Question about Bushnell NorthStar Goto 100mm 788840 Maksutov-Cassegrain Compact Telescopes

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Computer control and pointing with NorthStar Goto & Autostar

I'd like to use my astro-software to point my telescope to a particilar star, to be able to make long exposures with my Deep Sky Imager CCD from Meade. I was told by the reseller, that the right 4-pin connector on the Goto handset is the com port which can be connected to the Meade autostar suite. But this apparently doesn't work. I'd really appreciate if someone could suggest me what software can be used to control my telescope from PC, which way it could be connected to Autostar suite from meade, or at least what is the low level communication protocol of the Goto telescope computer, so that I can program the PC/telescope communication and pointing myself.
Many thanks! Vojtech.Petracek@cern.ch

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Your reseller is correct. The wire (Meade cable #505) goes from an RS232 serial port on PC to a 4pin RJ plug. This plugs into the 2nd socket on the bottom of an Autostar 497 handset, the other socket being used for the curly lead to the telescope. So it goes PC to Autostar to telescope.

A common error is to try plugging the serial wire into an "AUX" ort on the telescope control panel - same connector. Not only does this not work, it can cause a lot of damage.

Wired like this you can control the scope from Meade's Autostar Suite (or many other planetarium softwares). You can also update the Autostar software to the latest 2009 version.

What else can go wrong? Well, many people want to control from a laptop, and modern ones don't have RS232 serial ports. Then you need a USB-to-serial convertor dongle, which effectively add a serial port to a laptop. But they often give it a very high port number (eg COM17) that the planetarium software does not find. Use Control Panel to reset the USB-serial-port to COM 1, 2, 3 or 4 and all should be well. But it can be a right fiddle!

Posted on Aug 15, 2009

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General update. Fixes many known bugs. Real time clock corrections. LXD75 polar alignment. Various LX90 pointing and tracking fixes. Adds new magnetic/true north alignment.
REQUIRES VERSION 5.6 AUTOSTAR UPDATER.

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