Firmware / Software update on a Meade #497 AutoStar hand controller (ETX-125 telescope)

Meade Autostar hand controller displaying the red text: "FLASH LOAD 3.0 READY"

I recently purchased a used Meade ETX-125 (EC) Telescope that at some point in the past had been upgraded with a #497 Autostar hand controller (handbox).  This controller was running firmware/software version 22E (released in 2001), so I decided it was worth the time (and expense of purchasing a substitute for the Meade #505 serial cable) to upgrade the firmware.

I purchased a 3rd party USB to RS232 (rj11? rj10?) replacement cable that does the same job as a Mead #505 DB9 serial cable. The one I got had a CP2101 USB->UART chip inside, which required me to manually download and install drivers from Silicon Labs on Windows 11.  If I had it to do over again, I’d pay a little bit extra for the cable based on the FTDI chip, which is natively supported by Windows. Continue reading