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Walking on the Moon

Meade ETX LS issue ... help

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So I bought a 6" Meade ETX-LS a few months ago second-hand. It was fine for a while, doing it jazzy slewing and auto-aligning ,etc. Then gave me a firmware error. So I went to reload the firmware and ....... nothing. Really nothing. By that I mean, the memory-card went in and kept going. Right into the telescope.  Turns out it dosn't actually have an SD card reader inside it ! The pins are there ... but no actual card reader. I cannot reload the firmware and I believe that the USB method is a non starter also.

Meade want to charge me $300 to fix it plus I've got to get it to the USA . So that's not going to happen.

Options are .. ditch the mount and fancy electronics. I have still got a decent 6" SCT OTA , albeit with a now useless camera welded onto it. But the OTA is fine. So a decent goto mount is a  fallback option.   However not my favoured one.

My preferred option is as follows. The motors appear to be decent, as are the gears on the mount , so all I need to do is to create a  home-brew project  namely in the form of a programmable control unit (such as a Raspberry PI or Arduino) to send appropriate commands to the motors. I presume both motors are the same spec. The main issue is that I am not sure of the specs of the motors in the telescope. I don't want to take them out as they are  presently all seated correctly. I have unplugged the connecting wires coming into/out of one of the motors, and (I think ) I just need to activate them correctly. There are 6 wires coming out of the motor . One set of two wires which I think is for power and another set of 4 - possibly for control purposes. 

I am thinking this might be some form of stepper motor, but am not sure. What I really need are voltage/pin specs for the motor. 

I have tried contacting Meade support, but the official line from Meade is that

(a) the "telescope is not field serviceable"

(b) "totally dependent on the electronics"

BTW for all others with this scope the other comment from support is

'The LS is actually the only scope I can think of in our advanced line that has no clutches, no slow motion controls, and therefore no "override" for the electronics or means to use the scope manually.'        Great.

So far they have not provided me with any technical info, or even confirmed that what I want to do this is even possible.  (My preferred option would be to buy a new motherboard, and give that a go. Seemingly even that's not an option. )

So, can anyone help me with the motor specs ... ?

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Contact whoever sold it to you, and ask them why no card reader. 
It's feasible to suppose that  it would need firmware updated at some point,
so in effect, a vital part of the mount is missing. If you  were not Informed
at the Point of Sale, he was in the wrong, and you may have legal redress.
I'm no lawyer, so I might be kicking the wrong door there.

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Reading the Meade pdf I would have said that the USB option was the standard one they prefer or expect you to use.

The other question is: Is there a connector on the beoards for a mini SD card reader to be plugged into.Thinking you may be able to buy the mini SD card socket and p;ug it into the board. Just thinking they could have dropped the bit the card plugs into but to remove it from the main board is a different matter - that may have a socket to plug into. Whether or not the software is present to read it is another question.

I suppose an email to SCTelescopes may be helpful, they might be able to help and are a lot closer then the US.

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If you can't get the USB method working you're probably stuck with either shipping it to the US or find a way to modify it to work another way.

Unfortunately Meade is terrible at customer service, pretty much everything they tell you is that you got to ship it to them or you'e out of luck.

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Thanks for your  responses guys.. .Yes , been in contact with Meade (quite a few emails. They won't even tell me the basic specs for the motors). All  they have done is convince me to never buy a Meade mount again. Their OTA is ok, although I'm now thinking of saving up and getting an 8" one  (OTA only :-)  )

In the meantime, over the next few weeks, I am going to wire up my RaspPi to it and start sending signals to the motors directly (sort of) to see if I can get it moving at least .  If I ever manage to do this, I'll let you know ...

Thanks !

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I believe the firmware for the LS6 is on the SD card , so if the scope was working I think the reader must have fallen off and could be re-attached?

The good news: after the Chinese take-over, Meade UK started selling spare parts !

The bad news: I've just looked at the site and that option has gone :-(

SCTelescopes is mentioned as the UK repairer, so perhaps they are now the spares stockist, give them a ring as suggested.


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I would have thought that SCTelescopes was a good start point. I might have it wrong but wasn't Steve of SCT at Telescopes House who were the Meade importers, so a fair chance he may have a deeper insight into the Meade scopes.


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