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Meade ETX-90: Autostar to PC (still need RS-232 to udpate firmware or database?)

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#1 therob

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 03:53 PM

Hello,

 

I recently inherited a Meade ETX-90EC (from 2004) with Autostar (version 30Ge) from my uncle and am currently making friends with it.

 

I am now a little perplexed about updating the Autostar firmware and catalog data (what's for now my goal):

When the telescope was fresh on the marked connection via RJ11/12/22(?)-->RS-232 was maybe state-of-the art, now seems to need additional RS-232-->USB adapter.

I wonder whether today, in the year 2023, it still has to be done in exactly the same way, or whether there isn't a more simple approach via RJ11/12/22(?)--> USB adapter with which I can connect the ETX-90 directly to the USB port of my notebook, without going through RS-232+adapter...

Can you enlighten me here as to what would be the simplest / cheapest option nowadays (without having too much DIY like here)?

 

  • I have found many offers on Ebay for a "CP2102 Chip Control Line For Meade 505 ETX-xxx" - can this be used to update Autostar firmware/data catalog without problems (e.g. with special drivers)?
  • meade way (100$+): #505 and meade RS232-USB-Adapter (65$)
  • pragmatical way: going for a simple RS-232->USB-Adapter (e.g. this? 5$) and additional an meade #505 cable (25$) - or is here something similar in electronic warehouses or ebay where  I can look for? (e.g. complete like this?)

 

Thank you for bring my "up-to-date". There are indeed a lot of information about this topic - and I got lost in it (e.g. here)

 

Short side questions: My Autostar has software version 30Ge

  •  where can I find any changelog / version overview and what is the newest version for ETX-90EC?
  • should I think about update, if I do not encouter any severe probleme? Or just stick with what I have installed? What is your suggestion? I can't judge yet about glitches since completely new to the scope...
  • can I update object-databases (e.g. comets, ISS etc) separately or just in combination with firmware-update?

Best regards,
Robert


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#2 Bean614

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 04:04 PM

Why are you updating it? Is it broke?



#3 therob

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 04:10 PM

No, it isn't broken.

I just start out using it and thought (or want to here from you if you recommend) it would be nice to be able to update at least object databases or firmware - and normally newer firmware has better features, less bugs and more stability (but could not find a review if this is true for ETX-90 Autostar as well or if it is inverse ;-))...

 

But I am open if the effort it is worth or not.....



#4 DAVIDG

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 04:45 PM

 If you decide to update the 497  I highly  recommend you use StarPatch  vs the Meade firmaware. The StarPatch version is bug free and has many options you can choose to load. There is a free version available on the site and works perfectly and is easy to use.            https://www.stargps.ca/starpatch.htm

   The data bases will not get updated  You can manually enter the data if you wish . I have updated a number of Autostars  I built my own cable and use a RS232 to USB adapter but the cables sold on places like Amazon that state that have the correct pin out on the RJ plug for the Autostar and  that go directly from USB to RS232 should work. That should be the easiest. 

    You might also consider going one step farther and adding a Bluetooth or Wifi adapter. I build my own Bluetooth adapter and control the my scopes through the 497 using Sky Safari on my phone or tablet. Sky Safari is routinely updated with the latest object information including newly discovered comets and has a complete data base of satellites including the ISS who orbit changes quickly so you need the latest data.  Also with Sky Safari I don't need to hunt through menus on the 497, I just tap on an object on the screen to select it then tap GOTO on the screen  and the scope slews right to it. 

 

                Happy Holidays

                   - Dave 

   bluetooth autostar adapter.jpg


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#5 Skywatchr

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 05:27 PM

Hello,

 

I recently inherited a Meade ETX-90EC (from 2004) with Autostar (version 30Ge) from my uncle and am currently making friends with it.

 

I am now a little perplexed about updating the Autostar firmware and catalog data (what's for now my goal):

When the telescope was fresh on the marked connection via RJ11/12/22(?)-->RS-232 was maybe state-of-the art, now seems to need additional RS-232-->USB adapter.

I wonder whether today, in the year 2023, it still has to be done in exactly the same way, or whether there isn't a more simple approach via RJ11/12/22(?)--> USB adapter with which I can connect the ETX-90 directly to the USB port of my notebook, without going through RS-232+adapter...

Can you enlighten me here as to what would be the simplest / cheapest option nowadays (without having too much DIY like here)?

 

  • I have found many offers on Ebay for a "CP2102 Chip Control Line For Meade 505 ETX-xxx" - can this be used to update Autostar firmware/data catalog without problems (e.g. with special drivers)?
  • meade way (100$+): #505 and meade RS232-USB-Adapter (65$)
  • pragmatical way: going for a simple RS-232->USB-Adapter (e.g. this? 5$) and additional an meade #505 cable (25$) - or is here something similar in electronic warehouses or ebay where  I can look for? (e.g. complete like this?)

 

Thank you for bring my "up-to-date". There are indeed a lot of information about this topic - and I got lost in it (e.g. here)

 

Short side questions: My Autostar has software version 30Ge

  •  where can I find any changelog / version overview and what is the newest version for ETX-90EC?
  • should I think about update, if I do not encouter any severe probleme? Or just stick with what I have installed? What is your suggestion? I can't judge yet about glitches since completely new to the scope...
  • can I update object-databases (e.g. comets, ISS etc) separately or just in combination with firmware-update?

Best regards,
Robert

Yes, you can connect it to a computer the same way.  If your computer does not have a Serial port you will need a USB to Serial adapter.  If you already have the original serial cables, I highly recommend the Keyspan USB-Serial adapter.  They just plain work.  I have one made (at the time) for Windows 98/2000 and is still compatible with Windows 11 today.  But there are now "all in one" converter cables today that work fine that eliminate the "extra" connections, and as long as they don't have the "counterfeit" Prolific chips in them.

I would definitely upgrade the firmware to the latest by using the Starpatch updater (it is free) rather than the buggy Meade ASU software.You can then apply the latest "patch" (Can't with ASU) and even somewhat customize the firmware by not loading unnecessary things not needed with your specific scope.  As an example, if you don't have or use GPS, the portions for that can be "unchecked" and they won't take up space in the firmware.

OzAndrewJ will more than likely chime in.  He is an expert with the use of Starpatch, and the patches themselves and can guide you through the whole process.  He also has some "personal" software which may be of benefit to you.


Edited by Skywatchr, 10 December 2023 - 05:29 PM.

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#6 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 05:47 PM

Gday Robert

As others have mentioned, to do ANY updates ( firmware or objects ), you need a 505 cable.

This is basically a USB2rs232 converter with a correctly wired 4p4c plug.

If you already have access to a converter with a DB9 end, making a 505 cable is trivial.

( ref piccy attached )

 

You can also buy many "packaged" 505 cables which use db9s, RJ adapters etc etc

( some are simple some are made by an ex IKEA employee :-)   )

https://www.ebay.com...tm/164553548791

 

You can also now buy slimline ( all in one ) cables that work well

https://www.ebay.com...AiABEgK1PvD_BwE

 

As noted, beware really cheap ones that may have fake chipsets

The ones based on FTDI are normally good, but others can be a lottery

 

As to loading firmware, as per above, i strongly suggest using StarPatch to load patched 43Eg firmware.

This now has nearly 20 years of use and updating and is most stable, esp if you want PC contol later.

 

As to loading objects, as you have a true 497,

you can use Meades ASU utility, or you can use my PEC editor.

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

Once patched, my editor will allow you to read out the contents of your handset "live"

Meades utility will need to put your handset into download mode.

To load data, both apps wil need to use download mode.

 

WARNING. It is tempting for new users to plug stuff into the AUX port "to see what happens"

DO NOT plug a 505 cable into the Aux port, tape it over until you know how to use it.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

 

505 507 Cable.jpg


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 10 December 2023 - 05:49 PM.

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#7 therob

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 06:09 PM

oh, wow, so many reponds in that a short time - thanks, and also as predicted OzAndrewJ jumped in ;-) Had to rewrite my answer three times for each new reply ;-)

 

All sounds great to get it sorted in my mind!

I do not own any RS232 stuff, therefore I just ordered a USB-505-cable via ebay (this, hope it will do its job as UK location nearest to GER) dedicated for meade etx - hope it will work (If you have doubts it will work tell me.)

Meanwhile I have to figure out the update procedure but now for sure will use StarPatch Light as you all suggested. Following StarPatch-website instructions, right?

Just to get it right:

  •     StarPatch can update the original Meade firmware, but include some additional tweaks/features (I always like software working like this :-)).
  •     During update/patch I can choose which patches/parts I want to apply (self explaining? Or where I can find a list?).
  •     How to make some "daily"-update-process prior observation night I have still to figure out from your comments (can/should use meade ASU Utility, PEC Editor or StarPatch? Or all together? Will check or you tell me again ;-) - main goal would be to track e.g. ISS (is it possible with ETX-90 AutoStar?), have bright comets in the Autostar database and so on ... step by step
  •     The usage of the meade autostar-keypad stays more ore less same than now, but menu structure/features is adjusted, right?
  •     I can use the StarPatch-Light version for all things I need for the beginning moment, right?

Pfff... a lot of stuff for beginning - but you guys helped my already a lot - and I am sure you will reply more of my beginner-questions as it seems - thanks! ;-)

That's for today, have a good night/day depending where you live ;-)

Cheers, Rob


Edited by therob, 10 December 2023 - 06:13 PM.


#8 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 06:48 PM

Gday Rob

That cable looks OK. I cant tell the chipset, but if its sold via Germany, i assume it will be legit.

 

StarPatch can update the original Meade firmware, but include some additional tweaks/features

Yep. StarPatch is a freeware loader that can interactively blend our patches into the base firmware.

You load and start StarPatch, then use the menus to set the Hbx type to "497 Autostar"

Now use the menus to get the latest rom and patch

The rom is Meades original and the *.spf is our patch instructions.

 

During update/patch I can choose which patches/parts I want to apply (self explaining? Or where I can find a list?).

Absolutely,

To load it, you import the patch into StarPatch, select/deselect the options and then send it.

It will interactively adjust the rom as it loads it ( based on what you select )

When you import the patch, you get a brief description of what each option does

but if you want to, you can open the spf file with a text editor to read other details.

This is mainly used if you are making user specific mods like park positions etc.

For most users, you import the patch with its defaults

then uncheck the top 2 options tied to the StarGPS "module"  ( unless of course you have one )

and just send it.

 

How to make some "daily"-update-process

If its just the ISS, then yes, it can track it but if you want to do last minute/daily updates

i would suggest manually adding/editing it via the handset.

If its bulk updates, then use the ASU or my app,

tho you will probably need to get the update files manually.

There was a recent thread on doing this. edit  

https://www.cloudyni.../#entry13100445

 

 

The usage of the meade autostar-keypad stays more ore less same

 

Yep, other than we have added some menus for drive train analysis

 

I can use the StarPatch-Light version for all things I need for the beginning

No

StarPatch is a much more efficient and robust app for updating the Firmware

but it cannot be used for "User data"

 

Either ASU or my app can do the "bulk" user data so play around to see what one you prefer.

( and also learn how to "edit" the satellite files as it wil be quicker if only doing one element

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 10 December 2023 - 06:50 PM.

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#9 therob

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 04:10 PM

Thanks again for that much input - I will need some time to think about next questions and for trying out some stuff (and waiting for the cable).

 

But for now just this:

  • Would you give it a chance to make most of the stuff under Linux Mint?
    Our would you directly recommend to stick to Windows 10 (which I meanwhile only use if I must)?
  • I like Stellarium - could this also serve as replace of SkySafari (free)?
  • Should I think about a real (cheap) GPS-receiver if I start using StarGPS/Patch? Otherwise I don't travel much around and putting in date/time is not that proplematic for me...
  • I am indeed more fascinated by the Wifi/BT-Option - especially by AutoFi (I would prefer a non-DIY-solution. WiFi or BT?) - would you at least not say "don't buy this"?
    And do you know if it is running maybe with Stellarium same smooth than mit SkySafari? (But this are question I will learn later on I guess)
    The AutoFi is not a replace for all other things we already discussed (StarPatch, PEC Editor ....) - but just a further gadget to have easier look and feel as I understand right - or can I indeed replace some steps discussed before by this e.g. doing tracking ISS with AutoFi/Smartphone/SkySafari and it saves me to load orbital data to autostar via PEC/ASU?

 

OK, that's for now spilling in my mind ... thanks for that!


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#10 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 04:24 PM

Gday Rob

You only use StarPatch to "load" the firmware.

If you also buy his GPS dongle, then when you load the patch

it builds in code to properly integrate it into the firmware.

Other peoples GPS units wont work with it that way

so you load the patched firmware once,then forget about StarPatch.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#11 Makisig

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 06:02 PM

https://www.amazon.c...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

This is the cable I bought for my 497 handset, works perfectly. $20. Just download the drivers that it references, and your PC will recognize it as a serial port. 

 

This will allow you to update firmware if you wish either via starpatch or Meade's firmware patcher.

Without doing anything else, this will let you connect to Meade Autostar Suite, or the remote handbox app it comes with. 

Alternatively, you can get ASCOM platform and find the Meade Autostar Generic drivers, which will let you connect to various other programs including Stellarium. This is my preferred method. Does take a little bit extra setup though. 

No DIY needed. 



#12 Skywatchr

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 05:46 AM

Thanks again for that much input - I will need some time to think about next questions and for trying out some stuff (and waiting for the cable).

 

But for now just this:

  • Would you give it a chance to make most of the stuff under Linux Mint?
    Our would you directly recommend to stick to Windows 10 (which I meanwhile only use if I must)?
  • I like Stellarium - could this also serve as replace of SkySafari (free)?
  • Should I think about a real (cheap) GPS-receiver if I start using StarGPS/Patch? Otherwise I don't travel much around and putting in date/time is not that proplematic for me...
  • I am indeed more fascinated by the Wifi/BT-Option - especially by AutoFi (I would prefer a non-DIY-solution. WiFi or BT?) - would you at least not say "don't buy this"?
    And do you know if it is running maybe with Stellarium same smooth than mit SkySafari? (But this are question I will learn later on I guess)
    The AutoFi is not a replace for all other things we already discussed (StarPatch, PEC Editor ....) - but just a further gadget to have easier look and feel as I understand right - or can I indeed replace some steps discussed before by this e.g. doing tracking ISS with AutoFi/Smartphone/SkySafari and it saves me to load orbital data to autostar via PEC/ASU?

 

OK, that's for now spilling in my mind ... thanks for that!

Starpatch and Meade ASU run on windows. As well as Andrew's PEC editor and other apps (as far as I know).  I do not know if they will run using WINE on Linux. Probably not, but you could try. If you have a windows machine available, use it for loading the firmware on the Autostar.  After that, you can then use Linux for the Astro programs.

Aftermarket GPS units are not compatible with the Starpatch GPS code.  That part is specific to the Starpatch custom GPS module.  However the GPS "bug fixes" in the Meade portion of the code will work with a GPS module as long as it is compatible with Meade.  Some people have added a GPS module inside the handbox and got it to work.

AutoFi (WiFi) and AutoBT (Bluetooth) are options for you to go wireless.  That's it. They seem to work well.  The WiFi should work for longer range than BT.  But I myself have never used either one.

To port these apps over to run native in Linux is quite an endeavor and work.  I doubt anyone would take the time to do it.



#13 DAVIDG

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 10:14 AM

" Aftermarket GPS units are not compatible with the Starpatch GPS code. " 

 

     I have a used an inexpensive GPS module  and  MAX232 module to interface to one of my 497 uses the patch on StarPatch to test it out.  The module just need to send the GPS data in the standard format.  I used a similar module like this one off of Ebay to test the concept

 

 https://www.ebay.com...:Bk9SR7C61-eLYw

 

There is a test patch on StarPatch  to see if your GPS will work before you buy the upgrade and that is what  I used to  allow the data from the GPS to be read and displayed on the 497 but the patch  would not set the time date and location. To do that required buying the update. 

 

   The reason why I did not go with the GPS module and used Sky Safari instead to the time date and location is that the GPS module  using the RS232 and I could use port for other application and I had to buy the GPS upgrade to get to it work.

   

Sky Safari does the same function using the built in GPS in my tablet or phone and then uses the standard RS232 command set for the 497 to set the time date and location  and I also get the functionality of Sky Safari to control my scope.

 

                  - Dave 


Edited by DAVIDG, 12 December 2023 - 04:55 PM.

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#14 Skywatchr

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 03:55 PM

" Aftermarket GPS units are not compatible with the Starpatch GPS code. " 

 

     I have a used an inexpensive GPS module  and  MAX232 module to interface to one of my 497 uses the patch on StarPatch to test it out.  The module just need to send the GPS data in the standard format.  I used a similar module like this one off of Ebay to test the concept

 

 https://www.ebay.com...:Bk9SR7C61-eLYw

 

There is a test patch on StarPatch  to see if your GPS will work before you buy the upgrade and that is what  I used to  allow the data from the GPS to be read and displayed on the 497 but the patch  would not set the time date and location. To do that required buying the update. 

 

   The reason why I did go with the GPS module and used Sky Safari instead to the time date and location is that the GPS module  using the RS232 and I could use port for other application and I had to buy the GPS upgrade to get to it work.

   

Sky Safari does the same function using the built in GPS in my tablet or phone and then uses the standard RS232 command set for the 497 to set the time date and location  and I also get the functionality of Sky Safari to control my scope.

 

                  - Dave 

That's good to know. waytogo.gif  I knew someone was putting GPS modules inside the Autostar #497.  It was posted with pics here on CN a while back.



#15 DAVIDG

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 05:03 PM

That's good to know. waytogo.gif  I knew someone was putting GPS modules inside the Autostar #497.  It was posted with pics here on CN a while back.

 That wasn't me but if you know how to solder and  have some electronics skills it is not difficult to do and built yourself a module to work with your 497.  One other point about using a GPS module, it will take some amount of time after it is  turned  on to find your location. That might be very quick or may  take a few minutes.  Like I said thou Sky Safari does the same as a GPS module  and  usually my phone or tablet quickly knows my position  so once Sky Safari is launched I'm ready to go  and it  also gives me  full control over the telescope which I find much easier to use then menus on the 497. 

 

                       - Dave 


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#16 therob

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Posted 17 December 2023 - 04:06 AM

So I finally could go on a little bit further - again with question for next steps ;-)

 

My current status is:

  • I finally got my cable (it has a Silicon Labs with CP210x chip from ebay UK here)
  • [still waiting to receive my AutoBT (saw to late that this guy also sells #497/USB-Cables for $30 from ukraine)]
  • What now worked with the USB-Cable under Windows 10-Notebook:
    • Install driver from here ("CP210x Windows Drivers"; automatic driver installation of windows did not work)
    • Installation of StarPatch 1.916 Trial --> "Updated Handset" via COM6 with Patched Firmware from 30Ge to 42GB with settings see screenshot: successful
      StarPatch_Applied.png
    • Set Baud rate to 9600 (in driver and/or StarPatch settings) after some aborted update processes, ended with "soft bricked" handeset, but this post helped me to restart in "safte mode"
    • Installation of Meade Autostar Updater Programm AU2 6.1 from here --> Connection could be established, I could receive handset data, could update e.g. ISS values und sent back to handheld (neet to figure out how to use this peace of ancient software properly) and saw correct Firmware version 42GB displayed - thats fine!
    • Installation/Extracting PEC-Editor by OzAndrewJ from here (MyScopeShort4960.exe) --> It found the scope, but told my some message about "You have an unpatched 497 ... " I could not find an explanation:
      PEC_Unpatched 497 message.JPG
      Why unpatched? Did I made something wrong with StarPatch-Update? Or did I just missed any important or now following step?
      Maybe you can give me some hints to further proceed best?
      And what would be then the most practical way of using PEC-Editor (e.g. to fast update ISS/Satellit/Asteroid > x mag lists)?
    • If connection of e.g. Stellarium to the telescope works via the cable I still has to test now...
    • Until now I had not any success with usingone of these tools under Linux Mint (although the USB-Cable-Chip seems recognized correctly in "lsub", but don't kow how to open a COM port and give it to the wine-execucted tools or to nativ Stellarium) - but it's not important at the moment.
      Will continue with Windows 10 for this.

So, I am happy to walked some good steps ahead, thanks to your guidance. (In the end I will also sum up all my first-step-exeperience for some other newbies ;-) )

Hope I will also start to sprint some days ;-)

Cheers and nice 3rd advent from Germany


Edited by therob, 17 December 2023 - 04:08 AM.


#17 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 17 December 2023 - 04:55 AM

Gday Rob
 

"You have an unpatched 497 ... " I could not find an explanation:

....

Why unpatched?

In the dark ages, Meade released 497 firmware for several languages, but stopped supporting it.

The patch you found and loaded was for a very old version of the German 497 code.

The underlying German firmware hasnt been updated for 14 years and we never bothered to add

the "peek" patches to it as it was too far out of date.

Only the 43GK patch has the latest firmware ( 43Eg ) and updates ( incl peek/poke )

 

And what would be then the most practical way of using PEC-Editor

Technically, it should work for most basic stuff but would need download mode

to read and write data.

That said, i have never disassembled the German code so have no idea

if its memory offsets are different to other firmwares and as such

i really have no idea what will happen if using anything but the basic

published serial commands.

 

To use my app to its optimum, you really need to use patched 43Eg

If you wish to use 42GB, I ( at present ) suggest only using ASU to load user data

but also double check it after doing it.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#18 therob

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Posted 17 December 2023 - 05:01 AM


The patch you found and loaded was for a very old version of the German 497 code.

Ah, that explained it - thanks for clarifying it. No, I not need to stick with german (as you can read ;-) ) - will change it!

So I guess I have to choose "English" in the StarPatch "Options->Language" menu that the approriate version is loaded, or do I just need to change the language in the Autostar handset and reconnect it to AutoPatch? Or both?

Or manual download and patch?

Will try later the day....
 



#19 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 17 December 2023 - 06:09 AM

Gday Rob

 

So I guess I have to choose "English" in the StarPatch "Options->Language"

OOoooooh, i just learnt something :-) and yes its confusing

The original Meade ROM files are named as XXLy

Where XX is primary version   ie 42,42,43

L is language  ie E=English, G=German, D=Dutch ( and there was a Norwegian IIRC )

y is the sub release ( always a lowercase a..z )

Patches are named as XXYz   

where XX is as per above, Y is capitalised y and z is a running patch no.

 

Patch 42GB uses firmware 42Gg.rom  ( note the Gg )

ie the little g from the rom became Capital G and B means second rev

 

Due to some odd quirk i see that the latest english ROM  ie 43Eg

ie the little g from the rom became Capital G and K was the version count

As such we used the patch definition of 43GK   ( thus confusing it with german )

 

As the last german rom was Gg the patch became GB

Had the rom been Gk, the patch would have been KB

I guess its so long since any of the language versions were done that no one noticed :-)

Sooooo, yes, set it to English and load the 43Eg.rom and 43GK.spf

and all current apps etc should work.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#20 therob

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Posted 11 January 2024 - 03:43 PM

Heyja,

after some clear sky nights I report back with my experience - and of course with some questions ;-)

 

I finally flashed the 43Eg.rom and 43GK.spf and now the PEC-Editor works (although I did not yet dive into all the functions it offers), as well as the Meade Autstar Updater (But indeed have to use it under Windows, as I don't know how to use the serial port under Linux, but that's OK for now)

 

My question (after finally some cloudfree nights) so far are:

  1. I am using Alt/Az mounting and usually starting with Easy Align - which works quite satisfying for my beginner knowledge ;-)
    After first "Easy Align" per session I still have some offset using GoTo-objects (I think because of using low mag). So I decided to enable "High Precission" option, which works fine. Question: does the AutoStar readjust its current star-alignment after each "High Presission" align, so that the alignment is getting better and better for this session and after 3-4 HighPrecission-Settings I could also disable it again as the alignment should now be quite optimal? Or should I better take some more time to do the initial EasyAlign with a higher mag (last time used 40mm/31x - so very low mag which probably is too low), or just do it twice?
  2. My connetion between Stellarium and AutoStar also worked now with the USB--#497-Adapter.
    Question: How can I achieve, that the telescope follows e.g. an satellite/ISS which is present in stellarium (but still under horiizon/not yet visible)? I only figured out how to move the scope to a "fixed" RA/DEC coordinate of an object, but not to following an movable one.... any trick? Or can I only achieve this by using a up-to-date ISS entry in the ASU?
  3. And what would your recommended workflow be to look out for ISS (is my ultimative test if it works)?
    Update ephemerides of ISS on a "daily/weekly" base to the AutoStar (what is the fastes way with limited baud 9600) und use the ASU to track? or update via PEC?
    Or using SkySafari+BT? Or BT and Stellarium on PC?
  4. I could also succeesful use SkySafariPro with my AutBT-Adapter (astro-gadget) via smartphone - worked quite well and there the option to "sync" to an satellite is also present - but I need some more time to figure out how to do it right...
  5. What further objects worth observing with the ETX-90 would you upload regularly to the ASU - and how? Comets - but just cherrypick which one or is there a filter "brightest"? (I guess Ceres, Vesta etc. there is no need to update frequently).
  6. Can I program any "shortcuts" or favorites in the menu of the flashed AutoStar handset, e.g. for "Park Position", "Easy Align", "High Precission", "ISS" or just remains the normal menu structure with the handset?

Still some more question not related to the Autostar stuff:

  • 7. After successfull ovserving the beginner stuff Jupiter, Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy I asked myself If I would be happier to have an (used) ETX-125 instead of my (also used) ETX-90. Would you say it is indeed a difference which is quite visible and worth the change? () As I am now quite familier with the ETX stuff, I would prefer to stay at this and not to look to a completely other and much more modern system .... maybe some day later
  • 8. Could I use a ETX125 tubus in my ETX90 mount - or are the mount/motor-unit also different due to different tubus diameter?
  • 9. I would like to have a manual remote focus knob (the 10 cm thing I saw on some pictures) - where to get or for what I have to search or what I can use as replacement? Wobbling the image while finding focus I find quite cumbersame....
  • 10. And my last problem: Yesterday I broke the horizontal clamping - as I was not yet familiar enough in the dark night, in which direction lose and tight was, and the -15°C did the rest I guess :-/
    What about replacement? Can I unscrew the broken part? 3D printing or some DIY ideas? (see photo)
    ETX90_horizontal-clamp-broken.jpg
  • 11. I now have a heating band (2W) for the tubus which works quite well - would you anyway recommend an additinal dew cover? Or should I be fine with the heat band?
  • 12. The scope stands in my flat. If I want to observe under cold conditions (<0°C) what is the best procedure: switch on heat band, place scope outside with removed tubus cover and let it acclimate for ~30 min, or let cover closed until observation starts? Or something else?

 

So, sorry for that mountain of questions ... but maybe you can cherrypick some and answer them shortly :-)

Cheers, Robert

 

 



#21 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 11 January 2024 - 04:08 PM

Gday Robert

Neither my app nor ASU will run under linux unless you can emulate windows

I know some Macs can do that, but no idea with Linux.

 

does the AutoStar readjust its current star-alignment after each "High Presission" align, so that the alignment is getting better and better for this session

jein :-)

The basic align model simply works out a tip/tilt for the base

It is highly dependent on the align stars you use and how well you centre them

That said, whenever you do a synch ( which is what HiPrecision does on each bright star )

the system resets its baseline datums to suit that spot

The next time you do a synch, it resets for that location ( and overwrites the previous )

ie it doesnt "learn" the sky, it just tweaks for where you currently are.

 

telescope follows e.g. an satellite/

There is a special satellite mode in the Autostar

You need to load the current TLE for the object, then just before the pass, start it up

it will slew to the start point and wait, then start tracking ( best it can ) based on the time.

You really need to practice a bit to get the hang of it

and there are lots of threads on the Weasner archives

http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html

 

Can I program any "shortcuts" or favorites in the menu

No. If you sue my app, it has a remote handbox screen

On the left side is a panel that canbe populated with the entire menu tree in one pass

so you can go direct to a menu, but its not possible in the handset itself.

 

What about replacement? Can I unscrew the broken part?

Yep, there is a tiny grub screw in the side of the housing

( you can see it bottom left )

It just slides off and can be easily replaced with a printed part

( plus other bits for focus )

https://www.thingive...m/thing:5338892

https://www.thingive...om/thing:274917

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#22 DallasEddie

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 08:20 PM

Can you brick a 495 497 with wrong cable or wrong procedure
and
If I do brick my Autostar can I un brick my Autostar



#23 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 22 January 2024 - 08:53 PM

Gday DallasEddie

 

If the cable has a +12V line in it ( it shouldnt normally )

then that could damage a handset if it created a reverse polarity path

but in general, the handset has an inbuilt max232 chipset

and that can handle miswired Tx/Rx

 

As to bricking, its possible with the very very early 495s

I cant remember 100% what version it started at

but after approx version 1.1G, the handset has a factory loaded "safeload" code,

which is never then updated.

If a normal load goes wrong, you can always invoke this safeload code

to restart the handset with basic functions, and this allows you to reload the working firmware.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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