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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 28 March 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.

Effective 1 March 2010, coverage of the LS models, formerly known as the ETX-LS, ended on the ETX Site. Since Meade removed the LS from the ETX product line in late 2009, it no longer seemed appropriate to provide support for the LS models here. Similarly, coverage of the AutoStar III ended effective 1 March 2010. I will not be able to answer any technical support questions for the LS models. Existing feedback and technical support articles covering the ETX-LS, LS, and AutoStar III will remain available online.
Subject:	Autostar remote display problem
Sent:	Sunday, March 28, 2010 06:24:02
From:	Dave (dsmit1055@live.com)
Google sent me to your site and it appears you might be able to help. 
Purchased a Meade DS2130 with Autostar (first experience with Autostar)
at a yard sale, they said "Don't know if it works"  and it does not, or
at least we cant get it to work because the display on the handheld only
shows about 1/2 of the bottom line so we are unable to access the menu..
Batteries are good.
 
Any ideas? 
 
Thanks
 
Dave Smith
Mike here: Have you tried adjusting the brightness and/or contrast? That's in the Utilities menu.
Subject:	Re:UPDATE: 494 not responding after downloading into autostar software
Sent:	Monday, March 22, 2010 09:20:44
From:	rchapin@pelicancoast.net (rchapin@pelicancoast.net)
I bit the bullet and ordered a 497 from OpticsPlanet, as well as the
small Celestron optics/filter kit. I just need to finagle a cable for
the new fellow now. I'll be testing it out tonight to see how it works
out.

Thanks for the assist and your website is very informative. Chaotic, but
useful nonetheless.
Mike here: You can easily make a HBX cable for the AutoStar #497. See the Cable Information section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Autostar: ETX 125 PE / updating to 5ce1
Sent:	Sunday, March 21, 2010 12:28:24
From:	Julie Clayton (solargenes@gmail.com)
Is there a way to confirm that my software updated to 5ce1?  The
autostar updated indicated that the upload was successful, but version
shows as 'unknown' in the bottom right corner of the updater.. time to
get ready for some spring viewing.. :

I used this information below to update:

"Updating is "simple": connect serial cable to smaller hole on Autostar,
start MEade's ASU (Updater), let ASU update -itself- to 5.9 if needed
(number is coincidentally similar to the firmware version), then let ASU
5.9 update the Autostar to v5CE1."
 
Thank you.
Julie
Mike here: You can check the AutoStar software version number in the Utilities: Statistics menu on the AutoStar. Also, do you have the newer AutoStar #497EP and not the older AutoStar #497? The Meade AutoStar Update application 5.9 is supposed to only load ROM files appropriate to the connected AutoStar model but it has been known to goof.

And:

from statistics menu, says 43eg.  i am using the older autostar 497.  i
did see the 43eg in the handbox version of autostar updater this time...
a little peculiar because when i select 'tours' for example, there isn't
anything there..
Mike here: Good. Leave it at 4.3Eg, which is the last good version for the older AutoStar #497. As to tours, you can reload them. See the article "Meade AutoStar Tours Archive" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Re: ETX-80, AutoStar 494 and computer control
Sent:	Thursday, March 18, 2010 04:25:27
From:	Sven-Ove Auno (so.m.auno@bredband.net)
I am sorry for taking so long time to give you feedback on this issue.
The reason for that is that I have had some trouble getting the
connection to work. As a matter of fact it is not working correctly yet.

With the first USB to RS232 cable (anonymous cable, Prolific PL2303
chip) that I bought I did not succeed to get any connection between the
laptop and the ETX-80 at all. After some testing I concluded that the
RS232 end of the cable must be defective. I contacted the company that
had delivered the cable and I got a new one.

The second cable (Konig cable-146/2, Prolific PL2303 chip?) seems to
work all right. However, I have not succeeded to establish a stable and
working connection. When using Cartes du Ciel and after trying different
communication parameter settings I am able to connect with the ETX-80.
But there seems to be some large delays in the communication. Cartes du
Ciel also seems to have an incorrect conception of where the telescope
is looking. Also the movement of the scoope when using GOTO from the
laptop seems to be in the wrong direction RA-wise.

When using Voyager it has been very difficult to establish a stable
communication. I have succeeded only once and then only for a short
while. I may try to continue with different parameter settings in the
future, but for now I have to give up.

Regards,

Sven-Ove Auno
Mike here: As I and others have mentioned before on the ETX Site, not all USB-adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. While other adapters have worked, I recommend Keyspan. For more information, see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	494 not responding after downloading into autostar software
Sent:	Thursday, March 11, 2010 19:48:21
From:	Robert Chapin (rchapin@pelicancoast.net)
What solutions would you have for a locked up autostar system?  One
fellow has already suggested that I start shopping for a replacement
hand controller.

I've tried the hyperterminal method, I've got good connections, but no
response from the unit on any keypress.

The hand controller flickers red and random characters.

Help!
-- 
Cheers,

Robert Chapin, Rockport Texas
Mike here: Well, first there is no user installable update to the AutoStar #494. Have you tried replacing the batteries with fresh ones? If that doesn't solve it, then you likely have a bad AutoStar #494. If that is the case, I'd recommend getting a #497 AutoStar, which is user-upgradeable. Perhaps Dick Seymour, our resident AutoStar Expert, has some additional thoughts.

And:

Will that work with the ETX60 model? If so, then I'm on the market for one.
Mike here: As seen on Meade's AutoStar page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html), yes.
Subject:	RE: Autostar #495 Upgrade to #497 for use with EXT 90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, March 9, 2010 05:08:59
From:	Wayne Salmon (wsalmon@great-yarmouth.oilfield.slb.com)
Dick, In order to upgrade the #495 to #497 I uninstalled the latest
version of ASU 5.9 I had on pc, and installed the archived version 4.6.
Used power supply from ETX-90, started 495 in safe mode, opened up ASU
connected and installed 43eg, download took about 20 mins. Wayne

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Thanks,
Having all of the steps in one concise posting makes it easier to follow.

have fun
--dick

Wayne Salmon wrote:
> Dick, In order to upgrade the #495 to #497 I uninstalled the latest version
> of ASU 5.9 I had on pc, and installed the archived version 4.6. Used power
> supply from ETX-90, started 495 in safe mode, opened up ASU connected and
> installed 43eg, download took about 20 mins. Wayne 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: richard seymour [mailto:rseymour@wolfenet.com] 
> Sent: 07 March 2010 19:10
> To: Wayne Salmon
> Cc: 'Mike Weasner'
> Subject: Re: Autostar #495 Upgrade to #497 for use with EXT 90EC
> 
> Please tell us -how- you finally succeeded, so we can pass it on to the next
> guy?
> 
> have fun
> --dick
> 
> Wayne Salmon wrote:
>> Thanks gents for your help, installed 4.6, used power from scope, updated
> no
>> problem.
>> Thanks again, Wayne 
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Mike Weasner [mailto:etx@me.com] 
>> Sent: 06 March 2010 16:27
>> To: Wayne Salmon
>> Cc: 'richard seymour'
>> Subject: Re: Autostar #495 Upgrade to #497 for use with EXT 90EC
>>
>> Yes, you can use a battery to power the AutoStar for updating.  There are
>> some articles on that on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
> Also
>> on the AutoStar Info page is the AutoStar Software Archive.  You can find
>> older versions of the ASU application there, as well as older ROM files.
> If
>> neither ASU 5.9 (from Meade's site) nor the StarGPS app work, try ASU 4.6
>> (in the Archive).
>>
>> On Mar 6, 2010, at 08:56, Wayne Salmon wrote:
>>
>>> The handset displays 'use EXT Autostar with this model' if not in safe
>> mode,
>>> can you confirm I am using trying to install correct software,
>> Build43Eg.rom
>>> in ephemerides folder? that is the only file in the ephemerides folder. I
>>> have read a standard 9v battery could be used as power source, could I
> use
>>> this just to install update? 
>>>
>>> Wayne 

Subject:	RE: Autostar #495 Upgrade to #497 for use with EXT 90EC
Sent:	Friday, March 5, 2010 16:36:40
From:	Wayne Salmon (wsalmon@great-yarmouth.oilfield.slb.com)
Mike thanks for reply however I am still in need of some help. I have
purchased the #495 and downloaded the Build43Eg.rom file into
Ephemerides folder in AU 5.6, connected to PC and started #495 in safe
mode (as 495 LCD shows use EXT Autostar with this model, when not in
safe mode). The ASU program connects ok to #495 and displays model 495
and ver 2.0a, then I click on upgrade autostar software now button and
choose from dropdown menu #495, then it only gives me the option of
downloading from WWW for latest version, it doesn't let me pick local
option as this is greyed out. Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance. Wayne
Mike here: I think the location of local ROM files changed from version 4 of the ASU application to version 5. Dick, can you confirm?

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Tell it it's a 497, not 495.

If that doesn't work, use StarPAtch to do the upload.
http://www.stargps.ca/pub/setupSP.exe

-also- try -not- using Safe Load... let it fly normally.

good luck
--dick

And:

The handset displays 'use EXT Autostar with this model' if not in safe
mode, can you confirm I am using trying to install correct software,
Build43Eg.rom in ephemerides folder? that is the only file in the
ephemerides folder. I have read a standard 9v battery could be used as
power source, could I use this just to install update?

Wayne 
Mike here: Yes, you can use a battery to power the AutoStar for updating. There are some articles on that on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Also on the AutoStar Info page is the AutoStar Software Archive. You can find older versions of the ASU application there, as well as older ROM files. If neither ASU 5.9 (from Meade's site) nor the StarGPS app work, try ASU 4.6 (in the Archive).

And:

Yes, Build43Eg.rom is the correct firmware (especially if you're trying
to update a 495 to become a 497).

Although you -can- use a 9v battery, remember that an update can take 30
minutes, so be sure to use a fresh alkaline battery if you go that
route.

I wonder what it would load if you told it to use the Internet to fetch
the newest version?  (i don't have any "still a 495" to test with)

Safe Load should have worked... i really do recommend StarPatch.
http://www.stargps.ca/pub/setupSP.exe

good luck
--dick

And:

Thanks gents for your help, installed 4.6, used power from scope,
updated no problem.
Thanks again, Wayne 

And:

Please tell us -how- you finally succeeded, so we can pass it on to the
next guy?

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Re: Keyspan USB to serial adapter
Sent:	Friday, March 5, 2010 10:56:15
From:	George Finlay (george@principiainc.com)
Egg all over my face.

I did not have the AutoStar powered up. With that little detail
corrected, I had no problem with the serial communication, and loaded
data on the ISS.

Now I am waiting for a nice clear night to take a look at the ISS. What
can I expect in terms of detail with the ETX-125?

In the meantime, on less clear nights, I have been gradually learning
about moon geography. I am loving this scope!

George Finlay
Mike here: Ah yes, that would help! At 77X on my 8" telescope, I've seen the ISS main structure and solar panels. And the colors change as the sun angle changes during the pass. With a 5" telescope, you'll should still be able to see a distinct shape.

And:

Looking forward to it, and thanks for your help and patience.

George Finlay

Subject:	AutoStar & Vista
Sent:	Monday, March 1, 2010 14:54:53
From:	RAYMOND JONES (jones813@btinternet.com)
How do you get autoStar version 3.0 update 4 ( 2005) to work on
Microsoft Vista 32bit Understand that this is a well known problem.Would
welcome your guidance on this one
Thanks in advance
Ray Jones
Mike here: First, is there some good reason why you want to use a really old version of the AutoStar Update application? If not, I suggest updating to version 5.9, available from Meade's AutoStar Update page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html). If you really want to run the old version, can you explain what is not working? That might help our Vista experts help you.

And:

Many thanks for your advice and speed of response----Can now control my
'scope via my PC.
Regards
Ray Jones 
Mike here: Glad to help. I guess you updated.
Subject:	Re: ETX Sync Command
Sent:	Sunday, February 28, 2010 21:30:32
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
I doubt that i could create an "unsync" patch (it would require storing
everything that SYNC mashes, then having a way to restore it).

That said, i -think- (it's been years since i looked, and it's spaghetti
code) that doing High Precision is, in effect, a "forgettable sync".
I seem to remember that turning High Precision -off- returns the scope
to its pre-HP state.

(it's cloudy, so i can't go test that myself...)

Go out and try that approach...

have fun
--dick

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