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Help with Autostar hand controller please!

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#1 roycej

roycej

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 03:55 PM

Hi, I have an LX90 8 inch SCT dating from early 2000s I believe. No GPS or ACF. The display on the hand controller has failed. I found another handset which looks identical but isn't. When turned on it displays "© 99 Meade (1.2) AUTOSTAR" which changes to "Use ETX Autostar with this model".

 

I've read a lot here and elsewhere about the handsets #495 and #497 and honestly the more I read, the more confused I am. I would be eternally grateful if someone could just explain to me:

 

Can the new handset be firmware upgraded to work with the scope? How do I do this?

 

Thanks!

 

 


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#2 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 04:41 PM

Gday roycej

ver 1.2 indicates it may be a 494 handset, and if so, it cant be updated

The 494 has a screen and slew keys but no 0..9 keypad.

Post a piccy to confirm.

 

Re the range of handsets, there are multiple types with different versions

The 495 and 497 are identical, just loaded with different firmware originally.

The 497s had 2 versions with different LCD screens

There are several threads re the internals of each type, but,

if the handset works other than the screen,

there are hundreds of threads on this topic now.

Basically

Many old LCDs with carbon contacts have been failing recently.

There are 2 types of LCD, a 24 pin ribbon and a 14 pin ribbon

and both now have identified "drop in" replacements.

Before that, you could try the other tricks like releasing your current ribbon

from its zif ( Zero Insertion Force ) socket and trimming say a millimeter off the end

and resetting it. That works for a range of units, but if not a new screen is now simple.

Just search this forum for "LCD" or "Formike" to get lots of hits

but you nooed to open the handset to see what LCD you have.

If it is the 14 pin unit, you might be able to remove the screen from the 494

and put it in the 497????

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#3 roycej

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:23 PM

Thanks for the reply. Both controllers are externally identical and have the 0-9 buttons. Unfortunately the failed display has a 14 pin connector and the other display is 24-pin so I can't swap displays. That would be too easy lol.gif

 

Could you point me to a source on how to upgrade the 1.2 firmware to a version which supports my LX90? Firmware Updates For Dummies, perhaps?

 

Much appreciated.



#4 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:35 PM

Gday roycej

OK, if the failed display is 14pin, then its easy to get to drop in replacement

Just search this forum for buttonworx ( who now stock the unit but with reasonable shipping fees )

 

As to the unit with full keypad and V1.2, we need the exact firmware

as that is an exceptionally early unit. It well pre dates my knowledge

Start the Hbx and go to the statistics menu and in there you will find the full 4 byte version no.

1.2 was before my time but before a set version, the handsets didnt have any safeload code.

When loading them, it involved a 2 stage process

First you had to use an early version of Meades ASU utility to do an update to safeload

and it needed 2 separate rom files to do the update.

If its later than that version ( ie has safeload in it ), then it can be simply updated

to the latest patched firmware using the StarPatch updater in one pass.

The details for a lot of this can be found on Mike Weasners "Mighty ETX site"

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

I will have a dig to see if i can see what firmware was the break point

for having safeload

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#5 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:49 PM

Gday roycej

OK found it

http://www.weasner.c...star/as_sw.html

 

For others who may read this later

i cutnpasted this bit to save searching, but going to Weasners archives

is something anyone with a 497 should do sometime in their life :-)
 

Subject:  Comment on the FLASH RAM question
Sent: Tuesday, June 8, 1999 22:39:06
From: Meade Instruments Corp
Nice move to the new home.  I like weasner.com -- has a nice ring to it!

Here is a response to ~noah who asked about the RESET button and changes
in versions.
-------------------------------------------------------------
Noah,

When you run the Autostar Update Utility to update your Autostar, you
are completely replacing the FLASH contents with new firmware.  So a
RESET will not return you to an earlier version.  Rather, a RESET  gives
you a way to "start over"!  If you get lost in the menus or accidentally
have kicked the power off, etc.

About the page 0 time to upload.
Once you have changed from 1.0c to 1.1m you have installed the "SAFE
LOADER" option.
  The SAFE LOADER goes into an early page in the Autostar
FLASH memory, so that on power-on with the proper two buttons held down,
you will be in the "SAFE LOAD" mode.

 

 

 

Soooooooooo, as long as your Hbx has 1.1m or greater

you should be able to use StarPatch to do a single pass upgrade to patched 43Eg.

Deselect the first 4 patch options related to the StarGPS lumps and load the defaults

and it should all work.

That said, on rebooting, do a full handset reset and restart from scratch

to ensure everything is cleared out.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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