AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 September 2002
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:	Re: not fully programed autostar (initial question is further down the page)
Sent:	Monday, September 30, 2002 9:00:56
From:	loking01@earthlink.net (loking01@earthlink.net)
It goes into download mode but will not take any of the info it is sent.
The only thing it would do is delete the list of asteroids and replace
that list. That is why I thought that it might take a clone down load to
get what isn't there put there. It would train the drives but what
appears not to be there is the list of available stars for an alignment.
 Thanks Brian

etx@me.com wrote:
>Can you put it into the Download or SAFE LOAD mode?  If so, try the 
>download that way.  Don't know if cloning will work with only a "partial" 
>program.
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
Without seeing the traffic in the earlier messages,
i'm just guessing (that's never stopped me)...
but was he trying to Clone a 497 into a 495?
(or wildly different firmware versions of a 497?
(pre-v1.3 would be "wild").)
The 497->495 will refuse to cooperate for the programming, but will allow
"Catalogs".

That's all i can think of at the moment.
--dick

Subject:	ETX 70 Autostar, USER OBJECTS is FULL
Sent:	Sunday, September 29, 2002 9:12:31
From:	Strgzzr8@aol.com
The USER OBJECTS file space is full on my ETX70.  I deleted all the
objects entered and even tried to modify them, then I also used RESET. 
Now I have NO USER OBJECTS at all and still get FILE SPACE FULL message.
How can I clear this file so I can continue entering user objects via
the hand controller ?
Jeff
And from our Autostar expert:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Ouch... if you have a 494 Autostar (no numeric keypad), the ONLY
way to overcome this problem is by using a 506 cable/converter set
to have the Updater (on a PC) rewrite that memory section (by doing
a "retrieve data"/"send data" cycle).
One of the features lacking in the 494 (due to its restricted memory) 
is "garbage collection".  "Deleted" items are merely removed from
the index, not actually erased (and their space made available).
In a 497 Autostar, you'd see "File space full... reorganizing"
and it would spend a minute shuffling the deadwood away.

You -might- try calling Meade and deal with it as a service question
(who? me? suggest playing dumb?)... 800-626-3233
I'd be curious about their response...

Since you can frequently find 495 or 497 Autostars on eBay for about the
price of a 506 cable/converter set (no, you cannot home-build one),
this might be a fine time to consider upgrading...

good luck
--dick

Subject:	re: Autostar MADNESS!!!!
Sent:	Thursday, September 26, 2002 23:21:40
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	y1leaninp@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk
Yes, the Autostar is Meade's contribution to avoiding underemployment
of psychiatrists....

But, while you're waiting for a slot in the NHS's busy schedule,
your Autostar symtoms sound suspiciously like you haven't got
the correct telescope model selected.

The regimin of "Reset, Calibrate, (and eventually Train)" may fix your
problems. 
So that's  Setup>Reset [enter][enter]

Among the ensuing dialog, it will ask you to choose your Site.
Then it will ask for your model ... which is just like:
Setup>Telescope>Model [enter], and scroll to your model.
Even if it has the ">" selection flag in front of it, press [enter]
to reselect it.
Now tap [mode] once, and scroll to Setup>Telescope>Calibrate
and press [enter]... the motors should each move a bit.

Now power down, count to 5, power up and try aligning again.
I think you'll find it's MUCH better.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	DS mount and autostar
Sent:	Thursday, September 26, 2002 14:32:30
From:	tdkerns@yahoo.com (Tom & Debbie Kerns)
I have a DS mount with a 494 autostar.  I have adapted it to fit my
ETX90.  When using it with the autostar, I have noticed poor ALT
accuracy.  It consistently slews to a point well below the star I want
to view.  I have gone through all the training tips, alignment tips etc
mentioned on your page to no avail.  I have also checked out the system
using landmarks.  If I save a landmark, then slew around the sky a bit,
then goto back to it (say a distant mountain or something), it seems
more often than not it stops a couple degrees below the object.

Does anybody have any suggestions?

Thanks for such a great page with tons of info!!

Tom
Alaska
Mike here: It sounds like something might be slipping or just that training needs to be more accurate.
Subject:	not fully programed autostar
Sent:	Thursday, September 26, 2002 8:24:46
From:	loking01@earthlink.net (loking01@earthlink.net)
I sent my 125 in to get it fixed and also sent my autostar with it. I
ended up geting a new 125 but they didn't send back my autostar. I told
them and they sent me a new autostar. I trained the drives then took it
out that night and tried a two star alignment and nothing happened. I 
went to the Meade web site and tried to down load the latest version and
it would not take the down load. I called Meade they told me that the
autostar was not fully programed and that it happens sometimes. It was
taken of the assembly line to early. My question is. Is there anything I
can do with it but send it back to Meade? I was wondering if it can be
cloned with the good one they sent. I have never cloned an autostar
before.   Thanks for the help Brian.
Mike here: Can you put it into the Download or SAFE LOAD mode? If so, try the download that way. Don't know if cloning will work with only a "partial" program.
Subject:	autostar patch
Sent:	Tuesday, September 24, 2002 3:50:42
From:	dwturner@adelphia.net (Donald Turner)
Having trouble w/LX90 getting v26ec patch installed;  files were
downloaded along w/rom file into correct directory but AU appears to
keep installing new Meade version but not w/patch updates;  I've never
installed patches before and obviously I'm doing something wrong but not
sure what.  With the pathed files (5) and build.rom file there are 6
files in directory, correct?  Autostar  recognizes new Meade version and
asks if I want to install 26Ec again from local drive. I click on this,
correct?  Please help/adivse;  thanks!
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
> Having trouble w/LX90 getting v26ec patch installed;  files were
> downloaded along w/rom file into correct directory but AU appears to keep
> installing new Meade version but not w/patch updates;  I've never
> installed patches before and obviously I'm doing something wrong but not
> sure what.  With the pathed files (5) and build.rom file there are 6
> files in directory, correct?  Autostar  recognizes new Meade version and
> asks if I want to install 26Ec again from local drive. I click on this,
> correct?  Please help/adivse;  thanks!


From that list, it sounds like you have the patch kit files
 and the build.rom  file properly in the 
c:\Program Files\Meade\Asu\Ephemerides   directory.

Then you should double-click on the "Click_me_build" file,
and a black window should open and tell you that it's getting 
ready, and will ask to to tap a key (the "return" is fine).
Then a line will appear saying "if there were no messages 
above this line, the patch was successful"
That should only be done once... attempts to do it again
will get messages above that line asking if the patch was already 
applied.

After doing that, the Ephemerides folder should now have -seven-
files.  
The five from the patch kit, a "build.rom" and a "build.rom_bak"
(if you have Windows set to hide the file types (.rom, etc.) 
you will need to right-click on the two "build" files to see their
properties, or you could set Explorer to show the file types)

If you do NOT have TWO "build" files in your Ephemerides folder,
the patch didn't "take"... and the messages above the "if there
were no messages above this line" line would tell me why.
Don't bother to start the Updater, you still have only MEade's
original version.

If you -do- have two build files, then:
Start the Updater... at the display offering local/internet,
tick the Local choice.  The "26Ec" is displayed in a drop-down list.
 Click the [v] arrow to the right of that  line to expose the other
versions... hopefully you'll see "26Ec" and "26eC" (note the uppercase
and lowercase differences)... click the "26eC" to select it,
and click [ok]  to send it to the Autostar.

Review the above, compare it to what you have, and feel free
to tell us what you're seeing.  If the patch didn't "take" (i.e.
you still only have one Build.rom file), i'd need to hear what the
patcher's error message was to diagnose further.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Purchase of a 495 Meade controller.
Sent:	Monday, September 23, 2002 18:56:16
From:	EricCVogel@Comcast.Net (Eric C. Vogel)
I have a DS-114ATE. What are the chances of being able to update this
one to 497 is there a code for one that can an cannot? I bought it new.

Any Idea of where to find the adapter to make the PC connection cable? I
followed 2 links off your site. One wanted $10-$15 + just for shipping a
$3  under a 1/2 pound part, the other warehouse.com doesn't seem to
carry it? I saw one with a male serial at RadioShack.com, and that was
it.

Thank you.
Eric
/*-----------------------------------------*\
  Eric C. Vogel 
  Computer Talk Shop List Owner:
          http://www.computertalkshop.com
\*-----------------------------------------*/
Mike here: Instructions for making a #505 cable for the #495 and #497 Autostar are on the Autostar Information page. The current software on Meade's Autostar Update page will update a #495 Autostar to a #497.
Subject:	Re: re;Motor Unit Faults
Sent:	Monday, September 23, 2002 2:46:06
From:	thewall@nl.ibm.com (Frank Van Der Wal)
To:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Hi Dick,

Thanks for the info.

In the meantime I cleaned the Alt encoders as well, saw some grease and
deleted it, hoped that it would solve the problem, it looked like it for
10 minutes but then the MUF returned...

I also checked the reading on AS as you discribed (holding down the MODE
key for 3 secs, release and scrolled down) and I found that sometimes
the Alt-reading didn't update while the motor was running in sidereal
mode. Touching the arrows on the AS somehow kicked the reading back to
life and on it went. Untill the motor suddenly shifted a higher gear for
a sec or so, then the MUF came on....

About the distributors, it's possible. Since I bought the scope second
hand I'm not that familiar with the dealers knowledge.

Frank van der Wal

Subject:	Autostar MADNESS!!!!
Sent:	Monday, September 23, 2002 2:41:24
From:	y1leaninp@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk (y1leaninp)
just got my autostar but i think i'm doing something wrong. I point it
north,(in line with polaris) and set the declination to 0 degrees. Im in
Alt/Az mode (i'm waiting for a tripod to come) Then, when i do easy
align, and it chooses a bright star, it turns and there is nothing
there. No bright stars. So i got out my star charts, and found the star
and played it in the field of view. (using the handbox) pressed enter.
It then went on to the next star. Again no bright star to be seen. I
found it on the star chart and pressed enter. (again using the handbox).
"Align Succesful" Great , I thought. So i decided to try a star, to test
it. I knew where mizar was and at the time it was east of polaris. it
moved CCW to try and find mizar. No mizar. I then told it to find
polaris. I later found polaris using the handset, synched it, and told
it to find a star that was one of the alignment stars. It couldn't find
it!

This is my first use of autostar, and i believe i had everything in
order. (time,site, date, daylight savings), but yet it won't even point
me near any of the stars. in fact sometimes its out 90 degrees......ANY
ADVICE would be greatly appreciated. I've already had an autostar
replaced, i've been told this is a brand new one, straight from the
suppliers. cheers Peter Leaning

Subject:	re: Alt movement
Sent:	Sunday, September 22, 2002 22:04:28
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	mfaria@comcast.net
You're not seeing things... the ETX -does- sometimes move 
the other axis when you slew one, in Alt/Az.

I -think- that it's trying to compensate for the time spent slewing
(or something like that).  It's sidereal-related (i.e. it only 
happens if the sidereal drive is running, and it either happens
when you're slewing with, or against (i forget which) sidereal
motion for either axis.

I've been trying to find the cause (and sending notes to Meade about
it) for over a year...

You can -minimize- it by Drive Training... but it'll still pop
up in some corners of the sky.

It does go away if you're polar mounted.

have fun
--dick
And:
From:	mfaria@comcast.net (Mark Faria)
Interesting. I'll retrain the drives with a higher magnification and see
if it reduces the amount of movement, and then try it in polar mode to
see if it goes away. Thanks for the info!

Mark

Subject:	Solar Epheremis
Sent:	Sunday, September 22, 2002 0:03:11
From:	thx1326@swbell.net (Thx1326)
Any chance you would know where to get an updated download for the
AutoStar 497 for the sun.  I do allot of solar observing and would like
to try my hand at solar photography.

Thanks
Sherf
Mike here: Don't know about an ephemeris but Heavens-Above has current RA/Dec for the Sun.
Subject:	Alt movement
Sent:	Saturday, September 21, 2002 22:49:54
From:	mfaria@comcast.net (Mark Faria)
Been visiting your site for a while and had a number of issues resolved
with the information posted on it.

One problem I noticed tonight was that after slewing to an object, I
would center the object in Azimuth and the Altitude would move as well! 
What would cause this and is there any way to correct it?  I thought
I've seen this information previously posted on your site, but was
unable to locate it.

Thanks!

Mark

P.S.  Forgot to mention that I have an ETX 90/EC, mounted in Alt/Az on
an 884 tripod!
Mike here: Pressing on one slewing button should not cause slewing in another direction, regardless of Alt/Az or Polar section. You might try the old standby of RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN.

And more:

After more thought, is it possible that the RA has some side to side
'slop' that may get tilted when slewing? After checking the scope, there
is no actual motor slewing (most notable in a higher power eyepiece),
just image shift in the eyepiece. I'm going to check this as well as
your suggestions.

Thanks!  Great site!  Built the 505 cable set and downloaded the latest
version of Autostar without a hitch.

Mark Faria
Mike here: It could be that an axis lock is slipping then.
Subject:	Setting lat and long on ETX -70AT
Sent:	Saturday, September 21, 2002 8:20:55
From:	Scott.A.Nicolson@btopenworld.com (Scott)
I have just bought myself the meade ETX70 and live a long way from where
the nearest city is ie I am at about 58 24, 57N and 6 26,27W. How can I
put this into my #494 Autostar.
Thanks in advance
Scott Nicolson
Isles of lewis, Scotland
Mike here: Go to Setup-->Site-->Add or alternatively, -->Edit to edit the closest existing site so that you are sure to get the values correctly entered.

And:

Thanks for the fast reply I am absoulty new to this whole hoppy and it
is just starting to get dark up here now a days at 58N 6W

Subject:	Re: re;Motor Unit Faults
Sent:	Saturday, September 21, 2002 6:56:37
From:	thewall@nl.ibm.com (Frank Van Der Wal)
Well, this is the point of where frustration begins to get nasty.

Last week we had some e-mail exchange about the MUF's.  I checked the
website, did a lot of reading and finally got the guts to open up the
ETX125EC in order to do some cleaning up and fine tuning etc. The
instant MUF errors did disappear and I thought this was the end of the
error era, let's go and do the observations. I found out that after some
time the scope decided not to track anymore, went on spinning and there
he was: another MUF.

Mike wrote that the new software for Autostar might be helpful and after
purchasing the cable and installing the software I calibrated, trained
and reset all the things according to the TechTips information on the
Mighty ETX site....But still, after some time (let's say 10-15 minutes,
the scope spins in RA and the MUF pops up...... After the MUF-message I
can press MODE, in doing so the motortesting starts, and the Autostar
resets it self.......Not often I can go on, align the scope again and
wait for another MUF, while observating.

If I don't press MODE I can still spin the RA motor and after 6 seconds
the motor stops. This is repeatable as well as to the left and right.
Only the RA motor is involved. I connected an Ampere meter to see if the
current went up during just before the motor dies, but the digital
sampling of my meter is not very reliable to make a good diagnostics. I
don't see the current going up, but again if its a small peak, the
sampling and the delay of my Amp-meter might miss it. (I don't have an
oscilloscope) If I connect the normal EC, I can spin either side without
the motors stopping. Another 'strange' thing should be mentioned. The
error on the AS display says then 'Under Constructi', the 'on' is
omitted due the length of the display (I guess). Still the scope can be
turned around left and right for the amount of 6 secs.

In order in trying to pinpoint this error, I decided to disassemble the
scope a bit further. On the ScopeTronix site I learned how and I've
managed to remove the wormwheel. I Just wanted  to be sure that if the
error keeps coming up, its in the electronics or the gear train. Well,
it is apparently. With the wormwheel not touching the worm-axis, I still
get the error message after about 10- 15 minutes.

The encoders are cleaned, the latest software has been downloaded,
calibrations has been done, training etc..... Any ideas?

Frank van der Wal,

                        The child is grown, the dream is gone ........
And from the expert:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
I wrote:

> I'll have to look at the firmware to see what's still "Under
> Construction".
> You usually only get there if the Autostar itself has consumed garbage.
> But Meade -moves- that message as they continue to improve the firmware
> to handle unexpected situtations..

I've looked... "Under Construction" only should show up 
if you attempted to chase a hyperlink of an unrecognized type.

"What?" you ask?  In the scrolling messages, there are links
surrounded by [square brackets].   If one of those had a key 
letter (invisible on the screen) which Meade hadn't coded for,
you'd get that message.
In theory... that's the only path leading to it.

Of course, totally berserk operation of the Autostar could also
lead to it (or the Autostar thinking it -was- asked to look up 
a topic with garbage in the object-type identifier).

That is how the firmware is written...

have fun
--dick
And more from Dick:
The continues-to-spin symptom usually indicates loss of communication
-from- the telescope -to- the Autostar.  Or encoder failure (dead LED?).
The Autostar sends a "move at this rate" command...
the telescope starts.
The Autostar periodically asks "where are you", and the encoder
 circuitry (hopefully) responds.
If/when the Autostar finally gets an answer which doesn't match its
expectations, it sends a HALT! command and puts up the MUF message.

So, from your description, it's a failure inside the scope, or
the cables or (perhaps) the Autostar's receiver circuits.

My etx90 cut through the insulation on its Dec cables inside the base
and had similar symptoms... including the 6-second spin.
The cutting shorted the datalines to the power lines and blew out 
componets on the encoder card, the Autostar -and- the hand controller.
Back to Meade...

You might be able to see similar "6 second" motion by powering up
without -any- controller plugged in... since the data and command
lines are simply floating free, the motor cards see "noise" and 
start moving... they may oscillate, move stutteringly or cleanly
in one (or the other) direction... it's random.  But that's what's
happening.  

Inside the base, the plugs on the power panel leading to the separate
RA and Dec (up the shaft) circuits are "insulation displacement"...
they depend upon the wire being pressed firmly into the metal teeth
of the plug's pins for contact... it that pressing wasn't good 
enough, you could see these symptoms... try pushing from the back
of the plug with a toothpick (or similar) to more firmly "seat" the
wires.   That might fix it.

But all in all... it sounds like it will require a trip to Meade.
It could be a faulty filtering capacitor on the RA motor card, 
or a poorly seated pin on the main HBX cable (you -have- tried 
swapping that cable end-for-end, right?), or a "cold solder joint"
somewhere on the RA drive or Autostar circuit board... etc.etc.

I'll have to look at the firmware to see what's still "Under
Construction".
You usually only get there if the Autostar itself has consumed garbage.
But Meade -moves- that message as they continue to improve the firmware
to handle unexpected situtations.. 

The normal Hand Controller has little problem since it does NOT
ask the telescope to report its position.. it just says "move"
and depends upon -you- to recognize when to stop.

good luck
--dick
And even more on this:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
> The problem I'm facing is that 'back to Meade' is a bit awkward in the
> Netherlands. I should look for a good dealer who has knowledge of their own
> but I rather do it myself but sometimes you get to the point where it
> stops.

I was under the impression that the national distributors Meade uses 
frequently have moderately-well equipped and trained repair stations.
For "unit repair" items like the ETX125's motor cards, i would hope
that they would have a supply in-country, rather than requiring the
full cycle to Meade US.  Both the UK and Australian importers have
repaired people's telescopes on-site (based upon users' reports).

> What I'm interesting in are two items:
> 
> Does Autostar always checks *both* motors for their positions?

Yes, once every second or so... both motors.  If you hang an oscilliscope
on the wires you can see the interrogation and replies.  It's also in the
programming.

> In a previous reply to my problem, you wrote that AS communicatates with the
> motors and asks frequently for their position. I concentrated only on the
> RA motor unit for it seems the rebellion, I didn't check the DEC one nor
> cleaned the encoders for they are difficult to reach.

Simply commanding an Alt/Az GoTo using each motor independently checks them.
Lean on [mode] for 3 seconds, Release.  (you should see RA=/Dec=)
Scroll down once to Alt=/Az=  
Press [goto]
That now becomes an input screen.   Simply press [enter] to accept
either value, and use the number keys to change the other ... press
[enter] a second time and the slewing commences.

> Another thing that struck me, and perhaps you can fill me in on that, is
> that after the MUF messages pops up and I press MODE, the Autostar restarts
> itself as if I powered off/on. Does that sounds familiar or can it lead to
> somewhere?

The Autostar knows that alignment is lost... it's forcing the issue.
Sometimes, if you press [enter] instead of [mode] to a MUF, it
-performs- a calibration test (slew up, slew right).

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Re:  time zone for Cape Cod, MA.
Sent:	Thursday, September 19, 2002 5:53:36
From:	magibbs@webtv.net (Margaret Gibbs)
Thank you for your prompt response, Mike. I'm glad you agree with me and
am surprised that 2 different customer service reps at Mead insisted it
was +5.  Perhaps they have the old versions.

I really appreciate your web site.  Margie
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
What i always do for problems like this is: ask the Autostar.

Simply enter an Autostar-known city, perhaps: Boston...
then use
Setup > Site > EDIT >  
to either scroll down to see what the Autostar did for Boston
-or-
Edit the Boston entry -to- Cape Cod
(you can change the name, the lat, the long, and the zone).

I believe you will find that Cape Cod should be Zone= -5

That is independant of you being in (or not in) Daylight Savings.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re:  Help with autostar-Meade update
Sent:	Wednesday, September 18, 2002 21:17:47
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	david.averett@jordan.k12.ut.us
...and the other page to read is the end of:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html

which describes how to build a 505 cable...
so at least it provides a pinoput you can compare
to your "generic" DB9 adapter and phone cord.

It requires a -handset- (not line) cord (narrower plug)
at the Autostar end... and it plugs into the second hole at
the bottom of the Autostar, NOT into the "aux" jack in the 
ETX-125.

Due to the age of your firmware, you will need to
 choose Setup > Download  
on the Autostar keypad before starting the Updater.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Cartes du Ciel
Sent:	Wednesday, September 18, 2002 18:36:32
From:	pscalisi@comcast.net (Paul Scalisi)
Can Cartes du Ciel be used to control an ETX 90 with an 497 Autostar. I
just got my scope and I LOVE your web site.
Thanks and regards,
Paul Scalisi
And a well-timed earlier email:
Subject:	Cartes du Ciel interfaced to Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, September 17, 2002 21:25:05
From:	res04t65@gte.net (res04t65)
Here is a great freeware/shareware GUI program with a completely
expandable catalog/library inventory. It will interface directly with
the LX-200/Autostar/Magellan series of Meade controllers.  It has the
capability to move the scope to selected objects on the screen.

Did I say it was FREE and with DOCUMENTATION and SOURCE CODE?

=> http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/

yours in observing,

---* Ken Beck
Mike here: It is listed on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	time zone for Cape Cod, MA.
Sent:	Wednesday, September 18, 2002 12:46:53
From:	magibbs@webtv.net (Margaret Gibbs)
I would like to enter my longitude and latitude into my 497 autostar for
my 125 ETX.  My question concerns the time zone entry.  I know I am 5,
but am I + or -- ?  Mead tells me +, but when I enter that, the first
slew is to sirius which is not visible at the time I'm viewing.  I'm
betting it should be --, but I'd like to hear it from you. I didn't know
time zones are = or -, but since the autostar asks for one or the other,
I guess they use such a designation.

Thanks, Margie
Mike here: The complete answer really depends upon the version of the Autostar ROM you have. Per the item in the FAQ, "In really old Autostar versions, West Longitude was positive. It was changed in 1.1m to West being input as negative. That was true until version 2.1Ek and newer; they actually use the word EAST or WEST." And since local time is calculated by subtracting from GMT, the time zone is negative (mine shows -8.0). Don't forget to select the proper Daylight Savings setting.
Subject:	Starry Night ver. 4
Sent:	Wednesday, September 18, 2002 12:23:13
From:	pst@ksu.edu (Paul St. Amand)
Hey ETXers:

Starry Night version 4 will be out at the end of October. See the web
site (www.starrynight.com). Looks like the graphics have been improved
and they now have an "observation planner" as part of the program. They
are taking pre-orders for new copies and upgrades for Mac OS X and
Windoze. Prices are from ~$80 to $180 depending on if you get an upgrade
or new copy.

Paul St. Amand

Subject:	Help with autostar-Meade update
Sent:	Tuesday, September 17, 2002 7:08:06
From:	david.averett@jordan.k12.ut.us
I bought a ETX 90EC used over the weekend and the autostar comes up with
an old bios of 1.0 and the autostar does not seem to work as described
in the online instructions.  I see others on your website have
sucessfully used the Meade update software and updated their autostar
controllers.  I was at a star watching group this past Saturday and a
brand new upper end meade telscope worked great with the newer autostar,
it was very impressive.

My question is do I need to a special Meade brand/model of DB9 to RS-232
serial port adapter or does the phone connector wire have a special
twist to it to use the meade software and sucessfully flash/update my
autostar.  I found a generic adapter and modular phone connector.  I am
hesitating to use my connectors it in fear that the wrong connectors
might damage the autostar or the telecope.  I would be surprised if the
generic adapter and phone connector would damaged anything since they
are store bought and I have not modified them in anyway but I still
wanted to get an experts opinion or explaination if needed before I
connect this up and power up the computer.

Thanks, Dave
Mike here: Check the Autostar Software Archive on the Autostar Information page. And then read the "Important Download Information" at the top of the Archive page. You may or may not need to follow the sequential upgrade and thus may or may not need some of the versions on the Archive page.
Subject:	Autostar manual contribution
Sent:	Monday, September 16, 2002 11:09:55
From:	gunta@socal.rr.com (Bob White)
Since the link to Meade's Autostar .PDF manual has been down for some
time now and I have been unable to find an Autostar .PDF manual anywhere
on the internet, I made a manual from Meade's HTML web pages.  This
includes everything I could get from Meade's site (FAQ, LX200 command
differences, etc).  So I guess you can call this a SUPER Autostar
manual.  (MS Word; 288K zipped).

Bob

Subject:	Plea for help!
Sent:	Monday, September 16, 2002 1:48:40
From:	mike@stableimages.co.uk
Please, please help me!

Brilliant Site!  Brilliant Scope, but the AutoStar, well, I am seriously
considering taking up an easier hobby like Brain Surgury or Particle
Physics!!!! No matter what I do or what order I do it in I can't get the
confounded controller to accept that I want to work in Polar.  It
insists in staying in Alt/Az.  I find the relevant page in the
Mega-menu, change it from Alt/Az to Polar, hit Enter and carry on, but
as soon as I go back to check, there it is sitting in Alt/ Az, sneering
at me and suggesting that I am stupid or something!  I tried doing it
after I'd told it I wanted Astronomical targets not terrestrial ones,
just in case it couldn't understand why I wanted to chose Polar while I
seemed to be looking along the ground, but still no joy!

How do I beat the darned thing and make it do what I want it to do?

Yours,
"frustrated of Bridgnorth, England"
Alias
Mike Wootton
Mike here: Are you saying that tracking is always in Alt/Az mode (movement on both axes), or the Autostar display always displays the ">" by Alt/Az, or that the Autostar always comes up with Alt/Az being the first one in the list? The ">" should be pointed at the current selection, regardless of what displays first.

And:

What a difference a ">" makes !!!  I am so used to menus on things like
data projectors, video monitors and cameras, where your selected item
comes up first that I had completely missed that all important ">".  Yet
again, operator error rules!

Thanks so much for your help.  I will now carry on and familiarise
myself with the rest of the menu.  I am beginning to understand what was
meant by the quote that Meade make great 'scopes but terrible manuals! 
Thank goodness for your site and all the people who are prepared to
share their wisdom with others.

Thanks again,
Yours gratefully,

Mike Wootton

Subject:	re;Motor Unit Faults
Sent:	Sunday, September 15, 2002 23:49:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	thewall@nl.ibm.com
After that saga of MUFs and grease... 
i think 90% of your MUFs (if not all) were caused by the grease.

If you are still having some, do another Setup>Teelscope>Calibrate.
That adjusts the LEDs shining through the encoder wheel.

See http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_info.html

for the background information, and perhaps the patents:
 6,304,376 and  6,392,799  at:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html


have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: Same Autostar on 90 and 105
Sent:	Sunday, September 15, 2002 23:46:00
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	ebyt7@aol.com
For best operation when moving an Autostar between two scopes,
you should also (first) do a Setup>Telescope>Calibrate[enter].

In my opinion it's more important than training.
(avoids Motor Unit Fault messages).

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Motor Unit Fault (yet another)
Sent:	Friday, September 13, 2002 11:07:44
From:	thewall@nl.ibm.com (Frank Van Der Wal)
Although I've searched your very helpfull site, I can't find a proper
answer to my Motor Unit Fault. On my ETX125 with Autostar, I've trained
the motors, I've choosen both Polar and AltAz mode but if I setup the
the system and is going to slew, it stops after 2 seconds stating the
Motor Unit Faults error message. After pressing the Mode button on the
Autostar the telescope is turning clockwise and up a bit and then comes
the same message again.

I've reset the Autostar and changed batteries, no results either.

I've also checked if there is no obstruction: there isn't as well as
first turn the telescope completely counterclockwise and the clockwise
until the declination scale is above the Computer Control....

Does this means there is really something wrong or do I overlooked some
essential item.

Many thanks in advance......

Frank van der Wal,
thewall@nl.ibm.com

                        The child is grown, the dream is gone ........
Mike here: Does the standard handcontroller work for slewing in all directions? If so, it could be that the Autostar cable is bad. But check the mount mode and telescope type in the Autostar first. Also, do a Calibration from the menu. Lastly, you might try upgrading to the current ROM from Meade's website.

And:

Thanks for coming back to me so quickly. I'm so anxious to get the gear
working properly and we had just two bright, clear night down here.....

But yes, the EC works fine in all directions, as well as the Autostar if
I do not Setup the telescope. Strangly though is that with the EC it
seems that holding down the 'Mode' button for two secs doesn't get me
the right result. From the manual I read that it should light the two
oppermost LED's and blinking the bottom two. That doesn't happen. The
focus buttons doesn't work either....  So in my humble opinion it has
something to do with controls, so your suggestion to upgrade the ROM
make sense.

I've checked and set the mount mode (AzAlt to start with) and the
telescope type. With calibrating I've got the same message on the
autostar (Motor Unit Fault)

I will try the cable and do the download.....

Thanks again.

Frank van der Wal,
And:
Today I spent nearly all day to figure out what the Motor fault could
cause. I didn't downloaded the latest software yet.

I figured out that the MUF is caused bij the RA motor only. When I was
looking at the Autostar's Statistics (I believe it was...) I noticed
that when the RA motor was turning, no or very few changes in the
display, whereas I moved the scope up/down the DEC-figure was constanlty
changing... Very relunctantly I decided to remove the baseplate and try
to find a mechanincal defect in the base, but apart from some minor
things everything looked OK to me (but them again I'm rather new in
this...) The minor things where the very short and fragile black wire
from the battery unit and I found the connectors on the two circuit
boards very easy to release, but they wher  in place.

What I found out is that if I connected my Autostar to the system
(baseplate still removed) and moved the RA motor it was sometimes
halted. I couldn't see any reason why, it just stopped. After releasing
and pressing the '>' button again, the motor just went on as if noting
happened. This happened in both directions.  I decided to connect the
normal EC and this didn't happened. The motor kept on spinning until I
released the button...

So, still the download awaiting for me, and as far as I can think of
it's more controls than a 'real' motor issue. I'm not sure which is
worst.....

Do you know what makes the motor telling the control what the posistion
is? There must be some communication between the motor and the Autostar
to do all the clever tracking stuff. Could it be that there is someting
wrong in that part? If so, do you have any clues?

Thanks again!

Frank van der Wal,
Mike here: There are encoders that "read" the position of the gears. If those are dirty (covered with grease) you can get errors.

And:

Where are those encoders located? Is there a picture on your side?
Mike here: Yes, there is. See the article "Inside the ETX-125EC" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

About the download. I was hoping (in vain as it turned out) that there
was a way to transfer by InfraRed, but it seems that I have to purchase
the cable first. (I noticed an IR eye on the Autostar.... but for future
purposes, I suppose)

Any way, I'm a bit confused. You talk about the ROM software, I suspect
this is different from the actual Autostar software? How can I check on
which version I am at the moment?

In your Autostar section I see different chapters (software and Patches)
on the Meade Website I see Autostar model #497 version 26Ec (445 KB)"-
software and  "Autostar Update (ASU) Client Application for Windows,
Version 3.61 (2,079 KB)." Which is the one you mean by updating the ROM
software?
Mike here: The LED you see is a "flashlight" or "torch" (in the UK). The Autostar ROM can be updated by use of the Windows application. You need both the application and the ROM file from Meade's site along with the cable (which you can buy or make). To see what version you have currently installed in the Autostar, go to the Setup-->Statistics menu.

And a good news update:

Well, some day it was and the good news is: Autostar seems to work
pretty OK.

What did I do? Well, not a lot, really. I did clean the encoder. I
couldn't find any dirt on the transmitter or receiver, cleaned it anyhow
but I saw some little dots of grease (it seems they have bought a bulk
container of that at Meade) on the wheel that rotates between the
encoders. I try to make that clean, and it worked but @$%#, some job it
was. There must be an easy way of doing that, and I surely must read
through your information, but I just try to do it 'blankly'. I managed
to get one screw of the little printed circuit board into a little whole
in the motor! Don't  try this at home! You wouldn't succeed, but I did
it. To get that little screw out of the little hole was a nightmare.
Anyhow, all the bit and pieces cleaned and put together again. I found
out that the silly MUF-messages disappeared. Al least for some time.
Than once I saw the message again, and somehow the Autostar reset
itself, Initialization was done and eversince it works....

Perhaps the little dots of grease where in the way, but somehow I'm not
convinced. The MUF-error I got was sometimes right away and sometimes
after spinning the RA for about 270 degrees. In the latter case the
greasy wheel must have past the encoder many times.  But hey, what am I
complaining about. It works.

Fortunately it was a clear evening and I went outside in my backyard
(close to Amsterdam, so the pure visual result was very poor) calibrated
and trained the drives, align the scope (AltAz for now) and it was
searching some stars, I centered them and YES, it worked. I searched
Andromeda, and there it was, Not quite dead centered, but then I should
do all of your improvements (in due corse)

Only thing that bothered me was after the 5th object the Autostar was
way out of tune. Not even in the same constellation. I gave it a rest. I
will contact a dealer tomorrow for the cable to download the latest
files, and I shall implement your mechanical and electronics
improvements. Although it seems that in my toolbox I can't find any
matching hex-tools. I use different toolsets but I think mine are on
metric scales rather than inches or feet or whatever, So I can't loosen
the OTA to start with. Something that can be overcome....

Well, Mike thanks very much for your support so far. The only reason I
dare to open the telescope is that there is somebody out there being
supportive! Your credit! If you're ever coming to Holland....

Subject:	Same Autostar on 90 and 105
Sent:	Thursday, September 12, 2002 20:32:19
From:	ebyt7@aol.com
I have an ETX90EC and a recently acquired 105EC with UHTC.  Both are
great scopes and are excellent and fun performers when trained and
operated properly.  A question - the new 26eb software allows one to
pick the scope model including the 105EC.  I don't want or think I even
need to do a RESET when changing scopes, but am pretty sure I would need
to do a TRAIN MOTORS if I change scopes. Is this correct?  Does Autostar
keep training information separately for each scope or remember only the
last TRAIN MOTORS data?  I had the Autostar trained for the 90 then
re-trained it for the 105, so is the data for the 90 gone forever?  It
would be nice if it stored the TRAIN MOTORS info for each scope
separately then  called it up when the particular scope model was
selected.

PS, the optics in the 105 are really quite fine - only problem I had was
the DEC hard stop was busted off and rolling around inside the right arm
hub.  Its a piece of aluminum about 3/8" and slightly curved - don't
have a DEC stop now but doesn't seem to affect the operation or GO TO
accuracy.  Thought the dealer should have checked this before shipping.

thanks,

Tom
Mike here: You will have to reTRAIN when switching telescopes, whether the same or different models.

And:

Thought so Mike, and thanks for the quick reply!  PS had some great
nights out recently with both scopes, looked at lots of objects I
haven't seen in years.  These scopes are amazing values.

Tom

Subject:	New ASCOM telescope drivers
Sent:	Thursday, September 12, 2002 14:57:21
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Just a quick note that Bob Denny has released the long-awaited 2.0
version of ASCOM telescope drivers that can be used for computerized
control of virtually any telescope; this new version comes after a lot
of hard work and testing for the Meade firmware updates of late (v2.6ec
for LX 90 and ETX scopes and v1.3t for the LX200 GPS scopes).

According to Bob:
".....For more information, log on to the ASCOM web site at:

http://ASCOM-Standards.org

and see the full text of the news release at:

http://ASCOM-Standards.org/nr-09Sep02.html

There are two versions of the Platform: the full one (10MB download)
which supports all versions of Windows and contains optional developer
information and driver source code, and a smaller "run-time" version
(3MB download) which is less than half the download size, but contains
neither developer info nor required Microsoft patches for Windows 95 and
98, and thus cannot be used with these versions of Windows. If you have
Windows 95 or 98 you must use the full version of the Platform...."

Dr. Clay

Arkansas Sky Observatory
www.arksky.org

Subject:	firmware 26Ec now at Meade's website
Sent:	Tuesday, September 10, 2002 17:41:32
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
Wouldn't ya know it... i -just- get 26eB's patch kit out,
and Meade produces  26Ec  which
 "adds Quiet slew to the LXD55 line"

That's on page:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html

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

(oh, lord... they called it "build.rom" again... 
 oh, my aching patch kit...)

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Autostar Help
Sent:	Friday, September 6, 2002 17:13:07
From:	dbeard@verizon.net (Beardsley)
I was downloading the latest update to my Autostar.  Had in plugged into
AC (n/batteries in the ETX), lost power.  No all the autostar does is go
stay on the Autostar screen.

any suggestions.

David Beardsley
Mike here: You will probably have to put it into SAFE LOAD mode. See the article "Bad Download Recovery (SAFE LOAD)" on the Autostar Information page.
Subject:	ASU 3.61 error
Sent:	Friday, September 6, 2002 11:33:54
From:	eregouf@hotmail.com (Dr. Paul Fougere)
I have downloaded the ASU 3.61 on my mac.  I transferred this file to my
VPC 3.0, where it was unzipped .   When I try to run the program AU2,  
it stops with the strange message "AU2 failed to create empty document" 
.  I will also try to contact Meade .

Thanks for your help.

Paul F. Fougere
Bedford MA
Mike here: That's a strange one. I suspect it might be a Windows or VPC version problem.
Subject:	GOTO accuracy
Sent:	Thursday, September 5, 2002 6:42:00
From:	vidap@sbcglobal.net
I am a new user of an ETX90EC.  I have read many of the items on your
website, and I have read many of the postings on the Yahoo message
board...all of which have been very helpful.

Maybe I'm expecting too much...I'm expecting that after I align and tell
the ETX to "go to" an object, that the object will be "dead center" in
my FOV.  That isn't happening.  The scope will slew and park in the
general direction of the object, but it won't be in the FOV (using the
26mm eyepiece).

I am aligning using the Alt/Az easy two-star method.  When I do that, I
have the two stars "dead center."  It doesn't make sense to me...if I
have the two alignment stars "dead center", the computer should know
exactly where everything else is...precisely.  I have "trained" the
scope using methods from users that I have found on your website.  I am
careful to enter the precise time.  I am careful to have the scope in
the "home" position, again, based on methods from users on your website.

I have read postings of other owners of the ETX90 who proclaim that when
they "go to", they get "dead center" results.  If I can't "dead center"
how can I expect to observe deep sky objects?

I feel like I'm missing some crucial element in my setup and/or
alignment process. I was very excited about getting into amateur
astronomy, believing that the ETX90 with Autostar as being a fantastic
way to view the heavens. But my excitement is turning into frustration. 
Any suggestions you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Barry Waldman
San Antonio, TX
Mike here: There are several reasons why objects won't appear "dead center" on a GOTO. The most common reasons are errors in the lat/long for your location, time errors, TRAINing errors, and not centering precisely during the star alignments. From your description I would suspect either a location error or a training error. You might a Polar alignment to see if that makes any difference. You didn't say what version of the Autostar software you have but if not 2.6Eb you might upgrade it (assuming you have the cable and Windows). Lastly, alignments usually improve as you gain experience.

And:

My Autostar is either 1.0 or 1.1 or 1.something...I will download 2.6Eb
and give that a try.

Thanks so much for your help and quick response.

Barry Waldman

Subject:	auto star
Sent:	Tuesday, September 3, 2002 21:25:59
From:	Mariol066@aol.com
Alex Villalobos  

What alignment would be the most accurate on a lx 90. one star, two star
or easy I was thinking one star would be the best for me but is it
accurate
Mike here: The best alignment is TWO STAR. That gives the Autostar the most points in the sky with which to use for the calculations. Doesn't matter if you use EASY or not. Just be certain that the stars are not near the Pole Region and use stars that are about 90 degrees apart.
Subject:	Motor Faults
Sent:	Tuesday, September 3, 2002 12:13:54
From:	marc.delaney@ntlworld.com (Marc Delaney)
My ETX-105 and its Autostar almost always does this, even in the
currently warm British weather: Once it's been set up in the field,
aligned and operating for about half an hour it develops a "Motor unit
fault", and I have to realign it. Then it works okay. Any ideas what is
the problem?
Marc
Mike here: Have you RESET, CALIBRATED, and TRAINED lately?
Subject:	Patch for Autostar 26Eb Update
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 17:48:24
From:	I_M_Happy@netzero.net
I was updating my autostar, and I noticed that the patch at your site is
only for 26Ea.  Can I use that patch for the 26Eb Update, or should I
wait for a new patch?  I will not update without a patch -- I don't
leave home without one, if you know what I mean.

Thanks
Mike here: Strongly suggest waiting for Dick Seymour to release the patch for 2.6Eb.
Subject:	Satellite tracking with ETX-70AT
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 13:27:59
From:	brbstellar888@email.msn.com (BRUCE BOWMAN)
I just visited your web site. It is great. I am doing a lot of satellite
tracking with my 7x50mm scope moving it by hand. I am planning on
purchasing a ETX-70AT if it can do what I need it to do. I am tracking
faint satellites so I need to set up at the culmination point of the
orbit (i.e. max elv and closest range). I run my own look angles so I
know at what point of the orbit this point is. Can I set the ETX-70AT to
approximately this position in the sky (the max el point) so I can
acquire there and track from there? I have been reading the ETX-70AT
manual and the Satellite Tracking article on your web site, and I still
am not sure I can choose my location. The manual states that after the
scope is at its chosen AOS then I can just continue to press enter to
get it to the max el point and pause it until the satellite comes
through. Is this really correct? I would appreciate any help with this
because I do not want to purchase the scope if it will not do this. The
satellites are too faint to pick up at low elevation.
Thanks for the help.
Bruce Bowman
Mike here: If I'm understanding what you want to do, the answer is "maybe". You can point the ETX at any location in the sky and then slew manually to track a satellite. But if you want the Autostar to "acquire" and track for you, then you have to let the Autostar do what it wants to do and not start at some other position.

And:

Thanks for the reply. There are a couple of things I am still not sure
of. I read an article on your web site where someone said they removed
options from the patches because the latest Meade software allows you to
set AOS at max elv. or specify the elevation. I am assuming that if you
set AOS this way then it will track for you when you see the satellite.
However, I do not see this in the Meade manual. Also, I thought that you
could not manually track (i.e. move the scope manually). If you do this
do you then have to realign the scope to get the correct RA/Dec to use
the controller again?
Mike here: You can manually slew the telescope USING the Autostar arrow keys. You're correct that if you move the telescope (the other) manually (by hand), then you lose the alignment.
Subject:	Resolving COM Issues
Sent:	Monday, September 2, 2002 10:26:38
From:	hachey_paul@hotmail.com (Paul Hachey)
It's a learning process...  Anyway, I thought I would share this little
adventure.  I wanted to upgrade my Autostar to the latest rev (26E) and
considering this would be my first time with my brand new ETX125C I
crossed my fingers.  So, in a nutshell, I corrupted the ROM.  After a
lot hair pulling I finally found out everything I did wrong and maybe
someone could benefit from my experience:

1. Choose the right cable, I have a PC so you really DO need that
thin/thick connector.  Doh.

2. Being a PC Guru I figured setting the COM Port to 8/N/1 was all that
I needed, well, it won't work if you have ANY flow control active
(XON/XOFF or Hardware).  You have to set this puppy to "None", just like
the manual says...

3. Lastly, in the configuration of the COM port click on "Advanced" and
TURN OFF "Use FIFO buffers".  Now this one surprised me as there is no
mention of it anywhere in the instructions but with FIFO Buffers on the
firmware would "load" and almost immediately complain that there was
something wrong with my connection, it is also a sure fire way to mess
up the ROM.  Now, I could also have reduced the size of the buffers but
I figured OFF works so why mess with it

With all that set it worked like a charm (thank goodness for Safe
Load!).

Good seeing - Paul Hachey

Subject:	etx 125 and autostar problems
Sent:	Sunday, September 1, 2002 23:25:09
From:	tomvitacco@webtv.net
hi.. i was hoping you could post this message so i can see if other
users have experienced anything like my problems.

i bought a brand new ext 125 and autostar...  after setting it all up/
training/ aligning etc  i would repeatedly get "motor unit failure'
followed by the autostar initializing itself...  ok.. i thought it was
the batteries so i bought the meade power supply.. no help there.. same
failures.. i also would get the message "UNDER CONSTRUCTION"  and the
autostar would lock up or initialize...

i called meade... they seemed no too familiar with that message and told
me to return the autostar for replacement...  i immediately send the
autostar back via usps priority mail (approx 2-3 day to arrive).  at
least 10 days later i call meade and they advise me that they never
received my autostar...  but a helpful guy named chris (i think) said he
would look around and call me back... the next day he calls and says my
autostar has been found.

ok.. my replacement autostar arrives and i go outside that night..   i
reset and train the motors and go to align...  but there are NO STARS
available on the autostar!!  the bottom line of text is totally blank..
even when i go to objects- named stars they're not there..  other
objects are there but NO STARS!!!

i resisit the urge to unplug the autostar and fling it over my backyard
fence so my neighbor's large scary dog could use it as his newest
playtoy...

instead i go inside and download the newest software from meade into the
autostar... woo-hoo!!! the stars are now present...   ok.. i reset,
calibrate motors and retrain...  back outside i have better luck but
still get regular "UNDER CONSTRUCTION"  and "MOTOR UNIT FAILURE"
messages...

the etx will goto objects very accurately with the autostar and the
scope seems to work just fine with the regular controller... i also use
the 1247 autofocuser and align in alt/az mode on the 884 tripod..  i
just keep getting "UNDER CONSTRUCTION"..

has anybody else seen this message???   the etx 125 is my first
telescope and unfortunately i am quite disappointed in meade so far...
for the 1500.00 or so dollars i have spend on this telescope and
accessories (all meade) i wasn't expecting all these problems...

i can say that michael webb at the sight and sound shop has been
extremely helpful and responsive to my emails about these problems...
and of course this website has been absolutely wonderful in expanding my
knowledge of the etx...

thanks for listening to me gripe
tom vitacco
And from our Autostar expert:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com
Try
Setup > Telescope > Calibrate [enter]

the scope will make two short motions (up, right)

and that -may- solve your problem.

Other wise, suspect the power supply,
the motors / axes  may be truly binding.

The message appears when the Autostar does not see the motors moving as far as
it requested.
The "Calibrate" tunes that system.

I can't access my usual "visit this link", but
there's a page on Mike's "autostar info" section
on Calibration and Training.  That explains what's going on.

good luck
--dick
And:
thanks for your help... and your website.. i also have your book which
is great...  i tried dick's suggestion and have also unlocked both axis
and repeatedly rotated the scope from stop to stop in case there is some
small obstruction or extra grease in there..

i've had my ext "aligned' and "tracking" objects in my living room for
the past few hours and i have not seen any errors yet...  i'm really
hoping that my motors and mounts just had to "get settled" in...

thanks again
tom vitacco 

Subject:	re: Autostar Time Setting (UK)
Sent:	Sunday, September 1, 2002 14:11:04
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	matt@mitab.net
Yes, Daylight Savings=YES is correct for British Summer Time

You can set the time zone in either of two ways:
(1) set it for your -standard- offset from GMT... so zero for you.

(2) let the autostar do it: select a "nearby" city, and
  the autostar should set the Time Zone properly.
 Then you can edit the Lat/Long to suit.

If you see the autostar repeatedly pointing 15 Az degrees
away from moving  targets, (moon, planets) suspect the settings...

have fun
--dick
And:
Subject:	UK Time zone Autostar settings
Sent:	Tuesday, September 3, 2002 2:05:14
From:	richardjudge@btconnect.com (Richard Judge)
In reply to the post from Matthew Hunt about the time in the UK. UK time
is the same as Universal time as we are in the same Time Zone as the
Greenwich Meridian.

However, during the Summer we add 1 hour to give British Summer Time
(BST) but the time zone does not change as it is based on our physical
position. The Autostar will deduct this hour if you select Daylight
Saving on. Consequently the Autostar settings for the UK should be:

Time Zone: 0
Local Time: BST  (ie GMT or UT +1 hour)
Daylight Saving: ON

When the clocks go back, on 27/10/2002, Local time will be GMT and
daylight saving off.

I hope this is useful

Best regards
Richard Judge

Subject:	re: AutoStar problem (ISS)
Sent:	Sunday, September 1, 2002 14:10:28
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	robotman@tlab.net
> But when I tell AutoStar it is the above date, time, & to track ISS, it
> gets the AOS & LOS positions about right, and the tracking duration is
>  about six minutes, but the scope never rises above ~15 degrees!

What you're (probably) seeing is mere where the Autostar will
-start- a track... that's not the path.

So: when you see it saying "AOS at..."
Press [goto] so it'll slew there.
After it gets there, it'll start a count-down.
Then press [enter] to start the track.
*now* the telescope will start moving along the path it thinks
the satellite will follow.

The Autostar does not provide a numerical listing of the path
it'll take,... only the start and end points.

have fun
--dick
And there was this response to an earlier suggestion:
From:	robotman@tlab.net (HD Bolch)
At 10:47 AM -0400 8/30/02, etx@me.com wrote:
>For starters, check the ISS articles on the Autostar Information page.
>That may clear things up for you.  Let me know.

I assume you meant the Autostar Information page on *your* website - yes
I did, & got the latest orbital info from heavens-above & meade as well
(they agree) & entered the data in the LX90...now the telescope goes to
~the right place (SW) & starts to track at ~the right time (6:09-6:10 AM
on the 2nd), and tracks at about the right rate & in about the right
direction until almost overhead. Then everything goes to hell. It gives
a little spurt of accelerated tracking then begins to track toward the
horizon _to_the_northwest_(!) finally giving the los alarm just north of
NW!

Now, it's been some thirty years since I took Goldstein's " ' Mechanics"
but I remember my LaGrangians well enough to know that there ain't no
satellite gonna come up in the SouthWest, track to overhead, then set to
the NorthWest!

Besides, Sky & Telescope agrees - it is supposed to disappear 10 above
NE. ;^)

Anyhoo, I will get up, set up, & probably waste a holiday morning on a
recalcitrant scope. I will let you know...

Thanks for the hint,

-HD
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
> telescope goes to ~the right place (SW) & starts to track at ~the
> right time (6:09-6:10 AM on the 2nd), and tracks at about the right
> rate & in about the right direction until almost overhead. Then
> everything goes to hell. It gives a little spurt of accelerated
> tracking then begins to track toward the horizon
> _to_the_northwest_(!) finally giving the los alarm just north of NW!

There are lots of ways to address this problem:

(a) expect the telescope to blow it on high-altitude passes 
 ... the LX90 cannot spin as quickly as an ETX90, so has greater
problems.
If you manually slew the RA during the problem area, you can recapture
 and follw the down-track.

(b) newer firmware: MEade -has- worked on this part of the tracking
code.
...if you're not running 26Ea or 26Eb, you don't have their latest stab
at it.

(c) don't try for passes about 75 degrees elevation... in Alt/Az mode.
 ... Meade now allows satellite tracking in Polar mounting, and i switch 
 to that (with an LX200gps and my ETX90) if i see that the predicted
path
 (www.heavens-above.com) is going to be near-zenith.  Conversely, Polar
 has severe problems if the path will approach Polaris.

My own methods are a mix of (a) and (c), with consistent (b).

...and there'll be another pass in 90 minutes...

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Patches by Dick
Sent:	Sunday, September 1, 2002 07:49:17
From:	srife@swbell.net (Stan Rife)
I only see one problem, maybe I am missing something, but Dick's
instructions for patching the .rom files refers to the Meade file names
as "build26ea.rom", etc. When I download the latest file from Meade this
is not the name of the file...it is named simply "build.rom".
Consequently his patch will not run on the file. I actually have the
2.6Eb (latest), and it will not run on this file anyway because the
checksum is not correct, is my guess.

To make Dick's patch and filename scheme work, it seems to me that you
have to temporarily change the filename to what is required by Dick's
patch, then once the patch is complete, change the filename back to the
original so the ASU will recognize it. Is my assumption correct, or have
I missed something here?? These files come from Meade with the name I
described above, after you unzip them.

Stan Rife
Houston, TX
And:
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
This actually requires -two- answers:

(A) Hey! Stan! You're trying to use the 26eA kit on 26eB... DON'T DO
THAT!


(B)  that being said, his concern will be addressed when i create the
26eB kit.

Long answer:
>     I only see one problem, maybe I am missing something, but Dick's
> instructions for patching the .rom files refers to the Meade file names
>> as "build26ea.rom", etc. When I download the latest file from Meade
> this is not the name of the file...it is named simply "build.rom".

Unfortunately, the filename you get depends upon your method of
download,
and Meade's whims..
If you used the link on Meade's page to get the *26EA* (not B) ZIP file
package, the encased ROM file was really named build26ea.rom .
The current (B) release returns to the horrible habit of
no-version-number.
That's bad, since it means it might overwrite the previous version on
your
PC, which destroys your ability to back-track.

Once on your PC you may permanently rename the file to anything you
want (i don't think it even requires ".rom" these days, but that's
a foggy memory)... and the Updater will find it.
So it can be "build.rom", "buildzebra.rom", build26a4.rom  ...
and the updater will still offer it in the drop-down Local ROM file
list.

> Consequently his patch will not run on the file. I actually have the 2.6Eb
> (latest), and it will not run on this file anyway because the checksum
> is not correct, is my guess.

Correct... each kit is -specific- for the version... i have not created
a 26eB patch kit yet.  (it's not just the checksum, it's the patch 
process which is double-checking and blocking you from a horrible
mistake).
Since i -do- custom-create the "click_me" file, it -will- know the
correct filename (or rename the file for you).  See answer (A) above.

> To make Dick's patch and filename scheme work, it seems to me that you
> have to temporarily change the filename to what is required by Dick's patch,
> then once the patch is complete, change the filename back to the original so
> the ASU will recognize it. Is my assumption correct, or have I missed
> something here??

As stated above, the final filename doesn't matter (you'll notice that
the updater finds build26a4.rom quite happily).  The 26eB kit will know
what to do.

have fun
--dick

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