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LS 8 Install Software/Firmware from MiniSD problem

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#1 MikeBY

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 06:04 PM

Hi,

I needed to update a LS 8 that I recently bought used. from 1.5f software. 

I got the download from Meade support. Yesterday I tried the USB cable. - it updated but then said to restart the scope.

I did, and I on reboot the handset said ver 1.6e and then went to Copy SD to NAND, press any key.

 

Today, I built an SD card (I had a microSD 2G card and bought an adapter to miniSD). 

I booted the scope from SD card, and after the 3rd attempt, the scope, the handset said copy from SD to NAND, I hit enter and the copy process started. Somewhile later, after seeing copy/verify messages for various files, it said that it was complete and to restart.

I turned off the power switch, removed the SD card and powered on.

 

The handset came up with Ver 1.6e and then went to 'Copy SD to NAND' press any key.

again!!! 

 

So.. whatever happened, maybe the load failed.

I powered off. Inserted the SD card. 

This time, on boot, the handset said Ver 1.01 then 'Copy SD to NAND' press any key

 

I pressed enter. and the copy process began. It ran quicker than the 1st time. and completed

apparently normally.

 

I powered off, removed the SD card and powered on.

 

Same result - booted to Ver 1.6e and then went to 'Copy SD to NAND' again.

 

The card is formatted by the Autostar Updater - it's Fat32 wit 4k allocation.

 

HELP please...

 

ANY ideas?

 

Thanks

 

 

Michael

 

 


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#2 MikeBY

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:22 PM

Found the problem. 

When I used Autostar Updater to Make the card, it was not putting the firmware.bin card from the downloaded software package

on the SD card. It was putting a copy of what it had within Autostar.   When I manually copied the files from the download, copying Firmware.bin first, then Flashbuild.bin and then the

rest of the folders, the card worked correctly.



#3 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:41 PM

Gday MikeBY

 

Following is based on a lot of digging in the early days

Firmware.bin on the SD card operates a bit like the old config.sys/Autoexec.bat on a bootable floppy..

It allows booting and testing of firmwares without having to reload the mounts C drive each time

ie there is a Master copy of Firmware.bin in the higher level directories (  AutostarSuite\updater\ ), and this is the "bootable" version.

In each copy of firmware you download, there is also a Firmware.bin, but this will only boot the mount if it is loaded in the correct directory inside the mount itself.

What normally happens when you make an SD card is the master/SD bootable Firmware.bin gets loaded first.

Then the firmware.bin in the dedicated firmware directory gets renamed and put on the card, then the other files/directories get loaded.

On booting from the SD card, the master file runs and then copies the renamed Firmware.bin back onto the mount as c:\Firmware.bin, then copies over the rest.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#4 MikeBY

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 07:50 AM

Hi Andrew,

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.


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#5 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 05:01 PM

Gday MikeBy

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.

Hmm, i know there was a special set of signed drivers put out for the LS but that shouldnt have affected model selection??

 

it appears to support ETX-LS. No mention of LS only.

That rings a bell, as they changed terminology part way through as the LS is nothing like an ETX but (IIRC) the naming had something to do with how ASU selected files.

It has a totally different CPU and operating system type.

 

Going on your theory, the Flashfirmware.bin file might be the file that you suggest is copied and renamed as the new firmware.bin

I only ever saw a "FlashFirmware,bin" on the SD card after creating it. ( ie ASU made it as part of making the card )

In my installation directory for ASSuite,

i have Firmware.bin under AsSuite\Updater\    ( master )

and Firmware.bin under AsSuite\Updater\ETX_LS16A\

The latter became FlashFirmware.bin on the SD card

I used a low level hex file comparator to see what mapped to the SD card

 

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.

Correct, and it also appears ( not proven tho ) some early countefeit cards didnt allow the file to get exactly at the 1st sector

so it failed also.

 

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.

There is a clutch ( of sorts ) in the later models, but you cant get to it.

That said, the clutch is a lubricated rubber disk, and by applying medium but firm pressure to the OTA, you can move it back down slowly. I learnt that very early in my testing, as i killed the mount ( a lot ), and also got the clutch to slip when loaded with a microfocusser and binoviewer :-)

 

So from the looks of it, the problem I had was because of the 1.0.1 Firmware.bin file in ASU.

Hmmm, i have 1.3 as the master loader on my cards

1.3  Nov-30-2009 11:01:38

No idea where i got that from :-)

 

If FlashFirmware.bin is actually copied and renamed to firmware.bin,

It is. I have read the files back out of the mount when running to do a compare

and FlashFirmware.bin on the SD card is what ends up as C:\Firmware.bin

inside the mount after loading.

Also, if you use a hex editor to look at the file contents, you can see some of the "load" specific

terminology in one file, but not the other ( eg "SD to NAND" is only in the bootloader file )

 

As to orthogonality, you can release the RA ( non ) clutch manually to allow the RA to spin freely.

Then do a std spin test to align the OTA, then go and reset the RA clutch

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

 

DEC Clutch2.jpg ETXLSDECDrive.JPG ETXLSRADrive.JPG

 

 



#6 ldcarson

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 05:22 AM

Interesting.  I am having a similar problem.  I downloaded the asu 1.6 update and put in a new card, let it do its thing, it started the update to 1.6 then I got an error on the handset, rebooted and dead.  Put in the 1.6d firmware back up chip and it reloaded and installed to the nand and rom fine.  Rebooted and came up, but now the video files ( chessey I know) only play for 5 seconds and the abruptly stop.  Everything else seems to work, but will give your work around a try.

 

1.  Just to make sure, I copy the firmware bin from the download onto the new Sdfcu card and work the sequence listed above?

2.  Is the firmware.bin files located within the asu update, haven’t seen the specific files listed anywhere.  But I also haven’t looked into detail on it yet.

 

thanks



#7 REC

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 11:03 AM

Yikes, I'm have the same issue, old card with 1.6a will not work now. Someone else with the same issue said I need to get the newer 1.6a. I'm just going to buy a new one, not too good with all this computer stuff!



#8 Astrosid

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:31 AM

Save yourself the time and grief - call Meade, order the $20 update card for your $2000 telescope.  You will have it in less than 1 week.  Plug it in and you are done.   While you are waiting for the card, you can watch Brian Greene on Youtube and learn about String theory.  (You will also have another SD card for Misc storage)


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#9 Waterwose

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 11:47 PM

After months of frustration trying to get my LS 8 unbricked, I was able to get it running with the help of MikeBY.  I had to buy a Win 97 laptop off ebay, and followed the instructions above, and it booted on the second try.  The first try, I copied the files to a 1.6d card that Meade sent me three years ago and it didn't work then or now. For the second attempt I used a card I had lying around and it went flawlessly.  Tonight was the first time I was able to test it and the auto align worked perfectly. I spent about an hour slewing to various things and it was flawless.   Many thanks to the posters on this tread and to MikeBY for his help.



#10 owlly

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 11:08 AM

Hi All,

 

I am trying to get hold of the latest firmware for my LS6. Meade are in lock down due to Covid-19, does anyone have the zip file ETX_LSV16E.ZIP?

 

Many thanks,

Mike



#11 dtrego

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 12:43 PM

Hi All,

 

I am trying to get hold of the latest firmware for my LS6. Meade are in lock down due to Covid-19, does anyone have the zip file ETX_LSV16E.ZIP?

 

Many thanks,

Mike

This is the link that Meade customer support sent to me back in November 2019. Seems to still be available:

 

https://www.dropbox....6E (1).zip?dl=0

 

The email stressed that the SD card needed to be created on a Win7 (or earlier) box - Win10 doesn't seem to work. I can't vouch for that statement, though - I ended up buying the miniSD card from them because I couldn't find the one I was going to use for the downloaded firmware (until the day after I ordered it, naturally).

 

The README file contains directions on the order to copy the files to the card.


Edited by dtrego, 01 June 2020 - 12:48 PM.

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#12 owlly

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 04:11 PM

Hi, fantastic, that is very kind of you,

hopefully I can resurrect the scope, but probably will end up buying a preloaded mini sd card!! 


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#13 rmollise

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 06:34 PM

Hi, fantastic, that is very kind of you,

hopefully I can resurrect the scope, but probably will end up buying a preloaded mini sd card!! 

 

Try to get it as soon as possible. It looks like Meade has discontinued the LSes...so who knows how long any parts and support will be around. frown.gif


Edited by rmollise, 08 June 2020 - 06:34 PM.


#14 owlly

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 03:58 PM

Try to get it as soon as possible. It looks like Meade has discontinued the LSes...so who knows how long any parts and support will be around. frown.gif

Thanks for the heads up.



#15 RogerF

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 12:12 AM

To chime in here:

In April 2019 I purchased a LS-8 from a second party vendor. It had version 1.6d on it, and worked just fine. Not leaving well enough alone, I attempted to updated to 1.6e. Bricked it. Called Meade and got a run around that ASU and or 1.6e was not meant for the LS-8. Said that as long as 1.6d GPS worked to not worry. Not sure as they were very vague. They waned to charge me $50 for a card. I threw a fit, and they said they'd send a free card. Two days later I received an adapter, but no card. Called them back, but was ignored. Found 1.6d online, built a card, and re-flashed successfully. GPS works fine.

 

Not sure why folks want to update to 1.6e if 1.6d works OK. As an aside, and being curious, I downloaded 1.6e from Dropbox as posted here, formatted and copied files per instructions (1 gig and 2 gig card), but scope won't boot with either card. Think I'll just stick with 1.6d.



#16 GeoSwa2010

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 07:46 AM

Roger F,

The learning continues, and I shall be looking for 1.6D,  Do you or anyone know how to get a listing of the versions and where to get them?   I do have the memory card arriving in a day or so, I am anxious to see what version arrives,   I am able to load 1.6E but I had to learn how to properly configure the memory card to do that.  

 

thanks for sharing the info on 1.6d.

 

George

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

without any problems from a d



#17 owlly

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 10:44 AM

Now I am totally confused!! I thought that the LS required 1.6e to fix the GPS rollover problem. Admittedly my current version is 1.6d and I have not tried to see it works here in the UK.

Is the GPS problem location specific or something?

thanks,

Mike



#18 RogerF

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 08:22 PM

Ironically, I downloaded 1.6d from a UK website, though I don't recall from where. I also don't remember how I built the card. All I know is my card worked, and I treat it like gold. From my recollection of communications with Meade, I was told that as long as the correct date was displayed on the AutoStar III with 1.6d, there was no reason to update to 1.6e, and in fact to not update. That was from a Meade engineer! Again, they were rather vague about the reasoning. My guess is they didn't want the end-user monkeying with anything. I also surmise much of it was farmed out and they were clueless too, as is evident by the abysmal support/software section of their website (IMHO, the whole website needs a rework). Someone was asleep at the switch (as it where). But, that's a topic for another discussion.



#19 RogerF

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Posted 10 June 2020 - 11:18 PM

Executive summery from previous post: Meade told me that if 1.6D works, no need to update to 1.6E, and in fact, don't do it. No explanation given. I'm staying with the axiom, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.



#20 owlly

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Posted 12 June 2020 - 06:51 AM

Thanks Roger,  very informative  I am going try the scope tonight with version 1.6d. Hopefully it will acquire GPS correctly but it is a real shame about Meade they were the leader of the pack at one stage, ho hum.



#21 RogerF

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 10:32 AM

FYI, I reloaded 1.6d last night because of issues with the Eclips camera (stopped working). After I calibrated the drives and did a 2-star alignment, it was spot on. Hope it works out for you.


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#22 GeoSwa2010

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 12:42 PM

FYI also. I did the same but I loaded 1.6 E.  It booted up and was spot on without issue.  If I can locate a copy of 1.6D I may load it but experience Tells me if it ain’t broke don’t fix it..  



#23 RogerF

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 07:43 PM

I've been unable to build a 1.6e card. I've followed the directions, but no joy. No boot. Built on Win 7. 1.6d works though.



#24 Sparky59

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 09:28 AM

Does anyone know where I can download version 1.6d of the firmware.  I'm having the sames problems as mentioned previously with version 1.6e.  Unfortunately, I can't find version 1.6d anywhere on the web.  Thanks in advance!



#25 ssutton18

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 01:16 PM

Try  this  link  it  worked  for  me

 

https://www.dropbox....ubpath=/LS_1.6d




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