AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
[Home!]
Last updated: 30 November 2005

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:	Autostar II
Sent:	Wednesday, November 30, 2005 18:44:47
From:	Bob Linderholm (lindh@starband.net)
I recently bought an LX200gps. It works fine except the handbox goes
dead after about 20 to 30 minutes. The power panel red light remains on
but all the lights on the hbx are out. Sometimes I can press "mode" and
this will restore the handbox to life. Other times, I have to reboot the
telescope.  I attempted to visit with Meade about this because the unit
is under warrranty. After 40 minutes of hold, I gave up. I've written
Meade but they don't seem to read their mail.  I've faxed Meade but they
don't seem to read their faxes.  I plan to have the handbox worked on by
second party repair, but I just wondered if you've heard of this problem
before.
 
thanks
 
Bob
Mike here: I don't have an Autostar II but it is probably like the other models and goes into a power saving mode after a period of time. That could be what is happening. But if you can't get it out of the mode reliably then there could be a problem.
Subject:	Meade Auto Align
Sent:	Monday, November 28, 2005 19:56:22
From:	Tom Frazin (lortom7@earthlink.net)
Before I go to Meade's site to download the new Auto Align update for
the Autostar I wanted to know if you have any recommendations regarding
whether one should download or not.

Thanks ,
Tom
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Maybe.

(if i had a -clue- about what version you're running now, what
flavor of scope you have, how you operate (Alt/Az or Polar),
even where you are (southern/northern hemisphere), i could
give a better answer)

The ReadMe from v40Ef (which is the current download from Meade,
and has been "on the street" since October) says:
-----
Upgrades to 33Ef

Added Zip Codes.
Some serial strings fixed.

Upgrades to 33El

Fixed site problem
Fixed LST display

Upgrades to 34Ec

Fixes moon tracking problem
Improved pointing on second star with LNT module
New LX90 scopes added

Upgrades to 40Eb

Improved pointing on Alignment Stars after Cal Sensors.
Park position now shortest distance on ETX scopes.
Park position fixed after automatic alignment.
Smart Drive is now normalized.
Please see the attached file for the new operating instructions.

Upgrades to 40Ee

Fixed Comets
Add Brightest Star to Utilities, so scope will always show the name
of the alignment stars.

Upgrades to 40Ef

Fixed Polar mode for LX90's (10 & 12)
--------------------

have fun
--dick

And:

Sorry about that Dick, I forgot to let you know the specs here:

    ETX-125 AT
    Autostar version 40Ef
    3343' N  11757' W  (Near Los Angeles, CA)

Thanks, and clear skies to both of you !!

Tom

And:

Well that certainly makes the answer -very- simple.

You already -have- the "new Auto Align".

The version currently on Meade's site is still v40Ef,
which you're already running.

The "new Auto Align" is the change where it now says
"Press 0 to Align, Mode for Menu".

That's it.
(welcome to marketing hype)

If you're used to looking at the status line of your web browser,
you can compare the target of the "new Auto Align" link
( http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Build.zip )
with the target of the "40Ef" link on their usual autostar support page.
( http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Build.zip )
Strangely similar, aren't they?

have fun
--dick

And:

So much hype, Meade is spending the $$$ taking up a few pages of Sky and
Telescope to advertise their new "product" . . .

Thanks!!

Hope you have a nice "clear" holiday!

Tom

Subject:	ETX austostar ::: not work/not start   help please
Sent:	Saturday, November 26, 2005 17:02:56
From:	Mario (confirmacion1000@yahoo.com)
Good night from Argentina!

Can you help me?

etx 125 with 497 autostar. Today Not turn any light and not work.any
noise,any sign of life ,nothing.

I have not idea what happen with the controller. The scope surely is
very fine.

some tip.pls.

thanks for your valuable time.

Mario
Mike here: Does the power LED on the ETX base come on? If so, have you tried fresh batteries? If so, check the connections, even reversing the cable can help.

And:

Does the power LED on the ETX base come on?
 NOT there are not any light.

If so, have you tried fresh batteries?
 no.I have connected to 12v ...to electric power.The light in the
 scope,is opened .Im sure that the etx 125 work fine,the probl. isin 
 the controller.

If so, check the connections, even reversing the cable can help.
  i try it,too,without sucess.
  is very rare no?.
Mike here: Since the light on the ETX base does not turn on you have a power problem, either with the external power source, the external power cable, the power jack in the ETX base, or something internal to the ETX. Is this the first time you have used the 12VDC power source?

And:

First:  Thanks for you help! really thanks!!.
,
Not i had never a problem like it.
im always unsing the electric power.without problems.
.
The red light in the etx work fine.
The controller is like  dead.
Mike here: My apologies; I thought you said the light didn't come on. If the LED comes on and the Autostar does not and it was working before, then you could be correct that the Autostar has failed (a rare occurrence). When you power on and the Autostar display does not come on, if you press one of the slewing arrow keys, does the ETX move?

And:

The control remote or autostar is dead,not light or any minor movements,
nothing. the telescope,can turn  the red light when the power is ON,yes.
There are not problem with the power connector in relation to the
telescope. The problem is for move it,with the controller or autostar
remote control.

sorry my english for explain it.
Mike here: Got it. One last thing to check is the pins on the cable connectors and on the ETX base and Autostar bottom. If one is depressed too much, it may not be making contact. If they are OK there is one more thing you can try. If you have a #505 serial cable for the Autostar and a RS-232 serial port available, you can try a SAFE LOAD to resurrect the Autostar. Probably won't work, since from your description, the Autostar seems like it is not getting power to its circuitry.
Subject:	new sw download fails to recognise ETX90PE
Sent:	Saturday, November 26, 2005 14:53:09
From:	roger johnson
I have just received my first scope and I am finding my way around. This
means that I am making lots of errors and up until now I have resolved
them.

I made the mistake of powered off the ETX90 PE before the latest
software update from Meades web page had finished loading, but I think
it had frozen away.  I was not using the  AU2 tool, I was in Autostar
Control window.  So I used your site for ideas and restarted from
SafeLoad.  This appeared to work OK and I downloaded handbox version
30Eb using the update AU2 tool.  I did not restore values.  On starting
up, the automatic alignment option does not appear. I am assuming it
does not recognise that it is a PE version. Also on start up only the
hours in the time is retained.

I have checked but there only seems to be one release for all scopes.

Can you please advise

Thanks for the web site it is really helpful.
 
thank you
 
Roger
Mike here: Get the current Autostar ROM from Meade's site. Version 3.0 is too old for the PE model.
Subject:	re: ETX-125 Autostar Problems
Sent:	Saturday, November 26, 2005 10:59:52
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Ernst writes:  (about pressing [enter] before [goto])

> The funny thing is, that it worked before!?!

Ahh... there -are- times when you don't -have- to press [enter]
first (inside Tours, for example, if they're written properly).
But *it never hurts*  and
*there are -sometimes- you MUST press [enter] first*
So advising "always press [enter] before [goto]" will -always-
help, (even if it's sometimes superfluous)

> Let's say I was in SOLAR SYSTEM - browsed down to MOON (MOON
> is on the display) - pressed the GO TO key and it would go
> to the target.

Good example.. and one (if you're not in a Tour) demonstrates
that you -must- press [enter] before [goto].

Your description of your state was incomplete:
Which -line- of the display said "Moon"?

If you have GoTo'd some other target, and then menu to:
Top: Solar System
Bottom: Moon
and press [GoTo]... it won't.

But if you press [enter], so that it becomes:
Top: Moon
Bottom: (current RA/DEC)
and press [GoTo], it will .... *because you pressed [enter]*
 to get that far.

So Dick's 2nd rule is: if the desired target is on the TOP line
of the display, it -will- GetThere if you only press [GoTo].

> Tonight looks promising - I will let you know...

You can try the above example indoors in the daytime.
No need to wait...

have fun
--dick
Subject:	RE: ETX-125 Autostar Problems
Sent:	Monday, November 28, 2005 05:18:14
From:	Ernst Matheus (ernst@anc1.com)
Hi Dick:

I took your advice, and had a wonderful night of observing. The ENTER
button made all the difference. All targets were correctly displayed.
Thank you both so much for your advice.

As you might have guessed, I'm a beginner in observing with a telescope.
I apologize for the incomplete description of the problem.

Have fun!!!

:-) Ernst 

Subject:	trouble with autostar 2
Sent:	Friday, November 25, 2005 12:33:10
From:	Wkola (wkola@alltel.net)
I have a meade lx200 10 gps with autostar 2 unit

When I power it on the hand display brightness is high and then goes
dim but nothing after that no motors no nothing push buttons nothing
works

If you can give me any Idea what could be wrong  I would appreciate It

Thanks Pat
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Does the power light on the LX200gps front panel also die?

Has the telescope operated properly in the past, or is your first
"power up" attempt?

If it has worked properly in the past, and if you have AutostarSuite
available, you could try the RemoteHandbox application to see if the
telescope and Autostar (which is in the base of the telescope) are
operating.. since you might just have a sick handbox.

It could also be a power problem.. if your power supply can deliver
an initial surge, but then dies, you would see similar symptoms.

If this is a brand new scope, and it's "dead on arrival", you should
contact your dealer and perhaps arrange an immediate replacement
(and test the 2nd one -at the store-).

Meade may be open today: 800-626-3233

good luck
--dick

Subject:	STRANGE MESSAGE ON THE DISPLAY 
Sent:	Tuesday, November 22, 2005 11:48:40
From:	Wim Van Laere (Wim.Van.Laere@telenet.be)
Hello , today I've read " proc.trap 2 " on my Autostar .
The buttons did'nt react on any command . Can you help me ? With kind
regards ,
Wim Van Laere
Belgium .
Mike here: There is an article on "Autostar Proc Traps" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Usually, turning off the telescope power and then back on solves the problem. If not, try replacing the batteries. If that doesn't clear it and it always comes back, it could be that the Autostar software has become corrupted. You didn't specify what model of the Autostar you have but if the #497 (with number keys on the keypad) then you will have to reinstall the Autostar software; you'll need either Meade's Autostar Update application, or AutostarX (for Mac OS X), a #505 serial cable, and a RS-232 serial port (either on the computer or using a USB-serial adapter).
Subject:	re: Remote Control Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, November 22, 2005 18:48:19
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Just to be explicitly clear: the LX200gps remote wireless handbox
will ***not*** work with any 497-Autostar compatible telescope.

(the LX200gps handbox does not contain an Autostar, it's merely
a "dumb terminal"... the LX200gps Autostar II is actually buried
in the telescope's base).

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: ETX-125 Autostar Problems
Sent:	Tuesday, November 22, 2005 18:45:07
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike -almost- has it... what you -probably- need to do is press the
[enter] key -before- pressing the [goto] key.

Pressing [enter] is what actually *selects* the target.
Then you can command a [GoTo].

If you're seeing "Slewing..." without motion, this is why...
since you didn't really select the -new- target, it just went
to the old one.. which it's already at.

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Ernst Matheus (ernst@anc1.com)
Thank you for your input!
Richard is right! I see slewing without motion. So I will have to select
the target with the ENTER KEY before I do a GO TO.
The funny thing is, that it worked before!?! 
Let's say I was in SOLAR SYSTEM - browsed down to MOON (MOON is on the
display) - pressed the GO TO key and it would go to the target.
Tonight looks promising - I will let you know...

Thank you so very much for your input!!
:-) Ernst

Subject:	ETX-125 Autostar Problems
Sent:	Tuesday, November 22, 2005 07:52:21
From:	Ernst Matheus (ernst@anc1.com)
Thank you for taking time to read my e-mail. I own a etx-125, and I have
problems with the autostar. Even after a reset, it will correctly align,
but 2 out of three times it will not goto the desired object.
Unfortunately I bought it at the discovery store. The first one I got
would not engage the horizontal motor, so I exchanged it. The one I have
now has the described error.

I would appreciate your input.

Thank you in advance,

J Ernst Matheus, DeLand Florida
Mike here: Need more info. Does the scope not slew at all when doing a GOTO? If so, are you pressing the GOTO button as opposed to just selecting the object with the ENTER key?
Subject:	Re:Scope won't wake up!!
Sent:	Tuesday, November 22, 2005 04:52:47
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
The Autostar contains the computer and all the data; it is not in the
scope itself.  The scope only contains the power supply and the
necessary circuits to drive the motors, using control signals from the
Autostar.  The 'PE model adds the LNT, which  also interfaces with the
Autostar.  The LNT clock uses a separate battery that maintains time
while the main battery is off.

Removing power to the Autostar by unplugging it while it is in Sleep
mode may confuse it, but probably not damage it electrically.  It is
designed to be powered off in -almost- any  state and then restart when
power is applied again.  Sleep mode may be an exception.

Sleep is basically a way to reduce power drain and still retain time and
alignment.  A better option with the 'PE is probably to use Park Scope,
since this does essentially the same thing as Sleep but allows complete
power shutdown.  It retains alignment in Autostar memory and time is
restored by the LNT on restart.  Both options assume the scope will not
be moved in the interim.

As Mike says, you can most likely recover using Safe Load and the latest
version of the Autostar program (ROM).  Instructions for this are
available on the ETX site.

Hope this helps.

Mike Hogan

Subject:	Remote Control Autostar
Sent:	Monday, November 21, 2005 04:38:54
From:	Phil Price (mail@phil-price.com)
I've noticed a wireless Autostar II is available for the LX200 GPS &
RCX400 Telescopes. Any ideas on the technical limitations why this would
not be possible on the ETX-125?
 
Kind Regards
 
Phil
Mike here: While any RS-232-wireless adapter would work with the Autostar #497, I don''t believe the one for the Autstar II will work with the Autostar #497. However, Orion has a product for Bluetooth that works with the #497; it is available at OPT: http://www.optcorp.com/productList.aspx?uid=&pg=0&kw=BlueStar&st=2

And:

Thanks for the info. I guess you can't control the autostar only without
wires, it has to go through a computer.

Phil
Mike here: Not yet. But it is becoming a more wireless world. Of course, things could get interesting at star parties...
Subject:	Meades latest autostar update
Sent:	Saturday, November 19, 2005 00:59:23
From:	don_turner@bellsouth.net
Have you posted what changes Meade made in their last Autostar update? 
Anything meaningful for LX-90 owners involved in astrophotography?
 
Thanks in advance,  Don
Mike here: I don't typically post the contents of the README files that are included with the updates. Changes are mentioned in these README files included with the Build.zip file available from Meade.
Subject:	problematic autostar keys
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 00:28:17
From:	David & Frida (040.120617@telia.com)
I just bought an etx 105, and in all it seems fine, but after powering
up, and doing the easy align the problems start. The telescope seems to
have problems with the arrowkeys. If I tell it to go to say the moon,
and it misses the moon and I try to move the scope with the arrowkeys
nothing happens. It is impossible to move the scope at all with the
keys, but during the setup process it is possible to move it but only
rather fast for my taste using the keys.  I suppose that I am missing
someting very obvious. Any help would be appreciated.
Yours Sincerely,
David Lindholm
Sweden
Mike here: Have you tried changing the slewing speed? (1 key for slowest and 9 for fastest)
Subject:	Scope won't wake up!!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 16, 2005 00:45:19
From:	Wayne Barker (wayne_barker@btinternet.com)
I have an ETX 125 PE which I have only used a couple of times and its
worked flawlessly. That is until tonight where I put the scope in sleep
mode while I went in to get my dinner.

I got back and was going to pack away the scope as it had clouded over.
I removed the lead from the hbx socket (the power light was still on, so
all I did at this stage was remove the autostar lead).

Mars suddenly came into view so I plugged the cable back in, but
nothing! No matter what key I press, nothing happens.

I switched the power off, powered back up, but still nothing.

Its like the autostar is dead.

I can't be sure if it's the autostar or whether it's the scope stuck in
sleep mode.

I would appreciate any advice.

Many thanks and a great site!
W barker
UK
Mike here: You may have damaged the Autostar by unplugging it; sleep mode is a low power mode, not a NO power mode. It could either by hardware damage or software damage. If the software has become corrupted and ff you have a #505 serial cable you can try a SAFE LOAD and see if you can reinstall the Autostar ROM.
Subject:	Autostar controler
Sent:	Friday, November 11, 2005 16:04:53
From:	Steven Brooke (steven@stevenbrooke.com)
I've learned so much from you site. Thank you very much for your
efforts.

But, I'm now embarrassed to ask a very pedestrian question: the Autostar
controller for my ETX 125 won't keep the time. I have to set it each
time I initialize. I don't use batteries in the base; I use a power pack
to power the scope. What's wrong? Something simple, I hope.

Thank you in advance.

Steven Brooke

PS: I purchased a set of Seibert BinoViewers and find them to be
terrific with this scope.
Mike here: The Autostar defaults to 8pm (2000 hours if in 24 hour time) on power on. This is normal.
Subject:	Re: On power up, Autostar blinks 5 times, then nothing
Sent:	Thursday, November 10, 2005 08:45:21
From:	Roy Meyer (southsky@icon.co.za)
Finally made a 505 cable. On my second attempt, the ASU program brought
my Autostar back to life. I don't know why it didn't on the first
attempt. The only difference was that I powered on the Autostar in SAFE
LOAD first and then started up the ASU program. The whole time the
progress bar on the ASU program was advancing, the Autostar remained
dead and the screen blank, so I didn't know if any changes were being
made. The Autostar's beep after 35 minutes of waiting brought out a yelp
of delight and a 3 finger Scotch. Many, many thanks Mike.
All the best, Roy
Mike here: Glad the suggestion worked!
Subject:	Autostar control of Etx
Sent:	Monday, November 7, 2005 14:59:59
From:	Robert Zaballa (robert_zaballa@yahoo.com)
In order to control the ETX with Autostar, what is needed? Are the
software and cables that come with the DSI all that is needed or are
there additional cbales and software needed?

Thanks. 
Mike here: The #505 cable is the cable needed. You may also need a USB-serial converter (hardware and driver) if your computer doesn't have a RS-232 serial port. The Autostar Suite can be used to control the ETX/Autostar but there are many other free, shareware, and commercial applications that can do it. Check out Scopedriver and Astroplanner, both available for Macs and Windows. There are reviews of these and some others on the Accessory Reviews: Software page.

And:

So the #505 cable is sold separately from the DSI? The DSI comes with a
#497 serial cable and DB-9 to RJ-11 adapter. These are not adequate for
computer control of the telescope?

What is the #497 cable used for?

Thanks.
Mike here: The #505 cable should have come with the Autostar Suite package. That has the RJ connectors and the DB-9 adapter. There is no #497 cable; the Autostar model you have is a #497.

And:

Thanks. Now I get it. I do in fact have a #505 cable,
it connects properly to the telescope.

Subject:	New AS 497 firwmare at Meade
Sent:	Monday, November 7, 2005 11:59:25
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
New Autostar 497 firmware v4.0eF is posted at Meade:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html

Clay
--------------------
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject:	Ref Polar alignment
Sent:	Sunday, November 6, 2005 18:23:15
From:	Bob Linderholm (lindh@starband.net)
I was looking at "Autostar Feedback" and someone refered to "your
article on polar alignment" (Tuesday Nov 23 2004 jimp2@cox.net)

Could you please send me the URL on your article?
 
Thanks
 
Bob
Mike here: Could have been one of many; see the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page for lots of articles on alignment tips.
Subject:	Autostar missing alignment stars
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 20:18:38
From:	Harden Schaeffer (aitchbar1@yahoo.co.uk)
I've recently updated to from version 33El to 40Ee, and I'm finding it a
major problem that, in order to pack in all the new code (which I
personally don't need), they've deleted a lot of the alignment stars Dr.
Clay lists in Using the Meade ETX.  Since I don't have level-north on my
scopes I don't need that code - or, for that matter, the PEC code either
(I use altazimuth mode exclusively)  I'd like to know what's the latest
archived version that has all (or at least most) of the original
alignment stars?

Harden
Mike here: First I've heard that some stars have been deleted. So don't know when that process started. Maybe our resident Autostar expert, Dick Seymour, knows.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
That's news to me... the -only- star i've heard as 'deleted' from
the alignment list was Polaris, and that was 4 years ago.
In fact, if you're Polar mounted, they've now -added- (or allowed
to be used) the stars on the other side of the celestial equator.

I will check the 'authorized list' during the next day, and report
back.  The last time i looked, it was the same 79 stars.
(and -that- number was still current in v34ec)

More later... (i'm still travelling until Thursday)

have fun
--dick

And more:

ALL of the 'original' 79 alignment stars are still in there.
(i just checked).

Please let me turn the question around:
 Why do you think some are missing?
Which one(s) can't you find in the list?

Remember that the Autostar only -offers- stars which fit its
alignment criteria -at the time of alignment-, so some stars
may be simply too low, or too high, for consideration by
Auto/Easy Align.

If you turn on your Autostar, and tell it multiple times and date
(by advancing the time about 4 hours each time, and using AM and PRM)
it will eventually offer all of the stars visible in your area.

The additional 'level north' code, etc. has -not- affected the star
catalogs (even the 14,000-entry one) at all.  They freed up space
by removing the 'automatic self-garbage-collect' process for the User
Objects (namely, a completely unused 64 KB area).  No objects in the
fixed database were sacrificed in the process.

have fun
--dick

And:

> Contrary to Dr. Clay's map, Caph is no longer 
> available, even though it was quite high in the sky.

Ahhh... now i see where you're coming from.
Clay's map is *not* based upon the Meade alignment stars.
It simply identifies many of the stars astronomers use for alignment.
There's a list on Mike site (in the Autostar info page) of the 79 stars.
(i'm offline as i write this, so i can't supply the URL)
And, as i mentioned, if Cass was *too high* in the sky, the Autostar
wouldn't choose stars from there.

>  I then tried to  use Schedar.  Same deal.

I -know- Shedir (Meade's spelling, i think) is in there... i used it
  last week (at about 8pm PST).

> Rucbah wasn't there either.  I next tried (I think) Almach.  $#@#&*%!!

>  The bowl of the dipper was well placed but I never can remember which
> is Dubhe

The bright one on the tip of the bowl, if memory serves.
(or: why i carry a planisphere outdoors with me... the older Night Sky
one names most of the alignment stars).

What time of night was your test, and where is your site?
I'll run the numbers to see where Cass's stars were.
The alignment algorithm tries to avoid stars over 65 deg elevation,
to avoid tangent effects.

>... Easy Align, which chose Vega and Altair - which are
> even closer together than my original choices!  Incidentally, it seems 
> to very much prefer those 2; a friend and I both set up our telescopes 
> for a Mars party last night, and he used Easy Align.  It chose those 2, 
> even though Alpheratz IS in the database - that's what I used. 

Brightness is given heavy weighting in its star choices...
(this is very handy in Seattle, where i'm often aligning -through- clouds.)

> When I'm at home I seldom use Easy because my house and a tree make me 
> blind from about 2 hours west of the meridian, and my privacy fence 
> kills any views to low in the east. 

Easy won't choose any stars below 25 deg elevation, either.

> Anyhow, that's why I'm pretty sure some alignment stars aren't there any 
> longer. 

They're there... set up your scope indoors, tell it it's 6pm or 8pm,
and see if it's not now willing to provide Shedir and the rest of Cass.

have fun
--dick
Mike here: That would be the article "#497 Alignment Stars" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page.
Subject:	re: Think I may be crazy
Sent:	Saturday, November 5, 2005 19:20:26
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
"Mars was straight up" ...

Things to check (i should write this as a "Info" article someday):
(a) that your SITE data is correct, and if you didn't use a 'nearest
 city'  to set it, verify that your Time Zone setting is correct.
(since i don't know your site, i can't say what it should be.
In the US it's EST: -5 thru PST: -8)

(b) point at a landmark. Press [mode] 3 secs, release.
 scroll to the Alt/Az readout.  Note the Az.  Slew the scope a
full 360 degrees to re-center the landmark.  Verify that the
 readout also incremented 360 degrees.  If it misses by 10 degrees,
then one of your Az encoder vanes is dirty.  Open base and Clean.

(c) do a similar test for Alt, but here you're limited to 90 or 180
degree vertical motions... i use a bubble level to measure 90 degree
swings, and verify that the readout agrees.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Think I may be crazy.
Sent:	Thursday, November 3, 2005 17:01:59
From:	Robert B. White (rbwhite@interbaun.com)
I took my ETX 125 out for the first "full sky" night on the first great
evening we have had up here since I got my scope. I trained the drives,
calibrated the motors (and did that again when on sight). I set up on a
reasonably level piece of ground with the scope pointing roughly to
Polaris, and the Autostar on the west. Chose Automatic align. Moved the
tube to home position. When finding north, it missed it by about 15
degrees (I know that Meade says that it may not point north). First
alignment star: Cappella. Off by about 20 degrees. Centered it. Second
start: Vega. Not even close. I started the entire procedure attain.
Tried different alignment starts. Same problem. I am ready to either
check myself in to a hospital with pastel colors and locks on the doors,
or to see how high I can throw my E125

Regards,

RBW 
Mike here: I haven't checked my PE model but did you change the Daylight Savings setting? Assuming you are in a location that changes? The 15-20 degree error sounds like a one hour time error.

And:

Yes, I did do that, and ensured afterwards that Autostar had the correct
local time.

Regards,

RBW

P.S. The last thing I did was let Autostar pretend it had found
everything. It told me alignment was successful. I then made it GOTO
some object I can locate. No luck. According to it, for example, Mars
was straight up. When I asked for objects that had not risen yet, it
told me that each one didn't rise until 12:15 AM  nothing earlier,
nothing later.
Mike here: What happens if you do an Easy Alignment? One other thing to check would be the LNT clock; is it off by an hour?

And:

Thanks. I'll try easy alignment. The time shown in the Autostar display
is the correct time; is there something else I should check?

I sure appreciate this.

Subject:	Autostar 40E update
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 17:33:14
From:	Lee R (divine-assassin-kai@hotmail.co.uk)
just thought i'd email you to say that the the latest 40E update seems
to be much improved from the last. the pointing accuracy is much more
precise. Meade never seem to say what the benifits are for the punter to
update their handbox's, but acuracy was what i noticed straight away. Do
you know what the other benifits are for this latest update?...Wishing
you all the clear skies possible from Lee R in Dover Kent UK
Mike here: I assume you mean 4.0Ee that Meade released 1 Nov.

And:

yes i mean't 40Ee version and as i said the pointing accuracy is much
better do you know what other benifits are gained because meade do not
say?
Mike here: According to an item Dick Seymour posted: "It fixes the GoTo Comets issue, ..and it has a specific fix for the 10" and 12" LX90 in Polar. It also reverts to showing you the star names during Easy Align."

And:

Thanks Mike much appreciated..wishing you all the clear skies possible
from Lee R in Dover Kent UK

Subject:	New firmware at Meade
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 14:57:14
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
New firmware posted today on the Meade site for the 497 Autostar

http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Build.zip

Clay
--------------------
Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC H45 (Petit Jean Mountain South)
Harvard MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject:	re: Question about pointing accurancy of ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 09:08:19
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
After the Calibrate Motors and Train Drives procedures,
you can then play with the RA Percentage and Dec Percentage
settings to lower the delay between pressing a slew key
and telescope motion.

See:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_info.html
for the background information..

have fun
--dick

And:

Subject:	RE: Question about pointing accurancy of ETX-125
Sent:	Thursday, November 3, 2005 12:32:28
From:	Allen Thomas GL Civ AFRL/VSIO (thomas.allen@kirtland.af.mil)
Mr. Weasner,
I wanted to say that what you suggested work.  So the pointing was fine.
Thanks.  But on a different note, when I was looking at Mars, I began to
notice that as the scope was tracking, the tracking would whip-lash to
the left and back to its original position.  So I had to send it back to
Meade again.  Something went wrong with the gears.  This is the third
time I've sent this in.  I was wondering, I got the number for Scott
Byrum (customer support lead) and called him, but he's not returning my
calls.  I got his number from the web (I believe from your website). I'm
at the point where I'm demanding another replacement scope.  Do you
perchance have any other contact that's more responsive at Meade.  I've
been trying to get the phone for the CEO, that's how irritated I am
about sending my ETX back.  Optics are great, but I think the gears are
messed up.  This is the third time I've sent it in for gear repair. 
Emails or phone numbers of someone up the chain would help if you have
any.  Thanks again for your help on the pointing.
Tom

Subject:	Re: Updating software, but, how?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 03:20:25
From:	Cenneth Andersson (cenneth.andersson@telia.com)
Weird, but, I have installed Updater so the path is as follows

C:\Program\Meade\AutostarSuite\Updater\Ephemerides

When trying to update - the program tells me that the path to the
.rom-file is invalid. It expects the .rom-file to reside in a directory
Ephemerides on my Desktop. The path is expected to be

C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Desktop\\Ephemerides\Build40Eb.rom

I then created a directory Ephemerides on my Desktop. Put the
Build40Eb.rom there and ... Voila .... The program now find it.

This path must have been hardcoded into the program when I installed it.
I then had the Au2.exe-file on my Desktop and just doubleclicked and so
on. Obviously I should first have placed the Au2.exe in the Updater
directory and installed it from there. I guess this can be read about
somewhere, but, I have missed it.

Best regards
Cenneth

And:

Subject:	re: Updating software, but, how?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 09:01:22
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
By installing the new MEade updater (4.3), the Emphemerides folder
 moved.
It's now under
\Program Files\Meade\AutostarSuite\Updater\Ephemerides

perhaps that's why it can't find it

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Compatiblity quickie
Sent:	Tuesday, November 1, 2005 00:43:00
From:	Cenneth Andersson (cenneth.andersson@telia.com)
Oh, now I see. I've always thougth the handbox cable was ended with
RJ11-6-liners. Now I checked. It was RJ45! My ignorance is taking
proportions.

Well, I have a cable ended with RJ11-6 lines in both ends and no
crossovers. It was delivered with my AstroStar Suite software together
with a serial D9 and the right cable for my #497. Do you think this one
is for the LX200?

I never dared to as the seller because I was afraid he would say "Ah,
wrong deliverance. I'll take it back.". And you never know when you need
a cable, do you? ;-)

Best regards
Cenneth
Mike here: The Autostar Suite package includes two serial cables; one for the LX200 and one for #497 Autostar.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Yes, you -can- use the LPI cable with the LX200gps.
If fact, the LPI comes with -two- cables:
one for the 497 Autostar, one for the LX200gps rs232 socket.

Even your 497 cable would work, but it would be loose in
the LX200gps rs232 socket and would require careful use.

have fun
--dick

Feedback Archives

Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Autostar Feedback page.


Go to the ETX Home Page.


Copyright ©2005 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2005 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackNov05/autostar.html