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LightSwitch (LS6/LS8) Firmware

Meade
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#1 Yowie_One

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Posted 05 January 2021 - 06:02 PM

After a few years in storage, I unpacked my LS to discover that at the time of packing it away, I had got frustrated with non-functional firmware... to now find that the challenge to get it working was a bit bigger now.

 

After much googling and resorting to an old Windows XP VM, I managed to get a working version of v1.6e installed.

 

So, to make it easier for anyone else needing to go through a recovery/update of your LightSwitch, I've put copies of the firmware versions 1.6a, 1.6d and 1.6e, along with the latest versions of the Autostar Updater 5.01 and Autostar Suite 6.1 in one location for download: 

 

sct.png  http://bit.ly/MeadeLightSwitch

 

Lightswitch SD card creation instructions:

1. Format a 1GB or 2GB SD card to FAT32 (use default allocation size sectors), on Windows XP or Windows 7 (Windows 10 does not work). Now copy the following onto the fresh card, in the order specified.
2. Copy FIRMWARE.bin to the SD card.
3. Copy FlashFirmware.bin to the SD card.
4. Copy the Maps, Menus, Objects, Tours and then User folders to the SD card.
5. The SD card is now ready for use in Lightswitch telescope and should boot with an announcement showing this firmware version.

 

Good luck hmm.gif


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#2 rchaan

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 01:31 AM

I did the same.  Have not used it in years.  Date seems off so I will format and reload and see how it works.  Want to give it to a teen in a youth group I work with that is showing an interest.  Will let you know.



#3 Tom Duncan

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 09:30 AM

Thanks!

 

Tom 

 

 

After a few years in storage, I unpacked my LS to discover that at the time of packing it away, I had got frustrated with non-functional firmware... to now find that the challenge to get it working was a bit bigger now.

 

After much googling and resorting to an old Windows XP VM, I managed to get a working version of v1.6e installed.

 

So, to make it easier for anyone else needing to go through a recovery/update of your LightSwitch, I've put copies of the firmware versions 1.6a, 1.6d and 1.6e, along with the latest versions of the Autostar Updater 5.01 and Autostar Suite 6.1 in one location for download: 

 

sct.png  http://bit.ly/MeadeLightSwitch

 

Lightswitch SD card creation instructions:

1. Format a 1GB or 2GB SD card to FAT32 (use default allocation size sectors), on Windows XP or Windows 7 (Windows 10 does not work). Now copy the following onto the fresh card, in the order specified.
2. Copy FIRMWARE.bin to the SD card.
3. Copy FlashFirmware.bin to the SD card.
4. Copy the Maps, Menus, Objects, Tours and then User folders to the SD card.
5. The SD card is now ready for use in Lightswitch telescope and should boot with an announcement showing this firmware version.

 

Good luck hmm.gif



#4 Tom Duncan

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 10:49 PM

So I went through this procedure, it all went well until I put the card in the LS6. When I flipped the on switch the light on the end of the toggle blinked 9 times and went solid on the tenth, nothing happened on the hand controller screen other than dim backlight. 

 

I am using a micro to mini adapter...would that cause a problem? 

 

Tom 


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#5 gfamily

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Posted 04 July 2021 - 04:07 AM

So I went through this procedure, it all went well until I put the card in the LS6. When I flipped the on switch the light on the end of the toggle blinked 9 times and went solid on the tenth, nothing happened on the hand controller screen other than dim backlight. 

 

I am using a micro to mini adapter...would that cause a problem? 

 

Tom 

Using a micro SD card might be an issue. A reminder that the card must be 2Gb or less.

 

Did you use a windows xp or 7 machine to format the card? This is critical. 



#6 Tom Duncan

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Posted 07 July 2021 - 06:18 PM

Using a micro SD card might be an issue. A reminder that the card must be 2Gb or less.

 

Did you use a windows xp or 7 machine to format the card? This is critical. 

Yes, the card is 2GB and yes it was built on a Windows 7 machine.

 

I tried a different Micro to Mini card adapter that was made by Sandisk (same as the chip) but it still didn't work, though the power light didn't blink this time...everything else was the same response, blank screen and not full brightness of the HC illumination. 

 

Tom 



#7 gfamily

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Posted 07 July 2021 - 06:40 PM

Yes, the card is 2GB and yes it was built on a Windows 7 machine.

 

I tried a different Micro to Mini card adapter that was made by Sandisk (same as the chip) but it still didn't work, though the power light didn't blink this time...everything else was the same response, blank screen and not full brightness of the HC illumination. 

 

Tom 

How frustrating.  

I have to say,  I had no luck making my own card, so I contacted a Meade retailer (over here in UK)  and they said I could return the card if it didn't work.  

 

Fortunately, it worked fine,  so I'm keeping it safe.  



#8 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 07 July 2021 - 06:53 PM

Gday Tom

Not sure if its true or just anecdotal

but many users report W7 and above format doesnt always work.

You need to use XP or less.

The Meade firmware ( in the mount ) that reads the cards seems to be very picky about the structure

of the disk and where the partitions etc are.

Basically, if the power switch blinks on booting, the card is not recognised as "bootable"

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#9 MikeBY

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 08:56 AM

Gday Tom

Not sure if its true or just anecdotal

but many users report W7 and above format doesnt always work.

You need to use XP or less.

The Meade firmware ( in the mount ) that reads the cards seems to be very picky about the structure

of the disk and where the partitions etc are.

Basically, if the power switch blinks on booting, the card is not recognised as "bootable"

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

+1 on the formatting issue.

Also, the bootfile MUST be the first file to be copied to the newly formatted card. If a mistake is made in this step the card MUST be completely reformatted, not simply erased. 



#10 Tom Duncan

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 10:52 AM

Thanks all but I think I'm going to go ahead and order a loaded chip from Opticstar in England. $45 shipped for tested 1.6e firmware on a proper chip:

 

http://www.opticstar...=0_10_5_1_6_540

 

"This Mini SD card is preloaded with all the necessary software to update the firmware of the Meade LS (LightSwitch) telescopes. Each Mini SD card is individually tested on a Meade LS telescope to ensure that it works correctly. This is not a Meade product"

 

Tom



#11 Tom Duncan

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 10:13 AM

I got the 1.6e firmware loaded MiniSD card from Opticstar today, $44 shipped, took one week from being shipped from England, tracking throughout and was well packed. 

 

Firmware loaded fine, no issues, but my problem with not being able to skip a blocked star in the Automatic Alignment remains so I guess that feature is toast. 

 

However I want to stress how comfortable I was with this transaction and the repeated assurances from Opticstar that each chip was tested on a Lightswitch scope. Finding the proper chip, downloading exactly the right files, loading them properly, etc is all very well and good (or not so good) but just paying $44 (chips alone can be over $20) and having a known, tested good file along with excellent documentation is a big advantage for me. 

 

So a question: Are the controlling electronics in the hand controller or in the mount or both? As the Autostar III HC's are expensive ($200+) I won't buy one outright but I might wait until one comes along (or a working Lightswitch) to see if the issue is just in the HC. 

 

Tom 


Edited by Tom Duncan, 20 July 2021 - 10:25 AM.


#12 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 05:15 PM

Gday Tom

The lightswith handbox is just an ASII handbox with a new stencil.

ie it is a dumb button box.

All the smarts are on the circuit board in the fork.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#13 Tom Duncan

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 05:20 PM

Gday Tom

The lightswith handbox is just an ASII handbox with a new stencil.

ie it is a dumb button box.

All the smarts are on the circuit board in the fork.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Thanks for that Andrew, I think I might take the HC apart just see if anything looks out of sorts. At this point I don't know what else to do regarding the inability to skip an alignment star. I'm going to try standard 2-star and 3-star alignments tonight, skipping the Auto align so I can at least have a conventional alignment method. 

 

So if an AIII is just a 'dumb box' I wonder why are they $200-$300?

 

Tom 



#14 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 05:54 PM

Gday Tom

So if an AIII is just a 'dumb box' I wonder why are they $200-$300?

Capitalism at its finest???

ie the cost per unit probably goes up as there are so few made

( relative to an ASII that is used on LX200,600,850,RCX )

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#15 miguelcoto

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Posted Yesterday, 05:52 PM

So I went through this procedure, it all went well until I put the card in the LS6. When I flipped the on switch the light on the end of the toggle blinked 9 times and went solid on the tenth, nothing happened on the hand controller screen other than dim backlight. 

 

I am using a micro to mini adapter...would that cause a problem? 

 

Tom 

Tom, 

 

I have a similar issue, when I turn the switch on, the LED blinks about 10 times, no sounds or messages in the HC... I inserted the firmware SD card I had from the last update (I know it worked) and the same problem, nothing happens.

 

here is a video...

 

https://photos.app.g...9AF1ibPR4LQYx58

 

Is this what happened to your LS8 ?

 

Thanks.

 

MC



#16 OzAndrewJ

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Posted Yesterday, 05:58 PM

Gday Miguel

Just for info, i had 2 cards i knew worked that failed recently ( micro SD in a Mini adapter ).

I didnt have any contact cleaner so i tried licking the contacts and reassembled

and it worked grin.gif .

I know its crude, but if it is just a bit of slight corrosion problem on the contacts, it might work.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia




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