Last updated: 30 June 2008

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:	AutoStar DS series -Info on Alt. scale accuracy correction?
Sent:	Monday, June 30, 2008 19:28:41
From:	stange (stange34@sbcglobal.net)
Do you have any information on removing or correcting the ALT. degree
SCALE play/slop (Not gear slop), and any info on (how) to keep the ALT.
degree scale reasonably accurate so that it can help to find DSO's using
just the Alt. & Azimuth scales, on AutoStar DS series single arm mounts?

If nothing else.... just to make it read accurately for level OTA
pre-auto alignment if mount has been leveled.

Mike here: I don't have a DS model so don't know if it is similar to the ETX model but see the item "Q. My Declination (altitude) setting circle is off, what do I do?" on the FAQ page.


OK, I read that Mike
See my attachment for correcting the DS series Alt. scale errors. May
apply to ETX series too.
Let me know if you want me to continue.....


The DS-series DEC knob scale assy can be accuratized when the mechanical
problems are identified. The ETX series (may be fixeable the same way or

The drawback is....since the scale needs to show zero when the scope is
level and to show accurately the scopes true Altitude angles upward it
cannot be done without having the base mount level to begin with, for
starting accuracy. And the Alt. scale must never move independantly when
the clutch knob is rotated in either direction, and must never
independantly move during normal up-down gear driven motion. The problem
is the Altitude scale has a couple of degrees(or a lot more) slop
because it is not firmly fixed in rotation & locked to the hub assy. If
it were, the scope mount would have to be leveled to make the Alt. scale
accurate afterward.

Meade's promotion was the mount need not be leveled because it uses Star
alignment with only the tube needing leveling in the beginning. So the
Alt. scale stayed sloppy no matter how the tube was aimed after

There are two problems that must be corrected (if both exist), to
eliminate scale slop.

1) The outer Altitude knob SKIRT must NOT TOUCH the Alt. scale at any
time. If it does, it will cause a dragging on the Alt. (SCALE) with
increasing scale error in either direction depending on the scale slop.
Even by removing the slop, it can later cause the slop to return. 2) The
Alt. scale sets somewhat loosely on a special hub assy without any means
to lock it to the gear driven hub accurately and permanently. This is
the source of the scale slop.

Correcting problem #1:

After removal of OTA clam-shell, (4 screws underneath the clam shell
padding at the top, "carefully" loosen the locknut you see and remove
it. Hold the hub so that you are not damaging internal gearing etc.
Gripping the Altitude scale clutch knob firmly, unscrew it completely
and withdraw it. Notice you are unscrewing a shaft which goes THRU a 3
pointed clutch pressure plate which detents in the housing at 3 points
on the other side inside the clamshell hub. It must be returned that way
back too.

Add a washer to the Alt. knob shaft and re-insert it back into the hub
assy to check that you now have a clearance between the knob skirt and
the Alt. scale surface. Remove the knob and shaft from the hub after
checking. Do not reassemble anything yet.

Correcting problem #2

Level the telescope mount, and attach a permanent bubble level. Now this
gets "tricky" so bear with me. You need to temporarily re-attach the
clamshell with the 4 screws and put the OTA back in the clamshell. It
will not hold any verticle position because the clutch assy has not been

MIKE, do you want me to continue? this is getting long & taking
time.....  -Larry
Mike here: The above is incomplete. The final version will be posted on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page soon.
Subject:	autostar
Sent:	Sunday, June 8, 2008 19:07:17
From:	tfg11199@bellsouth.net (tfg11199@bellsouth.net)
I have an older ds2114 w/ auto star and I'm wanting to hook it up to my
laptop. My problem is that my auto star computer is the type that
doesn't have the place for a second cable to be plugged in. Now can I
retrofit the autostar I have or do I have to buy a newer version?
Mike here: You have two choices: get a #506 serial cable that connects to a AUX port on the telescope or get a #505 serial cable AND the AutoStar #497. The #506 cable is not easily made whereas the #505 cable is simple to make (see the cable information on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX Site). If your laptop does not have a real RS-232 serial port you will need a USB-serial adapter (and software). However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. I use a Keyspan adapter with my Macs and it works fine from Mac OS X.

Feedback Archives

Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the DS Models Feedback pages.

Go to the ETX Home Page.

Copyright © 2008 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2008 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jun08/ds.html