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Hi All, Need a bit help please


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#1 KeithS

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Posted 27 April 2015 - 03:20 PM

I recently purchased a second hand ETX 80 which has a fault. This is a bit long winded so hopefully I will get the problem across.

 

When I switch on the Autostar I get the copyright screen coming up.  I get no sun warning or Getting Started screen and no Beep at all. When the handbox starts it says "initialising" the word "time" flashes up, the cursor goes round a couple of times and looking straight on at the display it is unreadable as it is too bright (high contrast, which I cannot adjust?). It the display on the handset is tilted either up or down (still looking straight at it) the screen can be read, albeit with some difficulty. Some of the menus seem to work, but when I try to do a reset, nothing resets and it remains the same.  The slew controls - If I press right the mount turns right, If I press left the mount still goes right and the same with up and down - press up the telescope moves up and down the telescope still goes up - in short the telescope will not move down or left when pressing the appropriate keys.  There are several other things in the menus that have no effect e.g. changing the sun warning to on or off, turning the beep on or off and turning Getting Started on or off. There are probably a lot of other faults which I cannot check as I have been unable to use the Handbox properly or familiarise myself with it.  

 

The telescope is otherwise in really good condition and I have managed to view Jupiter and a few other things without the aid of GoTo.  I have tried various things but nothing seems to work. Can anybody suggest where the problem may lie, faulty Autostar Handbox or perhaps more concerning some other electrical glitch within the system. I have cleaned the contacts on the hbx plug and am using fresh batteries.

 

I am in the UK . I am at a complete loss as to where to go next.

 

Any help or advice will be gratefully received. If required I can maybe upload a couple of pictures showing the display.

 

Thanks

Keith.



#2 MistrBadgr

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Posted 27 April 2015 - 04:41 PM

Hello Keith,

Welcome to the forum!

I have a few thoughts, but the problem may not be any of them.

First off, with the time: There is a small coin-sized battery in the mount that is separate from the batteries that normally run the mount. It keeps the internal clock in the mount going. The battery is located in a roundish protuberance on one end inside the battery cavity. If the scope is more than three or four years old, it would not hurt to put in a new one. You will have to reset the time once the scope comes up, if you can with your handset.

The next item is the cord from the handset to the mount. If the handset has no number pad, it is a 494 handset. I would plug and unplug the jack several times in case the contacts have gotten dirty or corroded. Otherwise, I do not think there is much you can do with it. You might try taking it apart and rubbing the contacts under the keys with something like cloth to try and clean them up, but that is about all you c
an do.

If you have a handset with numbered keys as well as arrows, it is most likely a 497 handset. Again, plugging and unplugging the cord on both ends several times can clean the contacts sometimes. Internally, the contacts can be cleaned under the contact pad. There are replacement pads for sale sometimes on eBay and maybe other places. I bought a couple kits for my two 497 handsets a few years ago and they worked quite well.

You can find handsets for sale most of the time on eBay. There are really four that are available that will work with your scope. The first is called EC or Electronic control. It just controls up, down, left, right, with no computer tracking or anything like that. The second is the 494 handset. Here in the States, you can find those for something in the $40 to $50 range. The 497 handset can be found sometimes for about $80 to $110. The last is the AudioStar. I do not have an idea of what the eBay price would be for that one.

Unless it has been abused in some fashion, like being left out in the rain, the mount and telescope should be fine.

Keep the communication flowing and we can scratch our heads and figure this out if the simple things do not work.

Hope this helps,

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

#3 KeithS

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 02:19 AM

Hi Bill. Thanks for the welcome and your in depth reply. I shall try all of what you have said and get back to you here. I will be absolutely delighted if it is the battery. I have a larger scope but bought this second hand for its portability for use when away camping. Was really peed off when I couldn't get it to work. I did try to clean the contacts but may not have done it correctly or thoroughly. The handset set is a 494 - no numerical keys. I will keep in touch. Thanks again. 😁

#4 KeithS

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 01:25 PM

Hello again. Update - I have changed the internal "coin" battery but this had made no difference, indeed, even without said battery in place the symptoms were the same. I guess it looks like faulty handbox. The telescope, mount and handbox are all in as new condition and can see no evidence of damage. I am about to open the handbox to see of there is anything evident in there. I will again report back. I do have a video I recorded of the way the controller is behaving but it is quite large and I don't know if I can upload it here. I may try to do it in pictures or upload to youtube.

Thanks again.

Keith



#5 MistrBadgr

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 02:43 PM

Hi Keith,

I would be interested in seeing the video, somehow.

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

#6 KeithS

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 03:22 PM

Hi Bill,

 

Here are the videos. Hardly professional but hopefully you will get the idea. If you view then through the actual you tube channel you will get the description.

 

 

 

Keith



#7 MistrBadgr

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 05:07 PM

Keith,

Obviously, with opposite arrow pushes making the scope travel in the same direction, there is something wrong. It would be simple to determine whether the issue is with the handset or the scope if you had another handset, but you do not.

There is a place in the menus where the first messages about looking at the sun and a second one can be turned off. The next thing to show up after that on mine is "Getting Time" where yours says "Time." The next item is what you are seeing with the easy alignment.

To put things in perspective, your scope shows software version 13E (the E is for English). My ETX 80 has version 44E. The 494 handset cannot be updated. It does not have enough memory for that. Therefore your scope must be one of the first ones made, relative to mine.

What happens if you push the button to have the scope do an easy alignment?

I want to email somebody about opposite arrows sending the scope in the same direction. I do not expect a reply until at least tomorrow.

With the handset being reset, it will think it is in California. You might try to work through the menus and set things up for your location and time. Then, let it do a mock easy alignment and see what happens, if you have not done that already.

I will get back with you when I hear something.

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

#8 KeithS

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 12:03 AM

Thanks Bill. I really appreciate all of your efforts thus far. I have tried a lot of what you have suggested and basically what ever input seems to have little or no effect. The time and date do seem to be retained however. I will run through what you have suggested again and do an easy alignment and try to break down what happens for you.

#9 Mark Sibole

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 02:39 AM

Sounds like a defective hand controller.


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Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.

http://astronomy.qteaser.com

#10 MistrBadgr

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 02:25 PM

Keith,

I got a reply back and my idea that the problem is most likely with the handset was affirmed as a best guess. However, there is no way to tell for sure without plugging in a different handset.

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

#11 KeithS

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 03:27 PM

Bill,

 

Thanks for all your help and advice.  I'll just have to see if I can pick up a handset somewhere or perhaps buy a new one.

 

I'll report back here for your information what the outcome is.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.  Just one more question.  Can you confirm that a 497 will work with the etx 80 and is it programmable/upgradable unlike the 494 as I think you indicated earlier?

 

Keith



#12 MistrBadgr

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 02:59 PM

Keith,

Yes,the 497, 494, and the AudioStar handsets will all work on your scope.

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

#13 KeithS

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 09:03 AM

Thanks again Bill,

8-)






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