Last updated: 26 July 2007

This page is for user comments on Astronomy software for the PC, Macintosh, or Palm OS 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 and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX-90 and Mac OS-X
Sent:	Monday, July 23, 2007 16:38:12
From:	Brian R. Propp (
What is the best software to use on a MacBook Pro to control the ETX-90?
 I appreciate your time and advice.

Brian R. Propp
Loveland, CO
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews: Software page. I have personally used Voyager III, Astroplanner, and Scopedriver with my Powerbook G4 with Mac OS X.
Subject:	Control command of #494 autostar
Sent:	Saturday, July 14, 2007 06:44:37
From:	Roger Agopian (
Following our last discussion, i have acquired the package  #506 (sold
as NEW) to manage the #494 autostar joined to ETX70-at.

Unfortunately, this package countains  so old softwares ( as StarryNight
Bundle 2.1 and ACP 1.2 dated 1999!!!), that the Starry Night Web site
can not upgrade it.

Is there any new Meade or other free software (french would be the top)
to be used with my new system and equivalent to the couple Starry Night
/ ACP ?
Thank you,
Mike here: There are many applications that can control the AutoStar. Many are listed on the Accessory Reviews: Software page. There are some others listed in the Software section on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject:	Re: astrofinder software  cannot communicate with etx90
Sent:	Wednesday, July 11, 2007 19:06:32
From:	Caroline Visser (
Houston, we have liftoff! Yipee!! Autostar is now "unfried" and fully
functional ,connectivity has been restored, and, as per your
reccomendation I have downloaded Astroplanner, which is awsome!! Thank
you sooooo much! Now, if it would just stop raining : (
Anyway, I just wanted to express my gratitude for your assistance!

And this after the above was received:

From:	richard seymour (
What i would recommend is finding a friend with a
desktop PC with a "real" COM port.
That will remove many variables from the effort.

On that system perform the Safe Load restoration.

The "30%" symptom is usually due to some other program
in the laptop competing for the serial port (a PalmPilot
HotSync program, an infrared keyboard / network seeker, etc).

StarPAtch, as Mike suggested, is much better than ASU at
grabbing and defending the connection to the Autostar.
It may well be able to work on your laptop where ASU fails.

(but that doesn't solve the Astrofinder issues).

I believe that Meade's own USB to serial adapter is
also Prolific-based, so trying -Meade's- driver may help, too.
Available here:

good luck

Subject:	astrofinder software  cannot communicate with etx90
Sent:	Tuesday, July 10, 2007 13:44:32
From:	Caroline Visser (
Here is the short version. I have an ETX90 with Autostar 497 and #505
Astrofinder software. I have a Prolific USB to serial port adapter to
make connection to Compaq Presario notebook with XP as OS. I cannot make
a connection due to various com port errors. I have tried Hyperterminal
to communicate as per your advice in a similar thread. I''ve tried
Netscope to establish a network, and I have tried creating a LAN with
the network feature of Astrofinder. (What I did not do is use XP to
establish a LAN with Autostar because I do not know how.I)  have
upgraded the Prolific driver as well.The only other thing I have not
tried is testing the com ports with hyperterminal and a serial loopback
test to see if my USB port is actually  on com 5 as XP believes it to
be. Maybe I'll try that tonight.

According to XP device manager, there are no conflicts, and the USB to
serial comm port is on port 5.  The ONLY other serial device I know of
is my modem on com 4.

I am very frustrated. I suspect it is the USB driver creating a virtual
com port that may not be compatible with Astrofinder software. Could all
of this angst POSSIBLY stem froum a lousy cable and driver? I wanted
your advice before I spend another $50 on another cable only to give
myself a $100 migraine.
Appreciate your help,
Mike here: I know that not all USB adapters work with the AutoStar. I use a Keyspan one with my Macs and that works well. There have been similar successes reported from Windows users with the Keyspan adapters. For some more information, see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Have you tried other software, such as Astroplanner?


Sorry about the duplicate e-mails. My mousepad is a little sensitive
lately. ; ) I have not tried other software yet. I will start with the
keyspan usb adapter, and then I will try other software if that does not
work. Thank you for your help and VERY prompt response!!!!


Well, I seem to have resolved the connectivity problem by reassigning my
usb to serial port as com 1. However, with all of the fiddling around I
have done I "fried" the hand controler (497). I have started it in safe
mode and attemted to use astrofinder updater to rectify the problem,
but, each time I try the display fades to black before the download is
complete. When the display fades the connection is lost and the dwnload
is aborted. The closest I have come to completion is 30%. I think I may
have killed it... I think I am going to cry... Any suggestions, other
than the obvious?
Mike here: I suspect the USB-adapter is causing the timeout and loss of connection. You might try StarGPS software (available from; it typically loads the AutoStar ROM faster. You need to put the AutoStar into SAFE LOAD mode again and do the upload.

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