AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 March 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 Identification?
Sent:	Monday, March 30, 2009 14:10:38
From:	Ron Hillstromb/NH6WL (nh6wl@sbcglobal.net)
I saw the warning about the new AutoStar 497 handset and asked myself
how do you Identify the new 497 form the older version.

Since I ordered a spare 497 and received it about a week ago I suspect
the answer is  'Go to Statistics and if you have version 59E? firmware
listed, it is the new 497'.  Andrew J. let me know this.  I think if you
sheck with Richard Seymour and Andrew J. you can confirm this or the
correct information and pass it on to everyone.

Thanks for the execellent site.

Ron
Mike here: For now, that's the best way to check for the new model. I'm not certain if there are external physical differences that would make the new model obvious. If your new "spare" has the version 5.x ROM file installed, see if you can see any external differences.

And:

Sorry for the delay but was looking to confirm some of the information I
was putting in this.

There is nothing outside that is different.  I checked it pretty close.
I have four of the 497s here One for my LXD75 AR5 packed in 05/05/05 on
the packing slip, the oldest, (Made in Taiwan/Version I forgot but I
think in the 30s), one that came with my new ETX125PE I got two weeks
ago (Made in China/ Version 43Eg), A spare I got when it was on
Inventory Clearance at Astronomics about a year ago (Made in
China/Version 41E?*) and the most recent spare purchased from Adorama at
a good price of $129.95 (Made in China/Version 59E7**)   It does say 7
(seven)

*  This one came in a brown box that the 497 and cable fit snugly in.
 the only marking on the outside was a white label with "497U" on it.

**   The box this one came in is about 9 X 10 x 2.  Inside is a die cut
foam layer with he handset on one side and the cable on the other side.
A multilingual manual ver 0799 is included.  it is about 5 1/2 X 8.

Here is some information off the box: the 497 came in:
-----------------------------------------------------------
AUTOSTAR CC, H497 HDBX,ETX
MFR#121908       07436LF     WO M-0809079

Then Meade trademark, address and contact phone numbers then
"Assembled in Mexico From U.S. and imported parts."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The last two the one that came with the ETX125 and the spare had an
extra patent number which makes them identical in appearance so that is
not a way to identify the new model.

Again the outside appearance is identical on all.

Here is some information off the box: the 497 came in:
-----------------------------------------------------------
AUTOSTAR CC, H497 HDBX,ETX
MFR#121908       07436LF     WO M-0809079

Then Meade trademark, address and contact phone numbers then
"Assembled in Mexico From U.S. and imported parts."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

From what I have been able to tell is that the opening screen that
starts with a quick dim

(c) 08 Meade 2008
bootloader V 2.27

then

Welcome to
A U T O S T A R

then
Press 0 to Align
or MODE for MENU

All of this in less than 3 seconds.

I was expecting old new stock at that price.  I haven't used it since it
is a new controller According to Andrew Johansen using a differently
generated firmware.to proved the same functions as previous 497s.   I
was ready to update it to 43Eg as soon as I received it but the 59E7
made me pause and lucky I did too.

I posted that I had received this version 59E7 firmware on AutoStar
Suite.net and Andrew responded to the post with the information he has.
I thought I saw one other mention of a Version 59E? being used.  I
can't find it now.

I was visiting the Meade site and saw a statement that the 497 had a PIC
16C57 controller.  I can't find that now either.  The specs in the
manual says the processor is a 16HC11.  I am not sure if the words
processor and controller are being used interchangeably.

this has been a bit wordy but you have the complete picture of what I
got as a 497 and some of the information I have gotten primarily from
Andrew J. I hope this helps in some way.  I do believe the only way you
can tell you have the 497 with the new chipset is by going into the
Statistics menu item and look for 59E? and the Characters remaining.
Mine had 97.6 char remaining with the three standard tours loaded and
probably but I haven't checked the standard sat, comets and asteroids.

I also found that the LX90 series is now being offered in both the ACF
and SC  models now.  And there were price drops in the LX200ACF with the
zero image shift focuser being an option with them.

Ron

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Turn your autostars over (to see the rear).

Look at the flat molded area near the cable sockets.

Does the new one (59E7) have -different- information there?
(mine is blank, the old ones are not)

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Both my really old #497 AutoStars have the FCC info in the molded-on label.
Subject:	New AutoStar #497 model and updating apps
Sent:	Monday, March 30, 2009 08:21:48
From:	Mike Weasner (etx@me.com)
I wonder if AutoStarX and Lin_AutoStar will work with the new model. I
have my doubts since Meade's ASU 4.6 and the patch kits don't work with
it.

On Mar 30, 2009, at 08:09, richard seymour wrote:

> If you DO get a 497, get an "old" one... Meade has recently
> started shipping "497" Autostars with *completely different*
> electronics inside.  My patch kits (nor Meade's ASU for updating)
> do NOT work with the new model (yet).

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The problem is that the new memory layout is *very* different
from the old one... and the Updater is not programmed to deal
with it.  Even the "Libary Update" functions won't work.

They've also messed up how the menus are stored/linked,
so the full (show the menu tree) Remote Handbox functions
of Autostar Suite won't work.
(the simpler "Hand Control Panel" does work)

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Rodolphe Pineau (pineau@rti-zone.org)
Do they still use a 68hc11 ?

I guess that short of disassembling the firmware it will be hard to know
what the new memory layout is and what the new protocole (probably a new
one) is.

Does it return a different ID so that we can at least identify them and
warn the user and not try to flash them ?

Regards, Rodolphe
Mike here: I have posted a warning about updating using the older applications on the Announcements: Warnings! page.

And:

From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Yes, it does respond in a number of ways which will let you know it's "new":

To the :GVN# (Get Version Number) command, it will be 59xy or higher.
The last known "old 497" firmware was 44Ea.
The "xy" above has the "x" as the language (E=English),
and "y" as Meade's patch level for that version number (seen in the wild: 
59E7 and 59Ef)

If you're in "download" mode, the response to the "T" command is (i think,
i'm working from memory as i write this)  x1F

StarPatch properly refuses to try to update a "new 497", since it double-checks.

At the moment, the "Build.rom" file for the "new 497" is -not- different enough
to prevent Meade's ASU from attempting to cram it down an "old 497"'s gullet,
leading to problems.     
A home-written Updater could simply look at the ROM file's version number 
(bytes nine through twelve) and take appropriate (in)action.

Disassemblies are being investigated.

have fun
--dick

And:

Ok so I should be fine as I'm testing for 0x0F (497) and 0x0A (495) and
if it's not one of them then I just display a alert box saying the
device isn't supported.

I also started to work on a new version to support autostar II which
test for more device type (taken from meade sources they provided me
about 3 years ago , I asked for an updated version of the sources but
never got any replied after the initial exchange).

So for now my updater will no crash any new 497.

Rodolphe

And:

Rodolphe Pineau wrote:
> Do they still use a 68hc11 ?

No, it is a Toshiba TMP92CM22FG, a "32 bit" processor in many respects.
(with direct addressing across a 24 bit space)

It has 2 megabytes of FlashRam (twice the memory of the old 497)

Andrew Johansen ( johansea@optusnet.com.au ) has it fairly well
sussed out (to use an English/Australian term), with only a few
ambiguities.  Evidently a number of the units in Australia are
having their displays fail.

have fun
--dick

And:

Ok, I just downloaded the datasheet.

So pure 32 bit linear memory (I'm used to motorola 68K series and other
32bit cpu/mpu)

Thanks
Rodolphe

--

|        Rodolphe Pineau    RTI-Zone        |
|         http://www.rti-zone.org/          |
|   Robotics / Unix / Mac OS X / Astronomy  |

And:

The chip only has 24 address pins, but some have been assigned to I/O.
The 2MB of Flash only requires 22 bits of address, and they appear to
use a 16 bit fetch, so the least significant address bit isn't needed.

There's even a (tiny) 1KB IIC-connected EEPROM to serve as the replacement
for the 68HC11's on-chip EPROM.

Hmm.. i'll have to update my (misnamed) "schematics" page on Mike's site.

have fun
--dick

And more:

>> So pure 32 bit linear memory (I'm used to motorola 68K series and  
>> other 32bit cpu/mpu)
>
> The chip only has 24 address pins, but some have been assigned to I/O.
> The 2MB of Flash only requires 22 bits of address, and they appear to
> use a 16 bit fetch, so the least significant address bit isn't needed.

That's similar to the MC68000, address register are 32 bits but only  
24 address pins on the package.

> There's even a (tiny) 1KB IIC-connected EEPROM to serve as the  
> replacement
> for the 68HC11's on-chip EPROM.

That's a common thing on recent MPU, they usually have a mix of SPI  
and IIC pins (as well as standard I/O pins and chip select).

I think that using a 32bit cpu/mpu means the new protocol will have a  
linear upload from start to end (probably using blocks of 64 or more  
byte with an ack from the CPU), no more page to deal with (except  
probably for the erase cycle as all flash memory erase works by page  
(32K or 64K usualy).

Regards, Rodolphe

And:

The build file is only a megabyte, and is sparsely loaded
(i.e. with gaps) into the 2 MB space.  There's a "map"
of where it wants to be placed in the header area of the file.

Andrew Johansen has it much better sussed out.

have fun
--dick

And:

I'm guessing that there is a code part and a data part that needs to be
uploaded at different place in the 2MB

Anyway, the more information we can get the better and hopefully I can
patch my code to support the new 497 in the next version on AutostarX
(along with Autostar II)

Rodolphe

Subject:	Daylight saving time
Sent:	Saturday, March 21, 2009 11:47:24
From:	Geoffrey (gaufridus@btinternet.com)
I'm using an ETX125PE and am wondering about the significance of the
daylight saving time setting.

I live in the UK so my local time is GMT.

I don't have the optional Atomic Time Update Module (whose signal I
probably couldn't receive anyway), so the question is " what is the
point of changing the Autostar setting to yes for daylight saving"?

This is purely an earthly convention, the stars don't change their
positions suddenly by 1 hour. If I always observe at a known GMT time
why should I inform Autostar that my local time has changed?

What are your views on the subject please

Kind regards & thanks for the site

Geoff Hutton (gaufridus@btinternet.com)
Mike here: Daylight Saving (or "Summer Time" in the UK) setting is required since the human clocks change, although the sky clocks not change. For example, if you set the (human) AutoStar clock to 1300 hours when it is really 1200, then you will introduce a 15 degree error in Right Ascension pointing. So, yes, it does have significance.
Subject:	Problem updating Autostar 497
Sent:	Friday, March 20, 2009 09:31:00
From:	Boerman, Thom (tboerman@bentley.edu)
I have an etx-125 that I recently purchased.  I want to update the
Autostar software as the current version is 2.0

I purchased a 505 cable with the USB adapter and followed the
instructions for loading appropriate driver.

I went to Meade's website and loaded the Autostar Updater program for
Windows.  I then downloaded the latest Version of the Autostar software
(43) to my PC. When I try and download the software to the Autostar
unit, I get a "Download in progress, do not turn off power" Message on
the Autostar unit, so I am sure it is communicating with the PC via the
505/usb cable.  However, I get a "Microsoft has encountered a problem"
message on my Pc and It shuts down the ASU software. I reloaded the ASU
software 3 times, tried loading the update direct from the internet and
yet nothing seems to work. The Autostar will display the "Downloading "
msg for hours if I leave it on. (I was worried that by turning it off I
would harm the Autostar, but I had no choice and it seems to be
functioning fine)

Any suggestions?
Mike here: Try StarPatch from www.stargps.ca. Also, I presume you are using the Meade USB-serial adapter since you didn't specify otherwise.

And:

Thanks for rapid reply! I will try it and let you know...thanks again
for a great website.

Subject:	re: ETX-125 Serial to USB Converter - unable to connect
Sent:	Wednesday, March 18, 2009 20:42:20
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
> when I plugged the cable into the Autostar the (Autostar) display shuts down

That should NOT happen.
Simply plugging in the serial line to the Autostar's serial socket
(on the handbox itself, not the base of the scope)
should cause -nothing- to happen.

I suspect a faulty cable, or that you're running a laptop on
a common external battery with the telescope.

What happens to the Autostar if you plug in the serial cable
(and USB adapter), but do NOT have the USB adapter attached
to the computer?   (yes, i know the USB adapter will be unpowered,
we're trying to see if it's simply a mechanical mis-wiring at fault).

good luck
--dick

And:

From:	Charles Hall (Charles.Hall@sas.com)
Regarding John Stowell's problem with Autostar, I wonder if he's
plugging in the modular connector from the serial cable into the proper
jack. I don't think any minor USB converter subtlety would cause the
lights to go out!

Charles Hall
Raleigh, NC

Subject:	ETX-125 Serial to USB Converter - unable to connect
Sent:	Wednesday, March 18, 2009 09:59:14
From:	John Stowell (johnstowell@btinternet.com)
I recently purchased an unbranded Serial to USB converter from Ebay with
the intention of connecting my 497 Autostar (I have an ETX-125) through
the Meade 505 cable set.  I have installed the Prolific drivers that
came with the cable and was able to see the new port in the device
manager.  Furthermore, I was able to change the Comm port number as
described in some of the feedback on your site.  However, when I plugged
the cable into the Autostar the (Autostar) display shuts down (I can
still control the scope) and the ASU software does not see it; this is
despite my changing the Comm port to match the known port number.

Appreciate any thoughts you have on this.  I have tried to connect using
Microsoft's Worldwide Telescope and other software that I have with no
success and searched the internet looking for similar symptoms without
success.

Thanks for a great site and a really useful book.
 
John
 
John Stowell 
Mike here: As frequently mentioned on the Site, not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. For more information see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters.

And:

Thanks Mike.
John

Subject:	hELP WITH AUTOSTAR
Sent:	Tuesday, March 17, 2009 15:14:21
From:	Scott Johnson (xtinaguilerafan@yahoo.com)
i NEED HELP WITH MY AUTOSTAR i CANNOT GET THIS THING TO FIND ANYTHING BY
ITSELF CORRECTLY.  i HAVE TRAINED THE DRIVE OVER AND OVER i HAVE RESET
OVER AND OVER, I HAVE POINTED THE TELESCOPE IN EVERY DIRECTION AND
NOTHING  cAN YOU HELP?
Mike here: I'm sure we can help but first, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page (especially the part about all caps); thanks for understanding. As to the AutoStar, I need some information from you: what telescope, which AutoStar, and what steps are you taking when you set it up?
Subject:	re: New problem with 497Eg upgrade?
Sent:	Sunday, March 15, 2009 18:22:58
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I'm not aware of any such problem in 43Eg (which has been "out"
for about two years, so it's had ample time to "settle in").

There -was- a problem much older versions (and 26Ec was near that era)
when selecting Quiet Slew for the LXD models would cause strange
behaviour (i forget -what- behaviour, but i do remember the LXD/Quiet
correlation).

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	stange (stange34@sbcglobal.net)
I did a reset, and it scared the he-- out of me! I had my only Karate
trained forefinger poised over the Kill button but the momentary Max.
power to the RA & Dec motors did not require this Hari-Kari proceedure.
Then I re-entered data & checked Richards comment on Quiet slew mode and
did a new boot up. Motor speed is under control on both axis's with
43Eg. Thankyou Gentlemen! -Larry

And:

For the next time:
That motion you saw following the Reset is the normal "Calibrate Motors"
motion (about 2 seconds of UP and 2 seconds of OVER).  No problem.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	New problem with 497Eg upgrade?
Sent:	Sunday, March 15, 2009 13:45:42
From:	stange (stange34@sbcglobal.net)
I looked at the version lists in Readme's and did not find any reference
to a loss of speed control in the Dec. axis of the LXD55/75 models. The
RA is under full keyboard control but the Dec. axis stays in Max speed
regrardless the key pressed prior. (i.e., one -speed fits all). :-(  
-Larry
Mike here: I never had that problem with my LXD75 (before it was stolen). Have you tried a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES?

And:

No because the original 26Ec upgrade to 32Eh is working OK with the LXD.
I will try that tho' just to be sure. -Larry

Subject:	Broken Autostar LCD
Sent:	Tuesday, March 10, 2009 23:25:04
From:	dbodish@comcast.net (dbodish@comcast.net)
While rigging down my LX90 tonight, I managed to drop the 497 handbox
and cracked the glass lcd module.  All Autostar functions seem intact
using a PC hookup and the Autostar Suite remote handbox function, but
the display is kaput.  What's your best advice for replacement?  Can the
lcd unit be purchased anywhere, or am I better off trying to find a used
handbox to cannibalize?  The display is easily removed.  I could replace
it in about a minute if I had one.

Many Thanks,
Donovan Bodishbaugh
Mike here: See the article "AutoStar Schematics, Parts Info" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

I've tried to do a little more detective work on this.  My 497 is one of
the new generation with the Toshiba CPU chip.  The PCB layout is quite
different from the Motorola based version.  I've attached photos if you
want to append them to your thread.  The LCD connector is 14 pin, and
appears to be compatible with the other recent 497 versions (and perhaps
the 494).

My broken LCD has no visible part number, but after much staring through
a magnifier, I found the manufacturer's mark.  It is SGD, which is
Solomon Goldentek Displays of Taiwan.  Their character display product
line is here:  http://www.goldentek.com.tw/english/productlist/lcm.htm 
Unfortunately, none of their standard products seem to match the
physical dimensions of the 497 part, so it is likely a custom OEM part. 
I measure it at about 69.5mm x 27.5mm x 2mm thick.  The thickness is
really the limiting dimension for a replacement, and neither of the
Optrex models that Dick identified from Digi-Key is likely thin enough. 
The DMC-16207H is 84mm x 44mm x 11mm, and the DMC-16230N outline is even
bigger at 122mm x 44mm x 11mm.  This Hantronix unit looks to be a much
better match:  http://www.hantronix.com/down/1602f-1.pdf  It is the
right size and has the right pinout and contact spacing.  Other than the
ribbon cable being centered instead of offset, it looks pretty much
identical to the 497 stock display.  Mouser stocks this display, but
only in a solder pin version, not the ribbon cable version.  Soldering
would be annoying, but manageable.  Nothing is ever easy.  The display
is only $8.58, so perhaps I will order one:
http://mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=NSR9MB9QqxZ6sP6%
252brbe3ww%3d%3d  I'll also look for a used handset with a compatible
LCD.  I confirmed that Meade does not sell a replacement part, or any
497 parts other than a replacement handset.

If anybody else knows of a retail source for the Hantronix ribbon cable
unit or equivalent, I'd love to hear about it.

Cheers,
Donovan

photo photo
Click images for larger version


Subject:	Restoring a 59Ef download?
Sent:	Sunday, March 8, 2009 00:06:38
From:	stange (stange34@sbcglobal.net)
On Autostar post Mar 1st by Gerard, where he downloaded 59Ef and
essentially ruined his controller for any use, I would try unplugging &
disassembly of the controller, then using a pin which is clipped to a
ground trace or power ground point on the processor board....carefully
touch every pin on all the processors momentarily to try and erase the
memory of that download. He has nothing to lose by trying this if the
controller is useless. It might erase any memory information but a new
download may not restore basic E-PROM information if that is erased too
so I would ground all pins EXCEPT any E-PROM that is clearly visible
first and try a new download....before grounding the E-PROM pins.

Larry 

And from the AutoStar Expert:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I'd STRONGLY recommend NOT trying this.

I sincerely doubt that probing the pins like that would have any helpful effect,
and stands a non-zero chance of damaging some things (especially
if you have a shakey hand, like me ;-).

The problem is that the ASU manages to convince the Autostar to
erase one or more 64KB banks of the FlashRam that holds the firmware.
Then loads "crap" into it.
A totally erased FlashRam would be just as useless to the Autostar.

Even if you could erase a FlashRam by pulling one pin somewhere
(which i doubt, but i can't find my data sheet for that chip at the moment),
you would -also- wipe out the save-your-bacon Safe Load program,
which is also contained in the same chip.

I'm also fairly certain that the 68hc11's on-chip EPROM can't be
erased this way, plus the data in -it- should not affect this problem.
That 68hc11 EPROM is not involved in a firmware download.
The 68hc11 Meade uses has Freescale's "hidden" debugger/loader buried
beneath it (which Gene used to restore a 494 Autostar in:
http://home.comcast.net/~lynol1000/as_494_gc/index.html ).
We wouldn't want to lose that, either.

Overall, i'd STRONGLY recommend NOT trying this.

I think the census of affected Autostars reported to Mike is 3 or 4,
and only -one- could not be rescued by the non-invasive Safe Load method.

I am aware of another Autostar which Meade replaced (with a new, 59Ef-
compatible unit) when the owner called customer service.

have fun, but don't poke at it blindly.
--dick
(who will try to find his FlashRam data sheet...)

And more:

I downloaded the datasheet for the old 497's TMS29LF040 Flash memory,
and they do -not- have an external "erase" pin.

They can only be erased by specific data patterns being written
through their address/data pathway.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Dating older Meade telescopes question.
Sent:	Saturday, March 7, 2009 23:49:05
From:	stange (stange34@sbcglobal.net)
Is it possible to date an older Schmidt-Neutonian by noting the
controller it came with when the controller is marked with a small white
sticker label with the numbers 030908898Ver26Ec and "Made in Taiwan"?

Do you think it is Mar. 9th 2008, or Sept. 3rd. 2008 Mfg.?

The controller has been upgraded to 32Ec. The OTA does not have any
identification on it at all. Inside & outside of focus with a GSO 15mm
is so close to being identicle that little can be done to improve it on
a star test in my opinion.

Larry 
Mike here: From the AutoStar Software Archive on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page, I see that 2.6Ec was released February 2003.
Subject:	RE: ETX 70-AT Autostart won't boot up
Sent:	Saturday, March 7, 2009 08:52:49
From:	Brian (brianeckert@bellsouth.net)
Hey Mike and Dick!

Took me a while to do this, had to get an RJ45 crimping tool.  I picked
up a pack of RJ45's the other day and was able to swap out the old
connector on my Autostar.  Unfortunately same issue.  It powers up, goes
thru the initialization up to the setting daylight savings yes/no then I
can't get past that.  The scope still slews fine using the arrow keys
(up down left right) but I can't get into any of the other functions
since I can't get past setting daylight savings.  Tried holding MODE for
2 secs, SPEED for 2 secs (gets into help but that's it).  I wish there
is some other back door to the RESET function.

Otherwise, unless you guys have other suggestions I think I'm out of
luck.

I priced some replacement Autostar's and they are a bit pricey so it may
be time to start looking for a new scope or just use my 70AT as best I
can as is.  I love the sky tours though, really miss that

Just wanted to update you! Thanks for the insight!

Brian Eckert
Mike here: You can try the tip in the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Mike's reset-from-software idea is a good one.

You can also open the both the telescope and 494 and inspect
the connections buried therein.  The 494 case is glued shut,
but careful pressure (broad table knife blade) spreading the
joint can pop it open for access.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	re: autostar 497 blocked
Sent:	Friday, March 6, 2009 22:10:36
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To try and unblock the Autostar, press and hold the [enter] and
[scroll up] (the [^] key on the bottom right of the keypad)
keys and -then- turn on the power while still pressing
those keys.

The screen should first say "Flash Load",
and then "Downloading, do not turn off"

Now start the Autostar Updater, and see if [update Autostar]
will work.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	autostar 497 blocked
Sent:	Wednesday, March 4, 2009 14:27:38
From:	Julian Mata (stisl@telefonica.net)
Hello. I have a autostar 497, when the download option on the remote I
have removed the food and autostar has been locked, no text on screen, I
connected the serial cable and software to connect through the "autostar
suite, key F6 "I get the message" Invalid ACK response from LX200 "? I
can do to unlock the autostar,? how can reset the unit,
thanks for your help.
Mike here: Have you tried the AutoStar Update application 4.6 directly? Or try the StarPatch application from www.stargps.ca. What happens with those? You might want to grab the AutoStar Update application and the #497 4.3Eg ROM from the software archive on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Meade's web site has had problems lately.
Subject:	Meade Autostar Update Site not working properly
Sent:	Tuesday, March 3, 2009 14:17:01
From:	Doug & Corine Sills (dsills@frontiernet.net)
I have recently pulled my Meade ETX-90EC out of storage and have been
trying to update the #497 Autostar that came with the scope.  It still
has Version 1.2 that it came with when I bought the scope many years
ago.  In trying to update the Autostar, I get an error message that
tells me to check my cables and com port then recycle my scope and try
again.  I know the cable works as I can control the scope using it with
the Autostar Suite 5.0 that I have installed on my laptop.  I called
Meade and they have said that their update site has been shut down
because of problems.  Can you tell me if you know of somewhere on your
great site if I can get the needed file to upgrade my Autostar?  I saw
some patches for different versions, but a patch is not the same as the
actual update is it??  I would sure appreciate your help in getting my
Autostar updated to a newer Version of software.
Thanks in advance,

Doug Sills
Mike here: I maintain an archive of the older (and the latest "released") versions of the AutoStar ROM and Meade update application. See "AutoStar Software Archive" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	safe to update software for etx 70
Sent:	Sunday, March 1, 2009 16:26:19
From:	Dwight Davis (dwightfdavisjr@gmail.com)
Wonderful site and lots of interesting reading. I suppose my scope is
somewhat obsolete.... but it is my first scope with goto capabilities.
It is a used etx 70 I purchased from ebay. I have read your information
about hazards involving updating the software with the 497 controller...
I reckon I have the 494 system. Is it safe as far as you know to pursue
trying to upgrade my software? I received no electronic data with the
scope, only the hard copy user manual, but have visited the Meade site.
Seems they don't even make the 70 series anymore, but would still like
to update comet information and such if I still can. I have worked with
the scope for a few hours last week when I received it; retrained the
drives and played around with the controls.

Everything seems to work, in a round about way anyhow. Despite setting
home position as accurately as possible (I do have a direct view of the
north star, and used a spirit level to level the tube) I still dont come
close to getting either of the alignment stars in the initial field of
view. We are in daylight savings time here (Georgia), and when I tried
to align using the one star option and taking off daylight savings time
the dang thing centered nearly perfectly on other things I searched for
that night.

I envy you having a great place to take your gear to. I am retired
military, and live in an area where unfortunately the light pollution
from a nearby base ruins a great deal of the sky. I have an 8" dob that
I have used over the past few years, but the booger is so large and
heavy I hate travelliing with it so was hoping this 70 would be good for
portability, and so far am not disapointed.

Well, am running off at the mouth now so will shut up. Any assistance
you can offer in the advice of trying to update the system would be
appreciated. At the same time, would just as soon leave it alone and use
workarounds my noted errors if I stand a chance of ruining the system as
it is.
Dwight Davis
Mike here: There is no user-installable update from Meade for the #494 AutoStar. You can still update object info (like comets) however, using the AutoStar Update application.
Subject:	Dead handbox after upgrade and alleged fault with Autostar software II
Sent:	Sunday, March 1, 2009 01:51:37
From:	Gerhard Kockerbeck (gerd@kockerbeck-online.de)
I have the same problem as James Harris (posted to Mike at Wednesday,
February 25, 2009 05:12:47). After the update of my Autostar 497 from
version Build42Ed.ROM to version Build59Ef.rom the device is not
operational.

I have tried to to switch the Autostar 497 into the download mode
(pressing keys Enter and scroll down right of the question mark key) to
reinstall the previous firmware version more than 30 times, but it is
impossible to switch into the download mode.

Are there more users with the problem that the Autostar 497 cannot be
switched to download mode after the 59Ef update? Has anyone a solution
for this problem?

Gerd
MIke here; Sorry to hear about that. Obviously you missed seeing the Announcements: Warnings! page on this that I first posted on the 1st of February. I presume you did the update prior to 26 February, when Meade fixed the download file pointer.

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