USB CONNECTION FOR AUTOSTAR
Last updated: 27 September 2011
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 09:40:17 From: Don Neill (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently had a positive experience connecting my Autostar #497 to my MacBook Pro and thought I would share the information with other Autostar users. I have an ETX90EC (one of the old ones) that I recently retrieved from storage with the aim of connecting it to and controlling it from my MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.6.8. I first attempted to use an old USB-Serial adapter from Keyspan, but was unable to find drivers. It was simply too old. I scanned the web for reviews of adapters, specifically those used to connect with Autostar controllers, but most of the information was old and perhaps out of date. I came across the unit by Plugable which uses the Prolific PL2303HX chipset and was impressed by the documentation and the support on their web site which includes instructions on how to install the drivers for OS X 10.6.8 and Windows 7. I am using Parallels with Win7 for running the Autostar updater. I ordered the adapter direct from Plugable (through Amazon) and it arrived in two days with no special shipping. The drivers on the CDROM that comes with the unit are old and of no use, however, the drivers on their web site (plugable.com) are fine. Following the instructions on the plugable web site, I installed the drivers on the Win7 under Parallels. I downloaded the latest Autostar Updater (v5.9.3) from the Meade web site. Once this was installed, I connected the handbox to the adapter using the Meade #505 cable, connected the adapter to my USB port, turned on the telescope and launched the program. My EPROM was quite out of date (25Ea, I think) so I updated this and then installed some new object data and tours using the ASU. After that was done, I closed Win7 and went back to Mac OS X. Once again, I followed the instructions on the plugable web site and installed the drivers. To test the connection on the Mac side, I used Cartes du Ceil Skychart (v3.4.1) with the INDI driver (indilib v0.8), which I had installed earlier using macports. After connecting everything up, I powered up the scope and did an easy align (inside so I just pushed ENTER after it selected each star). Then I launched the indiserver using the indi_lx200autostar device driver and then launched skychart. It connected right away and downloaded the correct position into the program. I was able to issued GOTO commands from within skychart and it correctly showed where the scope was pointing. I hope this proves to be useful. Thanks for keeping all of the ETX info collected for us! -DonMike here: As I mentioned on the update to my SkySafari for Mac OS X review, Tripplite has a web page of driver updates for Keyspan USB-serial adapters:
Great! I'm happy if it helps someone. It is the first time I was able to issue GOTO commands from within a sky program and I can't wait to try it on the real sky (even tho I live in SoCal, it has been cloudy since the day the adapter arrived ;-). I did try those tripplite drivers with no joy. I think my old adapter was an obscure model for my old palm device and it wouldn't even power on with the drivers from tripplite. It will go into the electronic recycle bin. Cheers, -Don
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