Last updated: 31 October 2005

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This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all LXD55 models. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Encoder wheel clearance
Sent:	Friday, October 28, 2005 00:47:19
From:	WTHOMAS195@aol.com (WTHOMAS195@aol.com)
The encoder wheel on myLXD55 dec motor has no apparent clearence between
the wheel and the black back bar (reader?) on the side opposite the red
light. Where should this wheel be running in the space between the light
and the black "reader" on the other side? My mount has started runaway
slewing and I am trying to find the cause. Thanks
 Web Thomas
Mike here: I haven't disassembled my DEC housing but so don't know. And I can't check right now as my LXD55 is prepared for my upcoming trip to Oracle Observatory. I don't know if this even applies to the LXD55 mount but sometimes on the ETX line, redistributing the lubrication can help with odd problems (like random slewing). Unlock the axis and slowly move the OTA back and forth through several complete cycles. Also, one other cause of random slewing that I have seen with the LXD55 is the Autostar cable; try reversing it.
Subject:	re:  Connection Problems with Autostar 497 to an IBM Laptop.
Sent:	Monday, October 24, 2005 22:51:27
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
Craig wrote:
> do you think that it is the grey adapter that comes with
> the 505 set or the USB lead?

This is merely anecdotal instead of statistical, but the
grey adapter which came with -my- 'offical' 505 kit was bad.
All the leads are firmly crimped in their pins, but
current didn't flow on one of the signal lines.

When i used my own adapter with Meade's cable, all went well.

good luck

Subject:	Re: Connection Problems with Autostar 497 to an IBM Laptop.
Sent:	Thursday, October 13, 2005 01:13:37
From:	Craig Lynch (clyn8014@bigpond.net.au)
I have no idea which USB adapter I have AstoOptical (Meade dealers)
supplied it.

It has a USB connection one end, serial the other to which they supplied
a serial to 505 connector. The only markings I can see on the cable are
along the side. As best as I can see ' ACTUONE    E204149      (UL) Type
CM 75(s???)(degrees)C       IPR/28AWG        2C/24AWG.   Sorry about the
capitals. It is beige. About 30" (880mm) long.

The serial to phone cable is grey about 2" long and two long finger
screws to secure it to the USB lead.

I downloaded the driver that I am using now on the 8 October 2005.
PL2303 from the Meade website. Is there a better driver at another

Pity Meade couldn't come up with a mount to USB connector. Seems to be a
lot of connections to me.
Mike here: I suspect the generic USB-serial adapter is the problem. The Autostar communications seems to be picky that way. I suggest contacting the dealer where you got it.


From:	Lankreijer-Kroon (jam.lankreijer@quicknet.nl)
The extensive story from Craig Lynch in Australia is virtually identical
with my own story.

Last year I thougth that, after a lot of searching and trying, I had
found a solution for the problem on your site: I succeeded in
establishing a connection via the 'network-option'. After downloading
the latest Autostar-update, however, that does not work anymore. By the
way, the downloading was done via a desktop computer with no connecton
problems at all.

I am out too.
Jos Lankreijer
Mike here: I didn't think he had a port conflict WITHIN the Autostar Suite; I thought it was just the updater that couldn't communicate. But you're right, if multiple Autostar Suite apps want the port you have to use the network communications capability.


Two last things, just to clarify this for myself, do you think that it
is the grey adapter that comes with the 505 set or the USB lead? Do
previous reports give a clue?

Can a more reliable hook up be purchased elsewhere? Internet etc.?

Thank you Mike.

Regards Craig Lynch.
Mike here: Hard to say what's at fault but there were #505 cable problems with some Autostar Suite shipments. But it could be the adapter OR the USB driver or some a port conflict. Got a response (above) that thought maybe you needed to use the network communications option in the Autostar Suite but that only applies if you are trying to use the multiple Autostar Suite apps to communicate to the Autostar, not just the Autostar Updater application. As to other USB adapters, try Keyspan.
Subject:	Connection Problems with Autostar 497 to an IBM Laptop.
Sent:	Saturday, October 8, 2005 23:47:57
From:	Craig Lynch (clyn8014@bigpond.net.au)
I am almost at my wit's end with this problem and to make matters worse,
when I scan user groups I cannot find others with similar problems.

Firstly, I will outline my equipment, then the problem as best as I can
describe; finally describing what I have done to try to remedy the
situation. Together with a brief out-line of the connection frustrations
that I have had using another (great) program. Particularly as this
program has returned some result.


LXD 55 SN-10
Autostar 497 controller
IBM R30 Laptop O/S Microsoft XP professional Ver 2002 Service Pack2
Intel Pentium 3 processor 697 MHz 504 MB of Ram.
In addition,
Meade connector set (505) and a USB to RS232 serial connector.
Incidentally, in this country it is impossible to buy a laptop with a
serial connector. I've tried. It's all USB 2 now.
I have the latest autostar suite Autostar Update (ASU) Client
Application for Windows, Version 4.3 and Starry Night Pro. along with
AstroPlanner. (http://www.ilangainc.com/astroplanner/) and PL 2303
USB-Serial Driver.

The Problem.  I cannot establish a live feed between the handbox and my

When connecting Autostar (the handbox) to the computer this is what I do,
   Connect the leads: USB to 4pin to the handbox and 6 pin to the serial
   connector (which only has the middle 4 pins used anyhow).
   Then this connects via the USB adapter to the computer.
   From here a check of the devices shows me the name of the com port
   that the leads are using. As I use the same USB port I have already
   configured it to COM2 (as described in the ASCOM help pages
   The device manager notifies that the port in use is, 'Prolific USB to
   Serial Comm Port (COM2)'
   The port is configured this way.
   Bits per second 9600
   Data Bits: 8
   Parity: none
   Stop bits: 1
   Flow control:Xon/Xoff. (currently as this has been the latest from
   the Meade dealer here. I have tried 'hardware' and 'none' It makes no


When starting ASU Autostar suite and completing initialisation of the
scope the handbox com port is not recognised. An error message tells me
that it will try to search all com ports. This fails and the error
message tells me to check connections.  All this despite the fact that
the USB lead is connected to comm. port 2. Uploading of tours and data
from the Meade website is no problem to the software; however I cannot
update the handbox and if something should happen I cannot flash load
data to repair the handbox should the need arise.

The situation is no better with Starry Night Pro 5. After hitting the
connect to telescope button the program as good as hangs up.
(notwithstanding correct configuration of the ports and scope data
already completed)

This is where it gets a little confusing.
When I use the program Astroplanner, it also has a feature within the
program to connect to the scope. When trying to hook up through the
preferences it will connect when it does a search of all ports. It DOES
recognise Autostar. Then when connecting to the scope it will return
nothing from the scope. no RA no DEC no alt or Az BUT when I ask it to
synchronise the clock with the computer clock it does!!! And it will
park the scope but that's about it. So close but.........

So, this is what I have done, I have had the mount and the handbox sent
back to Sydney for servicing in the past. The problem of getting a live
feed was told to them as far back as the 18 Aug 2003. Bought it in April
of that year. They suggested I try another computer which I did and it
made no difference.

Or the tech support guys at Meade in the US. the best they could do was
tell me the leads were no good and replace them. (It sounded like they
were having a party at the time-not that is a problem for me. I just
want the gear to work.) That didn't work anyway.

I have contacted the dealers here. I live in Bendigo in Victoria,
Australia and the closest is in Melbourne, John Martin a great guy.

As Astroplanner is a recent addition to my astronomical experience I
bundled up my computer, leads, tripod, handbox and mount and went to
Melbourne to see John Martin. Set the whole thing up in his shop and
showed him what I have told you. He could not help although sympathetic.

John did say that he would replace the hand box but first gave me MAPUG
as a point to contact first to see if there was any history of this
problem and any fixes that have already be discovered. This is why I am
writing to you. I don't particularly want to replace the handbox to be
left with the same set of problems. At the start the handbox wouldn't
target properly. Even now it will work ok at the start of a session and
seems to become inaccurate as the night wears on. I am sure if I could
update it these problems would disappear.

I want to be able to connect my scope to my computer and use the
computer to target the scope. I am somewhat concerned that it sounds
like I am complaining about various people but that is not the
intention. I wanted to demonstrate to you that I have been pursuing this
problem for a long time and have tried many other avenues to correct
this anomaly.

Is there anything that you can suggest that I can try. I'm out.

Regards Craig Lynch.
Mike here: One possible problem is that the serial port is being "used" by some other software, typically fax software. Have you checked for that?


Thanks for your interest. I really appreciate it.

I have checked my printers and I have no Fax installed or listed anyhow.
How would I check if something is trying to use it?

However I realise that windows can do some strange things.

Is there a suggestion that you can give me to somehow ensure sole use of
the port whilst hooked up to the handbox.

Kind Regards, Craig Lynch.
Mike here: I now suspect the USB-serial adapter. There have been problem reports with Belkin models. Keyspan models seem to have better results; I use one on my Macintosh. Which adapter do you have and have you checked for more recent driver?
Subject:	LXD75 RA slewing issues
Sent:	Saturday, October 8, 2005 20:43:30
From:	Nick Gliatis (ngliatis@yahoo.com)
First, congratulations on your excellent site. The issue I am facing is
with regards to slewing the RA axis on my LXD75 mount using the Autostar
controller. I noticed the problem started happening after I upgraded the
autostar firmware. More precisely, when I press the LEFT arrow button in
RA, there seems to be a "compensation". In other words, if you have a
star centered in the eyepiece and hit the left arrow, it will move up,
but once you release the left arrow it will come back to the original
position in the center. This is greatly frustrating me over a period of
time and hampering my observing session. Please help.
Thank you,
Nick Gliatis
Mike here: When the Autostar is upgraded, it is usually a good idea to TRAIN DRIVES. Also, the batteries have been used a long time OR you change batteries or power sources, do a CALIBRATE MOTORS and then TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	back panel of lxd75 sn10
Sent:	Friday, October 7, 2005 15:53:14
From:	 (sertaclub@bellsouth.net)
Two nights ago while observing with my scope I accidentally hit the back
panel of the scope with my knee and knocked out a thin panel behind the
mirror.  It did not affect the mirror as far as I could tell, but the
panel was sealed with glue.  Should I try to re-glue it back together? 
Also, what is this panel for?  Is it important?  You wisdom of astronomy
equipment is much appreciated.
Mike here: I don't have a SN to look at so I'm not certain exactly what piece you are talking about. But if it was glued on, I suspect it could either have been to keep dust out to help with airflow. In either case, it should probably be re-attached. You will want to use glue that doesn't "out-gas" to avoid possibly coating the mirror.
Subject:	LXD55 AUX port
Sent:	Sunday, October 2, 2005 08:02:13
From:	JOHN PALADINI (jpaladin1@suscom.net)
Is AUX port on LXD55 mount used?
Manual states its for future use
Are there any current uses?
Mike here: Yes, it can be used. Powering a GPS is one such use.


does your site give examples?

can mount be controlled through this port with computer or must you have
hand controller?
Mike here: The StarGPS is discussed on the Helpful Information: Autostar Info page. And no, a computer can not directly control the telescope; all communications go through the Autostar.

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Copyright © 2005 Michael L. Weasner / mweasner@optcorp.com
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