 meg of memory.




Meade indeed said so, but...  that's not correct.

All 495s that ever reached customers have a full megabyte.
That is why they can be upgraded to 497's by simply loading firmware.

You might say that a 495 only -used- a half-meg, but i think even
that is incorrect.

494's (the model without a numeric keypad) really do only have
a half meg.

Interior photos are available at:

have fun


Thanks . . I guess you can't believe everything that you read.  :)


Subject:	#495 or #497
Sent:	Friday, November 14, 2003 20:55:39
From: (Mel Richman)
I just purchased an ETX-125EC form the Discover Store.  I then puchasd
an Autostar from them.  I tossed the box away and am not sure if I got a
#495 or #497.  How can I tell which one was sold to me?
P.S.  Your site is great . . .
Mike here: There really isn't any external way to tell the difference. BUT if it is a new one, and has a 2.x version of the firmware it is likely a #497. A #495 can be upgraded to a #497 via the Autostar Updater Application.


Thanks for the quick reply.  It does have a 2.x version.


Subject:	StarGPS from ScopeTronix
Sent:	Friday, November 14, 2003 18:02:02
From: (david lee hawkins)
Was just wondering if you had heard any feedback about the StarGPS
conversion for the ETX that ScopeTronix is selling. I'm looking real
hard at getting one.
Mike here: See the comments on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	Autostar 497:  Old versus New Models
Sent:	Wednesday, November 12, 2003 13:00:46
Since all Autostars are programmable, is there a compromise in buying an
older Autostar (Software Version V 1.1, circa 1999)?  Can software be
fully updated using the 505 cable to the specifications of a new
Autostar 497?  I was looking to save money and buying a used Autostar if
there were no significant differences or hardware changes from the newer

Thanks, J.

P.S.  It's a tribute to you that everyone, and me obviously, uses your
website instead of Meade's to find out what's really going on.  :)
Mike here: Yes you can upgrade to the current firmware version via software with a #505 cable and Windows. You might have to go to a 1.2 version and then jump up to the latest but I have old the older versions in the Autostar Software Archive (linked from the Autostar Information page).
Subject:	What is a Proc Trap 2 Error
Sent:	Wednesday, November 12, 2003 06:41:21
In the middle of a viewing session, all other things normal, suddenly
the scope bleeps, and the Autostar says, "Proc Trap 2 Error". Only way
to exit from this was to switch off and switch back on again and
realign. After this all seems fine, so far! Do you know what that is?
Checked the FAQ's and there was no help there that I could see. Called
the UK distributor and they are going to "get an engineer to call me

Help much appreciated of course.


Stephen Bird
Mike here: See the article "Autostar Proc Traps" on the Autostar Information page (assuming the server is back online; there have been some problems the last couple of days).
Subject:	Question...
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 19:20:21
From: (Amy Long)
I have a question regarding your 30Ee patch.  When I try to install it,
it is missing an AStarPat.exe file required to run it.

I may be doing something wrong, as this is the first time I'm uploading
to Autostar.

Thanks for your help!  I really LOVE your sites!  I have both an ETX-125
and an LXD-55 10" S-N.

You're doing a real great job!!!
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiquette page, linked from the ETX Site Home Page; your email was originally filed UNREAD as SPAM.
I just unzipped the patch file and it appears there is a missing file. I'll forward your message to Dick Seymour, who created the patch. [CORRECTED VERSION uploaded 11 November.]


From: (Richard Seymour)
Thanks for including the copy of what you saw.

The other way to operate the patch kit is to open a DOS (or Command) Window
in the Emphemerides folder.
Do: click on your START button, then (depending upon your version of
windows) either on the main Programs menu (Win95 0r Win98)
or under Accessories (newer)
will be "MS DOS Prompt" or "Command Window"

Click on that.  
A black window will appear (it may take over your entire screen)

Type  C:   
(c and then a colon, then the enter key)
Type   cd  progra~1\meade\asu\ephemerides
(that's a tilde, not a minus, before the one)

(or just DIR to see everything)

IF it does NOT list ASTARPAT.EXE  (with a size and date)
then you do not have the astarpat.exe in the correct spot.
If it does list it, then:
Now type the name of the click_me file you used.
It looks like you used click_me_30ee

After the patch finishes, you WILL have to use the AS Updater
to push the patched firmware out to the telescope/autostar.

good luck

Subject:	Version 30Ed and 30Ee is there something wrong with it?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 10:23:50
OK, had loads of problems with my first scope. It was delivered with
26Ec loaded on the Autostar. All worked fine. GoTo's were great and any
manual adjustment to centre a GoTo that was slightly off centre was
fine. You re-centred and it tracked nicely from the re-centred position
every time. In fact several times it was bang on for an hour or more.

Then along comes 30Ed followed a couple of days later by 30Ee. This time
the scope was great on GoTo's and as long as they came up centre and you
did'nt re-centre the object using the arrow keys it was fine. But if you
re-centred the object using the arrow keys, off it went at several times
the sidereal rate or even faster. The further you got from Polaris the
faster it went.

So after making all the checks and reloading and resetting (double
resets and the like), it still did the same thing. So I wrote to Meade
and they pointed me to the UK distributor who could not see where the
problem was and agreed with the supplier to change the scope.

The new scope turned up today, and the supplier said it was pre-loaded
with 30Ee, my heart sank a little.

So I set it up, and guess what? New scope with 30Ee does exactly the
same. Great on GoTo's that don't need re-centering. But re-centre
something, and off it goes.

Now I notice, on the Mighty ETX site, Eddie, who seems to be describing
the same problem as me?

Is it the same problem Eddie? Use the arrow keys to centre an object and
off it drifts on its own, getting worse the farther from the near
stationary star  Polaris? But if you just use GoTo and don't re-centre,
it is fine?

Is anyone else experiencing the same problems with version 30Ed or 30Ee
of Autostar. My scope is an ETX105, but the use the same boards in the
scope as the 125 and I suspect the 90, and of course it is the Autostar
497 on all 3.

I will as usual do a careful check of my findings as cloud has stop
further checks tonight. But if as I suspect this is 30Ed or 30Ee, then a
reversion to an earlier software revision (my original scope was 26Ec)
will hopefully prove what I suspect.

This is not backlash or slop, I proved that by profiling the backlash
and slop on my scopes and the movement is not characteristic of those
profiles. The whole thing can move at up to 1.5 degrees a minute in the
Az /  RA direction, movement in Alt / dec is negligable.


Stephen Bird
Mike here: The problem you are describing sounds something like what is known as "rubberbanding". It is typically caused by not doing a TRAIN DRIVES following an Autostar update or when attaching an Autostar to a new or different telescope. Since you indicated that you reloaded and reset but didn't say you did a TRAIN DRIVES, have you in fact done that? Dick Seymour, our resident Autostar expert, doesn't think a TRAIN DRIVES is required following an update to 3.0Ee but it can't hurt, especially whenever there are glitches.


OK, had a chance to do an indoor comparative check later this evening,
and it does look better, so I take back what I said about 30Ed and 30Ee.
I will reserve final judgement until I get a whole evening outside with
it. That should be this weekend as the mother-in-law is coming to visit,
and it either the scope outside or a deck chair, six pack and burn the
garden refuse!

Just one question though, The Az / RA scale (0 - 24) on the base of the
ETX, is this supposed to rotate freely like a loose band around the
base, or should it be fixed and only rotate with the scope? Mine looks
like it has only seen the glue at the join, and rotates totally
independent of the scope if you push it with your finger. If the scope
is rotating it does rotate with it.
Mike here: For the RA Setting Circle question, see the FAQ page.


Thanks, great info as always, the setting circle issue makes easy common

The replacement scope looks in far better shape out of the box than the
original one, less slop and backlash, a completely different set of
characteristics to get to grips with.

The supplier set it all up and "tested it" for 5 hours, not to the
extent of checking rubber banding or ghost movements. However it was
calibrated and trained by them. I will be redoing this once I have
checked for loose nuts and bolts. Anything obvious and I will again go
for the warranty first, the supplier was very helpful.

Many thanks, keep up the good work on the ETX site.


Stephen Bird
And an update:
Hi, back to this issue again I'm afraid.

I have just spent 4 hours solid outside under a clear sky looking at
this issue. I am convinced that there must be something wrong with
Autostar software version 30Ed and 30Ee. I am on my second ETX105 and it
is doing exactly the same as the first one which the supplier took back
on the strength of this problem. The difference is this time that I
understand a bit more about the scope, and that this time 30Ee was
loaded by the supplier who sells these things all the time, so should
know how to load and set the scopes up. He set the whole thing up for
me, calibrated, trained, etc,. I have checked his settings and all seems
in order having been double checked in every respect.

For the record, this is what happens:

You align the scope successfully, (I am using Alt/Az mode and the two
star alignment). Once aligned the scope will happily find objects using
GoTo, and if you are happy that they are in the eyepiece and don't try
centering the object using the arrow keys, it will track bang on for as
long as you care to watch. HOWEVER, if you centre a GoTo object using
the arrow keys (any speed or direction), as soon as you release the
arrow key, the scope moves at a rate of around 2x to 4x, back to the
GoTo position, and then begins tracking normally from that position.

Tonight, I repeated this 10 or more times with different objects. Same
thing every time. Use GoTo only, fine. Re-centre using the arrow keys
and it puts you back to the GoTo position for the displayed object, then
tracks as normal. FURTHER, I noticed that if you choose 2x or 4x speed
and try and move it back to centre with the arrow keys, you can actually
have a nice battle, (a bit like tow evenly matched arm wrestlers,)with
the Autostar as the object image wiggles or oscillates, as on the one
hand you are trying to move it to eyepiece centre and keep it there, and
the Autostar is desparately trying to drive the object back to the GoTo
position it originally put it at! Of course my thumb gets tired first
and Autostar wins!!

PLEASE, is anyone else seeing this? seemed to come back
as an unknown address when I copied my last message to him as it looked
like he was seeing the same thing.

I have carefully checked everything, even had the battery sat in the
freezer to see if the cold was causing a volt drop which has been a
previous known issue, but that proved inconclusive, 12.39 volts only
dropped to 12.24 volts at minus 20 deg C for one hour. All settings are
double checked, I have been through every option in every menu and made
a complete tick list. A double reset was performed when the software was

This looks so much like a software problem, that my only real recourse
is to revert to 26Ec which the first scope came with, but that would
mean that when Autostar Suite eventually reaches UK shores that my ETX
won't have the capability to use it.

Any chance a few people with 30Ee could just check to see if they see
the same thing as me?

Looks like I am back to the supplier / distributor tomorrow to see if I
can beat them into contacting Meade, but they seem more in the dark than
I am as things stand! Tried contactng Meade myself, and they gave me a
complete knockback referring me to the UK distributor. Spoke to "an
engineer" for the UK distributor, and quite frankly the advice he gave
lacked common sense given the problem I was reporting.

All help gratefully received.


Stephen Bird

Subject:	re:  etx90 technical problems
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 09:47:06
From: (Richard Seymour)
I 100% agree with Mike: do the Reset, Calibrate, Train
*and do NOT pre-set Percentages*

Then use the scope.
If, when you reverse a motor, the view in the eyepiece has too great
a lag -only then- think about increasing the percentage for that axis.
If it's jumpy/jerky, or ,as you posted:
> dec at will seems to slew up or down fast without me touching...

that is frequently a result of a too-high percentage.

The book's dictum of "10%" and "15%" is not a one-size-fits-all,
and the firmware has changed a lot since that was written.
(for example, my own etx90 is about 5% in Az and 25% in Alt).
(even then, i frequently just use the default of 1% each, and live with lag)
Percentages are best set by using the scope, and tuning them 
to suit your taste.  
There is no cast-in-concrete "best" value.

have fun

Subject:	question about the new GPS for ETX scopes
Sent:	Tuesday, November 11, 2003 07:23:12
From: (Sandra Harm)
I was wondering if anyone has bought the new StarGPS for ETX telescopes?
 I'm thinking about buying one, and would like to hear any experiences
or comments.  I'm not sure if everyone is selling this item yet, but I
usually buy my telescope accessories from
Thanks for the input!
Mike here: There are comments on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	etx90 technical problems
Sent:	Sunday, November 9, 2003 08:12:35
since i got my etx90 its mostly gone pretty good,

trouble is when i upgraded my autostar to 30ed it hasn't really been
same since, after i upgraded i followed the manual, setup, reset the
autostar, entered my data, then following the instructions in the mighty
etx book p175, i changed my alt percentage to10% and az to 15%,
calibrated motors, then trained the motors etc and everything seemed to
go fine there,

but 9 out of 10 times i try to polar align during the 2 star set up the
dec at will seems to slew up or down fast without me touching the
buttons as if it has a mind of its own, so i changed the settings back
to alt 0.1 and az 0.5 thinking it might be ive gone too high, same
results, speeds of at will on alignment, now they are back to original

and adding to that im used to aligning with polaris now and i get
"alignment succesful" then go to my first object yet many times i will
ask to go to anywhere random and every so often it will go somewhere
else as if its poorly aligned yet it wasnt, again never had this problem
before upgrade.

maybe this is not an autostar problem but my own problem, i am not
knowledgeable enough yet to decide what, can you possible see what is
going wrong as before the upgrade i very rarely had any complaints about
my equipment,

do i reset the whole computer and not touch the az/alt percentages, and
retrain motors and drives or do you think maybe i got a dodgy download
when upgrading and should reupgrade?

hope ive explained myself clear enough and maybe yourself or someone
could help me out because its a nice little telescope and a pitty its
not working as it used to.

your doing a great job helping many peoples reports i read, tnx for your
Mike here: Lets remove a variable from what you are doing. Forget about setting percentages. Do a RESET, set the telescope model and mounting mode, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES. How do things perform then?
Sent:	Friday, November 7, 2003 09:31:09
From: (paul perlmutter)
I have an LX-200 and 125-ETX and was wondering if there is some way
possible to run the autostar on the LX-200 as the autostar has a better
system for locating things. Paul
Mike here: PLEASE see the Email Etiquette page (linked from the ETX Site home page); your email was originally deleted UNREAD as it had no subject.
And the answer is no.
Subject:	AutoStar Updating Experience
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2003 17:15:03
From: (john Edelmann)
Just a quick note to report on my first AutoStar updating experience.
Armed with Dr. Clay's formidable guide for updating from your site, I
performed most of the noted steps.  My setup was simply using a serial
connection from a Compaq presario to the autostar hand set, using a
Scopetronix serial adapter setup, with the ETX -125 powered by a 110v
transformer to 12DC cigarette plug adapter converter .. I've not used
batteries since April and then, only briefly.

Once I downloaded the ASU utility and the latest 30Ee patch and placed
it in the appropriate directory of the ASU tree,  I started the update
and soon found that [one episode of the Simpson's later], the autostar
beeped, and she were done.

I then (a day or so later) took it outside and found that after doing
the motor CALIBRATION ( but only the motor calibration -  I didn't do
the RESET that was suggested). I  did an easy align (no Training) and
voila, the scope did a profound job of GOTO.  I After several hours of
running around things, I even GOTO'd the original alignment star, and it
was precisely where it was when I did the easy align (Alt-Az mode).

So, if anyone out there is dreading (as I must admit I was, having heard
the various comments of some) doing the update, it's really pretty

And, I note some neat features (realizing I updated from 22Es) such as
rather than the simple "Below Horizon" message of a ill timed GOTO, the
Autostar now says WHEN the object rises.. Quite interesting, actually.

So. update one and all..(especially if you're at 22Es.!)

John Edelmann

Subject:	Autostar 3.0 Guided Tour
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2003 08:23:08
From: (Dan White)
Many thanks for your previous advice. I have just bought a 125 with
autostar, which is on version 3.0. I have had no problems with the one
irritating exception that once I enter a guided tour, I cannot exit it
without turning the scope off cold, which then means that I have to
reset the scope to its home position, re-align it, before being able to
move on. Is this a known bug, and is there a simple way to get around it
(without merely stopping using the tours?)

Many thanks,

Mike here: I haven't tried it in 3.0Ee but have you pressed and held the MODE key?


Fantastic! That works... who'd have thought it! Many thanks yet again...

Subject:	RE: Safe Load does not come up!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 5, 2003 06:09:37
From: (Brian J. Moodie)
Thanks for all you help.  I tried the 2.4 last night... no response. The
handbox is still dead.  I guess I'll have to put this down to
Thanks again, your assistance was appreciated.



From: (Richard Seymour)
You can try a call to MEade...

At worst, you have spare mechanical parts, and can probably even
sell it on eBay or advertise it on the Roboscope yahoo group:

good luck
Mike here: You can also buy a new or used replacement #495 or #497 then upgrade it. Telescope Warehouse (see the Astronomy Links page or eBay for used ones.
Subject:	re:   Autostar concerns
Sent:	Tuesday, November 4, 2003 20:26:26
From: (Richard Seymour)
You asked:
> Can I use GOTO to find an object and not use "tracking" afterwards? 

As Mike answered, you want tracking to be "on" for stars.

But, the answer to your -specific- question is:

You do so by GoTo'ing either of two object classes:
(a) Landmarks.  You can define a Landmark (point at it, click Add)
  If you later GoTo that Landmark, the motors will stop.

(b) direct Alt/Az coordinates.  Lean on the Mode key 3 seconds.
 Release (welcome to the Status display).  Scroll down to see all
 of the info that you can access....
 On the 2nd (or 3rd) pass through, stop at the Alt/Az display.
 Press GOTO.  That now is an -input- screen.
 Use the numeric keypad (or scroll keys) to enter numbers,
 press Enter.  Now fill in the second line. Press Enter.
 The telescope will now slew to that spot, and the motors will stop.

Finally, you can explicitly turn OFF the motors at any time:
 Setup > Targets > (scroll to) Terrestrial [enter]

The motors will stop.

have (silent) fun

Subject:	Safe Load does not come up!
Sent:	Monday, November 3, 2003 07:37:28
From: (Brian J. Moodie)
I spent the week-end reading almost every one of your articles on the
Autostar but have not been able to resolve my problem.

I could not get the ASU to talk to my Autostar (495 with version 1.2c
and a DS114 scope (which I hope to upgrade soon)).  At that time I did
not know about your web site so I tried a variety of measures all to no
avail.  Finally, in desperation I tried the "download" function from the
Autostar itself.  The familiar "downloading do not switch off message"
appeared.  After an hour the message was still there.  I left it running
overnight and in the morning the message was still there.  So I did what
it told me not to. unplugged the scope.  Everything went blank on the
Autostar.  I have tried safe load and got no response.  I called Meade
and the customer support guy talked me through the safe load again.
Still nothing, he told me that the database must be too corrupted.  I
tested the cable using tips from your page and HyperTerminal and all
seems to be working.  Is there any way I can bring my Autostar back to

Thanks for you help and for what will be an excellent web page for me
once I can get my Autostar to work.

Brian J Moodie
Mike here: It may indeed be toast. If the SAFE LOAD routine is corrupted SAFE LOAD won't work. And it sounds like the SAFE LOAD is toast.


From: (Richard Seymour)
I tend to agree... i cannot tell what -other- things he tried
before, during and after the incident.

Such as:

>   Finally, in desperation I tried the "download" function from the
> Autostar itself.  The familiar "downloading do not switch off message"
> appeared.  After an hour the message was still there.  I left it running
> overnight and in the morning the message was still there.

But what -else- was he doing?
Did he start the ASU (Autostar Updater)?
Before or after setting the Autostar to Downloading?
What messages did the ASU produce?

Simply kicking into Download, and then powering off
-without starting a download-... should not damage the Autostar
(i've done it.. even with v1.2)

If the ASU detects that the Autostar is truly ancient, 
it -does- try overwrite the Flash Load code with a new version.
If it did that, and hiccoughed during that transfer, it's toast.

Approaching Meade as a supplicant with a non-demanding air:
(try to sound dismayed and shocked that the Updater would 
 corrupt your Autostar) ... and they may offer to swap it.

> Is there any way I can bring my Autostar back to life?

With the data in the message, i don't know.
I suspect not with normal-mortal means.

You might also inquire of the good folks at the Roboscope group:

good luck
And more:
Thanks Mike and Dick,
In answer to Dicks questions:
But what -else- was he doing?
Did he start the ASU (Autostar Updater)?....
Yes I did start the updater, at first it could not detect the Autostar
but when I clicked auto detect it advised that "Autostar found on com1".
ASU did this each time I restarted it.  But if I tried to connect,
retrieve or send, nothing would happen.  Clicking "Upgrade Autostar
Software Now" also did not work but would grey out all the other options
(connect, retrieve etc).  The bottom left of the handbox side of the ASU
screen would flash yellow showing either Memory Info N/A or 0 bytes.
Before or after setting the Autostar to Downloading?...
Before, setting the Autostar to download was my last resort to get the
updated info into Autostar
What messages did the ASU produce?...
See above for ASU messages, Autostar didn't give me any messages apart
from telling me not to switch off.
Thanks for both of you assistance on this.

And from Dick:
i would've expected the Updater to have asked if the Autostar
was in "Safe Load" mode.

Another approach for an Autostar as ancient as this is to download
the -previous- major version of the updater: ASU 2.4
(available from Mike's AutostarInfo/Archives page).

That was written when 1.2 was still a (little) more current in the 
programmer's minds (it still requires Safe Load, but at least
it's a little more awake...), and use that to install an intermediate
version such as 21Ek or any of the 22 family.

-Then- (if successful) use the current Updater to bring it up to v30Ee.

Good luck
And this:
Okay I've downloaded Build24Ea.rom and 2Eek autostar rom and dbase rom.
My apologies for my obtuseness but how do I get ASU to run the 2.4
You have to download the 2.4 version of ASU, itself...
Here's the direct link to Mike's copy of it:

good luck

Subject:	Re: Updating to 3.0Ee
Sent:	Sunday, November 2, 2003 16:50:50
From: (Richard Seymour)
Mike wrote:
> Just updated my two Autostar 497s to 3.0Ee.  Seems to indicate no
> retraining is required.  True?

It depends entirely upon 
(a) what you upgraded -from-  [did the variables move?]
(b) if you re-selected your telescope model.

I agree that you probably -don't- need to retrain
(i just checked... you're safe if you were v26 or newer)
(and you're probably safe from older versions than -that-, too,
that's just where that note file stops looking)

have fun
Mike here: (a) 2.6Ec (ETX-125) and 2.6Ed (LXD55) Didn't check the values before or after. (b) Nope, no reselect.


Then you're all set... no retraining needed...

have fun
Mike here: Thanks! Nice to know.
Subject:	Autostar concerns
Sent:	Sunday, November 2, 2003 12:56:44
From: (John)
I finally got My ETX-90 AT this past Friday, however some smarty pants
at the dealer put a box of clouds in the package.  It clouded over
Friday afternoon and hasn't cleared since. :)

I initialized the system...
calibrated the motors...
trained the drives (both Alt and AZ)...
alt/az aligned the scope...
performed the Easy alignment procedure...
selected an item from the tour menu and pressed the GOTO button the
scope slewed around to the approximate position of the object...Slowed
down...beeped and continued to move (tracking I assume) and never
stopped. Sometimes the directional buttons will work to center the
object in the eyepiece and sometimes they won't.

Remember this is simulated because its cloudy here in central Indiana,
and I can't use my new toy.

Can I use GOTO to find an object and not use "tracking" afterwards? Is
there a software update which would correct this, my Version number is
26Ec. I didn't find a question on your site which directly addresses
this.  I did notice a patch called "creep after Beep" on the autostar
information page.

I really do find your site helpful, it makes me appreciate all the
"Veteran" ETX users out there.

John Norris
Mike here: Once the telescope is slewed to an object (either a GOTO or manually), you WANT the telescope to track the object in order to keep it in view (it is compensating for the Earth's rotation). So, movement after the beep is normal. Once the clouds go away, try it for real. There is a newer version on Meade's site but don't worry about that quite yet.
Subject:	re;   Autostar Info Autostar Double Stars Excel List 
Sent:	Saturday, November 1, 2003 17:06:58
From: (Richard Seymour)
Mike, he's right... 
i hit the same thing when i download that XLS sheet.
(and you might -zip- it for faster transfers...
 consider how well non-zipped Email reaches you...)

I have attached a ZIPped copy of the same file,
which i downloaded when it was originally posted.
I -can- open this one in Excel '97

...and the -reason- it's NOW correupted is that the server/browser
is stomping on some bytes...

IF it's transferred with Netscape!

If i transfer -your- (Mike's) copy with Internet Explorer, it arrives safely.

So it's browser/server/mime-type wars...

(and i'm using the same browser/OpSys i was using a year ago, when i 
first transferred that file)

Mike here: Thanks Dick. I have uploaded the ZIP file and the updated web page.
Subject:	Invitation to join the autostarsuite group
Sent:	Saturday, November 1, 2003 08:26:28
From: (autostarsuite moderator)
I have started a new group for the discussion of the Meade Autostar
Suite and LPI.  Please let the readers of your excellent site know that
this group is now up and running.

To learn more about the autostarsuite group, please visit

Thanks, Larry 

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