Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

New life for my 10" LX200 classic

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 SpicyTuna

SpicyTuna

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2020

Posted 23 January 2020 - 09:39 AM

Hi everybody, I'm new here and I write you from Italy. I own a LX200 since I was a child, given by my father. About 10 years ago my hand controller failed, and after a few tries I gave up to find a replacement. So the big beast has remained unused since then. But now I'd like to put it back to work, and after several internet searches I found some solution. But before spending money unnecessarily I would like your advice.

 

The cheaper solution would seem to buy a hand controller emulator and then link the telescope via RS232 with my laptop, but I'm non sure if it's possible to align it without the handset. I also found some RS232 bluetooth dongle, but as long as I know it's impossible to align the telescope directly from the app without the handset

 

Another possible solution is to purchase the Autostar update kit, but it's quite expensive and I don't know if in the meantime something else has failed so the risk is to waste money.

 

Also I understand that some solutions only work wit certain firmware versions, and I would like to know how to locate my version.

 

Any advice for me? 



#2 rferrante

rferrante

    Clearline Technology Corp.

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 128
  • Joined: 07 Dec 2017
  • Loc: Orange County, California

Posted 23 January 2020 - 01:23 PM

Spicy,

 

Have you looked into repairing your old hand controller? Many fail for the same reason: a fried capacitor melts a hole in the keypad's ribbon connector. If that was the issue for your handset, you can replace the capacitor, and replace the keypad by buying a new one from Ron Sampson (PM me for his email address).

 

Should cost around $50.00 total.

 

--Rob



#3 SJMarty

SJMarty

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 32
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2008
  • Loc: Jacksonville, FL

Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:08 PM

I'm not sure how often they show up but there is one in the classifieds right now...

 

https://www.cloudyni...r-revision-320/

 

Definitely more expensive than Rob's solution and not sure if the seller would ship internationally but would be a solder-free answer to using your telescope again.



#4 Peterson Engineering

Peterson Engineering

    Vendor - Peterson Engineering

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 257
  • Joined: 02 May 2012
  • Loc: RI, USA

Posted 24 January 2020 - 08:59 AM

Most "classics" fail due to drive problems.  And the brains of the "classic" is located in the hand control rather than in the scope itself.  By far the easiest solution would be to find a used hand control online.  Or convince someone with a dead telescope to sell their setup piecemeal.  

 

Pete



#5 SpicyTuna

SpicyTuna

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2020

Posted 24 January 2020 - 11:10 AM

Thank yoy all, I sent a message for the hand controller in the marketplace. I read that the version is 3.20 but I'm not sure about which version is my telescope. How can I recognize it?



#6 Geo.

Geo.

    Vendor - Nexstar Parts

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 5,192
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 25 January 2020 - 02:12 PM

Most "classics" fail due to drive problems.  And the brains of the "classic" is located in the hand control rather than in the scope itself.  By far the easiest solution would be to find a used hand control online.  Or convince someone with a dead telescope to sell their setup piecemeal.  

 

Pete

Really? I think you are confusing the LX200 with the Autostar system.

 

The LX200 hand control uses a MC68HC705C8 microcontroller unit (MCU). It is derived from the 68000 series of MCUs introduced in 1979. While the MC68HC705C8 still available today it was introduced before 1985. The MC68HC705C8 is an 8 bit MCU specifically designed or dumbed down for embedded control and communication functions such as it performs in the hand control. 

 

OTOH, The LX200's main board is in the mount. It is built around a Toshiba TMP68301AF. This is a low power requirement version of the Motorola 68000 MCU. The power in the 1980 MacIntosh. It operates at 16MHz with an instruction execution time of 240ns. While that wouldn't power your phone today, it was a potent MCU in its time. 

 

On the main board it is the heart of a network. It is a server to the two MCUs that control the drives. In addition to its own memory it has the support of two 0.5Mb EEPROMs (AM27C040). So it it clear the heavy processing is done in the mount. 

 

With the introduction of the LX200GPS the Toshiba TMP68301AF and its supporting peripherals stayed in the mount with the GPS electronics and level/north sensors. The Autostar II hand box continued to be powered by a low performance MCU. 

 

The Autostar hand controller did have the brains in it. It was developed for the ETX telescopes almost a full decade after the introduction of the LX200.. The Toshiba TMP68301AF and its support were housed there and the motor control MCUs were housed in the mount. The change was necessary as there wasn't room in the mount for the entire control system. 



#7 rferrante

rferrante

    Clearline Technology Corp.

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 128
  • Joined: 07 Dec 2017
  • Loc: Orange County, California

Posted 26 January 2020 - 03:02 PM

Can confirm that the LX200 classic hand controller is controlled by the cpu on the main board. It just does a few tasks such as putting prompts on the display, listening to the keypad, beeping the beeper, etc. Also acts as a hand-warmer :-)

 

There's a short document on the protocol used to communicate with it, and from the commands there you can see all  of what the hand controller can do.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ndset-protocol/

 

--Rob




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics