Last updated: 6 December 2004

A warm Autostar is a happy Autostar

Sent:	Monday, December 6, 2004 16:43:58
From:	Schlatter (
Last winter and again now that the weather is turning cold here in
Central Appalachia I had problems with my Autostar 497 -- it does not
like cold weather.  I would put the scope outside to cool down and go
outside to use the scope after an hour or so.  If the temperature was
around 25 deg - 30 deg F, the scope would power up, beep, and act
normal, except, the display on the Autostar was blank.

I tried heating the Autostar with a hair dryer and, sure enough, the
display slowly came to life.

I figured I needed a more permanent solution.

I recently purchased a Kendrick Standard Controller and control pad
heater for the Autostar.  I have been using this combination for the
past two weeks and it's perfect -- the Autostar stays toasty warm and I
have had no problems with it, even with temps down around 20 deg F. 
Given that the Autostar stays quite warm, I believe it will withstand
much lower temperatures.

For those who are not familiar with the Kendrick system, it consists of
a controller and several heater attachments.  The controller connects to
a source of 12 volts DC (I use my 12 VDC power pack that powers the
scope).  The controller has six outlets into which you can plug any
number of several heater strips.  For example, there is a heater strip
that wraps around 1.25-inch eyepieces and secures with a Velcro strip --
when connected to the controller, the strip keeps the eyepiece warm,
thereby chasing away dew, frost, and other moisture on the eyepiece. 
You can set the controller all the way from very low heat up to high

Here is a link to the Kendrick website:
The system is not inexpensive -- the standard controller is $85.00 and
the Autostar heater is $42.00

The Autostar heater is a small pad the same size as the Autostar. A cord
plugs into the controller and there are two big rubber bands -- put the
heating pad on the BACKSIDE of the Autostar and slip the rubber bands
around the heating pad and the Autostar at the top and bottom of the
Autostar.  Plug the heater into the controller and set the controller a
little below medium heat -- in no time it warms up the Autostar.

I set my scope outside an hour or so before observing.  I plug in the
heater when I put the scope outside and it keeps the Autostar plenty
warm.  The LED display is bright and -- better yet -- the Autostar
heater doubles as a hand-warmer!!

Photos here:

Bristol TN

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Copyright ©2004 Michael L. Weasner /
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