So I've done some pretty in depth diagnostics and have a theory as to what the problem is.
What I've done is I took SkySafari out of the loop. I connected up the us converters device to the audiostar with the meade 505 standard 4 to 6 pin cable + the RS232 "dongle" they provide.
*** NOTE *** I have determined you must have the switch on the device set to "DTE" with this setup.
Next I connected my computer via wifi to the device using the "AXNR2W" config utility they provide to create a virtual com port. Then I used putty to connect to that com port and send commands to the scope.
Using the protocol guide here: https://www.meade.co...col_2010-10.pdf, I am able to send commands to the telescope AND get responses back. For example, one of the 1st commands skysafari sends to the scope is "get declination" (I know this because I sniffed the command the software was sending plus it is in the log files you turn on). So if I send in the very same command it sends back something like 20:43:16#
So, I can confirm the us converters device IS working with the scope without a doubt.
One thing I've noted is if the "transmitter timer" is set too high, skysafari times out (error code -13) on all commands. What this seems to control is how quick the usconverters device will return back a response to a command. e.g. I set it to 2500ms and expectedly, it takes about 2.5 seconds for a response (in putty).... I set it to 50ms and it is pretty much instantaneous.
I thought ah ha! I found the problem... so I set the timer value to 100ms, 50ms and even 10ms (min)... good news now is skysafari is getting responses to most commands - but not all (according to its log files). Before I lowered this value, skysafari wasn't logging *any* responses. Seems if even one command fails/timesout it will give you that dreaded error message.
Not sure what to do here... I will try to see if skysafari can increase their timeout. Kind of feel like it is a software problem at this point. I am able to send commands and get quick responses back via the usconverters device to the telescope.... but that might not be quick enough for skysafari.