Last updated: 31 July 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	re: DS motors and timelapse
Sent:	Thursday, July 26, 2007 12:28:45
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You can buy the DS motors from Meade's "Parts" Outlet.

(i bought two of them last month)
However the Meade motors require special signals to
drive them (be it from an Autostar, or the Meade 'handbox').

The DS motors have a PIC chip which expects an addressed
data packet to arrive from the Autostar, telling it what
speed to maintain.  The DS motor unit then performs the
"closed-loop" servo operation of maintaining that speed.
The motors themselves are simple DC motors, not steppers.

The DS motor unit also has the encoder used by both itself
(for speed control) and to tell the Autostar how far the
motor has turned (from which the Autostar calculates the
telescope position).

have fun


From:	Lee Parker (leefparker@yahoo.com)
Thank you both.  You have been very helpful.  If and when I get
something up and running, I'll post some pix on the Roboscope
user site.

I have an AutoStar from a Meade ETX, but the ETX proved too hard
to modify to accept the camera.

Subject:	DS motors and timelapse
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2007 23:05:10
From:	Lee Parker (leefparker@yahoo.com)
I want to build a motor control system to film the night sky, doing long
exposure timelapse, without a telescope.

I only need the motors, worm drives and the autostar controller

Do you know where I can buy the DS motors by themselves?  So far, the
only place I've found them is already part of a telescope, and Meade
doesn't seem to be making the DS-80EC any more.

Of course, any AZ and ALT motors will work.  I can probably build my own
motor controller, if I can find a good motor and worm drive package.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Lee Parker
Mike here: Try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). Also, you might want to check into the Roboscopes Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roboscope); lots of great info and help there.
Subject:	Re: Meade DS pointing accuracy
Sent:	Wednesday, July 25, 2007 15:28:37
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@arksky.org)
Hello Karen....
You sound a bit frustrated and this is understandable; first thing to
remember:  these telescopes are not perfect by any means and sometimes,
some nights, they simply seem to never be accurate.  But you are telling
of some consistency and the following answers may help:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Karen

> There seems no way to adjust it, and I'm
> wondering if it's just a cosmetic setting circle.  I also noticed that
> while the ground was level, and while I had leveled my OTA, the top of
> the base is inclined a touch -- perhaps by that same 5 degrees?

DO NOT ATTEMPT to adjust it....just remember how much it is off when you start out and 
compensate for that each time you move.

> So, my questions:
> 1. Does this sound like a reasonable theory?
Forget the tripod level; the top of the mount base must be level for the
scope to operate properly....if you are out of level, then the further
you move from Polaris, the greater the offset of target accuracy; this
seems to be what you are reporting.
> 2. If so, how could I go about fixing it?  I don't think the tripod is
> adjustable, although I could fiddle with it some more (there's some sort
> of lever at the bottom of each leg that seems to do nothing)

CUT OUT wooden plank shims and put a notch in the top one that is used
to fit the tripod leg foot into...stack as needed to get level.
> 3. What's a reliable way to detect clutch slip and distinguish that from
> other problems?

FROM THE SOUND of it, your clutch is okay and I doubt this is the problem.
> 4. What's a reliable way to tell whether your alt-az percents are too
> high or too low?

BOTH PERCENTS are odd, but remember these will NOT affect tracking or GO
TO, only reversing directions with the keypad.  If the scope JUMPS when
you reverse directions, you have the percentages set too high.  Note
that with speeds "2" and "3", do not expect good response in these
> 5. One more: do the drives need to be retrained if the OTA's weight
> changes notably -- by, say, affixing a camera?

FIRST, never operate the telescope out of balance...if you add a camera
or any accessory at all and the telescope moves on its own when
unclamped, you are out of balance...if you are not balanced, then this
alone can great affect both GO TO and tracking accuracy. Hang whatever
you need to, by whatever means necessarty (rubber bands, Velcro, wire
ties....) at points on the scope until you find perfect balance.  Only
then can you expect the scope to operate properly.

> Thanks!  I had been resigned to living with poor pointing accuracy, then
> got my hopes up after reading the guide, but then had them fall again
> when I couldn't get the guide to work.  So, if you have any ideas, I'd
> be most grateful.  I'm trying to get the telescope in as good of shape
> as possible before taking it on an RV trip up in the Rockies so I can
> show my nephews the stars.

START with these ideas and see if they do not improve things.....and
best of luck.  Do not get discouraged.
Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)

Subject:	autostar #494 calc north trouble
Sent:	Saturday, July 21, 2007 04:32:48
From:	maryka63@aol.com (maryka63@aol.com)
I am a new owner of a Meade DS-2130,autostar #494. First night out went
fine. Not so after that. When using 'easy align' ,'calc level is
OK,slewing.But 'calc north' just continues to rotate. Display only shows
'calc north' not slewing. OK. 'Calc sensor" is the same. Just rotates
like it's lost. I reset it, followed all the steps again. same thing. I
can't do a 'two star align' because it first levels,then it just rotates
and reads 'calc north'. Pressing any key doesn't stop it.


Any help would be appreciated. The Meade manual and web site are of no

Thank you,
Kaye Katz
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR (different than CALIBRATE SENSOR)? Have you done a TRAIN DRIVES? There are more LNT troubleshooting tips in the "Premier Edition / LNT Specific Tips" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. Perhaps something there will help.


Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Yes, I have done cal. motor
and train drives. ??? still just spins and spins with 'calc north' only
on screen. I've let it rotate for about 5 min. Is it necessary to go
beyond that? should I reset again and start from scratch? Completely
Thanks again,
Mike here: The whole procedure of leveling and finding North should only take a couple of minutes. If nothing in those tips help then it could be a bad LNT module. Contact the dealer for an exchange or Meade for a replacement module.

And an update:

In the words of ' the cavemen'...next time do a little research. lol. I
bumped the smartfinder lens/LNT first night out. Broke the lens. My
husband took the LNT off to look at it and order a new lens. He replaced
the LNT BACKWARDS!! I just put it back,correctly. Problem solved.

You have been a great help. Being a complete novice, I didn't think to
check that until you suggested LNT. Still getting familiar with the
scope. OK, I can't wait for darkness!!

I appreciate all your help! :)
Mike here: Ah yes...
Subject:	Re: Meade DS-2114ATS-LNT  problem
Sent:	Sunday, July 15, 2007 10:25:53
From:	Michael Primeau (primeau0419@yahoo.ca)
It doesn't work. Simple. Thanks. Please don't bother replying.

Subject:	Re: DS-2076AT - Does anyone know the proper Az and Alt settings - The Autostar 494 that came with it does not have the DS2076AT model listed
Sent:	Wednesday, July 11, 2007 19:39:31
From:	Mark Sumpter (twomnms@centurytel.net)
Yes, I have done the Calibrate Motor, as well as the train drives (both
axes).  After doing these processes multiple times, I had also done a
Reset. After doing the Reset, I retrained the drives, and calibrated the
motors again, however, since the DS-2076AT (DS-2076) was not listed in
the Autostar, I chose the closest option, which was the DS-2070, which
had the same Focal length, since I did not have any other choices.  Note
that it defaults to ETX-60 and I also attempted using that model as
well, but did not have success.  My suspicion is that when they shipped
these scopes, since there was no DS-2076 option in the Autostar
software, that they may have had to set custom settings for DS-2076AT
scope (at the factory), and when the Autostar was later Reset, it then
lost the custom settings.  If anyone that may own the DS-2076AT scope
could provide the Az Ratio, and Alt Ratio parameters, it would be
greatly appreciated.  Thanks for your time regarding my questions.

Best Regards,

Mark Sumpter
Mike here: Just to clarify, CALIBRATE MOTOR should be done BEFORE you TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	DS2076AT - Does anyone know the proper Az and Alt settings - The Autostar 494 that came with it does not have the DS2076AT model listed
Sent:	Tuesday, July 10, 2007 08:54:34
From:	Mark Sumpter (twomnms@centurytel.net)
I had purchased a DS2076AT around 5 years ago from Walmart (my mistake).
The Autostar (494) tracked fine when I got it, however, I got it out
this year, and calabrated it (trained the drive, adjusted the finder
scope, etc.) but when I initialize it, as I had done in the past, it
does not track properly (way off course).

Note, I have trained the drive multiple times, and tried various things,
checked for resistance on the drive mechanism, etc.  Please note that it
does return to home correctly when I part the scope.

The Autostar setup does not list the DS2076 (which is odd, since this
came as a package), but it does list the DS2070, which I chose because
the Focal length was identical to the DS2076.  It appears to be that the
Az for the DS2070 settings does not match that of the DS2076, because
the Az tracking is way off.
My current settings:
Az Ratio=+00.84057
Alt Ratio=+01.15500
Az Percent=25%
Alt Percent=25%
Tracking Rate=Sidereal
Precision=High Precision
My question - Does anyone know the proper Az Ratio, and Alt Ratio for
the DS2076AT, and any other parameters that may effect proper tracking?
Any feedback regarding my request is greatly appreciated!
Best Regards,
Mark Sumpter
Mike here: When you say you calibrated it, did that include doing the CALIBRATE MOTOR step as well as TRAIN DRIVES? Have you tried a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES? Don't forget that you have to TRAIN DRIVES on BOTH axes.
Subject:	Re: lnt module with older ds2000 models
Sent:	Monday, July 9, 2007 08:43:24
From:	Dave Arnold (d3arnold@yahoo.com)
This is another update to the above subject I posted on Dec. 28 2006. 
The screws are 3mm .5 pitch x 10 mm.

I got them at ace which calls them m3 .5 x10.  8mm length may work 12mm
is prob. to long.  These are hex socket head and take a 2mm hex wrench.

Thanks again!
--Dave Arnold

Subject:	Re: Meade DS-2114ATS-LNT  problem
Sent:	Sunday, July 8, 2007 07:12:55
From:	Michael Primeau (primeau0419@yahoo.ca)
Well I think maybe that I am too stupid for this telescope.
I have tried,
easy align
1 star align
2 start align
pointed it north and leveled it myself with a carpenters level
put in RA and Dec coordinates
used star charts
put in my latitude and longitude for Bobcaygeon, Ontario 44.33 N  78.33 W
eastern time zone  daylight savings

I have gotten to the point where I had to walk away from it a few times
or it really wouldn't be working now

I am totally novice and just wanted a telescope that was easy to use and
see some planets etc.

Any ideas or just sell it?
Mike here: OK, lets back up a step. You put the telescope in the proper home position for the DS telescope LNT (which is probably NOT pointing North, at least it isn't with the ETX LNT telescopes). You then select Auto Align. After it completes leveling and determining where North is, it then selects and slews to the first alignment star. It should be pointed near the brightest star in that area. You then center that star in the eyepiece. The process repeats for the second star. You then see a message on the AutoStar that indicates the alignment has been successful. If you then select something like Venus or Jupiter, do you mean that the telescope does not slew anywhere close to them?


Yes exactly. It may be that it is not picking the correct alignment star
due to something I am doing wrong, and I don't have enough knowledge to
know which star is which. So I assume the star it picks it what it says
it is.
Mike here: If you center the WRONG stars, the alignment will likely fail, with a message on the AutoStar that says this. Again, as I mentioned previously, there are the star charts of the AutoStar alignment stars on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Perhaps you need to help the LNT "know" where True North is by doing the CALIBRATE SENSOR steps and follow the prompts on the AutoStar display.
Subject:	lnt module with older ds2000 models
Sent:	Wednesday, July 4, 2007 14:01:18
From:	dave arnold (d3arnold@yahoo.com)
This is an update to the above subject I posted on Dec. 28 2006.  I just
received the lnt module last week!  It took six months to deliver
something the web site said was in stock.  The lens showed up a couple
of months ago.  Anyway in answer to my own question the thing bolts on
where the old finder was with the only problem being that they don't
supply the hex head screws.  The screws for the finder don't work
without a right angle philips head screw driver and some washers(they
are too long).  As soon as I get some I'll post the size.  Operationally
there was no problem. The autostar gets time and date, then goes through
it's auto level/north/tilt routine and on to alignment. I hope I've set
the date and time for the last time!

Thanks again for this awesome site without which I would be totally lost.

Subject:	Meade DS-2114ATS-LNT  problem
Sent:	Tuesday, July 3, 2007 14:40:27
From:	Michael Primeau (primeau0419@yahoo.ca)
Help! I can't get my telescope to work. It looks nice but I don't have
enough knowledge to figure out the alignment stars. I even bought the
506 astrofinder package but it does not help. I don't know what to do
anymore, because the information for it was that it is so easy to use. I
am just too stupid to figure this thing out. Any help whatsoever would
be greatly appreciated by this wanna be astronomer. I have inputted my
latitude etc and have followed the instructions but it doesn't help at

Mike Primeau
Mike here: First off, I need to know exactly what you AND the telescope have done and are doing. Just saying that you can't get it to work doesn't help me help you. Have you read the manual, three times? Have you played with the telescope indoors to learn how to use it before going outside in the dark? (If you don't learn it when you can see you will likely get frustrated trying to learn it in the dark.)


Yes sir

Actually I have read the manual a lot more than 3 times. I have followed
all the instructions. However, after it aligns itself North and level it
can't seem to skew properly to the alignment stars. Also, I am not sure
where they are either.
Mike here: OK, lets start with a basic thing then. Grab the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" or "Another AutoStar Alignment Stars Chart" from the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page; that should help you properly identify the alignment stars in the sky. If you are centering the proper stars the AutoStar will say "Align Successful". Beyond that, you might want to CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES if you haven't already.


Okay thanks Mike I will try that. Thanks for your time.

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Copyright © 2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2007 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jul07/ds.html