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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 May 2011
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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.

Subject:	Re: Conecting ETX 125 direct to PC
Sent:	Monday, May 30, 2011 20:12:38
From:	Nav&Sat (navsat@terra.com.br)
Hello Mr. Weasner, thanks for your quickly and kindly answer and I`am
sorry by my delayed contact but I was on working trip.
So, I have just few more doubts. My Telescope is a ETX 125EC. Then,
could I use Autostar 497 + AstroFinder software + Connector cable kit
#505
to control my ETX via PC, is this right configuration?
Could I use the Autostar suite software that is all ready instaled on my
PC, instead the AstroFinder software?
Mike here: Yes, you can use either but AutoSuite is the better choice. Remember that you will need a RS-232 serial port on your computer. If you have only USB, then you will need a USB-serial adapter. Meade has one for Windows. But I recommend Keyspan.
Subject:	AudioStar & AutoStar Updater
Sent:	Friday, May 27, 2011 16:21:29
From:	Andrew Johansen (johansea@optusnet.com.au)
Just saw the post re the Audiostar and its foibles.
The current ASU updater still wont work correctly with Audiostar ( or
497EP ) handboxes for many operations, but "initial" loading of TLEs
"should" work.

Also, I am not sure exactly what the "ASU retrieve doesnt work" comment
refers to.
Retrieving info via "Tools>Edit Userdata" ie name/address/location
doesnt work ( and also doesnt work in the 497EP ) but i have used ASU to
"Retrieve" object data a fair bit during testing, and it works as long
as the data isnt badly corrupted.

Just some info
Dick and myself have created and tested the first patch to fix a lot of
the bugs in the Audiostar.
( including the new satellite rise time bug )
This patch only exists on the Starpatch site at present, as Starpatch
has been modified to deal correctly with the Audiostars, and ASU hasn't.
Also, Meade have not posted any Audiostar updates on their website so
the only place to get the latest rom is also the Starpatch site.
It is important for Audiostar users to ensure they never load a romfile
less than version A1F7, as the later Audiostars use a different memory
chip and loading any prior firmwares will render the handboxes
unupdateable. Starpatch also tests for this.

That said, there are still other bugs/gotchas with the 497EPs and
Audiostars which may be at play in this case.
The ASU updater will "Send" data to the EP/Audiostar handboxes, however
1) It butchers tours
2) It loads satellites/asteroids/comets correctly, but leaves corrupt
data in the final linking sections.
Thus, if you load data using "Send" it should work, but if you then
manually add/edit data via the handbox, it can result in incorrect
linking and FLASH errors. I have seen several of these during my
testing.

I am just testing the modifications to my PEC Editor to allow it to
read/write data to the Ausdiostars and LS scopes, and once released,
that will allow Rob to load stuff correctly, but till then, i suggest he
does a test where
1) Use ASU and import the TLE he wants for the ISS from his PC
2) Use SEND to send ONLY that one item to his handbox
Ie don't retrieve any hbx data first, just do a clean send of one
correct TLE
See if it works.
I want him to do it this way so that no other things get involved in the
process, and hence we can see if there are any other problems.

Andrew

And:

From:	rdorio (t6559363@telus.net)
Hi Andrew & Mike; I wanted to thank you for the quick response to my
questions, well I'll try to give you all the steps of what I've done
with my Audiostar so far and the results of the changes.

I have tried several ways to fix the issues so far.. being cautious  to
not really screw my new Audiostar up! (knowing how many times a
Microsoft Update Has royally screwed up my computer requiring a system
restore!)

For example: I noted that a guy on IceInSpace (Australian Forum, I've
been looking everywhere for information!) did what I suspected was a
mistake and clicked on the most recent update that comes up when you
start Autostar Updater 5.9 and here is a quote from him "Thinking I was
doing the right thing I updated my handset which has now made my
controller a default 497 Autostar with no audio.  " I put a caution note
on Meade 4M forum about that one.

The first issue I noted was that the satellite pass times were off by an
odd amount (not explained by simple daylight savings error). So I
figured I needed the up to date data. I used Autostar updater 5.9 and
did these steps .

1. Opened Autostar Updater 5.9
2. File-Get object data from www... selected (ISS/100 Brightest/3 debris
sats.) satellite and a couple new tours from www. (new tours too ? why
not, could be fun to check out right).
3.Turned on Audiostar (already plugged in/connected with 505 cable &
prolific serial to usb) waited until it was ready for me to input date.
(but I did not enter it just went ahead with next AU2 step).
4. Then I clicked on "Connect" in Autostar Updater (AU2). Showed
"connection successful" Model 497EP ver. A1F7. And the controller shows
a "downloading do not turn off" message.
5. Then I clicked on the "Retrieve" button in AU2 which gets the data
from Audiostar controller. It worked fine showing the data after
reaching 100%.
6. I then replaced the handbox data I wanted to change by erasing them
from Autostar (controller or Hbx) list and sending the downloaded ones
in Library list to Autostar list.
7. Then I clicked "Send" in AU2 and it took a bit and at 100% it was
"Successful". so I exited the Autostar updater and then turned off
Audiostar and disconnected cables.

I then turned the Audiostar back on and entered the date, time, daylight
savings (Y) and checked site co-ords then went to ISS & got a pass time
checked it against "Heavens Above & NASA" for their predicted pass time
for my site and ... well ... it ... was ... Wrong still! .  So I figure
do it manually. so I entered the TLE myself and once completed I went to
select a Satellite and got Flash Memory Error. No more satellite data at
all, Just Flash Error! And to add to the mounting issues the Tours No
longer looked right they we kinda messed up, giggerish for some titles
others had no title so I have just not bothered with them so far I'm
still focused on the Satellite problem. So I did the same as above and
used AU2 and get all the satellite data installed back on to the
controller even if it was wrong on my controller the data must be right.

So the next thing I did was go Googling for any info. on AudioStar info.
on my problem and got My own notes returned, the ones that I had posted
on the 4M forum, Damn!. But I did finally find a site that could be
helpful.

Starpatch! well I thought it was great... that  I could get an Audiostar
update finally by using the Trial software.

I'm guessing you are familiar with it eh! Well I did follow the
directions and got the A1f7 Patch installed successfully. And presto the
satellite pass times were now closer to Heavens Above predicted times
only out by a minute and a few seconds.

As for the next attempt at Autostar update. I Followed same steps as
above and at step 5. I have the Au2 show me it's downloading Hbx data at
about 1% per second (OK speed) but at or sometimes before reaching 100%
it gives me a couple of different error messages sometimes it's the
Runtime Error or just says AU2 has stopped working and as soon as I
click OK or Cancel to the error message the Autostar Updater software
shuts down and my controller stays showing the "downloading do not turn
off" message so I have to eventually turn it off as all Autostar
software on the computer is no longer running. But it is working fine
when I turn it back on.

Next I tried to manually enter the new ISS TLE as it had changed with
shuttle giving the station a bit of a boost I presume. and maybe it
would work this time with the new patch installed... well it didn't I
ended up with "Flash Error"!

This is when I emailed Mike about the update issues to see if he had any
suggestions.

So I tried several times with subtle differences always the same result
UNTIL... I tried following all the steps above but...  I had entered the
date ,time, daylight savings and was at the "Object: Satellite" in the
Audiostar menu and surprise it worked! ONCE. I didn't get too excited it
was a one off, as a matter of fact I tried it again just now while I'm
writing this sentence and.......................... . . "Autostar has
stopped working" error just popped up. I still have the same problem the
next time I tried even with the exact same steps & settings as the
successful time.

So next I have used your suggestion and I got the current data for ISS
only and put it in the Autostar side of AU2 and connected Audiostar and
turned it on( did not enter time/date etc.)  then clicked on "Send" it
finished in a split second showed message box "Data Successfully sent to
Autostar" and restarts hbx. well I checked the Object: Satellite menu
and I have the new ISS data! ..... But that is it! Only the ISS no other
objects All the Objects Asteroids, Comets, Tours are blank. So I
repeated the process but this time I put all the original Asteriods,
Comets, Tours, and new satellite data into the Autostar menu and "Sent"
it.... a couple minutes later... Data successfully sent and HBX
restarted. It all worked the data is there.... woo hoo !!!!!! .......
But.... Now for the next problem, Tours all the tours are messed up
there is no text for the tours titles except the last one (with blank
screen I press Arrow key 5 times as going through the list of tours and
the last press shows 2 gibberish characters, I sent 5 tours to hbx). I
did start the 2nd blank space and it looks like the Messier Marathon
tour as it started out on Messier 103 and Audio about M103 began. So it
is in 2nd spot when it was sent to hbx. But tour #1 blank space displays
searching.....  seems to freeze and I turned it off after @5minutes. So
I presume the tour data may be messed up too.

So now I have to test out the data by actually getting out and
Observing! And since I got the new scope April 4th I have used it
exactly 3.5 times as the weather here has Sucked (rain, wind, cold for
us) the worst spring anyone here can remember (what is up with the
worlds weather?? family in Europe have had the hottest/driest spring
they can remember)  Tonite there is some cloud cover but if I can make
out at least two stars (align) I give'r a try to see if I can track any
bright satellite to confirm pass times. I hope that this explains the
steps I've done clearly enough for you. Please Let me know if you need
any more information or if you have anything for me to try out, So for
now I will use the last method described that now works for me (thanks
for the suggestion) until there is new stuff from Meade or Starpatch.

Thanks Rob Dorio

And:

From: "Andrew Johansen" (johansea@optusnet.com.au)
Gday Rob

> For example: I noted that a guy on IceInSpace
> (Australian Forum, I've been looking everywhere for information!)
> did what I suspected was a mistake and clicked on the most recent update

Correct. There are 2 users down here now who have done this. It has
effectively killed their handboxes as they can no longer update anything
at all. I'm trying to get my hands on one to see if we can fix it using
nefarious means.

> The first issue I noted was that the satellite pass times were off
> by an odd amount (not explained by simple daylight savings error).

Correct. Its a new bug specific to the Audiostar.

>  So I tried several times with subtle differences always the same result 
> UNTIL...

You are having fun, but what you see are the classic error modes and it
occurs for the 497EP as well.
The ASU will load satellites/asteroids etc correctly, but screws up the
final index.
The ASU completely trashes Tours.
After loading data using ASU, if you then manually add a new item ( via
the handbox ), it can result in all sorts of odd random errors due to
the incorrect index offset.
One of these errors is the Flash Error, as that occurs when the firmware
tries to write to memory that has already been written.
When this occurs, the scope completely clears out and resets the memory
for the user data regions.

> So next I have used your suggestion and I got the current data for ISS 
> only
> and put it in the Autostar side of AU2 and connected Audiostar
> and turned it on( did not enter time/date etc.)  then clicked on "Send"
> it finished in a split second showed message box
> "Data Successfully sent to Autostar" and restarts hbx.
> well I checked the Object: Satellite menu and I have the new ISS data! 
> ..... But that is it!

Correct. When you use the ASU to send data, it replaces ALL the user
data with whats in the right panels of ASU.
I wanted you to run that test as
a) By not retrieving from the scope, you didnt read back corrupt data
b) By not loading tours etc, you avoided that corruption too
ie i wanted you to load only one clean item to prove that the basics
were working.
( If you then had tried a manual add/edit in the satellite screen, you
may well have got another crash of the hbx )

> But.... Now for the next problem, Tours

Until i release my next version of my PEC editor, you are stuffed here.
The ASU just completely screws up tours for 497EPs and Audiostars.
No patches will help here either.

> Please Let me know if you need any more information
> or if you have anything for me to try out,

I will send you a beta copy of my PEC editor and you can try it out to
load the Audiostar data correctly incl tours.
Till then, use ASU to load TLE data etc if required, but dont add/edit
via the hbx and dont retrieve from the Hbx, load new from files each
time..

Andrew

Subject:	AudioStar & AutoStar Updater
Sent:	Thursday, May 26, 2011 04:46:21
From:	rdorio (t6559363@telus.net)
I got a new scope April 4th (only used it 3 times because of the
weather.. damn Vancouver Island is nice! but rather wet..) and it came
with the cool new "AudioStar" controller. I've enjoyed using your site
"quite often" since I've had an ETX90-EC since June 15 1999 (one of the
first EC's) and done just about every mod. to it mentioned on your site.
doing my best at astroimaging and I'm starting to get the hang of it
now... after 12 years. The new scope was the best I could afford that's
capable of long exposure astrophotography it's the LXD75 SN-6AT. And I'm
loving the Go To of the Audiostar!

Problem: AudioStar Controller not working with Autostar Updater
software, I connect OK but...

I also just used the StarPatch Demo to update the Audiostar controller.
Now that actually fixed the Satellite tracking Pass time errors, but
changed how it worked with Autostar Updater currently it does what is
described below in my post to 4m forum (no suggestions yet).
 
"Copy of my post"
Hi I'm trying to get updated Object data for ISS/Shuttle and I have a
new scope with an Audiostar 497EP ver. A1F7 controller and I am using
the most recent Autostar Updater ver. 5.9.2 and the program works fine
for getting Object Data from www... and it connects to my handbox (about
1 sec.) when connect is selected and shows the correct model and version
connected
BUT when I select Retrieve it begins downloading (at 1% per second) when
it reaches 100%
I get a RUNTIME ERROR Screen.
Runtime Error
Program: C:\Progra~1\Meade\AUTOST~1\Updater\AU2.exe
This Application has requested the runtime to terminate it in an unusual
way.
Please Contact Applications Support Team for More Information.
OK 
And the program terminates after I press ok!
Does anyone have an idea of what the problem might be? I can't get
updated Object data and my data is not current for the ISS/Shuttle, I
was hoping to "Try" get a glimpse or even an image on the CCD camera of
the Space Shuttle & Station before the Space Shuttles are gone forever!!
Thanks Rob
 
P.S. The AudioStar also had issues with me Manually adding or editing
Object Data I added the current ISS Data and it accepted everything
fine, but once I finished and tried to get back into Satellite I got
FLASH ERROR and no longer had any satellite data at all! So I used
Autostar Updater and re-installed all the Object Data files and problem
solved, BUT now I can't retrieve Hbx Data as described above since I
installed the Update from Starpatch & I'm afraid to try it manually
again to see if the Starpatch update fixed that problem as well as they
fixed the satellite tracking time calculations. Thanks again for any
help with this. Rob D.
Mike here: The AudioStar is so new that there is no a lot of troubleshooting advice available yet. I don't know if StarPatch has been updated for the AudioStar ROM. I would have suggested entering the ISS TLE data manually (which is what I do with my AutoStar II), but you tried that, with unhappy results. Sorry I don't have any more info at this time.
Subject:	hi i am new ETX 90mm owner
Sent:	Tuesday, May 24, 2011 14:23:03
From:	Alfred E. Neuman (oldcrow@tampabay.rr.com)
quick question
what is the wiring pin put for the Meade #505 Telescope Computer PC
Connector Cable Set.
i have a ton of old telephone cable and a rs 232 converter.
 
your web site is great
 
thanks
Mike here: See the Cable section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX Site.
Subject:	RE: Autostar Update - first light - kinda
Sent:	Friday, May 20, 2011 19:37:41
From:	frank puzycki (nsac@verizon.net)
Mike - just came in on a very dew-laden night but quickly set up the ETX
and calibrated and trained the mount/drives.  After a successful 2 star
alignment, did a go-to to Denobola.  Spot on!  Dialed in Saturn, the
real issue prior to downloading new software.  Spot on again.  M104, M3
and M5 all came into fov.  Success!!!! Thanks so much!

Frank Puzycki 
Mike here: Super!!! Enjoy your "new" telescope!
Subject:	Conecting ETX 125 direct to PC
Sent:	Friday, May 20, 2011 14:35:41
From:	Nav&Sat (navsat@terra.com.br)
Hello Mr. Weasner, my name is Rossano Marcos and I have an ETX 125 but
my Autostar has stop working. So could I conect my laptop direct to the
ETX and control it via my Laptop and with some kind of software?

I live in Rio de  Janeiro, Brasil and here we have dificulties to repair
or get accessories in the market, as I have some skils about eletronics
and computing, I guess that I can made the necessary mods.


Thanks in advance, sincerely yours best regards.

Rossano M. S. Leito
Mike here: There is no software that will control the ETX (or other AutoStar controlled telescope) without the AutoStar being connected and operable. The AutoStar contains the software that controls the telescope. As to your non-functioning AutoStar, have you tried to reload the ROM? You will need a RS-232 serial port and a #505 serial cable (easily made using information on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page). If your computer has only USB, you will need a USB-Serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; I recommend Keyspan models.
Subject:	Autostar Update
Sent:	Friday, May 13, 2011 00:43:28
From:	frank puzycki (nsac@verizon.net)
Please respond to nsac@verizon.net.  I have been trying to update my
90mm ETX from version ef to eg or better.  Meade has been no help
whatsoever.  I have purchased a usb to serial cable and made sure the
device (Radio Shack) driver is installed and recognized (com5).  I go
the updater menu.  Initiate update, it recognizes the handbox and
current version of software (ef), triggers a response on the handbox
which says downloading do not disconnect then stays that way for hours
without anything else happening.  I am concerned my connections might
still be incorrect although Meade indicated they were correct.  I have
the USB to serial cable connect to another R232 female connecting cable
which in turn terminates into a small phone snap connector which is
connected to the corresponding port at the base of the handbox.  The
handbox is connected to the ETX in usual fashion and the other end of
the USB cable goes into the USB port on my laptop.  Any help would be
appreciated.
  
Frank Puzycki
Mike here: First, please read the Electronic Mail Etiquette and Submittal Guidelines item on the ETX Site home page. It specifically notes to not request using an alternative email address. Thanks for understanding. As to your problem, as mentioned many times on the ETX site, not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters for Macs and PCs. You might also try using StarPatch from www.stargps.ca as it can many times communicate with the AutoStar when Meade's updater can't.

And:

Mike - sorry for break in protocol - this problem has really vexed me
for two weeks now.  Would you expect if I purchased the Meade serial to
USB that it would cure my problems?  I have tried this whole setup on
two different laptops with same result - the handbox says downloading do
not diconnect but it still says that five hours later.  I have a DSL
line so I harbored hope it just might be a combination of a huge file
plus slow dowload speed

And:

Mike - can I share with you what the folks at Meade gave me as the
process to see if that comports with your view of reality?

As I stated in my first email, I have a Radio Shack USB to serial cable
connected to my PC USB port.  The R232 side of the cable connects to the
female side of an RS232 plug which in turn snaps directly into the small
phone jack port on the base of the ETX handbox.  The ETX is connected to
the handbox via the usual port and handbox cable.

I do not activate any menu options on the ETX itself  (is there some
download menu mode I should have engaged?) - the handbox simply reads "
align now or choose mode" or something akin to that.  I do not have the
autostar suite program loaded - only the latest version of autostar
updater - is that suite program required to successfully download
updates too?

After I turn on the ETX I click on autostar update icon  and then hit
the update button.  It appears to recognize my handbox and offers me the
option of going to the www to access latest firmware option.  It does
just that when I click on that option button and indicates version "g"
is available.  I hit the okay button and get one of two responses

1 . No internet access - connect handset and re-enter update     or

2. Handset not updated - connect handset and restart updater.

If I do option two, handset responds with the downloading now - do not
disconnect message.

BTW, this all started after I had Meade rehab my scope and mount and
upon return discovered phenomenal DSO pointing accuracy but consistently
poor solar system pointing.  A subscriber to your website from New
Zealand informed me that Meade had errors in that version of firmware
"EF?" and anticipated providing a revision.  Meade confirmed that about
10 monbths ago but I just got around to trying to update my software. 
That's why I am in this fix.

Thanks for reading this message and responding so quickly to my prior
one too
 
Frank Puzycki
Mike here: It is a well known problem that not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. Certainly, the Meade one will work. But personally, I'd recommend using a Keyspan model. Some other adapters MAY work and some MAY NOT. Whether your Radio Shack adapter is the cause of your problems, hard to say. But it sure would seem to be one of the those adapters that doesn't work with the AutoStar. Have you tried StarPatch with your adapter? As to the download apparently starting, do you have to interrupt the "download" by powering off the telescope? If so, is your AutoStar seemingly dead after that? And if so, do you have to use SAFE LOAD to try to download again?

And:

Mike - anytime i have interrupted the download stream, nothing bad has
happened.  I was able to reboot ETX and get back to the align or select
mode screen without any sign of hiccups.  This leads me to beleive I
never actually started downloading version "g"
Mike here: Yes, the download never actually started. Probably the adapter then.

And:

I looked at the starpatch site and also seemed to have found a keyspan
cable supplier relatively nearby me - I take it the keyspan cable is the
more likely successful option between the two - is that correct Mike?
Mike here: As I said previously, StarPatch MAY work with your adapter; worth a try since it is free. I'd recommend trying it with 4.3Eg.

And:

Mike - I took your advice and tried StarPatch - I was able to download
and update my handbox but only the most recent version and not 4.3Eg. 
The weather here is not good but a dry run in my house suggests the
scope is working properly.  Hopefully I will be able to eliminate the
solar system go-to pointing problem by this update once I get some clear
skies.  Thanks for your help!

Frank Puzycki
Mike here: Glad you were able to update the AutoStar. Looking forward to a successful GOTO report.

And:

We can only hope!  Thanks again - Frank P
MIke here: Remember to do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	AutoStar Park Scope Problem
Sent:	Friday, May 6, 2011 07:51:55
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
I recently got my ETX 125PE out of mothballs after a long hiatus due to
health problems. After a few hours of getting reacquainted, I parked the
scope and took a break. When I came back, I powered up and was expecting
to pick up where I left off. I quickly realized there was a problem and
after checking a few reference points, found the Az was off by about 14
degrees.

At this point, I remembered there had been a problem with the 'Park
Scope' utility but thought it had been corrected in the latest version
of the AutoStar firmware, 43Eg. Apparently it hasn't. I found a
reference to ROM version 5BE2 for the #497 that is supposed to fix a lot
of bugs but couldn't find the actual file for this version.

So, is there a version that provides a properly functioning 'Park
Scope', or perhaps one of Dick Seymour's patches that fixes it?

Regards,
Mike Hogan
Mike here: Polar or Alt/Az? DST setting error? As to specifically a Park bug in 4.3Eg, I don't recall one. To get the version 5 ROM installed you have to use the latest AutoStar Suite update capability. You can get that from Meade's web site. HOWEVER, I actually don't recommend updating the original #497 to beyond 4.3Eg. Just a personal opinion.

And:

Mount is Alt/Az and DST is set correctly. Just to make sure everything
was properly set-up, I started from scratch. RESET Autostar; set site
using ZIP code and DST to 'Yes'; performed Auto Align using LNT home
position.
Performed a couple of GOTOs then did "Park Scope'. The scope slewed to
0/0 Alt/Az as verified by bubble level and declination corrected
compass. Powered down and waited two minutes, then power on.
After power on, the Autostar got the time from the LNT and was ready to
select an object. I checked the Status menu (MODE for 3 seconds) and the
AZ read about 13 degrees even though the scope was still pointed North,
where it had parked. Local time and LST were correct and battery level
was 100% (external battery). Tried a couple of GOTOs and they were off
in AZ by about 13 degrees.
I have ASU version 5.9.2 and am going to see if I can update to the
version 5 ROM. If I have problems, I hope I will be able to revert back.

And:

I tried using ASU to update to the latest version over the internet but
all it found was 43Eg so I guess version 5 isn't available for the
original Autostar. I'm stumped by the Park problem but I'll try some
more testing to see what I can find.
Mike here: As mentioned on Meade's AutoStar page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html):

Important note about #497 Autostars. The classic #497, and the newer #497EP, utilize different firmware that is not interchangeable. However, the #497EP Autostar is backward compatible with prior generation telescope that used AutoStar technology. If you have an older version of the #497, it will continue to work with your existing telescope. AutoStar Updater 5.9 or greater can detect either version and load the appropriate firmware.

09/14/10 NEW LIGHTSWITCH FIRMWARE VERSION 1.6a NOW AVAILABLE. This update includes improved selection criteria of the alignment stars, camera assisted high-precision pointing, and several bug fixes. To download and install the new firmware, run the AutoStar Updater (ASU.EXE) version 5.9 or higher and follow the instructions. If you have an older version of the Updater, click here to download the latest version.

10/07/09 #497EP AutoStar hand controller software update. Version 5CE1 (1,040 KB).General update, from v5BE2. Introduces LT telescope. Updated true and magnetic north alignment. Fixes site selection and clock bugs. REQUIRES VERSION 5.9 AUTOSTAR UPDATER.

07/27/09 #497 AutoStar hand controller software update. Version 5BE2 (1,039 KB). General update. Fixes many known bugs. Real time clock corrections. LXD75 polar alignment. Various LX90 pointing and tracking fixes. Adds new magnetic/true north alignment. REQUIRES VERSION 5.9 AUTOSTAR UPDATER.

4/13/07 #497 AutoStar hand controller software update. Version 43Eg (479 KB) is available. To get this new version, use either the 43Eg link to download and unzip the file to the Ephemerides directory of the Autostar Update (ASU) installation directory; or use ASU and press "Upgrade Autostar Software Now" and ASU will download and upgrade the handbox. If you don't already have ASU use the link on this page to download and install it on your PC. New Initialization instructions for Autostar

And:

Note that version 5B2 is shown for the #497, not #497EP. And as I
mentioned earlier, I have ASU 5.9.2 so I don't see why ASU doesn't find
5B2 when attempting an update over the internet.
Mike here: Perhaps Meade's download site is having a problem.

And:

Neither ASU or StarPatch find a version 5 for #497 so maybe that's an
error in the description of 5B2.

After some more testing, I found that the Park problem only occurs if
you start with an Auto Align; with Easy and Two-star align, Park works
as it's supposed to. In reading the version update history, I found that
the problem was known and supposed to have been fixed in version 40Eb so
I loaded that version from your archive and tried it. Still didn't work
so I'm guessing Meade dropped the ball on that and never verified the
fix actually worked.

If you or Dick Seymour have any inside contacts at Meade, you might want
to bring this to their attention.

Subject:	LX90 497 Autostar problems
Sent:	Sunday, May 1, 2011 06:15:48
From:	Emma Clifton (emma1.mark1@sky.com)
I was wondering if anyone would be able to help, I have a 497 Autostar
but it now wont even on, I tried to upgrade it last night but since then
it has not turned on and I am unable to activate in even in safe mode,
there is just no sign of life.
Any ideas? 
thanks

Mark
Mike here: Need more information. How were you doing the software update? Direct connect or with a USB-serial adapter? What program for the update? What happened during the 30 minutes the upgrade will take? What is displayed when you try SAFE LOAD mode?

And:

Thanks for getting back to me, I'm having a right nightmare!

I did the upgrade from pc to Autostar using the home made 505
connection, all worked ok until I did the upgrade and then turned the
telescope off and when I switched it back on the autostar will not turn
on at all.

When I try the safe mode, nothing at all happens so can't even get it
into safe mode or get the pc software ASU autostar suite to communicate
with the autostar.

I really hope you can help.
 
thanks
 
Mark
Mike here: So, you are using a real RS-232 serial port on your Windows computer. And when you now turn on the AutoStar, the display is blank. Even holding down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys (not the slew down key) and then power on the telescope, the display comes up blank. Not good. Have you checked your batteries (or are you using an external power supply)? Does the AutoStar Update application see the AutoStar (even though the display is blank)? You can try StarGPS (available from www.stargps.ca) and see if that recognizes the AutoStar.

And:

Yeah still no joy, I am using external power supply.
The Autostar update application does not see the autostar and I have
just trued Stargps and that says 'unable to connect to Autostar' as
well.
 
Doesn't seem good, does it?
Mike here: Well, lets try one more thing. Disconnect the AutoStar from the telescope and leave it disconnected for a day. That will let any capacitors drain of residual power. Then reconnect it to the telescope and try it.

And:

Thanks Mike, I left it off for about 12 hours last night to see what
happened, hoping for something today but was again disapponted.
 
Will try it for longer to see if that helps, fingers crossed!
 
I'll let you know the outcome.
 
Thanks for your help.
 
Mark 
Mike here: Don't leave it just OFF, but disconnect it from the telescope. Also, disconnect your #505 serial cable as well and leave it disconnected from the AutoStar when powering up the telescope after 24 hours.

And:

Just tried turning on the telescope ,autostar again it seems dead!
I have seen somewhere about connecting the autstar through hyperlink
terminal, do you think this is worth trying and if so do you know how to
go about it?
 
Thanks for your help
Mike here: See the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

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