AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
[Home!]
Last updated: 23 June 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:	New Autostar 497 Math challenged?
Sent:	Tuesday, June 23, 2009 13:57:35
From:	Dan Robertson (dan@funnydan.com)
I received two new 497 handboxes in the mail to replace the ones that
were damaged on my scope short out.

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?

Thanks

Dan
Mike here: What version of the software is installed on the AutoStar handsets?

And:

on startup I get:
(c)08 Meade 2008
Bootloader 2008 V2.3a
497 EP 59Ef

Subject:	USB to RS232 serial adapter
Sent:	Thursday, June 18, 2009 11:54:23
From:	Sven-Ove Auno (so.m.auno@bredband.net)
I saw the new information on your web-site regarding the USB to RS232
adapter (USBGEAR USBG-232MINI). It looks very interesting and I wonder
if anyone knows if this adapter also works with the Autostar 494 Handbox
and the #506 Connector Cable. I would be very grateful for any
information about this.

Regards,
 
Sven-Ove Auno

Subject:	AW: How to connect a LX90 + Autostar #497 to a game controller?
Sent:	Tuesday, June 16, 2009 21:57:54
From:	Hendrik Wlper (hendrik.woelper@web.de)
Thank you, 

I had noted this program as a bookmark, but the location moved since then
:-o

I just registered for that group and wait fro approval now. 

Clear skies
Hendrik Wlper

Subject:	How to connect a LX90 + Autostar #497 to a game controller?
Sent:	Tuesday, June 16, 2009 08:14:14
From:	Hendrik Wlper (hendrik.woelper@web.de)
for satellite tracking the 4 arrow keys on the handbox (to correct the
automatic slew) plus the 1 to 9 speed keys are not really comfortable to
use.

Do you /does anyone know a piece of software, to connect a standard (and
cheep) game controller via a notebook to the Autostar #497?
 
 
Best regards
Hendrik Wlper

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Brent Boshart's excellent SatelliteTracker program has a joystick option.
Available for free from the Files area of the SatelliteTracker Yahoo group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/satellitetracker

It also does a spectacular job of plotting the expected pass...

have fun
--dick

Subject:	easy stars for aligning etx-80
Sent:	Monday, June 15, 2009 11:10:44
From:	Clayton Ostler (claytonostler@yahoo.com)
I have just purchased an etx-80, I will be using the scope with the boy
scouts in 10 days on a camping trip. I know literally nothing about the
stars, but would like to be able to align it and look at some things in
the sky with the boys. I am very tech savy, but dont know the name of a
single star or constellation. Could someone suggest a couple easy stars
I can use for alignment? Or any other alignment process that would be
effective?

If it helps I am in southern utah and we will be an an area near moab
with very dark skys.
Mike here: There are alignment star charts on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. They should help you align with the stars suggested by the AutoStar. Print the charts and go outside and practice identifying the stars you can see at this time of year. Shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to get oriented.

And:

Thanks the charts are perfect, I will study them tonight. Your site is
excellent. After all the reading, I am really getting into this. When I
was a kid I spent hours trying to locate things and was never able to
really see the things I was interested it. Hopefully this will kick
start my interest again. (then Ill have to drop the bomb on my wife and
tell her Im buying a 125)
Thanks again for your help
Clayton

Subject:	Re: ETX PE 125 alignment query
Sent:	Monday, June 8, 2009 01:08:27
From:	Philip Mann (philip@philipmann.com)
Managed to get my ETX to successfully align again using Easy (Goto very
accurate) but again fails on Automatic, this having reloaded 4.3G with
the GPS patch, Reset, Calibrated and Trained Drives.  It is very
strange.

I always start with Alignment Automatic in order for the ETX to level
and find North.  Next when prompted to enter a star I press Mode and
click down to Easy.  I am then prompted to put the ETX into Home
position.  I swing it round to face North then press Enter.  For the
last week or so the two stars have been Arcturus and Vega.  The ETX
slews to pretty close to Arcturus, I centre and press Enter.  Up comes
Vega next and it slews to very close to Vega, I centre and it displays
Alignment successful - and away we go.  Is this ok - do I have it
right??  It seems I am stuck with this form of Alignment.  That's fine
but I am bugged by the problem.
 
Thanks for your help.
 
Bye for now
  
Philip
Mike here: Yep, you got Easy Align down. When you did Auto Align indoors and accepted the stars as centered, the alignment was successful. Right? If so, that would seem to indicate Auto Align is OK. Lets try an experiment. At night, do the same thing. Just accept the alignment stars as centered, even though they may not be. See what happens.
Subject:	re: Port problem with Autostar
Sent:	Saturday, June 6, 2009 20:44:39
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
If you are using a UsB to serial adapter, it will assign itself
a COM port number when you plug it in (assuming its driver is
properly loaded).
If it is *not* a Keyspan, it may give itself a -different- number
each time you plug it into a -different- USB socket on your computer
(Keyspan has written their driver to keep the COM port number
consistent, no matter which USB socket you use).

You have to use the USB adapter's utility program, or drill down
into the windows Device Manager screen, to find out what COM port
number it's using.

How to reach the device manager and COM port numbers:
((your USB adapter must be plugged in for this to work))
(a) click the Start button (or, in Vista, the windows logo)
(b) click Control Panel
(c) click System
(d) click the Hardware tab at the top
(e) click the Device manager button
(f) locate the "Ports (COM & LPT)"  entry
(g) click the [+] in front of that, to expand that branch.
(h) if you're lucky, your USB adapter will be listed with the COM number.
(i) if it doesn't show the number, double-click on that entry to open
 the device's info screens.  There should be a Port Settings tab, with
information, or a button to click to start the adapter's Utility or Assistant
which would let you see and set the com port number
((different USB adapter manufacturers may program the experience differently))

THEN you tell Autostar Suite that number.

Unfortunately, some of the versions of Autostar Suite are inconsistent
in how you tell it the com port number.
If the "blank box" has "COM" written next to it, then you'd simply
type in the number.
But (at least in some pieces of AutostarSuite) some of those blank boxes
want to see    COM6    (for example)... the letters "COM" immediately
followed by the correct number.  No spaces.
(i use COM6 on my laptop).

good luck
--dick

Subject:	autostar conversion to my eq mount
Sent:	Friday, June 5, 2009 09:10:33
From:	Stan & Paula (natsp2000@yahoo.com)
I was  wondering if you had any information or knew of any sites that
could help me with a circuit to drive large syncro motors with an
autostar?

I bought an etx80at-tc and would like to use the components to drive my
home made eq, but the motors are too small.

if you would like to see it 

http://www.geocities.com/natsp2000/eqmount.html
http://www.geocities.com/natsp2000/decgear.html
http://www.geocities.com/natsp2000/Radrive.html

Any help would be appreciated

Thanks !

Stan

Telescope page:
http://www.geocities.com/natsp2000/
Mike here: See the item "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts (AutoStar info)" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Also, you might want to check out the Roboscopes Yahoo Group.

And:

Thanks Mike!
Most of the information is on using meade motors, Im trying to find a
circuit to amplify the power  to use large generic servos.
Still reading though... Thanks again :)
Stan

Subject:	Re: ETX PE 125 alignment query
Sent:	Friday, June 5, 2009 08:23:30
From:	Philip Mann (philip@philipmann.com)
Just to bring you up to date.  I reloaded 4.3G from the Meade site
(which didn't have the GPS patch), reset and trained drives but there
were no improvements.  The Automatic Alignment appeared way out.  I have
now reloaded 4.3G from the Starpatch site and hope to get back to where
I was before!  At least Easy Alignment was good - but now the clouds
have rolled in so I'll let you know what happens.  Many thanks again.
 
Bye for now
 
Philip

Subject:	Port problem with Autostar
Sent:	Friday, June 5, 2009 06:14:42
From:	wthomas195@aol.com (wthomas195@aol.com)
I have a problem with not having an available port for autostar, Meade
LXD55, Computer Dell OPtiples 260. All  4 ports are "occupied". There is
a provision for a blank square  On rare ocassions I can connect and
guide, but generally get error message. How do you free up a port for
autostarsuite?
 
Web Thomas
Mike here: Are you using a USB-serial adapter? If so, which one? Not all work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site. If you are getting a port conflict, check for fax software or other "modem" software that is tying up the ports.
Subject:	ASU v5.6 available at Meade's site...
Sent:	Thursday, June 4, 2009 08:22:32
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
...but you'd never know it...

Although the *page* says it's ASU 5.2 (posted June 2, 2009)
the actual -file- you get is AU2ver56.exe

In other words: version 5.6, which is compatible with both the old
and new 497 Autostars.

Page:  http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html

ASU 5.6:  (do a "Save As..." with this link)
http://www.meade.com/support/auto/Au2ver56.EXE

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Interesting that 4.3Eg is still listed...

And:

43Eg is still the current firmware for the old 497's.

The new updater looks for a *different* file for the new 497.
Both old and new updaters did/do not load the file from that
web page ("build.zip").. they fetch the unpacked ".rom" version.

To be specific:
For the old 497 Autostar, the updater fetches "Build.rom"
For the NEW 497 Autostar, the updater fetches "BuildEP.rom"
For the LX200gps Autostar II, the updater fetches "BuildLX.rom"
For the RCX400 Autostar II, the updater fetches "BuildRCX.rom"

By not specifying a -version- in the filename, the updater always
fetches whatever Meade posts as the "newest" Build??.rom file.

If you're updating from a file on your hard drive, the new updater
will only offer files whose names start with BuildEP  and end in .rom
That allows BuildEP.rom and also  BuildEP56ef.rom and BuildEPdickPatchedThis.rom

...luckily.

have fun
--dick
Mike here: That's good. The page is still outdated however. The #497 box shows "All ETX Models" - no longer true. It doesn't show the LXD-75 mount. The #494 box doesn't show the ETX-80 model. There is also no mention of the DSX.

And:

So a Meade4M director/advisor should be able to kick some serious butt, correct?

(or: correctly, if you'd prefer the adverb)

have fun
--dick
Mike here: One would think so. I reported the out-of-date info months ago.
Subject:	Re: ETX PE 125 alignment query
Sent:	Tuesday, June 2, 2009 00:24:46
From:	Philip Mann (philip@philipmann.com)
Many thanks for the advice.  I did as you suggested.  Again on Automatic
alignment I entered the same stars, Vega and Arcturus, but got
"Alignment failed check stars" message.  Immediately if I start all over
again and carry out Easy alignment Autostar chooses the same stars and I
get a successful alignment - with subsequent very accurate Gotos on all
sorts!  One thing though, the reset, calibrate and traindrives has made
the slew speed much faster so now the whole alignment process is much
quicker.  How strange is this.
 
What could be my next move?  Reload 43g?
 
Thanks for your help again.
 
Bye for now
 
Philip

P.S. I forgot to say I am using GPS (works fine) with daylight saving
set as NO.  Any significance in this?
Mike here: Using the GPS shouldn't affect the alignment stars. But have you tried with the GPS disconnected? If the problem still occurs without the GPS connected, then reloading 4.3Eg would be a good thing to try. Be certain to load it from a local file and not from the Internet.

And:

Thanks for your suggestion which I'll try tonight (some rare clear
nights we're having over here now).  When you say "local file and not
from the internet" where would I go to get these?
 
Thanks again
 
Bye for now
 
Philip
Mike here: You can try the test indoors. No need to wait for dark. In fact, this would be a good test by itself. When prompted to center the stars, just assume they are centered and press ENTER. As to the software, you can download it from Meade's site manually or you can get it from the AutoStar Software Archive on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Just be certain to get version 4.3Eg. Put the unzipped file in the Ephemerides folder.

And:

Many thanks for the suggestions.  Indoors carrying out Automatic Align
with no GPS attached I get no error message.  I'll repeat this tonight
and let you know.  By the way what does "brightest star" in the
utilities menu do?  Fantastic to have you so supportive.
Mike here: Brightest Star toggles the alignment star name display during the alignment process. No error; either it was the GPS _or_ operator error (centering the wrong star).

Feedback Archive

Check the Feedback Archive for previous editions of the AutoStar Feedback page.


Go to the ETX Home Page.


Copyright ©2009 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 2009 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/jun09/autostar.html