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Last updated: 28 January 2011
Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, cables, and 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 for posting. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message per the Site Email Etiquette. Thanks. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranty on your telescope or accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.

Subject:	Re: ETX-60 Slew Peoblems
Sent:	Tuesday, January 25, 2011 18:18:34
From:	Michael Woods (
Hey...that seemed to do the trick!  Fresh batteries, dah.  Thanks a lot
for your help.  I was about to throw this thing in the ditch.  If I
wanted to get a power adapter for this, do you know what amperage it can
take at 9 volts?
Mike here: The Meade adapter for the ETX-60/70/80 seen on the Accessories Reviews: Miscellaneous page ( does 1000mA.
Subject:	ETX-60 Slew Peoblems
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2011 17:46:59
From:	Michael Woods (
The "Easy" star align doesn't seem to work.  The scope starts to slew
but never stops.  If I let it, it will go all the way around with the
declination all the way up until it hits the stop.  The controller seems
to think that the scope had found the first star and asks for your
approval before searching for the second star- but, the motor drives
still slew as if nothing happened.

Thanks for whatever help you can provide...
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? If not, do that. Sometimes a CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes) is required. If neither of these solve the problem, do a RESET and then the CALIRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.


Nope, that didn't do it - Keeps spinning and looking straight up until
it hits the'll keep going for ever, never finding Sirius.
Mike here: Swap the batteries with fresh ones. Then do the CALIBRATE MOTOR.
Subject:	Re: How to update ETX-60AT
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2011 06:37:07
From:	Nick Budd (
Thanks for the reply. Actually that's all I want to do. I'm not
concerned with upgrading the firmware for the #494 or controlling it
from my computer - just downloading up to date satellite orbital data
etc. It appears that the #506 Software and Cable Kit contains a CD and a
#505 cable. I assume it's the CD that's not compatible with Vista so I'm
thinking that the #505 cable might work.
None of the Meade outlets here in the UK seems to know. What do you reckon?
Thanks again
Mike here: The #505 serial cable will not work with the AutoStar #494. The special #506 cable is required for the #494. Keep in mind that if your computer does not have a RS-232 serial port, you would also need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. You can add satellite TLE data manually one at a time; see the article "Satellite Tracking" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	meade 4504 and 495 handset.
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2011 13:11:21
From:	Richard Small (
Hi i've found your site a great source of information regarding meade
products. I am currently in a pickle and I am wondering if your
expertise can help me.

I am currently trying to update a 454 handset I brought off ebay boxed.
IT's got the year 2000 as it's copyright so fingers crossed it's the 1MB

I brought a serial to usb converter cable and have it functioning at a
driver level ok, don't' have other serial devices to test it's true
functionality. However when i attach a 505 cloned cable (which pin out
is perfect) to the handset and is attached to my computer with the
telescope on, the device loses all information on screen but the lights
are still on. If i remove the cable the information on the handset comes
back fine.

I am getting a little disappointed that I can't seem to connect these
units together, have you experienced this issue before? and if you know
of any great guides on setting up the cables and updating a hand unit i
would be much appreciated.

Thanks for a great site and hope you can shed some light on this for me.



Physics FTW Always!
Mike here: What USB-serial adapter do you have? As mentioned a lot on the ETX Site, not all adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. For more info, see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. If you are using Windows, try using StarPatch from; it can work more reliably with some adapters.
Subject:	How to update ETX-60AT
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2011 01:32:36
From:	Nick Budd (
I have an ETX-60AT which I've resurrected after years of neglect and I
need to update the software through the #494 Autostar. The manual says I
need the #506 Cable Kit. However, I gather  that this does not work with
Windows Vista.
Is there a workaround for this?
Mike here: There is no user installable update for the #494. The #506 cable only provides computer-based control and updating of some AutoStar objects.
Subject:	Autostar 497 Update
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2011 15:03:40
From:	Arif Shaikh (
I have made the 505 cable from instruction on your website and now I
want to update the software on my Autostar, The current version is 31Ee
and need step by step procedure to update it.

1. Can I directly update the latest version or should I have to go
through all previous version.
2. Just in case if something goes wrong, can I backup the current version?
3. Where can I download the AstroFinder software or similar free software?

Mike here: Yes, you can update directly to 4.3Eg using AutoStar Update (from Meade), StarPatch (from StarGPS;, or AutoStarX. Links to the first and last on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Backups are available in the AutoStar Software Archive (on the AutoStar Info page). See the article "How to use the 3.x Updater" on the AutoStar Info page for how to use the ASU application (version 4.x is very similar).


Thanks for your quick response. I made the 505 cable updated the
software successfully.

I have pocket Airis 620 pocket PC and wondering if I can control the
autostar with it. It has mini USB.

Thanks again.
Mike here: There are some articles on Pocket PC on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. BUT you would need a serial connection since that is all the AutoStar understands.
Subject:	Autostar 497 discontinued
Sent:	Thursday, January 13, 2011 09:31:28
From: (
I just saw on OPT's site that Meade has discontinued the Autostar 497. 
Do you or anyone else have any information on if there will be a
replacementfor it.
Forrest Lundberg
Mike here: As far as I know, the replacement is the AutoStar #497EP.


Since I Emailed you, I talked with a tech support person at Meade.  He
said that they were replacing the Autostar  497EP with a new handset
that had a speaker which could give audio descriptions of objects.  He
told me that it was in testing but should become available in two or
three weeks.
Mike here: Ah, yes, the "AudioStar".


From:	richard seymour (
It's actually been on the market for a couple of months (debuted in
pre-Xmas packages at Sam's Club and CostCo).
It's now being advertised on Meade's web site:

Internally, it is a 497EP, with a "daughter board" carrying the sound

have fun
Mike here: That page doesn't mention the ETX. Guess that's the stilling in "testing" part.


The 497EP/Audiostar have pretty much the same firmware, which is 95% a
"port" of the old 497 firmware.
The Audiostar works with my ETX-90 quite happily.

have fun

Subject:	AUTOSTAR 495
Sent:	Thursday, January 13, 2011 05:20:47
From:	Joaquim Gomes (
Can you help me on that . Does the autostar 495  work with the meade  ETX105.
Please advise
J gomes
Mike here: No. However, you can upgrade the #495 to a #497 via software, and then it will work with the ETX-105.
Subject:	Re: Sv: Re: ALignment problems - ETX125 / 497 handset
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2011 11:42:18
From:	Olof Neiglick (
Hi again (!), got opened the LNT, but no really visible cables when I
removed the two spring-loaded screws and the cover, what cable were you
referring to ?

There are some under the circuitboard, but then I need to unscrew the
whole PCB ?


Mike here: I don't remember saying anything about a cable. I said to contact Meade for a replacement LNT. But you can find several LNT articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Of course, you can still use the ETX without the LNT.


Hi, sorry mixed up with another thread from a Meade dealer in London who
couldn't help, he suggested checking the cables. Alas, they are
prevented from sending spare parts to Sweden. So much for global free
trade in 2011...

Very good articles, now I'll disassamble the LNT from the tube to check
that cables are OK, the clock and power seems fine, but maybe something
is stuck or broken preventing the signalling from the PCB when using the
sensors. BR / Olof
Mike here: Don't forget to check/replace the battery in the LNT while you're at it.


NO joy at all, cables look OK, power fine - I'll just try to order a
repacement and take it from there. /Olof

Subject:	ETX drive training
Sent:	Wednesday, January 12, 2011 09:19:56
From:	Derek ( 
I tried retraining the drives on my 1year old ETX 125 and found that the
Alt performed as it should but on the first part of AZ, having centered
ans pressed enter, I could hear the motor run briefly but the 'scope
never moved. The second part was ok. Could you please comment on the
possible cause and remedy?

Many thanks,

Derek Maskell 
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR, then the TRAIN DRIVES?


Many thanks for your prompt reply, Mike, trained the 
motors and it all seems ok now.  How come I missed that??

Mike here: The CALIBRATE MOTOR step needs to be done when swapping out batteries for fresh ones. It should also been done whenever the batteries get low and replacements are not immediately available. The CALIBRATE MOTOR step "tunes" the AutoStar to the power output of the optical encoders and provides more accurate movement.
Subject:	Re: R: [?? Probable Spam]  re: MEADE LX90 LNT
Sent:	Tuesday, January 11, 2011 16:43:09
From:	richard seymour (
On 1/11/2011 1:30 PM, Villa Giardinata wrote:
> I'll try!
>   Three questions:
>   1) can you please give me the link of the last firmware version that I need
> to install?

The current 497 Autostar version is 43Eg
It is available here:
or you can let either ASU or StarPAtch download it for you

>   2) How do I install ... with Autostar Suite?
 >   (you can give me the link necessary?)

Yes, you can use the "updater" function of ASU, or download the ASU updater from here:

As an alternate (if ASU has problems) I usually use StarPAtch, available here:

>   3) after the installation proceeds with a RESET? ...

A "reset" may not be *necessary*, but it is frequently a good idea.

good luck


From:	Villa Giardinata (
First of all thanks for your help.

Today I realized why my module LNT can not find the north ..!
The previous owner of the LX90 told me that he had broken a cable ....
I removed the black plastic shell and I discovered that there is a cable 
that ends with a sort of wire "type" optical fiber (very thin) and the tip 
of this wire ends just outside the black plastic shell.
But, this wire is detached from the remaining cable !!!
If this thin wire is used to find the north, then the fault has been found
I ask then if I do replace another similar cable in place.
Thanks again for ALL, I await your instructions.

Vincenzo from Sicily.
Mike here: The optical fiber cable is for the red-dot on some LNT modules. If your LNT does not have the red-dot finderscope, then the optical fiber is not used.
Subject:	Hi there!
Sent:	Monday, January 10, 2011 10:25:34
From:	Olof Neiglick (
Many tx for excellent site which is a goldmine of information, I have a
barely used 5 yr old ETX 125 PE, autostar version on the handset is
43EG, when I downloaded the latest AutoStar software, I selected
automatic software update, and it downloaded from www but it seems it
only downloaded the same 43EG version to my handset (a 497 I believe it
is), is that really the latest version for the ETX125 ?

Best regards
Mike here: First, PLEASE read the Electronic Mail Etiquette and Submittal Guidelines page; your message was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the Subject line. Thanks for understanding.
4.3Eg is the best version for an older ETX model with the AutoStar #497 (which is different than the newer #497EP).


Subject:	ALignment problems - ETX125 / 497 handset
Sent:	Monday, January 10, 2011 11:36:32
From:	Olof Neiglick (
Hi, many tx for prompt reply, didn't read the EE until now, sorry about
that.  Anyway,, managed to download correct 43Eg version unpatched, but
funny things happen, when I start scope with fresh (90% batteries), and
performed the test motors thing, putting the scope in the full CCW
position, tube opening pointing to the north and the panel approx facing
west ( I repeated this indoors twice) and having entered correct site
coordinates (59 N, ca 18 E of Greenwhich), it first starts by tilting
down and even trying to push further down when the tube hit the scope
base. Then slewing CW a couple of times, it points the scope in the
totally wrong direction. Read something in the clips in this excellent
forum about a 180 problem, related to firmware - but I can confirm I
have the latest version installed - including a fresh battery for the
LNT. Seems it is completely lost - any hints are highly appreciated.

Best regards

Stockholm, Sweden
Mike here: Does Easy Align work OK? Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? If not, do those. If that doesn't cure the problem, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and then TRAIN DRIVES.


Hi, many tx for this, I'll try and get back if the problem persists. BR
/ Olof


Hi, tried this but no success. Scope keeps coming down until it hits the
base - repeatable over and over again when "finding tilt". Only stuff I
can think of is:

i) poor batteries in the LNT (But time/date works OK) ii) faulty LNT
module ?

The CAL MOTOR thing works just fine, first slews clockwise and then up.

Any suggestions are appreciated.  Can the LNT be easily replaced ? There
are no MEADE support/Dealers in Sweden.

Best regards

Mike here: So, even when doing an Easy Align the tube goes down fully? That would indicate an AutoStar problem, not a LNT problem. So, lets try to determine why that is occurring. Do any of the non-Auto alignment modes work properly?


Hi, I'll try again tonight with the "EASY" alignment and get back to
you. CAL Sensor stuff did not do it, even after multiple attempts and
Drive trainings. And the LNT clock and laser is working... Seems like
the thing is "inverted" somehow.     BR / Olof
Mike here: You can do the non-Auto Align modes indoors for purposes of the tests.


Hi again! EASY align points the scope in the right direction at least,
any suggestions as how to proceed next ?  Best regards, Olof
Mike here: Well, at least you know you can use the AutoStar to align, GOTO, and track. Two possibilities come to mind: the LNT is bad (contact Meade) or the LNT code in the AutoStar is corrupted. Reloading the software may solve that problem.


Hi, tx for this, it does track, so I'll try to reload s/w for now.  Best
regards, Olof


Yep, any idea on the cost and ease of replacing the LNT module, I am
reasonable technical, but no soldering or grinding mechanics for me.
Mike here: Meade has sold the LNT module for some telescopes but I don't know whether they are still doing that, nor how much they would cost today. Contact Meade.
Subject:	re: MEADE LX90 LNT
Sent:	Saturday, January 8, 2011 19:47:16
From:	richard seymour (
First: what *version* is your firmware?
(the number appears during the boot process, and you can see the entire
number under
Setup/Telescope/Statistics (enter)(scroll up)

I remember that there was a bug in (at least) one older version of the
firmware, so you may need to upgrade the firmware to "fix" the "cannot
find north" problem.

BUT: You *can* use the telescope... when it says "0 for Align, Mode for
Menu", just press the MODE key.
That will bring you to the normal menu, and your telescope will be happy
to perform an Easy Align, One Star or Two Star align.
The only one it won't do is "Automatic Align".
(the other alignments do not seek north... they ask *you* to point north).

good luck


Subject:	R: MEADE LX90 LNT
Sent:	Tuesday, January 11, 2011 14:30:23
From:	Villa Giardinata (
I'll try!
Three questions:
1) can you please give me the link of the last firmware version that I
need to install?
2) How do I install ... with Autostar Suite? (you can give me the link
3) after the installation proceeds with a RESET? ...

Mike here: You can update the AutoStar #497 with AutoStar Update application (part of the AutoStar Suite). The application can download the ROM file via the Internet and upload it ("download") to the AutoStar.Assuming the AutoStar is the older #497 (and not the newer #497EP), you'll want version 4.3Eg. If you use Mac OS X, you can use AutoStarX (link on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX Site) to upload a previously downloaded 4.3Eg ROM file. You will need a #505 serial cable (easily made using info on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page) and a RS-232 serial port on your computer. If your computer has only USB, you will need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters.
Subject:	Updating Autostar 494 (ETX70AT)
Sent:	Friday, January 7, 2011 19:12:31
From:	Joe Coyle (
I can't believe I have only now just discovered your website. So much
useful information!

I have a question. I have an ETX 70AT with a 494 autostar. I have
installed the autostar suite from Meade and have used it to slew the
telescope successfully. This is on parallels desktop (windows xp) with
an intel mac.

But when I come to update the database, when I click Receive in the
program, it gets to about 6% before restarting the handbox.

I know that the 70 is an older model, do you happen to know if updating
the database is supported? There are some new tours I would like to try
out :)

I can't seem to find an email address for Meade support otherwise I
would contact them, but as I live in the UK, it would be an expensive
phone call!

Any links or information you could provide would be very much


Mike here: There is no user-installable update for the AutoStar #494. You can however, load tours and other objects using the AutoStar Update application. Just out of curiosity, which USB-serial adapter are you using on your Mac? Meade does not publish a tech support email address.


Thought that might be the case.

It's a prolific 2303 adapter I believe. I got the drivers from Meade's
downloads area.

I haven't tried loading any tours yet, as when I clicked one over to the
handbox area it said it would replace all objects. And I dont want to
lose what's stored already.

Does that mean that only the objects in that category would get
replaced? Or the whole library?

Do I have to align the scope or set it to a specific setting to get it
to work?


Mike here: User-installable objects are replaced, not the default objects (planets, stars, DSOs, etc.). And yes, you need to go through the alignment steps IF you want the telescope to proper track and GOTO objects. See the manual.


Ah ok that makes sense about the user installable objects. I will try
that tomorrow.

I'm just getting used to autostar suite, but as per usual in Manchester
its raining! So that will have to wait too.

Mike here: Ah, cloudy skies. Believe it or not, that's perfect time to learn to use a new telescope. Read the manual, three times. Then play with the telescope indoors, going through the setup steps and controlling the telescope with the AutoStar. You will find it less frustrating than trying to learn a new telescope in the dark while actually trying to see objects.


I've had the telescope for years. It's only recently that computer
control with my mac has sparked my interest.

And without stars to align, I cant tell if clicking in the software is
doing the right GOTO but the scope is slewing so it must be doing
Mike here: Well, you can tell if it is approximately doing the right thing. Set up in the proper Home Position and a "fake alignment" indoors by just accepting the alignment stars as centered. Then when you GOTO an object, you can (if you know where in the sky the objects are at the time you entered into the AutoStar) see if the telescope is pointed in more or less the right direction.
Subject: skinflint
Date: January 2, 2011 2:40:51 PM GMT-07:00
thanks for your site it's just so intimidating (in a good sort of
daunting way   ) when I first came upon it ! I am starting back from
years ago trying to stargaze with a passed-on cruddy refractor, but now
I have bought an etx125-ec off e-bay but without it's Autostar. Q1: is
an Autostar 495 unit any good i.e. can it be updated to control the
beastie? There's one on offer for 50 on you guessed it e-bay. Q2: if so
will an ageing Luddite like me be able to undertake such computery
tinkering (do you think?) I hope you're not put off by my idiocy but I
really want to be able to see the planets properly - well at least the
moon, thanks in advance,
Nick Greenhough.
Mike here: First, please read the Email Etiquette page; I'm not certain how the subject you used provides a clue to your question. Thanks for understanding. You can update an AutoStar #495 to a #497 for use with the ETX-125. However, you will need several items: a #505 serial cable (easily made), a RS-232 serial port on your computer (or a reliable USB-serial adapter), and Meade's AutoStar Update application (Windows) or AutoStarX (Mac OS X).


sorry for the misunderstanding, what I mean is that I'm trying to get
the kit together  cheaply, but I want to do it right and not mess up
what to me is an expensive bit of equipment even at e-bay prices! Thanks
for such a fast reply as well, I look forward to reading through your
pages and learning as much as possible about my Meade!
Mike here: Being cheap in the short term can cost you more in the long term. You have to add in all the costs but having the cable (easy to make) and USB-serial adapter (if you don't have a RS-232 serial port) will still be useful down the road.
Subject:	MEADE LX90 LNT
Sent:	Saturday, January 1, 2011 10:04:53
From:	Villa Giardinata (
I write from Italy because have recommended your site to me.
First of all Happy New Year!
Then .... I ask an opinion ...
I bought, in second hand, a Meade LX90 NLT. Unfortunately it not have
the lens of the SmartFinder (located nell'LNT) .
This means that the telescope can not find the north... !!! Why ?
I can try to fix it? What do you recommend?
Mike here: Not having the lens won't matter; the LNT should still find North. So, need more info from you. Does the AutoStar "see" the LNT module? You can check by holding down the MODE key for 3 seconds; then scroll through the displays. Does "Finder" appear in the list?


First of all I would tell you that I am honored to speak with you ...
We describe the symptoms:
I turn "on" the telescope and select "Auto Alignment".
GPS FIX TAKING appears immediately and one minute after it appeared the
AUTOMATIC ALIGN ... and after a few seconds ... FINDING NORTH ...
At this point it begins to turn around and not stop!
I said that disconnecting the cable LNT not get the option "Auto Align". 
So means that the telescope "sees" the LNT, but the compass does not work
What can I try to "resurrect" LNT ?!?!?
Thanks all !
Mike here: I'd still like to know whether the MODE Finder displays. As to continuous rotating, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR. And then do a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes).


I always ask you to excuse my bad English, I write with a web translator ...

I did as you suggested, when I holding down the "MODE" key for 3 seconds 
appear "FINDER" !!!! Then the LX90 sees the LNT CARD !
But..... Continues to turn on itself.
After GPS FIX TAKING, one minute after it appeared the message:
AUTOMATIC ALIGN ... and after a few seconds(20) ... FINDING NORTH ...
At this point it begins to turn around and not stop!
I'm desperate ... I spray circuit ?
What can I try ?!?!

Vincenzo, "forum Coelestis"
Mike here: Glad the module is seen. Did you do the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES that I mentioned previously? Don't do the Auto Align; go to the Telescope menu.

And more:

My friend, 

I tried everything you said.
Is clear that LNT has failed. Something is not right!
I resign myself to replace it or can I groped to wake him up?
Why not find the north ?!?!?

Mike here: Ok. Couple more things to try:
Do a CALIBRATE SENSORS. That may reset the magnetic north parameter.
What happens if you skip the Auto Align and do an Easy Alignment?


I read the instructions carefully, you can be that!
Except that the men of the AUTOSTAR of LX90 not appear "CALIBRATE SENSOR"!
I attach a file that shows you the menu .... how can I find CALIBRATE SENSOR


Mike here: If you do not see CALIBRATE SENSORS in the Telescope menu, check the MODE menu. I'm not certain where it is on the LX90-LNT.

And more:

Yes, I found it.
I position the telescope in "HOME POSITION", 
then select "Calibrate Sensors ",it starts looking in the north .... 
but turn forever on himself.
For me it is a sensor of damage to the card ..
But it is strange ... !!!
Please... reply.
Very very thank!
Mike here: Yes, it is beginning to sound not good. BUT I would still like to know what Easy Align does. Also, you might try a RESET on the AutoStar, followed by the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.

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