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help needed - dead Autostar


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Hi, hopefully this is in the right place... I recently got a Meade ETX105 back that had been on a long loan to a friend. Sadly, the display on the Autostar has gone, and I'm wondering what my options are for what is probably a 25yo scope.

I haven't seen many controllers on the S/H market (presumably they tend to get bought and sold with the scopes). 

I have got a MacBook, so could possibly connect and control from that? Or does someone have words of wisdom regarding replacing the display? Or maybe someone knows where all the S/H controllers are? Or does someone have a better idea?

I do have an EQ5 pro with a synscan mount, but other than having the same connector, they appear to be quite different. The ETX certainly didn't really get excited about having a Synscan plugged into it momentarily. 

Although I could maybe defork the ETX and put it on the EQ5, the point of the ETX is that it's relatively portable and I can take it out in a rucksack.

thanks in advance. 

Mick

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Googling the images it seems that the handset used a 2 line x 16 character LCD.  However whilst that may well be standard the interface to the PCB may well be propriety, meaning that a standard off the shelf 2x16 LCD can't be fitted.

I would also advise  against plugging in a Synscan handset - it is more probable that the pin outs are different on the connector and damage could result.  The communications protocol will be different too so it wouldn't do much.

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It's common for the contacts on the display ribbon cable to corrode over the years, leading to a poor connection and display failure. You can remove the cable from the connector by sliding up the two locking tabs indicated by about 2 mm allowing the ribbon cable to be pulled out. Applying some contact cleaner on the ribbon contacts with a cotton bud, or maybe just some isopropanol would help. I always also apply a small drop of ACF-50 with a toothpick, to any contacts on equipment which is being used outdoors as it's anti-corrosion and water repellant properties work very well, preventing further issues. Using a toothpick allows you to apply it carefully down the connector contacts as well without it spraying everywhere, if you had used it directly from the can.

When replacing the ribbon cable ensure the locking tabs are still up, and after the cable has been inserted fully, push the two tabs back down to hold it in place.

This may not be the reason for your problem but is worth trying as it's cheaper than replacing it. 🙂

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Alan

Edited by symmetal
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Hi Mick,

            I have an old etx autostar handset from my etx 125 which has been sitting in the cupboard for around 20 years !  as far as i recall it works fine last time i used it and if you want to pm me your address i am also happy to send it on to you free.

 

Regards,

              Steve.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many thanks for the responses. On further investigation it won't appear to do anything - it won't operate the motors on the mount, so I think it might be totally kaput.

I'll hang on for BarkingSteve's kind offer (PM sent) and see if that works. I think my (well meaning) friend left the whole thing in a damp shed for a couple of years, and I suspect there's more to it than just the display...

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On 16/10/2021 at 13:39, barkingsteve said:

Hi Mick,

I have an old etx autostar handset from my etx 125 which has been sitting in the cupboard for around 20 years !  as far as i recall it works fine last time i used it and if you want to pm me your address i am also happy to send it on to you free.

Regards,

Steve.

What a kind offer!

If all else fails, my etx90 has worked very well without the handset for some years now! :D

It's my travel 'scope and has been on many a holiday.

Best of luck! :)

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