Last updated: 27 November 2010
Subject: New Autostar 497 Identification Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:01:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I have both old (Motorola processor) and new (Toshiba processor) 497 handsets, and I've recently been taking them apart and swapping displays between them. I see there is interest in identifying them. My two units have absolutely no external differences in the plastic case. The patent stickers and the molded-in FCC info are exactly the same. There is one visible difference, however (other than the upside down display I put on my old 497). The shape of the RJ plug connector ports is slightly different. These ports are soldered onto the Autostar PCB. They are not actually part of the case, they just stick out through a rectangular hole in the case. I've attached photos for comparison. The old 497 has ports with a shouldered profile. The new 497 ports have a square profile. I don't know if these differences will be consistent. One other external cue, though not a visible one - the audible beeps are distinct. The new unit has an even more piercing, high pitched tone than the old (Thanks Meade!). That's hard to identify unless you have both units powered up to sample though, and then you could just check the installed software version as others have suggested. One other interesting note, though not very helpful for ID - the small locator pins in the corners of the front and back case halves that help you fit them together during assembly are reversed on the old and new cases. My old front will not mate with the new back or vice versa, so the plastic case parts do come out of different molds, at least mine did. By the way, ASU ver. 4.88 seems to handle both of my 497s fine, wrt to loading TLE data. I don't use ASU to update firmware, though it reads the versions of both units correctly. When I ask it to check the www for updates, it wants to go with 59Ef of course, which is the installed version on the new unit. There is nothing to upgrade the new one to yet. I'm using StarPatch to update the old unit firmware, not ASU anyway. Cheers, Donovan Bodishbaugh Seattle
And a clarification:
I need to revise one thing in my last email. I just realized I have two different versions of ASU on my computer. Ver 4.88 (current version on Meade website) does NOT work with both of my 497 handsets. It communicates fine with the new model, recognizing it as a 497EP, and readily reading/loading objects. I assume it would work to update the firmware, since it finds 59Ef on the web, but I have no reason to try that, and I'd rather not, given that StarPatch can't bail me out if I brick it. 4.88 recognizes my old handset as an Autostar, but it can't identify the model and can't find any available memory to load to. The Avail. Memory panel reads zero and flashes yellow. Strangely, it does pick up the correct firmware version (43GD). Ver 4.85 (from my Autostar Suite disk I think) talks fine to the old handset, recognizing it as a plain old 497. It can't ID the new handset model and doesn't read or load objects to/from memory, so the situation is reversed. Sorry for my misinformation earlier. I've changed the backdrop on one of the ASU versions, so I can tell them apart now. Donovan
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