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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5324024 - 07/18/12 07:21 PM

Andrew

Is that true for all mounts (broken PEC)? I was wondering as PEC has not really worked even with the patch you sent me, but I balmed it on being an usupported ETX80.

@everyone else sorry for the temporary hijack


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Stew57]
      #5324072 - 07/18/12 08:02 PM

Gday Stew

It works in the old 497s and i put out a patch for 5CE1 and A1F7
( which appears to fix it )
but in all others its stuffed.
Yours is a real oddball, as your type of scope is not supposed to have PEC, but Meade coded for it.
Have you grabbed a copy of your "as trained" data
to see if the stored model looks sensible????

Andrew


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5324109 - 07/18/12 08:39 PM

Thanks Andrew I will give it another go then when I get a chance.

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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Stew57]
      #5324187 - 07/18/12 09:50 PM

I don't mean to disrupt the thread. I also don't want to appear ignorant. Well, at least not more than normally. But I have to ask, who is Andrew? Does he, do you, work for Meade? Or have you just taken all this on out of interest in helping of your follow astronomers? Because it restores my faith in mankind to see others so willing to assist those in need.

A little back story would be most welcome.

Joe


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: jmiele]
      #5324253 - 07/18/12 10:48 PM

See;

http://www.stargps.ca/StarPatch.htm


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: jmiele]
      #5324259 - 07/18/12 10:55 PM

Gday Joe

Quote:

But I have to ask, who is Andrew? Does he, do you, work for Meade?




Me, No
Many years ago Dick Seymour ( aka AutostarETX on the Yahoo forums ) started poking into Meades 497 firmwares to try and understand how some stuff worked, esp drive training.
Many years later, i bought an LX200GPS and its PEC was stuffed for Sth hemi users.
Meade wouldnt ( still havent ) fix it, so i worked with Dick on ways to "externally" modify the data for us "downunder".
Part of that process involved digging into the firmware, and its just rolled on from there. For me, its more fun than Sudoku, and more of a hobby,
plus i hate not knowing whats happening, because it may also affect me.

Andrew


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5324268 - 07/18/12 10:59 PM

Just a follow up re using PEC to reset tracking rates
Looking at the data on the motorcard datalines,
having PEC ON belts the bejeezus out of the motor cards.
Sooo, if any users whos mount shows drift.
Can you start the dummy one star align test
and wait till the Hbx shows its drifting.
Turn PEC ON and wait 30secs then turn PEC off.
See what happens after that.

Andrew


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exparrot
member
*****

Reged: 02/13/12

Loc: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5324317 - 07/18/12 11:51 PM

Hey Andrew

Just happen to be checking in on the forum before hitting the sack. Ran a quick 20-minute indoor test, enabling PEC after RA drift starts, then disabling it.

Star was Altair (east of Meridian)

START @ 22:08 RA - 19:50.6 / DEC - 08*51'

DRIFT START @ 22:11
PEC ON @ 22:14
PEC OFF @ 22:15 RA - 19:51.8 / DEC unchanged

STOP @ 22:28 RA - 19.54.0 / DEC unchanged

GOTO Altair - set it back to 19:50.8

Seems like it took longer to start drifting. Typically, on these indoor test, I observe RA coordinate change within 30 seconds after accepting alignment. This time, it was about 3 minutes.

Jerry


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: exparrot]
      #5324425 - 07/19/12 02:49 AM Attachment (26 downloads)

As promised, here is the data from the 9 point dual test, being ... 9 targets, first in Polar, then in Alt/Az.
Basically, a 40 degree (azimuth) separation, around the compass, with mid-range elevations. We have been saying that Alt/AZ is tracking very well, from both “dummy” alignment (indoor) tests, AND visual confirmations, running the same tests. The problem has been in polar, as the original post to this thread by Kevin and Dennis illustrates. We have had many, many posts with “dummy” alignment (indoor) tests, AND visual confirmation of many tests. My personal observations include all of the above.

In the last 2 days, we have become aware of some targets tracking correctly. This raised some questions. I personally saw and reported on this issue as well. That is what let to tonight’s test. The results are posted below. Additional commentary will follow in the next post.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5324427 - 07/19/12 02:51 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

Here are the final 4 of 9 Targets from the dual test. I was unable to get all nine to appear in a single image, so had to split it up....

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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5324428 - 07/19/12 02:55 AM

The results do not show patterns that have been discussed here in this thread. By that I mean that it does not appear to be a “+/-“ declination situation, nor does it appear to be East/West Hemisphere situation. In an exchange of emails tonight between Andrew and myself, he made the following comments:
…..

David: The main reason I am doing the alt/az here also, is to validate our thinking of ... "Alt/AZ is working just fine..."

Andrew: I'm pretty sure i understand that bit now. As i mentioned, my analyser traces show the correct speeds are getting sent to the motorcards every 2 seconds in AltAz, hence it will always recalc any drift and build it back into the next speed set. Ie it works.

Where i think the problem in Polar is cutting in is it "appears" that a speed is only sent once, then forgotten about. If that speed was wrong ( for whatever reason ) the peeking of the Hbx will say one thing, but the actual speed sent will be another. Plus, i want to know why the Polar speed setting isnt happening.

I'm more and more honing in on something going wrong with the I2C comms between the Hbx and Motorcard ( timing wise?? ) As it would neatly explain all we are seeing.

Next lot [ed. Test requested by Andrew ] will be a simple indoors test to start it running and then peek the status of a whole pile of flag bytes to see why the speed isnt getting resent.
…..

I will probably receive the new script tomorrow, and run the requested series sometime tomorrow afternoon, or evening. Andrew will post results after he has reviewed the data.


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5324487 - 07/19/12 05:40 AM

Just to add to Davids post
I have been digging into why in polar, the RA motor speed doesn't get resent every 2 seconds (even on my LX90 benchtest cards).
I think i now see why, and will test it a bit more tomorrow,
then send David a modified rom to load and test.
Basically ( for Jose if yr still reading the posts )
in AltAz, the system recalcs and sends speed requests to the motorcards every 2 seconds. My analyser traces of the motor lines show this is happening.
In Polar, the RA motor speed only appears to get sent once
so if its wrong at that point, it doesnt get resent,
and nothing appears to check if current speed is correct.
Many of the commands used "assume" an operation worked
vs test afterwards, so whatever got sent first is what
the system is using.
This would explain the symptoms currently being seen.

My current (latest) guess ( very rough ) is that in the second release of LX80s, there are new motorcards that have different firmware that is not handling the motor line I2C comms correctly, and as the Hbx doesnt check if the data took, we see what we are seeing.

More tomorrow

Andrew


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5324692 - 07/19/12 09:55 AM

It shouldn't be necessary to send it more than once if the motor cards are closing the loop on the encoder pulses, correct? The fact that the handbox knows its drifting seems to indicate that the data about the encoder pulses is getting read and communicated back so, as you said, that point to a comms problem. These are digital comms though, and should be reliable.

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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5324918 - 07/19/12 12:00 PM

*** AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON UPGRADING THE FIRMWARE (rom) ON THE AUDIOSTAR ***

As Andrew has said above, he "thinks" he "may" have a fix for the LX80 Polar tracking problem. It is important that we all understand that this is a "tracking" problem, and not a "drift" problem. Anyway, i will be testing that new code as soon as he ships it (meaning probably this evening).

***IMPORTANT***. If you have an LX80, and might consider wanting to upgrade the Audiostar firmware, then there some HARDWARE and SOFTWARE dependencies.

First, the Hardware. You need a Meade serial cable that will go from the Audiostar Serial port on the handbox, to a Serial connector (NOT USB). Meade makes two versions of a “serial cable”, being the 505, and 507. You will need the 505 (Meade part number 07505) which has a list price of $19.95 This will leave you with an RS-232 9pin connector. Most modern computers no longer have a serial port. Thus, you will need a USB to Serial converter. There are many available, with lots of stories on many of them. Meade does sell such a converter, the Meade 07507, which carries a list price of $45

Next, the Software. You will either need the Meade version (free download from the Meade website) of ASU (Autostar Software Upgrader). Or, you can use a program known as StarPatch (also a free downloadable program), which Andrew and I would both recommend. StarPatch shows a price of $79, but that is only if you want a “license” and the ability to add GPS capability to your AudoStar (AudioStar) controller. Information of StarPatch can be found here: http://www.stargps.ca/StarPatch.htm

Andrew’s “possible” solution is not yet tested, but I am sure we are all hopeful. I thought I would post this information for those that were not aware of what might be necessary to upgrade the AudioStar.


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5325082 - 07/19/12 01:41 PM

I would like to know if this is a single production run problem or is it spread out of many production runs on the side of the box the mount head came in. you will see a date code mine is 4977 051 12 and Carton # mine is 42 of 60 also my ser# 12153. I believe the 4977 is Assembly infor like plant and shift information the 051 is the 51st day of 2012 not totally sure and production run mine was 42nd unit of 60 made that day. It would be interesting to see if the mounts was made all in the same batch.

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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5325099 - 07/19/12 01:49 PM

Amazing and well done!...

Though I have to ask, am I the only one here wondering how it is that two or three guys working in their garage, one of whom doesn't even own one of these mounts, appear to have solved this problem in less than two weeks, While Meade claims(ed) that they didn't even know there was a problem until yesterday afternoon (local time Meade HQ)

Time for Meade customer service to step up, create a authorized software patch and offer a free flash upgrade at any and all Meade dealers, (or offer a free RS232 cable)


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exparrot
member
*****

Reged: 02/13/12

Loc: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5325163 - 07/19/12 02:27 PM

Hey Kevin

Mine has the same date code as yours. It's carton 24 of 60, SN# 12109.

Jerry


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: exparrot]
      #5325201 - 07/19/12 02:47 PM

Hi Guys,
Mine has the same date code and number 31 of 60 with a serial number of 12129. This is getting interesting.
Neilson


------------
LX80 10"OTA
LX200ACF 10"
LXD75 SN10"
LX3 2120 10"
Explore Scientific AR152mm
C-70AZ,C-60AZ
Canon T1i 18-55mm, 800mm, 650-1300mm
DSI PRO, DSI-IIC



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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: neilson]
      #5325340 - 07/19/12 04:00 PM

Well, let’s not get too excited yet. The problem is not "confirmed" solved. That would come after visual observations, and that would come after bench testing on the actual mount, and that would come after bench testing on Andrew's test bench. We are not "done" yet.... only hopeful at this point.

Now, as to your "three guys working in their garage...". Hmmm, well let’s expand that. One guy working out his home in Australia (without the real mount) [That would be Andrew]… one guy who normally resides in Arizona, but is currently traveling on an extended roadtrip in his motorhome, and currently in Northern California (where it is very cloudy..) [That would be me…], and SEVERAL other volunteers who are taking their personal time to test and report their findings.

Yup…. Quite an effort. A true world-wide effort ! I stopped at a rest area for lunch, and picked up the current thread status, and will check back in later this afternoon (evening) when I get off the road. Will check the carton date code then too….


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mclewis1
Thread Killer
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: LX80 RA tracking [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5325378 - 07/19/12 04:26 PM

"three guys working in their garage..."

Sorry, couldn't resist.


Seriously though ... I'm really impressed by what just a few folks have been able to uncover and document.


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