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LX85 - A4S4 FW upgrade issues

Meade mount
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16 replies to this topic

#1 RadarGuy

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:02 PM

Have any other LX85 mount owners had issues after installing the A4S4 firmware upgrade?

 

I started having issues after I performed this upgrade.  The first thing I noticed was that when manually slewing the mount via the handset (like when performing a multi-star alignment) the RA axis would move on its own in the opposite direction of my command, after I stopped pressing the controller button.  It would move how I want as long as I had the button depressed, but the moment I released it, the mount began to move in the opposite direction.  This was a minor annoyance at first, but eventually became worse to the point where I had trouble performing the alignment, as every time I would get the alignment star positioned correctly, the mount would start moving.  This continued to get worse until tonight when I was completely unable to align the mount.  When the mount would attempt to slew to an alignment start it would move in a completely wrong direction and point to an area of the sky that wasn’t even close to the star it was trying to slew to.  It even started pointing the OTA towards the ground and banged my camera into the tripod along the way, something it had never done till now and required the mount to be in a very weird orientation for this to even happen.

 

I contacted Meade tech support and have a trouble ticket in.  No direction from them yet, though it looks like I'll have to send it in for repair.  I'm curious if anyone else has had similar issues, especially after upgrading to the A4S4 firmware.  

 

Thanks,

Josh



#2 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:52 PM

Gday Josh

Have you done a motor calibrate and then a drive train???

( The drive train needs to be done in terrestrial mode )

What you are experiencing partly sounds like the old "creep after beep" bug

but not totally.

A lot of it comes down to the mount not knowing how much backlash it has in the geartrains.

Did you load raw A4S4 or patched????

If patched, what drive train and lash percentages do you have set.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#3 SDTopensied

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:55 PM

You should be able to downgrade the firmware by just installing the last working version.

 

I haven’t worked with the Meade firmware updates since before the Sunny acquisition, so I’m not sure it’s still possible.

 

You can also check out StarPatch for custom Autostar firmware.

 

-Steve



#4 RadarGuy

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for the ideas folks.  I have not recalibrated the drive train since I updated.  I'll try that tomorrow.  The FW update was loaded raw without modification. I'll also check out StarPatch.   



#5 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 12:48 AM

Gday Josh

If you do use StarPatch, it will add the ability to read/edit the drive train values via the handbox or my app.

We need to know what the values are to see if they are affecting the reversing

and thus giving a wrong impression of drift or over compensation.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#6 RonaldNC

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 07:18 AM

Gday Josh

Have you done a motor calibrate and then a drive train???

( The drive train needs to be done in terrestrial mode )

What you are experiencing partly sounds like the old "creep after beep" bug

but not totally.

A lot of it comes down to the mount not knowing how much backlash it has in the geartrains.

Did you load raw A4S4 or patched????

If patched, what drive train and lash percentages do you have set.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Andrew,

 

I also would like to upgrade my firmware, but am a bit nervous after reading this post.  However, if I make the leap, I want to be ready to recalibrate everything.  Performing a motor calibrate seems pretty straight forward... but the PEC Train process is a bit confusing.  The manual says:

"To perform this procedure, you need to use a high-power reticle eyepiece, or an autoguider camera properly configured and connected to the Autoguider port."

 

How do you perform a PEC Train with an eyepiece?

 

Okay, I've got a guide camera... so the manual says:

"Using your imaging camera begin auto guiding on the target star and wait about one minute for your guiding corrections to stabilize."

 

So... how do you set this up?  Does the camera have to be connected to the ST-4 input directly?  Does it assume you are running PHD2 software?  If so, should PHD2 be allowed to send corrections to the mount?

 

Any clarification would be very helpful!

 

Thanks!

Ron



#7 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 03:05 PM

Gday Ron

How do you perform a PEC Train

I wasnt talking PEC train, it was "Drive Train"

It is done during the day on a terrestrial target

and measures the backlash in the drives.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#8 RonaldNC

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 08:03 PM

Gday Ron

I wasnt talking PEC train, it was "Drive Train"

It is done during the day on a terrestrial target

and measures the backlash in the drives.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Oh... okay... sorry.

 

Ron



#9 RadarGuy

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:51 PM

So I've attempted the terrestrial drive train several times and it doesn't do anything good.  The handbox instructions tell you to center a terrestrial object in the FOV, you press enter and the mount begins to move.  Usually it would move a few degrees and stop, but it keeps going.  It rotates in Dec 180 deg so the scope is facing backwards, then begins to move in RA until it bangs my scope into the tripod leg.  I have to shut it off immediately before it damages something.  Same behavior 3 times in a row.  It looks like they pushed out a bad FW upgrade.  I've contacted Meade about it, but this is Thanksgiving week in the US and thus it may be a while before they respond to emails.  Their customer service line is a recording which says they aren't answering any calls until further notice due to COVID-19.  I think I'm on my own.  



#10 RadarGuy

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:56 PM

You should be able to downgrade the firmware by just installing the last working version.

 

I haven’t worked with the Meade firmware updates since before the Sunny acquisition, so I’m not sure it’s still possible.

 

You can also check out StarPatch for custom Autostar firmware.

 

-Steve

Could someone help me with the downgrade?  I don't have the last working version.  Guess I should've cloned the Handbox before upgrade - silly me :-)



#11 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 03:03 PM

Gday RadarGuy

You cant downgrade too much with an LX85 as its a recently added model.

I havent heard of LX85s misbehaving in A4S4

but have you tried the patched version of A4S4 yet???

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#12 RadarGuy

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 07:22 PM

Gday RadarGuy

You cant downgrade too much with an LX85 as its a recently added model.

I havent heard of LX85s misbehaving in A4S4

but have you tried the patched version of A4S4 yet???

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Andrew,

I haven't tried the patched version yet.  Meade is telling me to ship it back for repair.  They did respond today and gave me an RMA number.  I guess I should do it, though I'm not thrilled about the possibility of being out of commission for the next few weeks.  We'll see how fast they address the issue.  

 

I did look at StarPatch / StarGPS.  It looks pretty cool.  Have you tested it on the LX85?  It uses the 497EP handbox.  

Josh



#13 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 07:51 PM

Gday Josh

 

I did look at StarPatch / StarGPS.  It looks pretty cool.

You dont need the StarGPS, but the StarPatch "loader" is more robust than Meades ASU

and the patches we put up there fix a lot of the inherent bugs as well as add new features.

 

Have you tested it on the LX85?  It uses the 497EP handbox.

I have never seen an LX85, but i have worked with several owners on various things

incl running patched firmware..

You mention the 497EP, but the "true" 497EP never had the LX85s in its firmware,

you needed to have the Audiostar handbox ( ie a 497EP with a soundcard )

with firmware of A4S2 or greater to have the LX85 specific code available ( like PPEC )

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#14 RadarGuy

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 08:05 PM

Yes, you're correct - I have the Audiostar version.  When the handbox boots it displays 497EP and A4S4 FW (was A4S2 before I upgraded).  I take it the 497EP design has been around for a while.

 

I'm gonna try Starpatch.  Will advise.



#15 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 08:24 PM

Gday RadarGuy

I take it the 497EP design has been around for a while.

Yep

The last of the true 497s used firmware starting with "4"

The true "497EP" came out in late 2008 and used a totally new processor than the prev 497.

Its firmwares started with "5"

In early 2010, the "Audiostar" came out and it had an added speaker and audiocard

Its firmwares started with "A"  ( and the Hbx has "Audiostar" vs "Autostar" stencilled on the top )

After that date, support for the 497EP ceased.

 

That said, only firmwares "A4S2" and above know about the LX85s new features

so you need to use at least that version

( You could add the basic mount to older firmwares if reqd, but you would lose the PPEC )

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#16 RadarGuy

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 07:11 PM

Unfortunately no joy on the StarPatch fix.  After updating, when I rebooted and the box tried the motor calibrate step I received a motor failure warning.  Same warning repeated after several reboots.  Looks like a HW issue after all.  



#17 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 08:00 PM

Gday RadarGuy

If you are getting a motor failure, that normally indicates an encoder problem.

First test,

As long as the mount starts and stops moving on command,

set the speed to say 3, then pressnhold mode for several seconds and release.

This brings up the alternate menus, so scroll to the RA  /DEC screen.

Use the Up/down keys to slew in DEC ( It may ramp up to full speed if the encoder is playing up ).

Does the handbox report it changing, and if so, does it report the correct distance moved??

If so, repeat with the L/R keys and RA display.

If either one doesnt report movement, you could open the case and look to ensure

all the encoder connectors are fitted properly.

If you have access to a logic analyser or Oscilloscope, you could also probe the

encoder channels to see whats going on.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia




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