Wow, sometimes you’re just sitting there and you have to kick yourself
for being so stupid! What am I referring to? Well, back in 1998
(six years ago now) I bought a shiny new “Meade ETX 90-EC telescope”
along with the “AutoStar” computer controller. It was
wonderful. After a simple alignment process (see my previous post here on aligning the autostar),
you could simply select a target, push a button, and BOOM – the
telescope goes to the object in question and tracks it. It worked
great … for about two years. Eve since then I haven’t been able
to get it to work. Try as I might, every time I align the
telescope it doesn’t work. After three or four attempts I give up
and just manually site in on a few objects.
Fast forward a few years. I hardly ever get out the telescope
because it just makes me mad that I can’t use the AutoStar. But
tonight I drag it out. And of course, it doesn’t work.
Finally, sick of it, I determine to track down the cause and decide to
even go so far as to contact Meade and tell them what a @#)$* product
they have if I can’t figure it out.
(Can you tell this is where the “DUH” moment is about to
happen?). Anyway, after about 5 minutes of searching the net, I
find that the software in the AutoStar controller can be
upgraded. DUH!!!!! I’ve got version 1.1; the current
version is 3.3. And lots of websites say that anything older than
2.1 has lots of weird bugs. Well, all is well … sort of.
I have to buy a special cable ($50) to hook my AutoStar controller to
my computer so I can upgrade the software, but it’s a small price to
pay (especially if you consider that i’ve already sunk close to $2000
into the telescope and accessories over the years). I really do
want to enjoy my telescope, so i’ve ponied up the cash and eagerly
await my cable.
As a side note, another cool thing about having the cable is that I can
add new objects to the AutoStar. So, for example, if a new comet
shows up, I can download it into the AutoStar and then view it in the
telescope. Gotta love it!