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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 October 2009
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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, AutoStar III (for ETX-LS) cables, and the 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: LX90 handset dead
Sent:	Wednesday, October 28, 2009 12:28:15
From:	john currie (katanajj@yahoo.co.uk)
Mike,some success! I got hold of the little handset (no numbeers just
speed,focus etc) and plugged that in....and it works. I have manual
control but the 497 is still dead.  Next step? Try another 497? 
Incidentally,I emailed meade telling them of the problem hoping they
might have the decency to offer some sort of help. I haven't heard yet
but fingers crossed. Does anyone ever get anywhere with meade when these
things happen?
  Regards  John
Mike here: First, Meade does not have a customer support email address. So, you should not expect any email response. As to the standard handcontroller, I'm surprised it worked but happy that it did. Since it works, it is possible that a new AutoStar will work as well. Meade indicates that the newer "#497EP Autostar is backward compatible with prior generation telescope that used AutoStar technology". So, either a #497 or the new #497EP should be OK.
Subject:	AutoStar patch serial command documentation
Sent:	Monday, October 26, 2009 16:56:43
From:	annie_sefton@mac.com (annie_sefton@mac.com)
Is there some documentation that explains the new commands added by the
various AutoStar 497 patches? In particular I'm looking for the syntax
for the:EaNN# command.

Thanks for all your work!

A

From Dick Seymour, developer of the patches:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Three answers:
(a) the kit is "documented" by the ReadMe file which accompanies each
zip file you might download from Mike's site.

(b) The :Ea patch was replaced by the :RA command in/by the 21st edition of the kit,
which is the "newest" kit posted on Mikes site (so i'll send him
the 26th edition, which is my current revision level).
Andrew Johansen did the work to convert the weird :EA command to the cleaner :RA.
The :RA (and :RE)  commands match those in the LX200gps.
The syntax of :RA is  :RAnnn.nnn#  with "nnn.nnn" being the speed you want
 that axis to move expressed in degrees per second.  (you don't have to send
six digits, you can send fewer if it's appropriate  :RA1.0#  is legal.
Likewise  :RA0.0001# is also legal.

(c) the :Ea command ... well, here's what the ReadMe file says (you'll understand
why we replaced it with :RA):
---start quote---------
Adds :Ea and :Ee  specific motor speed commands. Similar to the LX200gps :RA and :RE, but uses different "units".
 For a Gear Ratio of 1.38, 8843 is sidereal, and speeds scale up from that.
 Compared to Keypad Numbers:
  Key1 (guide); :Ea6159#   Key2 (2x): 17686  K3: 70744  K4: 141488  K5: 565953
   K6: 1131906  K7: 2263813  K8: 3979359
  You must manually (keypad or :R command or :Sw command) select -other- than
   Max speed  for these to have effect, then send :M n/s/e/w commands to have
   the scope actually slew.  The :Ea affects azimuth, :Ee affects elevation.
   :Ea1000#  :Ee123450# :Me# :Mn#   for an example.
 To change the speed mid-slew, send the new speed, and then another :M command.
  The speed change happens upon receipt of the :Mw/e/m/s

  One headache is the need to scale the commands' arguments based upon the
   gear Ratio of the particular telescope model.
    Any ETX or older DS model (60/70/80/90/114/127) is 1.36889
   An LX90 is 2.75074, an LXD55 or LXD75 is 2.53714
    The new DS models (such as the 2060) are  Az= 0.840567  Alt=1.15500
        (and i haven't checked -all- newer DS to see if they're the same).

     So given that 8843 corresponds to 15 arcseconds per second for
   a ratio of 1.36889, then that would be
     8843 * (2.75074/1.36889)=17770 for an LX90.
---end quote-------------------

So if you wanted the RA (or Az) axis to move at 0.1 degree per second,
you would either (now) send :RA0.1#
or (previously) calculate:
15 arcsec/sec is 8843
0.1 degree/sec is 6 arcmin/sec is 360 arcsec/sec
360/15=24   thus 8843*24=212232
so the -command- would be   :Ea212232#    (for an ETX90 or ETX125).

You can download the 21st edition (with :RA) from Mike's site at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/patches/patch43eg2.html
I've sent him a copy of the 26th edition (a few more tweaks, mainly affecting LX90's)

If you (Annie) would like a privately-sent copy, just let me know.

have fun
--dick

And:

Thank you for all your help, I think I have enough to go on.

Subject:	LX90 handset dead
Sent:	Saturday, October 24, 2009 01:29:26
From:	john currie (katanajj@yahoo.co.uk)
I hope this gets through the spam filter because you might be my last
hope. I have an LX90 LNT 8" which has been really quite accurate and
reliable and was happily guiding and finding until recently. About 2
weeks ago while the scope was connected to my laptop I got an update
reminder from meade for the ASU. So,like a dutiful son of Meade I let it
download to the scope. I didn't use it that night - cloud. Then when I
did use it a few days later it wouldn't connect properly to the
satellite.It showed the date and time as 8pm and 25 july. It wasn't
until I put the date and time in that it began to work. Then ,a week
later I tried it and after entering the date again it died completely.
The enter/scroll down trick didn't work. There is a light at the top of
the asu but I can't get it to do anything - even the pc doesn't
recognise it.  I googled for a cure and then found your warning about
the 43eg download. I wish I hadn't downloaded it but its done so I need
it fixing. I've mailed the uk meade dealer but its a 4 year old scope
and I don't feel its their problem - Meade should fix it. Anyway,thats
enough. Any ideas Mike and co.
   Thanks in advance  John Currie
Mike here: When you tried the SAFE LOAD procedure, what appeared on the AutoStar display? Which version of ASU are you using? Version 5.9 is the current version. It will properly detect your AutoStar model and provide the correct ROM download for your model.

And:

nothing appeared on the display at safe start. I can't remember the
version - i think it was quite recent though. I'll try and have a play. 
Regards John
Mike here: If nothing appears on the display, there are some possibilities: the display is bad, the power is insufficient (have you added fresh batteries?), the HBX cable is bad, there is a problem in the LX90 itself. You can see if the AutoStar is bad by using an external power source for it (there are some articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on making an external power supply for the AutoStar).

And:

its running the same 12v transformer psu its had since bought. The red
light at the top of the handset is showing but theres no response from
any of the buttons.
Mike here: The red light on the AutoStar top is the "flashlight". As to the power supply, I'd still recommend trying good batteries. That will eliminate the external power supply from being the problem.

And:

I tried the lx with a 12v power tank and it was the same. I've got the
handset in a warm room to see if its a simple damp problem but I don't
think so. Thanks for your time and help by the way. You exceed your
reputation!   John
Mike here: I still recommend trying internal batteries. There could be a problem with the external power jack on the telescope base.

And:

Will do.Everything crossed

And more:

just tried the batteries. Nothing at all not even the torch light on the
handset. The power light on the panel comes on but nothing on the
handset. Oh dear... John
Mike here: Check the HBX cable and jacks; the pins should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. Also, try reversing the HBX cable; sometimes that can help.

And:

Tried all of that Mike. I think I'll have to get hold of another 497 and
start to eliminate problems. Cheers anyway, John

Subject:	re: 494 Autostar DS2000
Sent:	Friday, October 23, 2009 21:18:12
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
How to build your own 506 cable adapter is covered here:
http://home.comcast.net/~lynol1000/as_494/as494_i2c_bus.htm

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	WPCS1man (wpcs1man@rogers.com)
Many thanks guys.  The problem with this project is that the EProm
requires a programming machine. While the author offers to burn the
prom, it still is an "iffy" sort of project. The upgraded 497 hand
controller has the required serial interface built in and the 505
cable is a straight pin to pin construction (which is a whole lot
simpler & cheaper to build). I really think I'm going to upgrade to
the newer controller with the simpler setup all the extra points of
interest built in.

While I have your attention, though. I've noticed that when I center
on an object, it will depend on whether I've moved up to the star or
down. Moving down, the object seems to stay put for a couple of
seconds and then rapidly move almost out of my field of view. It
almost seems that I have gear slop and that the motors tracking the
object have to 'eat' the slop before moving the scope. It doesn't
occur with the other motor's movement.

My questions, therefore, is this - is this normal with the DS2000
drive or do I have a problem?

Thanks again,
-Don
Mike here: Getting a #497 AutoStar does have many advantages. Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? "Rubberbanding" is usually cured with training.

And:

That behaviour is corrected by
(a) perform the "Train Drive" procedure (measures the backlash/slop)
(b) adjust the axes' "Percentage" values (tells Autostar how much slop to
do a quick motor spin to overcome)

have fun
--dick

And:

Yes I did and I assume by your response that this is NOT normal. This
effect  happens in both up and down directions. I can slew the scope
up half way out of the center and it will move down to center
position. Obviously the motors only move in one direction when
tracking movement. It that called "Rubber banding"?

I'm going to take it apart and see if the plastic tension gear is
broken as I had tried to move the scope with the motor locked. Then
I'll retrain it and see if  the problem has been cured.

I'll let you know what I find.
   
Thanks again!
-Don
Mike here: "Rubberbanding" is when you center an object and the AutoStar moves it back to where it was. As Dick said, you can also adjust the percentages if training not does help. One other technique is to RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN, in that order.

And:

I found the training procedure; but, is the axes 'Percentage" value
accessible in the 494 controller?
I can't find it in my manual.
-Don
Mike here: Yes, the #494 has it. SETUP > TELESCOPE menu.

And:

Ok Guys. I get the message! Thanks for all the help.
It'll be raining for a few days (when it doesn't snow); so, I'll be a
few days in getting this done and tested.
-Don

Subject:	re: Autostar Not working help.
Sent:	Friday, October 23, 2009 21:14:31
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Meade's distributor/primary service point in the UK is BC&F:
Broadhurst, Clarkson, and Fuller Ltd.
http://www.meade.uk.com/
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
(+44) 189-261-6131

You -could- just have a bad/shorting cable.
You could also have a failed 5v regulator inside the 497.
(or a shorted capacitor across the power leads inside the Autostar).

A rough parts-locator diagram and photos are at:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_schematic.html

good luck
--dick

Subject:	Autostar Not working help.
Sent:	Friday, October 23, 2009 11:40:15
From:	Edward Shipton (edward.shipton@virgin.net)
I wonder if you can help me at all.

My autostar went blank three nights ago, Turned it off and then on and
worked ok but very slow  another few minutes. Then last night Autostar
went blank again, now nothing at all when plugged into the scope.

I have check all battery levels at ok 13v, checked the cable all seams
ok.

Sent a Email to Meade and nothing at all in return.

Is the Autostar dead and do I need to purchase a replacement.

Warmest Regards,  Edward 
Mike here: What model AutoStar? Have you replaced the batteries? Are they inserted correctly? Does the control panel red LED illuminate? Meade does not have a customer support email service, so you should not expect any email response.

And:

Batteries all ok new and fully tested also tested on 12- 80 Amp volt car
battery just to make sure..
Control panel LED Not illumiated nothing.
Not sure of the model number, a  2001 model .
Opened case and can see the following chips 37EE62D (0229)U80 3FEE139
(0229)U5 . On Panel just below display on green board KB M 94V-0 0244,
orange sticker on rear circuit board e t 09
On Board date @2001 meade instuments.

Scope workes all ok with the hand box that came with scope. no errors at all.

Regards Edward
Mike here: What model telescope? The AutoStar comes in several different models: two common ones are the #494 (no number keys on the keypad) and #497 (has number keys). There are other models as well but if you provide your telescope model, it will help me. If the telescope LED is not illuminating then the telescope is not getting power (and so neither is the AutoStar).

And:

Model 497 (with number keys)
Scope is getting power running right now, using the The electronic
Controller that came with scope, Slewing and turning all ok, speed
buttens working ok.
All lights working, sitting on the work bench beside me.
Scope powered up red LED lights up.
Plug in the autostar and it does not light up.
Regards Edward
Mike here: Since the control panel LED seems to be intermittent (you did say it was NOT illuminated and now it is), I suspect some sort of wiring problem. It could also be that the circuit board in the telescope is failing. If you want to check the AutoStar itself, there are some articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on making an external power supply for it.

And more:

I may have miss led you sorry. Power supply to the scope NOT intermitent
steady as a rock working on the bench beside me. Seams like a duff
Autostar?
Thanks Mike will look into the external power supply to test the
autostar. If found Faulty do you know were in the UK I can get it looked
at.
Thanks for all you help, appreciated.
Warmest Regards from cloudy Wales.
Edward
Mike here: Thanks for the clarification. Check the HBX cable and jacks; the pins should be clean, not bent sideways, nor too depressed. Also, try reversing the HBX cable; sometimes that can help. You might also try to see if the AutoStar can be seen via software; you will need a #505 serial cable and a RS-232 port. If your computer has only USB, you will need a USB-serial adapter, however, not all work reliably with the AutoStar so see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page. Info on making a #505 serial cable is also on the AutoStar Info page. If the AutoStar really has failed, getting it repaired is difficult and costly. Probably cheaper to get a new one.

And:

Just done that,was working nicely with the computer. Now computer cannot
see the autostar at all, Tells me it not connecting, so seams to be dead
in the water, if every thing else works ok.
My Thanks for the superb service you supply.
My thanks again.
Edward
Mike here: Try the external power supply tips. But it does sound like it has failed.
Subject:	Re: ETX-LS and ASCOM drivers
Sent:	Thursday, October 22, 2009 08:12:48
From:	Stephen Bird (stephen.bird@btconnect.com)
I would just use the standard Meade LX200 and Autostar 1 ASCOM driver as
this is a catch all driver for all Meade scopes using the Autostar 497
(not Autostar 2 though, that is a different driver also on the ASCOM
site). You can also use the POTH HUB driver as well to drive a number
elements.

A lot of software these days uses ASCOM drivers as they allow a lot of
flexibility to drive domes, guide cameras, filter wheels and a whole lot
more. You do need to ensure you get the latest versions of all the
elements with updates from the ASCOM site to stay current and bug free
though.
 
Regards
 
Stephen Bird

Subject:	494 Autostar DS2000
Sent:	Wednesday, October 21, 2009 05:26:44
From:	WPCS1man (wpcs1man@rogers.com)
My ds2000 auto star uses the 494 hand controller and requires the 506
cable to update. I'm an electronic technician and wish to make my own
cable (warranty expired anyway). My question is this. What are the pin
outs for the 506 cable and is it different from the 505 cable shown
below?

Thanks in advance,
Don Williams,
Moncton, NB, CA
Mike here: The #506 cable is completely different from the simpler #505 serial cable. It is not easily made due to the "active electronics" in the cable. However, if you want to try, see the "Cable Information" section on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. There are some #506 articles there.
Subject:	Re: ETX 90PE Alignment & Home Position Problems
Sent:	Wednesday, October 21, 2009 04:21:49
From:	peter (iamia@internode.on.net)
Success!

Did a CALIBRATE SENSOR, CALIBRATE  MOTORS, and TRAIN DRIVES.after
Firmware update

ETX is Magnificent!!

Getting everything in centre of FOV.

It was the Firmware that was corrupt and causing all the alignment
problems.

All I can advise from personal experience and allot of Angst to any
potential buyers is to not even walk out of the shop with your new scope
if it does not have the current 5CE1 Firmware installed.

Many thanks for all your advice and patience,

Yours Sincerely

Peter

Subject:	ETX-LS and ASCOM drivers
Sent:	Monday, October 19, 2009 14:20:37
From:	Ivan Aksenov (ivan@ivanke.de)
I've just purchased the ETX-LS and hoped to use Redshift 7 software in
controlling the telescope. Unfortunately, I can't find ASCOM drivers on
the net for the ETX-LS. Do you know where I could download them?
 
Thanking you in advance,
 
Cheers and wishing you clear skies,
Ivan
 
Ivan Aksenov
Frankfurt
Germany
Mike here: I'm surprised that Redshift doesn't support the AutoStar protocols natively. Most other star charting and telescope control applications do support the AutoStar. For most normal functions, selecting the AutoStar 497 or AutoStar II should work, but I've not yet confirmed that.
Subject:	re: ETX 90PE Alignment & Home Position Problems
Sent:	Saturday, October 17, 2009 10:36:09
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Please, let us know how the 20 minute shift works out.

For Southern and Est-of-Greenwich Hemisphere issues (and the firmware has many),
I strongly recommend joining the "Melbourne Meade Scopes" group on Yahoo:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MelbMeadeScopes/

(there are members near you, too)

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	peter (iamia@internode.on.net)
No joy yet with alignment, every different configuration I have been
trying only replicates the original issues.

On Richards advice I contacted the Melbourne group and one member has
suggested it could be a problem with bugs in the software and that there
is a patch available.  I have a 497EP handbox  with 59ED.

What do you think?

Many thanks

Peter
Mike here: Dick, is he referring to one of your patches?

And:

He's referring to patches created by Andrew Johansen (in Melbourne).
Andrew has taken the bit and run with both the 497EP and the 497.
He's developed patches which correct many of the system's errors.
He's done excellent work in both improving my patches, and moving
them to the 497EP as well.

have fun
--dick

And more:

I just read their message traffic on the MelbMeadeScopes group,
and Andrew was merely suggesting doing the simple (no "patches"
in the first message) update from 5BE2 to the current 5CE1.
Andrew -also- has patches to correct other issues that the update
doesn't fix.

But the "misses Jupiter" is a bug in Meade's firmware,
and i believe it's corrected in 5CE1.

5CE1 also corrects an error that can lead to a damaged scope
if you operate in Polar mode ("home" is misplaced, so you can hit
the upper (DEC) hard stop if you follow Meade's published setup instructions)

Updating is "simple": connect serial cable to smaller hole on Autostar,
start MEade's ASU (Updater), let ASU update -itself- to 5.9 if needed
(number is coincidentally similar to the firmware version), then let
ASU 5.9 update the Autostar to v5CE1.
---------
Andrew does have an experimental "patch kit" for 5CE1,
but he's far more cautious than i am about inflicting such things
on suffering Autostar users.

have fun
--dick

And:

Just upgraded the firmware to 5CE1 today, successfully (According to
ASU)

Will try to get out there tonight to test but more likely tomorrow
night, I hope this is it because if not it is going back to the dealer.

Thank you very much for all your patience,assistance and willingness to
impart your knowledge.

Will let you know how it goes.

Clear skies to all

Peter

And an update:

Success, I think?

Did an Auto Align after Firmware install, it selected Achernar and Rigel
Kent did not get close to these stars but after I cantered them it came
back with Align Successful,  GOTO  to Jupiter closest it has been of all
attempts so far, just outside FOV, in the Red Dot of view finder.

Peter
Mike here: Sounds good. You might want to do a CALIBRATE SENSOR, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and TRAIN DRIVES.
Mike here: From Meade's web site:

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.
Subject:	Re: DS 2114LNT. Unable to reset AutoStar
Sent:	Friday, October 16, 2009 15:00:22
From:	Stan Siebenthal (ssiebenthal@cox.net)
Thanks so much for your help and suggestions!  Turned out it was the
autostar unit on the scope mount.  Purchased a new one -- everything
works fine now, just a little expensive but I have extra mechanical
parts if anything breaks now.

Stan

Subject:	tracking rates
Sent:	Friday, October 16, 2009 09:27:36
From:	crembren@talktalk.net (crembren@talktalk.net)
Thank you for previous help, so to another question.

Using AutoStar I can find the tracking rates, Sidereal-Lunar-Custom, two
are obvious but I wish to know about the planets, which you have to use
Custom? and enter the correct rate. so what are the rates are they all
the same or does each planet have a different rate. [I wish to know for
Jupiter]

Thanks again
 
phil   uk
Mike here: Unless you plan on tracking the planets over a continuous period of several days, stick with Sidereal.
Subject:	Autostar version
Sent:	Thursday, October 15, 2009 00:13:37
From:	Jan Henrik Kolst (koja@tele2.no)
Do you happen to know where I can find Andrew Johansen's modified patch
for Version 43Eg? It should solve the problems (coordinates) for those
living east of Greenwich?

Jan
Norway
Mike here: I'll let Andrew answer that.

And:

From:	Andrew Johansen (johansea@optusnet.com.au)
I replied to Jans PMs yesterday evening
The original modified patch was posted around the end of 2008
ref
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/lx90/message/79237
All the std patches issued by Dick Seymour since then now contain it
so it should also be in the patches directory on your site
( i still cant connect to yr site so cant check )

Andrew
Mike here: Hopefully, the pending server swap and DNS change will solve the AU connection problem.

And:

Its not AU, it appears to be just a subset of people using OPTUS
Most others i have spoken to ( onother ISPs ) get straight through to your site
Also, based on the number of rejected emails i get from some people
( ie Dicks home ISP zombies me quite often )
i suspect OPTUS has got a bad listing somewhere in the chain,
but they arent interested in chasing it up.

Andrew

Subject:	Autostar version and ASU
Sent:	Wednesday, October 14, 2009 09:04:47
From:	Jan H Kolst (koja@tele2.no)
Has anybody tried the new ASU 5.9 and the new version Version 5BE2 on an
LX 90? If so,any comments? It claims to improve the pointing accuracy
and better tracking.
 
Jan
Norway
Mike here: Haven't heard. Check the LX90 Yahoo Group.

And:

Thanks for a rapid response! I will try the Yahoo Group.

Subject:	Autostar Upgrade Will Not Align
Sent:	Sunday, October 11, 2009 06:34:53
From:	Thomas Collins (thomas.collins72@yahoo.com)
I just got my ETX-125 out for a star party after a long break.  In
getting things ready, I decided to upgrade my Autostar through the Meade
website.  The upgrade went fine.  But, when I went to do an Easy Align,
the telescope missed the intended stars by quite a bit.  I manually
centered the stars, but the alignment failed.

Have you heard of this problem happening before after an upgrade?  Do
you think Training and Recalibrating will correct the problem?
 
Thanks for your help and your website,
 
Tom Collins
Mike here: I always recommend doing a TRAIN DRIVES following an update. If that doesn't help, do a CALIBRATE MOTOR and then TRAIN DRIVES. And if the problem still exists, do a RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES.

And:

Thanks.  I will try this week.  This brings up another question.  Do you
think it is worth doing the Autostar upgrades?  After this experience, I
am thinking it wasn't broke and I shouldn't have tried to fix it.
Mike here: Like any software (or hardware) upgrade, you should only do it when you believe there is a benefit of doing it. If you are happy with the performance you are getting, doing an update, especially right before an important event, is not necessarily a good idea. But if the update has a fix for a serious bug that affects you, then updating is always a good idea.
Subject:	ETX 90PE Alignment & Home Position Problems
Sent:	Thursday, October 8, 2009 19:55:11
From:	iamia@internode.on.net (iamia@internode.on.net)
I live in Adelaide, Australia (bad light pollution) and purchased an ETX
90PE a few weeks ago.

Pardon my ignorance, I am a beginner to Celestial viewing but have
extensive Navigational experience as a Yachtsman. I do know my way
around the Southern sky as far as Names/Position of planets,stars etc.

I have read the manual over and over and also spent hours on your
website reading instructions and tips from users and you in setting the
HOME position and I can not get alignment when in GOTO mode.

The stars the Auto align Picks eg Achernar is not even close (Scope is
not pointing in direction) other stars it selects I can not even see in
the 26mm or the view finder.

After I have done all procedures including calibrate motors train drive
and calibrate sensors the GOTO is nowhere near what I ask it to do (Just
the Moon and Jupiter at this stage) All I can verify is that in initial
Align after switching on it does find North.

Time (both daylight saving & No DST have been tried) Date, Location
(Both ZIP and actual) Model Etc have been tried and checked many times.

I have reset many times and started the procedure again to no avail. Am
I missing something here or is it me the "Southerner".  I am sure it is
the Home position and the First Alignment star being wrong on my behalf.

To confirm what I do -  Home Position

AUTOMATIC ALT/AZ ALIGNMENT HOME POSITIONS  ("LNT Home Position" )

 Control Panel on all setups is facing WEST -  OTA Facing - NORTH
 Auto Off 
1.      OTA levelled by sight and Locked.
2.      Unlock horizontal, rotate CCW (as viewed from above) to hard stop, re-lock.  
   (At this point I should say as recommended by some on your site I
   have picked up tripod and turned so OTA is facing North -)
3.      "Automatic Alt/Az Alignment" at initialization (from power-on "Press 0 to align")
4.      Repeat Steps 1 and 2 as prompted by Auto
5.      Finds North and goes to first star which I can not see and does
not appear to be correct star
 
       I have also tried with power on and not repeating steps 1 & 2 
       I have also tried with power on and off without turning tripod
       and OTA after hard stop to face North
       
 I have also tried the advanced ALT/AZ by going to hard lock then back
 CW until fork arm over control panel in Cff/On mode and also turning
 tripod so OTA facing WEST.Apologies for the long email but tried to put
 as much info in as I could on what I have tried.

 If there is an idiots way of explaining and guiding the steps to me of
 setting up the HOME position etc it would be greatly appreciated

Thanking you in advance
Peter Mourdoukoutas
Mike here: You say you start the Auto Align with the OTA looking north. That is the HOME position for the non-Auto Align modes. You leave the OTA at the hard stop for Auto Align. Have you tried the Easy Align Two Star mode?

And:

thank you very much for the quick response,

Yes, I start the Auto align (controller OFF) with the OTA facing approx
North, both locks locked. Turn controller ON press "0" for Auto align
and then turn OTA CCW when prompted to Hard STOP and LOCK.

Am I correct in having the Control Panel Facing WEST  and tilt plate
slide on the Tripod facing SOUTH?

I have not tried an Easy Align only Automatic but I will give it a go.

As I said pardon my ignorance but in my previous email to you does the
way I explain myself re procedure my sense to you and am I correct in
the steps I have taken?

Thanking you in advance

Peter
Mike here: As I said in my previous email, the Auto Align HOME Position is with the OTA at the CCW hard stop, not pointing towards True North. And yes, the control panel should be on the West side.

And:

Thanks for your patience Mike,
I will attempt to align again tonight re your advice (If the cloud cover
clears)

Many thanks

Peter

And:

Had some success tonight. Did the two star alignment (panel facing WEST,
OTA CCW to hard stop then back CW until Fork Arm over panel) went first
to Rigel Kent pretty close then manual slew to dead centre, Then went to
Achernar same thing cantered OK.

Selected Jupiter GOTO no luck.

Comes close to it about 10mm of red Dot in the view finder more WEST of
Jupiter and slightly up.

Tried Spiral search no luck.

Tried going back to Achernar, Rigel Kent and then Hadar it found them
but not centre of FOV top right corner of FOV. (Some Success Tonight)

Tried calibrate sensor took me to Sigma Oct, could not select anything
else. I could not find it (I know approx location) but either I could
not see it in 26mm or just ignorance in identifying on my behalf (I did
check with Stellarium on PC before hand to get idea of what to look for)

Tried Two star Alignment several times after that then go to Jupiter
with same result.

When I trained drive I only had a stadium tower about 300m away as
reference because of my location ( 3km of CBD) do you think I need to
select something allot further could this be it or more the Calibrate
sensor?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Peter

Repeated Alignment
Mike here: If you GOTO stars and they are close but GOTO planets is way off, then that usually means there is a date or time problem. Check the date, time, and Daylight Saving settings. The CALIBRATE SENSOR only affects the Auto Alignment mode since that is when it uses the LNT. In the non-Auto Align modes you are responsible for putting the telescope in the proper HOME position. Anyway, it sounds like you are getting better. Keep working at it but check those dae/time settings.

And:

Thank you very much Mike, when you explain it like that it makes clear
sense to me.

Having used the scope now I prefer the non-Auto Align as I am learning
to identify celestial objects.

I thought it could have been a time issue but ignorantly I thought this
is too simple a problem.

I have tried different time/daylight saving settings but I am not
convinced I have the ratio right as here in Adelaide South Australia we
are the first city in OZ to go to DST early (4th October) the rest of
the country goes to DST on the last Sunday of October.

Will try again at first opportunity cloud cover at the moment and
forecast for rain through to next Saturday.

Sincerely, thanks again for your help

Peter
Mike here: You will still need to ID the stars in the Auto Align. There are alignment star charts on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Are you in an area that is 0.5 hours off from the rest of the world?

And:

I have purchased a star chart quite a while ago and I have Stellurium on
PC to double check my observations.

Not sure about the 0.5 hours I have always used GMT & DST as reference
in the past.

Many thanks

Peter
Mike here: I recall that some parts of Australia have their time zone offset 30 minutes from other timezones in AU.

And:

Once again thanks Mike the penny dropped. Adelaide is 30 minutes behind
Melbourne and Sydney time (EST) never took this into account so Auto
star must be working off  Eastern Standard Time.

That has to be it will try this method

Many thanks

Peter
Mike here: I didn't like that odd time difference when we visited Australia in 1999. I probably still won't like it if we get there in 2010 like we plan.
Subject:	Autostar issue
Sent:	Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:59:45
From:	Jim Wayman (jwayman@wayman-inc.com)
I recently purchased a used ETX 125 with an Autostar #497.  I haven't
had time to use the scope outside with the Autostar, but have played
with it a little in the house, getting used to the functions and
features before I take it outside to try an alignment.  It worked fine
the first three or four times I had it out.  A couple of evenings ago I
got it out to try and learn more about it, and the Autostar did not turn
on properly.  After connecting it to the scope, I turned the power on
and it made a beep that sounded more like a warning beep than the sound
I remembered from before.  The display does not light up at all, and I
cannot move the scope with the controller (I made sure I was using the
arrow keys and not the scroll keys).  I changed batteries but that
didn't help.  I went to Radio Shack to get a 12V adapter (to see if
power from an adapter would make a difference) and made sure it was tip
positive, but it made no difference either.  The red power indicator
light on the scope lights up, and the red light on the top of the
Autostar will turn on after I power it up, and this along with the beep
leads me to believe the controller is getting power.  I looked at the
ends on the connectors (and the wires) but could not tell if any were
loose.  I tried to wiggle the connectors on the cord to see if any wires
were loose, but no luck.  I could not find just the connector cord on
Meade's website  I thought I might buy a new one to see if the cord
could be the problem.  I also went to your website and looked at many of
the issues others have had, but did not find one to match my problem.

I've thought about trying to check the connector cord electrically but
don't feel like I have the experience to try it.  I guess that the
controller could have died, but it hasn't been abused since I got it,
and I know it was working when I bought it.  The original controller
that came with the scope was not with it when I got it, but it is being
mailed to me and should arrive soon.  The next thing I plan to do is
check it out with the original controller and see if I can isolate the
problem to the scope, the cable, or the Autostar.

Any other suggestions?

I've really enjoyed browsing your website, and have gotten lots of very
helpful information from it already.  Thanks for your help.
 
Jim Wayman, P.E., P.L.S.
Seymour, IN
Mike here: First, if you had the silver tip positive, then you likely damaged the ETX circuit board. The center pin (not tip) is positive. You can easily make a replacement HBX cable; see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. You could also wire up a 9V battery to power the AutoStar; see the AutoStar Info page. That will tell you if the AutoStar is OK. You could also make a #505 serial cable (also easy; AutoStar Info page again) and see if your computer can see the AutoStar. Note: you will need a RS-232 port on the computer. If your computer has only USB, then you'll need a USB-serial adapter. However, not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX-LS Feedback
Sent:	Thursday, October 1, 2009 20:53:14
From:	blkhole (blkhole@shaw.ca)
is it possible to make a copy of the original installed software in
the ETX-LS BEFORE trying to update it to V1.2
 
Guy
Mike here: Not to my knowledge.
Subject:	ETX-LS AutoStar III version
Sent:	Thursday, October 1, 2009 12:56:09
From:	Laurent Barrallier (laurent.barrallier@ensam.eu)
Is AutoStar III can be link to the computer via RS232 port and not only
via USB port in order to use compatible software with LX200 protocol ?

Laurent
Mike here: There is no RS-232 port on the ETX-LS. But the ETX-LS serial driver (apparently on the disc that ships with the ETX-LS) may handle the conversion for all telescope control software that can control an AutoStar.

And:

Thank Mike

Laurent

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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/oct09/autostar.html