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Autostar update for ETX-60

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#1 hextejas

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 12:49 PM

I just bought the scope used and it came with the autostar 494 which does not let me control the scope via a WiFi connection.  I have been told that a 497 or 495 autostar will permit this. So I have one of each I think and was hoping that the software updater would let me see what I have, and be able to update them. I installed ASU 6.1.0 and am having a hard time figuring out how to connect the Autostar to my PC and use ASU.

I have a USB to serial cable and the USB is plugged into my PC with the serial end plugged into the Autostar.

ASU does not see the Autostar, says to check the connection and try again. I also tried with the Autostar plugged into the scope as well as to the PC.

As an aside, the Autostar 497 when plugged solely into the scope does not do anything, nor do I get the copyright, logo stuff etc. The 494 works just fine. I checked the battery and it's 9.2 V.

The autostar says 35-4700-00.

So, firstly, how can I determine which models of autostar I have and how do I get it to work with my scope ?

Meade says that they will work with all ETX models.

And then how do I get the updater to work ?

Phew !

 

and thanks



#2 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 05:14 PM

Gday Hextejas

Do you have a properly wired Meade connector on your USB to serial converter????

It reqires a correctly wired 4p4c connector.

That said, i wouldnt use Meades ASU, i would be using the freeware "StarPatch"

http://www.stargps.ca/downloads.htm

as it is much more robust at connecting, and allows firmware patches to be loaded.

If you have a 497 and/or a 495, you will need to use the 43Eg firmware

 

Only problem is if the 497/495 doesnt do anything when plugged into the mount

then nothing can be done till you get it working.

Even if it doesnt recognise the mount, it should power up.

You need to check al the connectors for corrosion etc

but if it wont fire up ( or even beep ), you are dead in the water.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#3 hextejas

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 06:38 PM

The 497/495 beeps and lights up but that is as far as it goes. Maybe Stargps will help me to understand/fix why it is not displaying anything.

Is the USB to serial cable from Meade different from one that I got on Amazon ? I am beginning to hate Meade if they are doing all these weird/one off connections.

Sheesh.

 

And Andrew, thanks so much.



#4 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 06:50 PM

Gday hextejas

You say it beeps and lights up, but is there any text showing????

If not, it may just be the LCD screen is dead.

Have you tried to start the handset in Safeload mode????

If you can start it in safeload mode, can you then "detect" it using ASU or StarPatch???

 

Is the USB to serial cable from Meade different from one that I got on Amazon ?

No idea, as i dont know what you bought.lol.gif

Amazon has dozens of different cables for dozens of different scopes now.

All you need is a proper USB2rs232 cable wired to suit a Meade 497 handset

ie it should be described as a "Meade 505" cable

You dont need "Meade" branded cables, just the right voltage levels and pin wiring.

 

I am beginning to hate Meade if they are doing all these weird/one off connections.

Then you need to hate all the other manufacturers as well, as some use std rs232, others use TTL

and all have different pinouts.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#5 hextejas

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 10:07 AM

Thank you again Andrew. And I do hate all other manufacturers that do this kind of "Must use my gear" stuff. Sometimes it's excusable but IMHO, not if there is a standard solution. IE DB9 to RJ11.

Onward.

Re the handsets the lights are visible off to the side of the LCD, so as you suggest, maybe the LCD is dead in both of them.

Are they repairable ? It looks like there are only 4 screws holding them together.

How do I start it in Safe Mode ?



#6 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 31 August 2021 - 04:40 PM

Gday hextejas

 

Sometimes it's excusable but IMHO, not if there is a standard solution. IE DB9 to RJ11.

Dont understand

You can currently use any  USB2rs232 converter with DB9 connector

then make your own DB9 to RJ11 pigtail to suit the Meade 497.

Lots of people hated these due to bulk, so several manufacturers started making

dedicated "slimline" cables for each brand of mount.

Horses for courses.

I personally have cut the DB9s off my converters and put on 3.5mm stereo sockets

I then make pigtails to suit my various mounts.

Not as neat as dedicated converter cables per mount, but much neater than DB9s

and cheap.

 

Are they repairable ?

If its a 14pin unit, a user recently found a drop in replacement for a few dollars

Just search this forum for "Formike"

That said, you need to confirm the Hbx works first, as if you cant connect, it may all be moot.

 

How do I start it in Safe Mode ?

From the Meade help file

 

For a #495 or #497 Autostar,

simultaneously hold down the "ENTER" and the Scroll Down key,

(Hint: Do not confuse with the Down Arrow key)

and turn the telescope power on while holding these keys. 

The handbox displays "FLASH LOAD – READY" to indicate

that you may now transfer data to and from the handbox.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#7 hextejas

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 09:20 AM

Gday hextejas

 

Dont understand

 

That said, you need to confirm the Hbx works first, as if you cant connect, it may all be moot.

 

From the Meade help file

 

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

I have a hard place in my heart for any manufacturers that "force" me to use a custom cable when a standard one will do.

The HBX works because the 494 controller works ok. It's the pesky 495 or 497 that doesn't want to work.

They both beep and flash a bit of light, then go dark. I was hoping that StarGPS might be able to restore the software but alas, no joy so far.

The slimy bastitch from whom I bought the 497 had said that the controller screen didn't work,  but it was buried in the text and I didn't see it. The 495 is supposed to work though.

I had thought about maybe swapping the LED from one to the other but after I opened one and looked at the connections I had 2nd thoughts.

I am still trying to get StarGPS to work on an ancient Windows 7 PC.

Haven't given up totally as of yet, but getting close.



#8 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 05:37 PM

Gday Hextejas
 

I have a hard place in my heart for any manufacturers that "force" me to use a custom cable when a standard one will do

So you hate everyone?????

 

The HBX works because the 494 controller works ok.

All that proves is the 494 works.

95% of the brains for the mount is in the handboxes.

If the mount works with the 494, then it simply means the mount side of things is OK

The other 2 handboxes need to be treated as standalone computers

ie each could have its own problems

 

I am still trying to get StarGPS to work on an ancient Windows 7 PC.

W2K is ancient :-)

I still happily do al my work on XP and only have a W7 to connect to the net.

( as to hating non std stuff, try stuff like windows where each new version

makes perfectly working hardware obsolete )

 

That said, even if the LCD doesnt work, you should be able to detect the handset

using a properly wired rs232 cable.

If you cant detect either handbox, then there is something wrong with the cable

or something wrong with both handboxes.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#9 cwleveck

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Posted 08 September 2021 - 10:16 PM

I think I can help. I have an ETX-60 AND a ETX-125 AND I believe all the same handsets AND the 505 cable AND a half dozen USB converters to try AND I can make any kind of cable you can dream up with stuff on hand......

AND all my stuff is working. For now, anyway.

Lets get mine working and then figure out why yours doesn't....

BUT no more hating on everything.... this stuff, mine anyway, is all 20ish years old.

And I can do THIS.......

 

 

 

241108442_10220670015004242_506968955435


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#10 cwleveck

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 09:09 AM

I got both my scopes working on stellarium......


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#11 hextejas

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 10:35 AM

I am looking to try and make my own cable as I have a lot of them laying around. The trouble I now face is getting to the correct pinout. It seems like every site that I visit tells me something different. Here are the 2 I have now and trust me there are about 4 more that are different.

505cable1
meadecable2
 
and there must be an easier way to upload images.

 



#12 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 04:56 PM

Gday hextejas

The top piccy is wired correctly, but the pin nos on the RJ connector are opposite the standard nomenclature.

( ie pin 1 should be bottom if the tab is underneath )

Dont know what the lower piccy is

( ed Do now, its for a SynScan handbox )

as the Meade LX200 uses the same wiring but by using the 4 central pins in a 6pin plug

Ref the drg i made years ago for the Meades

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

505cable.gif


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 15 September 2021 - 05:09 PM.


#13 hextejas

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 09:48 AM

And gday back atcha Ozandrew. I have always wanted to say Gday to a real Aussie. smile.gif

Thank you very much for the pinout, very helpful and now one more if you please.

Would you happen to have a USB to ETX pinout ? It turns out my small laptop only has USB ports.



#14 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 04:44 PM

Gday hextejas

There is no such thing as a "USB to ETX" pinout

All the USB cables you see ( designed to talk to Meades ) are simply a USB cable

with an embedded USB to rs232 converter.

Any generic off the shelf converter with a DB9 connector on the end can be used

if you already have a DB9 to 497 cable,

but there are also now lots of very cheap "slimline" converter cables

dedicated to each mount type on the market

( ie its a std converter but no DB9 plugs in the middle, it simply terminates to suit the mount )

Either way, if you get one, try to get FTDI chipsets, as many other cheaper brands

have problems with drivers and counterfeiting.

 

Andrew Jhohansen Melbourne Australia



#15 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 06:00 PM

Gday hextejas

 

Is the pinout for the Meade 505 and 506 cables the same ?

Nope,totally different beasties.

The 505 is a simple cable that goes from a "COM" port to the rs232 port in the handbox.

The 506 is a cable that goes from a "COM" port to the AUX port in the Mount.

They use totally different pin orders and communication protocols at the mount end.

The 505 ( and 507 ) uses std serial Tx/Rx and rs232 voltage levels at the mount end.

It plugs into the handbox

The 506 has a built in microprocessor that converts std rs232 comms

to Meades proprietary I2C comms ( ie clock/data) at TTL voltage levels,

and it also understands how to sit on the Aux bus in the mount.

It plugs into an AUX port

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#16 cwleveck

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 06:53 PM

Found out mine doesn't work on internal battery power. I have to use external power source. May be a voltage issue?



#17 michael8554

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 06:02 AM

Is there a power led, does it come on when on batteries ?

 

Are you using Alkaline batteries, Rechargeables are lower voltage and may not supply enough combined volts 

 

When you insert the power plug into the power socket, it breaks the battery connection to the mount.

 

This springy break connection may not be remaking when you withdraw the power plug.

 

Or one of the wires from the battery box to the power socket may have become detached.

 

Or the battery connections in the battery box may be corroded and not making good contact.

 

Buy a cheap Digital Volt Meter DVM and trace the volts.




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