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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK

Last updated: 30 November 2012

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:	Asteroid/SUN Data from 2005 - Still good?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:48:55
From:	Christo (christo@ichristo.com)
We have a LX90GPS with a solar filter, and I am trying to figure out if
it is possible to track the sun (because readjusting every 1-2 minutes
becomes painful after a few hours ;) ). I found the data on your site
about inputting a file which contains data from 2005; is this still
relevant, or does it need to be updated? Thanks for the help!

-Christo
Mike here: It works great on my LX200-ACF.

And:

Thanks for the QUICK response! Now to go tackle learning how to update/program the damn thing ;)

-Christo
Mike here: I just followed the steps in the article about using the sun as an asteroid. Manually entered the data into the AutoStar. Simple. Easy.

And:

Much appreciated again!

-Christo


Subject:	[none]
Sent:	Friday, November 16, 2012 16:21:20
From:	Patrick Horan (pjh6970@att.net)
Hi there! Another quick question
 
When prompted by autostar for 'daylight savings'?, do they want to know
if DST is observed at all, or only when DST is being observed at this
time?
 
For instance we are not currently observing DST now, so would I put
'no', or 'yes' because sometimes we do?
Mike here: As with the prompt for current date and time, this is a prompt for the current DST state for your location. So, unless you live in a state like Arizona that doesn't change, you have to change the setting twice a year. By the way, be certain you comply with the Email Etiquette on the ETX Site; email with blank subject lines are subject to be deleted UNREAD as SPAM.

And:

Thanks for the info on DST.
 
Btw, I was chatting via email with a co-worker from elsewhere in the
country about both of us recently buying an ETX90, he said 'heres a
great site for some info'; lo and behold, it was your site!
 
I could've said, 'way ahead of you', instead I just said, 'thanks, I'll
be sure to check it out'!   
 
He posted your a link to your site on one of our forums, hope thats ok.
 
He bought it on ebay, I think buying used is a mistake but I didn't tell
him that. What do you think?
 
Another question; Do you know if the difference b/t the 90 and the 125mm
ETX is worth paying double? Is the difference highly noticeable or just
'sorta'...?
Mike here: No problem about the link. Buying a used telescope (or anything) can work out for some people. Just have to be cautious. As to the ETX-90 vs the ETX-125, see my comments on both on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.

And:

Found a good comparison, thanks. I think I read that a while ago while
researching what to buy, came across it at random.
 
You're a popular man in this industry aren't you!
 
I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions, and youre so
quick!
 
One more question; Do you know anything about telescopes?   
 
Sorry, cracking myself up...just kidding of course.
 
Bye for now, maybe I'll take a nap before tonights meteor shower...!
 
~ Patrick ~

And this:

Almost forgot...in case it comes up, there has been a design change on
new ETX90 spotter scopes. The glass is now tinted like sunglasses,
instead of clear. I can only guess that perhaps the clear glass created
too much reflective glare of the LED light which is something I did
notice on my first model. 
 
The LED light now appears a bit sharper due to a bit more contrast which
is great, but the tradeoff is that it blocks out most of the light on
anything higher than mag 1. After that you probably won't see it in the
glass at all.
 
So, I'm constantly going back and forth between naked eye and spotter
FOV, much like a prairie dog, and just giving it my best guess as to
whether I'm actually on it or not.    
 
In all, I guess it's better but not by much. I'm still not sure which
design I prefer.
 
ok, g'night


Subject:	http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_archive/downloads.html
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2012 15:19:39
From:	J. Keith Sowell (jkeithsowell@gmail.com)
I have two Meade 494 Autostar Controllers. One has V. 11Ec and the othe
10El. The first (V.11EC) is able to be used on EXT 60,70, DS-2060, 2070,
2114 and 2130,. The second (V.10El) can only be used on EXT 60 and 70.
 
How can I upgrade the older to the new one to support more telescopes?
What is the latest/last version for the 494?
 
I tried upgrading in the new Meade Autostar software without any luck!
 
J. Keith Sowell
Mike here: Unlike the AutoStar #497, there is no user installable software update for the AutoStar #494. Sorry.

And:

How come the new software includes the 494 and according to Meade it
used to be able to upgrade the 494 with older software but not now! Can
using older software transfer the files from one 494 and upgrade another
to tghe more recent software? A work around!
Mike here: I can't respond to what Meade told you. But I don't think there is a "cloning" capability in the #494, like there is with the #497.

And:

OK, I guess I will have to be careful of what 494 I buy next time!
Mike here: Especially if you buy a used one!

And:

I bought them new, still in package,but you know they were only new in
use and not in actual sales because they have been discontinued. I buy
all types of Meade Telescopes and parts and recondition scopes for
resale with fully working parts and missing parts so others can enjoy a
"like new" scope at reduced prices. Im a full time student (MS in
SpaceStudies/Planetary Science) and disabled veteran. I am also an X
Aircraft Mechanic (40 years) and FCC Certified and A+ Computer
Ceretified soit gives me a hobby as I am good at fixer-uppers and can
disasemble nearly anything and fix it by replacng things and testing
them out.
 
I am Reconoscopes on Ebay.
 
Thanks for the Info!
 
Keith Sowell
Mike here: Yep, there is no "shelf life" specification for many products sold as "new".


Subject:	RE: ETX Autostar Firmware prob
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2012 13:44:31
From:	Martin G (m.gall@hotmail.co.uk)
it has taken a while but i have fixed this problem. I have installed
V3.4EC and can align the scope both polar and az, with reasonable
accuracy. If i install 4.0EB or above i find the same issues. But i have
had a quick go (seeing aint great) and i cant find fault so im happy to
carry on atm. Thanks again for your help, the etx site is awesome btw
and has been invaluable.

thanks

Martin
Mike here: Glad you got it working again. Congrats!

And:

No one more than me, back in business. etx 105 best portable scope ever,
all i need now is clear skies.

thanks again

Martin
Mike here; I hated to see it discontinued. It was a nice compromise between the portability of the ETX-90 and the larger aperture of the ETX-125.

And:

Yep, etx 125 is a bit on the heavy side for me (it goes camping with
us),  and the image on the etx 105 is tack sharp :)


Subject:	ETX Autostar Firmware prob
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2012 05:25:56
From:	Martin G (m.gall@hotmail.co.uk)
i hope you can help. I have an ETX105 which was working perfectly well
and got me addicted so i did an update to the autostar with the 505 i
picked up, But since the update i am unable to use it, it fails and
freezes on the "alignment successful" screen and drifts down till the
tube hits the base (not happy). If i dont align it, its fine to use free
hand. i should also mention that the alignment is perfect 2 stars within
field of view then fail freezes up. I have tried both meade and
starpatch routes as indicated on your site but im out of ideas other
than going back to v2.0 which i think may have been on the handset
before update. I have exhausted my google fu on this one, have you came
across this before? or do you have a clue as to the problem?

thanks in advance

Martin
Sunny Scotland
Mike here: What version did you try to install? Version 4.3Eg is the best one for the ETX-105.

And:

yeah it was v 4.3eg, i have also tried the previous version and the
starpatch one with gps options deselected. no joy same prob occurs.
Mike here: Have you tried redownloading it from Meade's site? If so, try the copy on the AutoStar Software Archive page on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site. Also, are you using a real RS-232 serial port or a USB-serial adapter? Not all work reliably with the AutoStar, although StarPatch usually works better that the AutoStar Update Application from Meade with some adapters.

And:

thanks for helping me, i have tried both, i have an old xp desktop with
rs232 also usb adapter which i gave a go but no joy
Mike here: OK, lets try this. Do a RESET on the AutoStar, then do a CALIBRATE MOTOR, followed by a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes).

And a further discussion:

Subject:	RE: ETX Autostar Firmware prob
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2012 09:39:32
From:	Martin G (m.gall@hotmail.co.uk)
followed to the letter. I noticed it now defaults terrestrial targets
instead of astronomical but after changing this the prob is still
exactly the same "alignment successful" message freezes the handset. im
at a bit of a loss for solutions atm.
Mike here: Swap in fresh batteries.

And:

sorry i dont think i mentioned its running off a fully charged Astro
Power Station 12v 7Ah (which is awesome btw)
Mike here: Just to rule that out as the culprit, disconnect it and use fresh internal batteries. Do the RESET and CALIBRATE MOTOR again after switching to internal batteries.

And:

New duracells from the camera bag, no difference. do you think returning
to the original firmware would help?
really appreciate the time you've already put into this, thanks  
Mike here: Rats. A couple of other things to check. Look at the HBX connectors and jacks. Be certain the pins are clean, not too depressed, nor bent sideways. Also, reverse the HBX cable end-for-end.

And more:

everything is in good clean condition, the cable i used was "PC Cable 2m
#497 Autostar" from Telescope House.
Mike here: Not the standard Meade HBX cable? Try using it just to rule the cable out as the problem.
If you do decide to downgrade, you may not need to go all the back to 2.0. There are other later versions on the AutoStar Software Archive page.

And:

I dont have the standard HBX just the TS hbx to serial, i'll attempt to
start from scratch in the archives and hopefully when im back at the
start, the problem disappears(hopefully my error) I'll try to obtain
another cable also and post back my findings.

Thanks again for your time

Martin
Mike here: Wait, you don't connect the AutoStar to the ETX via a HBX cable? You can easily make one; see the cable section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.

And:

Sorry, my bad. I have the standard HBX, the PC cable is Autostar to PC
via serial. I also have a USB/Serial converter which i tried also but
both connect to pc ok and is detected by ASU and Starpatch. The prob
occurred after using the asu via serial to autostar pc update to the
latest version.
Mike here: Whew.
One other thought would be to put the AutoStar into Safe Mode and do a flash load of 4.3Eg. That's a little more risky but might overwrite a corrupted memory position.

And:

after i used the standard asu from meade, i used this method as what i
thought was gona be the cure but the same prob exists, if i dont do the
alignment procedure i have full access to the autostar menu and can
control the scope but the prob occurs at the message "alignment
successful".
Mike here: I'm curious: does the error occur with all the alignment methods in both Alt/Az and Polar mounting modes? Remember when testing the various alignment methods that the Home Position is different for Auto Align vs the other methods.

And:

i set up in polar mode, made sure the handset was set up (target
astro/polar etc), the problem is worse, it aligns the target star eg
Capella, the scope stops moving but the gears dont stop giving the
effect the scope is trying to take off  
Mike here: That sounds like a Home Position error. Are you doing Auto Align? With the Home Position for Auto Align? And with the right position for Polar vs Alt/Az?

And:

yeah, all correct. beep also off lol
Mike here: Odd. If you do downgrade, let me know what happens.

And:

ok will do, thanks again appreciated


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Copyright ©2012 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/nov12/autostar.html