Meade Instruments Corporation
Telescopes · Binoculars · Microscopes


 
#505 Connector Cable Set
 Operating Instructions for use with the Meade® Autostar™ Computer Controller
The #505 Connector Cable Set provides access to three Autostar operations:

PARTS LIST

The #505 Connector Cable Set is supplied with the following:

  • 3-foot, 4-pin to 4-pin cable
  • 6-foot, 4-pin to 6-pin cable
  • 6-pin to RS-232 serial interface adapter
The 3-foot cable connects two Autostars, while the 6-foot cable connects an Autostar and a PC using the interface adapter.

CAUTION: Do not connect either cable to the AUX port on the telescope's computer control panel or damage may occur to the cable connector.

TELESCOPE CONTROL

A powerful feature of Autostar is that it serves as an interface between an astronomical software program, such as Meade Epoch 2000sk Sky Software, and a Meade digital telescope.

NOTE: The software program must be compatible with the LX200-series telescope to be compatible with Autostar.

To use this function, complete the following procedure:

  1. Verify that telescope and computer power are OFF.

  2. Connect the serial interface adapter (1, Fig. 1) to the RS–232 port on a PC.

  3. Connect the 6-pin end of the 6-foot cable (2, Fig. 1) to the serial interface adapter, then the 4-pin end to the RS-232 port at the base of the Autostar (3, Fig. 1).



    Fig. 1: #505 Connector Cable Set connects between a PC and Autostar for telescope computer control or download capabilities. (1) Serial Interface Adapter; (2) 6-Foot Cable; (3) Autostar; (4) Handbox (HBX) port on the telescope's computer control panel.

  4. Connect the Autostar coil cord between the HBX port (4, Fig. 1) on the telescope computer control panel and the coil cord connector port on Autostar.

  5. Apply power to the telescope and computer, then complete basic Autostar initialization as detailed in the Autostar instruction manual.

  6. Be sure that the computer Com Port is configured to the following specifications:
    Baud Rate9600
    Data Bits8
    ParityNone
    Stop Bit1
    Flow ControlNone

  7. Complete telescope alignment as detailed in the Autostar instruction manual.

Telescope control can now be accessed using a PC astronomical software program. Follow instructions provided with the software to provide PC telescope control (if using Meade Epoch 2000sk Sky Software the telescope is controlled using the Auto Tracking function).

NOTE: The Autostar GO TO function is still active when connected to an astronomical software program, allowing control either from the PC or Autostar.

DOWNLOAD FROM A PC

To download software or object information from a PC to Autostar, follow this procedure:

NOTE: Downloading information is a two step process: First, information is downloaded from a web site to a PC; second, information is downloaded from the PC to Autostar.

Download from the web site to the PC

  1. From your PC, download an Autostar file or files (i.e., new software, orbital elements, etc.) from the Autostar Downloads page.

    NOTE: Two versions of Autostar are available: #495 Autostar for Meade Digital Electronic Series (DS) telescopes, and #497 Autostar for ETX-Series digital telescopes. The #495 and #497 software programs are not compatible. Be sure to transfer the correct software for your model of Autostar, otherwise an error will occur.
  2. Follow the instructions from your web browser on how to download a file from the Internet to the PC. Once downloaded, the data resides in a PC desktop program titled AUTOSTAR UPDATE (a READ ME file is also attached).
Download from the PC to Autostar
  1. Complete steps 1 through 6 of TELESCOPE CONTROL, then return to this procedure.

  2. Open the AUTOSTAR UPDATE program on the PC.

    NOTE: Downloaded files do not do not have to be concurrently transferred to Autostar Software and orbital data, for instance, may be downloaded at the same time, but you may choose to update software now and orbital data later.

  3. Within the AUTOSTAR UPDATE program, select the file or files you wish to transfer and follow the instructions provided in the READ ME file.

  4. When downloading is complete, Autostar beeps and the initialization sequence begins. When complete turn off the power and disconnect the cables.

Autostar downloading from a PC is now complete.

DOWNLOAD AND CLONE FROM AUTOSTAR

Use the following procedure to transfer information from one Autostar (Clone) to another Autostar (Download):

  1. Verify that telescope power is OFF.

  2. Connect each Autostar to its respective telescope.

    NOTE: The two versions of the Autostar Computer Controller are not compatible with each other (i.e., cloning from a #497 to a #495 will not work).

  3. Connect the 3-foot cable (1, Fig. 2) between the RS-232 ports at the base of each Autostar as shown in Fig. 2.


    Fig. 2: #505 Connector Cable Set connects between two Autostar handboxes. (1) 3-foot cable.

  4. Apply power and complete basic initialization as detailed in the Autostar instruction manual.

  5. On the Autostar that is to receive information:
    In the Autostar Setup menu, scroll to the Download option and press ENTER. This warning appears on the screen:

    NOTE: This sets Autostar into a standby mode.

  6. On the Autostar that is to send information:

    In the Setup menu, scroll to the Clone option and press ENTER. Scroll to one of three options:

    • Catalogs: Sends only the user-defined object information, such as new satellite orbital data, to another Autostar.
    • Software: Sends only the basic Autostar software. This is useful if your Autostar is equipped with the latest version of Autostar software and you want to download the software to another Autostar owner.
    • All: Transfers everything (i.e., user-defined information and Autostar software).

    WARNING: Downloading Catalogs or All will overwrite any user-defined objects already in the Autostar database. Do not download either of these options unless you wish to substitute new information from the cloning Autostar for all existing user-defined information, such as orbital data on comets or satellites.

  7. Press ENTER on the chosen option (Catalogs, Software, or All). The sending Autostar starts to transfer information to the receiving Autostar (set in the Download mode in step 5).

  8. At the completion of the transfer, the sending Autostar returns to the previous menu; the receiving Autostar beeps and automatically starts the initialization sequence.

  9. Complete the Autostar initialization sequence, then turn off telescope power and disconnect the cables between Autostar handboxes. Autostar cloning and downloading is now complete. If you have a question concerning use of the #505 Connector Cable Set, call the Meade Instruments Customer Service Department at (949) 451-1450, or fax at (949) 451-1460. Customer Service hours are 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.

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