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Last updated: 9 October 2012

This page is for user comments on Astronomy software for the Windows (including the Meade AutoStar Suite), Macintosh, Android, and iOS systems. Items that are more "review" oriented will be posted on the Astronomy Software Reviews page. 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:	Meade ETX 125 PE and StarPatch GPS
Sent:	Friday, October 5, 2012 08:18:17
From:	Peter Oseguera (
Im not sure if this is much help, I contacted StarPatch (Chris) with the
same letter. I had purchased the StarPatch for my telescope, but I can't
seem to complete the last part of installation. I did all the steps up
till it said "press the "Update Handset" button to begin the update
process." Step 8. As it was doing its thing the Autostar unit got a
funky symbol on it and the message came up on the computer saying that
it could not connect and to follow the "Safe Load" start up. after I did
that the funky symbol went away and now the handbox says "Flash Load 3.0
Ready" after trying to do the "Update Handset" on the StarPatch program
it gave the same connection problem and I can't get the handset unit to
reset out of the Flash Mode. Please tell me I missed something I'm
worried that my Autostar box won't work again. Thank you, my email is
Mike here: Are you using a real RS-232 port computer on your computer or a USB-serial adapter? If an adapter, not all work reliably with the AutoStar. StarPatch actually works better with adapters than Meade's AutoStar Update application. But if that's the problem, you might try the Meade application.

And an update:

Thank you, I was able to resolve the problem with the GPS unit. Now I
have a new problem if you don't mind I have the Electronic Focuser #1244
which I modified to work on my 125 PE which it works perfectly when I
use the remote, I also got it to work with the Autostar Handbox once,
however I can't seem to get the focuser and hand to talk again. Any
ideas on why? And how can't I get it to do it again. I did all the plug
it in before start up, or during and even using the Remote and switching
to the Handbox. Thanks.
Mike here: So it doesn't appear in the MODE menu display? Have you checked its battery? The Meade focuser is known to eat batteries quickly.


In the mode menu it dosent show up when connected to the handbox if I
use the focuser remote it works. The remote as a new batter and the
telescope is being powered by an ac supply. 

Sent from my iPod
Mike here: Odd. Probably won't make a difference but try with internal ETX batteries. Also try a RESET on the AutoStar.


I tried with batteries and also did a reset. Nothing really changed
except that I would see the focuser menu show up for about a half
second. Would Dick know anything about this one. Again I've got it go
work once. One question in my mind is that because its a Electronic
Focuer 1244 for ETX 90 and 105 and I'm using it for my 125 does it make
a difference on my Autostar?
Mike here: As long as you have 4.3Eg on your AutoStar, it should be recognized. Since it is intermittent, I'd suspect a loose connection someplace.


The version is correct. Is there anythin I can do to go by finding the
connection it would sound to be in the autostar handbox since it works
with the focuser remote. 
Mike here: Is the focuser cord connected to one of the AUX ports on the ETX base? Mine is connected on the left AUX port and works fine. You might check the port and connector pins to verify they are clean, not too depressed, nor bent sideways.


Okay I played with the cables and now it works. Final question which
I've read the book over and over. When I'm aligning the scope soon the
turn counterclockwise till hard stop and tuen back till fork is over
controlpanel. And then point the scope north (moving the scope body
manually) when I start the scope and go through the process it always
seem to hit the hard stops dec and r.a. I didn't use to have this
problem with my 90 ec but the 125 pe seems to align different should I
do polar instead? Thanks for all your help I want to get into
astrophotography but precise alignment is needed almost but that again. 

Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR? That usually cures the slew to the DEC hard stop problem. As to hitting the RA hard stop during alignment, the CALIBRATE MOTOR should solve that as well, assuming that is the problem. After rotating CCW to the hard stop, the telescope will be pointed to the southwest (with the control panel on the west side). The CW rotation will be about 120 degrees to get the telescope pointed towards True (nor Magnetic) North. The tube should be level. That is the normal (non-Auto) AutoStar Home position. If you are doing an Auto Align, you leave the telescope at the CCW hard stop. If the telescope seems to be pointing in the wrong direction after an Auto Align, do a CALIBRATE SENSOR to fine tune the Magnetic Variation adjustment for your location. As to polar aligning, for long duration astrophotography of faint objects, you will want to be polar mounted. For short exposures of bright objects, you can use Alt/Az.

And this:

Thank you after all of that everything was working... Till I shut off
the scope now this is what I noticed when everything worked (electronic
focuser, atomic time update, and the LNT) now none I'd that is working,
I now that the LNT wasn't working cause it wasn't doing the point north
deal as well as leveling the scope. So I think that my autostar or the
scope itself is not recognizing any of the add ons. This makes most
sense to me. 
Mike here: There are several LNT troubleshooting articles in the "Premier Edition / LNT" section on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And an update:

Well I ha e figured out was was wrong, and sorry on the last email with
the spelling my iPod does spellcheck and it isn't always the best at
guessing the words. Either way the handbox port in the controlpanel in
the scope has a broken pin and to pins that are running together. Anyway
I can fix this or do I have to send it in for repair? Thanks fir all
your help
Mike here: Glad you found the culprit. You can replace the jack with a new one (from your local electronics parts store). You will have to disassemble the base to get at the control panel to remove the bad jack. Then take it to the store. Alternatively, you might able to repair the pin with a small dab of glue.


Yeah me too :) in your site do you have disassembly page to do that. I
was hoping I could glue it but since the other pins are crooked the port
itself is bad.  
Mike here: No article on that topic that I recall.


Okay thanks I may make one for you then. Thanks for all the help. 


Sent from my iPod
Mike here: That would be super! Thanks!!

Subject:	Sky Safari and the Iphone
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2012 08:09:37
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I've got an Iphone 4s and Sky Safari3 on my phone. Is it possible to
remote control my Lx 90 which has a bluetooth conected.I use it with my
pc and it works nicely,but it would be cool if I could use my Iphone and
Sky Safari to run the telescope.If possible,could you explain briefly
how to do it.
jan h Kolstø


I see now that I need Sky Safari 3 pluss to control my scope.
Mike here: I have used SkySafari on my iPhone and iPad for telescope control via Wi-Fi and serial. I don't think it currently supports a Bluetooth connection. For more on using SkySafari on iOS devices, see the Accessory Reviews: Software page. Yes, the Plus and Pro versions have telescope control.

Subject:	Software Alternatives on the Mac?
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2012 05:24:50
From:	Ulrich Benzing (
thank You for Your valuable input! I would be very interested to know
what software You are currently using on the Mac? It is such a shame
that Keith's Astro Imager seems to be nonfunctional under 10.8.2.

I would like to be able to autotrack objects and at the same time stack
the incoming pictures. Is there something You would suggest?

Viele Grüße,
Mike here: I use SkySafari on my Mac (and iPhone and iPad) to control my telescopes. No auto guiding though. All my current imaging is done with my D7000 DSLR and iPhone. Photos on my Cassiopeia Observatory web site.


Thanks! I will check out SkySafari right away :)
Mike here: See my review on the Accessory Reviews: Software page.

And this:

What kind of Wifi do you use on the scope?
Mike here: SkyFi.


Thanks  a lot!!!

Subject:	Autostar Suite :(
Sent:	Monday, October 1, 2012 03:55:05
From:	Ulrich Benzing (
i have a strange story to tell: after one night of installing and
fiddling, i managed to get parts of the autostar suite in Virtualbox to
run (Host is Mac on OS X 10.8.2, Guest is Win XP). The LPI is being
recognized (currently only plain white pic but thats ok for now). I also
got the Remote Handbox to work  - it even works over IP ( and
the serial port. 

BUT: the autostar suite does not recognize the scope, more precisely:
Envisage and the Updater do not recognize the 494 handset.

So - i am stuck because i want to use the autotracking feature in
Envisage. But how is it possible that the remote handset works and the
other stuff doesn't?

Please help!

Viele Grüße,

And more:

a simple power cycle on the handset did the trick! All is running now on
Mac 10.8.2 w/ Virtualbox and XP.

Now there's only the white pic problem left: I have in the histogram
simply a green line at zero and that's it (see pic). Does that mean its
overexposing due to the fact that it's day? i was hoping that setting
the software to "terrestrial" would allow some test shots before night.


Mike here: Glad you got it working. It has been many years since I used the AutoStar Suite on my Macs, but I think it doesn't support the #494. I believe a #497 AutoStar is required for full functionality. As to the LPI, it does appear to be overexposing. Try adjusting the exposure settings.

Subject:	Autostar Suite message Invalid ack responce from scope Windows 7
Sent:	Wednesday, September 26, 2012 17:22:50
From:	alv mtz (
Im trying to connect a LXD75 with 497 scope to Autostar Suite in Windows
7 and I get the message:
"invalid ACK responce from scope"
Can you help me?
Mr. A. Martinez
Barcelona, Spain.
Mike here: See the article about Windows 7 on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on the ETX.

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