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Last updated: 26 June 2013

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS, DSX, and some older 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 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:	re: Meade 4505 pc connection
Sent:	Monday, June 24, 2013 10:58:39
From:	richard seymour (
I saw your notes on Mike Weasner's site, and perhaps i can help clear up
some of the fog...
(warning: some of the fog may turn to rain)

First, to the best of my knowledge (involved with these things since
1999), no one has yet managed decent control of a Meade scope *without
an Autostar* (handbox) directly from a PC.

So you do need a "handbox".
Your 4504 came with what is properly called a "494 Starfinder".

The "494" means it did not have a numeric keypad *or* rs232 serial connection
(there is optional hardware available that can add a serial connection)
The "Starfinder" means that it had particular programming to match your
scope's German Equatorial Mount (GEM) system... which entails knowing
not to hit the tripod with the mirror when moving, and knowing when to
perform a "meridian flip" as a target moves from the east to the west as
the Earth turns beneath it.

The 4504 was also available as the Meade DS-114EQ/4
(114mm mirror, EQuatorial, stroke-4 meaning "has 494").
Exactly the same scope/mount/Starfinder.

Those two scopes were the only two models that used the Starfinder variant of the 494.

That's history.

Your scope *can* be controlled by most of the Meade Autostars (all with numeric keypads).
The  495, 497, 497EP and Audiostar will all happily work with it (once
you've adjusted a couple of parameters accessible through the menu
system), but the 497EP and Audiostars may have problems properly
handling the GEM aspects.
(unfortunately, it's almost impossible to tell a 497EP from a 497 visually.
You'd have to power it up and see the "firmware version number" displayed during the boot.
A 497EP starts with the digit "5", such as "5CE1".  A 497 starts with a "4" or lower)
Audiostars have a speaker grid of holes in the back cover.
Handboxes labeled "Autostar II" and "Autostar III" are not capable of running your scope.
The no-numeric-keypad 494 Autostar would have the greatest difficulty with the GEM.

Meade scopes with Autostars have been sold in the UK since 1999.  All
models of Autostars have been sold separately as accessories and
upgrades for other scope models.
Telescope House ( ) has been the primary
UK importer and dealer over that period.   Thus there are 495s and 497s
hiding in people's closets, but they may also be available on the dusty
shelves of telescope shops throughout the UK.

If you do acquire a 495 or 497 handset, also seek (or build) the
appropriate serial cable (the Meade 505 or equivalent). ("how to build"
is on Mike's site at:
..although buying one (there are 3rd party equivalents) may be easier)
That will allow you to bring the 495 or 497 to the current level of Meade's firmware
(a 495 will magically become a 497 by doing so), and you can
simultaneously apply our user-written "patch kit" which makes the 4504 a
"known" scope to the 497.
That patch automatically sets the GEM state and changes the "gear
ratios" to match the 4504's.

Yes, you may end up spending more for the 497 than you did for the telescope.

There is a "Yahoo group" that concentrates on the 4504.  There may well
be UK members with spare Starfinders in their closets.  It can't hurt to
ask.  Join at:

good luck


From:	Andrew John Rowe (
Hi Dick, 

That info's brilliant. 

I've been struggling to find any of the Autostar handsets (494/495/497)
on places like Ebay, (without, like you've said, having to pay more than
what I did for the scope!) so I'll try that Yahoo group and see if I
have any joy there.

Thanks very much for taking the time to explain all that to me, no doubt
that pin layout diagram for the 505 cable will come in handy!

Cheers buddy.


Subject:	Meade 4505 pc connection
Sent:	Friday, June 21, 2013 12:45:23
From:	Andrew John Rowe (
I messaged you earlier on Twitter about help with my Meade 4504,
basically my query is this:

The handset was lost a while ago, and a replacement over here in England
is almost impossible to find, so I'm trying to find a way of connecting
it to my pc.

Could you advise of any way you might know of making my own cable, where
one end would plug into my telescopes handset port, and the other into
my pc, to control the scope through software such as Starry Night Pro?
(I've looked on ebay, but all the cables I can find state that they
won't work with my older model scope / handset.)
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Mike here: To control the telescope from software like Starry Night, you need a GOTO handcontroller, like the AutoStar. The software sends commands to the AutoStar, which then controls the telescope. If you get an AutoStar #497, you can connect to it using a #505 serial cable. The cable is easily made (see the cable section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site). To use the AutoStar, you may need the information from Dick Seymour in the article "AutoStar Models", also on the AutoStar Info page. One note about the serial cable; if your computer has only USB, you will need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. I recommend adapters from Keyspan.


Thanks for replying Mike, but I'm still a little confused. 

From what I can tell, there's only one port on my Meade 4504, so I'm
unsure as to how I can plug in an Autostar 497 and a 505 serial cable?
Mike here: There are two jacks on the AutoStar #497. The serial cable connects to the AutoStar hand controller. The AutoStar connects to the telescope via the HBX cable.

Subject:	Re: Meade DS-114 Verticle gear slop
Sent:	Thursday, June 20, 2013 20:18:21
From: (
After a lot of frustration i decided to take the gearbox loose .. after
removing the worm gear then the other gears i found the problem for the
slop .. the 2 screws that hold the gearbox to the mount were loose and
allowing the gearbox to move a bit in both directions.. Problem solved
.. thanks for your help..

Subject:	Meade DS-114 with #492 motors but no power supply
Sent:	Wednesday, June 5, 2013 23:05:57
From:	Kevin Howard (
I was given the subject (est. 15-yr old) telescope and enjoyed cleaning,
setting up, aligning, adjusting optics and showing my wife and kids (8
and 10 yrs) the moon and Saturn.

Mirror at end was covered in dust and fairly aged but I removed, cleaned
carefully and replaced.  We saw the rings of Saturn clearly.  I have 3
eyepieces (H 25 mm, SR 4 mm, HI 2.5) and a 3x Barlow.  Everything was
done manually so far but would like to utilize the motors.  Any chance
of finding a power supply for the motors or better yet, integrating with
more advanced control system (with power supply)?
Kevin Howard
2201 Houstonia Drive
Knoxville, TN 37918
Mike here: Hello from my observatory.
Glad you are enjoying the telescope. For motors you might try Telescope Warehouse. Or check out Steve Bedair's GOTO Mounts web site. Links to both are on the Astronomy Links page.

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