Last updated: 3 February 2006
I finally installed the Meade Autostar #497 ROM version 4.0Ef (and of course, a few days later Meade released 4.1Ec). Here is a brief report on its performance and some differences that I noted.
I used AutostarX 1.4 on my old Apple PowerBook G4/500 with OS X 10.4.4 and the Keyspan Twin USB-Serial Adapter with their 2.0 driver. The update proceeded normally on my ETX-125, ETX-105PE, and LXD55-8"SC Autostars.
Following each update I did a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES. Meade made a change to the initial screen you see following the startup initialization. You now see:
Press 0 to Align or MODE for Menu
In order to get to the Telescope menu to select CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES you must press the MODE key, which gets you to the Setup menu (which is the same as with older versions) and from there you can get to the Telescope menu as before. You can also select which alignment method you want to use from the Setup menu (as before).
Pressing 0 to start the alignment really does start the alignment process immediately using either Auto Align if you have a LNT telescope or asks you for the Date/Time/Daylight Savings values and then goes to Easy Align if you don't have a LNT telescope. With the LNT, alignment star selection and slewing starts right away; there is no need to pick the alignment type. This is what Meade calls the "AutoAlign™".
Using the "Press 0 to Align" option on my ETX-125 and ETX-105PE models, the alignment stars were placed near the center of the finderscope field-of-view (FOV) or SmartFinder red-dot. Following the centering of the alignment stars I then did GOTOs to selected objects in different parts of the sky and all objects were nearly centered in the 26mm eyepiece FOV. Using the menu to select the alignment worked similarly as well.
Due to a RA gear slippage problem on my LXD55-8"SC I haven't yet checked out 4.0Ef on it but hope to soon (once I disassemble the gear box and re-tighten the setscrew). I expect that I will see similar results. If not, I'll report back here.
I did notice that 4.0Ef (and perhaps an earlier version as well) has dropped the "Display Options" from the Utilities menu. This was where you turned off the Sun Warning and Getting Started display text on startup. But since the warning and instructions didn't appear in 4.0Ef the loss of the menu option should be of no concern. I assume that Meade needed memory for new features so the Display Options went away.
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