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Drive Training and RA tracking failure


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#1 oldapple

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 12:28 PM

I'm a new member to this forum but a long-time user and collector of Meade products.

 

I purchased a 12" LX600 in July 2014 and, up to a month ago, the scope worked wonderfully well for both visual and photographic work. Calibrations were easy and straightforward, the GOTO function was on-target and tracking was spot-on. Not any more!

 

A few weeks ago the tracking in RA went haywire for no apparent reason. It appeared to be related to the RA PEC but mulitple PEC traing sessions have been fruitless. The scope is properly polar aligned (One-Star Polar Alignment), has been correctly adjusted for polar drift, has received several successful RA PEC training sessions and undergoes a complete Automatic Rate Calibration prior to each nightly session. However, even with all these parameters correctly established, it no longer tracks properly in RA despite many futile attempts to manually adjust the RA tracking speed.

 

Related to this issue, and probably a root cause of the problem, is the loss of the RA Drive Training function. When attempting to train the RA drive on a terrestrial object, it works properly in one direction but does not respond in the other RA direction. When it slews away from the selected terrestrial object and slowly tracks back, it fails to stop when the object is centered and ENTER is pressed. It does not respond as it should and cannot be stopped except by pressing MODE, which then freezes the system completely. At this point there is no response to any hand control command and the scope must be shut off manually, resulting in the loss of all data (ARC, Park Position and PEC Training). The DEC Train function works correctly.

 

Has anyone experienced similar failures with Drive Training and RA tracking? I cannot be sure if this is a hardware problem (Starlock, gears, motor drive, etc.) or software associated with the hand controller, although I suspect a software problem with the Autostar II controller.

 

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

 

Clear skies for all.

Ron



#2 MistrBadgr

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 01:14 PM

Hi Ron!

 

First off, welcome to the forum!

 

I don't have a scope with AutoStar II, but it sure sounds like something went bad in the programming or a glitch showed up in a chip.  If it were a handset issue with a button being bad or dirty, I would think you would see other issues with an arrow key, but that is something to consider.  Your scope, however, is fairly new and I don't think a dirty contact would show up that early.

 

Since you are a long-time Meade user, I am going to assume you have tried plugging and unplugging the cord between the handset and the scope several times to clean up any contact issues in the plugs.  That can cause goofy things with some scopes sometimes.

 

You might also call Meade customer support and see if they have any suggestions.  Sometimes they do with newer scope models.

 

The one really physical thing I can think of in the scope is something going on with the little pulse counter mechanism that tracks revolutions that the motor turns or spokes on a little wheel that rotates with the motor shaft.  There is a name for that device but I cannot remember it now.  I have dealt with them on DS mounts before.  On the DS mounts, they normally either work or go completely bad,  I don't know on the higher end scopes.

 

If you have a Windows 7 computer, you might try downloading the AutoStar Updater program and see if you can pull in the latest program update for your scope.  That is kind of "iffy" sometimes, but it might be worth a try.  They have modified the ASU program itself for use in Windows 7 and it quit working in my XP laptop, though it worked in all the Meade XP machines they had around.  Consequently, I am not remembering all the bells and whistles in the program.

 

If you can get the actual software for your telescope loaded into your computer, then it would be safer to then try to update your telescope and remove any program glitches that might have showed up somehow.  I would talk to the Meade folks about doing that before you start that process, however, just to make sure it will work.  I do know I would not try to actively update the programming on your scope with a "live" download over the internet.  Any little glitch in the download to a live telescope could give you a big mess.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Bill Steen


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

#3 Mark Sibole

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 03:08 PM

Ive had similar issue happen to my lx200 with autostar 2 on it.It caught a gl;itch.It happens from time to time with most electronics especially after a lightening storm.The static electricity likes to wipe out stored data in chips.Do a factory reset and that should straighten it back up the redo the train and calibrate drives and re do pec.

 

Mark


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Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.

http://astronomy.qteaser.com

#4 oldapple

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 01:07 PM

Hi Bill and Mark,

Many thanks for sharing your insights and suggestions regarding the situation with my LX600. You've given me a couple of options to explore which may or may not be successful, but, at ths point, I'm willing to try anything!

 

Bill, before posting on this forum, I did as you recommended and not only cleaned all the plug connections but also disassembled the Autostar handbox and cleaned all the pressure contact points with alcohol. This had no beneficial effect on the overall operation.

 

I had also previously considered Mark's suggestion - a complete system reset - but was uncertain how much data would be "reset" or deleted. Mark, if I conducted a full factory reset, just which functions would be altered or deleted? Would the star and DSO databases (SAO, Messier, Caldwell, NGC, etc.) be retained? I have the original LX600 ROM file (Ver. 1.1g) on my laptop and could upload it to the controller/scope, if necessary, but would hope to avoid this if at all possible! I experienced significant frustration last year when upgrading the system through the Internet with Autostar Updater. I do not wish to relive those dark days!

 

Over the next few days I will explore all the possibile options before I "take the plunge" and run a full factory reset! I'll keep you all posted on my progress...or lack thereof!

 

Thanks guys,

Ron



#5 Mark Sibole

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 09:07 AM

On a factory reset it should get rolled back to factory defaults.You shouldnt loose a thing.


Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.

http://astronomy.qteaser.com




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