Last updated: 27 November 2010
Subject:	New Autostar 497 Identification
Sent:	Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:01:46
From:	dbodish@comcast.net (dbodish@comcast.net)
I have both old (Motorola processor) and new (Toshiba processor) 497
handsets, and I've recently been taking them apart and swapping displays
between them.  I see there is interest in identifying them.  My two
units have absolutely no external differences in the plastic case.  The
patent stickers and the molded-in FCC info are exactly the same.  There
is one visible difference, however (other than the upside down display I
put on my old 497).  The shape of the RJ plug connector ports is
slightly different.  These ports are soldered onto the Autostar PCB. 
They are not actually part of the case, they just stick out through a
rectangular hole in the case.  I've attached photos for comparison.  The
old 497 has ports with a shouldered profile.  The new 497 ports have a
square profile.  I don't know if these differences will be consistent. 
One other external cue, though not a visible one - the audible beeps are
distinct.  The new unit has an even more piercing, high pitched tone
than the old (Thanks Meade!).  That's hard to identify unless you have
both units powered up to sample though, and then you could just check
the installed software version as others have suggested.  One other
interesting note, though not very helpful for ID - the small locator
pins in the corners of the front and back case halves that help you fit
them together during assembly are reversed on the old and new cases.  My
old front will not mate with the new back or vice versa, so the plastic
case parts do come out of different molds, at least mine did.

By the way, ASU ver. 4.88 seems to handle both of my 497s fine, wrt to
loading TLE data.  I don't use ASU to update firmware, though it reads
the versions of both units correctly.  When I ask it to check the www
for updates, it wants to go with 59Ef of course, which is the installed
version on the new unit.  There is nothing to upgrade the new one to
yet.  I'm using StarPatch to update the old unit firmware, not ASU

Donovan Bodishbaugh

Old model AutoStar #497:
old 497

New model AutoStar #497EP:
new 497

And a clarification:

I need to revise one thing in my last email.  I just realized I have two
different versions of ASU on my computer.

Ver 4.88 (current version on Meade website) does NOT work with both of
my 497 handsets.  It communicates fine with the new model, recognizing
it as a 497EP, and readily reading/loading objects.  I assume it would
work to update the firmware, since it finds 59Ef on the web, but I have
no reason to try that, and I'd rather not, given that StarPatch can't
bail me out if I brick it.  4.88 recognizes my old handset as an
Autostar, but it can't identify the model and can't find any available
memory to load to.  The Avail. Memory panel reads zero and flashes
yellow.  Strangely, it does pick up the correct firmware version (43GD).

Ver 4.85 (from my Autostar Suite disk I think) talks fine to the old
handset, recognizing it as a plain old 497.  It can't ID the new handset
model and doesn't read or load objects to/from memory, so the situation
is reversed.

Sorry for my misinformation earlier.  I've changed the backdrop on one
of the ASU versions, so I can tell them apart now.


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