Last updated: 1 September 2005
Subject: LXD55 Questions Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 16:51:12 From: Tony Gaetano (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am a long time LXD55 user, however I am ready to upgrade my basic equitorial mount to a motorized mount with an autostar controller. Can I upgrade my existing mount with an electric motor and hook up an autostar controller to it? If so, how would I got about making this upgrade? I have never seen anything taht allows you to upgrade your existing system. If you could help me out I would be greatful. Thank you, Tony Gaetano.Mike here: Since you have the LXD55 mount all you need to get is the Autostar #497 and plug it into the mount where you current connect the standard handcontroller.
Subject: Autostar LXD55 proc trap error Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 07:48:36 From: dean watson (email@example.com) My names Dean Watson- I've had a good look over your very helpful site but found it a little hard to find an answer to my problem. When using Autostar for a period, sometimes I get a Proc trap error (I'm not sure which one)- I gather from your site this is something I really don't want, but can't readilly see a remedy/.fix for this here. I spoke to the dealer who suggested switching off then back on and immediately (presumably before the solar warning) pressing enter and down arrow (is that the direction or the scroll down arrow?- I've tried both) at the same time (presumably to reboot it or something)- I tried this and nothing happened other than going through the time, date menus etc (unless I was doing it wrong/wrong stage in the process etc). I was hoping you could give me (and everyone else)- while having decribed the causes elsewhere, a definitive set of suggestions I could try as to fixing the individual causes without reference to downloads or complex software fiddling that I could use in the field, or suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong (without realising) or need to do- otherwise, do I need to return/exchange the mount with my dealer if the fix is outside my reasonably non technical province? Thanks ever so much for this (and all the other tips I see elsewhere)- I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.Mike here: What your dealer was describing was the SAFE LOAD (hold down the ENTER and SCROLLDOWN arrow on the lower right corner of the Autostar and then turn on the telescope) procedure which is not necessarily what you want to do UNLESS you have the #505 serial cable and a means to connect it to your computer. You will also need Meade's Autostar Update application or one of the third party alternatives for Mac OS X, Linux, or Windows. SAFE LOAD allows you to totally install a new version of the Autostar ROM file, overwriting a corrupted version in the Autostar's memory. If you do have the cable (which you can buy or make; details on making one are on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page, as is the info on the updating applications. The error you were seeing is likely a PROC 2 error; again info is on the Autostar Info page.
Subject: Scope wont come to focus Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 21:12:38 From: Martin Forster (firstname.lastname@example.org) I had my lxd75 ar5 out the other night and was trying to use my eyepieces without the diagonal. I could never get a star to come to focus, its like the draw tube would have to travel out farther in order for it to come to focus. Is this normal? What would be causing this??? Thanks MartinMike here: Since I don't have one I can't check but from your description I suspect the focal plane is located beyond the length of the tube and that the diagonal is required. This is not abnormal for some telescope models.
Subject: LXd55 tracking question Sent: Friday, August 26, 2005 12:35:46 From: JOHN PALADINI (email@example.com) I know that when you pick target : astronomical - mount tracks using RA motor only But if you lock on target using GOTO does it track target using both RA and DEC motors?Mike here: It may.
Subject: Question regarding LXD75 mount Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 19:33:05 From: Martin Forster (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am hoping you can enlighten me regarding a problem I am experiencing with my LXD75 mount. I purchased the LXD75 AR5 EC. No autostar, just a keypad to slew the telescope. When standing behind the mount if I slew to the right the RA motor will slew and then stop when you release the arrow button which is what it should do, but then the motor moves just a little bit in the opposite direction. It will not do this if you slew to the left. I took the little access panel off of the RA drive motor and watched the gears move just a little bit after doing a slew to the right. It does this without the tube or the counter weight on. I did a little experimenting and found that with the tracking mode off the gears did not make the movement at the end of a slew, it only does it with the tracking mode on. However, this is a bit annoying because you have to compensate and readjust each time you slew to an object. Also, the RA motor makes a high pitched whine when slewing to the right and a lower pitched whine when slewing to the left. Not sure if this has anything to do with my problem. I have checked out the motor for any loose screws and adjusted the 5 screws that hold the motor and worm assembly to the mount. Any help would be appreciated. MartinMike here: This is "backlash", which the Autostar can correct for (but not the standard EC handcontroller). Besides checking the motor and worm assembly, you should also check the gears to verify they are not loose and are meshing correctly.
Subject: Hypertune DVD Sent: Monday, August 22, 2005 05:13:52 From: Alan parker (email@example.com) Hi Mike and just like the rest of the people out there thanks for a great site, I have just read about Steve getting the hypertune kit, I just got the DVD and although I am in the UK the DVD played fine and after (you are right) at least 3 look throughs I successfully dismantled my LXD75 mount and amazingly put it back together again, nobody more surprised than me and I know now the joy some have taking engines apart. I had noticed that the Dec axis shaft was rotating in an ellipse, when I came to taking that apart I had a job to release it (it should have pulled apart easily) I was able to re-seat it and it now turns in one plane. The mount now runs beautifully and tracks accurately for as long as I have wanted it to so far, (over 1/2 an hour). Just thought I would share it with you. A Parker (UK)
Subject: Meade LXD 75 Polar Axis Finder Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 09:22:20 From: Jerald Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) Their are seven screws on the Polar Axis Finder. Meade does not include instructions indicating what they are for. I did not want to try and adjust them until I had an Idea what they adjust or hold. Sincerely, Jerry SmithMike here: I'm not certain what screws you mean; my LXD55 mount doesn't have any visible screws for the Polar Axis Finder. But for more info on the Finder, see the related articles on my LXD Site Home Page.
Subject: LXD55 Sent: Monday, August 15, 2005 08:40:58 From: Denis Cook (email@example.com) Apologies for disturbing you, I am looking for a PEC control software application for my LXD55. I have seen several for the LDX75 however I am sure that I found an app' for the LXD55 about a year ago and now I cannot locate it. This app' specifically mentioned that it did not need the alternate hardware of the LXD75 but required the '55 scope to be parked so the system could 'remember' its position, since there was no 'start point' indicated by the hardware. Are you aware of this application, and do you have a URL for download? Thanks for your time, Denis.Mike here: Do you mean the "PEC Data Editor/Viewer" listed on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page?
Ahh yes I understand what's going on now, once I updated my Autostar 497 firmware and had a play with all the menus. Do you know of a full set of online user guide/instructions for the latest firmware? Thanks Denis.Mike here: Only what is posted on my Site and in the READ ME.
Subject: Autostar Initializing Problems Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2005 12:48:46 From: Stan Herman (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just had the oddest thing happen to my Autostar hand controller for my LXD-55 mount. It had been working fine for the one year that I have had it. At this weekend's club star party, I was in the process of going to my second alignment star. While I was centering the star using the dec directional and slew rate number keys, after I released the dec slew button, the scope continued to slew without stopping. I had to shut off the power to stop the slewing. When I turned the power back on, upon the initializing process, the scope started to slew in dec and none of the handpad buttons would function. Also, all button lights, including the top spotlight remained on. The display showed the correct date, but the first number of the date was cycling. If I removed the dec cable connection to the mount before turning on the power, the scope didn't slew in dec (expected), but the rest of the handbox symptoms remained. The following day (today)I decided to do an upgrade to the handbox from the Meade site. I figured this may solve the problem, and I wanted the latest update anyway. Using my 505 cable, I did a successful upgrade to the handbox; however, when I turned on the Autostar to initiate, there was no change in the original problem. I have version 34Ec installed. Perhaps a reset is required; however, I cannot do a reset from the handbox since the buttons are nonfunctional at this point. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. StanMike here: You might try the tips in the article "Testing Autostar Communications" on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. Lastly, if that doesn't help, do a SAFE LOAD, which should totally reload the Autostar ROM. One other thought: have you replaced the batteries with fresh ones? Also, before doing that SAFE LOAD you might try just reversing the Autostar cable.
I do use external gel-cell batteries (either a 12 amp primary, or 7 amp backup) . I did try switching to my backup battery, and no change. I'll proceed with the safe load, as you recommended, and let you know how I make out. Thanks so much for your quick response. I've been reading your website for over four years now, and it has provided me with an abundance of info for my ETX and LXD scopes. StanAnd an update:
I did the safe load tonight. It loaded successfully; however, upon initialization, the same problem occurs. I did reverse the Autostar cable, and I am using a fully charged external battery source. Is it time to contact Meade, or are there any other things I might try first? Thanks StanMike here: On the date cycling problem, can you see what is cycling? Could it be that a key is stuck in the down position?
And an update:
Well, thanks to you and the Yahoo user group, I solved my problem. One thing I had failed to mention to you was that about nine months ago I did the Scopetronics keypad contact enhancement mod. (It does work great, no matter how cold the night). Apparently, I must have applied a bit too much of the goop on one of the dec buttons, and over time the some of the stuff must have migrated onto the circuit board contact, causing a short (as if the dec button were continually pressed). That explains the tendency to immediately go into the dec slewing mode. One of the Yahoo LXD-55 folks suggested that I check it out, and lo and behold, there was the problem! I used a pink pencil eraser to remove the excess goop, and some isopropyl alcohol clean everything up, tried an initialization and alignment - and all seems fine. Anyway, I'm glad I did download the latest Autostar application, because now I have the 3-star alignment option. I"ll do a calibrate and train, and I should be all set. I certainly don't mind if you want to share this with your group, because I bet there may be others who may experience a similar problem. Stan Herman
Subject: lxd75 Focuser Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2005 13:04:00 From: Marcel (email@example.com) first may i say many thanks for your website wealth of knowledge shared. ok my question is , is there a electric focuser available for the lxd75 is so does it run from the control panel on the mount or is it a seperate handbox. many thanks, and greeting from the england.Mike here: There are electric focusers for some of the telescope models that can be mounted on the LXD75 (and LXD55) mounts. JMI has the most designs.
Subject: [none] Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 06:17:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I'm writing from germany to you. Have one problem with my driving-system! When i push my GOTO buttom everything works fine. But my telescope follows a star for ca. 15 sec than it stops for a sec and goes on for 15 sec..... and so on!! Can you help me? Thanks PeterMike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the LXD Home Page; your message was originally DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the BLANK subject line. Thanks for understanding.
Yes i've done it, for a few times but nothing changes!Mike here: OK, sounds like you need to check the gears for slippage. Open the housing covers and check them; sometimes the small setscrews work loose.
Subject: Of Power supply leads and graphite core's.... Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 05:20:16 From: martin dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Having nothing but trouble with the LXD-55 mount on my Meade AR-5 5-in refractor. It would not track at the correct rate, or all of a sudden it would move (once it pushed a eye-piece into my eye...). I reasoned it was a temperature problem at first as it was always very cold when it would fail, then I tried a separate power supply that worked, but I did not want to spend any more money on a 1000 telescope and frankly I was a bit fed up of Meade... One day at work, I scrapped off an old television set and found a graphite core or ring and reasoned that if I wrapped my power lead around it, may be, just may be, it would cure it. It did! after some five outings I have had the telescope tracking beautifully, please refer to the pictures.Mike here: Meade used to include a ferrite core on the Autostar cable with the LXD55 models. When I first set up my LXD55-8"SC I had a similar report to what you reported. When I reversed the cable (to place the core next to the GEM head control panel) the problem immediately went away.
Martin Dawson email@example.com As a foot note I found a canvas bag that holds the batteries and protects the Meade provided case.
thanks for your very quick reply, yes, you are right Meade do supply a ferrite core on the Autostar lead and it is near the hand controller on mine, will have to look at it again, perhaps tonight we are out at Doncaster in south yorkshire but the weather is bad. I placed my core on the power supply lead. Have to dash wife's done me tea!!! regards Martin
Subject: Hypertune kit Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 17:17:44 From: Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently ordered the Hypertune kit with new teflon bearings for my LXD55 8" SC. Any comments or sjggestions before I start taking things apart?Mike here: Read the instructions and view the video (did you get the DVD version?) three times before you start working on the telescope. Be certain you fully understand what the instructions are telling you. Set aside twice the time expected to complete the job. Prevent any interruptions in your work. Take your time as you go through the steps. Many people have done the Hypertune successfully so if you are careful and patient, you shouldn't have any problems. If you would like to write up your experiences I will post them on the LXD site.
Thanks for the prompt reply. I am getting the DVD. I will let you know how it works out.
Subject: Re: Is my LXD-75 broken? (latest news) Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 07:16:31 From: Dave Wallace (email@example.com) On August 3rd, I was able to get through to Meade Customer Support (after 20 minutes on hold) and explained (or tried to) about the declination drive problem. I don't think the support person really understood that the problem wasn't an alignment issue but a difficulty with the servo loop itself. The guy eventually gave me a code number and said to pack up the mount and the autostar and ship it back along with a copy of the invoice, under warrantee. But after ten months, finding a sales invoice in the chaos around my place is virtually impossible. :/ Moral: be sure to keep the paperwork where you can find it! (I'll probably come across the invoice a year from now.) Thank heavens OPT (where I bought the scope) is better organized that I am! I contacted OPT's customer support and they mailed me a duplicate copy of the invoice, no problem, even though the store moved to a different building in the meantime. The duplicate invoice arrived in yesterday's mail. Outstanding! Now all I need to do is figure out if Meade is in the process of sending me some official paperwork (and possibly a shipping label) or whether I simply box it up and ship it out there (wherever *there* is) with that code number written on the outside of the box. Just what *is* the deal with warrantee service returns to Meade?Mike here: Unless you heard otherwise, you ship to Meade. Be certain to put the RMA# (or whatever they call it) on the outside of the box as well as inside.
Subject: LXD55 go to problem Sent: Monday, August 8, 2005 09:30:05 From: Douglas Hankins (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have a 10in SN on the LXD55 mount. I purchased this scope new a few years ago but haven't had time until recently to actually play with it. I have upgraded the firmware with the most recent version and performed the drive training, calibration and so forth. I cannot get the scope to do a go-to properly. In fact, when doing any of the alignment methods it requires major adjustments to center the alignments star(s). For example: Using the 2 star alignment, Start at the Polar Home Position, center up Polaris, push Enter, slews to an Alignment star, center it (with major adjustment needed). Then ask the scope to do a Go-To another star such as Vega. It will be way off. Center up Vega, Sync the scope and ask it to Go-To the Ring Nebula (short Go-To). It will slew off some distance then slew back to Vega, beep and proclaim it is on the Ring Nebula. I have checked for gear slippage. I have done the polar alignment with the RA motor on both the east side of the scope and the west side of the scope for the Polar Home Position. I have tried to input a slightly different locale such as a different Oregon city. Nothing seems to change this behavior. I'm hoping someone else has experienced this and can offer some insight as to what to do. I'm basically ready to heave the thing into the land fill Thanks for your time! DougMike here: DO NOT USE Polaris as an alignment star. It is (obviously) too close to the pole and ANY small error in position will result in a major alignment error. Try using an Easy Alignment and let the Autostar do the picking. For even better results, do a 1 star alignment first (to align to Polaris) and then do an Easy Alignment.
Thanks for the quick reply! I have tried your suggestion... but will try again just to be sure. I pulled the covers off the motors and found the set screw(s) on a couple of the gear slightly loose. That would account for some backlash but I don't think it would cause what I am experiencing. Anyway I will try the Easy Alignment method again. Cheers, Doug HankinsMike here: If the gears are slipping then the slewing will be inaccurate. So this could be the source of the problem.
Subject: Autostar question Sent: Thursday, August 4, 2005 08:24:42 From: fannta (email@example.com) First of all i'd like to ask you to excuse my poor english and disturbing you with my questions , I guess you get a lot of mails regarding the Meade scopes . 8-) I have read the posts and FAQs , email , etc. on your LXD site , but there are also a few things that are not clear to me , i'd be very happy if you could help me . I'd like to adapt the Autostar DS Motors and a 497 Controller to a non-Meade mount . This mount uses two different sized gear wheels for the two axles . This actually means that the Alt-encoders will provide a totally different amount of pulses for a 360 degree turn than the Az-encoders . Is the Autostar capable of learning this ? I hope it is clear to you what i'd like to ask/know 8-) The other thing i'd like to ask , is , if the sidereal tracking speed is a factory preset speed or if the speed is determined during the "train motors" / "star allignment" procedure . Thank you very much in advance . best regards , GergelyMike here: See the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page, in particular, the article "Steve Bedair's "Go To" Mounts" for info on using other mounts with the Autostar. Sidereal is factory set but how the Autostar controls the drives is influenced by the CALIBRATE MOTORS and TRAIN DRIVES.
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