AUTOSTAR #494 RESURRECTION
Last updated: 24 February 2012
Subject: AutoStar #494 files Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:01:23 From: G (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm George LZ3GT/VE2BUA from Montreal,Canada and i want to share with your users my expirience with this extremly bad product Autostar #494.I was very deeply involved in solving different software and hardware problems with mine ETX-80 + #494 ver.13Ea.I am embedded designer/programmer and one day i decided to bye one lightweight computerised scope, i have Sky Watcher 90 mm maksutov with qwartc remote control and i i'm very happy with,but finding the objects is quite slow.That guide me to buy one ETX-80 with #506 cable.And the saga was just beginnig. After one hour of working and becoming familiar with 494 i decided to connect it to my computer.Everyting working fine with Meade Autostart Suite,but i like more The Sky and switch him to work.The integrated Meade interface Meade give errors with the scope clock and i installed ASCOM drivers ,everithing worked fine to this point.But when i decided to update my satelites and commets with Autostar Updater he simply freeze on 1-2% and my 494 was dead,i reset it but nothing or strange white cursors or symbols on the screen.No way to go back to life this handset,i try everythink.So for me at that point one think was clear-firmware or eeprom of 68HC11 is corrupted.Seems more like registers or firmware,because of no boot .EEPROM is readed after long long init procedures and was generaly not suspected if nothing come on display or lights or buttons.After this constatation i try to find somebody who have a good firmware and Dick Seymour was the right person to help.He send me 12Ea.rom dump with shematics of the 494.Many thanks Dick! After i build the JBug interface and connected my handset to my PC.When i learned how to use them i remarked as is suspected that the first page of my FLASH AM29040 was erased.This flash have separate commands for page erase and full erase.My firmware was scrapped.At that time i don't have the flash programmer,so i decided to write in the flash with JBUG,but for my surprise it was impossible,no drivers for erase and write flash,because of different commands and structuresfor different flash chips.I take the time to learn 68HC11 assembler and i modified the existing driver for writing,but for erasing i create symple ASM file,who is loaded and started on 68HC11 and he erase current page.To switch on other page you need to manipulate the PORTA3...6 bits.I didn't wrote one for full erase just because i didn't want to have more troubles if i load it accidently,but is easy to create one.Writing and reading by JBug show me some inconveniences like eeprom and bootprom is always present on dump,so i am not able to write entire flash like as wanted,but instead cut on pieces and write it,except that this didn't work.Handset start the first flash page and when come to code under bootprom freeze.Here i understand that i need external flash programmer.When i got one i put the code in my handset by soldering/desoldering/programming and now my 494 working fine.So the conclusion is clear-you may upgrade/downgrade 494 if you have the right firmware,soldering skills and flash programmer.I send you some files like Jbug rec driver for writing flash,flash sector erase asm and s19.If somebody need firmware or shematics please ask Dick Seymour for that.Be carefull ,the shematics have errors.For questions or more informations please send a english,french,bulgarian or russian message at email@example.com .Happy stargazing whitout problems!!! George Gustinov LZ3GT VE2BUAMike here: All four files are in this ZIP archive.
the products is realy bad,but i permit you to remove this comment,unfortunatly this will not change the reality.Tolerate the mediocrity create more mediocrity instead of perfection and the end user suffer even more and more.BTW,you choise if this info will be publish or not.Me i don't care....I know what i know and always use what i know to help others who don't know.Nice to meet you,i realy like you site,you help me a lot!Many thanks! G.
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 16:01:32 From: J J (firstname.lastname@example.org) Concerning this page : http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/2010/autostar494_files.html for my #494 resurection i want to add some additional info. First i changed my email from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org. Second ,after reflashing Autostar with ROM 12Ea which Dick send me, my scope dont want to load the time from time chip on boot,he is installed and working, just no I2C communication on the bus.I suspected the chip himself or some sort of level convertor i supposed between 68hc11 and the time chip(have SMD format and 6 pin,this should be level convertor from 3 to 5 V or something close to that).But due to restricted place and difficulties to debug i leave this non working without future investigations.But today i read one question in you site and i remembered my case,it seems that my scope ETX-80AT-TC(TC is maybe TimeChip) have special firmware 13Ea to support I2C communication to the time chip - one of DS series.So 12Ea dont support clock and dont have ETX-80 in his menu,but have Polar alignement,13Ea dont have this,only AltAz.This mean that even 494 could be personalized in factory,dependent of each case,they are not 100% interchangeable.So you success may vary dependent of what you have.This is my additional info ,i suppose this will be informative for everyone with scope of ETX family.Enjoy! PS.Nice site, i already tell you many times,thank you one more time! George.
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