Last updated: 31 May 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS 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 and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ds60
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2007 19:20:40
From:	Phillip Sollon (sollon@earthlink.net)
Need to pick-your-brain if you please.

My family dug out our old MEADE POLARIS DS60 from the attic.  Well it
looks like a telescope... and has a nice tripod it sits on ... but from
what I remember there were several pieces on a tray with optics and such
and some type of control box.  It looks like the main tube is all there
then comes down to some type of piece with a set screw. That piece looks
broken off as it has 1/2 of a 90 degree angle

left on it.  That is all we have.

Couple questions...

1. Is it worth trying to find the parts?

2. Is this telescope compatible with some adapter to view on computer or
via our home theatre projector.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Mike here: I suggest you grab a DS manual (see the FAQ page for links to manuals). If you want to get replacement parts you can try Meade's web site; if they don't have what you want call them as they may send you the part. If that doesn't work out try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page). You can use a webcam or an electronic eyepiece to view on a computer or TV. But you may be disappointed with the view given the small size of the telescope.


This is an automatic reply from sollon@earthlink.net.

This e-mail is being blocked as "SPAM" by the main server.
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Mike here: FYI to Site Visitors: per the ETX "Email Etiquette" I do not respond to SPAM blockers. If you expect to receive a response from me, be certain to have added my email address yourself. Normally I do not post the original email and my response but as a warning to visitors I thought I would make an exception this time. Thanks for understanding.


thanks for your help

Subject:	meade ds 2000 single arm mount
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2007 02:21:17
From:	will d (toms54@hotmail.co.uk)
will a meade ds2000 single arm mount be strong enough to support and
move a 6 inch short tube refractor on a home made mount (built from your
page) thank you.
Mike here: I have my doubts; I suspect there could be flexure and vibrations.
Subject:	hi Meade Saturn model DS-114
Sent:	Sunday, May 27, 2007 22:13:48
From:	Tracey (ThePhoenixHasRisen@new.rr.com)
Hi My name is Tracey. I have no clue how to set up my telescope  and I
have had it for years. Here is the issue. My ex husband set it up for me
when I first got it 4 yrs ago. I have only used it once. I do not know
how to work it and have no instructions. Can you help me? I have looked
on the net with no luck. I am no very savvy on the internet. Thank you
Tracey Haynes
Mike here: You can get a DS manual on Meade's web site. See the FAQ page on my ETX Site for the links to manuals.


I downloaded the manual and attached the Autostar and got it working but
cant see thru my view finder on the side....you can see thru the top
view finder...do you know if I did something wrong? lol
Mike here: Do you mean that when you look through the finderscope (the little scope on the side) all you see if black?
Subject:	Meade Ds-2130at
Sent:	Saturday, May 26, 2007 12:48:01
From:	Nicholas Caligaris (dcowboys107@gmail.com)
I have recently bought the Meade ds-2130at withOUT the autostar #494. 
After plugging the controller into the HBX port I attempted to switch
the telescope model with no avail.  I tried calibrating the motors and
resetting the systme with no luck still. Any suggestions on what I
should do?  The controller came with my etx-70at a few years back and I
thought that it'd be a cinch to switch over.  Anyways, if you have any
soultions please respond!
Mike here: I suspect your #494 Autostar is too old to recognize the newer DS model. You will have to get a newer AutoStar (or send your #494 to Meade for updating).
Subject:	Re: Meade DS-2102AT-tc
Sent:	Tuesday, May 15, 2007 20:35:09
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The RA and DEC scales are really meant for Polar operation.
As Mike wrote, they harken back to "the good old days" when
you pointed at a known star, set the "circles" (as they're
called) to that star's RA and DEC, and then could use the
circles as a guide to the (approximate) position of the next
target.  That's why the RA scale is loose enough to slip
around the scope to bring the proper value under the pointer.

In an Alt/Az mount, the RA circle does serve as a guide,
as long as you remember that each "hour" is 15 degrees,
and each "minute" is 15 arcminutes.
The DEC scale does handily double as an elevation scale.

have fun

Subject:	Re: Meade DS-2102AT-tc
Sent:	Sunday, May 13, 2007 23:59:11
From:	The Clarkes (clarkes@southboro.fsnet.co.uk)
For the record, the supplier looked at my disfunctional mount and found
grease/dirt on the encoder. It now works fine.

Am I missing something or are the  ra and dec scales on these mounts of
no purpose? Presuming the scope is level and pointing North in the home
position, all movements are relative to that position and the alignment
stars - are they not? Bizarre!

Many thanks again for your help.

Andy Clarke
Mike here: The setting circles are useful when you want to experience locating objects the way astronomers did it for centuries. But if you want the "instant gratification" of computerized GOTOs, then you won't be using them.
Subject:	re: Meade DS-2102AT-tc
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2007 19:43:54
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The "only one speed" and "motor unit fault" can happen
if the communications to the motors is garbled or

A quick test is to reverse the handbox cable end-for-end.
This shuffles the functions of the various wires,
and, if the problem -changes-, lets you know that it's
just the cable.  A computer store can build you a
replacement cable (get them to *look* at the pinout,
it's -not- the same as a standard computer cable).

If the cable isn't the culprit, we then expand to
peering into the two sockets the handbox cable plugs
into... look for crossed pins and conductive dirt.

Then it's opening the telescope and Autostar.
In the autostar, sometimes the solder connection holding
the cable socket onto the circuit card cracks.
"Reflowing" it can cure that.
In the Telescope, the wires between the power socket and
the sick motor's controller card might have become dislodged
(very common, actually) or cut by a gear.

You're in the UK, www.telescopehouse.co.uk is the official
Meade dealer/service point, if it comes to that...

good luck
From:	The Clarkes (clarkes@southboro.fsnet.co.uk)
Many thanks to both of you for your helpful suggestions.

I've reversed the cable - without any noticeable effect on the problem,
and noted that the cable plugs/sockets look pristine (the scope is only
5 months old). I'll pop the covers off and check for the
break/dislocation in the hardware that Richard has suggested; failing
that it's off to Telescope House.  I hope the waranty is still honoured,
despite myself not being the purchaser.

If you have any other thoughts I'd be very grateful to receive them; I
Just hope I get this resolved before Saturn moves into the twilight!

Very best regards

Andy Clarke

Subject:	Meade DS-2102AT-tc
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2007 02:22:31
From:	clarkes@southboro.fsnet.co.uk (clarkes@southboro.fsnet.co.uk)
I have just purchased a second hand DS-2102-AT scope with a #497
controller. I have been through the manuals and the Meade website and
cannot find a solution to the foloowing problem.

The altitude movement only occurs at the maximum slew speed. Pressing
the number pad buttons has no effect on the rate at all - but they do
work for the RA drive. When I try to 'calibrate motors' the scope moves
on both axes briefly and then supplies the 'motor drive fault' message,
which cannot be got rid of except by turning the unit off. I have tried
resetting, but this does not correct the problem. If I try to align, the
scope slews, but the alt drive does not stop until it stikes the tripod
(again at full pelt!), whereupon the 'motor fault' message is shown. The
scope is balanced, the RA and DEC knobs are tightened and the batteries
are brand new.

I don't know if it's relevant, but my handset does not give the sun
warning upon start-up, and I have no 'display options' under the
'Utilities' menu and do not have 'calibrate sensors' options under the
align/telescope menus.

Any ideas?
Mike here: First, there will be no CALIBRATE SENSORS unless you have the LNT model on the telescope. From the model mentioned you don't have that. As to the Sun Warning and Display Options, those were dropped in recent versions. Now back the motor fault message; that means that some has gone wrong with the communications between the AutoStar and the Telescope. First check that the telescope model selected is showing as DS model; if not, select it (assuming it appears in the list). Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTORS? I doubt that will solve the problem but can't hurt. Lastly you might try reloading the AutoStar ROM. If you want to pursue that option and have any questions, let me know. There are some physical reasons why the error can occur: dirty encoders, dirty or bent pins in the cable connectors or jacks, bad encoders. It is easy to check for dirty or bent pins. It is more difficult to check for dirty or bad encoders. But one tip that might help is to redistribute the lubrication by unlocking the altitude axis, slowly move the telescope by hand up and down from stop to stop several times.


Very many thanks for your rapid reply!

I have since reset the scope, with the result that the machine offers
very limited options. On switching on the handset offers "press '0' for
align or 'mode' for menu". Whichever option I chose, the 'scope then
displays 'testing motors', moves few degrees in alt, a few degrees in RA
and then displays 'motor unit fault'. At this point the only key to
which prevokes any further reponse at all is 'mode' which simply
intiates the motor test again with the very same results!

I bought this 'scope from ebay and have contacted the seller who, quite
genuinely seems to think it was working well before removing the
batteries and sending on.

The dvd I got can't be read by my computer (scratched?)- I presume this
is where the software is kept - is there another source?


Mike here: You could contact Meade to get a replacement DVD if it is something from them. For starters, suggest you try my previous suggestions.
Subject:	re: DSX motor mount question
Sent:	Monday, April 30, 2007 22:24:22
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Oh, my... where to start?

First, as Mike said, the AUX port is **not** an rs232 port.
Behind the power panel, the two signal lines are wired
directly to the HBX socket and nowhere else (the outer
two pins are power and ground).  (if your scope had
an LNT module, it would be on the AUX circuit, too)

So you've been feeding +/- 12v (rs232 signal levels)
back up into the handcontrollers AUX drivers, which
are TTL level (0 to +3v) and not expecting that kind of
abuse.  Your handcontroller may no longer be able to
drive a focuser (which is one purpose for the AUX socket).

The motors in the DSX are -not- stepper motors.
They're standard DC motors, with attached circuit
cards which provide pulse width modulated (PWM) drive
signals.  They're speed-controlled, with encoders telling
the local PIC chip how much they've turned.  If you have
an Autostar, it interrogates the PIC chip and issues new
speed commands to "close the loop" as a positional and
speed-controlled system.  The communications to the motors
(and to the focuser) are done by addressed data packets on
an I2C-like bus structure.

Although it's theoretically -possible- to control the
DSX without an Autostar, it's very very difficult to do
so.  I know of no one who's achieved even half-way decent
control before giving up and buying an Autostar.

A lot of the details on the internal operation are described in
Meade's patent number 6,304,376  , available at:

have fun

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Copyright © 2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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