Make your Meade Autostar/Audiostar
With the StarGPS
This project shows how you can make your Meade telescope's Audiostar connect to the laptop wirelessly
Beta Version 1.0
It is straight forward to make the Autostar/Audiostar wireless with
a bluetooth module. If you are using a Stargps, however, you have
to swap connectors to the Audiostar from the GPS to the bluetooth
module. This project alleviates that burden.
It was disconcerting that everytime I used my laptop with Meade LX90 that the cord would tangle up around the telescope. I got the idea that I wanted to make the connection wireless. The answer was connecting the laptop's built in bluetooth to the telescope. Turns out just connecting the Audiostar controller to the laptap is easy, and shown here
What I wanted to do was switch the Stargps and Bluetooth automatically. The task wasn't as easy as I first thought and is describe below. The results are fantastic. Meade's Autostar Suite and the free Sellarium work perfectly with it and the connection is seamless.
I'm calling it the M2BT, which stands for Meade to Bluetooth box.
Nothing on the PC side or the Audiostar controller had to be modified. The wireless box sits plugs into the AUX port of the telescope and instead of plugging the line from the controller to the PC, it is plugged into the M2BT box.
Some of the features of the program are:
- Totally wireless,
- Switches from Stargps to Bluetooth automatically,
- No modification of the PC software,
- No modification of the Audiostar/Autostar,
- No modification of the scope,
- Easy connection to the M2BT,
- Uses the BT Gold or Silver from Sparkfun,
- Uses the UBW32, also available from Sparkfun,
- Microcode for the UBW32 is included here,
- Schematic is also included althought very simple.
The system requirement for M2BW is
- A Meade telescope with an Audiostar. This should work on any Meade controller but has only been tested on the Audiostar and Autostar for the LX90.
- The Autostar Suite or Stellarium or any star program that can control the telescope,
- The laptop or PC you use to run the Autostar
- The M2BT box below,
- Stargsp (optional)
I short, nothing else is needed but to build up the M2BT box below.
Here are a few images of the board and the "completed" project.
How to BuildHere is the schematic. The circuit consists of the UBW32 and the Bluetooth Gold, both optainable from Sparkfun. The schematic is given below:
click on image to enlarge
If you understand schematics you can see how simple this is. I found the trick was to figure out the RJ11 and RJ9 pinouts on the audiostar and Aux ports. The wireing can get a little tricky. When you look at the RJ connectors, look at the black wire. That will tell you the ground position. The transmit and receive are always on the other end. For the Audiostar, the data to the audiostar is on the end, opposite position of the ground (black) wire. So this connects up to the transmit of COM2 of the board.
The microcode for the UBW32
Microcode for the PIC32 on the UBW32 is available for download. Here it is
Price of downloading the microcode and the schematic is free...enjoy. However, very limited support is available.
Despite our best intentions, there are always bugs. Here are the know ones.
- None known at this time.