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ASTRONOMY SOFTWARE FEEDBACK

Last updated: 31 January 2012

This page is for user comments on Astronomy software for the Windows (including the Meade AutoStar Suite), Macintosh, Android, and iOS systems. Items that are more "review" oriented will be posted on the Astronomy Software Reviews page. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me 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:	Meade ETX 125/computer control/ Starry night or Orion Starseek
Sent:	Friday, January 27, 2012 21:16:12
From:	Susan Hurley (sfhurley@me.com)
Hello Mike and greetings from Australia

I have an ETX 125, purchased a few years ago. 
I would like to get it working with control from a computer. I have a
Macbook pro and an iPad.  
I have Starry night pro running on the Mac and the Orion Starseek App on the iPad. 
I haven't been able to connect the Mac to the telescope using
Starrynight, despite having the serial cable + usb connector recommended
(looking online I see that I'm not the first to struggle with such a
connection).
I'm thinking of moving with the times and buying the Orion Starseek
Wi-Fi module so that I can connect to the Orion App on the iPad. 
My question is: do you, or does anyone in your online community, have
experience with such a connection? Is it reasonably straightforward to
get working and worth the effort?

By the way, congratulations and thank you for your website. It is a very useful resource

Best wishes

Susan Hurley 
Mike here: I have used several astronomy apps on my MacBook Pro to control my ETX and LX200-ACF telescopes. You will need a USB-serial adapter and driver software appropriate for your OS X version. I recommend Keyspan adapters. I suggest trying a different application on your Mac to see if that could be the problem. Try using ScopeDriver or AstroPlanner (see the Accessory Reviews: Software page). I can't speak to the Orion Wi-Fi adapter but it is similar to the Southern Stars SkyFi that I have used (see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page). I have used the SkyFi with my MacBook Pro (with Yoyager and SkySafari) and with an iPhone using SkySafari.

And:

Thanks so much Mike for a super fast response - not delayed at all from
my perspective!

I'll try your suggestions and let you know eventually how I get it
working.

I suspect the RS232 pin out on the serial cable may not be correct as
when I connect the telescope to the computer with it via the usb
adapter, the telescope does not appear as a device.

Thanks again

Susan
Mike here: You can check the pinouts. See the cable section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page for articles on the #505 serial cable.


Subject:	re: 90mm ETX and Starry Night Pro Telescope Control
Sent:	Thursday, January 12, 2012 19:18:38
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Most likely the "needs platform 5" message has popped up by you changing
the name of the file before attempting to install it?  (been there, done
that).

ASCOM *finally* put an FAQ about that here:
http://www.ascom-standards.org/FAQs/Platform5.5only.htm

but it's a doesn't explicitly warn you about not renaming the file.

Try this: download the (yes, v5) driver *again*, and install/run it from
where ever it lands.

I think you'll be (more) successful (it worked for me!).

good luck
--dick


Subject:	90mm ETX and Starry Night Pro Telescope Control
Sent:	Tuesday, January 10, 2012 18:19:25
From:	nsac@verizon.net (nsac@verizon.net)
Mike - your members helped me out on a firmware upgrade issue
previously.  I sure hope someone out there can come to my aid again!
 
I purchased Starry Night Pro for my XP laptop in order to control my ETX
from this planetarium software.  After installing the software and ASCOM
platform version 6 successfully, I endeavored to load the driver from
the same ASCOM website.  Starry Night indicates the ETX runs off the
"Meade LX200 and Autostar" option driver.  While the driver is available
from the ASCOM website, attempts to download it result in a message
indicating that "it can only be downloaded and used with ASCOM Platform
version 5".  While one ASCOM comment discourages users from reverting to
an earlier version, my attempts at finding the version 5 software on the
web have been unsuccessful.  I should also point out I successfully
downloaded two other drivers for my other go-to scopes.
 
I have three questions:
 
1. Do I need to find the version 5 platform - if so, does anyone know
where to directly access it? 
 
2.  If not, is there a MEADE friendly version 6 "work-around process"
available?
 
3.  Does this software effectively control the ETX or do the quirks
outweigh the benefits
 
Thanks in Advance
 
Frank Puzycki
Mike here: I don't use SN. The apps I use with my telescopes don't require special drivers to be installed (except for USB). These apps do a nice job of controlling telescopes. Hopefully someone will have an answer for you.


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Copyright © 2012 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals are Copyright © 2012 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jan12/sw.html