Last updated: 30 September 2009
This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX-LS. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (RA, EC, AT, BB, PE, LS) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback pages. 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.
Mike here: The new Meade ETX-LS telescope is now available! This feedback page allows current and prospector ETX owners to chime in on their thoughts about the new model. User observation reports with the ETX-LS are now being reported on the Helpful Information: User Observations page. If you don't already know about the ETX-LS, check out these web sites:
|Oceanside Photo and Telescope|
Subject: Re: ETX-LS AutoStar III version Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 23:08:33 From: Adam Koebel (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just an update. My LS has no problems getting a GPS signal or aligning. It hasn't failed me once yet. It even aligns itself in partly cloudy conditions. This is with the 1.2g firmware. Also a tip for the built in camera and MiniSD cards. Some MiniSD cards come formatted FAT, but the scope will only work with FAT32 formatted cards. If the card is formatted just regular FAT then the handset will crash/lock up when you adjust the capturing settings or try taking a picture, requiring a reboot of the scope. It can be formatted to fat32 easily in windows.
Subject: ETX-LS AutoStar III version Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 21:17:05 From: Scott Recker (email@example.com) Just got my ETX-LS 2 days ago (from an online vendor). Version 1.07. Too cloudy to see if anything works. I had a broken dust cover (pin), a defective diagonal, and a defective red dot switch. Sheesh! The dealer is replacing the parts. You would think Meade would have gotten the GPS right before shipping.Mike here: Sorry to hear about the problems but good to know your dealer is taking care of you.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 19:49:34 From: Free Tyme (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi All , New here and I got the ETX-LS ACF. awesome so far. Actually can see things. tried the Deptment store scope but gave up. this this is just what I needed. did the upgrade but have not have the weather to try it out yet, You will need to use a mini SD card (or a micro SD card) to restore the software onto the ETX-LS. Some one said they were hard to find. got mine from Tiger direct. Heere is the link. $12.99 CDN. http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3872469&Sku=K24-9506 Kingstons microSD card with an extra miniSD and full-size SD adapter is a simple and practical, crossplatform storage solution that is useful in multiple devices. The adapters transform the microSD card into either a miniSD or full-size SD card, making it extremely versatile. The combination of a microSD card and multiple adapters means users can pack light and do more with a single card, interchanging it with many devices. Will keep you updated Jeff
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Saturday, September 26, 2009 01:55:39 From: Jpw82@sbcglobal.net (email@example.com) Let me see if I get this right,I should get the upgrade V1.2G and have it placed on a mini-sd card and then place this card in my LS and hopefully it will begin a upgrade. I guess you get this upgrade from Meade's website and have it transfer to a mini-sd card? In the manual it mentions that the mini-sd card has to be reformatted to (I believe Fat 32) which I always thought all mini-sd cards were when you purchased them. Can the information from the mini-sd card be transferred to the LS by way of the computer port so that issues with the card in the slot be eliminated? I have heard of problems with the card being stuck in the slot and of course the ability of the LS to take photos is compromised by this. Thanks again for all your help Lou WelkeMike here: The Meade AutoStar Updater application is used to get the software for the ETX-LS from Meade's site. It can either put the software on a mini SD card (or micro SD card) or it can be used to connect to the telescope and upgrade via the USB port from your computer.
Thanks for getting back to me, but does a mini-sd card or any other card have to be formatted in Fat 32? or is it already that way when it is purchased? Lou WelkeMike here: Who knows how it is formatted or what Windows viruses may be on it when you purchase one. I'd recommend reformatting before using.
Subject: RE: ETX-LS SD card slot damaged Sent: Saturday, September 26, 2009 00:13:37 From: Hajri, Mohammed OSE26B (Mohammed.Y.Hajri@pdo.co.om) The latest with my Electronic board is that the repair shop did not find the replacement of the SD card slot; instead they just soldered the broken slot hoping that will solve the issue. But that did not work as the card it self had a missing leg and one was broken. NB; I have tried my autostar with another similar scope and it did work fine, does this mean that the software is fine with mine? If yes then I am expecting that the scope is sensing as if the SD card is inserted into slot, if this is the case then I would like to know how to cancel the whole SD business and if I want to upgrade or take picture I can do that with my laptop. Regards, MohammedMike here: Unlike other ETX models, the "smarts" of the ETX-LS is in the telescope, not the AutoStar III handcontroller, which is just a keypad and display unit. So, if the telescope works with a different handcontroller, then the software is OK.
Subject: re: ETX-LS Question Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 16:17:33 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) (it always amuses me to read the knee-jerk Mac addict's (over)reaction to Meade's update process: "they don't do it on a Mac, i won't buy the telescope!") Well, for the ETX-LS, updating can be done by copying files on to a FAT32-formatted mini SD memory card. So if your Mac are capable of that, you can (in theory, i'll try it next week) update an ETX-LS whilst remaining purely Mac. have fun --dick (who owns and manages Macs, PCs and helps manage the most powerful Linux computer system on our campus. They all have their virtues and faults)Mike here: Just to confirm, you are saying that you can copy the download file from Meade's web site to the mini SD card and boot the ETX-LS from that. That would be nice! Couldn't you do the same thing from Windows, thereby passing the AutoStar Updater application?
From: Jim Szczodrowski (email@example.com) If this works, then I can consider buying a new scope. Please understand it is not a knee jerk reaction but simple fact that not everyone owns or has access to a windows PC. I simply do not have access. Home, work, family, are all Mac based with not a PC in sight. The stores by me that sell Meade scopes, the Meade website and Meade themselves have all stated a WIndows PC is required. With Meade having quality difficulties lately (MySky, this scope) which have often been solved by updating firmware, having a computer that works with the scope is pretty much required. Should I buy a $1600 scope I would not expect to then have to buy a full version of Windows and the required yearly subscription for virus software in order to use said scope. Your assistance is appreciated.
The new LS telescope version 1.2g software update includes GPS performance improvements for faster and more reliable alignments. This update is available for download now by running the AutoStar Updater (ASU) on your PC and selecting "Upgrade AutoStar Software Now". Check back frequently for more information on future software updates.
Subject: ETX-LS Question Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 05:36:19 From: Jim Szczodrowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) Short of using Windows on a Mac (which I refuse to do) how do Apple Macintosh owners update to the new firmware?Mike here: I don't know if one of the free "Windows" VM apps will allow it but it would be worth a try. I'd recommend trying it with a mini SD card instead of the direct USB cable method. Other than that, we can only hope that AutoStarX will be updated at some point to handle the newer AutoStars (right now it only works with the AutoStar #497).
Thank you! Since I refuse to jump through hoops to make full use of a purchase I guess I don't buy an LX. Meade's archaic "Windows" requirements will cause them to lose a sale. I've also not purchased a DSI from Meade for the same reasons. It's nice that Meade can afford to alienate customers willing to spend money. Meade needs to realize that the computing world is not a one trick pony. All my home systems are Mac's. For the last 20 years both my employers were all Mac based. It's about time Meade write their software in a contemporary fashion to run multi-platform.Mike here: Of course, Meade is not alone in limiting their offerings to a single platform. Celestron does it as well. It is unfortunate. But as Apple's marketshare (and mindshare) goes up, hopefully these short-sighted and 1990s decisions will be reversed. And when you look at the professional and academic communities, you see LOTS of Mac OS X systems.
Subject: ETX-LS AutoStar III version Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:00:33 From: Adam Koebel (email@example.com) Received my ACF version of the ETX-LS today and it has the 1.07 firmware. I made the decision to upgrade to 1.2g off the bat.. will report back with results once I am able to use it.
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Monday, September 21, 2009 13:24:20 From: Louis Welke (firstname.lastname@example.org) I wanted to tell you that I have version 1.07 for the ETX LS and have not done too much with my scope since I last talked to you. I just called up your website yesterday and after reading what other users of the LS have been experiencing has caused me to believe that Meade has a lot of work ahead for themselves both in repairing the LS scopes and their reputation. I have been busy with other issues around my home and haven't used my LS for the past two weeks or so and actually I feel I don't have as severe a problems as many of these users have. I was looking forward to hearing from you on your ETX site about how your LS is now if you got it back or how is the new one if you got a replacement but I hear that you are still waiting for your scope. Possibly this might tell me that replacement LS scopes have been checked out better before shipment to eliminate problems by users. I still have about 10 months left on my warranty and hope that a better upgrade is coming that answers the GPS and alignment problems and if the problem is more severe I can get a replacement. Thanks again for your help. Lou WelkeMike here: Got a report that 1.2g solved a GPS problem. Still waiting on mine.
Subject: ETX-LS autostar upgrade nightmare Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 19:22:40 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) After hearing from your site that there was an update fixing GPS problems i decided to plug my PC and update. i should have remembered how windows programs are unpredictable. After installing autostar suite and usb drivers i restarted then plugged the ETX , it then signaled that i had V 1.07 and i went ahead with the operation wchich i discovered was a 200 meg or so download. then the updater program resurfaced so again i clicked install then the autostar signaled not to turn off the etx while in progress...then the updater did well nothing for an hour and a half. So with total absence of a progress bar( thats a critical flaw for an updater!) i decided to interrupt the prog and tried the operation again this time everything was severely frozen the ETX the pc and me... So i eventually had to turned off the ETX and when i switched back, nothing , zilch , no system no database . So tell me can i reprogram the ls with with the updater on a mini sd card? I cant believe it... this, its so frustrating i have done so many successfull firmware update on so many different technologies and some so primitive that it makes the LS looks like Big blue on steroid , anyway i strongly suggest that LS owners be aware of the risk involved here. tx and sorry but i really had to vent a bit. Jean-pierre BrieMike here: You will need to use a mini SD card (or a micro SD card) to restore the software onto the ETX-LS.
Subject: Monitor Tip Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 06:14:37 From: Varga, Les (LVarga@Nordson.com) Sorry to hear about the GPS fix trouble people seem to be having. My LS has been working flawlessly so far. I will wait a bit on updating the software. I do have an interesting tip though for those that haven't thought of it yet. When we purchased a new minivan it came with built in monitors. So that left me with two of the small portable monitors from the old vehicle. These monitors are perfect for attachment to the LS tripod with the Velcro straps usually found on them. I think these are still sold but can likely be found easily on Ebay or elsewhere for very little money. They are lightweight and are easily powered from one of the ports on the Celestron power tank that I use. Just thought I would pass this alongmine were just sitting on the shelf in my shop waiting to get re-tasked. This was a perfect fit and the work great. Clear Skies! Les
Subject: ETX-LS ver 1.2g report Sent: Saturday, September 19, 2009 21:25:34 From: R L Laffoon (email@example.com) I downloaded the new version of the Meade ETX-LS software this afternoon, (9-19-09), into my SD card. I inserted the card into the ETX-LS, turned on the scope and watched the hand box display the uploading information. It took about 20 minutes to upload the new version into the scope from the card. This evening I went down to the SMAS Observatory site at NCEEC, (smas.us), and took along the ETX-LS for a trial run of the new software. Everything worked. The scope had no problems finding the GPS and the alignment stars. Tracking was excellent. Clouds rolled in around 10:30 and covered about 80 percent of the sky. Just for fun I turned off the scope, waited about a minute and then turned it on again. Once again it worked great! GPS worked fine and to my surprise, with only about 7 bright stars visible the scope still was able to do an alignment! Then I had it slew to Jupiter and it appeared right in the center of the field of view in the 26mm eyepiece. So, as far as I'm concerned everything works fine with this new update from Meade. Larry
Subject: Re: ETX-LS Feedback, Mini SD Card Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 07:46:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) Amazon. com has micro-to-mini SD adapters for $0.45. Look for 'Sandisk MicroSD to MiniSD Adapter '. They also have a package that includes a 2GB microSD with mini and standard adapters for $6.99. 'SanDisk 2GB Microsd Card with SD & MiniSD Adapters'. Regards, Mike Hogan
Subject: Meade ETX-LS (LightSwitch) updated firmware for GPS fix Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 02:10:38 From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Note to anyone who is using the latest ETX-LS (LightSwitch) telescope from Meade that there is now a fix for the problematic GPS system in the scope; the GPS actually is functional, but the CODE in the existing firmware has been in error, preventing reliable or most times ANY GPS fix to be obtained. The new code is now posted in the firmware 1.2g (ETX_ls) at: http://www.meade.com/support/auto/etx-ls_v12g.zip which is a rather huge 212 meg file zipped. "Version 1.2g for the (ETX) LS telescope is available to improve GPS performance." Best of luck on this new firmware. Thus far, all three of the ETX-LS scopes that I have had in my shop have failed to obtain GPS fixes and ultimately time out in the process - using the factory installed firmware, so hopefully this will remedy the problem. Dr. Clay _____ Arkansas Sky Observatories MPC H45 - Petit Jean Mountain South MPC H41 - Petit Jean Mountain MPC H43 - Conway West http://www.arksky.org/
And A WARNING!!!:
Subject: ETX-LS updater warning Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:47:10 From: P. Clay Sherrod (email@example.com) A major warning for anyone wishing to update the ETX-LS to the newer firmware in search of a fix for the errant or slow GPS: Do not attempt....not with the ASU 5.8 updater or any previous. There is a bug in the updater program that corrupts the upload and apparently sends ETX 497 data into the Autostar III, which pretty much wipes out the database. Meade has just confirmed this issue and they are looking into it....if you have a working ETX-LS, do not attempt to upgrade your firmware at this time. There is a new version (v1.2g) that apparently fixes the slow (or non-existent) GPS fix, but having to enter the date and time manually is better than no operation at all. Note that Andrew Johansen has pointed out that if you insert TWO C-cell batteries in the compartment, in the slot closest to the eyepiece end of the OTA, your LS will retain time, date and location with its internal clock. Those who do lose their operating system will need to flash load the database via a mini-SD card inserted into the card port on the telescope; no USB connection can be made to the telescope once the firmware is corrupted. Dr. Clay
Hi...also note that "MINI-SD" cards are nearly impossible to find; I have been all over Little Rock looking for them and no one has them....all users have gone over to "micro SD" or standard SD cards..... Unbelievable that Meade did not research this more thoroughly.
Subject: Re: ETX-LS 6 problems (continued) Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 20:33:44 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) Duncan Sinclair wrote: > Thanks for that info. > > So it can take over an hour for GPS to find itself?? It says "It should > only take a minute or two." I've tried for 15 to 20 minutes and it's > always eventually rolled over to "Enter manually" which is why Meade > said I should send it back to them. ...and that's certainly valid. In my experience, the -first- time i turned on the eTX-LS, it managed to get a fix... but the next three times, it didn't. So i knew the GPS -could- work. Recently it's been getting a fix fairly quickly every time, but i -am- starting my sessions an hour later than the first series. > Interesting that you say you CAN specify a latitude/longitude location, > as the Meade guy told me this could not be done. I'll try that when I > get it back from repair. Note that i said "at least, that's how the Classic autostars do it" I'm 2500 miles from my ETX-LS access, so i can't -test- my method to confirm it. > FYI, I called Meade again this morning to find out if they were going to > pay for shipping (they said they would call me to let me know, but that > didn't happen) and supposedly they will be emailing me the UPS labels > any time now. Ah! So you still have the scope! So you can see if the Lat/Long is accessible. good luck --dick
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2009 08:30:35 From: Duncan Sinclair (email@example.com) Update: Instead of shipping my scope to Meade, I decided to expedite things by driving it there myself (about 90 minutes away). So I got to talk to the customer service people (two very helpful guys) face to face. Here's what I found out... There is a bug in the v1.07 firmware that causes issues with the GPS. They have developed a new version, but it's not available to the public yet. They're updating unsold units with it, apparently. Since I was there, they updated mine (I think it said v1.2) and we tried the scope out in their parking lot. Alas, in my particular case, it still did not find a single satellite, so they determined that my scope has a hardware problem and will have to be shipped to Mexico for repairs. Either that, or they'll send me a replacement (but they're out of stock at present). I asked the head of customer service if you could enter specific latitude and longitude and he said yes. I wasn't able to try this out, and am now scopeless for a week or two. Duncan
And some additional info:
Andrew Johansen commented: -------------- Just for info, if people have access to a TV or display The Acquiring GPS screen actually shows a set of bars for the satellite reception strengths It even works indoors ( doesnt fix, but the bars update ) Might be a useful "quicky" test for people to see if "anything" at all is happening. -------------------- have fun --dick
In the new firmware version, the handbox shows how many satellite's have been found, instead of just saying "Acquiring GPS." Mine stayed on "Satellites - 0" but supposedly it gives you a progress report of how many satellites it's receiving from. I think the video monitor would be a great addition. Navigating those menus without it is a pain!Mike here: Yep, when I get my ETX-LS back, I'll have to drag out my old (circa 1981) Apple II color CRT.
Subject: RE: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 15:35:26 From: Tony George (firstname.lastname@example.org) I would like to report that I have worked with the ETX-LS at my home where I had more time to experiment with various features. It does have a calibration for azimuth on the software. I have not used it yet. Also, when I set it up at home, it mysteriously found north correctly, Vega as first target star easily centered in eyepiece and then second star and all alignments thereafter were within 25mm eyepiece FOV. So, at least it works as advertized... I'm glad to report after all... Tony George
Subject: ETX-LS 32 or 64 bit problem Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 10:29:47 From: Nicolas Potter (email@example.com) I received my ETX-LS with autostar3 V. 1.07 July 10, and have had a lot of fun with it. I have not been able to connect it to auto star suite v. 5.5 via USB-A. I am running vista with a 64 bit OS. Meade customer service told me that it would only work with a 32 bit OS. He also said that the telescope would track objects without being connected. Whenever I enter an object it slews to the object and then stops. I'm thinking about buying a USB to serial port cord, to see if that works. What should I do Mike?Mike here: See the comment about the driver that was posted further down this ETX-LS feedback page.
Subject: Some answers from Meade Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:31:22 From: Duncan Sinclair (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was just on the phone with Meade about my ETX-LS6 problems, and here are some answers... Since my GPS was not working at all, he said immediately that I should send it in for repair. There is no way to enter latitude and longitude of one's position - only cities. This seems bizarre, but his answer was "Not at this time" so maybe it will be a future update. "Finding Home" is the scope trying to determine where North is, as opposed to "Acquiring GPS" which is the scope trying to figure out where in the world it is. Pressing "Mode" once or holding it down does not cancel the scope's current activity. You need to press it four or five times in succession for it to cancel. I have since tried this, and it works. My connection errors with my PC were because I had not installed the driver for the scope. Although I had installed Autostar on my computer, I had overlooked that there was another item on the DVD which needed to be installed - the driver! Now my scope and PC are speaking to each other (although version 1.07 is still the latest). I also needed to tell the Autostar software which serial port was connected to the scope by my USB cable (in the Telescope pulldown menu). Not being very technically savvy, this was a bit of trial and error for me, but eventually I got it. Shipping to Meade for warranty repairs is generally paid for by Meade if within 30 days of purchase. Since I won this telescope in a raffle and have no paperwork, they're still determining if that applies to me. I hope this information is helpful to other users. DuncanMike here: A separate driver, huh? Good to know!
Subject: re: ETX-LS 6 problems Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 05:35:09 From: richard seymour (email@example.com) A few random answers/glimmers... On the ETX-LS, the MODE switch does not factor in "duration" of press (unlike the 'classic' Autostars). One tap is the same as leaning on it. There are (as in the 'classic' autostars) some operations which do NOT get interrupted by tapping MODE (until they're ready). As you've seen, "Finding Home" is one example. A large number of the 'classic' PC-to-Autostar commands are not yet implemented. That situation will improve with further updates. Meade is working on improving the firmware. As of your posting, 1.07 was the current version. GPS behavior seems to get better over time. Even an hour's difference in when you start setting up can affect GPS fixing. have fun (and a big dollop of patience) --dick
To set/change the LAt/Long coordinates of your site: (a) use the Nearest City to establish one (b) then menu to Setup/Site/Edit (c) the subcategories of that let you edit/change the name, the Lat, the Long, the timeZone (set it for your standard time offset) (at least, that's how it's done on the Classic Autostars) My ETX and LX200gps experience is that "within 30 miles" is good enough for everything except low-earth-orbit satellite tracking (and usually good enough for that, too) have fun --dick
Thanks for that info. So it can take over an hour for GPS to find itself?? It says "It should only take a minute or two." I've tried for 15 to 20 minutes and it's always eventually rolled over to "Enter manually" which is why Meade said I should send it back to them. Interesting that you say you CAN specify a latitude/longitude location, as the Meade guy told me this could not be done. I'll try that when I get it back from repair. FYI, I called Meade again this morning to find out if they were going to pay for shipping (they said they would call me to let me know, but that didn't happen) and supposedly they will be emailing me the UPS labels any time now. Duncan
Subject: ETX-LS Scope Sent: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 07:54:08 From: Bellomy, Robert S. (ROBERT.S.BELLOMY@saic.com) After Meade had my telescope for three weeks, the customer support representative told me it would take 2-3 additional weeks, but no explanation as to why. Therefore, I took matters into my own hands and searched for the CEO's email address. However, I was only able to find the email address for the CFO, John Elwood. I emailed Mr. Elwood and told him what my concern was and I needed him (or someone there) to redirect my email to the customer support management. I received two emails from Mr. Elwood, the final one stating that he had looked into my inquiry and decided that Meade would replace the scope with another one. I received a voice mail later that day from the manager of customer support stating that they had a shipping number for me and that the scope would be sent out this week. I wasn't crazy about emailing the CFO, but his was the only email address I could find. You see, Meade has removed the email address for customer service and replaced it with the "800" number for service. While being able to speak with someone is nice, the customer support staff cannot answer questions concerning the status of the repair. Perhaps this may change as a result of my email (I can only hope). But, for now, they are sending me a replacement telescope. I will let you know if there are any other issues. Regards, RobertMike here: I suspect that parts for the ETX-LS are in short supply given the newness of the ETX-LS and most parts go into the manufacture of full telescopes.
I have exchanged several emails with John Elwood, Meade CFO. He was very gracious and apologetic about the very slow service provided by the customer support group. He took out the time to research my issue and based on some preliminary testing and my detailed letter, decided that they needed to replace the telescope. This was in keeping with the "First Light Policy" that Meade has. The contact with Mr. Elwood was Friday, Sept 4. Since Monday was a holiday, I called the customer support assistant manager (as I was instructed) and he told me they shipped out another scope on that Tuesday morning. I received the scope at home on Wednesday. I didn't have a lot of time to set it up and hence not a real good alignment. However, given the obstacles I have in my back yard, the scope came remarkably close to auto aligning. I did abort the auto alignment and did a two-star alignment. Perfect! Also, I took a look at Jupiter and the 4 moons I could see. The optics are really really good, very crisp and I could almost make out detail in the bands despite being in a light polluted environment. I look forward to trying the scope out this weekend and do some planetary imaging. The only change in the scope was the lens cover for the camera. It was a new design and very large and bold (at least I shouldn't lose it). I have not tried the mini SD card yet. Next try will be in the front yard as there is more open space out there. Robert BellomyMike here: What AutoStar version? Still 1.07?
Yes, still 1.07. I was told there is a new software update coming soon (perhaps by the end of the week). Robert Bellomy
Subject: ETX-LS 6 problems Sent: Sunday, September 6, 2009 15:38:31 From: Duncan Sinclair (firstname.lastname@example.org) I used my ETX-LS6 for the firs time last night, version 1.07. I must say, the owner's manual leaves out a lot of information, and I'm in the dark about a number of things. The GPS positioning didn't work at all. It tried for about ten minutes, and then told me to enter manually. I tried the GPS again, no luck. Entering manually, I couldn't find an option to enter coordinates - just cities. I guess the option is there somewhere, I just don't know how to find it yet. After telling it I was in Los Angeles (big area to choose from), it successfully aligned to two stars, and slewed correctly to Jupiter, which was probably the only thing worth trying to see on a full moon LA night! I was happy with the image quality. Since then, I've been digging through the manual, trying to navigate around the menus (which would definitely be easier if I had the optional video monitor), and also tried to check if I had the latest software. Here's my experience of this... The telescope goes through a procedure it says is "Finding Home" which I don't find explained anywhere, and I don't know how that's different from its initial alignment process. Pressing "Mode" is supposed to stop the telescope from doing whatever it's doing, but most of the time, it doesn't seem to have any effect at all, and I have to wait for it to finish "Finding Home" before I can tell it to do anything else. Connecting the telescope to my PC according to the manual's directions, I apparently couldn't get it to connect at all. The PC keeps giving me connection/communication error messages, and I don't know how to find a solution, since that is also not explained anywhere, to my knowledge. Consequently, the "Ugrade Autostar software now" doesn't work, as my PC and scope are not talking to each other. I intend to call Meade when they reopen on Tuesday to see if I can get some answers to my questions. Thanks. Duncan SinclairMike here: Do you have reasonably open access to the sky to receive GPS satellite signals? If will need to see 3 or 4 of them to get a good fix. You should be able to ADD or EDIT a site location. Although in looking at the manual, I didn't see that option in the AutoStar menu tree (I don't have my ETX-LS back from Meade yet to check). Finding Home is part of the initial process it goes through to determine where in the world the telescope is located and where to start its alignment process (finding North and level). You have to hold the MODE key for about a second to abort an operation. If you hold it 2-3 seconds, you will see the MODE display ("Scope Info"). I tried using AutoStar Suite 5.5 to connect via the USB port (using Parallels on my Mac) but was unsuccessful. Since AutoStar Suite doesn't have a USB connection mode but the ETX-LS has a "serial emulation mode", I wasn't certain where the problem was. As to the version, 1.07 is the current one available.
Thanks for that info. I forgot to mention that I was on the roof of my apartment, with a very clear view all around. The only interference I could guess at would be a TV antenna and a couple of Dish Network dishes - all of them maybe 30 feet away. Yes, I held down the Mode button for different durations - often it didn't seem to do anything. The very first thing it did was "Acquiring GPS" so I'd like to know how "Finding Home" is different from that, or if it's in fact the same thing, and why holding down Mode doesn't stop it. I'll ask Meade about that next week. DuncanMike here: Since I don't have mine, I can't check. But "Finding Home" could be referring to the HOME POSITION, which is the initial position before starting the star alignment steps.
Subject: ETX-LS sd-card Clarification Sent: Sunday, September 6, 2009 10:37:38 From: jean-pierre Brie (email@example.com) I have been reading all sorts of reports on the web as to what is the proper memory card for the LS and i have to admit i am totally lost . Maybe if you could post as to what type of card is the proper one . TX for your time and hope you have your LS back from Meade... Jean-pierre BrieMike here: The ETX-LS manual makes it very clear what type of card is required. As it says on page 36,
"Mini SD Card" or a "Micro SD Card" in a Mini Card HolderHowever, other places in the manual they just say "SD Card" or "Mini SD Card". So, if users don't read the whole manual, they could miss some important clarifications.
Subject: RE: ETX-LS SD card slot damaged Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 20:45:11 From: Hajri, Mohammed OSE26B (Mohammed.Y.Hajri@pdo.co.om) Thanks for your feelings, with regards to software installation using the Mini SD did not work most probably due to card slot being damaged. By the way I took the electronic board to the repair shop and they are looking for the SD spare parts to replace most likely they will have to order from USA I will come to know that today. Kind regards, Alhajry
Subject: ETX-LS Feedback Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 20:25:29 From: Warren Spreng (firstname.lastname@example.org) I received my ETX-LS scope at the end of June. I have had the best time using this scope, the only flaw being the Mini SD slot. Why they chose a mini rather than a standard SD I'll never know but that's neither here nor there. The problem I had was that if I put a formatted card in and selected "Take Picture" the scope would freeze up. I then would have to shut it down and start it up again and it would do everything else just fine. I ignored it up until last week since I had not planned to use the built in CCD camera for pictures anyway. I spoke with Meade and decided to go ahead and send the scope back to have the card reader fixed/replaced so everything on the scope worked the way it should. I have had very little problems with the scope and have done more observing in the past 2 months than in the prior 40 years that I have been interested in astronomy! I have also just started doing some CCD imaging and this scope makes that extremely simple for a beginner like myself. I never thought that after a few nights out I would actually be able to get images of such objects as the Ring and Dumbbell Nebula, and although they are nothing like I see from images with large scopes, they are very pleasing to me! The optics on this scope are terrific and the portability was exactly what I was looking for. I can be set up and observing or taking pictures in about 20 minutes, and I haven't built up a sweat trying to wrestle with a heavy piece of equipment. One of the features I have not seen anyone else comment about is the option of "Precision Slew". When this option is selected, when you select a Deep Sky Object, the scope first slews to a nearby bright star and requests that you center it in the eyepiece and then hit enter. When you do this it then slews unerringly to the object you have selected. This is great when you are looking for nebula or galaxies that you might miss in the eyepiece. I slewed to the whirlpool galaxy and wasn't sure I was even there until I set up a 15 second exposure with the DSI III camera, and there it was, dead center!! I can't wait until I receive my scope back from Meade to get started again. It won't be long until the Orion Nebula is in the sky and I can't wait to get a shot at that with the scope. Just for fun I attached a photo of Jupiter I took on August 22nd and one of the Ring Nebula that I took on August 14th with the scope. These were some of my first efforts into CCD imagin. Warren
Subject: etx-ls feedback Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 17:40:26 From: Murray Harris (email@example.com) Man, am I the only one that got a working scope. The only issue I had was with the sd slot, I bought a different sd card that was a mini sd adapter with a 2 gb micro sd card installed, it seems to see this card, have yet to try taking pictures. The only other issue is that the lat and long is correct, but they have the wrong city assigned to it, It shows up as Ogden, Utah, when in fact it is Salt Lake City, and vice versa.Mike here: There does seem to be some oddities in the GPS database.
Subject: ETX-LS SD card slot damaged Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 23:51:33 From: Hajri, Mohammed OSE26B (Mohammed.Y.Hajri@pdo.co.om) I received my ETX-LS scope sometime ago, tried to auto align it but failed every time as the scope kept stating while aligning with the star that the star is either blocked by a building or a tree (When observing through the eye piece I find the star is out of view any way). When I started aligning it manually with two stars it works fine, then I decided to confirm the operation of the CCD camera, so I tried to insert the normal SD card (and not the Mini SD card recommended). I used a force to insert the SD card which caused the damage to the card slot. After this someone suggested to confirm the right SD card which is Mini SD, so I borrowed one from someone using it in his GSM, inserted it and it was the correct one but then it corrupted the software and now my telescope is totally not operating at all. I cannot install the software using Mini SD card as the card slot is damaged and trying to install using my PC but there is no communication between telescope and autostar. I wonder how to come out with my mess? Above all I am living far away from USA in a country called Oman which is located in the Middle East and there is no way of communication with Meade at all. I will only looking for help through web sites and will try to repair the damaged SD card slot which looks so difficult. I hope that I can replace the electronic card in a worse situation, but I would need some help to find out the card ordering number. Kind regards, AlhajryMike here: Sorry to hear that you damaged the card slot by using the wrong card type. Good warning to others though. But just to confirm, you did install the software onto the (correct) mini SD card, and then inserted that into the ETX-LS and powered it on after it was inserted? As to updating via the USB cable, I wasn't able to get a connection via USB but I don't know if that is because I was using Parallels Desktop or if there was some other problem. If so, hopefully someone will have a solution for you.
Subject: ETX-LS AutoStar III version Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 20:14:29 From: Manuel Fernndez (firstname.lastname@example.org) Got mine last week. Version: 1.07 Autostar III Regards...
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