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Meade LS6 Firmware updates not working

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#1 Aurora1

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 05:45 PM

Hi Everyone,
I have a Meade LS6 telescope which I’m trying to get firmware updates for. I tried to download updates into a mini SD card which was formatted as FAT32.  Every time I try, I get a message:
“Could not connect to Autostar. Autostar update now perform a search of all COM ports. OK to proceed?” When I press OK it says, “could not find COM Port. Check your connection and try again.”
Is this a software problem? I have successfully updated firmware 4 years ago. The telescope was fine then.  Do I have to change the settings of the software? If so, how do I do it? Please can someone help me to solve this problem? I’ve been trying to get my telescope working but sadly every attempt I make is unsuccessful.  
Although I had the LS6 for a few years, I haven’t had much of a chance to look at the night sky through it. I still feel new to this hobby. I really want to give it a go this time. Hope someone can help me. Thanks! help.gif fingerscrossed.gif



#2 owlly

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 02:00 AM

Hi Everyone,
I have a Meade LS6 telescope which I’m trying to get firmware updates for. I tried to download updates into a mini SD card which was formatted as FAT32.  Every time I try, I get a message:
“Could not connect to Autostar. Autostar update now perform a search of all COM ports. OK to proceed?” When I press OK it says, “could not find COM Port. Check your connection and try again.”
Is this a software problem? I have successfully updated firmware 4 years ago. The telescope was fine then.  Do I have to change the settings of the software? If so, how do I do it? Please can someone help me to solve this problem? I’ve been trying to get my telescope working but sadly every attempt I make is unsuccessful.  
Although I had the LS6 for a few years, I haven’t had much of a chance to look at the night sky through it. I still feel new to this hobby. I really want to give it a go this time. Hope someone can help me. Thanks! help.gif fingerscrossed.gif

 

Q) Was telescope working before you tried to update the firmware with the home prepared mini SD card ?

 

My view is don’t upgrade the telescope’s firmware via a home prepared mini SD card. You’ll end up bricking the scope, Autostar update suit is notoriously flaky. You need to purchase a factory prepared mini SD card from Meade. 



#3 Aurora1

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 03:13 PM

Hi owlly,

 

Thanks for your reply. Yes, it worked before with the home prepared mini SD card. It's not working now for some reason. 

OK, I'll take your advice and buy a factory prepared mini SD card.

Thank you so much for your help! smile.gif



#4 owlly

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 01:45 AM

Hi owlly,

 

Thanks for your reply. Yes, it worked before with the home prepared mini SD card. It's not working now for some reason. 

OK, I'll take your advice and buy a factory prepared mini SD card.

Thank you so much for your help! smile.gif

I hope that works. Let me know how you get on.



#5 HGW

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 05:22 AM

Recently I bought a card from Meade USA and it is not accepted by my ETX-LS . The new Meade dealer in Germany confirmed it. The card delivered is a micro SD in a mini SD adapter. I'm very disappointed! Will see what the reaction of Meade USA will be.



#6 Aurora1

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 04:51 PM

My previous Meade SD card was a micro SD in a mini adaptor which I managed to get updates from a few years ago but it didn't work this time for some reason. And it was a home prepared SD card. 

 

I've ordered a factory prepared mini SD card from Meade dealer here in the UK.  I'm expecting it soon.  Can't wait till I try it on my telescope.  Hopefully, the problem will be solved as I've read very good comments about this SD card. I'll keep you updated on the outcome.  Many Thanks.



#7 Aurora1

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 11:55 AM

I received my Mini SD card the day after I ordered it. Got firmware updated, it was quick and easy. I was so eager to check the telescope. I took it out last night, even though the sky was a bit cloudy.  The telescope worked very well.  I was able to see Jupiter and a few stars and even though it wasn’t the best view of Jupiter, it was fantastic.  I’m so glad that my telescope is in working order now.  Thanks for your advice.

But I still can’t understand why I couldn’t get updates from the Meade website as I did before.  Even though getting updated through the website is recommended on the user manual, the instruction leaflet I received with the SD card doesn’t recommend it. Wonder why?
I’m just wondering whether the reason for not being able to get updates from the Meade website was because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10 as when I first prepared my SD card at home I did it from Windows 7.



#8 gfamily

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 12:05 PM

I’m just wondering whether the reason for not being able to get updates from the Meade website was because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10 as when I first prepared my SD card at home I did it from Windows 7.

I've wondered whether the Win 10 formatting of the card is the problem rather than the firmware load itself. 

 

I'm the same - previously managed to load the firmware to a card (on a Win7 machine), but couldn't get it to work with a card made on Win10

 

I bought mine from Harrison Telescopes - I spoke to them before ordering and confirmed that they'd refund if it wouldn't work to refresh the firmware.



#9 owlly

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 01:39 PM

I received my Mini SD card the day after I ordered it. Got firmware updated, it was quick and easy. I was so eager to check the telescope. I took it out last night, even though the sky was a bit cloudy.  The telescope worked very well.  I was able to see Jupiter and a few stars and even though it wasn’t the best view of Jupiter, it was fantastic.  I’m so glad that my telescope is in working order now.  Thanks for your advice.

But I still can’t understand why I couldn’t get updates from the Meade website as I did before.  Even though getting updated through the website is recommended on the user manual, the instruction leaflet I received with the SD card doesn’t recommend it. Wonder why?
I’m just wondering whether the reason for not being able to get updates from the Meade website was because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10 as when I first prepared my SD card at home I did it from Windows 7.

Brilliant! Glad the scope is now working, my own view is that the scope is based upon very old tech both hard & software.

If you bought the LS recently, it is essentially identical to one bought in 2010, basically Meade has done nothing to update the scope. Although there has been a few firmware updates, the most recent 1.6d in 2016.



#10 RogFelt

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 12:52 PM

I struggled with that firmware update issue a while back.  I solved it by downloading the update files onto a mini SD card (or micro with mini attachment) and then simply inserting it into the SD card slot on the ETX-LS mount.  Then turn on the scope switch and you should see the update taking place in the handset.  Note that my LS 6 didn't seem to like some SD cards (must be no larger than 2Gb and formatted to Fat 32).  Not sure if it mattered but the scope may also look for the SD card label to be EFINDERETX.  Keep trying....you'll get it.  BTW...my scoped was "bricked" and still got it up and running great.


Edited by RogFelt, 18 August 2018 - 12:53 PM.


#11 gfamily

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 01:51 PM

Yes, there isn't an option to replace the firmware via the USB cable.

#12 Geo.

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 10:15 AM

Yes, the 2GB limit must be followed. And I can't but wonder if the current card formatting software that works for 128GB can still deal with 2GB SDs. Main reason I keep an old Lenovo running XP and away from updates.



#13 gfamily

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 10:37 AM

Yes, the 2GB limit must be followed. And I can't but wonder if the current card formatting software that works for 128GB can still deal with 2GB SDs. Main reason I keep an old Lenovo running XP and away from updates.

I know I was successful in creating a working card (using a 512Mb Mini SD) with my old WIn 7 machine, but had no success with creating a workable card if I used a Win10 machine. 

 

I bought a pre-loaded card from Harrison Telescopes (here in UK) after calling them up and getting reassurance that if it didn't work I could return it for a full refund. It worked, and I'm keeping it safe and sound in case I need it again.



#14 skyskan

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 07:54 PM



I recently successfully created SD card for my LS8 using 1GB card with my Win10 machine. I think it does not have to be 2BG card.

However, many attempts failed following the instruction about FAT32 format.  It created the SD card, but the telescope was not booting from the card.
When I tried Fat16 (list as just FAT in windows 10), it worked like a magic.  I am not so sure if it is just a coincident, but 2GB is the size limit for FAT16, and that is what caused me to try FAT16 format.
 
However, there are people reporting they were able to created the card with FAT32 also.

Edited by skyskan, 07 September 2018 - 07:56 PM.


#15 pontyperv

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 05:56 AM

I have firmware 1.6a on my LS6 with a mini sd card I purchased from Harrisons telescopes here in the UK 2 years ago. I have just downloaded the latest firmware 1.6d from the link here. When I check my card with the 1.6a version on, it has one extra file compared to that of the latest 1.6d and that file is flashfirmware bin.

Not sure if I should use the 1.6d update without this file as it appears some others have or whether I need to copy the flashfirmware bin over from 1.6a to the 1.6d version.

Any advice much appreciated


Edited by pontyperv, 20 November 2018 - 06:07 AM.


#16 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:25 PM

Gday PontyPerv

The SD card has one extra file which acts as a bootfile and is only used if booting from the SD card.

If your mount is working, just use the normal USB uploader to load 1.6d, and keep the 1.6a for emergencies.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#17 gfamily

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 07:02 PM

Gday PontyPerv

The SD card has one extra file which acts as a bootfile and is only used if booting from the SD card.

If your mount is working, just use the normal USB uploader to load 1.6d, and keep the 1.6a for emergencies.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

I didn't think you could flash the firmware via the USB cable. 


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#18 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 07:42 PM

Gday gfamily

 

I didn't think you could flash the firmware via the USB cable.

I have done it many times. wink.gif

It has an inbuilt USB2Ser adapter, and it absolutely scorches along.

IIRC, it runs at 933k baud.

Unlike the older PIC based microprocessors, the LS uses a far more powerful ARM processor

and the data is formatted as files ( like on a DOS disk )

ie a C:\ drive with folders underneath it,

( The folders match the structure in the update files on yr PC )

so i suppose that can streamline the writing, but at the expense of simple tweaks

ie to load a single comet, you actually have to delete the whole comets file and rewrite it.

That said, it also has ( hidden ) flexibility to add your own user files, if you know what you are doing.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

 

And from the manual, page 13

 

21
USB-B   Connector   to   PC:
Connects   your
telescope to a PC computer, so that the telescope
can  be  remotely  controlled  from  AutoStar  Suite
software, or other computer planetarium programs.
This port can also be used to update the software
in your telescope, manage custom catalogs, keep
data  on  satellites,  comets  and  asteroids  current,
and to download new tours to your telescope.


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 20 November 2018 - 07:51 PM.


#19 HGW

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 11:59 AM

I could overcome the problem with the SD Card bought from MEADE USA (see my post here dated 2July2018) with a card bought from Opticstar in UK. This 2GB miniSD card with V 1.6d works fine.

CS

Hans



#20 RogFelt

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:41 PM

I could overcome the problem with the SD Card bought from MEADE USA (see my post here dated 2July2018) with a card bought from Opticstar in UK. This 2GB miniSD card with V 1.6d works fine.

CS

Hans

Using Win 10 is a crapshoot and I stopped trying.  I have an old laptop with Win 7 that I keep just for new updates.  The hardest part is getting access to the files I need.  Autostar is a joke and I hate the idea of having to buy the update files I need.  Why doesn't someone with a Meade 6" ETX-LS ACF upload the latest version files and let people who need them worry about correctly formatting a SD card.  Inserting the card into the SD slot on the scope and flipping the switch is the easiest and best way I have found to update my scope.  No other way works for me...and, it appears, many others, too.



#21 owlly

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 02:22 AM

Using Win 10 is a crapshoot and I stopped trying.  I have an old laptop with Win 7 that I keep just for new updates.  The hardest part is getting access to the files I need.  Autostar is a joke and I hate the idea of having to buy the update files I need.  Why doesn't someone with a Meade 6" ETX-LS ACF upload the latest version files and let people who need them worry about correctly formatting a SD card.  Inserting the card into the SD slot on the scope and flipping the switch is the easiest and best way I have found to update my scope.  No other way works for me...and, it appears, many others, too.

 

Amen to that !!



#22 bloobus

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 01:01 PM

Thought it would be informative to report on a new wrinkle in the Meade LS6 firmware update. Five years ago I purchased and received the Meade LS6, however a heavy increase in workload at my office shortly after ordering the telescope gave me little leisure time and I did not open the boxes for the first time until last week, shortly after my retirement. Obviously expensive instruments should be opened and examined on receipt but life happens. Indoor dry run of the scope confirmed all basic functions to be working and I thought it appropriate to update the firmware from version 1.5 to 1.6. Learning from this thread that updating was no longer possible directly from the Meade website via USB cord, I made an SD card from the Autostar Suite. I have Windows 7 and my computer indicated the data transfer was successful.However I was unable to confirm the card to be functioning because I could  insert the SD card into the SD  slot in the LS6 only about a quarter of an inch. The SD card inserted easily and correctly into the SD card slot of my computer. Close examination of the LS6 slot revealed what appeared to be an obstruction at the very top of the vertical slot. It was a metallic square, 2 mm on a side, the width of the slot, and appeared to be the end of a tiny bar extending an unknown distance into the top of the slot.Has anyone else ever encountered this? Short of sending the telescope to Meade for repair at my expense, out of warranty and return privileges, I am at a loss of what to do. Would simply running the old 1.5 version firmware be acceptable? I am open to any and all suggestions or comments. Thank you in advance.



#23 skyskan

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 12:00 PM

If the warranty is out already and you would need to spend your own money to have it serviced, why not try the scope first with 1.5 firmware and see if it would satisfy your needs?

 

The scope was introduced into the market in 2009, and they have fixed a lot of software issues by 2014.  

 

I am not so sure if they made any improvement for the auto alignment functions, but I use Auto 2 Star alignment almost exclusively instead of Auto Alignment.  It is faster and more accurate.

 

It will not be too late if you try first and decide to service the scope later.  Also, I think you could use USB cable to update the software.  

 

I don't know how far you are from California.  The shipping itself would cost a lot of money.  I would try everything before you would have to spent money on it.  I would save that money and spent it on eyepieces and a better diagonal.

 

If you could boot your scope with 1.5, just go ahead and use it.  I think you would fine it satisfactory.


Edited by skyskan, 04 September 2019 - 01:25 PM.


#24 bloobus

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 12:01 PM

Thank you skyscan, will follow your suggestions. Spoke with Meade shortly after my last forum posting, the technition stated that I should experience no noticeable difference in performance between the old and new firmware which was last updated in 2018. The update had something to do with enhancing the telescope/gps satellite interface. If repair was still needed, I could then ship the scope to Meade, a flat repair fee of 350$ and a shipping fee of 50$ would be charged, this does not include my shipping from Arizona. However if the fix was simple, such as something I could have done , Meade would then only assess shipping charges. Also received an email in my inbox from Cloudy Nights saying that he had also experienced an SD card obstruction and that the locking system can malfunction and lock itself out. He sent a photo to see if was the same obstruction I was experiencing however I was unable to pull it up. Perhaps he could post the photo link on this forum where I am able to pull up pictures.

    You had mentioned in you reply that it may be possible to update the firmware using the USB cable. How would one go about this? Have already taken some of your advice and purchased a Televue Plossl eyepiece and star diagonal for the LS6. Currently splicing a Meade d/c power cord to be able to use a Celestron outboard lithium Powertank battery with the LS6..


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#25 skyskan

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:53 PM

Thank you skyscan, will follow your suggestions. Spoke with Meade shortly after my last forum posting, the technition stated that I should experience no noticeable difference in performance between the old and new firmware which was last updated in 2018. The update had something to do with enhancing the telescope/gps satellite interface. If repair was still needed, I could then ship the scope to Meade, a flat repair fee of 350$ and a shipping fee of 50$ would be charged, this does not include my shipping from Arizona. However if the fix was simple, such as something I could have done , Meade would then only assess shipping charges. Also received an email in my inbox from Cloudy Nights saying that he had also experienced an SD card obstruction and that the locking system can malfunction and lock itself out. He sent a photo to see if was the same obstruction I was experiencing however I was unable to pull it up. Perhaps he could post the photo link on this forum where I am able to pull up pictures.
You had mentioned in you reply that it may be possible to update the firmware using the USB cable. How would one go about this? Have already taken some of your advice and purchased a Televue Plossl eyepiece and star diagonal for the LS6. Currently splicing a Meade d/c power cord to be able to use a Celestron outboard lithium Powertank battery with the LS6..


I will try to find USB cable instruction and send it to you. Also, I would recommend car cigarrett lighter adapter for LS instead of modifying existing cable.


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