How To Connect an LX200 Telescope to a PC
I was quite amazed to find out that Meade still only allow you one way to connect your telescope to your PC, which is via an RS232 cable / 9 pin cable, the other end plugs into the RS232 slot on the LX200 base.
I would have thought by now that Meade may have added Firewire or USB to the LX200 range, but I must admit that RS232 is such a well known standard that it could be used for a while yet.
The only problem with serial connections on a PC is that some newer PC Desktops don’t have serial connections on their motherboards anymore, as I found out when I built my own new Core Duo PC earlier this year. Although most people probably don’t use a desktop PC with their Meade Telescopes unless they have PCs in their observatories, they would probably instead have a laptop. Another problem is that most newer laptops also don’t have serial connections, it seems now that the newer the laptop the less ports it actually has.
So what can you do? Well you’ll probably need a USB to Serial cable or adaptor. I went for the cable and purchased it on eBay. Once I had received the cable from Hong Kong which cost me about £4 including delivery I had to install the drivers. I found that the accompanying mini CD would not actually be read by my laptop cd drive, so I hunted around the internet for drivers, and I tried absoultely loads, but none of them worked, in the end I put the mini CD in my desktop PC and it read the disc ok.
But because some people may not have more than one PC I shall place the driver I used on this page in case I or anyone else needs it in the future.
The CD that came with the adaptor contained many different adaptors, but luckily the code of the driver folder required is actually the name on the adaptor cable at the serial end on the plastic sleeve.
USB to RS232 Serial Adaptor Driver
HS-232-340.exe – USB to RS232 Cable Adaptor Driver for Windows
Setting up your PC and Meade Software
Then just connect the cable you purchased to the supplied Meade LX200 cable and adaptor.
The Serial connection defaulted to COM Port 5, although the Meade software only really gives you the choices of COM1 – COM4, so I changed the COM port of the cable on the PC in properties of the cable to COM1 for ease of use.
Make sure that your PC COM port is set to the same as the Meade software Com port in order to get the telescope to talk to the PC.
The first thing I did once I got the PC drivers installed was to update the Autostar software to 4.2g and to upload the latest autostar tours, comets, asteroids and satellites. All of which were easy to install via the Meade control panel on the PC.
I finished off by updating my Autostar Update (AUS) Client Application Software to Version 4.6 on my PC, but you don’t need a usb to serial cable to do this.