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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK

Last updated: 31 March 2013

Welcome to the AutoStar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar #494, #495, #497, #497EP, AudioStar, 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.


Subject:	Cloning Autostar
Sent:	Friday, March 29, 2013 12:15:13
From:	Jos Ignacio Cuende (jcuendem@medynet.com)
Ive read  the page  http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2010/clone_cable.html
and I think there is a mistake. I've made the cable following the
instructions on this page and it did not work. I've made another cable
swapping 1 and 2 (instead of 3 and 4) and it worked.

If you see the page http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html
and follow the diagram 

'Autostar End of 505 connector cable -- rj10 (the smaller "Handset" size)
'
' +-----------+     1- Data TO Autostar
' |  1 2 3 4  |     2- Data FROM Autostar
' +---+   +---+     3- not used
'     |___|         4- ground
'
'Hole in Autostar   1- Astar Rcv: data -to- Autostar  (PC pin 3) (25/2)
' +-----------+     2- Astar Xmt: data -from- Autostar (PC pin 2) (25/3)
' |  4 3 2 1  |     3- not connected
' +---+   +---+     4- ground reference   (PC pin 5) (25/7)
'     |___|

the wires that have to be swapped are 1 and 2.

Is it OK?

Best regards,

Jos I.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You are correct that a cloning cable swaps 1 and 2 from end-to-end,

Therefore the "clone_cable.html" page you reference is, indeed, wrong.

The diagrams and the sentence between them should say:
=====start of correction=====

+--------------+
|  1  2  3  4  |
+---+     +----+
   +-----+

In that diagram, pins 1 and 2  are the two that are swapped, so the
other end becomes:

+--------------+
|  2  1  3  4  |
+---+     +----+
   +-----+

====end of correction=====

I apologize for the error (i was probably thinking about the "socket" ends... or something)

thanks
--dick
Mike here: Page has been updated.


Subject:	Autostar 497 EQ3.3 mount
Sent:	Friday, March 22, 2013 02:37:01
From:	Giacomo Gargiulo (giacomo.gargiulo@gmail.com)
I want use two Meade DS motor in combination with Autostar keypad 497 to
guide an German Equatorial Mount EQ3.2 as described on this web site:
http://www.madpc.co.uk/~peterv/astroplover/equipnbits/EQ3.htm
In this web link "The Autostar already had the LXD55 series in its
database". I searched  for EQ mount as LXD55 or 4504/EQ114 in my
Autostar 497 but I cannot find it. I can find only "ETX 60 - 70 - 80 --
DS series -- DSX 90 - 102 -125"
Initially the firmware istalled was 42ita (my language) to solve this
"problem" I upgraded to 43eng and finally I applied also richard
seymour's patch (version 21) your web-link:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/patches/patch43eg2.html
I will report this note from: http://bedair.org/Autostar.html
	" To use the Autostar controller with a GEM / EQ mount it will require a
	patch downloaded to the Autostar. The patch was developed be Dick
	Seymour and can be downloaded from Mike Weasners web site. 
	This allows the Autostar to show telescope model 4504 and 114eq 
	Equatorial Mounts. If the patch is not downloaded the Autostar it will
	show only DS and ETX models ( fork mounts ) "

Also after this patch I cannot find any equatorial mount on my
Autostar-Setup-Telescope type.
Can you help to solve this problem? Probably I'm making a very stupid
question, or I downloaded the wrong firmware.
Thank you for any tips.

Best Regard

Giacomo Gargiulo
Mike here: I'll let Dick respond about the patch.
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The 4504/114 patch is not "enabled" unless you specifically choose it.

IF you are using StarPatch to perform the update, you must click the
"4504/114eq vs DS-70/2060"   option.

If you are using the patch file and StarMod to create a patch .rom file
for ASU to work with, you must open the patch43ggXX.txt file with a text
editor (such as Notepad),
locate the line with   [4504/114eq vs DS-70/2060]    in it
and then change the *next* line from
s=UNchecked
to
s=checked

Save that, and *then* run it through StarMod (or ClickMe) to activate
that section of the kit.

good luck
--dick

And:

many thanks for your fast answers. I solved with your tips.

..an happy italian Meade user
ETX-70
ETX-125 "white tube" + EQ3.2 ..in the future equipped with Meade DS motor and Autostar 497

Giacomo Gargiulo
Mike here: Ooh, a "white tube" ETX!

And:

yes..it's a fantastic tube..marked "wegatoptical"..difficult to
collimate..but not comparable with actual MAK ;-)


Subject:	AutoStar updating
Sent:	Thursday, March 21, 2013 17:26:56
From:	etx_125ec_from_arizona@q.com (etx_125ec_from_arizona@q.com)
I am now trying to update my autostar, I currently have 43e on the
autostar.   I went to update and now autostar suite is informing me that
the handbox is not connected!  I verified that autostar is still
connected by using the control panel on Autostar Suite Ver 3.05-- The
error message states that it could not connect to autostar and will
perform a com port search...  it does and suite tells me that it cannot
find the handbox!!  I close off that dialog box, and verify that
everything works..  by going to the control panel and yes it is
connected via com port 4...

I am stymied to say the least!!

Quick question, would updating to Autostar Suite Ver 6 from the Meade
site help??  Could my ver 3.05 autostar suite have become corrupted? And
no longer recognizes that the com ports are indeed active?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  I am at wits end..  it
works but doesn't!!  It connect to drive the scope, yet it tells me that
it cannot update because it cannot find the handbox on the scope!!

I use an ACER netbook for its size... not a speed demon, but it works! 
I have used this in the past, now it does not want to update...
Luis
Mike here: If your AutoStar is an old #497 then 4.3Eg is the best and latest version. Since you have that, don't try to upgrade.
As to the problem, yes, using a later ASU version may help. If you are using a USB-serial adapter, be aware that not all work reliably with the AutoStar. StarGPS (www.stargps.ca) can connect more reliably.

And:

Thx!

4.3Eg it is then! And yes, it is an old 497...  10 years old to be exact!


Subject:	RE: Flaky Autostar Updater?
Sent:	Saturday, March 16, 2013 08:25:57
From:	Bob Tomlinson (rlt9999@yahoo.com)
I bought a new Autostar 497 last weekend and found that it had Version 1
software on it so the first thing I wanted to do was update it. I had
the same problem that Brian had with his friends handset where my new
497 wasn't connecting. I tried everything and even connected another 497
to verify my settings work. Then I started looking in the settings of
the version 1 497 and found the "download" option. Once I put the 497 in
download mode ASU connected as it should and I was able to update.
 
Best regards,
Bob
 
PS  Thanks Mike for your invaluable site and all the time and effort you put into it.
Mike here: Thanks Bob. Good tip. Over the years we tend to forget that download option.

And:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Although i have had ASU working with my scopes (using a Keyspan USA-19HS
USB adapter) on my Asus laptop with 64-bit Windows 7, there are people
reporting similar symptoms like yours (usually USB related)
The only adapters i can confidently recommend are either that Keyspan,
or any using (or made by) the FTDI chipset.

That said, why not try Andrew Johansen's free "MyScope" application, and
see if it can connect with your Autostar?   Download it from:
http://members.optusnet.com.au/johansea


Do you have a 497 Autostar or an Audiostar?
(or: when was the Autostar purchased).

I see that you are having problems with your "LX200" as well...
is that a Classic LX200 (NOT Autostar), or an LX200gps/R/ACF?

good luck
--dick

And more:

> Am I trying to do something that is not possible
> (updating his h/b which is still at firmware version 1.1!!!!)

Whoops... i'd missed that...

If the version is older than 1.2, you MUST do a two-step update...
once to bring it to (at least) 1.2 (when Safe Load was added),
and then a leap to the current (43Eg) version.

But let's NOT try to do that before we have reliable communication.
You can truly "brick" the Autostar by a failed update.
(that's what SafeLoad protects you from)

Also:
>  Is it worth trying a different updater package?

Meade's updater (as you're seeing) can be very opaque and silently
confusing.
For *normal* updates, i recommend StarPatch from www.stargps.ca  (it's
free for this level of usage)

You can use StarPatch to "test" your communications, too.
However:
Andrew's MyScope does an intelligent crawl of your serial ports, and
attempts to extract data from the Autostar for its "splash" screen.  It
also logs all communications (letting us see what's not working)

I'll send along another note (in a while) with the "how to do the 1.1 ->
1.2 -> 43Eg update" (although i think a posting about that must exist on
Mike's site somewhere... )
Mike's site does contain the necessary tools: a package of 1.2 and the
matching ASU to get you that far (the modern ASU cannot handle the old
file formats).
But you really do need to get the communications *solid* before
proceeding.

good luck
--dick


Subject:	Display
Sent:	Wednesday, March 13, 2013 14:00:54
From:	Meloni Daly (melonidaly@sc.rr.com)
Our 497 works to move the telescope, but there is no display....any help?
Thanks
Meloni

Sent from my Kindle Fire
Mike here: First, check the Brightness/Contrast setting. Sometimes holding a flashlight at the display will let you see the characters. If that doesn't work, use the manual and blindly follow the AutoStar menu tree to get to the setting. If you determine the display is bad, see the article "AutoStar Display Tip", as well as the three "LCD" articles, on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX Site.

And:

We tried your suggestions but they did not work. It makes the beeping
sounds and the scope moves but there is no display.  We were gonna try
to replace the Lcd but there are not 4 screws on the back of the
handheld to take it apart.  Any suggestions how to open it?  Thanks so
much.....Meloni
Mike here: Are you sure it is a #497? All mine have 4 screws. My #494 (no number keys) does not have screws. If yours doesn't have screws, then the front and back pieces probably just prys apart; do it carefully.


Subject:	Flaky Autostar Updater?
Sent:	Thursday, March 7, 2013 15:39:44
From:	Brian (msa.co@freeuk.com)
I am having an infuriating time trying to use ASU (latest version) to
update a friend's ETX Autostar.

ASU is 'flaky' at the best of times in my experience with my LX200 and
my ETX125PE.

It never 'auto detects' the com port, merely returning a 'not
responding' message in Task Manager.

Even when I have the correct com port loaded manually, it sometimes
connects and sometimes doesn't; mostly it doesn't.

When it doesn't, it merely 'hangs', eventually returning a 'not
responding' message in Task Manager.

I have deleted and re-loaded ASU until I am blue in the face but it
ALWAYS behaves flakily.

Despite this, I have managed to connect to both my ETX Autostar and LX
in the past week (prior to multiple reloads) and to update the TLE's for
comets and asteroids.

However, trying to update a friend's ETX Autostar with it connected to
my ETX125 results in ziltch, nothing, zero, nowt!

Alternating between my handbox and the ETX Autostar handbox resulted in
mine connecting sometimes and sometimes not; his connecting NEVER.

I am using a Prolific USB to Serial Port adaptor which I am sure was
purchased from the Meade Distributor here in UK after MANY failed
attempts to get locally and widely available adaptors to work.

So, a few questions:

1 	Is my experience unusual or not?
2	Am I trying to do something that is not possible (updating his h/b
which is still at firmware version 1.1!!!!)
3	Is it worth trying a different updater package?

Hope you can help, I don't have much hair left and what is left is
rapidly turning grey.

Brian Martindale

tel. +44(0)7973309131
Newbury, England
N51 23 09  W1 19 29 

Meade LX200GPS 12
Meade ETX 125PE
30x80 Orion Megaview Binoculars
10x42 Canon L Image Stabilised Binoculars
Mk IX Eyeballs (2 off, part worn)
Meade DSI Colour
Mike here: Not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the ASU and AutoStar. I recommend Keyspan adapters. You may have better luck with StarPatch from stargps.ca. If the old version is to old to update directly to the current version, you can try updating to a v2 or v3 version. Older versions are available in the AutoStar Archive on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.


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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/mar13/autostar.html