Last updated: 28 July 2000

Autostar Tips

From: pgoelz@eaglequest.com (Paul Goelz)

These all refer to version 2.0i firmware.....

Skip SUN WARNING and "Getting strated...." messages
The 2.0i README file mentions the ability to skip the annoying sun warning but never mentions HOW. I stumbled across it this morning.... It's under UTILITIES, DISPLAY OPTIONS. Once there you can set it to skip the sun warning and the "Getting started" message.

One star alignment on any object in the database
I have discovered that you can do an alt-az (not tried in POLAR yet) one star alignment on any object in the ETX database. This would be particularly useful in the daytime on a conspicuous object such as the moon or Venus. To do it, merely initialize the ETX normally in the correct mount mode, with the scope in the HOME position (tube approximately level and north, and the fork arm over the panel after rotating fully counter-clockwise to the stop). At this point, instead of doing a regular alignment, hit MODE until you get to SELECT ITEM: OBJECT. Select the desired object and hit goto. After the slew stops, the scope will start tracking based on an assumed initial north and level tube (alt-az). Center the object and hold ENTER to sync and you're aligned. Note that while I have tried this indoors, I have not tried it on a real sky yet.... it's been cloudy since I bought it!

Remove gear lash
I have noticed that the scope tries to remove gear lash when manually slewing but only with the small hand controller... NOT with the Autostar. With the small controller, if you slew at a slow speed, you will hear the motor speed up momentarily when you reverse. If you watch the gears, the motor runs fast until the gear lash is taken up (mostly). Unfortunately, this doesn't happen with the Autostar, and the slower slew speeds are pretty useless due to gear lash. I have Emailed Meade and I'll keep you posted about what they say (if anything).

Display contrast adjustment
I have found that if you change the display contrast slightly from the initial factory setting, the display is readable at faster scroll speeds. Go too far, and it gets too dark. Not sure what will happen in the winter.... probably will get very slow.

Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy and music web site:

From: rlonn@home.com (Robert Lonn)

As a long time reader of this page and past contributor, I felt after 4 months of silence it was my time to add some updated information on the GO-TO accuracy of the autostar. This test was performed 3 times with the same results. So what I am about to talk about or recommend can only be proven as being accurate by your readers. I purchased a small level at the hardware store. I loaded 2.0i and did all the re-training etc. Then I leveled the tripod based on the built in bubble. pointed the scope to the north and made sure it was level with the small level stuck on the top of the ETX-125. Now at this point you can set it off to find two stars during calibration. In 50 to 60% of the go-to stars or objects you do get it in the FOV. However I noticed that the farther the scope had to go from true north to find the object the more the object was out of the FOV. Sounds familiar?? I then discovered something with the tripod set to be level based on the bubble in the tripod leg and the scope being level facing due north prior to the alignment phase of the setup process. I had the scope swing around 90 degrees and 180 degrees and noticed that the scope was no longer level and that was my new and interesting discovery. I then played with the tripod legs to make sure that the scope was level as I rotated the scope a full 180 degrees. Guess what, the bubble on the tripod leg was no longer in the center of the circle, it was off. So that means issues with the tripod, bubble, scope body or a combination of all the above. But let me tell you this, when you level the scope so it maintains its level position as you rotate the scope and once set you THEN do the 2 star alignment, my stars were 100% in the FOV, no not 95 or 99% but every item. Did a guided tour tonight and ran out of things to see, saw them all!! Is this a fluke, or is this the secret??? Only your readers can tell for sure. I am keeping my fingers crossed that many of your readers will report similar results. Level the scope in all planes. SEARS has a small level 5 inches long, flat bottom and about 3/8 inch in diameter. Cost $6.50 or so but it was nice and small and light weight. CLEAR SKY's..BTW, be sure you set the time right on, know your lat and long (I used a GPS) and of course DST set to on. Be as accurate as possible when you train the drives. Always do a complete alignment when you load new software. These are the basic stuff, the leveling of the main tube in all azimuths seems to be the caveat...

Robert Lonn, San Diego Ca. 11:45 PM, 7-25-2000...

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