Last updated: 8 January 2007
Subject: DS-2102 and Autostar Sent: Friday, January 5, 2007 08:58:52 From: George Ioannidis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you for your nice site. It has been a great help for me. Below are some information about this model (DS2102) and of course some questions, and I hope that will help other members of the group. It looks like they sold a lot of them during Christmas. I want to say that I have access to some great telescopes from the same brand (Meade LX 16") so I am not biased in any way. I have recently purchase a Meade DS-2102 Telescope from the Telescope Planet in UK. It has been bought after their recommendation and I thought that Meade would not put their name in a product that is crap. It is a 4" refractor with the new DS mount and Autostar 497 controller. It looks like to be a discontinued model that it doesn't even exist in the Meade's website but the price was right and I was looking for a grab and go telescope. The Autostar came loaded with the V43.Ea Version. The telescope looks like to have an on board memory and clock chip (On the telescope, not on the Autostar controller) as when you switch on the power the Autostar loads Time, Date, Site and Telescope Model from the memory. Inside the telescope there is a small battery that supplies power to the internal clock. The telescope as it came had a terrible tracking and a lot of play in the mount. You had more chances to find something in the sky with you eyes than with the goto. After the usually mechanical treat (disassembly clean tight screws - adjusts nuts etc.) I have manage to minimize the play on the mount but not to eliminate it. Next was the tracking problem. Even after the entire mechanical slope has been minimized the telescope didn't want to track properly. I have train the motors according to your recommendations and there was a small improvement but I didn't had a way to check the values of the trained motors. I have loaded your patch kit V43.Ed and there you are. Now I can check what is going on. After training again and checking the values I had a set of good average values that I have insert them to Autostar manually. I have also made a cable to supply power to the Autostar controller from the USB port of my laptop very handy when you upload new software. Now a strange think: Your patch is supposed to add additional telescope models and I was especially interested in the German equatorial one. When I was looking for it when the Autostar was connected to the telescope I couldn't find it. Today I have connected the Autostar direct in the laptop and had a look in the telescope models it was there but my existing model (DS2102) wasn't. It looks like that there are 2 sets of telescope models One in the Autostar and the other on the mount memory. The one on the mount memory supersede the one in the Autostar. And the question is it possible to have both sets? Or even better to be able to choose which ones you want? How you can access the on board memory? More about the telescope: If you are a beginner and you do not have engineer, electronic and software background I advice you: do not buy it. You will spend more time trying to fix it, than observing (That's why you bought it isn't it?). The finder is a red dot one. Through it you can only see only the very bright stars. Even some of the align stars are not visible through it. The mount of the finder is a plastic affair that you cannot align it with the main telescope and stay in one place. Every time I go out to observe I have to re-align the finder because is moving on its mount. The tripod is so flexible that you think is made of rubber It has given a new meaning to the term "it flexes". The focuser (plastic of course) moves up and down about 1/8" and when is fully extended is even worst making focusing difficult if not impossible. Open the mount and tight up ALL the screws. Half of them they were loose. All the bearings in the mount are plastic with a lot of play. You cannot do anything to improve them apart from making new bronze ones in a lathe. All the gears are plastic. Check the encoder wheels. Most of them are belly dancing and some of them are catching up to the encoders. Off course you can fix all these problems and replace the parts that they do not work with alternatives from other brands, but that will cost you 3-4 times the value of the telescope. If you can save your money and go for a better mount!!!! Regards George Ioannidis
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) >> I have recently purchase a Meade DS-2102 Telescope from the Telescope >> Planet in UK. >> >> It has been bought after their recommendation and I thought that >> Meade would not put their name in a product that is crap. Unfortunately, all of their products (save, perhaps, the Max Mount) are "Design to a price point" and that occasionally demands compromises in some areas. Thus you'll find some models where the optics are excellent yet the mount is wanting, and others where the mount is acceptable yet the optics underperform. (the only example of the latter that i can think of was their "short" models a few years back which had a barlow lens in the eyepiece holder) >> It is a 4 refractor with the new DS mount and Autostar 497 controller. >> >> It looks like to be a discontinued model that it doesnt even exist >> in the Meades website Meade's website frequently does not show models which were designed/built exclusively for a limited set of distribution channels. In the USA, WalMart or Costco might order up thousands of a particular grouping of "options" and that model may never appear on Meade's site. The DS-2102 didn't appear in the 497's ROM file until v43Ea, released in July 2006. So it's quite new. >> The telescope looks like to have an on board memory and clock chip >> (On the telescope, not on the Autostar controller) as when you switch >> on the power the Autostar loads Time, Date, Site and Telescope Model >> from the memory. The Autostar handbox has the memory which retains Site and Model. If the scope has an LNT module as the finder, or a -TC at the end of the model number, then it does have a clock in or on the scope. >> Inside the telescope there is a small battery that supplies power to >> the internal clock. >> >> The telescope as it came had a terrible tracking and a lot of play in >> the mount. >> >> You had more chances to find something in the sky with you eyes than >> with the goto. >> >> After the usually mechanical treat (disassembly clean tight >> screws - adjusts nuts etc.) I have manage >> to minimize the play on the mount but not to eliminate it. How -much- play does it have, quantitatively? My ETX90-EC arrived with 3 degrees of Altitude slop, and 1 degree of Azimuth. Even so, it could consistently arrive within a quarter degree of the target. >> Next was the tracking problem. Even after the entire mechanical slope >> has been minimized the telescope didnt want to track properly. >> I have train the motors according to your recommendations >> and there was a small improvement but I didnt had a way to check >> the values of the trained motors. >> >> I have loaded your patch kit V43.Ed and there you are. Now I can >> check what is going on. It was trying to check the Train Drive results which led me to write my first general-release patch kit. >> After training again and checking the values I had a set of good >> average values that I have insert them to Autostar manually. Unfortunately, Training does not -directly- affect Tracking. Training does affect the accuracy of your alignments, and in an Alt/Az mounting, that has the secondary effect of affecting tracking. >> I have also made a cable to supply power to the Autostar controller >> from the USB port of my laptop very handy when you upload new >> software. >> >> Now a strange think: >> >> Your patch is supposed to add additional telescope models and I was >> especially interested in the German equatorial one. >> >> When I was looking for it when the Autostar was connected to the >> telescope I couldnt find it. >> >> Today I have connected the Autostar direct in the laptop and had a >> look in the telescope models it was there but my existing model >> (DS2102) wasnt. >> >> It looks like that there are 2 sets of telescope models One in the >> Autostar and the other on the mount memory. >> >> The one on the mount memory supersede the one in the Autostar. >> >> And the question is it possible to have both sets? Or even better to >> be able to choose which ones you want? >> >> How you can access the on board memory? Unfortunately, you aren't properly assessing what's happening. ALL of the memory involved is in the Autostar itself. The Autostar (with v43Ed) knows about 36 different models. At power-up, the Autostar sends an interrogation message to the motor cards asking "what are you?" Depending upon the reply to that, you are offered fixed subsets of up to a dozen of those 30-odd models. If it hears nothing back (such as your USB hookup), then you see one list. If it gets an "A", you see a different list. In 43Ed there appears to be programming for at least six different groupings (some models appear in multiple groups). You can demonstrate this to yourself by taking note of which models are offered with the scope attached, and which ones are offered on the USB. When on the USB, select a model which is not on the normal list. Press [enter] to make it carry the ">" flag. Now reattach it to the scope. Check the models. You will see that -none- of them are "selected". That's because the Autostar is remembering your previous choice. Now select a model which appears in -both- lists (if there is one). And you'll see it's selected in both USB and on-scope arrangements. My patch kit replaces the DS-70 with the 4504. My -recent- patch kit -also- replaces the DS-2080 with the 4504, to handle folks who have adapted the DS-2xxx series to GEM mounts. Meade's model selection/offering programming makes it very difficult for a patch to present -all- models at one go. Andrew Johansen's MyScope program may let you specficially force any model number you wish (the data is in EPROM address B617), but that is less useful than simply manually setting the various ratios and other parameters with proper values. (MyScope can be found at http://members.optusnet.com.au/johansea ) >> Open the mount and tight up ALL the screws. Half of them they were >> loose. I suspect that the particular unit you have missed some quality control. You might check another unit of the same model at the dealer's store to see if it shares the same looseness. have fun -dick
Thank you for your reply. You are right about the way Autostar stores the telescope models. Below is a list with the models Autostar shows when connected to the mount and when connected only to the power (from the USB). Autostar connected to the mount: DS-2060, DS-2070, DS-2076, DS-2080, DS-2090, DS-2102, DS-2114, DS-2130, DSX-90, DSX-102, DSX-125, ETX-60, ETX-70, ETX-80. Autostar powered from USB - No connection to the mount: DS-60, DS-70, DS-80, DS-90, DS-114, DS-117, LXD 55/75 127 Ac, LXD 55/75 152 Ac, LXD 55/75 6 NEW, LXD 55/75 8 NEW, LXD 55/75 10 NEW, LXD 55/75 8 SC, ETX-60, ETX-70, ETX-80, ETX-105, ETX-125 Also: this model it doesn't have any specific letters after the model name (LNT or TC) here in UK but it has internal clock. The link to MyScope (http://members.optusnet.com.au/johansea) looks dead. Is there any other link I can try? Thank you in advance, George....Mike here: Link to MyScope working now (for me).
And for me... and the -specific- link for downloading MyScope is: http://members.optusnet.com.au/johansea/ (it helps when reporting "doesn't work" if you specify the actual error message you're getting... "Not found" means that the URL may be mis-typed, and "Page not found" means the address is correct, but that the specific page citation is in error) have fun --dick
It looks like the link does not work in this part of the world. I have try in 3 different computers with Internet Explorer and Firefox and I get: "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage". On a live search I have done I can find the page but again you cannot access it. You get the same message. George.....Mike here: I have emailed it to you.
Thank you Mike... George
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