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AUTOSTAR FEEDBACK
Last updated: 30 September 2010
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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, #497EP, cables, and 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:	autostar
Sent:	Thursday, September 30, 2010 06:31:41
From:	Jackson, Jerry - SLCG (jajackso@cardinalcorp.com)
I was wondering if it is possible to use an autostar 497 hand box with a
stepper drive on my homemade mount. The stepper control is a 3 axis
stepper drive originally designed for a lathe robot. The driver has a 24
pin printer port for computer control and a 15 pin (2 row) for manual
control. If I knew which wire on the autostar controls  which function I
might be able to interface the two.  I would appreciate any ideas and
advice you can give on this.

Thanks,
 
Jerry Jackson
Mike here: There are some schematics of the AutoStar on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page on my ETX Site. There is also some HBX cable info there. That might help you. But keep in mind that the AutoStar doesn't talk directly to the motors; it goes through a circuit board in the telescope. You might also try the Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts (link on the AutoStar Info page).

And:

Thanks Mike, it is much appreciated. I hope to make the autostar "talk"
to the stepper drive which will then drive the motors.

Subject:	Problem with the autostar 497
Sent:	Monday, September 27, 2010 12:56:25
From:	Bosco Francesco (caty.franci@alice.it)
Good evening, I kindly set her a question. During an updating dell
autostar 497 suddenly the tide is missed, to the reboot the autostar has
not sent forth any beeps and the display it doesn't visualize anything.
Can you/he/she help this problem to resolve me kindly? Thanks
Mike here: If you mean that the power failed during the upload, see the article "Q. The power went off while I was updating my AutoStar and now it doesn't work. Did I kill it?" on the ETX FAQ page on the ETX Site.

And:

Thanks I/you/they have succeeded in resolving the problem, I feared that
I had to throw away everything, you/he/she has returned to the normalcy,
I have made the updating with asu and I have reestablished the firmware
43eg. Thanks

Subject:	egad... now there's an 'AudioStar'
Sent:	Saturday, September 25, 2010 22:41:27
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
...which TALKS!   For $230 (including telescope)!!

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=prod1620606

(my local Sam's Club (a division of Wal-Mart) does not have one in stock...,
so the above listing is all i know about the product)

have fun
--dick
Mike here: Guess it had to happen. Not on the Meade web site yet.

And:

The Marvelous Meade Marketing Department  ... strikes again.

have fun
--dick
p.s.  googling for "meade audiostar" finds reviews, etc

Subject:	Autostar firmware updates
Sent:	Wednesday, September 22, 2010 13:01:53
From:	stpferris@aol.co.uk (stpferris@aol.co.uk)
Thanks for previous help, wonder if you can suggest anytyhing with the
following.

connecting scope to pc running windows xp via usb to RS232 serial cable,
then to autostar handset. Drivers from meade site, latest version of
updater. Connection failed. Tried things listed on your site, anything
else to recommend?

Sorry to be a pain Steve.
Mike here: If you are using the Meade USB-serial adapter driver, do you actually have the Meade adapter or are you using a different USB-serial adapter?

And:

using non-meade adapter, unsure which brand - the prolific drivers seem
to work for it (after install windows says hardware working on USB
insertion).
Mike here: Well, not all USB-serial adapters work reliably with the AutoStar. See the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. I recommend Keyspan adapters for use on Macs and PCs.

And:

Thanks for that, on second thoughs it appears to have worked to some
extent whereby PC does assign a COM port in the device manager.

I would like to mention as well that this cable has worked on an update
for this scope before - but you feel that it is just unreliable, which
would explain why it doesn't work know?
Mike here: Unreliable connection is the common theme of some adapters. You might try StarPatch from www.stargps.ca. It has been known to work when the AutoStar Update application doesn't.
Subject:	Autostar
Sent:	Monday, September 20, 2010 18:29:54
From:	Gerald Jenny (gjenn@dslextreme.com)
ran into a problem which I cannot find any answer .I was downloading the
latest  software for the Autostar 497 and in the middle of the download
it some how got unplugged and quit.Tried to reload with no luck tried
the enter scroll down and just is blank it will not  beep and I cannot
get it to show anything on the screen.Any help would be great thanks
Jerry
Mike here: You might be surprised to learn that many others have asked this same question for the same reason. That's why it is answered on the ETX FAQ page. See the item "Q. The power went off while I was updating my AutoStar and now it doesn't work. Did I kill it?".

And:

I have tried that and it did not work is there something else I can do.
It just goes to the logo and no beep and then goes blank . I thought I
was not pressing the enter and scroll down hard enough but that was not
the case
Mike here: Are you using the SCROLLDOWN arrow or the SLEW DOWN arrow? You press the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys first, then power on the telescope. That should bring up the FLASH LOAD READY message.

And:

Yes I  tried the scroll down and the Enter is ther any other way to
reload the software
Mike here: What version of the AutoStar software was loaded BEFORE you tried to update it? What does ASU say when you now connect the computer to the AutoStar?

And:

43eg  it say cannot find autostar
Mike here: Well, since SAFE LOAD doesn't work, it sounds like the SAFE LOAD memory location must have been corrupted when the power went off. That normally doesn't happen. When you power on the ETX, does anything happen if you hold down the MODE key for a few seconds after the AutoStar display comes on?

And:

No nothing happens it stays blank
Mike here: Well, lets try one more thing. Try using StarPatch from StarGPS (http://www.stargps.ca) to reload the software into the AutoStar.

And:

Tried that and it does not see auostar
Mike here: Bummer. I still suspect that the SAFE LOAD was trashed by the disconnect you experienced. Once last thought, although it likely won't work; see the article "AutoStar RESET from Software" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Maybe, if you are lucky, something is just "stuck".
Subject:	Autostar updates.
Sent:	Sunday, September 19, 2010 01:50:53
From:	stpferris@aol.co.uk (stpferris@aol.co.uk)
thanks for the site,Just got back from hols. and reading the "100
things.... ETX" book. I am just about to do an upgrade from the Meade
site on the autostar 497, may I ask is it still necessary to do a
"reset" after  the upgrade and also "train drive" and "calibrate the
motors" (or was this just for the earlier upgrades) and if so, in what
order is this to be done? many thanks Steve (Raining in England U.K.).
Mike here: I still recommend doing a TRAIN DRIVES after an update. It doesn't hurt anything and can improve GOTOs if you haven't done one in a long time. However, if anything odd happens after the update, doing a CALIBRATE MOTOR and then the TRAIN DRIVES will usually cure it. If it doesn't, then doing the RESET, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES (in that order) will usually solve it.
Subject:	re: Two Star Alignment Question
Sent:	Thursday, September 16, 2010 15:37:49
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
No, the Autostar 497 and 497EP (which are used on the ETX90/105/125,
LX90, LXD55/75, etc) does NOT suffer the Two Star Polar alignment bug
found in the LX200gps and RCX400.

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	Language Quest (jfh@LanguageQuest.com)
Thank you Dick and Mike for the information.

I am especially pleased that you included the LX90 in that list of
bug-free products. A friend of mine has inherited at 12" LX90 and it
seems to align and "Go To"  perfectly.

Sincerely,

Jim Havlice

Subject:	Two Star Alignment Question
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 2010 16:58:17
From:	Language Quest (jfh@LanguageQuest.com)
I belong to the Yahoo LX200 GPS group and have been reading with
interest that "Two Star Alignment" has a bug for the LX200  GPS
telescope.

I wonder - does the ETX 125 have the same bug for two star alignment? Or
is the ETX125 (I have the PE version) bug free? And if the bug is
present - what is the bug?

Regards,

Jim Havlice
Mike here: I don't recall any reports of any of the AutoStar versions having this problem in Polar mode.
Mike here: Although slightly off-topic for ETX users, if you have an AutoStar II controlled telescope and you use an Intel-based Mac, check out vPaddle. Right now, it is in beta testing.
Subject:	"Autostar" versus "ETX Autostar"
Sent:	Monday, September 6, 2010 17:27:03
From:	Rene Torres (rtorresphd@hotmail.com)
I am trying to buy an ETX-90 on eBay. Some pictures show an Autostar
controller with just "Autostar" on the front, and others show "ETX
Autostar":.
 
Which is the newer version?
 
Thanks, Rene Torres
Mike here: When the ETX-90EC began shipping in January 1999, the AutoStar #497 model was labeled the "ETX Autostar". Later, when other telescopes began also using the AutoStar, the designation "ETX" was dropped from the label. They are the same AutoStar #497, at least, up until last year when the AutoStar #497EP was released.

And:

Thanks so much. This really helps.

Regards, Rene

Subject:	epoch year
Sent:	Friday, September 3, 2010 18:27:24
From:	Doug Skillman (dskillma@columbus.rr.com)
Can you explain how to find the epoch year and epoch day, I  need them
to update the sat tracking infoThanks Doug
Mike here: Do you mean in the TLE? If so, see the ISS and satellite related articles on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Re: Method of saving firmware of Autostar(#497) in personal computer
Sent:	Wednesday, September 1, 2010 03:17:18
From:	T.Yashi (yashi@sky.email.ne.jp)
Thank you for your quick reply.
There are a lot of valuable information in your homepage.
I'm sorry I could not find the information that was necessary for me.
I try again.

And:

I can control the ETX-90PE by connecting AutoStar#497 with my personal
computer.
I will try to find the method of getting the firmware from my friend on
your homepage.
Mike here: On the PC, the ROM build file is located in an "Ephemerides" folder inside the Meade folder. At least, it is in the English version. Don't know if that's true for the Japanese version but try there.

And:

Thank you.
I will try.
Mike here: By the way, the local installation folders will only be there if the AutoStar Update application has been installed.

And:

I found the method of making the clone of Autostar on the homepage
below.
http://www.meade.com/manuals/505ccs/index.html
I will ask my friend to test this method.

The best methods for me is downloading Japanese firmwares.
However, I cannot do it.

Takashi Yashiro
Mike here: That Meade web page doesn't actually describe how to make the clone cable, only how to use it.

And:

I see.
My friend has the clone cable.
Thank you.

Takashi Yashiro

And from our resident AutoStar expert:

From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The newest Japanese version i know of is  4.3Jd

If you have a friend with a 497 Autostar, you can "clone" his firmware
to your Autostar directly. You do not need a PC in the middle.

You must make a "Clone cable"  which directly connects the smaller
socket on the 497 to the same socket on the other 497.

That cable "swaps" two of the wires (to connect "send" to "receive")

If you look at the *end* of the cable, you can number the pins like
this:

+--------------+
|  1  2  3  4  |
+---+     +----+
   +-----+

In that diagram, pins 3 and 4  are the two that are swapped, so the
other end becomes:


+--------------+
|  1  2  4  3  |
+---+     +----+
   +-----+

Connect the two Autostar together with that cable.
Connect each Autostar to its own telescope.
Turn on both telescopes.

Then, on the English Autostar,  use the menu to reach:  Setup/Download  [enter]

Next, on the Japanese Autostar, use the menu to reach:  Setup/Clone [enter]
Then (in the sub-menu) choose "Clone All"  [enter]

That should start the transfer.   It will take about 9 minutes.

It will tell you when it is finished. (the "english" Autostar should
boot into Japanese)

good luck
--dick

And:

The version of Autostar that my friend has is 4.3Jd.
He has two ETX and "Clone cable".
He will connect two ETX by "Clone cable".
And, the version of my Autostar will be 4.3Jd.
I wish to express my gratitude to Mr. Dick Seymour and Mr. Mike Weasner.

Takshi Yashiro

And this:

My friend will use "Clone cable" and two ETX.
I heard there is a person who had made the software that copy the
firmware of Autostar to the personal computer.
I do not know who the person is.
Can you get the software?
If I can back up the firmware in my personal computer,I will feel easy.
I think it is more convenient if I can download Japanese firmware (3.4Ja
or 4.3Jd) from the Internet.

And:

My friend succeeded in making the clone.
He used two ETX.
He connected two Autostar with the clone cable that he had made. And, he
executed necessary commands.
The version of the firmware of my Autostar became 4.3Jd.
The menu is displayed in Japanese.
I am very glad.
I will express my gratitude for your very kind advice.

Takashi Yashiro

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