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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 #497 problems Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 5:31:13 From: email@example.com (Mark Aston) Great site for all us ETX fanatics - long may it continue. I am writing with a note and a request - my Autostar update has gone wrong due to my computer crashing. The Page 0 safe load programme has corrupted and hence I now have a nice plastic box with buttons on it. I can confirm that under some unfortunate circumstances it is possible to end up with a dead box when updating Autostar. However, my Autostar has removeable Flash chips, which I can read from my friends Flash programmer. I have the means to recover the situation. Unfortunately, the .ROM code (655kbytes long) includes update programme info that is stripped out when the Uploader writes to the 512kbyte Flash that holds the main programme. Do you or anyone else on the site have an image of the autostar rom that you could e-mail me, so that I may write it to the Flash? Many thanks Mark AstonMike here: The only "images" I have are what are online as regular updates to the Autostar ROM.
Subject: Damaged Autostar Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 21:23:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Curt Caveney) I was follow advise found here. I was cleaning the internal contacts on my AutoStar 497 so the keys would respond better (isopropyl alcohol). When I reassembled the unit I failed to notice the LED lens was not properly seated and subsequently broke it. The lens can be unplugged and replaced. Does anyone know where I could get a new part (perhaps a broken 495 or 497 I could use for parts)? Any help is greatly appreciated. Boy, do I feel stupid. Thanks so much for the site Mike! BTW- the keys do work better now! But I can only read 1/2 of the display. Curt CaveneyMike here: Two thoughts: eBay for a used one or call Meade and admit your error; maybe they will send you a replacement LED.
Thanks Mike. I really do love your site. Keep up the good work!
Subject: Re: Local Horizon Mapping Mapping & Alignment Stars Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 20:10:40 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM >>Is it possible to perform a "horizon survey" for a specific viewing >> site such that the next time one performs an alignment, the alignment >> stars selected by the Autostar are not below the "local horizon" >> which has been defined by that survey ? As Mike said, the Autostar doesn't do that (currently). And, you -should- send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting the improvement... they may not "reply" by Email... but they might "respond" by adding it to the Autostar... >>My site is surrounded by many tall trees and a couple of buildings. >> I have to either pre-plan my session, then use the 2-star alignment, >> or skip several stars (during easy-align), before landing on 2 that >> are viewable. hmmm... if you're truly "surrounded", i can provide a patch (akin to my don't-go-too-high patch) which would set a *floor* for barrel travel. It'd only work in Alt/Az mode, not polar. hhmmm... (the second)... ya know? it -might- be possible to change the overall horizon level for the scope... there's a single spot where it checks for above/below horizon... (whoops... that's in the LX200 command processing code... i'd have to look elsewhere for "normal" motions...)... hmmm... don't expect a -fast- answer on this one... but it's feasible. But it would be a all-the-way-'round effect. Not tailored to the true local horizon's ups and downs... What i'd be tempted to do in your case is develop a horizon-shaped trasnparent overlay for my paper planisphere... athen it'd be quick to see what's up for aligning. Or (what i -actually- do): PARK the scope when you stop a session. The next night, after power up it will *not* ask to align. GoTo a bright, accessible star (Vega?). If you don't have a permanent spot you use for viewing, spin the base (or tripod) to get the Az correct, then slew in Dec/Alt to correct that. SYNC. You've now performed a quasi-one-star alignment. IF you SYNC on a second star a good distance away, it'd probably be pretty good... maybe. (cloudy out... i can't test this)(and i'm going to be scopeless for the next 3 weeks) Have fun --dickAnd:
From: Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM (Michael Lang) Dick: Thanks for the ideas in your message. I did sent a message to Meade, so hopefully they can gin up something for a future s/w rev. It just seems to me that many ETX users are city-dwellers with big buildings and such surrounding their backyards, porches, and balconies. Even though I don't live in the city, I am surrounded by big ole oaks and maples that seem to have grown several hundred feet higher since I got the ETX last year. Since I don't wanna do like the fellow who got flamed a few months ago in S&T for cutting down all his trees, I've gotta move all around my property to find a site that permits viewing my targets of interest for that night, and also allows me to perform the alignment. And now that winter is setting in, I'd sure like to observe from my south-facing deck, with no view of polaris (minimal snow-intefacing, and closer to the coffee pot) Here's how I'm working to solve that problem: I have mounted a very accurate compass and a pair of spirit levels on the scope (that 3M double-sided tape works great, since I don't want to buger up my ETX). The compass and one level are installed on the ETX screw-on lens cover. The other level is on the drive base. I polar aligned the scope at a location in the yard that permits a view of Polaris. I used water-based white-out to paint reference/alignment marks on the lens cover to scope OTA and the compass (water-based W.O. can be removed later if changes are required). Now, I can set up the scope on the deck, and level the base and align it to the reference marks on the cover & compass to the "phantom Polaris" position. Then I can go from there to either Alt-Az or Polar mode, run a 2-star alignment, and actually get pretty good GOTO performance. (If I can find the Ring Nebula, that's pretty darn exciting to me, since I love that object). I'm going to run a few more tests, then write it all up, along with some pictures of the compass/level installations, and send it to Mike for his website. A "local horizon feature" would be nice in the case I described above for the alignment, but it would also be nice if the Autostar was smart enough to realize the objects it was offering up in the tours were below the local viewing site horizon. Best Regards ! Michael
Subject: Local Horizon Mapping Mapping & Alignment Stars Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 16:42:33 From: Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM (Michael Lang) I am wondering if you or any of the ETX / Autostar users out there know the answer to this question: Is it possible to perform a "horizon survey" for a specific viewing site such that the next time one performs an alignment, the alignment stars selected by the Autostar are not below the "local horizon" which has been defined by that survey ? My site is surrounded by many tall trees and a couple of buildings. I have to either pre-plan my session, then use the 2-star alignment, or skip several stars (during easy-align), before landing on 2 that are viewable. If Autostar does not have this capabilty, it sure would be a useful feature for Meade to develop for a future S/W revision (I'm still on 22eH with my ETX 125 - I'm not brave enough to mess up my Super Charge load for the updates since then). thanks ! MichaelMike here: Some planetarium software has this capability but not the Autostar. You could use the software to pre-select alignment stars and then only use those. You might send in your suggestion to email@example.com (don't expect a response).
Subject: Satellite TLE's Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 17:50:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alan Palmer) Mike, thanks for the speedy reply..I tried Celestrak again and snagged the visible listing. Now all I have to do is find some time....... Clear Skies! al
Subject: Autostar temperature limits Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 9:00:17 From: email@example.com (Jim Wilkins) Are there any low temperature restrictions, say around 20 degrees or so for the AUtostar 497? Thanks, JimMike here: There are none published that I recall. However, the LCD does not like low or high temperatures. At low temps it will blank out. The Autostar is functional however. To get the display back just warm up the Autostar (in your pocket, for example). At high temps, some Autostars have been known to become damaged.
Subject: thanks for autostar info Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 7:52:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Finn) Thanks again for hosting this info page. I have a meade lx90, and for one reason or another hadn't gotten around to locating the autostar to computer cabling info until I found your web page. It's off to radio shack in a little bit. Are you aware if anyone has looked into the capabilities of using autostar to remember Periodic Error Correction, to get the long exposure times that seem to only be available with the lx200 series? I did a search on your page, and came up empty. tnx, Ed Finn Richboro PAMike here: The Autostar does not currently have the capability of correcting for PE.
Subject: Meade ETX Autostar #497 Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 5:12:57 From: KenCldwll@cs.com Hopfully, you can help on this one. I bought the #497 Autostar in May of this year and it was working perfectly. I believe it is version 2.0. Last night, I changed the batteries on my scope and went out for a night of viewing. About 20 minutes after setup, the screen on the Autostar went blank...yet, could still control (move) the scope through the controls. It was about 35 degrees Farenheit out, but I wouldn't think this is cold enough to make a difference. At least I would hope not - I plan on being out in colder weather. Is it the batteries, the weather or a fluke? I can't make it happen again once I'm indoors. Thanks in advance for your help...this is a great and helpful site.Mike here: The display IS temperature sensitive. Just warm it up OR keep it warm during use. This comes up almost every winter.
Subject: Autostar comms. Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 4:58:47 From: email@example.com (B&C Sezenias) We live down in good 'ol Australia (Melbourne exactly) I have purchased an ETX125 and have had fun with it but now I'm really getting serious (well as serious as anyone can be during Winter). I have found this site a blessing. I have constructed a #505 cable (correctly I assume) and have downloaded ASU 3.0 and attemped to communicate with the Autostar. It seems to find the autostar located on Com2 but when I try to retrieve or send data it tells me to check the cable and power up the Autostar again. This is the tricky part, I've also dowloaded the demo version of Skymap Pro 7 and used it to communicate with the autostar, NO Problems, it slews 7 tracks to whatever whatever object I select. it displays on the screen where it is pointing as it is slewing etc etc. Why wont ASU talk with the Autostar? Anyones help would be appreciated? Thanks in advance BillAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) Instant off-the-cuff answer: if at ALL possible, try it on COM1. (this is why my PC's mouse is on COM2) > It seems to find the autostar located on Com2 but when I try to > retrieve or send data it tells me to check the cable and power > up the Autostar again. Does it kick it to DOwnload Mode? What happens if -you- set the Autostar to Download Mode? Version of Autostar firmware (Setup>Statistics>[enter][scroll up] ) could have a bearing, too. And which version of WIndows are you running? those are my suggestions/guesses/questions... --dickAnd some more:
B&C Sezenias wrote: >... I tried com 1, and am getting the same thing, sigh... > & again that I have wired it correctly everything is ok. If it works under SkyMap, then you've obviously got good communication. > Do you think that the RJ11 is not makning correct contact in the > Autostar socket?? If so why would Skymap Work properly?? Should I > pull the Autostar apart and check contacts > as they come through the circuit board from the DB9?? see above. > Autostar version 1.3b, 9.9k char free > I am running WIN98SE. The new updater should handle that very well... it reaches back to 1.2 (and somewhat into 1.0). Mike Weasner archives the older updaters, http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_archive/downloads.html but -before- trying those, i'd try the "emergency flash load" procedure. That kicks the Autostar into ready-to-receive mode at power-up, and the Updater should handle -that-. If the Updater still doesn't find it, simply power down the Autostar to escape the mode, or send it an "I" (uppercase I) via hyperterminal. That's another test: read: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_testing.html The part of that you want to do is the "hyperterminal" section ... see if you see the "X" and if it responds to the control-F. There -are- times when my Updater seems to find, then not-find, then searches-for-and-finds the Autostar. I can't replicate it reliably, but it does happen... but that's all at the beginning of a session. So it'll see (or not see) it on com1, then, when i ask to connect or "retrieve", it'll ask if it can search for the autostar. I let it do so, it finds it, and we're off and rolling. I'm going to be out of touch for the next couple of days or so. Another resource is email@example.com Send them the description of your setup (win98se, what kind of PC, the 1.3b, the model of telescope, the "works with Skymap..." etc.) Usually they don't -respond- on that address, but you never know... good luck --dick
Subject: Motor Fail message Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 11:54:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ringo Li) Everything is perfect after I follow the instruction on the Scopetronics Tune Up page and tune up everything my ETX-90EC. The elescope behave like a different machine. With a Polar Easy alignment, ALL Named Star appeared in my 26mm eye piece except those that are below the horizon or behind the hill. Yes ALL of them, not necessarily center, but they all apear in my 26mm eye piece. Problem: I sometime get a "motor fail" message on the Autostar when tracking. It could be as soon as after only several minutes. sometime it could be 10-20 minutes or it works just fine for serval hour of tracking. I can do GOTO with all the Named Stars for 2 hours without a fail. It fails only when tracking. I really don't know this has anything to do with the tune up because I never tried tracking for more then couple of minutes. HELP! RingoMike here: The Motor Failure message can be from a lot of culprits. Low batteries, loose cable (internal or external), dirty encoders (grease, most likely), incorrect HOME position, and probably more. Try to ensure the easier ones aren't what is happening in your case.
Subject: autostar question Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 11:45:21 From: GJMIII@aol.com I saw a post on your DS page and your reply leaves me with a question. By saying that the #495 "becomes just like a #497" after upgrading do you mean that the #495 then has the same database and functionality as the #497 or will it still be a more limited database? Any reply will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all of your hard work and providing us with such a great resource. DoonerMike here: According to reports from those who have upgraded their #495 Autostars, it becomes just like a #497 with the same full database.
Thanks Mike. Looks like I will now have to build a #505 cable and get busy downloading!!! Thanks again, Dooner
Subject: cable Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 0:04:28 From: email@example.com (Gareth Morris) To: firstname.lastname@example.org What's your opinion of this web page regarding a PC interface cable? website.lineone.net/~maccastro.soc/etx_cable.htm Maybe worth a try? GarethMike here: Seems similar to some ideas posted on the Autostar Information page on this ETX Site.
Subject: Re: autostar 495 to 497 with an ETX 60at Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 18:26:10 From: email@example.com (Mikel Stoer) This might be useful to others in my position. I have an autostar #494 that I got with my etx60at. I purchased the #506 astrofinder kit which included the #506 cable. I then got a #495 autostar on ebay. I wanted to upgrade the 495 for use on the etx60. I used the rj? to db9 adapter that came with the 506 on a telephone handset cord to attach the 495 to my pc. Ran the ASU software and now have a #497 that has the etx60 in the telescope database and 64k memory. Thanks for your great site. Mike
Subject: Downloading Autostar Update Files Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 10:14:08 From: Gene_Rozea@Rollsys.com (Rozea, Gene) It appears that if the controller is not connected to the PC, the Updater program will download and store the file on the local disk for later update. It worked fine for me last night - the prompts are a bit vague to say the least, but the process seems to work. Keep your eye on the lower left-hand side of the expanded (advanced view) of the program window for download progress. Gene
Subject: 22eT now available for simple Zip download Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 17:44:21 From: Richard Seymour I see that the Build.rom file for 22eT is now fetchable in zipped form at good ol' http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html (i sent a note requesting it) The "22eT" in their descriptive text is now a hot-link to: www.meade.com/support/auto/build.zip It arrives as build.zip, and is only 443Kbytes instead of the Build.rom's 1 Mbyte. Twice as nice on a modem. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: Odds & Ends Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 23:02:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Fernando, > I have two questions, and would appreciate your > enlightment. No problem... happy to oblige... 22eT: > This time there is no readme file that provides a briefing > of the changes and or new features. It's (almost) all on the web at their support page: (a) added ETX-105 and DS-2xxx telescopes. (b) slight changes to Add > Site operation. I certainly haven't found anything else... (yet). > Are the new features etc. worth the aggravation of having > to re-enter everything all over again (as a typist I hunt > & peck, but entering data on the Autostar is ridiculous!)? (a) no, it's not worth updating. (b) all you have to reenter is your Site. Nothing else is lost. (or -should- be lost.) Push [update now], tell it NO, you do NOT want to Reset everything, and it'll load the update and leave everything else intact ... perhaps even the site. (c) 22eR and 22eT as so similar, that the data in the EEPROM (which survives power on/off) has not moved... so a RESET, Calibrate and Train are not even needed. They are that close. Note that step (b) works *in this case only*, because of step (c). > Just for curiosity I signed up on NASA's OIG and just > for kicks I looged on .... Now I am hopelessly lost. I > don't have the fogiest notion of how in hades I can > get the files I used to get through Meade's interface. > Any hints ? Yes... don't use that site. For a file of TLEs for giving to the Updater, i use http://www.celestrak.com specifically: http://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/visual.txt which is a file of about 130 satellites. In the new Updater, under File choose Import. The new Updater also shows the ID number of the satellite, so they are easier to work with. There is a -reason- my OIG account expired for lack of use... and celestrak is it. have fun --dick
Subject: somewhere in that last update... Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 22:52:42 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) You (Mike) said that a RESET would lose all of his User Bodies. It doesn't. All it blows is the list of Sites and Scope Type. (i don't think it even cancels the previous Training data) (but that last is memory, not verified) --dick (17782 bottles of stars on the wall, 17782 bottles of stars, you take one down and pass it around, 17781 bottles of stars on the wall)
Subject: Missing Stars Found! (was: Re: Autostar star database) Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 22:48:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Searching the v22eR dbase.rom file for the SAO number led me to where they were, then backtracking thru the code located where i'd missed the reach to that area (i was wondering what they were doing generating 8891. as a constant...) *and* Lazy Ol' me hadn't fully resolved what a large gap in my map of the database was... 17782 more stars have (as it were) come to light. They're stored as merely SAO number, RA, Dec, Mag, Class. (the 943 also have Bayer, distance, multiple-spacing, names, comments) A 9-byte record instead of a 22-byte record (some of the 22 being pointers to the rest of the info) Now to write another program to chew and spit it out (for the curious, the lowest SAO number is 22, the highest is 258996) thanks again... --dick
Subject: ASU Downloads Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 19:02:16 From: email@example.com (Fernando Pertuz) I might add that whet using the new ASU, you DO NOT have to have an AutoStar connected to use it. In fact you can create and edit your handbox data (comets, satellites, tours..) to your heart's content, save it, and when you're ready, hook up the AS and update it. You can also request the update and although it will warn that no AS is attached it will nonetheless donwload the upgrade, save it. If you do not update your AS, it will nag you constantly until you do so. However, the ASU, although friendlier that the older program, when downloading, staring at the message "opening build.rom, please be patient" for an obnoxiously long time is ennervating. Saludos, Fernando Pertuz
Subject: re: New Autostar software -- web connect download only? Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 18:45:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Well, there is another way... You *may* be able to fetch it directly from Meade's site. Specifically: http://www.meade.com/support/auto/ That should sow their download directory area. Build.rom is the current version. *BUT*, just like their old website pages used to say: Your browser may corrupt the download of a pure "rom" file, since it's a non-standard file type. If it does get corrupted, the Updater will catch that when it checks the checksum. --dickAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) Hi, Dick -- thanks for that -- I'll give it a try. I would rather be able to download the update and apply it on my terms at my convenience than be forced to do it Meade's way (okay, I'm a rebel!!) I'll let you know if the download works... StanAnd from Dick:
Well, i believe you can with the new Updater, too... it does NOT require that the Autostar be attached to perform its file-retrieval (i think... it's been a while since i tested that). (i just tested it... it'll do it) If you press the [update now] button, it'll say that it couldn't find an Autostar, and can it search all of the COM ports. Tell it "no". It wil *then* as if you'd like to grab the file over the net. That's the good news. The bad news is that it'll fetch it -twice-. In order to have it once. Not a problem on an at-home or cable hookup, a slight disconvenience on a modem (like me). Just pre-fetch Mike's last update and read it whilst the download is downloading and downloading.... Give it a shot --dickAnd this:
From: email@example.com (Stan Glaser) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) I will -- just as soon as I get a round "toit" -- thanks for that -- you're just a plethora of Autostar knowledge, you know that? downright scary, if you ask me ;-) >StanAnd more:
This is to both of you, Dick and Mike -- Dick, I know you are a PC person, and probably know less about the Mac and using VirtualPC on the Macintosh. Mike, I know you are a Mac person, and probably know less about running Windows. I tried Dick's suggestion (quoted below) about being able to download the update WITHOUT the handbox connected, and when I told it "no" old VPC 4.0 went in to never-never land and hung-up -- I believe the disk image file is now corrupt, because it refuses to boot up correctly and ends up freezing the Mac each time. (Dick, don't think any of this is your fault (okay, okay -- stop laughing!) -- it's happened before -- sigh.) (and to kick myself in the arse, I forgot to save a copy of the disk image file in its working state -- damn!). (I still have a working version of VPC 3.0 -- I think -- duh....) So, assuming I get everything back to "normal" (evenutally -- since my work load here is killing me), let me riddle both of you this: My normal (only) connection to the internet is through my DSL line here at home to my pacbell ISP. To make a connection, I must run the software that interfaces to the DSL modem, and that software is MAC based. I then run Netscape Communicator, and I'm humming along nicely (like right now!). Now, if I boot up VPC 4.0 (which is now broken, thank you very much), I don't have access to that connection (or do I?). I don't have any Window's based application that will access my DSL modem and connect to my ISP. So, how am I supposed to make the connection? How is the Autostar Updater going to make the connection? I kept the absolute minimum on my AOL account, which now I can access through my pacbell ISP (AOL has that "other-provider" provision, allowing you to access your AOL account thru another ISP), but I need to do that on the MAC side. If I try using AOL using a direct connection through the internal modem (the old-fashioned way), I'm going to get hit with a per-minute charge that's going to cost as much as a new scope -- but I "think" I can do that from within VPC 3.0 (I never set any of it up in VPC 4.0). Can VPC somehow glom onto that connection that's running in the Mac OS? Mike, I know you've got a Mac G4, same as me -- how are you doing it (or are you?) Do you have a dial-up service, or cable/DSL? If it's not dial-up and you DO have DSL or cable, are you getting VPC to make an internet connection? If so, how? Any clues would be appreciated. Meanwhile, off to beddy-bye (snore, nod, ouch -- head hitting keygggggghghhghgbbbboooard) Stan GlaserMike here: Sorry to hear about your glitch. I have VPC4 and when I connect using IE from Windows it just connects through the same IP and network connection as the Mac OS side (and simultaneously too). So I can run Netscape on the Mac side and IE on the Windows at the same time. I'm on a cable modem. I have yet to try the new ASU3 under VPC4.
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) > Dick, I know you are a PC person, ..i try to keep myself operating system neutral, but i fail in that OpenVMS on a VAX or Alpha dwells deep in my heart (and on one of my at-work desktops). And, in a family way, i "own" 3 Macs (well, my wife does, but she lets me play Nanosaur if i'm nice). > and probably know less about the Mac and using Virtual PC on the Mac. True... i've never used VPC. Altho i've been aware of the product for many years. My Mac knowledge is deepest in pre-v7 MacOS. > Mike, I know you are a Mac person, and probably know less about > running Windows. > I tried Dick's suggestion (quoted below) about being able to download > the update WITHOUT the handbox connected, and when I told it "no" old > VPC 4.0 went in to never-never land and hung-up -- I believe the disk > image file is now corrupt, because it refuses to boot up correctly and > ends up freezing the Mac each time. (Dick, don't think any of this is > your fault (okay, okay -- stop laughing!) -- it's happened before -- > sigh.) Actually, i don't laugh at situations like this... in fact, i think it's worthy of repackaging and sending along to Meade as a bug report. I'd -like- to hear of a second attempt of the same operation by another user, or at least yourself when you've resurrected the pile of cards. Before we riddle: you could try sucking the ROM file from the http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Build.rom address *as a Macintosh*, and then use VPC reach to move it from your Mac environment into the "PC" ASU folder tree. And/or poor ol' suffering-yet-valiant Mike could put the *rom* files at his archive site (perhaps even stuff'ed and zipped) for the convenience of all. > My normal (only) connection to the internet is through my DSL line > here at home to my pacbell ISP. To make a connection, I must run the > software that interfaces to the DSL modem, and that software is MAC >based. I then run Netscape Communicator... Well, i wouldn't expect PacBel to -support- it, but you could try "being a PC" in their eyes, and install their Windows software in your Mac, under (when it's working again) VPC. (harking back: "disk image corrupted"... if you're lucky, it may just be VPC itself which is trashed, wouldn't just dragging it from its CD restore that portion? Or does its Installer recognize a "recovery" vs. a "scrub and fill"? > I don't have any Window's based application that will access my > DSL modem and connect to my ISP. Visit their support website... how do they handle whacko systems like Linux? (which i also run) If it's really a simple "normal" IP hookup, a PC should be able to do it -without- a specialized kit (you DO have to tick a few things, and perhaps fill in the odd number or two). The "kits" are merely to reduce the fiddly bits to one [click here]. (my old ISP sold us dial-uppers to Earthlink, which buried us in CDs for installation, all proclaiming "You MUST run this software..." Hooey. It took a half-hour of hold to -reach- support on the phone, but, indeed, none was required (we still haven't opened the CD packages). For both PC and Mac. > So, how am I supposed to make the connection? (Fix and) Fire up VPC ... call PacBel. Say: I just bought a (retching sound) Windows PC, i want to connect. Help. Follow ensuing instructions. > How is the Autostar Updater going to make the connection? Karmic vibrations. Does PacBel allow dial-up? (they are a phone company, after all) (i'd ask the phone support: if the DSL is down, how can i dial in to send email to support? Catch them in their own catch-22) > If I try using AOL using a direct connection through the internal > modem (the old-fashioned way), I'm going to get hit with a per-minute > charge that's going to cost as much as a new scope -- i *think* there are still free dial-up services. You could also spend 1/2 hour at an Internet Cafe, fill one floppy with 22eT and sneak away... Oh... a G4... no floppy... well, there are SOME things i rail on about Macintoshes... Another approach: go to Goodwill... $50 will probably get enough of a PC to run the Updater. (and they'll toss in a few Macs which the OS upgrades have rendered totally useless, for free)(another thing i rail at). end of my morning ramble.,.. off to woik.. --dickAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) Hi, Dick -- again, thanks for the input -- I did grab the Build.rom file from Meade's site like you mentioned, and I probably should have just stuck with that and dragged it over to VPC -- I received your other e-mail about the new Updater actually working without the handbox connected just a little while later, and my curiosity (meow) made me try it that way. (Curiosity killed THIS cat!). As for all the other ISP questions, and pacbell, and how to connect, and etc., etc. -- it's going to have to wait a while.
Besides, the Autostar still has the 2.2eR update in it, and it is working just fine. I'm of the type that always wants to get the newest version and try it. I'll live with it as is for now -- it's probably going to take me a few weeks to even start doing my fix on VPC 4.0. Time to get busy... Stan Glaser
Subject: Using ETX90/Autostar 497 Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 16:14:08 From: Roalfe@cs.com (R Fellwock) I have a question about the Autostar. If I see an object, say a star, and I use the arrow keys to move the scope to that star, is there some way I can read out the RA and Dec of what I am pointing toward? Then, I think I can use those settings to do a GOTO and have Autostar track that object. Is this doable? Thanks for your great Website. RobertMike here: Once you have aligned, you can slew to any object and the Autostar will track it. No need to enter the coordinates at that point. If you want the coordinates, hold down the MODE key for a couple of seconds and the R.A. and DEC will appear. You can write them down and then enter them at some future time and have the Autostar GOTO to that object.
Subject: Autostar star database Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 15:46:56 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Dick: Your list of stars in the Autostar database is very helpful. It appears though that it is only the complete list of stars in version 2.0. The number of stars in your list (943) is exactly the number Meade advertises for version 2.0. I also have found about 50 additional double stars in version 2.2er by searching for interesting stars by their SAO number. Several examples are listed below. SAO# Designator R A Dec 109088 35 Psc 0:15.0 +08 49 73883 E24 And 0:18.5 +26 08 91866 42 Psc 0:22.4 +13 29 74295 36 And 0:49.9 +27 43 74359 36 And 0:55.0 +23 38And:
From: email@example.com (richard seymour) Thanks for locating those examples... I -thought- i was using 22eR's database, but i certainly missed them. (i am actually -happy- to hear about them... i was wondering about the 943) My Autostar also has them (22eT), and seeking the specific SAO numbers locates them in the build.rom file. Now i need to find out why i did -not- find them before. (perhaps i underestimated what was contained in the doubles data subsection)... Or i simply did not find the entire data set in my studies (not the first time...) Back to the bits... thanks again! --dick
Subject: question Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 11:49:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eduardo Lpez) where can i obtain the GOTO Moon Features? Thanks Eduardo LopezMike here: See "GOTO Moon Features" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: New Autostar software -- web connect download only? Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 19:00:56 From: email@example.com (Stan Glaser) Just got back from our 3-week trip to Nova Scotia and found way too many e-mails to go through (over 700!!!!). I see you've updated the website a number of times, too -- I don't know if I'll every catch up. I did notice, though, that Meade posted a new 22eT version for the #497 Autostar, but it can't just be downloaded directly as a file as we've been accustomed to doing. You have to go through the new updater while the handbox is attached (I believe), so that forces me to get it while running VPC on my Mac AND be connected to the internet at the same time. I've tried to minimize my use of VPC to only updating my Autostar and my Garmin Vista GPS by just running the basic applications required, along with their required update files. It looks like it just got a little more complicated for me for the Autostar. I don't have any internet software configured to run under VPC, although I know I have it there. It's just another small pain in the tush. Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: I know the feeling. If you have VPC4, the internet connection is totally transparent.
Subject: #505 Connector Set Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 5:04:40 From: email@example.com (Bill McNealy) I recently saw a post from a person selling a modified #505 connector (people.atl.mediaone.net/david-carter/store/) set. It is modified to use a 9 volt battery to power the autostar but you lose the ability to cloan. Do you know of anyone who has purchased this and/or used it? If so, does it seem like a smart purchase (compared to a brand new $30 one from Meade)? Regards, Mike Knapp
Subject: satellite data from Heav-Above Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 21:54:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Two things: i use Heavens-above for onesie-twosie satellite TLEs. Bulk TLEs i get from www.celestrak.com (->NORAD -> visible) Yes, NASA is currently in a semi-lockdown state... you cannot -freely- get bulk TLEs (which is how the Meade Updater tries to get them).. but you *can* register with them, and then freely get them after logging in. My registration had lapsed due to inactivity, and it only took an email to get it reactivated. The TLEs are accessed at Heaven's Above by getting to a satellite's info or a pass page, and clicking the "orbit" link on the upper right corner. On the page that then appears (4 views of the earth), scroll down and *there* are the TLEs they used for their prediction... in both the two-line form, and in clear text listing. have fun --dick
Subject: re: PIC Failure msg Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 21:49:24 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org When doing the shorted-cable test, the PIC Failure message you saw is OK... i get it too, and my Autostar is functioning properly in all respects. Your cable could -still- be mis-wired... you might have pins 2 and 3 (or the 9-pin end) or 1 and 2 (on the Autostar end) swapped. The shorted-pins test does not resolve that ambiguity. The shorted pins test -does- show that you have the cable wired correctly enough that it's safe to plug the whole mess together, fire up the PC, strart Hyperterminal and *then* power up the telescope. If the cable is wired correctly, an "X" should appear on the screen, and the Autostar should respond with an A or P when you type a control-F on the PC's keyboard. If they don't, suspect a swapped 2/3. The running-into-hard stops sure sounds like simple misalignment, or not properly setting Home Postion at startup. It can also be caused by lack of RESET, Calibration, (-maybe- training). Dirty/greasy encoders would show up by poor GoTo'ing operations. Slipping clutches can also lead to hard-stoppage... maybe. good luck --dick
Subject: Autostar Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 16:52:11 From: email@example.com (divenuts) Please forgive my ignorance. How/where do I find the Model#(pretty sure 495) and version of the software on my Autostar? I have read the manual, looked on the Meade website and read countless archives on your Autostar page. I want to update my version.(purchased12/00) Thanks for the priceless website! Chuck Callaghan firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: If your Autostar has a numeric keypad it is a #495 or #497. Either can be updated to the current version (2.2Et). You can see the short version# on startup and the full version under the Statistics menu item on the Autostar. If your Autostar does not have a keypad, no ROM updates are currently available.
Subject: New big problem with autostar 495 Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 16:47:45 From: email@example.com (Philippe/Brigitte Subra) I want to report you that I could resolve the problem of the "motor defaults". Following some recommendations, I could find some grease on the "optic system" of the motors. I cleaned them, and the scope worked again. The problem is that after, I decided to load the last soft of Meade. I had a problem with this loading, which stopped itself, the rate of load staying at 2% during more than 1 hour. So I did a probably stupid thing: I stopped the autostar!! What occured is that now the screen of the autostars shows nothing, apart all black, or all red, or a red horizontal line.... So, it does not work anymore. I tried to start again loading, but now the soft does not recognise the autostar. I think that I can send the autostar to France where I bought the scope what would be almost complicated. But before, I would like to know if you should know some exemple of similar problem, and overall a solution that I should implement in my home. Thank you very much and very best regards to you and your readers. Philippe Subra.Mike here: Have you tried the SAFE LOAD procedure? See the "Bad Download Recovery (SAFE LOAD)" article on the Autostar Information page.
Thank you Mike, I tried it and it worked!!! Now I have the meade 21E version. Philippe
Subject: Setting time on etx70 Autostar Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 15:18:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Roland) Could you tell me if the time/date on this scope once set remains so or does it need to be set every time the scope is turned on??. The time on my scope seems to be set at 8.00 pm every time i turn it on?? Regards RolandMike here: The time defaults to 8pm (or 2000) on every power on. The Autostar does remember the last set date/location/DST/telescope settings.
Subject: Autostar not recognized Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 20:53:26 From: email@example.com (Brian McCool) Thanks for your web pages! I finally moved to a place that offers great viewing, Los Alamos NM. I got to take my ETX 90EC out and saw more things with it in one night than I have the whole time I've owned it (2+ years!). I kept running into the hard stops all night long though. I did figure out a quick and dirty way to get it re-aligned by releasing the locks on both axis, then telling the Autostar to GOTO Mars. Once it beeped at me, I moved the scope in position to Mars and locked down both axis. That seemed to get me through 10 or 11 of the runs against the hard stops. Anyway, someone asked me if I had ever updated the software on the Autostar. I hadn't. I made a cable from the plans on your site (I've made many a computer cable, so I know I got it right). The AutoStar just won't communicate with my computer. I tried the other hint of shorting pins 2 & 3 on the serial adapter side and turning the telescope on. After cycling through all the buttons on the Autostar, I get "Pic Failure V12 C001" on the Autostar screen. Have you ever come across this? Again, thanks for the wealth of information you have provided on this website! Keep up the great work! Thanks, Brian McCoolMike here: I suspect that your problem with the hard stops was a slightly incorrect HOME position. And then when you released the locks following a real alignment you made it worse (but got lucky). Check your HOME position setup procedures. As to your Autostar, I suspect you had a bad connection someplace. If you put power on the wrong pin your Autostar is now history and will have to be sent back to Meade or otherwise replaced.
Subject: New autostar version 2.2eT Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 15:00:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) There is a new Autostar version at Meade, v2.2eT with a few features that may be of interest to current telescope users. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory email@example.com
Subject: satellite data downloads Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 20:25:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alan Palmer) I tried www.celestrak.com...can't seem to get to the txt file that Dick mentioned. Iwonder if NORAD suspended publishing TLE's given the current situation..... You've put in an amazing amount of work into this site, and it shows...keep up the good work! alMike here: I get the file. Here's a sample:
ATLAS CENTAUR 2
1 00694U 63047A 01288.72428789 .00009471 00000-0 13790-2 0 685
2 00694 30.3599 27.9142 0646968 179.5653 180.5644 13.87319728882421
Subject: AutoStar & NexStar Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 10:17:19 From: email@example.com (Tom Pico) Aloha Mike, I've got a NexStar 80ST that doesn't align and I've got an AutoStar 497 sitting on the shelf laughing at me. Do you know if the AutoStar can be used to run the NexStar? Tom Pico Kailua, HawaiiMike here: Sorry, won't work.
Subject: re; satellite data downloads Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 18:18:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com what mike did NOT say was that you can get "bulk" TLE files from www.celestrak.com specifically: http://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/visual.txt gets you about 140 visible satellites. have fun --dick
Subject: upgrade Rip off Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 14:47:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Rose) It has come to my attention that there is at least one scope dealer is selling the 495 ->497 upgrades for $25. Please people be aware the upgrade is still free from Meade's site. All that is needed is a 505 cable or equivalent, and a computer that can run or emulate MS Windows95 or later. No need to waste astro dollars. I received this info in an email from a fellow that said the dealer made the offer as an add on to a scope purchase. I am sure Meade would like the name of this dealer. clear skies bob rose email@example.comMike here: Well, if the user doesn't have a Windows computer (which many people don't) then the service can be valuable. It certainly can cost more to acquire the components to take advantage of a one time service. But for others who have the technologies needed, then it would be a waste.
Yes, but $25 seem high. I could see a small fee to cover cost or include the fee with some other more technical service. But to charge on a new sale, I am not so sure. The people without computers should just ask around the local astronomy clubs, someone would certainly perform an upgrade for free. I do it for anybody that asks.Mike here: I agree that asking around is a good idea. As to $25, I guess dealers can charge whatever the marketplace will bear. (Which is why I would make a lousy dealer!)
Subject: Re: Satellite data downloads Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 22:11:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fernando Pertuz) Thanks for the fast reply. I'll just have to update less often. TLE typing can be tedious. Heaven help us if this paranoia continues to escalate. FP
Subject: Satellite data downloads Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 16:53:49 From: email@example.com (Fernando Pertuz) Has anyone tried to download satellite orbital data lately using AOS (the new Meade AutoStar PC Updater) or the Meade Website. A couple of days ago AOS would request you select satellite group(s) and it would proceed to do so. Now the selection menu is empty and proceeding does nothing. Initially I though it had done so but no new .TLE files showed up and satellite data showed old epoch dates. On the Meade site, (on the AutoStar download section) selecting the satellite ephemerides link renders a "cannot open the internet site" panel. Any ideas as to what is going on? Fernando PertuzMike here: Dick Seymour reported that the NASA site now requires a password so the connection is failing. You can still use Heavens-Above to get satellite TLE info.
Subject: Best Pair Autostar/LX200 alignment star software Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2001 19:44:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Rodman) Your readers might be interested in this: www.ilanga.com/bestpair/index.shtml Freeware application for Mac and Windows that selects the best pair of alignment stars to use for your location/date/time in order to minimise pointing errors. Paul Rodman
Subject: Cold weather battery reminder Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2001 9:25:09 From: email@example.com (Dunn, Michael L) As always, thanks for the great site! I have to be careful, or I'll miss starry nights while browsing around learning all the great info on your site! I just wanted to pass along a short suggestion that owners of battery operated Goto telescopes take note of the batteries in their scopes, with cold weather imminent. My EXT-60 did not perform well, out of the box, due to cheap batteries and very cold weather (found the tip here). Changing over to good quality nickel-cadmium rechargeables has worked well for me. The ni-cads do have a lower initial voltage, but seem to hold that voltage level fairly constantly and supply the current needed to drive the motors, and they don't "taper off" the voltage as slowly as standard alkalines, so when they do die, they go quite suddenly. I'm sure there are better solutions than mine (such as using an AC adaptor), but I already had the charger and batteries available and have been satisfied with the results. Clear skies, Mike Dunn
Subject: autostar 495 to 497 with an ETX 60at Sent: Friday, October 5, 2001 7:42:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mikel Stoer) Great sight and tons of great info. Thanks tons for this. But please help!!!!!!! Ok, I have an ETX 60at, a 506 cable, and autostar 495 with ver 1.3 software in it(I opened it up and it has two 'ROM' chips). I need to know where to go from here. I would like to update the 495 to a 497 for use with the ETX 60at. I have seen this refered to several times but I dont seem to be able to locate the actual process. I know I'll need the "505" cable and will build it but... where does the autostar get power for itself during the upgrade. can I upgrade it while its plugged into the ETX 60at? Do i need another cable? etc. I have downloaded the latest update software from Meade. I have used it with my 494 to change the tours etc. Do I hook up the 495 (which does talk to the scope btw). and upgrade through the scope like I did the 494? All these great toys and no Idea what to do with them. Any ideas will help keep me from pulling out what little hair iI have left : ) Thanks MikeMike here: You will need the #505 cable. That plugs into the #495 Autostar (same as with the #497). The #495 then plugs into the ETX base (just like with the #494). You can use the Update Client 3.0 to do the update. All Autostars get their power from the ETX (unless you buy or make the battery-powered add-on for the Autostar).
Subject: Making a G-8 a go to scope Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2001 0:33:32 From: email@example.com (rsl) I appriciate all of the useful information that you provide on your site. I recently purchased a Celestron G-8 scope with dual-axis clock drives and I already own an ETX 60 AT. I was wondering if you could direct me to any information that would be helpful in making my G-8 a "goto" scope. Is it possible to use the the interface electronics and Autostar controller from the ETX 60 along with the clock drive and EQ-5 german mount from the G-8 to accomplish this? Any kind of direction or comments would be greatly appriciated. Thank You. Rob Larsen firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: As to using the Autostar with a non-ETX scope, see the "C8 SuperPolaris with Autostar" article on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: re: ISS tracking and Autostar predictions Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2001 21:47:18 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org The Autostar is -far- less precise than the web-based predictions. However, i use http://www.heavens-above.com for my prediction sets, and the Autostar is usually within 20 seconds of their predictions. The biggest factor for accurate Autostar is/are *fresh* TLE's. Read: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_satellite.html for two or three full descriptions of how to have happy tracking... good luck --dickAnd:
From: email@example.com (rhci) With much guidance from Dick Seymour, (thanks Dick), I think I've got it straight in my mind now. Dick is right that if you compare the numbers that the autostar puts out with the plot that is generated by the Heavens-Above page, the autostar numbers do appear somewhere along the predicted orbit. It's just frustrating that a lot of the time the autostar picks a time and location that is supposed to be after the satellite enters shadow. Also (and I'm not sure if this is true or not) it seems that the autostar numbers are further out if you don't do an alignment. Part of my problem was I was starting up the autostar, entering the date and time, and then skipping any kind of alignment, just to compare the numbers it generated against the H-A page. If I took the time to fake out a one star alignment and then look at the numbers for a satellite, I was much closer to the H-A numbers. Last night I printed off a list of 4 satellites to track. My batteries ran out slewing to the first satellite. I ran inside and grabbed more batteries and set up for the second satellite, which came and went with no sighting. The third satellite was no where to be seen. I set up for the fourth one, and waited and waited, then almost to the second of the autostar's predicted AOS it came into the eyepiece and I tracked that sucker clear across the sky. Yahoo!!! I guess satellite tracking is maybe more a matter of patience and faith than it is of science. :^) Thanks for all you guy's help. Richard
Subject: re: AutoStar will not set Polar Mount Sent: Wednesday, October 3, 2001 21:43:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Definitely symptoms of not RESETing after an Update. And then CALIBRATE You also need to (re)select your telescope model. (which will also knock it from being Polar mounted... set -that- last) --dick
Subject: AutoStar will not set Polar Mount Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2001 21:32:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ringo Li) I downloaded the latest version of AutoStar Roms22Er this morning. Process seem smooth. I reset and re-entered everything . Spent almost 2 hours trying to do polar 2 star alignment. ALL FAIL! One star alignment is successful, but everything WAY WAY off. Check the AutoStar set up and found out Telescope Mount is set at AltAz. OK that is the reason!!! Change back to Polar. Do alignment again, same thing. Go back to see Telescope Mount setup again. Telescope Mount went back to AltAz again. AutoStar will NOT save the Telescope mount changes and stays at AltAz. Help! Ringo Li (MCSE+I, MCT, A+) ATOZ Business Computers email@example.comMike here: When you look at the Mount setting, is the ">" at the one you set or are you looking at the one that first appears? As to the other problems, remember to do a RESET and RETRAIN after doing an Autostar ROM update.
Subject: ETX 125 Autostar ISS tracking Sent: Monday, October 1, 2001 20:45:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jean-Yves Beninger) I have a similar problem as Richard with the ISS : The data on the autostar announces the ISS at 05:58 on October 4th, when the ISS web site (I live in Singapore)says 05:42. spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/SSapplications/Post/SightingData/Singapore.html Is the tracking of the satellite with the ETX125 accurate or do you recommand to try and track it "manually" ? Thank you and best regards Jean-YvesMike here: Dick Seymour points out that the tracking may still be accurate even if the start time is off. If you catch the satellite as the pass starts it should track it OK.
Subject: Quick alignment Sent: Monday, October 1, 2001 16:38:16 From: VictorsP@aol.com For better alignment (or in daylight) I keep a compass and a small bubble level in my ETX-90EC box. After I level the tripod and have the telescope in parked position, I put the bubble level on top of the tube to verify it is horizontal (I found that the scale was off by 2 degrees) and then I replace it with a compass to make sure it points north, adjusting for magnetic declination 5 deg. west in my location. It won't take more than a few seconds extra, most times I skip the alignment and still is acceptable specially for bright stars and planets. Thank you for your web site. Sincerely Victor Pena
Subject: re: etx60 - autostar 494 - iss tracking question Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 23:28:12 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org What wrong? Maybe something, Maybe nothing... did you try the track? Even with a 4 minute error, if you catch the satellite and start the track, the Autostar's assistance will help follow the ISS. In order to diagnose what may be wrong, I'd need more data: specifically: the TLEs you gave it, your location (as the Autostar knows it), the data/time/pass prediction for -your- location as whatever predictor your were using knows them (Heavens above? (H-A) then if you can copy/paste the URL of the pass-page that'd be -great!-) The version of your Autostar firmware. Each is different in pass quality. Each pass is different. What produces a 4 minute/10 degree error on the first pass tonight, may *nail* the second pass. Realize that the Autostar (pre v21eI) uses a minimum altitude of 10 or 15 degrees... it won't predict below that elevation. Thus the times shown by H-A will be -earlier than the Autostars, since they show both the over-horizon and ten-degrees-up time points. And, indeed, there are passes where both the Autostar and H-A totally mess up. That's part of why it takes practice to catch satellites. (toss in that the ISS changes orbit (especially when someone's docked) and that the Autostar doesn't account for drag) If you send the numbers (and the times and AOS/LOS predictions your -autostar- stated, too... i'll compare them to my 497's v22eR) i'll poke into it... have fun... try again.. --dick (who didn't even get a satellite into the viewfinder until the 6th night at it...)
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