AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 January 2007

Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, 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:	505 cable
Sent:	Wednesday, January 31, 2007 04:46:21
From:	john iannelli (john_i47@yahoo.com)
I have had the LXD55 sc-8 scope for 3 years now.  I have not upgraded
the autostar since i purchased the scope.  Where can i get the latest
upgrade and can i still use the #505 serial cable.  Are there any bugs
that i should be looking for in the upgrade.
 
Thanks
Mike here: The upgrade is available from Meade's Autostar page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html). Get both the AutoStar Update application (version 4.6) and the AutoStar update (4.3Ed). The serial cable should be fine as long as you have a RS-232 serial port on your computer. If you have only USB see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX Site. If you use Mac OS X get "AutostarX" (same page); if you use Linux get "Lin_Autostar" (same page).  No reason to not upgrade and many reasons to upgrade.
Subject:	upgrade 497
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2007 06:08:46
From:	Henrik VAN HOLTHOON (henrik.van.holthoon@wanadoo.fr)
I did the upgrade to 43Ed (497) not direct but via the hard disk I think
this is a safer procedure.

But I am surprised that you say it takes only 20 minutes to upgrade, my
upgrade took about 50 minutes so how is it possible you do it so much
faster? I have not found you can set the baud rate faster if you can set
anyhow, anywhere etc.

By the way I direct upgrade takes also about 50 minutes.

Have fun Henrik
Mike here: When I do the upgrade from Mac OS X (using AutostarX) it takes about 26 minutes via my USB-serial adapter.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
That is how i update, too.  Meade->disk, disk->Autostar.
However, even "online" the ASU first copies the file to your
disk and -then- does the update, so it's moot.

> But I am surprised that you say it takes only 20 minutes to upgrade, my 
> upgrade took about 50 minutes so how is it possible you do it so much 
> faster?

Two answers: (a) i suspect you had "Verify" chosen.
That more than doubles the time, since first it writes to
the Autostar, and then it reads it back.
Without verify the time should be in the 20 to 30 minute range.

**note: i have -not- used the newest (4.6) Updater on a 497.
Meade may have changed something (such as making "Verify" the default).

(b) I use StarPatch from www.stargps.ca to perform my updates.
It is much more "robust" about maintaining a good connection to
the Autostar than Meade's Updater.  It is also faster.
In its "free" mode, it fills half of the Autostar in -one- minute.
Then it drops to "Meade speed" and finishes the update in 9 more minutes.
(if you register/pay your copy, then the -entire- update takes 2 minutes).
...and those timings are -with- checksummed verification of the upload.

> I have not found you can set the baud rate faster if you can set anyhow, 
> anywhere etc.

Depending upon your PC's serial port's capabilities, StarPatch can
operate at 115kbaud with a 497.  With an LX200gps it may go faster.

If you have two 497's, and the proper "cloning" cable, they can directly
cross-update (Clone) themselves... that takes 8 minutes or less.

> By the way I direct upgrade takes also about 50 minutes.

In the days of "dial-up" modems, the on-line update took another
20-odd minutes just for the Meade->you download.

have fun
--dick

And an update:

Hi Dick,
Thanks for your response.

I checked ASU and you are right verify is on in my version ASU 4.6 as
default as you correctly assumed. But I decided to leave it on, better
safe then sorry, even if the upgrade takes longer. I use also BlueStar
Bluetooth connection that might be also a delaying factor. As I do not
have a laptop with a serial connection I can not use the 505 serial
cable.

Not clear to me was you remark it's moot, must be an American expression
but I think you mean it makes no difference.

Regards Henrik

And:

That was its intended meaning.
I thought it was old Engligh, but see below...

The definitions listed here:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moot
cover moot fairly well ("render it moot").

The "usage note" on that page describes the drift of the meaning
towards my specific usage, and is from the American Heritage
dictionary, so my usage may well be an American peculiarity.

have fun (with words, too)
--dick

And more:

But now that i'm in my library with my hard-copy OED,
i see that a "close enough" version of the usage
is cited from 1577, which clearly predates most
European settlement of the American continent.

"Moot" as "arguable" has a reference from 1000.

have fun
--dick
OED: Oxford English Dictionary

Subject:	ASU - translate
Sent:	Saturday, January 27, 2007 00:14:44
From:	Marco {Stojnci} (s52sk@yahoo.com)
I just came random on your web page and it is nice, manny usable
information. So i owe also Meade AR6 telescope on lxd55mount. My
computer can great communicate with teloescope, but I have question. I
am also wrote to meade but no answer until 2day.

Can someone tell me if is possible to translate for example english
version of rom data to Slovene language? I hava try everything with all
possible programs and when I upload Rom file to Autostar report
failure???

I would like to translate only hot keys, aligning etc.. all other
database bill stay same

Please help

Regards Marko Vidovic from Slovenia - Europe

Marko Vidovic
www.kasiopeja.com
Mike here: There are different language versions of the AutoStar ROM available from Meade's various international web sites. If your language is not available you could manually edit the text in the ROM file before uploading it to the AutoStar. As long as you don't change the length of the file you might be OK. I've never tried this so I'll let our resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour, confirm it is safe to do.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike Weasner wrote:
> There are different language versions of the AutoStar ROM available  
> from Meade's various international web sites.  If your language is  not 
> available you could manually edit the text in the ROM file before  
> uploading it to the AutoStar.  As long as you don't change the length  
> of the file you might be OK.  I've never tried this so I'll let our  
> resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour, confirm it is safe to do.

It is not -quite- that simple... the Meade ROM file has a "checksum" at
the beginning... any changes you make have to affect that sum, too.

As Mike wrote, the message -lengths- must remain unchanged (they
can be shorter if you fill the field with spaces).

You can recalculate the checksum:

The checksum is a "simple sum" of the entire ROM file,
-except- for the first 4096 bytes.  Then the checksum is
stored in "Intel-order" (least significant byte at lowest
address) in the 4th through 7th byte in the ROM file.
If that checksum is not correct, the Meade Updater will
say that the file is corrupted.

I'd be happy to help, and i can recalculate the checksum if you
send me the modified ROM file (plus zip it!).

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Updating Autostar Software
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 11:20:47
From:	Dan Mitchell (danmitchell6111@yahoo.com)
I have an ETX-60 with what I think is a #494 Autostar controller.  I was
given this telescope back in 2000 and I've only just begun to seriously
use it.  So it is practically brand new despite its age.  My work has
required me to move to remote locations quite frequently and the
telescope was never able to come along.  But now I am finally sedentary
and I have a pretty decent view of the night sky.  My questions are:  Do
I need to update the Autostar software since it is seven years old?  AND
If so, how do I do that?  I do have the cable that is used to connect
the telescope to a PC.
 
Thanks,
Dan
Mike here: Meade has not made any user-installable update for the #494 AutoStar available. Generally speaking, your AutoStar will still GOTO objects OK. If you do want to be able to update your AutoStar, get a #497 AutoStar. You would then also need a #505 serial cable (easily made; see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page).
Subject:	ETX upgrade
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 10:09:46
From:	arno.becker@astro-schnack.de (arno.becker@astro-schnack.de)
sorry to bother you again.
(BTW: is there any mailing-list or how do you all communicate ?)

When reading the Setup-statictic
i found the Version 26 gc

looking here http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html
i see that obviously the actual version already at "Autostar model #497
version  43Ed  (479 KB) is available" (does that fit my memory ?
statistics says only 37K free)

does the "Autostar Update (ASU) Client Application for Windows, Version
4.6 (1,654 KB)" do the transfer via RS232 from PC to Autostar ?
(me no cable have ;);)

anything to consider when upgrading ? i read the various hints but no
one refers to upgrade from 2x to 4x version.

would be nice to hear something from you.
take your time, i am not in hurry

best regards and a nice weekend
Arno
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Yes, it fits... it replaces all of the existing firmware and
fixed-object data in the Autostar.
The "37k" is what it free in the 63KB area reserved
for User Objects (satellites, comets, asteroids, Tours).

>does the "Autostar Update (ASU) Client Application for Windows, Version 4.6 (1,654 KB)"
>do the transfer via RS232 from PC to Autostar ?

Yes.

>(me no cable have ;);)

You can cable build.
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html

>anything to consider when upgrading ? i read
>the various hints but no one refers to upgrade
>from 2x to 4x version.

First FAQ: yes, you can upgrade directly to 43Ed from
your current version.  No need to take intermediate steps.

>would be nice to hear something from you.
>take your time, i am not in hurry

Good thing: the upgrade takes about 20 minutes.
-after- you get/build a cable.

have fun
--dick
Mike here: There is an ETX forum on the Yahoo Groups.
Subject:	ETX-90EC Autostar Alignment Failure
Sent:	Friday, January 26, 2007 08:25:33
From:	Kenneth J Goodnow (goodnowk@us.ibm.com)
I love your site.  I bought a ETX 90EC (slightly used) about 3 years
ago.  It works well as a telescope, however, I have never been able to
get the Autostar to work correctly.

I used the web pages that talked about how to clean up all of the
problems.  I followed this guideline.  I cleaned everything, greased
appropriately, updated the software.  This was two years ago.

After doing all the work, I went through all of the setup problems and
took it out for a spin.  The first alignment did not work.  The second
alignment worked.  The first object viewing was right on.  The second
was not in the viewer.

I tried aligning a third time.  Did not work.  Took the scope out about
three more times, never aligned.

So the scope sat there all last year, I was too frustrated to deal with
it.  It's getting to be time to go outside again.  (I live in Vermont.) 
So I was thinking of trying to get going again on this hobby.

So my question is what should I do.  Any suggestions. 

Thanks,

Ken Goodnow
Mike here: Since you weren't specific in the steps you have followed I will make some recommendations. CALIBRATE MOTOR, TRAIN DRIVES, and read the Alignment Tips on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Also, you didn't say what version of the AutoStar software your AutoStar has but if not the latest you might want to consider updating it.
Subject:	Problem with 43Ed?
Sent:	Sunday, January 21, 2007 16:29:45
From:	radowningii (radowningii@comcast.net)
Have put 43Ed on my 497, & have tried the
<reset><calibrate><train_drives> a number of times.  The drive training
'fails' during the RA/declination training...  The object is centered,
<Enter> is pushed, & the drive *sometimes* slews (the other case is that
it doesn't, but you're still prompted to re-center the object), but then
the left-right buttons don't work...

If I just go directly to manual control, all appears to work correctly
(all buttons move the axes).

Any reports against 43Ed?

Thanks,

Rob
Mike here: Haven't received any problem reports. Could you be overtightening the axis lock? Have you tried a RESET and then a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Have you tried reloading the ROM? If all the above fails, you can roll back to the previous version (in the Archive on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page).

And:

Thanks for the reply.  I *don't* think I could have been
over-tightening, under the theory it just wouldn't move at all, but...
The only thing I haven't really done is reload.  I guess I'll try that,
although I didn't see any error indications.

Thanks,

Rob

Subject:	re: ETX 497 Autostar freezes
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 21:08:44
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>  the screen glows red as usual, and the buttons are lit,

That's a key clue... if you try letting the Autostar sit
unmolested indoors for more than ten minutes, you'll see
it go into "power saving" mode... -part- of which are
all of the LEDs (screen and keys) going dark.

So i think your Autostar is just being bothered by the
cold (moisture can also do this...was dew forming on
everything?  Dew inside the autostar can appear to it
as all (or at least "many") keys being pressed.

The trick is to keep the Autostar warmer.
Don't let it just sit out "seeing the sky" (and trying
to radiate all of its warmth to deep space).
Put it -under- something, or (as i do) inside a mitten.
Keeping it warmer will keep it happier.

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Good point about dew. Where I've used it at low temps (Arizona desert) dew hasn't been a problem.

And:

From:	Carleton Gotlieb (gotliebc@msn.com)
I'm sure cold is to blame, possibly in combination with a small dose of
dewing as the air rapidly cools, causing a short. I discovered the
difference last night between a good power-saving condition (Autostar
completely dark, then wide awake at the touch of any button) and a bad
one (lit up but non-functional). Thanks for the responses and the mitten
idea. I will try that.

Subject:	re: Autostar #494 serial to USB cable modification question
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 21:03:37
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike correctly wrote:
> The problem is converting from the RS-232 serial protocol to the
> USB protocol. Just wiring it up doesn't change the protocol.

I tend to view "protocol" as the patterns in the information.

What will really bite you if you were to try directly wiring
the DB-9 to a USB socket would be the voltages...

The USB and DB-9 (rs232) signals also differ wildly in voltages.

The USB is a unipolar (only goes positive) low (+5v max) voltage
system.  Typically the signal levels are only 3.6v.

The rs232 levels are bipolar (goes both positive -and- negative
relative to ground) much higher (12v or more, 25v and 50v are "legal")
voltages.

If you plug an rs232 source into a USB compatible port,
you stand a very good chance of severely damaging the USB drivers
and receivers.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Autostar #494 serial to USB cable modification question
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 09:11:22
From:	Doc @ I40 Auto (i40autoinc@coxinet.net)
I recently came into possesion of a Meade Ds-2080at with the #494
Autostar. I also have a laptop with no 9 pin serial port just USB's.

I have been reading with interest all the ways people have built cables
to plug their Autostar into a laptop equipped with only USB ports. My
question is, why is the DB-9 to USB adapter needed? Since only three
lines are being used from the autostar to the db9 and USB only has 4
wires (1 +5v, 2 data (+,-) and 1 ground) would it not make better sense
to just splice a USB male connector to the Autostar cable instead of
running it through an adapter? This way it seems only the ground and the
data lines will be used (connections 2,3,4 in the USB plug), same set up
as the db9 mod. The USB +5v can be ignored unless someone figures out a
way to use it to power up the autostar.

Or does the DB9 to USB adapter have other circuitry in it to convert the
serial signal to USB?

Thanks for considering this question.
Clear Skies Forever
Bill King
Del City, Oklahoma
Mike here: The problem is converting from the RS-232 serial protocol to the USB protocol. Just wiring it up doesn't change the protocol.

And:

Ah so.  Makes sense, Thanks for the quick reply. I forgot about the
protocols I thought the drivers handled that.

Subject:	Hi Mike
Sent:	Thursday, January 18, 2007 06:02:23
From:	John Courtney ((N)) (John.N.Courtney@PWGSC.GC.CA)
I upgrade to 4.2g. What the hell are they doing. It does not name the
guide star and it ignores the mount limits.

I want to go back to about 3.6.1. I understand that you may have the old
updates. Can you tell me which one is the best to use and the URL.

I have a 16" LX200 GPS
Thanks
John Courtney 
Mike here: I have the older AutoStar #497 updates on my ETX Site (on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page) but I don't archive AutoStar II updates (for the LX200 GPS). If by "guide star" you mean the alignment star names, there is a setting for Brightest Star in the AutoStar Utility menu (for the #497 AutoStar).
Subject:	ETX 497 Autostar freezes
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2007 21:21:47
From:	Carleton Gotlieb (gotliebc@msn.com)
Occasionally, and usually on a cold Phoenix night (like around 40
degrees F), my hand controller freezes up. That is, the screen glows red
as usual, and the buttons are lit, but nothing shows on the screen
(completely blank), and none of the buttons work. This happens most
often when I go in the house for awhile (leaving the scope continuing to
track), but it also happened the other night during my observations. The
motor is still running and tracking the object in the eyepiece. But to
use the autostar, I have to turn off the power and start over. Any ideas
why this happens? I know most folks live in colder areas but I've never
heard of this before.
 
Thanks!
Carl Gotlieb
Mike here: I've used my AutoStars down into the 30s without problems. There is a power saving mode that turns off the display after several minutes without any key presses. Pressing any number key should get the display back. Have you tried using the MODE key to wake it up?

And:

None of the buttons wakes it up, and I did hold the MODE button for
about 3 seconds and that didn't work either.  Based on your response, it
sounds like this power-saving mode, if that's what it is, isn't working
right. I will see what happens on warmer nights as we get into the
spring.
Mike here: Try the test indoors.
Subject:	RE: Replacement hand controller for Meade ETX 105
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2007 23:22:01
From:	Carter, Lynne (Lynne.Carter@capita.co.uk)
Thanks for the advice, Telescope House had them even though they were
not on the posted catalogue and one is on its way to me.
Cheers, Lynne Carter.

Subject:	Re: ETX direct programming
Sent:	Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:34:22
From:	JC Havaux Out of Office (jc_havaux@yahoo.com)
Thanks I will browse in it. Very complete site. congratulations.

bye

Subject:	Re: ETX 90 question!
Sent:	Monday, January 15, 2007 19:06:19
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>> My personal question consist on controlling this ETX 90 device  trough 
>> a personal computer. I got this device with the only purpose  of 
>> moving this motor either up and down or left to the right, and I  do 
>> not have the telescope itself. Therefore are many instructions  that I 
>> can not controll (I guess). For the second I found out that  many 
>> functions does not work at all. I have one manual of an lx-200  but 
>> only few commands works. Up to now Im able to move upward,  downward 
>> and sidewards, with four differents  speeds... (:RG#,  RC#, :RM#, 
>> :RS#) where Rs goes up to a speed of 1200x. with RM  unfortunately i 
>> dont know the speed...

The current published Meade document is:
http://www.meade.com/support/LX200CommandSet.pdf

The current firmware accepts
:R1#  :R2#  :R3#  :R4#  :R5#  :R6#  :R7# :R8# and :R9#
which are the equivalents to tapping those keys on the keypad.
Thus 1x, 2x, 8x, 16x, 64x , 0.25 deg/sec,, 0.5 deg/sec, 1.5 deg/sec and "Max"

>> The second question if you know how can I control the device to  move 
>> only a certain distance. I dont see direclty the commands that  can 
>> help me with that.

You would use the :Sa  and :Sz  commands (set Azimuth and Altitude),
and then the :MA# command, which will cause the Autostar to Go there.
You can use the :Ga# and :Gz# commands to determine the current location,
and then add the displacement you wish and issue the appropriate
Sa  and Sz  commands.

have fun
--dick

And:

Whoops... i forgot to answer this part:

 >> with four differents  speeds... (:RG#,  RC#, :RM#,
>> :RS#) where Rs goes up to a speed of 1200x. with RM  unfortunately i 
>> dont know the speed...

RG is "Guide speed", which is 66% of sidereal,
therefore 10 arcseconds per clock second.

RS is the maximum speed, equivalent to speed 9 on the keypad.
Usually a little faster than 8 degrees per second.

RC  is equivalent to speed 5 on the keypad, 64x sidereal.
(or about 64*15=960 s/s,) or 16 arcminutes per second.

RM is equivalent to speed 6 on the keypad, or 0.5 deg/sec

As i researched this, i realized that i sent the wrong speed list
in the previous message.  The correct list is:
:R1#  :R2#  :R3#  :R4#  :R5#  :R6#  :R7# :R8# and :R9#
which are the equivalents to tapping those keys on the keypad.
Thus 1x, 2x, 8x, 16x, 64x , 0.5 deg/sec, 1.0 deg/sec, 1.5 deg/sec and "Max"

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX direct programming
Sent:	Monday, January 15, 2007 07:09:50
From:	JC Havaux Out of Office (jc_havaux@yahoo.com)
I am looking for an existing software able to manage the movement of ETX
by direct programming of the motors. I would like to use this method to
create automated panoramic sky picture .
 
If you have any info thanks in advance.
 
JC Havaux
Mike here: I don't recall any existing software that drives the motors directly; they all communicate to the AutoStar, which in turn talks to the ETX. For more on writing your own software for the ETX/AutoStar, see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Replacement hand controller for Meade ETX 105
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2007 23:31:01
From:	Carter, Lynne (Lynne.Carter@capita.co.uk)
I like to use  the hand controller with my ETX 105 but the 'plug' which
connects it to the base is broken. I have checked the Meade site but
they do not have it listed as a replacement part, do you know of any
outlets where I can obtain a new one?
cheers Lynne Carter.
Mike here: If you want to make one, check out the articles "AutoStar Cable Problems" and "Long AutoStar Cable" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Alternatively, contact Meade directly; they can send you a replacement cable. Or you could contact Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject:	Where to purchase ETX to Handbox cable
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2007 17:14:32
From:	Bob Parry (robpar@telus.net)
I have been looking through this site for over a year now and this is
the first time I have tried to ask for help that I could not find in the
archives.

I have been having trouble aligning my ETX 105-PC and think I have
finally found the problem.  After swapping the cable between the handbox
and the base with a cable from another ETX the alignment and
intermittent reboots have stopped.  So I am assuming that the cable is
defective and now need to know where I can purchase one?  Phoning Meade
is a very long procedure and since I am in the same time zone, an
expensive one.   Anyone know if standard data cables can be used or if
there is a direct way to purchase from Meade?
 
Thank you, for all the help over the past year.
 
Bob Parry
Mike here: First, have you tried reversing the cable or checked out the pins on the connectors? You might also check out the articles "AutoStar Cable Problems" and "Long AutoStar Cable" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX 90 question!
Sent:	Sunday, January 14, 2007 13:36:10
From:	Christian Ortiz Leal (cpol80@msn.com)
First of all, I say thanks for your usefull information you did put into
your website.

My personal question consist on controlling this ETX 90 device trough a
personal computer. I got this device with the only purpose of moving
this motor either up and down or left to the right, and I do not have
the telescope itself. Therefore are many instructions that I can not
controll (I guess). For the second I found out that many functions does
not work at all. I have one manual of an lx-200 but only few commands
works. Up to now Im able to move upward, downward and sidewards, with
four differents  speeds... (:RG#, RC#, :RM#, :RS#) where Rs goes up to a
speed of 1200x. with RM unfortunately i dont know the speed...

The second question if you know how can I control the device to move
only a certain distance. I dont see direclty the commands that can help
me with that.

Hope you can help me with this.
Mike here: I assume that you DO have an AutoStar to go with the ETX base. For more details on an answer I will turn you over to our resident AutoStar expert, Dick Seymour. Over to you Dick.
Subject:	Info on your site
Sent:	Saturday, January 13, 2007 11:15:38
From:	TrinityGTCars (trinitygtcars@bresnan.net)
Great site with a LOT of information!!

My question is this, for the most part does the various information you
provide on the "AutoStar'" ETX applicable to the LXD GEM?

Thanks,
Fred in Colorado
Mike here: Yep, it is, which is why it is also linked from my LXD55/75 Site (http://www.weasner.com/lxd).

And:

Great, Thanks!! 

Subject:	Autostar Error
Sent:	Tuesday, January 9, 2007 18:58:15
From:	Aaron Stern (sternman318@yahoo.com)
Well tonight, I was using my ETX-80, and I had a problem. I did normal
AltAz setup, did a one star normal alignment on Sirius, which usually
gives me good results. It lined up well on M31, the Pleadies and M42, so
I thought I would try something new tonight and tryed a cluster I
haven't seen. When it was finished skewing, I didnt see a cluster at
all. I wanted to make sure that my alignment was correct so I set it to
skew to Betelgeuse, and it was EXTREMELY far off. I then told it to go
to Rigel, because I thought I may have moved the tripod and I could tell
if it would skew to where Rigel should be. The telescope proceded to
move to the other side of the sky, way off of where it should have been.
Is this just an error or maybe a sign of low batteries? I have also
noticed that after setting it up and telling it to skew to Sirius for
alignment, it is extremely off( maybe 2 or 3 full moons to give you an
idea). I use an external GPS which should give true north.

My second question is that one time I tryed aligning by using two star.
I used Betelgeuse and Sirius, but it said that the alignment was
unsuccessful. Is this due to the positions of the two stars?

You dont have to include this question but will M1 appear pretty big? I 
tryed to view it from a 26MM to a 2X barlowed 9 MM and it just looked
like a red star in each one. Am I acutually looking at a star or is it
just out of observable range?

Id like to thank you for the quick response on my first question.
Mike here: The batteries could be low; doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR can help solve that problem, as can replacing the batteries AND doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR (which should be done each time the power source is changed). You might also redo the TRAIN DRIVES (can't hurt). And the alignment stars should be about 90 degrees apart, which is why you are getting the failures by picking those two stars. Normally, I recommend to just let the AutoStar pick the stars. M1 is faint and fuzzy but it will appear larger than the pinpoint of a star. I suspect you missed it, especially if there is any light pollution in your sky.
Subject:	LX90 and 'hard stops'
Sent:	Saturday, January 6, 2007 03:34:16
From:	John Hall (john_d_hall@hotmail.com)
In your answer to Fritz Schonefeld, you said you didn't know if the LX90
had hard stops, or not. It doesn't. Unlike the ETX models, the whole
base on an LX90 rotates, including the switch/socket panel, so nothing
-internal- ever gets tangled up. However, if you are using an external
power supply, that cord -can- get tangled up. I think the "cord wrap"
option in the Autostar is to stop it winding up such external cables.

Cheers,
John.

Subject:	re: How Do I Load Orbital Elements into Autostar (#494)?
Sent:	Thursday, January 4, 2007 19:43:44
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Precise instructions are here:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_iss.html   <-- short
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_satellite.html   <---long

and (general Autostar Updater operation for objects):
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/guide-libraries.html

have fun
--dick

Subject:	How Do I Load Orbital Elements into Autostar (#494)?
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2007 13:37:48
From:	conrad schellenberg (conradandrose@gmail.com)
i'm new to gotos but have many years experience with telescopes and
computers. i got the etx-80 for christmas with the#494 handbox, the #506
astrofinder software/cable package and autostar suite ver. 3.19.  my
plan is to strap a laser to it and use it as a cheap "goto pointer" for
my other scopes.

the goto scope works great.  i can "goto" both with the handbox and from
my laptop.  it's amazing how much more you can see with goto.

however, i'm at a loss as to how to download satellite (iss,hst, etc.)
orbital elements into autostar.  so far i've been able to update the
autostar update (ASU) app to ver. 4.6.  however when i go to the "meade
autostar supplementary download" web site and down to lets say the
international space station i get the following:
 
ISS (ZARYA)             
1 25544U 98067A   07003.17513196  .00016326  00000-0  10214-3 0  3727
2 25544  51.6357 236.5044 0023833  50.2369  92.2775 15.76634373464716
PROGRESS-M 57           
1 29245U 06025A   07001.26648269  .00014732  00000-0  92872-4 0  1391
2 29245  51.6359 246.3446 0023857  43.1158  59.0240 15.76566007 30072
SOYUZ-TMA 9             
1 29400U 06040A   07001.26648269  .00014732  00000-0  92872-4 0   873 
2 29400  51.6359 246.3446 0023857  43.1158  59.0240 15.76566007 16585
PROGRESS-M 58           
1 29503U 06045A   07001.26648269  .00014732  00000-0  92872-4 0   669
2 29503  51.6359 246.3446 0023857  43.1158  59.0240 15.76566007 10987 
 
the above are probably orbital elements but what do i do?  just copy say
line 1 for the iss (zarya), or lines 1 & 2, or the whole listing? 
aren't the progress and soyuz craft only at the iss for a short while? 
if so, what is the data for?  also, can this type of data be obtained
from other sites?
 
sincerely
 
conrad schellenberg
Mike here: There are many articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on manipulating objects. I'd suggest starting with "Dr. Clay's Meade AutoStar Updating Guide".

And:

thank you very much. goto is great.

conrad

Subject:	LX90 LNT RESET
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2007 00:26:21
From:	Fritz Schonefeld (fritzs@3i.co.za)
Is it really necessary to reset my LX90 LNT when I change between Alt/Az
and Equatorial as stated in your very interesting site? This action
would reset everything to factory default settings and as I live in
Durban South Africa it is a long story to reinstate all my observing
sites, and initialize the telescope and to recalibrate the sensors as
this is the Southern Hemisphere where everything travels the opposite
direction from the Northern Hemisphere.

I have not yet detected a hard stop in the telescope and it is assumed
that this is applicable to ETX models only?
 
Fritz Schonefeld     3 January 2007 
Mike here: Which article are you referring to? Personally I haven't done a RESET when changing from Alt/Az to Polar or back with my ETX models. As to LX90 hard stops, I don't have one so don't know about the LX90 but the ETX-90/105/125 (except the ETX-90RA) have them.

And:

Thanks for your speedy reply.
I read this on one of your sites called; Weasner's Meade ETX  Technical
Tips----Performance enhancement-creating the perfect "Go To" ETX or
LX90. but last updated 21 Feb. 2001.  My telescope was purchased during
April 2005 and is a LX90 LNT with UHTC and it is true that the pointing
is not so accurate in polar mode but the tracking for astrophotography
is spot on for very long periods. I live on a hill and it is not
possible to see anything through the telescope that is not at least 10
degrees up once the telescope is placed on the polar aligned pier. In
alt/az no problem as I can see everything down the valley and I can
train the drive no problem.

The instruction manual also mentions nothing about seperate drive train
for polar mode.

Thanks for your time.
Fritz Schonefeld  South Africa
Mike here: That is Dr. Clay Sherrod's article. Early on there was some thinking that redoing the TRAIN DRIVES when switching mounting mode was necessary for the ETX models. (NOTE: not the same as doing a RESET.) However, I confirmed with Meade that this is unnecessary (for the ETX models).

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Copyright ©2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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