Last updated: 31 October 2001

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 #497 problems
Sent:	Wednesday, October 31, 2001 5:31:13
From:	ma@aston-technical-consulting.co.uk (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 Aston
Mike 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:	mmcaveney@dataflo.net (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

Curt Caveney
Mike 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.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 engineer@meade.com 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
From:	Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM (Michael Lang)

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"

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

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

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 !


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

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 !

Mike 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 engineer@meade.com (don't expect a response).

Subject:	Satellite TLE's
Sent:	Sunday, October 28, 2001 17:50:03
From:	go_dog_go@sympatico.ca (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!

Subject:	Autostar temperature limits
Sent:	Sunday, October 28, 2001 9:00:17
From:	jamesewilkins@earthlink.net (Jim Wilkins)
Are there any low temperature restrictions, say around 20 degrees or so
for the AUtostar 497?

Mike 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:	edfinn1@home.com (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.

Ed Finn
Richboro PA
Mike 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:	bill&cathy@lexicon.net (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

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

From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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...
And some more:
B&C Sezenias wrote:

>... I tried com 1, and am getting the same thing,

> & 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,
 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:

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  engineer@meade.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

Subject:	Motor Fail message
Sent:	Saturday, October 27, 2001 11:54:01
From:	atozcom@hotmail.com (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.


Mike 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

Mike 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,


Subject:	cable
Sent:	Friday, October 26, 2001 0:04:28
From:	gareth_morris7@hotmail.com (Gareth Morris)
To:	etx@me.com

What's  your opinion of this web page regarding a PC interface cable?


Maybe worth a try?

Mike 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:	mikel180@home.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.


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.

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'


(i sent a note requesting it)

The "22eT" in their descriptive text is now a hot-link to:

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

Subject:	Re: Odds & Ends
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 23:02:13
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)

> I have two questions, and would appreciate your
> enlightment.
No problem... happy to oblige...

> 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
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

Subject:	somewhere in that last update...
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 22:52:42
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.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)

 (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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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...

Subject:	ASU Downloads
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 19:02:16
From:	monopertuz@yahoo.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.

Fernando Pertuz

Subject:	re: New Autostar software -- web connect download only?
Sent:	Monday, October 22, 2001 18:45:57
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	stantstk@pacbell.net
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.

From:	stantstk@pacbell.net (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...

And 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
And this:
From:	stantstk@pacbell.net (Stan Glaser)
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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 ;-)

And 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
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 Glaser
Mike 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.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
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

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

end of my morning ramble.,.. off to woik..
From:	stantstk@pacbell.net (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.

Mike 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:	f.lundberg@att.net
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
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 38
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.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!

Subject:	question
Sent:	Saturday, October 20, 2001 11:49:49
From:	kardrak@hotmail.com (Eduardo Lpez)
where can i obtain the GOTO Moon Features?


Eduardo Lopez
Mike 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:	stantstk@pacbell.net (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
Mike 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:	bmcnealy@mvp.net (Bill McNealy)
I recently saw a post from a person selling a modified #505 connector
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)?


Mike Knapp

Subject:	satellite data from Heav-Above
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2001 21:54:04
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (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

Subject:	re: PIC Failure msg
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2001 21:49:24
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	mccool@starband.net
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

Subject:	Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2001 16:52:11
From:	divenuts@gte.net (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
Mike 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:	subramdza@arnet.com.ar (Philippe/Brigitte Subra)
I want to report you that I could resolve the problem of the "motor

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

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


Subject:	Setting time on etx70 Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2001 15:18:44
From:	roland_s@hotmail.com (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 Roland
Mike 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:	mccool@starband.net (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

Again, thanks for the wealth of information you have provided on this
website!  Keep up the great work!

Brian McCool
Mike 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:	sherrodc@ipa.net (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

Subject:	satellite data downloads
Sent:	Tuesday, October 16, 2001 20:25:09
From:	go_dog_go@sympatico.ca (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!

Mike here: I get the file. Here's a sample:

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:	tompico@lava.net (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, Hawaii
Mike here: Sorry, won't work.

Subject:	re; satellite data downloads
Sent:	Saturday, October 13, 2001 18:18:56
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	monopertuz@yahoo.com
what mike did NOT say was that you can get "bulk" TLE files
from www.celestrak.com


gets you about 140 visible satellites.

have fun

Subject:	upgrade Rip off
Sent:	Friday, October 12, 2001 14:47:38
From:	bobrose500@comcast.net (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

Mike 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:	monopertuz@yahoo.com (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


Subject:	Satellite data downloads
Sent:	Wednesday, October 10, 2001 16:53:49
From:	monopertuz@yahoo.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"

Any ideas as to what is going on?

Fernando Pertuz
Mike 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:	paul@ilanga.com (Paul Rodman)
Your readers might be interested in this:


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:	mldunn@eastman.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:	mikel180@home.com (Mikel Stoer)
Great sight and tons of great info. Thanks tons for this. But please

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 : )


Mike 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:	rsl@uswest.net (rsl)
I appriciate all of the useful information that you provide on your

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
Mike 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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	jy@lesbeninger.com
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.


for two or three full descriptions of how to have happy tracking...

good luck
From:	rhci@home.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.


Subject:	re: AutoStar will not set Polar Mount
Sent:	Wednesday, October 3, 2001 21:43:25
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	atozcom@hotmail.com
Definitely symptoms of not RESETing after an Update.


You also need to (re)select your telescope model.

(which will also knock it from being Polar mounted... set -that- last)


Subject:	AutoStar will not set Polar Mount
Sent:	Tuesday, October 2, 2001 21:32:50
From:	atozcom@hotmail.com (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.


Ringo Li (MCSE+I, MCT, A+)
ATOZ Business Computers
Mike 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:	jy@lesbeninger.com (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.

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

Mike 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.


Victor Pena

Subject:	re: etx60 - autostar 494 - iss tracking question
Sent:	Sunday, September 30, 2001 23:28:12
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	rhci@home.com
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

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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