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Last updated: 20 October 2012

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS, DSX, and some older telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me 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:	telescope question
Sent:	Thursday, October 18, 2012 17:20:57
From:	Jeremy Parsons (
Hello sir. I have a meade DS2080 telescope. It is 5 years old and here
lately I will get it aligned and it will work for a while but then it
will run a motor failure message across the controller pad. If I just
turn it on but don't align and just move it around with the arrow
buttons it will not show the message. Any help would be appreciated. 
Mike here: Have you recently replaced the batteries? If not, do that. Whenever you do replace the batteries, you should do a CALIBRATE MOTOR to have the AutoStar measurement the output from the encoders.


I mixed 4 new batteries with 4 old. I will put all new and test it.
Mike here: In the meantime, whenever battery power gets low and no replacements are available, doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR can many times help resolve AutoStar issues.


I bought new batteries today and I will test tonight. Do you you think
it would be a good idea to go ahead train the drives before tonight
Mike here: Doing the CALIBRATE MOTOR is important when swapping in new batteries. Redoing the TRAIN DRIVES is not necessary unless it has been many months since the last TRAIN.


Ok, I already did the calibrate motor when I put the new batteries in. I
go ahead and train the driver because I did a reset of autostar and the
last time I did it was about a year and half ago.
Mike here: After the RESET, doing the CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES is needed.


Ok, I guess we will see what happen tonight. Thank you for our help sir.

One more question. Should all this not fix the problem, do you know of a
place where I could purchase a new motor drive system. I checked ebay
but couldn't find any.
Mike here: There are other possible solutions we can try first if the new batteries didn't solve it. But if necessary, you can try Telescope Warehouse (link on the Astronomy Links page).


Ok I have a few more pieces to add to the puzzle. I was aligning my view
finder and all of the sudden my telescope would go up and down but not
side to side. I calibrated the motors while it was doing this and it
came back motor fault. I turned it off and back on and everything was
normal I thought. I slowed the motor down to 2 degrees/sec. While I had
set to this the up and down was normal but side to side was still on
max. It stopped going side to side again and I gently push on  it a
little while holding down an arrow key and it started turning. I
restarted after giving it the push and all seems to be working normal
now. Could it maybe be my auto star controller messed up? I guess we
will see how it does tonight when I align ad try using it.
Mike here: Could still have a been low battery power that caused that. Or just any any random error in the AutoStar, which the RESET might have cured. Or the axis lock could have been too tight. Or there could have been some obstruction (such as a wire or other debris) preventing free movement. But low batteries is still the most likely culprit, until we know otherwise.


Ok, but I had new batteries in it when this happened. Doesn't look like
I will get to test tonight. I am in Tennessee and right now it is very
Mike here: Oh, I thought your last email was just more on what happened BEFORE you replaced the batteries. As to cloudy skies, you can do the tests indoors. Just assume alignment stars are centered when prompted to press ENTER.

And an update:

Ok, I just aligned as you suggested indoors and after 5 minutes it gave
a motor failure.

Ok it gave the message again after I loosened the locks slightly. When
it tests the motors it will go up and down but not side to side and then
goes to test again. If I give a slight nudge during the side to side
test it will move and pass the test and restart and go to the align
options. When it shows the motor fault message if I turn the scope off
and on side to side works fine till the motor message pops up again.
Should I adjust the bolt on the horizontal motor that is located in the
2AA battery compartment. But why would it start this all of the sudden.
Mike here: Now we have more data to go on. One question: does the motor fault occur while just tracking or does it occur when slewing? When it occurs, is the position of the tube the same every time?


The message will pop up if I leave sitting after aligning or it has
happened even while I was picking an object to look at, and while it was
tracking a star. Also the it occurs at all different positions.
Mike here: Do you have the #497 AutoStar (has number keys on the keypad) or the #494 (no number keys)?


I have the #494
Mike here: Well, if you had the #497, I would have suggested re-installing the software. However, there is no user software installation option for the #494. Which leaves us with some other troubleshooting options. Dirty encoders can cause a MOTOR FAULT. Sometimes you can clean the encoders by unlocking the axis and slowly rotating the telescope back and forth by hand, several times from hard stop to hard stop. Go slowly and check for any resistance in movement. If you detect any resistance DO NOT force the movement; if there is an obstruction it could be a wire and you don't want to cut the wire. If there is resistance you will have to open up the base and look for the cause.

And this:

I think I may have fixed it some how. Be for I got your email I went and
forced it to turn horizontal and it has been on now for 15 minutes or so
I did the alignment in the house and chose to use the goto to the moon
and it seems to be tracking just fine now. Thanks and I will keep you
Mike here: Sounds like there was some obstruction. Hopefully you didn't break something.


I hope not. I have had for 6 years and it has always been babied. It has
also only had probably 5hrs at the most of use. 
Mike here: You might want to open up the base and check for a wire or something loose rattling around inside. Might not be a problem but if something is loose, you don't want it to create more problems.


Ok, I will. The guy on the news said we might get some breaks in the
clouds so I might get to go outside and get some real testing done.

And more:

It threw up the motor message again. Could you please detail the
encoders and cleaning them. I mean how would I unlock the axis. to you
mean the knob on bottom?
Mike here: By unlocking the axis, I just mean doing the normal UNLOCK to manually move the telescope tube. If the hand movement to redistribute the grease doesn't clean the encoders (which sometimes it doesn't), you can see the article "Cleaning the Encoders" on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. The article is for the ETX models but could still be helpful, if dirty encoders is the problem. 89

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