AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 October 2006

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade AutoStar Suite. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks. (The Lunar Planetary Imager, LPI, and Deep Sky Imager, DSI, are covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Subject:	question about autostar software
Sent:	Sunday, October 29, 2006 16:54:17
From:	Seinbest@aol.com (Seinbest@aol.com)
I recently got my cable kit #506 and the software.  I haven't played
with it too much yet, but upgraded somethings.  Anyway, I have a
question about the software.  If there any problems with it that needs
patches.  I noticed that when I see the planet neptune and zoom in on
it, it disappears and even when I zoom out it is still gone.  I need to
zoom out the all the way to see it again.  In addition to that and more
importantly, when I click on certain objects, it comes up and say "no
object found".  For example, when I click on NGC 6910 I get that
message.  Either I have settings setup wrong, or its need a fix.  Or is
there another reason why this happens?  The name of the software under
the help menu is "Meade Autostar Suite Astronomers Edition Version 3.19"

Thanks Matt
Mike here: When you say you have the #506 cable, do you mean you also have the #494 AutoStar (no number keys on the keypad)? If so, there are NO user installable software updates for the AutoStar. Are you selecting the object in the software or the AutoStar itself? Also, it sounds like you are using the focus knob as a "zoom control"; it is not used to "zoom" in on an object. When in focus, the object will appear at its smallest, not its largest, for a given eyepiece.

And:

Yes I do have the autostar #494.  When you say there are NO installable
software updates what does that mean?  When I observe I do not use the
computer to controller it, I use the autostar handbox.  The problem I am
having is the software that came with the cable.  Independant of the
telescope, just messing around with the software, I click on a object,
like the moon and I get the object not found (in light green) in the
gray popup box.  Other objects I click on will provide the object
description selection within the popup box.  However, when I do a search
for an object within the software the cross hairs point to the object
and I can then get the object information, but sometimes the cross hairs
are not where the object is?  Like for the moon, when the cross hairs
pointed to the moon it was not on the moon icon in the software and it
was off by an 1" on the computer screen.  I find that to be very
strange.  Has that happened to anyone one else?  Sorry that you thought
I was talking about the telescope through the software.  It has nothing
to do with the telescope, just the software.  The zooming I was talking
about was clicking the +/- buttons on the tool bar in the software. 
Hope I helped to clear it up some.
Mike here: Some models of the AutoStar can be updated to new versions of its software using software available on Meade's web site. The #494 can not be upgraded. As to the software on the computer, I don't have an answer to that one.
Subject:	Re: Dave Lassiter & Autostar Suite
Sent:	Sunday, October 29, 2006 03:23:22
From:	dass717@aol.com (dass717@aol.com)
Tried 1 & even two powered hubs. Does not make a damn bit of difference.
I cannot run two cameras; one for autoguiding & one to image. This is
really frustrating me now. Just can't do it. You would think Meade would
address these issues. I have a lot of money invested in their products.
I really must admit I feel disgusted with them at times. At present if I
want to autoguide & image at the same time I am going to HAVE to use TWO
separate computers. Don't know what to do. Wish I could get this out to
some guys who are autoguiding & imaging. Apparrently I need some serious
help here. Don't really know which way to go now. Vince & Wayne at Meade
don't have any answers right now. How can we get in touch with someone
who autoguides & images with these cameras? Thanks for your patience &
help. Dave.
Mike here: You could check out some of the Yahoo groups for some help.
Subject:	Meade Autostar
Sent:	Sunday, October 29, 2006 02:21:14
From:	Mia
My friend and me are novices and we just purchased the Meade Autostar
software/camera including LPI.

I googled help on it and came across your details.

Do we need a telescope that can be controlled by a PC??

Thank you.
 
Mia
Mike here: The LPI can be used with any telescope however you won't be able to use some of the features of the AutoStar Suite software that require a Meade AutoStar-controlled telescope and a Windows computer connected to the AutoStar.
Subject:	Dave Lassiter & Autostar Suite
Sent:	Saturday, October 28, 2006 10:51:46
From:	dass717@aol.com (dass717@aol.com)
Thanks for your help putting me in touch with Mr. Seymour. OK.  Here is
my problem. Any help or advice will be appreciated. I am now ready to
autoguide. I have a DSI & a DSI 2. OK. I activated 1 camera to
autoguide. It works fine. BUT I cannot get the second camera (to image
with) to activate & open Envisage again for the second camera. Talked to
both Meade autostar suite troubleshooters & they said I needed an
external power hub for my laptop to power the second camera. Well I
still can't run 2 cameras off 1 laptop. By the way I do have a very late
model Toshiba laptop. Very capable machine. They claim autostar suite
supports several cameras. I can't support 2 at one time. What do I need
or have to do here. Please help if you can. Dave.
Mike here: The DSI imagers are very power demanding. You probably do need to connect an externally powered USB 2 hub. Connect that to the laptop USB 2 port and then both cameras to the powered USB 2 hub. It is possible that you might need TWO powered hubs to drive two DSI imagers.

And:

Thanks. We'll try it at the computer store. I'll let you know then. God
bless ya. Dave.

Subject:	Re: Drizzle/LXD55 Issues
Sent:	Sunday, October 8, 2006 17:37:11
From:	Ted Rafferty (raff650@erols.com)
I saw Jamin Otto's Oct 4, 2006 e-mail on Drizzle/LXD55 Issues. Maybe the
following might be of some use, though it is a very confusing
description.

When I wrote up the description of Drizzle alignment method
(http://www.weasner.com/etx/astrophotography/2006/drizzle.html), I
thought of including a description of the procedure Meade introduced for
taking images to combine using the Drizzle method. Though I tried the
procedure, I felt it wasn't something I could use effectively.
Unfortunately, Meade has implied that the procedure for taking images is
part of the Drizzle method, which it really isn't. The main feature of
the Drizzle method is the way the frame sizes are enlarged and the
alignment can be done at the sub-pixel level of the original frame size.

Since I stopped using the procedure Meade introduced for taking images
for the Drizzle method, my description of the procedure might not be
correct, but maybe my impressions of how the procedure works might prove
useful. The Meade procedure for taking images for the Drizzle method
requires two imagers. One imager takes the frames to be Drizzled and the
second imager is used move the telescope between when the frames are
taken. The second imager appears to be setup for auto guiding, though it
doesn't actually auto guide during the exposures. The first step is to
place a guide star in the center of the second imager's field of view.
When using the AutoStar auto guide feature, a guide star is selected by
"drawing" a square box around it and a cross hair appears inside that
box that is centered on the star. When "guiding" is started, a circle
with a cross hair inside of it appears. When the cross hair in the
square box is not aligned to the cross hair in the circle, AutoStar
operates the slow-motion of the mount to align the two cross hairs.
This, of course, requires the necessary cable between the computer
running AutoStar and the telescope. When the Drizzle option is selected,
the first exposure is taken with the square and circle centered on the
guide star. After the first exposure, the automatically moved circle
cross-hair to the upper, right hand, corner of the field of view of the
second imager. A short amount of time is allowed for AutoStar to move
the telescope so that the square cross-hair, which is fixed to the guide
star, is closer to the circle cross-hair. AutoStar stops trying to move
the telescope when it takes the next image. At the end of the exposure,
AutoStar once again moves the telescope a little closer to the circle
cross-hair, but once again it is stopped when the next exposure is
taken. What is happening is that the telescope is being moved a short
distance toward the circle cross-hair after each exposure. After
numerous exposures, the telescope is moved far enough that the square
cross-hair and circle cross-hair are aligned. When this happens, the
circle cross-hair is automatically moved to the upper, left hand, corner
of the field of view of the second imager and the sequence of small
movements of the telescope between exposures is repeated. The circle
cross-hair is automatically placed at the four corners of the field of
view of the second imager during the full procedure. As each image is
taken, it is Drizzled to the one proceeding it, thus creating an image
that is larger and at a high resolution that a single image.

The problem I had with this procedure is that the exposures are NOT auto
guided. The guide star is only used as a reference to make small
movements of the telescope between exposures. Due to the periodic errors
in the RA gearing of my LXD75 mount, I am unable to take exposures
longer than between 15 and 30 seconds without trailing. Plus to go
through the entire procedure of placing the guide star in all four
corners of the field of view of the second imagers, the number of image
taken and the amount of time necessary to take all the exposure is
significant and I don't believe is worth the effort. I feel that it was
better to take images that were auto guided and then to Drizzle align
them during post image processing.

After reading this, you likely see why I did not include it in my first
description of Drizzle.
 
Ted Rafferty
Gaithersburg, Maryland  

Subject:	have i wrong disc  for dsi?
Sent:	Sunday, October 8, 2006 05:31:04
From:	MARIA WESLEY (mariawesley@btinternet.com)
hi, ive just got ex demo dsi camera, it came with autostar (lpi) disc
and latest copy of autostar v3 update on a cd copy disc. i was told to
install autostar lpi suite, and then the up date disc after this plug
the dsi camera in and it would work. but all i keep getting is  new usb
hardware found and then, an error occurred during installation of the
device, the installation failed because a function driver was not
specified for this device instance. is this because i was given a lpi
disc insted of dsi disc? i called the guy who sold me dsi  to ask him,
he said autostar lpi and dsi are the same, you just need to put the
update on as well before it will work. my friend as the same laptop,
dell latitude c600, he loaded his dsi with original autostar dsi suite
and the camera worked first time,he does not have dsi or software
anymore for me to try, so we loaded my autostar lpi suite cd then the
download up date copy, his laptop said the same thing and dsi would not
work!! i cant get original dsi autostar suite cd from seller, he said it
went in the bin! but what i want to know is his he right both dsi and
lpi the same, or do i need dsi original autosuite?
 
thanks maria
Mike here: You can get the current AutoStar Suite updater from Meade's 4M site (http://www.meade4m.com/). That may fix the problem. Note, a previous version must be installed for this updater to run.
Subject:	Drizzle/LXD55 issues
Sent:	Wednesday, October 4, 2006 11:26:33
From:	Jamin Otto (Jamin.Otto@newvectors.net)
I have been having a problem getting the drizzle function to work on my
lxd55 scope.  I am able to use the programs to control the scope but I
keep getting a message box telling me that drizzle wont work when I try
to use it to take pics.  It says something like "drizzle wont work, hit
enter to continue without it or hit cancel and press autotrack then hit
start again"   Maybe I am just confused on the capabilities of drizzle,
I thought it was able to correct my scope in order to keep the picture
centered.  But regardless of what it does, I still cant figure out why
that message keeps appearing.  Hopefully you can point me in the right
direction.
 
Jamin
Mike here: Don't know if it will help but see the article "AutoStar Suite Drizzle Alignment" on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. Being a Windows application I haven't used the AutoStar Suite very much.

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