Gday to you and thanks for responding.
What you said makes sense and Meade may have been doing that in the past. I'd have to dig back, and I probably will when I next get out the 10" LX200GPS lurking in the back of my storage closet.
I did a little more digging, and I know there a problem with the software release from Meade or the instructions they sent via email. The simple 5 step instruction within the distribution zip turned out to be the answer.
Not having the original DVD from 2010 that would have come with the scope, I downloaded the current versions from the website of AS suite and the AS updater ver 6.1
I loaded the AS updater 1st, then AS suite. First mistake - the AS Suite has an OLDER version of the updater (4.8x) which overwrites the 6.1 version with no warning. I guess file overwrite and version checks using the WISE installer was too much to ask. Connecting the scope on USB, the driver loaded and AS suite detected the LS, but running the updater, there was no entry for LS scopes.
After finding that issue, I re-installed updater 6.1. Now after these problems and what you mentioned, I've gone back and uninstalled everything, and cleaned up the directories. I installed just the AS updater 6.1 and checked the files. The FIRMWARE.BIN file that ASU 6.1 installs is version 1.01 dated 4/2009 and it appears to support ETX-LS. No mention of LS only. The software/firmware distribution from Meade for version 1.6e also contains a FIRMWARE.BIN file and a FlashFirmware.bin file. Both of these files are in the ETX_LSV16E folder of the distribution, are version 1.6 and make reference to Meade LS in most places rather than Meade ETX-LS.
So, Here's the thing. After updating the updater with the new software release from Meade per their direction (copy the zip to the ..\updater folder and unzip) you end up with a directory ..\updater\ETX_LSV16E which contains the 2 new .bin files and the folders for the rest of the data (menus, tours, etc.).
When you make a new SD card, it copied the OLD ver 1.01 Firmware.bin file and the newer FlashFirmware.bin files to the SD card and the rest of the new folder structure.
When booting that card, It booted as version 1.0.1 and appeared to transfer files ok. On restart - it was back to the Copy SD to NAND message, so clearly it was seeing an error in the load.
I tried reformatting and reloading the card, and tried starting with FAT rather than FAT32. (the card does get reformatted by ASU). Other than once having the card not read at all (Flashing power light), which was probably insertion problems with the adapter, the symptoms stayed the same. Success reported on the copy, but failed on restart.
So, unlike what you mentioned, there is no dedicated firmware directory in the new software release distro. The bin files are simply in the root of the release folder. The ASU "make" function copied it's old version of the firmware.bin then the flashfirmware.bin from the distro to the root of the SD card followed by the rest of the distro files. The new version of firmware.bin never makes it to the SD card. Going on your theory, the Flashfirmware.bin file might be the file that you suggest is copied and renamed as the new firmware.bin on the root of the internal filesystem. It's 2.5k smaller in size. If that's the case, the initial SD card that I built with ASU should have worked. It did not! I did note that the copy routine copies "bootstrap 1" followed by "bootstrap 2".
Having failed with Meade's tech support instructions, I followed this next idea.
I found in the firmware.zip a Readme.txt file with the following instructions.
Lightswitch SD card instructions
1. Format a 1GB or 2GB SD card to FAT32 (use default allocation size sectors).
2. Copy FIRMWARE.bin to the SD card (must be done before the next step).
3. Copy FlashFirmware.bin to the SD card.
4. Copy the Maps, Menus, Objects, Tours and User folders to the SD card.
5. The SD card is now ready for use in Lightswitch telescopes.
Now, rather than leave the card with no name, I named it EFINDERETX (which is what ASU names it), as it might be needed by the internal bootstrap reading from A:\ (SD card).
Other than that, I followed the instructions exactly. Copying FIRMWARE.bin first after the format makes sense. If the scope only has basic bootstrap code in BIOS, then it would assume the initial boot file is on the 1st sectors of the boot media.
If you copy files in the wrong order, the boot will fail.
So This last method worked straight away. Booted as ver 1.6e, prompted for Copy to NAND, Loaded, Restarted and it came up as 1.6E. I was finally able to shutdown the scope and get the OTA pointing DOWN. Until then, I couldn't put the scope away. There isn't a DEC release on the arm and I dared not put pressure on the drive train.
I'll do further testing, but it at least went through the initialization, and interestingly enough aborted a full alignment because of the time of day. It's not dark enough to see stars. It switched to terrestrial mode after locating North and level.
So from the looks of it, the problem I had was because of the 1.0.1 Firmware.bin file in ASU. The way that card gets "made" the correct 1.6 firmware file never makes it onto the SD card, and you end up with OLD firmware running against new .rom files. I'll report the result to Meade and see what they say about it. If FlashFirmware.bin is actually copied and renamed to firmware.bin, then I think the file sizes would be closer. There is about 2.5k difference and I should not have run into the problem.
I'll post a followup when I contact Meade on Monday (USA - Pacific). I'm in their timezone.
I think it's important to figure out if their instruction is that confusing, incorrect for this release, or I'm the only one who has encountered this.
Now the remaining tasks.. to get this scope mounted and out under the stars for a test run. I have to build a mount adapter, and figure out how to fix the OTA orthogonal alignment with the DEC axis. Those front OTA mount screws were messed with for sure. they were loose when I got the scope.
I might be complaining a bit, but it's with a smile, as I know Meade optics are really good, and I bought this scope at what I think really was a bargain price as it needs TLC to get it all squared away, and that's not the typical person looking for a fully automated GT scope.