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Alignment Tracking Firmware Problems


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#1 ugh336

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:47 PM

I've had my LS 8 for just over a year, so the warranty just ran out. During the past year I had to send it back for repairs twice. Anyway, about week ago it started to have alignment issues as it seems to have every month or so since I've had it. This happened during an observing session. It started to get cloudy so I stopped for the night deciding to retrain the drive the next day and reload the firmware too. I retrained the drive, but when I tried to use my SD card the scope would not recognize it. I've ordered three new cards that will arrive next week, but I fear that maybe there's a problem with the card reader. Has anyone ever heard of that as an issue? I've always been careful in how I shut down the scope, except for the few occasions when the scope pulled its own plug by wrapping the cord around the tripod and my not realizing it.

When I attempted use the scope without reloading the firmware for four nights it kept getting stuck just after finding north. It couldn't get itself out of the tilt tip test, until tonight when I decided to try resetting everything to the factory defaults and now it can look for alignment stars. The alignment finally succeeded - does anyone else ever experience the scope finding the first star, finding the second and then trying to find the second again and failing? Mine does this often and I just figure it's time to reboot the firmaware. It is annoying to have paid as much as these scopes cost and it have this type of thing be a regular occurance especially after it's been back to Meade twice and been cleared on their checklist.

Once it aligned tonight I had it look for Vega, Altair, Albireo and Fomalhaut. It got to the general vicinity of each, but just out of the FOV of a 25mm ep. So I moved the scope to Polaris and retrained the drive. It still wasn't finding the targets in the FOV. I chose Hi prec slews and when it gets close to the target the scope now slews back and forth repeatedly in one spot until I hit either BACK or ENTER. Does this all sound like a firmware issue or does it sound like a mechanical problem with the drive?

If it's another mechanical issue there is no way I'm sending this back to Meade now that my warranty is over. I don't know I'd send it if the warranty was still intact. I just don't have any faith that I won't get it back with something else wrong. The optics are good so if this is mechanical I'm hoping I can fit some rings and put it on a reliable mount. I just hope it's firmware and that my SD adapter somehow got damaged.

#2 ugh336

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 02:02 PM

Partial update, my new SD cards got here early and my old one must have gone bad. I inserted the micro into the new mini adapter, inserted it into the telescope turned the scope on and it recognized the card. It felt like an eternity, but I know it was the normal time for the scope to recognize that card. It's rebooting the firmware now and the next step will be if this improves the alignment, tracking and eliminates that crazy micro repetitive slewing when it was asked to find a target. The forecast is for clear skies. I do think one of these days I'm either going to have to work the gears or remount it, but I'll happy if it just returns tonight.

#3 MistrBadgr

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:37 PM

One possibility is that the alignment camera and the telescope are a little out from each other. I had this happen to me when I took my LS 8 on a trip and somehow bumped the scope a little hard. It shifted the camera a bit. I found that there is a routine in the scope for making this camera to telescope alighment. It is probably is setup, but I am not sure. I do not have the instruction book with me right now. What I remember is that you have the scope go to an object, possibly after starting the routine, The routine then has you center the object in the field of view and push a button. It learns the new relationship between what the camera is looking at and what you are seeing in the scope.

Hope this helps,

Bill Steen
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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#4 MistrBadgr

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:10 PM

I have reported the micro movement to someone I know. There are three cases of this that I have now heard about. All three are either brand new scopes or just came from the factory. I do not know if there is a real correlation, but I sent word so that someone would know about this. If I hear anything, I will let you know.

If you can, call Customer Support to make sure that the proper channels are followed anyway.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#5 ugh336

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 06:06 PM

FIND CENTER center might be a problem. When I retrained the drive the other day I remember seeing it and hitting ENTER out of curiosity, thinking I could just back out of the screen if it wasn't something I needed to look at. I tried using the scope last night. This might seem like a silly question, but does the scope have a difficult time aligning stars with all the light from a nearly full Moon? It aligned on Vega, went to Altair centered it in the EP and then attempted a second alignment on Altair, this time it slewed very wide both east and west before stating it couldn't find the star. It eventually did get a good alignment, but I hadn't read your post about FIND CENTER. BTW thank you for all the help. Meade should be paying you because honestly I've received more help from you than the last customer service rep I talked to. The first time called them I got a good one, his name was Luis, but the last time I felt like the guy didn't want to be bothered. I ended up emailing Luis and he let me know what was going on with my scope and why it hadn't been returned after almost 2 months. I appreciate all of your help.

#6 MistrBadgr

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 06:17 PM

Yes, the scope can have a problem with too much extra light. There have been times with mine that if I started it up just a bit too early, it had a hard time finding and verifying the star. I could see it up there in the sky, but it did not register enough to meet the limits the programming calls for. I expect that an LS would have difficulty with Altair at this point in time, with a full moon or nearly so being that close. At least, what you tell me of its behavior is not surprising.

Thanks for the kind words. My intent is to help people enjoy astronomy. I am not the most knowledgable person, either about astronomy itself or with any particular scope. I just try to help people with little things along the way as I can. It is my belief that if each of us helps someone else with something, even with little things, then the whole world will end up being a better place.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#7 ugh336

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:37 PM

Another update, scope is almost back to normal. It is aligning itself and last night I was able to use FIND CENTER to get the camera and scope into alignment. Objects were still not coming directly into the FOV after this, but they are close, for instance I could see the glow of Vega just outside the FOV. So I'm thinking I need to retrain the drive this afternoon and see if that improves things. It's not what's it's supposed to be right now, but I could live it being off as little as it is now, as long it continues to track correctly. Again thank you all of your help.

#8 MistrBadgr

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:10 PM

You are welcome! You might try the drive training excersize every now and then and then redo the FIND CENTER routine after each drive training event to get the scope back as much as possible. The scope simply may take a while to learn all the right things. I have no clue why yours did not come with all of that learned. Mine came almost spot on. The object would be maybe a tenth of the field with the 25mm plossle that came with the scope off dead center.

I have found that retraining my scope and recentering the object around once a year at least is a good idea. With great changes in temperature, or if the scope ends up getting stored where it can get really warm, I found it needs this little tender loving care at that time.

Have fun with your scope!

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#9 ugh336

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 10:49 PM

I've retrained it several time in the past. This is the first time I've used FIND CENTER. It's 1:30am here have been working on and off on it again tonight. It had troubles again, a couple of times just froze up during the alignment process, missing Vega, Altair until I just used shutdown and decided the try and rebuild it from the ground up so to speak. I reloaded the firmware, then manually aligned Vega and Altair. I went back and did FIND CENTER using Vega and then to Polaris and retrained the drives. After that series of steps I had it slew to Enif, Deneb, Alberio, Vega, and Altair. It was still off. The stars either just came in the FOV or were just out of it. So I decided to try retrain the drives first and then do FIND CENTER. I shutdown the scope, restarted it and allowed it to align itself. It wasn't prefect, but each star was fairly close enough to the center of the FOV the second time around. I'm hoping that when I shutdown tonight that come tomorrow it hasn't forgotten anything and works just after sunset. I want to make some video of Saturn for stacking and my window to view is very short. I have the scope tracking the Moon right now, waiting until it clears a tree line so that I can make some avis of it tonight.




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