Connect Your Meade Autostar/Audiostar Wirelessly
To Your Laptop



A cheap wireless interface to your laptop computer using bluetooth.

by Honey Software LLC
Beta Version 1.0



With a little wiring of a connector, a 5V regulator, a Firefly bluetooth module (see below), and your existing Meade Connector Cable set you can connect your Audiostar or Autostar equiped telescope to your laptop. All this for a cost of less then $90.



Parts list and approximate cost
Part From $$
db9 connector and case Jameco.com $7
rj9 (handset telephone) connector Amazon.com : look for 4p4c plug $3
Firefly module gridconnect.com $70
Bluetooth equipped laptop
total $80

This project does require some wiring and careful preperation, but it is fun to build and the reward is high. It is also cheaper than the Stella from Meade and works transparently to your laptop.

I'm calling it the M2BT, which stands for Meade to Bluetooth box.


Features



Nothing on the PC side or the Audiostar controller had to be modified. The power cable 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 db9 connector case.
    Some of the features of the program are:
  1. Totally wireless,
  2. Switches from Stargps to Bluetooth automatically,
  3. No modification of the PC software,
  4. No modification of the Audiostar/Autostar,
  5. No modification of the scope,
  6. Easy connection to the M2BT,
  7. No learning curve. Works exactly the way Stelarium or Autostar suite works now.


System Requirements


The system requirement for M2BW is

  1. A Meade telescope with a controller. This should work on any Meade controller but has only been tested on the Audiostar and Autostar for the LX90.
  2. The Autostar Suite or Stellarium or any star program that can control the telescope,
  3. The bluetooth equiped laptop or PC you use now,
  4. The module you build below,

In 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 Build

There isn't a schematic as such. Just one part that regulates the 12V coming from the scope's aux port to 5V. The Firefly allows power to be provided by connecting to pin 9 of the db9. Alternatively, you can use a 5V supply to the bluetooth and use the connector set of the Model #505. But what is the fun in that? (j/k)

click on image to enlarge


I found the trick was to figure out the RJ11 and RJ9 pinouts on the audiostar and Aux ports. The pins of the rj11 connector slide out of the housing and allow for easier access. You can do the wiring without sliding the wires out but stuffing it back into he housing after wiring is more difficult, in my opinion. Your results may vary.


Known Bugs


Despite our best intentions, there are always bugs. Here are the know ones.
  1. None known at this time.