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LX200-16 GPS & Autostar II

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11 replies to this topic

#1 noisejammer

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 09:16 AM

Hi all
A friend in the north of South Africa has been using her LX200 GPS /16 for going on 18 years. The scope is still on its original firmware.

Her original handset is starting to misbehave. She bought a wireless Autostar II but this seems to be faulty - or possibly it's a firmware issue. As an entirely visual observer, she would greatly prefer not to use a laptop.

Are there any suggestions?

Regards
B



#2 nitegeezer

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 12:49 PM

Since the wireless AS II is no longer available and was for only a short time, the first thing to verify is that she also got the dongle that plugs into the HBX port in the mount. The reason this controller did not last too long is it has some design issues.

1. Check that all batteries are new and in the proper orientation.

2. Verify batteries are tight in their slots. The tabs at the ends are the "springs" but deform easily and may need to be bent out.

3. With a multimeter, measure the voltage between the two tabs closest to the power switch. It should read approximately 6v. If it is low, check tabs again to insure good contact as one brand of battery has an issue where the insulated case pushes on the tab so it appears properly seated but does not make electrical contact.

4. Now it gets more difficult, carefully open the case and check the two tabs near the power switch. These are just soldered to traces with little support and can break the trace. I had to glue my tabs down and solder a small wire from the tabs to a cleaned portion of the trace.

5. Last thing I am aware of is the power switch itself. It is a small surface mount switch that has the same problem as the tabs. Mine broke loose and I replaced it with a better switch which I glued to the case and added wires which I soldered to the traces.

If she has any questions, feel free to add me to a PM thread between you two.

I wish her luck, this thing is great when it works, but .....

#3 carolinaskies

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 06:49 PM

Hi all
A friend in the north of South Africa has been using her LX200 GPS /16 for going on 18 years. The scope is still on its original firmware.

Her original handset is starting to misbehave. She bought a wireless Autostar II but this seems to be faulty - or possibly it's a firmware issue. As an entirely visual observer, she would greatly prefer not to use a laptop.

Are there any suggestions?

Regards
B

The 16" uses the same hand control as all the other LX200GPS and newer models.  I don't believe the wireless requires anything but the correct paired wifi-dongle, remember there's no built in wifi on the LX200's.   With the shortage of new wired handcontrols the best bet is watching here on CN for one to be offered up in classifieds.  

Hopefully Chuck's suggestions above will work to fix the wireless she does have. 



#4 AF7JQ

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 09:07 PM

Check Astro-gadget.com
They have a dongle you can use with something like a cell phone running an app called scope boss

#5 noisejammer

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 01:41 AM

Thanks Gu's - very much appreciated!

b



#6 MikeBY

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 03:18 AM

The most vulnerable thing about the handsets is the modular connectors Power everything off. Spray contact cleaner on the contacts of the jacks then plug and unplug the connector multiple times to clean off oxidation. 

Wonkiness should go away. Watch for weak or broken locking tabs. After 18 years of flex and tug and warm and cold maybe a new coiled cord is needed. 

Far easiest first things to try.

Noise from the



#7 noisejammer

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 06:10 AM

After another discussion, I can clarify things a little. 

 

The main issue is intermittent contact of the Mode button. Since this is one of the most frequently used buttons, I suspect it's conductive patch is wearing out. Absent a look inside the controller, this is a guess.

 

The modular connectors seem fine - I did take a careful look and used some contact cleaner last time I was up there.



#8 CltFlyboy

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 07:48 AM

Here's a thought: If the conductive pad IS wearing down, I wonder if coating it with one of those conductive ink pens made for circuit repair would be an inexpensive fix? It would certainly be worth a try. Or even a small piece of copper circuit repair tape...

 

Just a thought.



#9 dcaponeii

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 09:03 AM

Here's a thought: If the conductive pad IS wearing down, I wonder if coating it with one of those conductive ink pens made for circuit repair would be an inexpensive fix? It would certainly be worth a try. Or even a small piece of copper circuit repair tape...

 

Just a thought.

That's the recommendation in the peterson engineering website "instructions" for the bravehearted who are not sure that the initial contact cleaning process was sufficient.


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#10 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 05:20 PM

Gday Henry

I wonder if coating it with one of those conductive ink pens made for circuit repair would be an inexpensive fix?

I use that method all the time using a silver doped varnish

https://www.jaycar.c...ASABEgLHUfD_BwE

Not as long lasting as the epoxy based fixes, but very cheap and quick.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#11 michael8554

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Posted 27 August 2021 - 08:28 AM

I agree with nitegeezer's experiences with the Meade wireless handbox.

 

I had to solder wires between the battery contacts to the circuit board.

 

And most of the flimsy plastic bosses that the cover securing screws go into had broken, so the case was held shut with black tape around the perimeter.

 

In the end I gave up and got the ScopeBoss app on an iPhone 6, connecting through a 20$ HLINK HLK-RM04 Wireless RS232 Adapter.

 

Red buttons and screen you can see in the dark, and a custom menu for your items that are usually buried deep in the Meade menus.



#12 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 03:21 AM

Gday All

Just for info, another user ( thks Lothar ) has reported finding a new gizmo to fix the keyboard contacts.

I have not used it but it is reported to work well, and is cheap :-)

ref https://p1repair.com...search=autostar

 

If you have problems with your plow controller units, they can fix that too lol.giflol.gif

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 31 August 2021 - 03:29 AM.



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