When the LX200 Classic with version 3.xx software starts up, it expects a “handshake” with its hand controller. Without that conversation, the telescope will not complete its start up, and thus cannot be used even by sending commands through the RS-232 port.
The new boot up emulator plugs into the keypad port in place of the hand controller and completes the start-up handshake so the telescope can respond to control through the RS-232 port. Note that this “Boot-Up” emulator has no buttons and cannot control any telescope functions by itself.
The controller provides computer control of the telescope through its RS-232 port, without the Meade hand controller. It provides the ability to use all of the telescope’s RS-232 command language features, with a laptop and a suitable third-party software package.
The emulator is small and stays out of the way while in place. It will blink a red LED three times after power on, when the start-up handshake has completed successfully. The controller package includes a short cable. You can also use the original handset cable.
It is available for 8″, 10″, and 12″ LX200 “Classic” telescopes, and LXD650/750 mounts with version 3.xx software. The cost of the emulator is $26US. The company ships to the US and internationally.
In addition to the emulator, Clearline provides two other useful LX200 electronic parts including a Motor Encoder Board – LX200 Classic/LXD650/LXD750 and a Calibration Tool for LX200 Motor Encoder Board.
Motor Encoder Board – LX200 Classic/LXD650/LXD750
This new-design circuit board is a replacement for the original RA and DEC motor encoders in the 8″, 10″, and 12″ Meade LX200 “Classic” telescope. It also fits the Meade LXD650 and LXD750 telescope mounts. Each board is conservatively designed for reliability, offers ease of calibration due to potentiometer adjustment range and is fully tested prior to shipment.
Note that installation will require re-soldering connecting wires on the left-hand side of the board. The new board will also need to be calibrated by adjusting the two trim potentiometers RV1 and RV2. That adjustment should be done with an oscilloscope or DVM to verify duty-cycle of 50% on the output waveforms. There are several references on the web (included in the product documentation) that explain how to perform the calibration procedure. For a simpler alternative, Clearline offers an Encoder Calibration Tool (more about the tool in this news article), which is an inexpensive daughter-board that assists the duty-cycle adjustment without instruments.
The motor encoder board is priced at $28US.
Calibration Tool for LX200 Motor Encoder Board
With this small board mounted between your motor encoder and its mating cable, you can adjust the output duty cycle. LEDs above the encoder’s trim potentiometers indicate when the proper duty cycle has been achieved.
Benefits of the board include: Colored LEDs easily show which direction (CW or CCW) to adjust potentiometers on encoder board (Indicates “green” when outputs are at desired duty cycle [45-55%]; Takes only minutes to install, calibrate, and de-install, no special instruments required; Works on both the Motor Encoder Board – LX200 Classic/LXD650/LXD750 board, and the original Meade RA and DEC boards; Can be used any time to check operation of the encoder boards; and perhaps best of all, it can help extend the life of your LX200 Classic telescope. It is priced at $23US.