Last updated: 12 January 2002

How to use the Updater ... Manipulating Libraries

Sent:	Thursday, January 10, 2002 20:43:10
From: (Richard Seymour)
Autostar Updater... a cookbook approach.
 (c) R. Seymour 10-Jan-2002  On-line redistribution permitted.

Chapter I ... Manipulating the Object/Tour libraries

Covers: Importing object data from files.
 Saving Updater "Library" state.
 Loading Updater "Library" state.
 Retrieving data from Autostar.
 Saving that data to PC disk.
 Moving objects between the Library side and the Handbox side.
 Editing an example object.
 Sending data to the Autostar.
 Restarting the Autostar.
 Exiting the Updater.

preamble note: every click mentioned below was performed 
 before i wrote the sentence. 
If you see it here, it worked for me.
Windows 98 SE, laptop, ETX90, Autostar running v22eT.
I've also run it on a 100 MHz Windows 95 system.

Before starting: use a Web Browser to visit
On that page, perform a "Save As..." on the Comet
and Asteroid links near the bottom of the page.
Pick up a Tour or two there, or from the LX90 yahoogroup
 file page, or from Mike Weasner's site
Also visit ,  click on 
NORAD current data, and on that page, do a Save As...
 of the "100 (or so) brightest" ... which will
 bring the file "visual.txt"  to your PC.
Move all of those into a folder, perhaps called TLE.

Object Library Maintenence (no Autostar required):

Start Updater
Click on Advanced Functions  to open the double-pane view.
I'm going to call the two white areas "left and right panes".

Click on View on the top menu bar: make sure that both
 "advanced" and "status bar" show check-marks.  
If "Status Bar" doesn't have a check, click on it.

Click on File (top left of Menu Bar) to drop its Menu
Click on Import... (almost) typical Windows File Open dialog box appears.'ll probably be focused in the ASU's executable folder,
... showing the Ephemerides folder as a clickable item in the window.
Navigate the "Look in:" drop-down list to your TLE folder.
Your Comet and Asteroid lists are probably text (.TXT) files.
Click once on Soft16Aster.txt
...that name should appear in the "File Name" window.
Use the drop-down arrow of the "Object Type" window to expose
 the list of choices.
click on Asteroid.
...Note that the tick-box for "delete all existing objects" has
... become checked.  Untick it if you wish.
click on Import.
...The main display will have jumped forward, the left pane
... snapped to "Asteroids", and the pane filled with objects.

Click on File to drop its Menu
Click on Import...
...the File Open box should still be in the folder from which 
...  your asteroids were imported.  
Double Click on  Soft16Cmt.txt error box should appear telling you to choose an object type.
dismiss the Error box by clicking [ok]
use the dropdown "Object Type" list to choose Comet
Click on Import
...The main display will have jumped forward, the left pane
... snapped to "Comets", and the pane filled with objects.

Now let's try drag-and-drop.
From your PC's desktop, Open a separate Windows Explorer window.
Focus it into the folder containing the Tour files you fetched.
Resize the Explorer window so that some part of the left pane of
 the Updater window can be  seen peeking out from underneath it.
Click-and-drag one of the tours, and drop (release mouse button)
it into that semi-exposed pane.
...a message box should appear, giving you a chance to choose 
... from the two options: "delete all existing",
... and "only import existing."
  Tick as you wish, click [ok]
The left pane flips to "tours", and your Tour is imported.

Now let's -save- this arrangement of objects.
Click on the top bar's "File"
Click on "Save"
...A (truly) typical Windows File Open dialog box will appear,
... probably focused in the TLE folder.
The "File Name:" line shows the default: "Untitled.aud"
Feel free to navigate to somewhere else (at this point
 i usually go to the "My Documents" folder so that it's
 easy to reach whenever i next start ASU.)
Give the .AUD file an appropriate, meaningful name, and
 click [save]

Now, since this an exercise, let's EXIT the updater
 (either via File>Exit, or the big [EXIT] button on top).

Now restart the Updater.
Click on Advanced Functions
... note that both panes are empty (nothing up my sleeves..)
Click on "File" to drop its Menu
Click on Open...
...and a typical Windows File Open dialog box appears.
Navigate to whereever you Saved the AUD file in the above
 example, and double-click on it.
Verify happy arrival of data by clicking on the Asteroid,
 Comet and Tours tabs above the left pane.
Ok... that covers simple Import, Save and Open.
Pause for a moment and drop the "File" menu again.
Note that, at the bottom, it's beginning to accumulate a list
 of previously Opened .AUD files.
 Which are another easy way to locate the files last opened, 
 without the tedium of convincing the 
  File Open dialog box to wander through folder trees.

Now let's pester the Autostar...

Now connect your rs232 cabling between the PC and your Autostar.
Power up the telescope/Autostar.
Answer the date/time/daylight series of questions.

If it's not already running, start the Updater.
Click on Advanced Functions to open the double-pane view
Click on "View" on the top menu bar: make sure that both
 "advanced" and "status bar" show check-marks.  
If "Status Bar" doesn't have a check, click on it.

You may perform the above "Open" steps if you wish. (not required)
Now click on the [retrieve data] button above the right pane.

Your Autostar will kick to "Downloading... do not turn off"

Look at the bottommost grey bar which extends across the entire
Updater screen... the left side will be ticking up slow progress,
The middle indicates the Autostar model, the right end states
the firmware version number.

The [retrieve data] function can -easily- take more than a minute.
Mine just took 75 seconds for the full 63Kbytes to transfer.
This may take longer with a 506/494, even though they only transfer
  half the data (32Kbytes) at most.
After the data has fully arrived on the PC, a message box appears
 (titled "Complete") saying "Data successfully retrieved"
Click [ok] on that.
Only now will the right pane fully refresh to show the space
available and the number of objects in the current display.

If you had any User Bodies and/or Tours in your Autostar,
they're now in the Handbox side of the display.
Let's save -them- to the PC's disk.
Upper left hand end of the top of the screen: the 
(by now very familiar) click-on-"File" menu drop-down.
Click on "Save HBX Data..."
Up pops a (all together now) typical File Open dialog box.
Navigate and name the file as you wish, click [save].
You have just saved your Autostar's current state in a way
we can return to if we really mess up.
(note that on the File menu there's also a "Load HBX..."
 choice... )

Now let's move items between the two panes.
Click on either of the two "Satellite" tabs.
Both panes flip to those objects.
(if you have no satellites on -either- side, perform
the Import operations detailed above on a visual.txt
file imported from )

If you have any satellites in the right pane, click on one
to highlight it.  Now click on the [<] button between the
panes.  That satellite will move over to the Library side.
Now click on the [>>] button between the two panes.
A box will pop up asking which objects you'd like to transfer.
(one choice is "all").  For this example, i'm just clicking
the "Satellites" choice... you may do as you wish.
Now i click [ok] and over they go the the Handbox side.
The status line below the receiving pane may change, both
in number of satellites and objects, and available space.
(each satellite occupies 51 bytes).

If you had used the Refresh [>] button, only items matching
names on the receiving side would transfer.

You can rearrange the oder of the items in either pane by
clicking on the "item" (Name, Catalog, ID, Epoch, etc.)
 button above each column.  Click once and it sorts A first.
Click again and the order reverses (just like Windows Explorer).
You can use the horizontal scroll bar just below each pane to
pan sideways to see all columns.

So now we've updated the data on the Handbox side with Fresh
Satellite TLEs... 
Let's try Editing: double-click on a satellite 
(i'm using UARS, which is probably the last satellite in your list)
(or click Name, and it'll become the first).

Up pops the editing window.  For simplicity, let's just 
change the Name field to UARSx  (adding a trailing "x").
Click next to the "S" of UARS, and type the "x".
Now click "OK"... and the name change occurs.
However, there's a bug in the Updater:
 the -numbers- for an Edited Satellite don't change.
I just tried editing the Mean Motion, and it resolutely stayed
But what -can- work is creating an external text file with just
that satellite's TLEs, and drag-and-dropping it onto the pane.
The TLE data format is seen by looking at the various files
 you've been fetching. 

The above Edit problem may just be with -satellites-.  
I -can- edit the data for a Comet or Asteroid, and, 
although the change does *not* appear in the pane until
 i click on another top item name (like "Name") or
 click back-and-forth to another Object type.
Then the screen display shows the editted change.

Oh, well... life ain't perfect... and the Updater reflects that.

Ok... we've brought in updated Satellite data, we've editted it
(or tried to)... let's send it to the Autostar....
but first...let's Save it...
 "File" menu, "Save Hbx data...", give it a name (if you reuse the
 previous name, you'll get a warning box, click OK to overwrite)

So now it's:
 Click on the [Send Data] button above the right pane.
You'll get a Warning informing you that you're about to Replace
 ALL objects in the Autostar... click [yes] to commit.
Watch the progress indicator in the lowest left end of the Status
line on the bottom of the Updater's window.  See it slowly rise.
It'll take up to 80 seconds. (maybe longer with a 506/494)
When complete, a box will appear telling you so.
Click OK.

So here we are: Autostar has been updated,
Both sides of the Updater screen have been saved.
The final step is to click [Exit] (or [restart], if you
want to keep the Updater running).
That will drop the Autostar out of "Downloading..." mode,
and into a normal Initialization sequence.

Finally, (if you didn't just do it), click [exit] to close 
the Updater.
Whoops! Surprise! If you played with the Library side, it's
just asked you if you'd like to save changes!
*but only if you Loaded a file, first* 
Not if you simply Imported.

Whew... that's IT.
I leave it to you to investigate ALL of the Help topics
(yes, i -have- read them).  Some will be painfully boring,
some will perhaps make some murky item suddenly clear.

good luck and
have fun

Go back to the Autostar Information page.

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Copyright ©1999-2002 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittals Copyright © 2002 by the Submitter