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Autostar II issues - I think

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#1 dcaponeii

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 02:59 AM

Looks like the slew buttons on the hand controller are sticking.  If I push the opposite button it was stop the slew but iffy.  GOTO works just fine.  The buttons across the top are "sticking" too.  Not sure how else to described the problem I had this evening other than that.  I read lots of handbox woes on here so I guess I'm not surprised.  Question: I should check the cable to be sure I suppose.  It that HBX cable just a phone receiver cord?  Is there a source of new handbox controllers (Mine is Autostar II)?



#2 michael8554

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 08:47 AM

Your description is perfectly clear to any Autostar user !

 

You've read about the woes, have you tried cleaning the contacts ?

 

New Autostars are hard to come by due to the Orion takeover of Meade.


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#3 dcaponeii

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 09:49 AM

Your description is perfectly clear to any Autostar user !

 

You've read about the woes, have you tried cleaning the contacts ?

 

New Autostars are hard to come by due to the Orion takeover of Meade.

Not yet.  I've read the instructions on Petersen's website but not sure I want to tackle pulling that ribbon wedge out to clean the contacts without a back up hand controller in possession.  I'll contact Meade tomorrow and let Sal tell me it will be 4 - 6 months for a replacement.  At least I'll get one on order.  I hesitate to buy one used since I wouldn't know how close to failure they might be.  I think all the rain we had last Spring here bumped the humidity in the observatory to much higher levels than last season (or it's at the end of it's second year which seems to be about when the contact crud builds up enough to cause the driving troubles.  Maybe when I get a new one I'll store it in a tub of rice or desiccant packs to keep it dry between uses??



#4 Astroboy1952

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 03:40 AM

1 Mark a line_451x600.jpg Hello,

I am not sure if this should be a new topic named "Autostar II Handbox Controller Button Repair", or if this topic is sufficient, but here goes:

 

After years of trying to rejuvenate the ‘hard/impossible to press’ buttons of the AS II handcontroller, of my 2004 model LX200 GPS, I may have found a good solution. The cleaning, paints and coatings I had tried all failed after a while. Once, some time after gluing alfoil pads onto the old rubber pads, I had a motor runaway experience after one of the bits of alfoil came loose and got 'stuck on’. Not an experience I wish to repeat. Luckily a restart fixed the problem after the motor-stall detector shut it down.

 

I've just found a US company called P1Repair that makes thin plastic membranes with conductive pads in the appropriate places, for various remote controls for TVs etc. They have one for the AS II Controller. It cost under $20 AUD to be mailed to Australia.

 

You simply open the AS II case, clean the contacts, insert the membrane, then reclose it. It is easy. Generic instructions are included.

 

I will post a few AS II specific things to be aware of here.

* I have read other topics, where people have expressed concern over removing the flat flexible cable (FFC) that joins the printed circuit board (PCB) to the LCD display. Some difficulty is described in opening the connector for the FFC to be removed – but this is/should be easy. The connector is a zero insertion force (ZIF) style of connector. The flat cable is held in place by a small plastic wedge that squeezes it down. Do not try to remove the wedge, simply prize/slide it back by about 1 mm, using a flat blade jeweller’s screwdriver. Once released, the FFC will then easily slide out. The wedge should ideally remain located in its connector.

 

Reinserting the FFC is also easy. Just slide it back into its socket, then slide the wedge back in with the small screwdriver.

 

* When opening the case, make sure you do not lose the red plastic window that goes over the LED light.

 

* Before removing the FFC from its connector, draw a line across it with a very fine felt pen, as a reference during reassembly.

* They recommend cleaning the contacts on the PCB, as the deteriorating material from the old conductive pads will be covering them. Cotton buds with alcohol is suggested.

 

* Before reassembly, I trimmed ¼ mm off the two outer edges of the FFC plastic (do not trim the conductors) to ensure it would reseat right in (optional).

 

* When closing the case, ensure the FFC is not overlapping the rear of the LCD screen, as this may pinch it when screwed together again. Look through the gap from the side during reassembly and fold the FFC back if needed. Mine did get pinched, but I straightened it out and it is still fine.

 

My AS II feels like it is new again. I can't predict how long it will last, but in my opinion, it is worth a go.

 

Best regards,

Lothar.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2 Prize it out_721x600.jpg
  • 3 Slide FCC Out_522x600.jpg
  • 4 New Membrane_563x600.jpg
  • 5 Fold down below_708x600.jpg
  • 6 Look Through Gap_800x471.jpg

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#5 Astroboy1952

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 03:48 AM

Addendum:  when I said trim 1/4 mm off the edge, I meant only off the corner of the edge. Just to ensure the FFC will reseat right down into its connector slot. 

Lothar.



#6 Astroboy1952

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 04:04 AM

The URL for this membrane product is 

https://p1repair.com...ch&search=meade

Lothar.



#7 dcaponeii

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 09:24 AM

What's interesting about my controller is that the slew buttons stick in the ON position.  I guess  that still could be dirty contacts but I think it's probably that the membrane has become too stiff.  Thanks for the membrane link




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