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Meade Autostar Align without hand Controller?

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133 replies to this topic

#1 unitron_man

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 03:04 PM

Hi

 

New to Meade equipment.

 

I picked up an LXD75 mount and have hypertuned it.

 

I'm wondering if there is a way to go through the autostar alignment process using a computer software package instead of the hand controller?

 

In the Celestron world you can use Celestrons CPWI software to select alignment stars and do the alignment.  I didn't see this option with the Meade software.

 

Thanks

Joe



#2 Piet Le Roux

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 09:30 AM

Good day Joe I have no idea how thw Celestron works but a mount using the Autostar/Audiostar controller can only be aligned via the controller because its an integral part of the mount and contains  your mounts settings like the gear ratios of the drives and drive training values, even when you use third party software to control the mount, like Stellarium, it only sends the coordanace to the controller and that does the rest. 


Edited by Piet Le Roux, 23 September 2021 - 09:31 AM.

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#3 dcaponeii

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 09:36 AM

Good day Joe I have no idea how thw Celestron works but a mount using the Autostar/Audiostar controller can only be aligned via the controller because its an integral part of the mount and contains your mounts settings like the gear ratios of the drives and drive training values, even when you use third party software to control the mount, like Stellarium, it only sends the coordanace to the controller and that does the rest.


You can complete the alignment using the software HBx in the MyScopeStuff app on your computer using the Meade cables and the RS 232 interface port.. It has a working display
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#4 Piet Le Roux

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 03:17 PM

You can complete the alignment using the software HBx in the MyScopeStuff app on your computer using the Meade cables and the RS 232 interface port.. It has a working display

Please  explain how this can be done without a Audiostar/Autostar controller plugged into the mount ? The RS232 interface port is on the controller so without it you dont have a serial port?!  The software can only work via the HBX/controller. 



#5 dcaponeii

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 07:08 AM

Please  explain how this can be done without a Audiostar/Autostar controller plugged into the mount ? The RS232 interface port is on the controller so without it you dont have a serial port?!  The software can only work via the HBX/controller. 

I'm not sure which mount you have but there are TWO RS232 ports on my mount plus the HBx socket which accepts the 4-pin phone cord from the Autostar II to the base.  You use the Meade cables to connect your laptop to the mount using one of the RS232 interface ports and you're good to go.  If you use the Meade Autostar Suite software in Windows it's now old enough to no longer have a working display on the software interface (at least I couldn't find a display setting for my computer which would display the text on the black background) BUT MyScopeStuff software has a great HBx emulator with a fully functional display.  It's been working like a charm for me while I deal with my flaky Autostar II hand controller which ONLY has a single port on it for the phone cord to connect it to the base.  Note:  This is the Autostar II controller which is a dumb controller NOT an Audiostar controller which is a smart controller.  I don't think it is appropriate to refer to them as Audiostar/Autostar and they I believe are two very different animals.



#6 Aaron Turner

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 05:08 PM

Where might one find the MyScopeStuff software?  Google is pretty sure that doesn't exist.  I'm in that great situation with a dead AutoStar II hand controller on a 2001 10" LX200.  If I'm understanding correctly, this might be my only path to making good use of this telescope given the end of any available hand controller replacements.



#7 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 05:21 PM

Gday Aaron

My app is at

http://members.optus...om.au/johansea/

That said, if its only the LCD screen that has died, there are drop in replacements now available

( just search this forum for "Formike"

and a new Android based phone app is out to replace the handset itself

https://www.cloudyni...on-users/page-3

Sooooo, several options

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 05 October 2021 - 05:41 PM.


#8 Aaron Turner

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 05:33 PM

Ok, I just grabbed your app.  Now I've been collecting information piecemeal, so let me see if I have this straight...

 

AutoStar II replacement controllers seem to be a thing of the past with Meade in bankruptcy and everyone's on hand stock running out.

 

The Wifi dongle (or bluetooth) solution may be useful but only if you have a working controller to get past the initial alignment.

 

Someone sells a thing that "handshakes" with the onboard computer in the mount, but that doesn't get us through the alignment.

 

So does your app get me through initialization, alignment, and then provide some level of rudimentary control without an AutoStar II hand controller?  And what cabling do I need to get from the laptop to the mount?

 

Judging from what I've been reading, you are one of the masters who are keeping Meade systems alive while the company is fighting for its life.  I do hope you have the patience and energy to keep this going!



#9 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 05:53 PM

Gday Aaron

AutoStar II replacement controllers seem to be a thing of the past

Maybe, but Meade need to have some form of replacement as they are still selling mounts that use them.

I suggest its just part of the std Covid based backlog, in conjunction with their legal status.

 

The Wifi dongle (or bluetooth) solution may be useful but only if you have a working controller to get past the initial alignment.

Nope, The Android app is a fully functional handbox replacement that can do everything.

There is also another app called ScopeBoss, that can replace the handset with a smart phone.

These are full replacements, not just simple slew and goto boxes that require an aligned mount before they work.

 

Someone sells a thing that "handshakes" with the onboard computer in the mount,

That sounds like what was needed for the "Classic" LX200, but that doesnt use the AutostarII handset

it uses a much different type of handbox

Soooooooooo, what are we talking about?????

 

So does your app get me through initialization, alignment, and then provide some level of rudimentary control without an AutoStar II hand controller?  And what cabling do I need to get from the laptop to the mount?

My app can fully start and run a 497/Audiostar or LX200GPS.

It connects via a std rs232 connection into one of the rs232ports

I have no idea how it would go with a "Classic"

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

PS If you do have a classic, i saw this a while ago

https://www.clearlin...m/products.html

but have heard no reports about them and if their "spares" work or not.


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 05 October 2021 - 05:55 PM.


#10 Aaron Turner

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 06:08 PM

Ok, my confusion then with the handshake thing.  I have the LX200 GPS model, not the "classic" (so no exploding capacitors for me, thank goodness).  Your app looks like it may be a temporary workaround once I find a USB to RS232 cable (which I might already have for autoguiding the Celestron), but perhaps the Android app and the AutoFiLX200 or AutoBTLX200 dongles might be a better long term solution.  



#11 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 06:37 PM

Gday Aaron

once I find a USB to RS232 cable (which I might already have for autoguiding the Celestron),

Just note, it is simple rs232serial, but the Meade plug wiring is different to the Celestron

so ensure you get the wiring correct.

Once you have connected/aligned with my app, you can try to use the Hbx keys to slew and do stuff

and if it works,then it may be as simple as getting a replacement LCD.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#12 FDNF

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Posted 12 September 2022 - 09:22 PM

A fresh bump

 

I just found this thread today, and have been talking with OzAndrewJ.

 

He has been a great help, Super fast replies!

 

And I downloaded his app, and got it connected to my older model Meade LX90, with the Autostar 497 hand controller.

 

On test runs, I have been able to get the mount to go through the alignment procedure, I am just waiting for clear skies to continue testing!

 

Thanks a lot OzAndrewJ for all your help today!

 

Hoping one day to buy you a beer! waytogo.gif

 

Cheers

 

Curtis


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#13 Will2007

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Posted 13 December 2022 - 02:17 PM

Apologies if this shows up twice...

 

Hi folks,

I recently acquired a used LX200GPS (ver 2.0b) with inherited issues; the hand controller display is impossibly unstable, so I started running the 'scope using Autostar suite (5.5) and experienced some rather strange behavior.

Using the AS suite, I went through what I thought was the proper setup procedure, selected Mars (arbitrary) and selected GOTO.  Message box from 'scope was "below horizon" !!?? (It wasn't).

After pulling out some more hair (getting shiny up there), I grabbed "MyScope" and went looking for scope data.

All the fields are blank!  So, I entered my location and hit SAVE, which now showed only the location city - no lat./lon. data.

If I then REFRESH the data, every data point stays blank but now the city goes blank again.

Is there a battery for the ROM?? If there is, where is it??

Thanks all in advance, Will



#14 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 13 December 2022 - 04:26 PM

Gday Will

The LX200GPS has no "ROM", it stores al the user data in linklists in the Flash memory.

2.0b is very early firmware and i see i do not have a copy of it

so have not preprogrammed data for that into my app

so can you try to connect using my app ( use 4.9.9.9 ) and then save the log and post it

so i can see whats going on.

It might be some of the commands used werent available in 2.0b

 

Re aligning, did you let the unit get a GPS fix, or manually enter date/time???

If you got a fix, it is probably affected by the GPS rollover bug.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 13 December 2022 - 04:29 PM.


#15 Will2007

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Posted 14 December 2022 - 02:46 PM

G'Day to you Andrew,

First: Thanks for the fast response!

I forged ahead and installed Ver 4.6 firmware (? not in front of 'scope, but it was the latest #), and that seems to have resolved the issue.

Did not see a RESET button, but I did see one before...somewhere... but the end of the installation may have issued a reset.

I let the GPS go wild; it selected a city about 25 miles away (Ocala Florida)

Next is "training" (pottie training?). What is involved?  Weather forecast rain/cloudy for next few days & nights, so viewing will not be possible.

Thanks again, Will



#16 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 14 December 2022 - 03:36 PM

Gday Will

I dont know what Ver 4.6 is either :-)

How did you update the scope

1) Meades ASU Updater

2) StarPatch and the 4.2g firmware with associated patch

 

If you used (1), it may have actually loaded firmware 4.2L

and if so, even tho the GPS now works, it has lots of other bugs

and it is too big to fit so has wiped out your history

Go to Setup > Statistsics and see what it reports for the firmware

or connect using my app and it will log the version at the top left.

If you did load 4.2L, i strongly suggest reloading with patched 4.2g

 

Re training, after updating,

i suggest you go to both the RA and DEC  "Smart Drive" (PEC) menus

and do a factory reset to clean them up to the latest status

Then do a drive train to measure the gear train backlash

and you should be right to go.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#17 Will2007

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Posted 15 December 2022 - 11:13 AM

G'Day Andrew,

It is 4.2g I installed using StarPatch. Tried to attach image here, but no luck, and the log file from MyScope is huge.

Looks like everything is working although I did get a few 'corrupted data' messages from MyScope when I started the 'scope just now.

I gathered the whips and chains for the training session <Grin> and will update this message after the process.

Thanks again, Will



#18 Will2007

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Posted 15 December 2022 - 11:52 AM

Andrew,

I keep getting 'error converting DEC PEC data'

 

-Will



#19 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 15 December 2022 - 03:57 PM

Gday Will

The Myscope log should be tiny

Just start your mount

Start MyScope and let it connect

Go to the logging tab and hit "convert log"

It will create a floating form with human readable text

Just save that and attach it here as an attachment

 

Re the PEC corrupted, Meade have used half a dozen different PEC formats

over the years, and if my app cannot determine what type you have

it wil declare a warning.

My app knows nothing re the old 2.0b,

so i am guessing you still now have 2.0b format

To fix it, go into the menua and scroll to the "Smart Drive" ( not Smart Mount )

Under the Smart Drive menu,

do a factory reset for both RA and DEC axes, and the nag error should go away

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#20 Will2007

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Posted 16 December 2022 - 12:59 PM

G'Day Andrew,

I did not see a 'Smart Drive menu choice; using ver 4.9.6.0 What tab is that under?

I expected to paste the log as a file, not as plain text.  Did I miss the shortcut?  Also tried to paste a screen shot but guess that is not possible.

Thanks, Will

 

Conversion of Raw Log

Run : 16/12/2022 12:45:50 PM

0000.017  User                       MyScopeShort4960.exe  Ver: 4.9.6.0   Created 25/09/2016 4:07:10 PM

0000.017  User                       Time := 12:44:39:833

0000.031  User                       Ports Found ,COM3

0000.031  User                       At least 1 valid Free com Port found

0000.031  User                       ---AutoDetect Starting--- 12:44:39

0000.032  User                       Try-:COM3: Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge

0000.103  User                       Port Flushed

0000.103  User                       Port Flushed

0000.104  User                       ---Test Current Baud--- on COM3

0000.107  Write  #

0000.240  User                       Port Flushed

0000.240  Write  [06]                A

0000.807  User                       COM3: Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge selected. Scope found

0000.807  Write  [06]                A

0002.912  Write  :GVP#               LX2001#

0002.931  Write  :GVD#               Sep 27 2006#

0002.956  User                       Test for Peek and Poke capability

0002.956  Write  :EP33554528#        Peek x02 bytes from x00-0060 = x3730#

0002.981  User                       Extended Peek Tested and Working

0002.981  User                       Extended Poke Tested and Working

0002.995  Write  [06]                A

0003.551  Write  :GVP#               LX2001#

0003.571  Write  :GVD#               Sep 27 2006#

0003.599  Write  :GVN#               4.2G#

0003.620  Write  :GVD#               Sep 27 2006#

0003.645  Write  :GVT#               10:17:19#

0003.671  Write  :GVD#               Sep 27 2006#

0003.723  Write  [06]                A

0004.267  Write  :GVP#               LX2001#

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0004.363  Write  [06]                A

0004.931  Write  :GS#                00:59:18#

0004.958  Write  :GC#                12/12/22#

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0026.879  Write  :EP67122697#        Peek x04 bytes from x00-3609 = x000196AC#

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0027.149  User                       Port Flushed

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0027.177  Write  :gps#               GPRMC,062209,V,3537.8333,N,13944.6667,E,000.0,000.0,080264,,*0E#

0028.497  Write  :uF#                401554#

0028.514  Write  :GC#                12/12/22#

0028.532  Write  :GL#                20:00:52#

0028.552  Write  :GG#                +05#

** END ** User Conversion



#21 Mlei

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Posted 16 December 2022 - 02:59 PM

I have LX200 Classic without the hand controller for visual use. I use the SkySafari to do 3 star alignment helping by laminated reticle, and normally got target within the FOV of medium power EP. 



#22 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 16 December 2022 - 04:44 PM

Gday Will

I did not see a 'Smart Drive menu choice; using ver 4.9.6.0 What tab is that under?

Its a menu in the handset, not my app. ( Under setup > Telescope >

 

Also, I cant get into my website at present to fix anything

but you should load 4.9.9.9 of my app as it has more functionality than 4.9.6

 

As to attaching a file or picture to the post, you need to use the "More Reply Options"

button at the bott right of the std reply screen. It opens a screen that has a file loader utility

that can embed files etc into your reply.

 

That said, your RA PEC is OK but it needs to be initialised

The DEC PEC is still in an old format, hence the nag from my app

 

To fix RA, start the scope and simply turn on the RA PEC

It will say "Fingerprinting" and spin for about 24 degrees

It will then say "Detecting RA PEC" and spin for another 24deg

It is now reset, so just turn RA PEC off

Now go to DEC PEC and do a factory reset

After that, you should get no more nags

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#23 Will2007

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Posted 17 December 2022 - 03:27 PM

G'Day Andrew,

Installed 4.9.9.9; thank you for the alert.

My handset is kaput; LCD is dead - probably the contacts.  I will have a go at that later when my microscope arrives.

How does one find "turn on the RA PEC"?  I found "Train RA" under Misc Utils / Train Drives and PEC Utils / Reset Fingerprint Data.

Possible rain tonight so maybe test 'scope Sunday night.

 

Did you hard-code the help file location?  I get the Win10 nag when I click on "Help", but the .chm file opens just fine by itself.

Regards, Will



#24 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 17 December 2022 - 04:11 PM

Gday Will

My handset is kaput; LCD is dead

OK, then there is a fully functional remote handbox in my app.

Just use that until you get a new screen

( Lots of threads on replacing the LCD recently, just search the forum for "Formike" )

 

How does one find "turn on the RA PEC"?

Use the remote handset and go to "Setup > Telescope > RA PEC"  ( or DEC PEC )

and use the sub menus

 

Did you hard-code the help file location?

It goes in the same directory as the exe.

That said, i still use and old programming language and it "natively" uses *.hlp files

and my app is interactively tied to the hlp file.

Microslug stopped natively supporting *.hlp files in later versions of windows

so you have to manually load a patch that adds back that functionality.

Otherwise, its manual searching of the chm or pdf

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#25 Will2007

Will2007

    Sputnik

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  • Loc: The Villages, FL

Posted 22 December 2022 - 11:11 AM

Hello Andrew,

I thought that I was the last of the Delphi holdouts... gave it up when the price went through the roof.

Tried the software integrated HBx but going from laptop to 'scope proved too much for my patience.  Maybe Santa will bring me the wireless interface for an iPhone... :-) 

Did have the 'scope out a couple of nights ago, and it was not tracking Mars (kept moving in a small square patten), but Saturn was fine except that any selected object was near the outer edge of the finder.  I will re-train after Christmas as the next several nights are forecast as cloudy and COLD.

I did find a Win10 compatible Microsqish product that will work with *.HLP files (do U need the product name?)

 

Merry Christmas All, Will




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