Last updated: 8 June 2010

Information on the Autostar and USB

Subject:	Sabrent USB Adapter
Sent:	Tuesday, June 8, 2010 13:20:20
From:	Jim on Stars (
In a recent contribution, Kris Tutterow indicated success with the
Sabrent USB to Serial Adapter for $10.99.

I decided to try it with my new MacBook computer running System 10.6.3.

Bottom line: It works great!  And the price is a great improvement over
the KeySpan equivalent.

But -- there's always a but. The first problem was that the driver for
the unit is contained on a mini-CD-ROM. The MacBook does not accept a
mini-CD-ROM.  OK, so I used my older Mac to read the mini-CD and
transferred the info to the new MacBook.  The driver was labeled
something like It turns out that this will not work on

So, I went to the Sabrent Website:

and downloaded the driver there. (Click on Drivers on the home page,
wait for the new page to load and then choose Cables from the pull-down
menu. The cable I purchased was the first selection SBT-USC1M)

In order to install the driver, they request that you remove any old
drivers and give instructions on how to do so. Trouble is, the
instructions are wrong. First, the method they use to remove it uses the
Mac Terminal program. My guess is there are  lot of people who don't
know how to use the Terminal program. Also, you must log in as "root"
which is always a bit dangerous. The Terminal program communicates via
UNIX like commands - which are case sensitive. Here's where the
instructions were incorrect: for example, they direct you to a folder
call /extension. The actual folder is called /Extensions (the E is
capitalized and the name is plural).

Anyway, a seasoned UNIX person can handle this and a few other errors no

But, the easiest thing is to chuck the Mini-CD-ROM, connect directly to
their website, download the latest driver and all should work fine.

I have been having great fun using Starry Night Pro with my new Mac
controlling an ETX 125 PE.

Thanks for your great web site.

Jim Havlice

End of today's update
Subject:	USB Adapter
Sent:	Thursday, February 4, 2010 17:49:49
From:	Kris Tutterow (
I want to let you know about the USB to Serial adapter that I purchased
(thought you could pass this info. on to others).  I bought a Sabrent
adapter from Newegg and it works great with the Autostar (uses Prolific
chipset).  The best part is that it cost a mere 10.99 plus shipping. 
The link below is the adapter.

Thank again,

Kris T.
Meade LXD75 SN6AT

End of 4 February 2010 update
Subject:	USB adapters, Windows 7 (64 bit)
Sent:	Saturday, January 30, 2010 08:33:17
From:	Peter Rogers (
Thought that I should update you on my usb-adapter problems. I learned
from my supplier that the adapter I had purchased was an FTDI US232R-100
and after checking all the data sheets and trying on various computers
came to the conclusion that it was 'busted'.

Due to your suggestions about Stargps, I had dug out my Garmin 12 gps,
which is also a serial device, and used this for connection trials as
well. Amongst my bits and pieces i found an old RS232-usb adapter and
discovered that it had the Prolific PL-2303 chip. So after finding the
driver, tried that out on my XP computer and 'Lo and Behold' was able to
connect to Autostar. Very pleased!

Next step - would this work on new laptop (Sony Vaio running Win 7 64
bit). Well, not at first. PL2303 drivers just would not load and run,
BUT after various internet searches came up with this link Visited the
usglobalsat website first, for some re-assurance before downloading, and
then went ahead.

RESULT! Great, it worked straight away. Device Manager now showed
adapter correctly installed and allocated COM number. Tried out with
Autostar Suite and also Cartes de Ciel and successfully connected to
Autostar and so to ETX on both. Am now very happy bunny.

Thought you (and other readers) would be interested to know of this
solution for Windows 7 (64 bit)

Best wishes

Peter Rogers

'Still cloudy here in England'

End of 31 January 2010 update
Subject:	USB to RS232 serial adapter
Sent:	Monday, June 15, 2009 19:00:03
From:	D. G. McAllister (
When faced with the dilemma of connecting my LX-90 Auto Star 497
controller to my new Compaq Presario laptop running Windows Vista 32
bit, my research lead me to this little jewel

It came with a cd-rom full of drivers for various windows operating
systems; however, when I plugged it into my laptop it searched the
update file retrieved its own driver and down loaded it, then assigned
its own com port and in less than five minutes we were off to the races.
Worked well interfacing with Auto Star Suite and allowed for update of
my hand box  It is advertised to work with Mac as well.  It has a very
high rate of data transfer well beyond the 9600 baud rate specified by
Meade.  Great price $24.84 which included shipping.  Very compact and
comes with a 3 ft extension cable.  Hope this helps some one.
Regards and Clear Skies
Dave McAllister
"Better to parish in the unknown, than live the drudgery of familiarity" DGM
Olde Skol Astronomy

End of 16 June 2009 update
Subject:	Cables to Go USB Adapter for Mac
Sent:	Tuesday, April 28, 2009 12:22:16
From:	jonathan joaquin (
I purchased a Cables to Go USB to Serial Adapter. it came with a WIndows
Driver CD. I had the intention on using it with VMWare Fusion and my
Intel Macbook. It works fine there. But as I was looking at the driver
name I saw it was a PL2303 Chipset. A little Googling for PL23203 Mac
Driver later yielded the Mac OSX Driver from the Mfg.
Here is the Link:

They have the drivers for OS8 and 9 as well as OSX 10.1 to 10.5.

I tried it and it works with the following Mac Programs.

Cartes du Ciel
Equinox 6

Thanks for your site!!!


End of 30 April 2009 update
Subject:	ETX-125PE - Serial via USB
Sent:	Monday, November 17, 2008 07:53:29
From:	Ludwig Krijgshaftig (
There are a number of posts on your site re. connecting the #505 serial
cable from the Autostar to a USB port on a PC. Basic advice that I got
from these posts is to either purchase the Meade Serial to USB cable or
one from Keyspan. Furthermore stay away from Belkin. Be sure to set the
COM port number correctly for the USB to RS232c serial connection in the
device manager on Windows. Lastly keep the size of the FIFO buffers low,
or not enabled at all.

Unfortunately I read all of this AFTER I had already purchased the first
USB to RS232c serial connection cable I could get my hands on. The
reason was that I can purchase the Meade Serial to USB cable for 53 EUR
(about 66 USD) while I can get a no-brand cable for about 18 EUR.
Reading the related articles on your site, I got worried that I had been
too cheap and would pay for it in the end. Fortunately that has not been
the case.

The cable I purchased is branded Gembird. Model UAS-111. Made in China.
USB 1.1 compatible (no use to go for USB 2.0 if you are only going to
use it at 9600 Baud). It has a male 9-pin plug (DB9M), which matches the
female 9-pin plug in the #505 kit. Unfortunately both have bolts, so I
can not screw the bolts of one in the nut on the other. The Meade cable
does offer that possibility, but I do not think that alone is worth the
35 EUR (44 USD) price difference.

It comes with a small CD-ROM with the driver software. Many versions and
no explanation on which one to choose. I finally chose to avoid the
latest (apparently designed for Windows Vista but also usable for
Windows XP) and opted for the main one for Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP
and 2003. Driver installs without a fuss and only adds a driver
uninstall option to the Start Menu. After that I plugged the USB cable
in (with nothing else in the DB9M plug). The new serial port was
recognized and added automatically. Windows recognizes it as a Prolific
USB-Serial Comm Port though (no mention of Gembird here).

My PC has COM1 and COM3 already occupied and the new connection was
assigned COM4 with FIFO buffers enabled and on their max settings. I
then connected the DB9M plug to the RS232c of the #505 kit, with that
one connected to the Autostar and the Autostar connected to the
ETX-125PE. I had already installed the Autostar Suite and switched on
the ETX.

I defined COM4 in Autostar Suite under Telescope - Communications -
CommPort Setup, with all other parameters as they were (which was
already equal to the default settings in Windows Device Manager, so 9600
Bits per second, 8 Data bits, No parity, 1 Stop bit, No flow control).
Then tried to connect via Telescope - Protocol - Autostar via Comm Port.
And then... no connection. Brought the FIFO buffers back a bit. No
connection. Disabled the FIFO buffers. No connection.

Disappointed I gave it another try with Autostar Updater (version 4.6).
This connected without a problem (after specifying COM4 under Options)
and let me edit User Data. Success!

Now I knew that the connection was OK, I returned to Autostar Suite (AE,
version 3.19). Tried with different COM ports and different sizes of
FIFO buffers, but all to no avail. Did discover that the software was
not very stable though as Autostar Suite several times caused a reboot
on Windows XP PC, something that had not happened with any other
software in a long time. Anyway, after the reboot the connection
suddenly was successful!

I was confused with Autostar Suite manual stating that I should use the
Telescope - Remote Handbox option rather than the Control Panel, as that
was only included for support of older model LX200 scopes. Due to my
lack of understanding I tried to connect first via Telescope - Protocol
- Autostar via Comm Port and that was now OK (warning shows up on
dangers of controlling your scope without being able to see it). With
that connection still on I also tried the Remote Handbox, only finding
that to inform me that the connection was already in use. Rather silly
this behaviour from one software suite, but I finally figured out that
it was one or the other. After that I was OK. All working fine.

Have finally changed the port from COM4 to COM2 and left the FIFO
buffers enabled but rather low (just above minimum). Windows XP does not
allow you to specify the size of the FIFO buffers in bytes, just a
number between 1 and 14 or 16. Unclear what that means, but have left
them at something near 4. As I understand the correct number for the COM
port is any number that is still available on your PC and also a number
that should be matched in the Autostar Suite or other software.

Hope this helps anyone else having problems with Serial to USB
connection and/or doubting which cable to purchase.

Kind regards,

End of 17 November 2008 update
Subject:	USB to Serial adapter issues with Autostar
Sent:	Saturday, July 19, 2008 08:09:26
From:	Riopka, Terry (
I was reading about the problems people seem to have with the USB to
serial adapters for Autostars on your web site. I just bought a 10 inch
LX200GPS and was also having problems updating (using a Windows XP

The issue is definitely related to the use of FIFO buffers by the
adapter. This solution worked for a Radioshack (Model 26-183) which I
purchased after spending hours with a Belkin adapter (which I noted
several people said didn't work). I then tried the same solution using
the Belkin and it worked just as well!  I had the Belkin on COM5 and the
Radioshack version on COM2, so I don't think the COM number is relevant.

I think I read that you posted this information somewhere, but I thought
verifying it might help also.


End of 21 July 2008 update
Subject:	Serial port issue resolution / local sidereal time problem
Sent:	Saturday, June 7, 2008 14:53:27
From:	julie clayton (
Just passing along some information about a setup that is working for me:

Laptop: Lenovo R61i
Telescope: Meade ETX125
Software: The sky v6
Serial port adapter:  Dynex. Model No. DX-UBDB9

It was much easier to set up than I suspected it would be based on the
fact that autostar is anything but user friendly, thanks to the
information here and on Bisque website.  I just had to go to the device
device manager to find out which com port was being used. 

Many thanks for the good information.

Still have an issue to work out with local siereal times not matching
up.  Autostars is showing up as 06 28 49; Sky is showing up as 14 22 06.
Have checked everything on autostar that I can think of.   Any
suggestions?  Thanks again.
Mike here: You sure you are looking at Sidereal Time? Could you be looking at Local Time?

End of 8 June 2008 update
Subject:	Prolific-based USB serial adapter
Sent:	Wednesday, June 13, 2007 14:44:06
From:	John Hall (
I eventually updated a LX90 Autostar to 4.3Eg and it -does- appear to
have fixed a problem that was occurring.

As it happened, I had a major problem doing the update. I have a
Prolific-based USB serial adapter that works fine on the Autostar 497
that came with my ETX-90, but the 497 on the LX-90 was having none of
it! It would connect okay, but fail the firmware download (usual
symptoms). I even tried Starpatch to no avail. Fortunately, he had a
really old PC down there with Windows 98 and a 'real' serial port - that
got me out of trouble, using the 'safe load' mode. Odd that one Autostar
should be more touchy about the comms than another? Before encountering
this problem, I would have told people that Prolific-based adapters work
okay on the 497, but it looks like things are more complicated than

Best regards,
From:	Richard Seymour (
Just as you updated the firmware on the Autostar,
you might maybe check the Prolific website for an
updated driver for your USB adapter.

have fun

End of 17 June 2007 update
Subject:	Prolific Adapter and Linux
Sent:	Friday, June 2, 2006 23:14:38
From:	Patrick W. Gonzalez (
Just wanted to let everyone know, I run Fedora Core 5 (2.6.15-2054smp)
on a new Lenova 3000 N100 laptop and use KStars to control my ETX-105. 
I recently purchased a Prolific based USB to Serial adapter from I have been extremely pleased with the performance of
the cable thus far. On initial connection it was recognized as
/dev/ttyUSB0. After configuring KStars with the new port information, it
connected right to my Autostar and away we went. I have also connected
it to a windows box in order to update my Autostar, no problems there
either detected right away, and after a quick driver load was detected
as COM4.

For those few open source gurus running Linux....Prolific is a good

-Patrick W. Gonzalez
Morehead, KY

End of 4 June 2006 update
Subject:	USB to Serial adapters
Sent:	Friday, May 26, 2006 11:25:21
From:	FORGIEL Bob (
I was reading through the comments on your web site concerning the USB
to serial adapters. There was a comment by someone about the cable only
working in one USB port. If you look in the Windows Device Manager, it
will show what com port Windows is calling it. If you plug it into
another port, the port number will also change. I think the adaptor that
I have was made by Eagle or something like that and by default it called
it com5. I changed the properties of the port so it was recognized as
com2. I should also add that I saw in Meads manual for the DSI an
illustration of the telescope tab in their software. It clearly showed
"comm2" typed in the box. I have always used one "m" in the word "com"
and Windows calls it "com" with one "m".  I never tried it with two M's
but I would guess that it wouldn't be able to find or open that port.

Keep looking up but watch out for the mean cloud people.

Bob F.
Coventry Rhode Island

End of 31 May 2006 update
Subject:	Re:USB to serial port adapters
Sent:	Wednesday, May 3, 2006 21:03:34
From: (
Re: "Information on the Autostar and USB" Topic.

I also have had very good results with a Prolific-based adapter with one
exception.  I use it with a Dell 1150 Inspiron and if I leave it
connected when the machine goes to "sleep" or "standby" mode, it will
not wake up. The only recourse is to do a Power Down by holding the
Power button and then a restart.  This is definitely not recommended, as
it's possible to corrupt the hard drive.

You just have to remember to unplug the adapter from the USB port before
letting the machine go to Sleep.  Whether this problem is unique to my
computer or the Prolific drivers or whatever, I have no idea.  Just
something to keep in mind.


End of 7 May 2006 update
Subject:	USB to serial port adapters
Sent:	Thursday, April 27, 2006 19:14:51
As always - love your site!  I found another adapter that works reliably
w/ my 497/ETX125 and my LX200GPS.  It is the house brand of Best Buys -
Dynex.  Model No. DX-UBDB9.  It uses the Prolific chip set.  It was a
bit flaky at first but a quick search of Prolific's web site netted me
an updated driver and now the adapter works 100% of the time.

Of course I am using all of the advice posted from the web and from your
site: reducing FIFO buffers and manually assigning a COM port to the

Thanx for a great resource...

Subject:	USB Adaptor for "list"
Sent:	Saturday, April 22, 2006 14:32:07
From:	Pete (
I've had no problems using a NewLink USB Serial Adaptor 


from a Windows XP machine with USB 2.0 ports to download data and
updates to the Autostar. I had to use the driver from the Meade site as
I had problems trying to get the supplied driver working.


End of 3 May 2006 update
Subject:	re: Meade ETX 125 trouble
Sent:	Monday, April 17, 2006 20:02:49
From:	richard seymour (
I would recommend making the FIFO buffer sizes much -smaller-.
The 'receive' buffer should be zero or 1 if possible.
(otherwise, the USB adapter waits for the buffer to fill
before sending the bytes to the ASU program... which times out).

Another approach is to use a non-Meade Updater:  StarPAtch

available as a free download from
(follow the links to StarPatch).

It is -much- smarter about talking to the Autostar
than Meade's updater.

Also, when in Safe Load mode, the Autostar does -not-
respond in the usual ways to the 'auto probes' of ASU.
It is far better to -tell- ASU which port has the Autostar.
(but try StarPatch first... it's better...)

good luck
Mike here: Hum, wonder if StarPatch is more tolerant to the "bad" USB-serial adapters?

End of 21 April 2006 update
Subject:	Meade ETX 125 trouble
Sent:	Sunday, April 16, 2006 00:38:21
From:	Magda Manea (
Hello, my name is Catalin and I visited your site, which I found very

I have some trouble with my Autostar controller, and I hope that you can
give me some tips about it. About one day ago I tried to upgrade my hand
controller with some comets, satelites etc. via the Autostar updater. I
thougt everything was just in order as the screen displayed:

"downloading, do not turn of". After approx. 30 min. nothing had change
on the display. But I didn't do anything to change the message. After
another 30 min. the screen changed and it displayed:
" (c)05 Meade [41E]

I tried to get into the controllers menu but nothing happend, the
controller was locked. I turned the telescope of and on several times,
but the display still showed the same "message".

I hope you have time to answer me and just give me some clues about what
the problem is.

Mike here: It sounds like you actually were doing an upgrade of the Autostar ROM (which normally takes about 30 minutes) rather than just updating object information. But it appears that the upgrade failed for some reason. By any chance was the Autostar connected to your computer via a USB-serial adapter and if so, which one? At this point you will have to put the Autostar into SAFE LOAD mode and redownload but, if you are using a USB adapter, before you do that let me know about the adapter.


Thank you very much for your answer.

Yes the hand-controll was connected to the PC with a USB adapter. The
adapter is just a normal adapter (USB to RS-232 cable) which was
connected to the COM4 gate.

I'm afraid I don't know what the Safe Load Mode is, so I hope that you
can help us with it.

PS. If I didn't tell you in our message, the scope is connected to a
Laptop DS.

Mike here: You can to see if the communication through the USB adapter will work reliably but some adapters just don't work too well with the Autostar. See the article "Autostar and USB" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Which adapter do you have?
To put the Autostar into SAFE LOAD hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN keys and then power on the telescope. You will see something like FLASH LOAD ready on the Autostar display. Then run the Autostar Updater application; it should detect this mode and let you reinstall the ROM. This will put the Autostar, if the download works, back into the default state so you will have to enter your site, CALIBRATE MOTOR, and TRAIN DRIVES.


I've got a VS Com USB to RS-232 cable with 128 byte Transmit and 384
Byte receive FIFO

I've alredy tried the Safe Load trick, and the screen displays Flash
Load 3.0 Ready, exactly as you said. Then I started ASU and made an auto
detect of all the COM ports on the laptop. Sometimes the program found
the used port and sometimes not.

But the problem is that the display doesn't change, it's "ded".

And the the handbox side in ASU does'n get active, I can't Retrieve,
Send or Connect to the handbox. I can't press the Upgrade Autostar
Software now either because it's not active.

Hope you haven't lost your patience with me.
Mike here: As noted in that USB article, only a few adapters seem to work well. I suggest you replace the adapter with one of the known good ones. Alternatively, you can check for an updated adapter driver from the vendor's web site.


OK, I saw that on your site, and I will try to find another USB adapter,
but it's not so easy to find one of the recomended here in Sweden :(

I've tried to connect the scope to my other PC without a USB adapter (to
a serial port instead)but that didn't work to good either.

ASU found the handbox on COM 1 when I did a Auto Detect (Options>Set Com
Port>Auto-detect)but when I pushed the Connect, Retrieve or Send button
it said it didn't found Autostar.

I don't understand why the program founds Autostar in one way but not in
the other way!!!

Hope you still have time to help me!
Thank you

End of 17 April 2006 update
Subject:	AutoStar and LX200GPS
Sent:	Tuesday, April 11, 2006 06:41:11
From:	Henry (
I have a 10" LX200GPS with Autostar II.  I had the scope attached to my
laptop via the cable which came with my DSI.  It was connected to a USB
port via a USB - Serial adapter.  It was connected to the RS-232 port
next to the port where Autostar plugs in.  I loaded the ASU and it
detected the handset.  I then tried to Upgrade Autostar.  It asked me to
save any user data, then it asked where to get the info from and I got
it over the Internet.  It then loaded and built a file (seen on the
status bar).  The it asked if I wanted to proceed.  It then worked for a
couple minuted, then gave me the error.  Then a box pops up saying 'No
Response".  When I powered down then back up, the handset froze at the
splash screen stating Meade, copyright 2001.  I since learned to get
into Safe Mode, but I can't seem to update from there either.  When I
try to 'retrieve' something, I keep getting an error stating, "invalid
access to memory location".  Thats about it.  I hope you can tell me
what I did wrong and how to fix it.
Mike here: See the article "Autostar and USB" (this page) on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. It speaks to USB-serial adapters for the Autostar #494, #495, and #497. I don't know for certain but based on your problem I now suspect that the Autostar II has the same issue with USB adapters. Not all work reliably.


Thanks for the info.  It was the usb-serial adapter.  Brought the scope
inside and connected to a real serial port and it worked fine.
Mike here: Ah ha! Which adapter was it?


Belkin.  Someone mentioned getting a KeySpan adapter.  Do you have any
favorites/suggestions as to which adapters work?
Mike here: I could have guessed. Belkin is the most commonly reported brand with problems connecting (see that article "Autostar and USB"). The article also has alternatives; I use a Keyspan with my Macintosh and it works fine.

End of 13 April 2006 update
Subject:	USB Adaptor for "list"
Sent:	Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:42:22
From:	Gene Rozea (
I've successfully used an ATEN Model UC-232A USB to Serial adaptor on
both a SONY laptop and HP Pavilion to update the firmware and satellite
TLE's to the 497 Autostar on my ETX-90. Have seen no hiccups at all.


End of 16 March 2006 update
Subject:	Meade #506 to USB
Sent:	Tuesday, March 7, 2006 08:07:56
From:	Smith, Marty (Charles) (
I have just started to become involved with star gazing and purchased a
DS-2130ATS for the family and was interested in connecting this baby to
my laptop.  I understand that the #506 is required, and because my
laptop has no 9 pin serial port it requires the USB converter to make
the connection.  My question:  Do I have to pay $40 for a Meade
converter cable or can I pick up any 9 pin to USB converter cable like
the one listed in this link..  Thanks a bunch!!  Marty Smith
Mike here: The experiences of many others have shown that not all USB adapters will work. So far there are only two that I can recommend: Keyspan and Meade. Others may or may not work.

End of 8 March 2006 update
Subject:	USB Adapters for Autostar
Sent:	Friday, January 6, 2006 05:15:58
From:	Dave Wallace (
If you're going to start a list (like you did with power supplies),
here's an entry:

Adapter:    Tripp-Lite model U209-000R
Computer:   Dell Inspiron 1100 Laptop
O/S:        Windows XP Home SP2
Software:   Autostar Suite, Cartes du Ciel
Note:       The driver seems to only recognize the adapter if you always
plug it into the same USB port.  (This could be an adapter thing or it
could be the Dell computer.)
Mike here: To which I add the Keyspan Twin USB-Serial Adapter (for Mac OS X and Windows).

End of 7 January 2006 update
Subject:	USB to Serial Adapters
Sent:	Monday, January 2, 2006 08:50:20
From: (
I've noticed a lot of messages recently about problems using USB to
Serial adapters.  This is likely to continue as most laptops these days
are provided without serial ports.  I doubt Meade is working very hard
on a better solution since they can make more selling their overpriced
adapter as an add-on.

Perhaps you could create a new area or topic on this subject to
consolidate the resolutions/recommendations on dealing with it.  It
seems most of the problems reported are associated with Autostar Update.

I know from personal experience that the Belkin adapter has quirks in
this area.  It will work with Autostar Suite for controlling the scope,
but not with Update.  As a matter of fact, if you try to do an Update,
you can end up corrupting the Autostar and have to do a Safe Load.  This
is a major problem if you have no other way except the laptop to do an
update.  I had to revert to my desktop machine with a real Serial port.

I have since relegated the Belkin to my car where it works fine with the
Garmin GPS/laptop configuration.  The replacement is an inexpensive
generic mail order adapter from Sewell Direct for $17 which works for
everything. No doubt there are many others that work equally well.

If you do decide to create a new topic, it could include vendors,
prices, and most important, reviews and test results for various
configurations, similar to your Power Supply section.  It might make
your life easier since you could refer questions to a specific area
instead of replying on a case by case basis.  Just my $0.02, FWIW.

Happy New Year,
Mike here: Yes, Belkin models seem to have problems, at least with Windows computers. Keyspan models seem to work reliably on Macs and PCs. Meade's is Windows-only.

End of 4 January 2006 update
Subject:	USB-to-Serial Problem & Fix
Sent:	Thursday, August 4, 2005 23:07:01
From: (
I've had problems updating and uploading my Autostar with my Dell 1150
laptop using the Belkin F5U109 adapter.  I finally decided to try
another adapter and found one that works with no problems.  It's from, PN# SW-1301.  Cost is $17.95 + $4.95 s&h in the US.
Mine arrived 2 days after ordering.

The problem I had was that ASU indicated the Update was complete in
about 2 seconds, but Autostar stayed hung in the Downloading mode. The
only recovery was to use Safe Load and do an Update using my desktop

I've seen messages from others with similar problems so maybe this will

Mike Hogan

End of 8 August 2005 update
Subject:	USB to RS232 Converter
Sent:	Saturday, September 25, 2004 04:42:16
From:	Robbie Harris (
Just a quick note to let you know that I've tried EasySync US232B Cable
converter from and it seems to
work fine. I've a Sony Vaio laptop with XP and The Sky 6 connecting to
my ETX-90 via the Autostar. The converter cable comes with a driver
disc, but XP didn't seem to need them  it just installed automatically
as soon as I plugged the cable in. Meade's own converter retails for 35
here in the UK  and from a previous post
( doesn't sound like its
anything special, the EasySync is 20 and was delivered next day.

Mike here: So there are now several solutions: Meade, Keyspan (which I use with my Macintosh), Belkin, and EasySync.
Subject:	Astrofinder Software With Microsoft XP Blues
Sent:	Sunday, January 5, 2003 13:52:07
I purchased in December 2002 an ETX-125 UHTC with Autostar.  Worked well
out of the box after I found and purchased a real user-written manual
that showed me how to set it up.  I see the ETX book on your site that I
will purchase straight away.

Last week I integrated the ETX with a Sony VAIO laptop with Microsoft
Windows XP onto which I loaded Meade Astrofinder software (Starry Night)
that includes Astronomers Control Panel (ACP) plug-In software.  A nasty
problem occurred as I dealt with the fact that the laptop has a USB
serial connection and the Astrofinder wants the "phone jack" end of a
DS-9 serial interface.  This requires a physical connector conversion as
well as USB to DS-9 protocol conversion.  This may not be new issue, but
I thought a detailed description of the fix could save others a day and
a half of pain that I endured....

Like many laptops, my Sony has a USB connector and does not have a 9 pin
serial connector.  I bought a cable from Meade providing a USB to DS-9
serial bridge with embedded conversion firmware.  The Meade document
SAID the cable (really its imbedded frimware) was MS XP compatible.  I
loaded it all up and the ACP software did not talk to the telescope'
Astrofinder (message was no scope connected).  After much pain and
searching, I found an XP compatible load at the Prolific Technology  who
buils the Meade cable and firmware ( The
trick was getting the software that came with cable that I had loaded in
the laptop completely uninstalled so the new load would work. Normally a
software house will tell you how to do it, but I could not penetrate
their defenses.  Ultimately, I did a System Recovery process under MS
Windows that resets (recovers) the laptop to an earlier date -
effectively completely wiping out the USB to serial bridge software load
the was incompatible.  I then downloaded over the internet the
replacement XP-compatible  firmware load from Prolific Technology and
unzipped the folder (simple doulbe click of the zipped folder transfer
over the internet form Prolific).  I the re-loaded the Meade
"Astrofinder" CD that includes Starry Nights and Astronomers Control
Panel (ACP).  I followed the set-up instructions and it ran fine.

By the way, the Astrofinder voice command and output is not functional
with MS XP.  Also the date on ACP page on the laptop is fixed in
February 2006 ?  Are their any fixes ?

David Hails
Mike here: There is an ACP update that fixes the date problem.

Mike here: For information on Macs and USB see the article "Update Autostar using a Mac".

Go back to the Autostar Information page.

Go back to the ETX Home Page.

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