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Meade Autostar Align without hand Controller?

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#26 Will2007

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Posted 22 December 2022 - 02:42 PM

Andrew,

Windows8.1-KB917607-x64.msu from Microsoft worked on my Win10 machine to read *.hlp files.

 

-Will



#27 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 22 December 2022 - 03:32 PM

Gday Will

I thought that I was the last of the Delphi holdouts...

Nahhh. I still use Delphi6 as it was the last one pre dot net.

It still does everything i need, and doesnt need subscriptions or

massive bloatware behind it to make it run.

Just a simple exe and ini file, and it runs on anything.

 

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

As long as you leave my *.hlp file with its original name,

and its in the same directory as the exe

just hitting F1 in the exe should directly open the linked section from the help file.

I dont have W10 so cant test that, but it was still OK in W7

( which also needed a patch to read *.hlp )

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#28 Will2007

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Posted 31 December 2022 - 09:25 AM

Happy New Year!

Turns out there is a 2032 Battery in the base; it was **dead**.  Used a 1/16 inch Allen wrench to remove/replace screws.  Probably need to re-train and reset everything, but it is raining now, so will pursue this later this week.

 

-Will



#29 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 31 December 2022 - 03:08 PM

Gday Will

It was a happy new year after covid,

but now to burst yr bubble :-)

 

Turns out there is a 2032 Battery in the base; it was **dead**.  Used a 1/16 inch Allen wrench to remove/replace screws.  Probably need to re-train and reset everything,

The battery in the base doews nothing but supply backup power to the GPS unit

( No idea why its in the base, but thats the way they designed it )

All it does is keep the alamanac data in the lump alive between power ups

so that the lump can fix faster.

It has nothing to do with keeping any "operating" data alive

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#30 Will2007

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Posted 02 January 2023 - 06:29 PM

Darn, there goes 'my Bubble'!

 

I foolishly thought that - just maybe - the MyScope screen data would echo the data displayed by the Hbx when both are plugged in. But it appears not to be true.  Apparently, the user can only have one controlling device, computer or Hbx. (My thought was to use the buttons of the Hbx.)

From what I saw online, looked like the LCD replacement does not fit inside the AS II case, so

I purchased a #497 Hbx, hope it works with my LX200. If not, maybe I can transfer the display to my Autostar II.

The local Astronomy Club is having a workshop tomorrow night.  I hope to be able to train the drives.

Is there a PM method on this site?  I have a few thoughts for your next compile session.

 

Take care, Will



#31 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 02 January 2023 - 06:51 PM

Gday Will

 

I foolishly thought that - just maybe - the MyScope screen data would echo the data displayed by the Hbx when both are plugged in.

It does but not always :-)

To reduce comms bashing, my app only polls the Hbx rapidly if it is in a screen that auto updates

( like the RA/DEC display etc ), but it relies on the screen changing via the remote Hbx keys.

My app was never meant to be something you use at the same time as the hbx

it is a diagnostic/maintenance type app.

If you use the real Hbx to change stuff, my app doesnt care

That said, when you go back to my app, there is a button on the left of the remote Hbx screen

that will force a refresh to resynch it.

 

Apparently, the user can only have one controlling device, computer or Hbx.

Not true. Both will work in tandem quite happily, just my app wont always auto refresh.

If you want auto refresh ( at a high rate ) the ASSuite remote Hbx polls mutiple times per second

but i dont like that, as it can upset other things, esp as my app is designed to do things

that ASSuite isnt :-)

 

From what I saw online, looked like the LCD replacement does not fit inside the AS II case

There are 2 LCDs that can work with the ASII

The external version of replacent LCD is cheap and easily purchased, but is too big to fit normally.

The Formike branded LCD is a direct drop in, but has expensive shipping and time delays

 

I purchased a #497 Hbx, hope it works with my LX200.

Nope, totally different beasties

 

If not, maybe I can transfer the display to my Autostar II.

There are 2 types of 497 LCD, the old 24 pin units and the later 14 pin units.

If its a 14 pin type, its a direct swap with an ASII

If its a 24 pin unit, you cant use it.

 

Is there a PM method on this site?

Just click on the user name in the top leaft of the post header

and select the send a message option.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#32 Will2007

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Posted 04 January 2023 - 11:30 AM

G'Day Andrew,

I need a stronger bubble...

 

I had gone looking for the Formike LCD, but didn't find it. :-(

Does the 497 use a different protocol, or is the connector pin-out different?  I may have one to add to the Classified page:-(

 

Out again last night; seeing was not good - high thin clouds, lots of humidity. Couldn't get a really sharp focus on Jupiter or Moon.  Also noted Mirror flop...

-Will



#33 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 04 January 2023 - 04:19 PM

Gday Will

I had gone looking for the Formike LCD, but didn't find it.

Have a look at this current thread

Dave G ( who did a lot of work on it ) has reposted some links for the 14 pin unit

https://www.cloudyni.../#entry12399057

 

Does the 497 use a different protocol, or is the connector pin-out different?

I assumed your initial post was to use the new 497 "as is" with the LX200GPS

The LX200GPS has all its brains in the base and the handbox is a simple dumb button box.

It only uses a 4 wire cable for power, Tx and Rx

The 497s have all the brains inside the handbox and uses an 8 wire cable

It uses 2 for power, and the other 6 are clock/data pairs

ie they are totally incompatible for working with each other.

 

That said, if the 497 has a 14 pin LCD, then it should just drop into the ASII hbx

but it might be chaper to buy a new screen and then onsell the 497

( as lots of people ar looking for them )

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#34 DAVIDG

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Posted 04 January 2023 - 04:52 PM

G'Day Andrew,

I need a stronger bubble...

 

I had gone looking for the Formike LCD, but didn't find it. :-(

Does the 497 use a different protocol, or is the connector pin-out different?  I may have one to add to the Classified page:-(

 

Out again last night; seeing was not good - high thin clouds, lots of humidity. Couldn't get a really sharp focus on Jupiter or Moon.  Also noted Mirror flop...

-Will

 Here is a link for the Formike display.   Select  one and then GET SAMPLE. Check each listing since the sample will vary in price and shipping. 

      

            - Dave 

 

https://wandisplay.e...t=WC1602T7DVN6G


Edited by DAVIDG, 04 January 2023 - 04:52 PM.


#35 Will2007

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Posted 05 January 2023 - 02:05 PM

 Here is a link for the Formike display.   Select  one and then GET SAMPLE. Check each listing since the sample will vary in price and shipping. 

      

            - Dave 

 

https://wandisplay.e...t=WC1602T7DVN6G

G'day Andrew,

There are 12 different models under that part number... any clue which one is correct? 

Also: I purchased a AutoFiLX200 to go with Scope Boss.  It came with a RJ12 connector which only fits the RS232 connections.  Do you know if there is 12V on those ports?  I'm guessing not.

Never a dull moment...

Will



#36 DAVIDG

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Posted 05 January 2023 - 03:12 PM

G'day Andrew,

There are 12 different models under that part number... any clue which one is correct? 

Also: I purchased a AutoFiLX200 to go with Scope Boss.  It came with a RJ12 connector which only fits the RS232 connections.  Do you know if there is 12V on those ports?  I'm guessing not.

Never a dull moment...

Will

 They all are correct. just for some reason different ads with slightly different costs for the same part. I  have contacted Formike  directly when I have ordered the displays which I have done a couple of times.   As for the serial port, yes it has +12 DC on it. Here is  the pinout. I have built both Wifi and Bluetooth interfaces for my club's LX200GPS that are powered directly from the serial port. 

 

lx200GPS serial port.JPG

 

          - Dave 



#37 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 05 January 2023 - 03:28 PM

What Dave said waytogo.gif

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#38 Will2007

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Posted 06 January 2023 - 01:31 PM

OK guys, you have discovered my secret - blind.

Thanks Dave! Thanks Andrew!

 

I will try to select a replacement display tomorrow. I noted that at least one item might have an internal decoder chip.

I located a potential replacement flat cable for the display, then carefully examined the cable-to-display attachment method.  I quickly decided changing the cable wasn't feasible (too bad as cable was abt. $3).

 

Apparently, the AutoFiLX200 is not working; they will ship another.

 

Going to take out the 8 inch Orange Tube tomorrow - I need to redirect my efforts for now.

 

Cheers!  Will



#39 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 06 January 2023 - 03:37 PM

Gday Will

 

I located a potential replacement flat cable for the display, then carefully examined the cable-to-display attachment method.  I quickly decided changing the cable wasn't feasible

Dave must still be sleeping, but this is exactly what he is experimenting with at present

ie replace the ribbon with a unit with gold plated contacts

( vs the carbon ones that fail on the older units )

I have ( very old ) correspondence from a user who did a similar trick but rather than use

conductive glue, he said he got the ink tube from a biro and split it longitudinally

and used that to clamp the ribbon to the glass. No idea how long it lasted tho :-)

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#40 Will2007

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Posted 07 January 2023 - 11:47 AM

G'day Andrew and Dave,

The AS1 (for lack of a better term) that I purchased ("new-used") had a 14 pin display which I transferred to the AS2 HBx.  Upon power-up, the screen flashes a VERY quick Auto Star (?) and then goes dark. I **think** I can see faint text.  I remember seeing something about resetting the contrast but can no longer find that 'fix'.

 

Cheers! Will



#41 Will2007

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Posted 07 January 2023 - 12:09 PM

 Here is a link for the Formike display.   Select  one and then GET SAMPLE. Check each listing since the sample will vary in price and shipping. 

      

            - Dave 

 

https://wandisplay.e...t=WC1602T7DVN6G

Dave, would you indicate exactly which display is the one you purchased for a AS2 replacement? (like "2 over, 3 down")  Maybe I should buy a few and source them at cost since the shipping seems to be the cost driver for 1 piece.

Thanks, Will



#42 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 07 January 2023 - 03:21 PM

Gday Will

As you can "see" the boot data, it means that it works at max contrast.

If the Hbx is patched, you can use a remote handbox utility ( my app has one )

to reset the contrast

otherwise, look at the screen in low light at a low angle and you should be able

to see the text, then go to the brightness/contrast menu and adjust accordingly

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#43 Will2007

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Posted 08 January 2023 - 04:12 PM

G'Day Andrew,

My AS2 now looks great, but as David indicated, the old displays are just waiting.

I sent David a PM asking which display he had purchased.

Observation: the AS1 had gold plated fingers for the buttons - much better than the AS2 reflow solder.

 

Will



#44 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 08 January 2023 - 05:18 PM

Gday Will

Good to hear the ASII is working.

Dave an I did a lot of testing re how the contrast works with these screens and

got huge variations in operation. Our guess is the resistance of the carbon contacts

on the ribbon affects the overall operation, hence the need to adjust the contrast

 

the AS1 had gold plated fingers for the buttons - much better than the AS2 reflow solder.

Yep.

There is a new gizmo that gets good reports which sticks to the old reflow pads

and provides much better control.

https://buttonworx.c...3-Autostar.html

Its also cheaper than the contact repair epoxies you can buy.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#45 DAVIDG

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Posted 09 January 2023 - 10:46 AM

With the Formike displays used on the Autostar II, to have the text visible all the time you need to  add a 1n914 diode to the LCD contrast line. The voltages used to control the contrast on the Formaike display is different then the original displays 

  The diode goes from the pin 2 on the LCD connector to ground with the band on the diode going to ground. What the diode does is clamp the voltage to the contrast line so it can go no higher than +0.7 volts  but still allows the user to adjust the contrast in the settings.  I used the middle pin on the 5 volt regulator which is ground to make the ground connection. 

   Here is a  picture showing  were the diode  is connected.   I have been experimenting replacing the ribbon cable on the old displays since it is the ribbon cable that goes bad not the display. What I have found is there is a big difference in the resistance of the adhesive that is used to make the connection in the old displays and the new ones. This is the reason why the Formike displays have the contrast behave differently then the original displays.

 

                      - Dave   

 

autostar diode.jpg



#46 Will2007

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Posted 09 January 2023 - 02:58 PM

Hi Dave,

 

From this web site, https://www.orientdi...s/what-is-fstn/ it looks like I want an FFSTN type.

 

Tnx, Will



#47 DAVIDG

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Posted 09 January 2023 - 04:44 PM

 Will  

You want a Formike COG (character on Glass ) part number WC1602T7DVN6G.  Every one of those ads while having a different text for the display is listing the same part number and that is part number that I have used when purchasing the displays a couple of times.

 

           - Dave 



#48 Will2007

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Posted 09 January 2023 - 07:21 PM

Yep.

There is a new gizmo that gets good reports which sticks to the old reflow pads

and provides much better control.

https://buttonworx.c...3-Autostar.html

Its also cheaper than the contact repair epoxies you can buy.

Thanks, Andrew!

I just ordered one.  this 'Scope has been a real challenge - much like an antique auto when the engine is a pile of parts in a bucket.  Just identified parts for the focuser; it works using your app, but not the keypad.

 

Dave, I will order one tonight.  Wish me luck!  Need a PCB for your custom wi-fi controller?  Can do (Altium) I can't use BT as my hearing aids already use that.

 

Cheers!  Will



#49 Will2007

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Posted 19 January 2023 - 03:46 PM

Andrew,

The button replacement works great!  I had ordered and just received 2 new LCD displays.

Forecast is for clouds / rain next several days, so it will be a while before I can take the 'scope for another test 'drive'.

 

-Will



#50 DerroL

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Posted 06 February 2023 - 10:11 PM

I have had some success in working with the Jack of all trades software Version 4.9.6.0 and it is just what I need for the LX200 if I could overcome one obstacle. There may be a problem with my GPS on the LX200. The software gives me a warning about the GPS data and wont update the handbox data. I have pasted the Scope data and the GPS log. Have you come across this problem before?

 

Capture1.PNG

Capture.PNG




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