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Meade ETX-70AT Accessory AstroFinder Software & Cable Kit with #506 04513
AstroFinder Software/Connector Cable Kit: With Meade AstroFinder software loaded into your PC, Autostar-equipped ETX telescopes may be remotely controlled from the PC display. Used to connect the ETX-70AT or DS Series to a PC. Includes 9 Pin RS-232 #506 telescope connector cable, and software. The driver software is compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP. USB to RS-232 Bridge Cable (Meade part # 07507) sold separately.
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 12 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 12 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Interface cable is fine, software leaves much to be desiredMar 27, 2010
By Timothy F. Miller
I purchased this to control my DS2114AT-TC from a laptop. It was literally plug-n-play with Linux and Kstars. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the supplied AstroFinder software.
I use a cheap USB to serial converter to provide RS-232 connectivity on my laptop. The AstroFinder software failed to work with the XP assigned COM9 port, so I forced it to COM1 under the hardware advanced tab settings. When that failed to work, I set the Windows program compatibility option to Windows 98/ME. After a few more reboots, the program finally started to work.
(Technical note: If you are trying to debug the serial interface with an external RS-232 monitor, be aware that the AstroFinder software does not appear to initialize any hardware handshaking lines.)
Compared to Kstars, the AstroFinder software was archaic and very slow. The graphical interface was reminiscent of an older DOS application. Browsing the sky can only be described as "painful" when compared to the speed and user interface of Kstars.
Perhaps my biggest software complaint is that the top menu buttons only show up as relatively small icons. There are no pop-up windows describing their function, requiring one to consult the PDF documentation, or click on the icon to see what happens.
The ONLY reason that I even bothered booting up Windows XP and installing the Meade software was to simplify the update of the satellite Keplerian elements. Even that was a time consuming hassle. I found that it was far faster to just enter the data manually from the telescope.
Overall, I am pleased with the quality of the proprietary serial interface cable, but I will likely never again use the AstroFinder software. I will consider this as the purchase of an interface cable with a bloated demo-ware application included as a teaser. This is fine with me as the cable, Kstars, and Slackware Linux work extremely well controlling the DS2114 from my Dell Mini-9.
27 of 33 found the following review helpful:
outdated softwareApr 25, 2007
By Ruth Ruhl-Rabis
The software this kit comes with is old and outdated. It is not supported by Windows XP nor Windows Vista. The latest supported version of Windows is Windows 98.
It also appears that the included software is a limited trial software. It is limited to the included 3 catalogs (star maps). The complete set of catalogs must be purchased additionally at quite some expense.
The cable connection kit couldn't be reviewed because it was missing from the package I received, but keep in mind when you order this kit, that neither Windows XP nor Windows Vista support serial ports anymore. The additional USB to serial adapter would be required.
6 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Meade Astro FinderFeb 08, 2010
By R. Brown
I purchased this kit to use with my Meade DS 2090 AT-TC Telescope. I also purchased the Meade USB to RS232 Cable since my laptop does not have a serial port. I have tried multiple times to get the AutoStar software that came with the telescope to recognize the the computer without success. I called Meade's customer support and they indicated that I need to 505 cable kit even though the information on Amazon's site said that the 506 cable kit is for the DS 2000 series telescopes. The customer support person did make some suggestions that I will follow when I get home from work. The software that came with the 506 kit is not that easy to follow and unfortunately Meade does not include a written instruction manuel with the software. They could have done a better job if they had provided comprehensive instructions with the 506 cable kit. I will follow up once I try the instructions given to me by their technical support staff.
5 of 7 found the following review helpful:
basics OK - could be betterJan 24, 2008
By Arnie Aistars
The manual is well-written, complete, and easy to understand, and the software functions reasonably well. Accuracy is spot on. I had no problems syncing my DS2080 and the display on my laptop was what I saw through the eyepiece. There's a longer lag than I expected for the software to catch up to any adjustments made to the scope, but once I got used to it it wasn't too annoying. I could not get the "remote handbox" feature to work after several tries. This should allow you to use all of the features of the handbox directly from the laptop. Not a huge deal, but I was looking forward to being able to read object descriptions as blocks of text on my laptop, rather than annoying scroll on the 1-line display of the handbox. It would be nice to have a printable (or at least viewable) Tour and Log. You can add objects to create a Tour offline, but I could find no way to access the list or edit it. Ditto for the Viewing log. The "night vision" display (converts your screen display to red) is a nice plus.
Shame on MeadeAug 27, 2014
By Amazon Customer
Meade ought to be ashamed. They are still selling a program and cable connector kit that was developed for Windows 95. The program will "sorta" work with WIN 7, if all you want it a slow responding, hard to use, clunky star map. Despite years of experience with computers, com ports, etc, I could never get the program to talk to the telescope. The manual is for the sky map program. It says almost nothing about actually using it with a telescope. The ad says it works with all 3 of the ETX model scopes, but there isn't a pull down menu for the one I own. I am back to using the scope as a dumb, stand-alone scope which is tough since it lacks a finder scope, but that's another review.
See all 12 customer reviews on Amazon.com