AUTOSTAR SUITE USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 28 October 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade AutoStar Suite. 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. (The Lunar Planetary Imager, LPI, and Deep Sky Imager, DSI, are covered in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography area.)


Mike here: With the release of Apple's Intel based Macintosh systems, it is now possible to run Windows applications natively on Macs. I want to post some information on using the Meade AutoStar Suite application (with or without the LPI and DSI models). (No, I don't have one, yet. iPhone purchase comes first since I have a PowerBook G4 17".) If you have a Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, or the Intel based Mac mini or iMac models and have tried one of the following with AutoStar Suite, please send your experiences to me at etx@me.com. I will compile the information and post it. Thanks. Please specify your Mac model, the version of Windows, and which of the following you have used:

Boot Camp
CrossOver Mac
Parallels Desktop
WINE
VMWare
VirtualBox

Subject:	Meade Astronomical Software
Sent:	Wednesday, October 24, 2007 13:50:43
From:	Steven S. Greene (sgreene978@gmail.com)
Hope this note finds you and yours all well.
 
When Meade recently replaced the older ETX-60AT that I purchased on
eBay, with a brand new ETX-60AT Backpacker Edition, it came with the
"Backpack Observatory DVD and Autostar Suite Astronomer Edition"
software.

I was already familiar with the setup, but very pleased to see that the
package included the 45-degree prism lens. Now the scope is setup and
ready to go. I hope that I'll join my club this Saturday evening.

However, I'm unable to get a handle on the "astronomical software." I'm
not looking to hook up my 'scope my computer just yet, as I'd rather
learn to use the software first. Otherwise, I'll have it pointing all
over the place like a martial arts weapon! I've filled in my location
information as best as I can tell. The software loads fine and I'm
presented with a huge, very, VERY busy spot of space. However, I have no
idea what I'm looking at and being on a Vista Home Premium laptop, the
"HELP" dialogue won't load.

So any guidance, lecturing and plain ol' help would be greatly
appreciated.

Thanks and clear skies!
Steve G.
 
p.s. Does your book cover this?
Mike here: Ah yes, Vista problems... As to using the Astronomy Suite software, the article "AutoStar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page will probably get you started. For more Astronomy Suite information see the "Astronomy Suite" section on the AutoStar Info page. The current edition of the book was released before Meade released the software so it doesn't cover it.

And:

Thanks so much. Right now, no Vista problems as of yet. The software all
loaded fine, no error messages, etc. But that's why I've decided to
learn the software first, before I hook up the telescope. I'll keep you
posted. Thanks for the reference!

Clear skies!

Steve
Mike here: Sorry I was confused. I thought you said the HELP info wouldn't load under Vista.

And:

Got me on that one! 
Steve

Subject:	autostar suite problem
Sent:	Friday, October 19, 2007 07:52:00
From:	LAURA and Ray JENNINGS (yarlan@embarqmail.com)
How do i get the camera controls to work in the 800x600 mode of my
laptop? everything works fine but i can't get the start button to show
up in the 800x 600 mode of the laptop.
I have a dell with the 12" screen

Raylan and Laura Jennings
 Have a Blessed Day
Mike here: There have been reports that changing the resolution may help.

And:

thats a problem with the 12" screen

Raylan and Laura Jennings

Subject:	Telescope controls in Autostar and Windows Home Vista
Sent:	Wednesday, October 17, 2007 19:50:31
From:	Steven Davies (sdavie@earthlink.net)
I have Autostar on my Meade telescope and everything works fine (so far
as I know, anyway). Everything, that is, except one thing. When I use
the telescope controls with my Dell laptop (Windows Home Vista operating
system), everything works except the "dialog box" (not sure that's what
it's called). You know, the menu shows up along the left side but the
box where it lists WHAT you want the telescope to "goto" is black. It
doesn't list the Messier object or NGC number or whatever. If I activate
the speech function, it will tell me what the box says, but I don't like
hearing that voice when I'm out observing. Besides, I want it all to
work as intended. Have you heard if anyone else has had this problem and
what can be done? Or do you think its a "Vista" thing?

Thanks for your time. I enjoy reading your answers to others' questions.
 
Steven Davies
Mike here: I presume you are talking about the AutoStar Suite application. There are many Vista problems but this could also be a "resolution" problem. Try changing the screen resolution. For those who have a choice I recommend avoiding Windows Vista at this time. Stick with XP if you have to use Windows. (Personally I avoiding using any flavor of Windows.)
Subject:	Re: ETX 90PE - Aotostar suite doesn't see my COM port  -  PART 2
Sent:	Thursday, October 11, 2007 11:56:56
From:	Mathew Damian (matts242424@yahoo.com)
Hello. Your advice was very helpful, the new adaptor arrived and I
finally could connect it to the PC. I also changed the battery and all
is fine now (with the LNT), errors are small and predictable. My new
problem however, is when I try to update the Autostar. I know my pc sees
the telescope, I can command it remotely etc, but when I click on the
Update button, autostar suite sais that it doesn't see the telescope's
com port, asks me to allow a search for all ports and then sais it can't
find any. Is it something related to the fact that all usb ports that I
plug it into have a number between 5 and 8? The comm port is named 5, I
remember reading something about port #s, but I cant remember exactly.
Any input would be great, I'm dying to see the ISS or other sattelites
up close!
Mike here: I believe the port needs to be in the range 1-4.

And:

I also suspect that, however, as I told you before, all USB ports that I
plug it into (I have 6 of them! :( ) give a value between 5 and 8. I
can't get it to be 2,3,4...
Is there a way to do that?
Mike here: There probably is but since I don't use Windows I don't know how to configure Windows Com ports.
Subject:	LPI & DSI
Sent:	Tuesday, October 9, 2007 06:29:36
From:	Alan Parker (AlanParker@stroudcol.ac.uk)
As I am in the UK I can't get info easily on the latest drivers from
Meade as the site does net seem to advertise the fact. I have a new
laptop running the Vista operating system and can't get either of the
cameras to work, I have uninstalled and reinstalled but still they
refuse to operate, have you any news of an update or is there a fix.
Thank you for your patience. Regards A Parker  PS as usual a truly great
site.
Mike here: There are known issues with Vista (and not with just the DSI and LPI). Apparently, Meade has not released Vista support as yet.
Subject:	re: ETX 90PE - Aotostar suite doesn't see my COM port
Sent:	Thursday, October 4, 2007 21:04:32
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You wrote:
> though it's all in german and I can't get
>   english as a language:(

Yes, you can... you merely need to update the Autostar to an
English version.

Plug in the serial cable which came with Autostar Suite,
select the "Updater" from AutostarSuite's StarMap's Tools menu,
or download the updater directly from:
http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html

Full click-by-click instructions are here:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/guide-asu3x.html

If you wish to return to the German version, it and many
other languages are available here:
http://www.meade.de/index.php?id=204

have fun
--dick

Subject:	Lost my Autostar Suite CD
Sent:	Thursday, October 4, 2007 13:41:43
From:	Dave (dave@fotos4you.co.uk)
Somehow I've managed to lose it.  Can anyone tell me where to get a
replacement or can get me the software from somewhere.   I have an
ETX-125

Regards

Dave Owens
Mike here: Contact Meade. I believe the version available online (Meade4M.com) requires a previously installed version.
Subject:	ETX 90PE - Aotostar suite doesn't see my COM port 
Sent:	Tuesday, October 2, 2007 10:30:27
From:	Mathew Damian (matts242424@yahoo.com)
This is my first telescope and I bought it because I thought it would be
easyer, but I'm struggling for 4 days now, to no avail. I had to buy a
serial adaptor (I really don't know why meade still builds serials, I
haven't seen a PC with one in ~5 years). And, of course, Autostar Suite
doesn't see anything! It's all plugged up, but it's doing nothing. I've
read the thread on Autostar and USB, but in all cases the PC could see
it. What on earth can I do? Meade wouldn't even respond to me, other
than "you should adress your Meade dealer in your country" - even If I
tell them there's no dealer in my country!!!!! This, along with the fact
It points with an error of about 20 degrees randomly, makes me think I
possibly made the worst decision in buying a meade product. So tell me,
is this the end, or can something be done? I am really thinking of
returning it.

I think the autostar is #497
Mike here: First, lets address the pointing error. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? What have you set as your Site location? Have you properly set the Daylight Saving setting (20 degrees is close to 15 degrees which is one hour in RA)? As to the serial port problem, that article you reference ("AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page) says that not all USB-serial adapters work with the AutoStar. Which one are you using?

And:

I have done a reset, then it asked me for date, time & location. I did
the test motor & train drive (though it's all in german and I can't get
english as a language:( ). I live in Romania and it only knows Bucharest
44.25N, 26.7E. My coordinates are 46.75N & 23.61E, but I use Bucharest.
I could have put the good ones IF i got the telescope connected. The
adapter is of the HL brand (made in china:P) and it was the only one I
could get, at about 5-6 times the price of a normal adapter. But really,
i don't see how such a simple device could impact compatibility. Oh,
also, I have to input the date and exact time every time I turn the
telescope on. Does that mean something?

The ~20 degree error is not constant eg. always to the left. Something
it's right, sometimes up etc. If it were constant, it would be an easy
fix. I'm really puzzled by this...
Mike here: Once you get a good USB-serial adapter you can install the English ROM in the AutoStar. I can't say that your HL brand won't work (too many unknowns including the OS and adapter drivers) but getting one known to work reduces those unknowns. Then you can more easily edit an existing Site to have your local lat/long and GMT offset. That may solve that problem. As to being asked for the date/time, it sounds like the AutoStar is not seeing the LNT module or the LNT module battery is dead or disconnected. There are LNT troubleshooting tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thank you for the speedy and to-the-point reply. I'll look into it and
let you know how it works!
Cheers,
Matt

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Copyright ©2007 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/oct07/autostar_suite.html