Last updated: 30 April 2009

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[26 Apr 08]

Subject:	Autostar 497 Patch Viewing/Removing
Sent:	Friday, April 24, 2009 09:27:35
From:	Nohr Tillman (
This might be a question for you, or Mr. Seymore:
I purchased both of my ETX's used. The ETX-125 came to me with at least
one "patch" applied to it because it looks for a GPS reciever on power
up.. I don't have the cables to commect my Garmin, and don't travel to a
variety of sites, so it's utility would be lost on me. I assume it was
loaded with Starpatch.

The GPS patch has issues sometimes when it doesn't see a GPS connected.
About one time in six I turn on the Autostar controller, it lights up to
boot, says Welcome To Autostar, beeps, and the display blanks. I blame
the patch since the screen blanks right when I usually see the message
"Looking for GPS" before it gives up and goes to the normal Autostar

I like to park my scope most of the time, because I can do a pretty good
mechanical polar align in the same place in my yard. It saves the time
of star aligning every time. However, when the GPS patch freaks out, I
am forced to lose the Park advantage and go back to Align Mode.

I've read a bunch about applying patches, but can't find where you can
read what patches it has already. I suspect that if it has one, there
are probably more. Personally, I'd be happy working with the 43eX as it
is from Meade right now. I would bet good money the "how to read out
patches?" answer is buried in one of the many posts, but I haven't found

I am proficient with computers, and have interrogated the bowels of
serial data messages with other computer controllers, and speak hex
fluently. Not familiar with the tools I see the experts posting about
using to make patches and tweaks, but I could learn. I was kinda wanting
to stay away from the intricacies of the processor language, and the
time I'd spend working on it. I already spend too much time on the
mechanicals of the ETX's as it is ;-)

Any help would be fantastic,
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth
Mike here: I don't recall any specific "patch removal" instructions so I'll leave that to Dick. But I suspect that reloading the ROM would overwrite the memory and so "remove" the patch.


From:	richard seymour (
To -remove- the StarGPS patch, run StarPatch, tell it you want the
current firmware.  It will present a "patch options list".
*Un*tick the GPS patch from the list presented (and any others you don't want).

I believe that will remove it.  As Mike wrote, it will also entail
reloading the autostar's firmware as part of the job, but that only
takes 11 minutes with StarPatch.

However, i'm surprised by what you're reporting... i've never heard
of the GPS patch causing a problem, beyond the 2 second "looking for GPS"

StarPatch can be downloaded from
and the author, Chris Carson ( ) is more than happy
to provide support.

have fun


Thanks Dick!
I didn't want to invest in more software for this, but I guess the
StarPatch is cost-less. Wondering about the registration key if I ever
want to enable the GPS patch again.

I fetched and opened the 43 Eg patch kit and looked it over. Nice work
to you both! Once I educated myself from your excellent documentation, I
have a grasp of what I need to do to customize the ROM for my needs. I
like that the patch features can be UNselected if desired.

Between StarPatch and Autostar Updater and a modified ROM file, I should
be able to get what I want. I really do think the GPS patch is what
loses its mind when the screen goes blank. Not a big deal, but as I
said, if I've Parked the scope prior, it can be an inconvenience.
Thanks for the quick reply!
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth

And this:

To fully remove the GPS patch, you need to use StarPatch, not StarMod.

StarPAtch will do the full job of updating the Autostar, and makes
the selection of patch pieces very easy (click-the-box, no need to
manually edit the patch file).

And it is free.

I *think* the GPS registration will survive the process (once installed,
that "key" is not removed).  Chris Carson can answer that better than i can.

have fun


Thanks Much, Dick!
Will get a copy of StarPatch and go from there. Reading up on the GPS
patch, it does seem that once the Autostar controller is registered, it
stays registered. I'll copy Chris and see what his comments are.

Chris - Summary of all this: I bought this ETX used and the prior owner
evidently installed your GPS patch. I don't connect my GPS to it, and it
loses it's mind sometimes when it doesn't see a GPS. I don't have the
cable, and don't have a strong use for it so I'd like to remove it. But
if I do want to use it in the future, will it re-enable?
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth

Start of today's update
Subject: Re: Autostar 497 Patch Viewing/Removing
From: Chris Carson (
Date: Monday, April 27, 2009, 12:25 PM
A StarPatch GPS-enabled Autostar is permanently registered so that
StarPatch can determine if an additional handset key is required when
updating an Autostar (depending on whether it's talking to a previously
registered handset versus a new one).  This "registered" state is stored
in a protected area of flash memory where it will survive any future
updates by StarPatch, Meade ASU, etc.  Each StarPatch registration key
will GPS-enable one Autostar and allow up to 2 additional handset
registration keys to be used, for a total of 3 GPS-enabled Autostars. 
The intention is that these handsets will be used by the person who owns
that copy of StarPatch, so you must have a registered copy of StarPatch
in order to update the Autostar with a working GPS Setup patch.  If you
use the trial version of StarPatch you will get the trial version of the
GPS Setup patch.

There are no known bugs in the GPS Setup patch.  However, you can remove
the patch using StarPatch as Dick suggested or by selecting the plain
Build43Eg.rom file.
Chris Carson


From:	Nohr Tillman (
Thanks Chris!
For now, I'll remove the GPS feature in one of the two ways suggested.
Not being the original puchaser/installer, I'll eventually have to get
my own registered copy of StarPatch. I may want to use the GPS feature,
but I may get my own copy just for the update speed!
Thanks for the Reply,
Nohr Tillman
Troy, MI, USA, Earth

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