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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 July 2010
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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 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:	Autostar 494 problem
Sent:	Tuesday, July 27, 2010 19:49:49
From:	Mark Garrison (mxgarrison@gmail.com)
Hi. I have a Meade DS-2130 with a Gen 2 mount. The 494 controller will
power up and it initializes and I can enter the date, time and daylight
savings y/n. But it won't go past the daylight savings. I'm able to use
the 494 to move the scope with no problem, but I'm not able to access
the controller features. It just stays on daylight savings. At this
point I believe its froze up because I can no longer select daylight
savings y/n. I have the 506 cable and software and it recognizes the
controller, but there's no way to reset the controller from what I can
find. I would greatly appreciate any help.

Thanks
-Mark
Mike here: Check that the batteries are good. Also, check the cable connection; the jack and connector pins should be clean, not too depressed, nor bent sideways. You can try the tip mentioned in the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. It may not work however, if the AutoStar software is corrupted. If that all fails, you can either return the AutoStar #494 to Meade for a repair or get a #497 (which works fine with the DS models and is user updateable).

And:

Sorry, I forgot to mention I do have a second Meade DS with a good 494
and it works correctly on the scope where the bad one does not. I
checked the pins in both connectors (scope and 494's) and they are ok.
Batteries are not the issue because I'm running off of a power supply. I
can't return it. I purchased used from a private party. I'll read the
article you mentioned. Appreciate the help.

-Mark 
Mike here: Since the other AutoStar works fine, I suspect corrupted software.

And:

I've tried to get the 494 to boot to safe mode multiple times.
Pressed/held Enter and either down arrows when unit is off, just as I
turn it on and even when it was on, and nothing happens. Initializes and
goes right to the date. Either I'm missing something or the corrupt
software is prohibiting safe mode. Suggestions?

-Mark
Mike here: As you have now discovered, there is no SAFE LOAD mode on the AutoStar #494. And there is no user-installable update for the #494. Get a #497 AutoStar, which has these and lots more.

And:

Alas, it is toast. I appreciate the help and the lightning fast response
times.

Next I wondering, how do I open the 494 without damaging the it?. I'm
curious and since its somewhat non-functional I really have nothing to
loose.

Thanks again
-Mark
Mike here: See the article "Repairing #494 AutoStar" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. There are also a couple of schematics articles on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	autostar 494
Sent:	Tuesday, July 27, 2010 04:48:22
From:	Brooks Davis (streamhunter07@yahoo.com)
i just bought a meade telescope with autostar 494.   the initial set up 
went perfect but now when i power up i get motor unit fault.  i have
reset but it keeps doing it.  i think one of the motors went bad.  can i
fix or do you know where i can buy another motor?
 
thanks you,
 
Brooks Davis
Mike here: There can be many causes of the MOTOR FAULT, including corrupted software in the AutoStar, bad cable connection, weak batteries, dirty encoders, overtightened axis locks, obstructions preventing telescope movement, and more. If you don't want to troubleshoot it and if the telescope is new, I suggest contacting the dealer for an exchange.
Subject:	etx 125ec cable
Sent:	Tuesday, July 20, 2010 00:07:17
From:	brian hollis (hollis.b@hotmail.co.uk)
sorry but another boring question from a beginner. i have just purchased
125 ec and it came with 497 handset but no cable

sent for one but it came with 4pin connections on ends of cable .doe"s
not seem right..would appreciate any help.
regards b
Mike here: You need the HBX cable. I take it this was a used telescope. If you want to make one yourself, see the article "AutoStar #497 HBX cable" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And more:

just to clarify 1st email .after further reading of your website seems
497 handset should read 495

weather this is compattable with 125 seems to need further
investigation.what a minefield this telescope lark is .could mean back
to the old orion
Mike here: You can update the #495 to a #497 with software but you'll need a #505 serial cable and a RS-232 serial port on your computer. You can easily make a #505 serial cable; see the cable section on the AutoStar Info page.

And:

hello mike 
thanks for info .much appreciated 
regards b

Subject:	RE: Autostar 497 failure
Sent:	Monday, July 19, 2010 01:51:58
From:	Maxi Guzman Iglesias (maxiguzman@hotmail.es)
Firmware reloaded. The fault still remains.

With the good hand controller connected, I can see that the motors make
a short run after power on, the faulty one does not stop them after the
start of the sensing run.

I do not understand why if I reset the controller and start again
without remove power from the system, everything seems to work well. I
can imagine that some parameter is sent to the main MCU EEPROM (under
normal working condition) and in this case, with the fault controller
connected, the saving of the parameter faults because a break in the
EEPROM managing circuit avoids it.

Does anybody know if the Motorola HC  has some EEPROM inside, or if an
external EEPROM is used in the circuit?

Thank you for your time trying to help

Maximiliano Guzman
Mike here: There is a schematic of the #497 on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. In fact, there are two articles with such information.
Subject:	Autostar 497 failure
Sent:	Sunday, July 18, 2010 03:57:36
From:	Maxi Guzman Iglesias (maxiguzman@hotmail.es)
congratulations for your huge site!

I have been reading as much as I could off the info contained in your
ETX/AUtostar site, but I can not find an idea about what is happening
with my 497 controller.

It is connected to a pair of LDX75 motors mounted on a Vixen GP mount. I
turn power on and press mode three times accepting time, date summer
saving time and so on. After that, the motors (both dec and ar) start
running and they do not stop untill an error condition is shown in the
497 screen. If I am fast, I can make a reset while the motors are
running, before the error is shown. Then, and without turning the power
off, I can go through all the initializacion procedure (choose location,
date, time, etc) and this time the controller works correctly! No error
is shown and it seems to do good runnings to the objects.

I have updated the firmware to the latest one and it happens the same. I
have fitted another hand controller to the motors, and in this case, the
system performs flawlessly, so the problem seems to be inside the hand
controller. I have tried to calibrate both motors with the 'faulty' 497
and it seems to accept the calibration but the malfunction remains.

Any help will be very appreciated.

Thank you all.

Maximiliano Guzmn
Mike here: Have you done a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes)? Also, don't press the MODE key after entering the startup data; use the ENTER key.

And:

I have trained both axes once more. Then I switched off then On and...
the motors do not stop after shown the mode 'easy' in the align menu.

Can the controller be really out of work? Do you recommend me to call
Meade asking for help? Where can be bought a new hand controller?

Best regards

Maximiliano Guzmn
Mike here: What version of the AutoStar software is installed on your #497?

And:

it is 43Eg.
Mike here: That's good. But maybe reloading it will solve the problem. Try that.

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