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pc connection with autostar 494

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#1 Sir Hoyle

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:26 AM

hello everyone,

    I am planning to connect my ds-2130 with the autostar 494 to my windows xp laptop, to use it with a planetarium program such as stellarium7. From what i have been reading and watching in videos what I need is a Rs-232 cable and the usb converter if necessary and the autostar 5.5 suite.
    -What is not specified is whether I can buy any rs-232 cable or if it is required the 506 cable kit specifically.
    -Another question is how to do I connect the telescope to the pc? My controller does not have another aux input such as the controllers shown in the videos and neither the mount (as seen in the pics). Is that a problem, or should I just plug the cable to the aux input for the controller.
    - How is it possible to control AND to watch what is pointed by the telescope on the computer screen?

    thank you in advance for your help

 

[attachment=476413:photo.JPG][attachment=476414:photo (2).jpg]



#2 jrcrilly

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:45 AM

The 494 has no RS-232 port so you definitely need a 506 interface cable rather than an RS-232 cable. Your photo didn't post but the mount should have an input labeled "aux". That's where the 506 needs to connect.



#3 Meade Instr.

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 11:11 AM

As John C. correctly stated you need the 506 cable (generically RS-232) and the kit has the correct DB-9 adapter. This will then connect to and we strongly recommend the Meade USB Adapter (if your system lacks the DB-9 connection) rather than any other type as people have encountered issues attempting to use anything but the Meade one. Not sure why myself, I just know customers report various issues immediately go away when switching from their existing adapter the actual Meade USB Adapter. 

 

Viewing the images on a screen is a whole other deal. For that you need an imaging camera of some variety and it will have it's own connection to the PC to see the images being generated. That being said the DS-2130 was designed as a visual telescope, not a photographic platform, and you may encounter issues with being able to focus depending on the camera. It all depends on the camera chip being able to get to the focal plane. You might take a look at user groups to see what configuration and/or camera setup has worked if anyone has tried it.

 

John Piper

Customer Service Manager

Meade Instruments Corp.  



#4 Geo.

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:12 PM

Pick up a used 497 Autostar. Sell the 494 on ebay for $35 and pay $70-80 for a 497. The 506 is hard to find and overpriced when you do. The 497 has the MAX232 chip on board so a simple to make of find 505 cable is all you will need. This gives you the benefits of the 497 which has had several updates to the firmware, while the 494 never got beyond ver 1.0. You will also have access to a much larger database of objects and third party firmware patches the give the 497 even greater utility.

 

In hindsight the 494 was a mistake. Sure at the time building a controller with less memory and no serial interface may have made sense, but as the cost of components dropped and that of maintaining two production lines went up this became clearer. Additionally, the AutoStar system became very successful and the production volume has brought the cost of the electronics to a small part of a mount's cost. Of course, I'm still trying to understand the rational for the Autostar II and III. Yes, the electronics in the LX200GPS and LS are more complex, but Celestron has similar models that use the same hand controller throughout the product line. And don't even ask about my LX80 doorstop.

 

If you don't have RS232 port on your PC you will need to get from DE9 to USB. You don't need to spend $50 on the Meade converter, just be sure to get a Keyspan from a US vendor. This one is $12, eBay item number: 231245664512. Don't settle for a USB converter that advertises a FTDI microchip as there are now counterfeit FTDI chips flooding the market. Ain't China wonderful.

 

Look at it this way: Inside even your humble 494 is the same processor that powered the original 1980 Mac. The firmware gives it a map of the sky to search for objects whose celestial coordinates are in its database or coordinates you input. The planetarium software running on the PC, tablet, etc. is also a sky map. When you select an object on the screen the program converts the screen's pixel location to celestial coordinates and transmits them to the telescope. 



#5 Sir Hoyle

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:49 PM

Pick up a used 497 Autostar. Sell the 494 on ebay for $35 and pay $70-80 for a 497. The 506 is hard to find and overpriced when you do. The 497 has the MAX232 chip on board so a simple to make of find 505 cable is all you will need. This gives you the benefits of the 497 which has had several updates to the firmware, while the 494 never got beyond ver 1.0. You will also have access to a much larger database of objects and third party firmware patches the give the 497 even greater utility.

 

In hindsight the 494 was a mistake. Sure at the time building a controller with less memory and no serial interface may have made sense, but as the cost of components dropped and that of maintaining two production lines went up this became clearer. Additionally, the AutoStar system became very successful and the production volume has brought the cost of the electronics to a small part of a mount's cost. Of course, I'm still trying to understand the rational for the Autostar II and III. Yes, the electronics in the LX200GPS and LS are more complex, but Celestron has similar models that use the same hand controller throughout the product line. And don't even ask about my LX80 doorstop.

 

If you don't have RS232 port on your PC you will need to get from DE9 to USB. You don't need to spend $50 on the Meade converter, just be sure to get a Keyspan from a US vendor. This one is $12, eBay item number: 231245664512. Don't settle for a USB converter that advertises a FTDI microchip as there are now counterfeit FTDI chips flooding the market. Ain't China wonderful.

 

Look at it this way: Inside even your humble 494 is the same processor that powered the original 1980 Mac. The firmware gives it a map of the sky to search for objects whose celestial coordinates are in its database or coordinates you input. The planetarium software running on the PC, tablet, etc. is also a sky map. When you select an object on the screen the program converts the screen's pixel location to celestial coordinates and transmits them to the telescope. 

thank you very much for your suggestions. Indeed the 494 autostar looks like an obsolete pc of the middle 90s and the cord also is far too expensive. I did not know that when I bought it which was only 3 years ago. I am planning to replace my 494 with my 497, but for me living in europe, all the meade equipment is far more expensive than in the US and i could not find anything used in the european market. Since buying it new is out of the question since it costs 220 + dollars, I decided to upgrade my telescope with some new eyepieces and a couple of filters for now and in the meanwhile I will stay alert for the case that a used 497 comes up.



#6 Geo.

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 12:34 AM

Shipping one from the US isn't that expensive. They come up on eBay quite often.




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