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Looking for a new control solution for a LX200GPS

Astro Tech Equipment Software
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#1 ffernn

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 04:54 AM

Hi all, I'm trying to revive my school's astronomy club, and awesomely we have a LX200GPS telescope :)

However, as we unfortunately learned at a recent observation night, the Autostar II controller has a torn ribbon cable connecting to the display, rendering it unusable.

From looking online it seems like the original controller is no longer made, and it probably would have been out of budget anyway. I've found a few possible solutions:

  • The ScopeBoss mobile app seems to emulate the controller well, it would just be a matter of finding a wifi adapter that would work with both the app and the telescope. This one looks promising, a decent price and supposedly ships to Australia. I assume it would also let me use some nicer software for selecting targets etc.
  • This thread mentions a replacement display that can be found online, but the eBay pages are 404ing and I can't find anything under that model number. Is this the one? I may order this as well and attempt a repair job, but ideally I can get the above solution working because it would probably be easier for future students to pick up.

Thanks for your time :>



#2 DAVIDG

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 09:23 AM

 You can get a new display from here  https://buttonworx.c...rch&s=telescope

The LCD screen in the Autostar II is the same as Autostar 497. You just need to add a 1N914 diode so the contrast level in all modes is correct.  See message 13 and 14  in this thread on ways to add the diode.  

 

https://www.cloudyni...-ii-controller/

    You can also buy or build a Wifi or Bluetooth to serial adapter that plugs into one of two serial ports and control the scope once it is aligned with programs like Sky Safari.

Also once you get the Autostar working again I would update the firmware using the FREE version of StarPatch and 43g firmware from that site and not the Meade firmware which is known to have bugs while the StarPatch version is rock solid. It will fix the GPS roll over bug which causes the GPS data to be wrong.

 

 https://www.stargps.ca/starpatch.htm

 

                 - Dave 


Edited by DAVIDG, 18 March 2024 - 09:25 AM.


#3 astrohamp

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 10:18 AM

Have you checked out this link in the forums?

 

Is the ribbon cable something that can be replaced/repaired?  Any students good with soldering iron?



#4 Astroboy1952

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Posted 24 March 2024 - 07:04 AM

Yes the link you quoted for the Formike LCD is correct. 

I wrote up my repair experience here https://www.cloudyni...entry12935643. 

It's really easy. Works like a charm and I find the handbox more satisfying to use than an Android app, because the scope responds instantly. (Maybe my mobile is just too old...)

Note I  have not implemented the diode contrast solution, just adjusted the contrast manually. Instructions are in my report and easy. 

 

If you are in Australia, I could mail you a spare LCD to temporarily try out. Send me a private message if you wish to arrange. 


Edited by Astroboy1952, 24 March 2024 - 05:31 PM.


#5 ffernn

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 10:57 PM

 You can get a new display from here  https://buttonworx.c...rch&s=telescope

The LCD screen in the Autostar II is the same as Autostar 497. You just need to add a 1N914 diode so the contrast level in all modes is correct.  See message 13 and 14  in this thread on ways to add the diode.  

 

https://www.cloudyni...-ii-controller/

    You can also buy or build a Wifi or Bluetooth to serial adapter that plugs into one of two serial ports and control the scope once it is aligned with programs like Sky Safari.

Also once you get the Autostar working again I would update the firmware using the FREE version of StarPatch and 43g firmware from that site and not the Meade firmware which is known to have bugs while the StarPatch version is rock solid. It will fix the GPS roll over bug which causes the GPS data to be wrong.

 

 https://www.stargps.ca/starpatch.htm

 

                 - Dave 

Hey David, I'm looking at ordering the part from the Wandisplay website, and I was wondering if, in your experience (iirc you ordered from there as well), you had to specifically request the 5v version? There were some comments in the forum thread that mentioned the company emailed to clarify which model they wanted.



#6 DAVIDG

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 10:39 AM

Hey David, I'm looking at ordering the part from the Wandisplay website, and I was wondering if, in your experience (iirc you ordered from there as well), you had to specifically request the 5v version? There were some comments in the forum thread that mentioned the company emailed to clarify which model they wanted.

 The way I ordered the Foremike displays in the past has been to go their website and request a sample. This started an email conversation with the person that handles these requests and I asked for the 5 volt version. A single sample unit was around $7 BUT the shipping cost was $30. 

    You can get the exact same  Formike display from Buttonworx and save yourself the issue with multiple Emails and a lower cost by buying from them.  The LCD for the 14 pin version that fits the Autostar 497 is the same unit used in the Autostar II for the LX200GPS. 

 

                - Dave  


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