AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 July 2009

Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, AutoStar III (for ETX-LS) 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 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:	Tonight's Best tour gone missing
Sent:	Wednesday, July 29, 2009 07:54:05
From:	Philip Mann (philip@philipmann.com)
Too much rain limits observations.  I was using Mead's Autostar Suite,
created a tour but have lost "Tonight's Best", strangely the software
seemed to remove it.  Is there a way to get this back?  I reinstalled
43g but this didn't work.  Never a dull moment.
 
Thanks in advance
 
Bye for now
 
Philip
Mike here: You can grab it from Meade's site (http://www.meade.com/support/autotours.html) and re-install it.

And:

Excellent Mike - all up and running.  Many thanks again.
 
Bye for now
 
Philip

And:

Spoken too soon!  I had a power failure whilst downloading to the
autostar with the result of nothing on switching it on.  Is there a
magical process to get it going again or do I look for a new one?
 
Yours frustratingly
 
Philip
Mike here: See the ETX FAQ page item "Q. The power went off while I was updating my AutoStar and now it doesn't work. Did I kill it?"
Subject:	New firmware for 497EP posted: 5BE2
Sent:	Tuesday, July 28, 2009 08:43:26
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Meade (!) posted to the Yahoo LX90 group:
----------
NEW #497EP Firmware and Autostar Update Client Application (Version 5.6)

Did you know there are two types of #497 Autostar? The newest, designated the
#497ep, utilizes an updated chipset. However, in light of the newer, faster,
chipset, the #497ep firmware doesn't work with the older #497 Autostar and vice
versa.

Meade has just released a new firmware version for the #497EP, version 5BE2,
which is accessible once you upgrade to the new Autostar Update (ASU) Client.

If you have an older version of the Autostar Update (ASU) Client (version 5.1
and earlier) the updater cannot tell the difference between the two controllers.
Go to the link below to download and install version 5.6 of the Autostar Update
Client Application. This new version of the updater can detect which Autostar
controller you have and download the latest version for your Autostar.

http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Au2ver56.EXE

We would encourage all Autostar users to upgrade to the new client app.

Meade Customer Service
------------------

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Autostar feedback
Sent:	Friday, July 24, 2009 19:16:55
From:	dbodish@comcast.net (dbodish@comcast.net)
Was just catching up on recent posts and saw this one from Dr. Sherrod
in the July 21 update.  He's referring to the 497EP handset, running v.
59EF firmware:

	From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net) Nope.....they do not
	work, period.  There are many missing functions on this buggy
	version and they can cause major disruption of the telescope during
	operation.  Slewing to Saturn, for example, cannot be done
	accurately.

	The hand control cannot be attached to a PC under any circumstances
	and doing so will result in total loss of function of the telescope;
	Meade is aware of the problems but let many of these out before it
	became clear.

	Dr. Clay

This last bit just isn't true, at least not universally.  I have a 497EP
that came with my LX90 I purchased in Jan.  I also have an older backup
497 that I bought on eBay.  I exclusively use computer control (Voyager
4.5) with my LX90, and both handsets work fine.  Yes, the EP version is
off by something like 15 deg on Saturn and Jupiter, which is stupid and
irritating, but this problem is irrelevant if using a PC to drive.  It
slews accurately to any object I select on my laptop, and the tracking
is accurate.  I personally have no use for the handset alone, so I don't
regard this as a big problem.  Not defending Meade for releasing an
imperfect product, but to say that the EP version cannot be attached to
a PC is simply untrue.  I do it all the time.

Rick Bodishbaugh

Subject:	LXD 75 AutoStar 497 Disaster
Sent:	Wednesday, July 22, 2009 18:51:21
From:	Bill & Becky Marvin (wmarvin@hickorytech.net)
Here is a Disaster I had upgrading my 497 AutoStar  from  ver 3.3ef  to 
4.3eg after repairing and Hypertuned my LXD  75  w/497 AS to  4.3eg.

Replaced encoder wheels/Teflon spacers/polished & relubed the
mount................THEN  of course upgrade the ASU from ver 3.3ef
which was working fine  to the 4.3eg Software impending danger was close
at hand.

I began with using ASU 4.61 and imbed the 4.3eg into
it........................wouldn't program after trying and reading
about upgrade issues.

First thing my computer has no Serial ports..........so I had to buy a
USB adapter cable from Meade for programming with instructions and
software to add a " Driver" to make the USB port to com with the 497
ASU...........been there and did it.  Well after a few more hours of
wasted attempts I then found out about as patch for XP Pro and 4.3eg and
also zipped into the ASU 4.61.

The Handset then completed programming with and Initialization Beep and
"Download Successful............done at last

I then powered the 497 down to restart and reset via the 497 menu.

Brought the 497 and HPT mount to enter my data/calibrate  &* test 
motors/Train Drives etc   Man am I'm glad  being done....you don't know
how DONE I was....................during training, the  motors went on
steroids and sheared off the DEC housing before I could tackle the mount
to shut it down.  Remember the 3.3ef worked fine............why isn't
the true data checked before  it says "Successful" only to learn to late
I was Stupid to know better.
 
Bill
Mike here: Never heard of this happening before.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Actually, a runaway like that can happen by simply failing to perform a
Setup/Telescope/Calibrate Drives
before letting the scope operate "unattended"
(i.e. someone not hovering near the power switch).

I get similar runaways if i move my 497 Autostar from my ETX90
to my ETX70 (or back) without doing a Calibrate Drives.

The shearing off of the DEC drive was unfortunate
(my forked etx's merely smash into the hard stops
if i'm slow on the power switch)
I *try* to remember to remember to do the first power-up with
the axes unclamped (the motor may spin, but the hardware doesn't move),
but i don't always manage that feat...

good luck
--dick

And:

Yes Reset/Calibrate Drives/Test Motors/ etc were done
first............the dead giveaway testing indicates now is the 497
Slew Rates are ALL top speed period !  Be it #3  or #9  also the
sidereal normal rate is 20X normal.  It's a bogus software in the 497
now.............it wasn't a mount fault.

I also remember the mount being in super sidereal rate the went quite
with reset/calibrate drives but when I was changing to train RA/Dec
menu item it went into its hyper-speed corruption mode again and
ignored any keypad entry except tackle the mount.  At least I was wary
and my 152 ED APO in it's case safe.

I am not upset with anyone here on the fine group...........just trying
to understand why the 4.61` ASU said..........download successful???

Very Best

Bill

And:

The asu declares "download successful" even if it fails or times out.

I have not run ASU 4.61 for years... i'm using the current (v5.6)
version since it deals with the new 497EP model of Autostar
(And doesn't corrupt the old Autostar by trying to cram an EP's firmware into it).

I -primarily- download with Starpatch (free) from:
http://www.stargps.ca/starpatch.htm

***much*** more powerful and reliable (for downloading, it doesn't do library maintenance)

It's also faster, and -tells the truth- with its progress and error messages.

So i might suggest a reload with -that- tool.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	re: New AutoStar with v5 firmware
Sent:	Tuesday, July 21, 2009 19:55:53
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
It's not -quite- as drastic as Dr. Clay says.

I've used v59Ef (if that's what you have) on my ancient (mid-1999) ETX-90,
and it does work (mostly).

Yes, it has bugs.  And quirks.

But, yes, it can be upgraded with new firmware when it comes out.

We (well, Andrew Johansen is doing most of it ;-) have even successfully
patched (modified) the 59Ef code to fix many of the bugs.
We've even got it working remotely.

Meade is also working on the bugs, i'm not at liberty to comment on how they're doing
(but they haven't addressed one major failing yet.. so they're not "close").

Underneath the hood, the 497EP (for that's what it is) really does have a better,
faster processor than the old 497.  When the firmware gets fixed, you'll be ahead.

have fun (eventually)
--dick

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
"...when it comes out...."
That is the key to a happy 5.9 firmware owner.  It is virtually useless
as it is now (since there is not any new firmware out to replace it and
it cannot be retrofit with v4.3g) if any attempt to connect to a
computer.

The telescope simply should not be used with this firmware and it should
stopped being distributed by Meade; but their techs keep telling
everyone there is simply nothing wrong with it.

Dr. Clay
_____
Arkansas Sky Observatories
MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain
MPC H43 - Conway West
http://www.arksky.org/

And:

From:	dsills@frontiernet.net (dsills@frontiernet.net)
Hey, Thanks guys for all the stuff I am learning about this new AutoStar
Controller and all of its glitches and bugs.  Hopefully Meade will soon
realize there is a problem and do something about it.  I tried to talk
to them yesterday but they insisted I try backloading it to the v4.3eG
before they even consider replacing it.

ds

And an update:

Following is from an e-mail I received today from a Vincent Sanchez at
Meade.  He has something to do with the Customer Support Department.

See below what he has to say:

	I see that you have purchased a new Autostar handbox for the ETX-90. I
	take it that it's the #497 Autostar; that's the only one that would work
	with an ETX-90. The firmware version shouldn't affect anything; either
	version would work with your telescope. It's true that you can't change
	a v5. to a v4.3 however that shouldn't effect the use of the telescope.
	You're telescope should work fine with the v5. Maybe I can assist you
	with the issues that you are experiencing. Let me know some details
	about the issue that you are having; maybe I could give some
	suggestions.

As you can see, Meade feels there is not a problem with the v5 firmware.
Don't know what to do to make them stand up and take notice

Thanks,
Doug Sills

And:

It is not infrequent that companies do not fully disclose to their
customer-facing staff planned (or contemplated) changes.
This avoids the problems caused by those staff telling the customer
of something "coming real soon" when the expected development doesn't happen.
(leading the customer to claim that the support staff "lied".  The staff
didn't "lie", it was really the boffins in the back room changing their
minds or directions for unknown reasons).

I've faced that method of operation for -decades- in the computer business.

So the customer support staff may not be fully informed (after all, Meade
(hopefully) wouldn't *intentionally* ship (overly) bad firmware  in their
Autostars) about what the users (sometimes correctly called "beta testers")
are finding out about the firmware.

You could -invite- Mr. Sanchez to fire up a pair of telescopes (ETX or whatever)
with an "old" 497 and a new 497EP and simply -compare- their predicted
positions for Saturn for the same time and date.
If they differ, invite him to run the question up the chain of command.

Although the customer support staff haven't heard about it, the higher-ups
at Meade -are- aware of the 59Ef problems, and they -are- taking action.

Depending upon the results of better testing, that action may produce results
relatively soon (or not, -again- depending upon testing and development cycles).

Some of the items (such as the error in Saturn's position) are easily dealt
with.  Some of the other more esoteric errors may require major restructuring
of the code... and -that- will take time.

But what would be the correct choice for you?  I can't say (you can).
You could either wait for the future firmware update(s), or campaign for
a replacement 497 of the "old" style.  You can elevate the matter to Mr. Sanchez's
supervisors, but some of them are out of the office until the end of July.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	ETX 125
Sent:	Tuesday, July 21, 2009 19:20:07
From:	Gerald Jenny (gjenn@dslextreme.com)
Well I guess I have done it once more have not used scope for about 3
months went to retrain the drives and I got motor failure message on the
Autostar the Alt. seems ok it just the RA stops and gives me the
message. I cannot seem to get it past the RA motor failure can I start
the autostar with a reboot  As always Great site thanks
Mike here: If you can't get past the MOTOR FAILURE message, then there are some things you check. Try fresh batteries. While you are replacing the batteries, check the battery compartment for corrosion. Check the AutoStar cable connectors and the jacks. Look for bent or dirty pins. Also, try reversing the cable. If none of the above helps, you can try a RESET from software; see the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

Reversed the cable and it did not light up would that be my cable maybe.
Boy are you quick to answer thanks
Mike here: Perhaps. But put it back the other way and see what happens.

And:

Did that and it lit up and started to recal the motors and got the
failure on RA motor same as it did before tried to download the hyper
terminal and it will not download they want you to buy it 59.00 bucks.
Mike here: I'll pass on buying it from you. What about the other things I mentioned to check.

And:

Yes checke for all the things you menintion and still did the same thing
I think next I'll try to connect it ot the computer and try a new
download  maaybe that will get it off the testing motors.

And:

Well I  swapped the HBX cable and one end works by work I mean it light
up the autostar and when I swapped ends nothing happens  so I have two
new cables and neither one of those work nothing happens this is really
weird I really do not know what to do. the cable end that works or at
least lights up the autostar  seems to work fine except that  the RA
does not work,I get all the good indcations on the auto star but then
the RA will not move the altitude works fine.
Mike here: It could be the fault of the AutoStar or it could be a fault in the ETX base. Could you be overtightening the axis lock? If that's OK, does the telescope rotate freely when the axis lock is unlocked? If that's OK, it could be a dirty encoder. Sometimes you can redistribute the lubrication by unlocking the axis and slowly moving the telescope back and forth by hand, hard stop to hard stop, several times.

And:

OK I'll try the rotation bit what I do not understand is why the new
cables do not work but the old one does oneway only
Mike here: Bad cable? Bad connectors? By the way, if you want to learn more about motor faults, search the ETX Site for "motor fault".
Subject:	New AutoStar with v5 firmware
Sent:	Monday, July 20, 2009 20:46:10
From:	Doug & Corine Sills (dsills@frontiernet.net)
Just today I sent my older ETX-90EC scope off to Dr. Clay for his
Supercharge service.  I have recently received a new AutoStar with
firmware v5.something, I believe it is 5.9, on it and with that new
AutoStar connected to the scope, it just didn't seem to work right.  I
figured it is an older scope, it needs some service and repair to it. 
Then after I had sent it out to Dr. Clay for repair, I read on your site
about problems with that v5 firmware.  I contacted Dr. Clay and let him
know about the new AutoStar and the firmware version and he is telling
me that that version of firmware is useless and that it cannot be back
loaded to the v4.3eG which is the most current usable version of
firmware for my scope.  What can you tell me, if anything, about the new
version of firmware on the new AutoStars?  Am I out of luck with this
new AutoStar on my scope?  It is too late to return it to where I
purchased it from.
Thanks,
Doug Sills
dsills@frontiernet.net
<<...>>
Mike here: The new AutoStar can not be downgraded to 4.3Eg. However, the new model should work with your ETX. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? As to that new AutoStar ROM, there is some discussion on the current and past AutoStar Feedback pages, as well as on the Announcements: Warnings! page.

And:

Thanks for your quick response, I have forwarded your info on to Dr.
Clay and also have an e-mail in to Meade.

Thanks again,
Doug Sills

And:

From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Nope.....they do not work, period.  There are many missing functions on
this buggy version and they can cause major disruption of the telescope
during operation.  Slewing to Saturn, for example, cannot be done
accurately.

The hand control cannot be attached to a PC under any circumstances and
doing so will result in total loss of function of the telescope; Meade
is aware of the problems but let many of these out before it became
clear.

Dr. Clay
_____
Arkansas Sky Observatories
MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South
MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain
MPC H43 - Conway West
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject:	Re: Autostar 43Eg - Polar Alignment Question
Sent:	Thursday, July 16, 2009 10:25:40
From:	Language Quest (jfh@LanguageQuest.com)
Thanks so much for the information.

I haven't tried updating or "patching" the Autostar - so I am a
definitely a newbie on this.

I may try to purchase another Autostar 497 to "experiment" with patching
and updating. Any dangers in doing this? I assume that if I mess up
updating or patching the extra handset that I can just plug in the
original one and be back where I started.

Thanks again for your great website.

Jim Havlice
Mike here: Updating is straight forward. There are some articles on updating on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. They discuss earlier versions but the information is still applicable. You will need a #505 serial cable (easily made using the articles on the AutoStar Info page. You will also need a RS-232 serial port on your computer. If your computer has only USB you will need a USB-serial adapter. But see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>> I may try to purchase another Autostar 497 to "experiment" with
>> patching and updating.

That's what i have... one to kick around, one to use at night
(if the kicking had problems).

>> Any dangers in doing this?

No dangers.  The only thing you'll have to do is perform both the
Calibrate Drives and Train Drives  procedures on -both- Autostars.

If you purchase a *new* Autostar, it may be one of the 497EP model
with v59Ef firmware.  At the moment we are not issuing patches for
that model, and you can -not- "backload" it to v43Eg.

But it will operate your telescope (most likely), but with a slightly
different set of bugs compared to the "old" 497 Autostar.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Autostar 43Eg - Polar Alignment Question
Sent:	Tuesday, July 14, 2009 15:55:48
From:	Language Quest (jfh@LanguageQuest.com)
I was wondering about the meaning of the information that is displayed
after a polar alignment. (numbers with carets after them)

I found the answer on your wonderful website. (Answer supplied by Dick
Seymour and reproduced below).

My question is: This information is displayed after a successful polar
alignment near the bottom of the Autostar screen. However, it is
displayed for only a very short time - maybe 5 or 10 seconds. I hardly
have time to read it. It switches to a screen with 0 for align or Menu
for Select and the pole information is no longer evident.

Is that information stored somewhere else? Or can I somehow stop the
display so that I can write down the numbers?

Thanks for any help. (My  scope is a ETX 125PE, Autostar 497 with the
original version software 43Eg).

Jim Havlice

=======================================================

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
As Mike said, the carets, vees  and ">" are serving as "arrows",
pointing to where the pole -really- is relative to your current
arrangement.

The (')   (apostrophe) means arcMinutes, not arcseconds.

The "nearly perfect" indicator (i.e. the best you'll ever see)
is   <5'   ..meaning "less than 5 arcmin from pole".

In your quoted example, 13'v  41'>  means that you want to move
your wedge to lower the RA axis by about 1/4 degree (13 arcmin)
and move it eastward (if you're in the northern hemisphere) 3/4 degree
(41 arcmin).
In words, the screen is trying to tell you:
"The pole is 13 arcminutes down, and 41 arcminutes east, of where
you currently have the RA axle pointed."

Think of yourself standing south of the telescope, gazing over
it towards the north pole, and the v and > become correctly oriented.

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
My current patch kit for 43Eg has (as one of the options) the ability to have
the display -stay- visible, until you tap [enter].
My patch kits are available through Mike's Autostar Info page, in the right column.

The numbers displayed are not kept in the Autostar's memory after the display.
They are produced purely for the user's information, and are not needed/used
(in that form) by the Autostar itself (it uses values -derived- from the offset,
but the actual "so-many-areminutes-off" numbers are useless for its purposes.
So they're not saved.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	re: Autostar 5.2 (ASU 5.6)
Sent:	Thursday, July 9, 2009 07:57:42
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The new Autostar Updater (v5.6) is *good*.
From: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html
Specifically:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Au2ver56.EXE

(it's also included as a part of the 200 megabyte v5.5 update of autostar suite:
http://www.meade.com/support/AutostarSuiteWebEdition55.exe )

ASU 5.6 recognizes the different flavors of 497 Autostar and makes the
proper choices about "what to send".  Thus it avoids the "59Ef in an old
incompatible Autostar" issue.

Since ASU 5.6 helps you avoid possible "mistakes", it's probably
worthwhile installing. It has certain "quirks" of operation I find
"different" to "obnoxious" (such as "phoning home" when started to see
if it's the "newest" version... i don't mind -that- so much, but i -do-
mind the extra pop-up proudly telling me that it's current.)

have fun
--dick

P.S.  Of course, i forgot to mention that i still prefer StarPatch for
firmware downloads to the older 497 Autostar.
(my first usage of ASU 5.6 took sooooo lonnnngggg....)
Mike here: Of course, I still prefer AutoStarX (on Mac OS X)!
Subject:	Re: ETX command set & usage (writing custom SW to control ETX-70AT over a #506 cable)
Sent:	Thursday, July 9, 2009 07:24:30
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
>>> I'm gathering data for a project to convert my ETX-70AT to a computer
>>> controled timlapse/pano mount (similar to MiLapse and Gigapan).
>>> After doing a bit of research I have a few questions:
>>> 1: I've seen people use a modified firmware for the #497, but I only
>>> have #494 controller and plan to get the #506 cable set. I'm unsure
>>> if I can just send the commands over the serial port and expect it to
>>> work.

Yes, most of the "useful" serial commands will work.

>>> 2: What precision can I reasonably expect from the
>>> untrained/uncalibrated mount?

Why -not- calibrate and train it?
They're both "do once" procedures, then the accuracy increases by quite a bit.
You don't have to repeat them until/unless you change power supplies or
the mechanical characteristics of your mount.

You don't mention what kind of "precision" you're talking about.

I forget my ETX-70's training results, but my ETX-90 would have a
go-out-and-come-back error approaching 1/4 degree in Az and almost a degree in Alt.
After Training, it's well below 10 arcminutes (more like 3).
For unidirectional motion (always moving in the -same- direction),
accuracy will be probably better than 5 arcminutes.
The backlash effects only show up when you -reverse- the motors.

>>> 3: Most up to date Autostar command set/instructions/tips/faq (the
>>> one on the site seem pretty old)

What firmware version is in your 494?
Setup/Statistics/[enter][scroll up]
That would tell me (mostly) what sub-set of the commands you have.
The 494 does -not- have most (if any) of the "fine tuning" commands
Given the "old list", which commands do you expect you'll want?

>>> More info:
>>> I plan to remove the scope, remove the supporting arm (to narrow to
>>> mount a SLR camera otherwise), and make a mounting bracket for the
>>> camera on the rotating arm.
>>> Software side would use a laptop to pan X degrees, than stop for the
>>> cam to take the shot, pan/stop again  untill a full 360 pan is made,
>>> then tilt X degrees, pan a full circle again.
>>>
>>> I'd be grateful for any other suggestions/info.

You'd be therefore using the :Sa  and :Sz  commands, followed by :MA#
Those are honored by the oldest (pre-2001) 494 program i have a listing of,
so they should be functional in your 494.
Some versions may require expressing the Azimuth in "RA hours" (so "1.0" would
be equivalent to 15 degrees), but that will become instantly apparent as
you start testing.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX command set & usage (writing custom SW to control ETX-70AT over a #506 cable)
Sent:	Thursday, July 2, 2009 06:43:51
From: Zoran Zorkic (zomba@gmx.net)
I'm gathering data for a project to convert my ETX-70AT to a computer
controled timlapse/pano mount (similar to MiLapse and Gigapan).
After doing a bit of research I have a few questions:
1: I've seen people use a modified firmware for the #497, but I only
have #494 controller and plan to get the #506 cable set. I'm unsure if I
can just send the commands over the serial port and expect it to work.
2: What precision can I reasonably expect from the
untrained/uncalibrated mount?
3: Most up to date Autostar command set/instructions/tips/faq (the one
on the site seem pretty old)

More info:
I plan to remove the scope, remove the supporting arm (to narrow to
mount a SLR camera otherwise), and make a mounting bracket for the
camera on the rotating arm.
Software side would use a laptop to pan X degrees, than stop for the cam
to take the shot, pan/stop again  untill a full 360 pan is made, then
tilt X degrees, pan a full circle again.

I'd be grateful for any other suggestions/info.

Thanks

-- 

Zoran Z.
Mike here: I'll let our resident AutoStar Expert, Dick Seymour respond. But since I'm going back offline for several more days, I likely won't see his response.
Subject:	Autostar 5.2 (ASU 5.6)
Sent:	Wednesday, July 1, 2009 06:36:47
From: Trevor Gerdes (trevorgerdes@optusnet.com.au)
Does anyone know what is new or changed with Autostar firmware ver 5.2
(ASU 5.6)? Wondering is it worth the upgrade?
 
Trevor
MIke here: For now, see the Announcements: Warnings! page for some info.
Subject:	Re: New Autostar 497 Math challenged?
Sent:	Tuesday, June 23, 2009 18:54:03
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> After doing a proper alignment, they find all deep sky objects and stars 
> fine. but they both miscalculate the postions of Saturn and Jupiter! 
> Hooking the handboxes up to the Autostar suite software gives the 
> handbox the correct positions of the planets.
> 
> I've also noticed that the new handboxes lose 2 minutes out of every 
> hour when checking the internal clock.
> 
> My 494 handbox from 15 year ago finds all the planets just fine and the 
> clock doesnt drift a second all night.
> 
> I've tried both the handboxes on a DS-2080 also and received the same 
> planet errors
> 
> Has anyone else experienced this?

In a word: Yes.  (at least the miscalculation of planets.. it's 4 degrees off for Saturn)
Andrew Johansen has even come up with a patch, but we keep finding -more- bugs
so the patch hasn't been released yet.  If you'd like to be a patch tester, let us know.

We were -not- aware of a long term clock drift (and hadn't looked for one... all of our
tests are short duration).  I won't be able to test it with my 497EP (57Ef) since it's
2500 miles from where i am (until tuesday).  But (volunteering him, yet again...)
Andrew (CC'd) may be able to look into it sooner...

The planetary error is caused by Meade misusing a byte variable where it ought'a be a word.

have fun
--dick

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