Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I add a GPS to my telescope?
What version of the NexStar hand control firmware do I need?
What version of the Autostar or Audiostar software do I need?
How does StarGPS-NX compare to StarGPS?
How does StarGPS-NX work?
How does StarGPS work?
What is the warranty?
Does the GPS Setup align the telescope to polar north?
Will StarGPS work in the Southern Hemisphere?
How accurate is the latitude and longitude setting?
How accurate is the time setting?
Can I use StarPatch with more than one Autostar?
Can I install StarPatch on more than one PC?
What happens when Meade releases a new version of the Autostar software?
Can I use both StarPatch and the Meade ASU?
If I purchase StarPatch can you e-mail me the registration key?
Will StarGPS work with just my telescope and Autostar/Audiostar, or will it have to use a computer?
I already own a handheld GPS. What additional software and cables do I need?

Why should I add a GPS to my telescope?
Adding a GPS makes the telescope setup easier and more precise. It ensures that the correct date, time, latitude and longitude are automatically input based on the Global Positioning System. This is a great convenience as demonstrated by the StarGPS reviews and customer comments. This is why Meade already includes GPS with their high-end telescopes.

What version of the NexStar hand control firmware do I need?
StarGPS-NX will work with any NexStar hand control that has firmware version 2.3, 104.0 or 4.0+ as displayed by using MENU: Utilities: Version (this includes all user-upgradeable hand controls).

What version of the Autostar or Audiostar software do I need?
StarGPS-NX will work with any version except those with known Meade bugs, but this is easily corrected by updating your handset using the free trial version of StarPatch. StarGPS will work with any 497/497EP Autostar or Audiostar since it includes StarPatch to automatically update your Autostar software to the latest version (see downloads).

How does StarGPS-NX compare to StarGPS?
StarGPS-NX includes the GPS-NX02 receiver and one adapter cable (no software installation required). The StarGPS Package adds StarPatch software and a PC-ASTAR cable specifically for use with any Meade 497/497EP Autostar or Audiostar controlled telescope. This gets you all the features of StarPatch such as allowing the Autostar to display GPS status information, but it does require a Windows PC to reprogram the handset using StarPatch.

How does StarGPS-NX work?
StarGPS-NX is designed for use with Celestron, Meade and other GoTo controlled telescopes that understand the Celestron NexStar Communications Protocol, Meade LX200 commands, Synta Binary data, Vixen HTTP or NMEA 0183 data. The included GPS-NX02 receiver automatically determines the telescope type and then sends NexStar, LX200, Synta, Vixen or NMEA data directly to your telescope to set the date, time, latitude and longitude. Setup is simplified because the telescope already understands these commands and requires no additional software.

How does StarGPS work?
StarGPS works by using the included StarPatch software to update your Meade 497/497EP Autostar or Audiostar so that it understands GPS NMEA data. StarPatch does this by adding several small changes (called "patches") to the handset software. The process is simple, safe, fast and reliable. The GPS Setup patch has no effect on normal operation except to set the date, time, latitude and longitude using GPS data.

What is the warranty?
There is a one year parts and labor warranty on the GPS-NX02 receiver and accessories. The StarPatch software license indicates "as is" but free updates are provided.

Does the GPS Setup align the telescope to polar north?
No, it just sets the date, time, latitude and longitude. Telescopes like the LX200GPS use an electronic compass to point North. The ETX-PE and LX90-LNT now include this "Level North Technology" but still lack the built-in GPS capability of high-end telescopes.

Will StarGPS work in the Southern Hemisphere?
Yes, it has been tested and works for all North/South by East/West combinations.

How accurate is the latitude and longitude setting?
StarGPS-NX outputs the lat/long in degrees, minutes and seconds (rounding to the nearest second). If the telescope controller does not support seconds then it rounds to the nearest minute.

How accurate is the time setting?
The time is accurate to within one second. The GPS receiver calculates the time in seconds measured to 3 decimal places (accurate to within 0.001 seconds). StarGPS-NX rounds the time to the nearest second (a limitation of the NexStar and LX200 command sets). With StarPatch the GPS Setup patch will recognize up to 3 decimal places but some of this accuracy is lost due to the delay in transmitting data from the GPS to the Autostar.

Can I use StarPatch with more than one Autostar or Audiostar?
Yes, but to install the GPS Setup patch you need one registration key for each handset. The StarPatch software is free to download as a trial version. A StarPatch registration key converts the trial version to a registered version and allows you to GPS-enable one handset. Additional handset registration keys allow you to install the GPS Setup patch to a second or third handset (StarPatch will allow up to 2 extra handset keys per StarPatch registration key). In contrast, StarGPS-NX requires no software so it can be used with as many handsets as you wish.

Can I install StarPatch on more than one PC?
Yes, StarPatch can be installed on more than one PC but this is not recommended (the license is for a single PC). The StarPatch registration key can be used 3 times before it needs to be reset. The first installation allows you to register one handset for use with the GPS Setup patch. You can re-install StarPatch at any time (for example, if you buy a new PC).

What happens when Meade releases a new version of the Autostar software?
Meade generally releases a new version (a ROM file) every 6 months or so. You don't necessarily need to update your handset but many people prefer to use the latest ROM, which often has some minor improvements. Each new ROM requires a new patch file for StarPatch (since each ROM is different). It usually takes 1-2 weeks to create a patch file once Meade releases a new version. Registered users will be notified by e-mail when an update is available. You can also use the "File: Get Updates" menu to ask StarPatch to check for and download the latest patch and ROM files. StarGPS-NX does not require you to update the handset software unless you have a version with known Meade bugs.

Can I use both StarPatch and the Meade ASU?
Yes, but you should use StarPatch to update the handset software so it can include features like the GPS Setup patch along with the regular Meade software. If you use the Meade ASU to update the handet software it will be reset to a regular Meade version (no GPS Setup patch). You can use the Meade ASU "Advanced Functions" to move Library Objects to and from the handset (e.g. satellites, comets and tours) since this has no effect on the handset software.

If I purchase StarPatch can you e-mail me the registration key?
Yes, registration keys are e-mailed as soon as your order is processed (this is done manually).

Will StarGPS work with just my telescope and Autostar/Audiostar, or will it have to use a computer?
StarGPS-NX does not require a PC unless you have a version with known Meade bugs. The StarGPS Package includes StarPatch and does require a Windows PC to update the software inside the handset. Once this is done, the PC is no longer needed. Please refer to "Using StarGPS" for details.

I already own a handheld GPS. What additional software and cables do I need?
If you have a Meade 497/497EP Autostar or Audiostar and a GPS with RS232 NMEA output then it is possible to use your existing GPS. You will need a StarPatch registration key, a PC-ASTAR cable (or Meade #505), and a cable to connect your GPS to the handset. Please refer to "Using a Handheld GPS Receiver".

 

 

Copyright © 2003, 2015 PixSoft Inc. All rights reserved.