Last updated: 30 August 2000

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	Meade ETX 125EC case
Sent:	Tuesday, August 29, 2000 12:20:11
From:	Sgauger@aol.com
Thanks for this site!  I would like to request user recommendations for
a good quality foamlined hard case for my ETX 125.  I have read the many
posts under products, but most cases listed are for 90s.  Does anyone
know if a Doskocil Seal Tight type is available that would fit the 125
scope and accessories.  I don't like what I've read about the Meade
factory case.  Thank you !


Subject:	New Eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, August 28, 2000 16:10:40
From:	WGilb25896@aol.com
Greetings from southern Ca.  I have had my ETX 125 for about a month and
a half, and for the most part I'm quite satisfied with my purchase.  I
did recently purchase two new eyepieces, one being a teleview/Nagler 7MM
ultra wide angle, and the other a teleview/Nagler 9MM ultrawide angle
with the 2" and 1" barrel.  Issue: I was looking a Saturn and Jupiter
the other morning and I did get great views, but it was difficult to get
a sharp focus.  I added a Meade electronic focuser to aid in the rather
"hyperactive" manual focusing experience and have had moderate success,
plus I have gone through a ton of 9 volt batteries!!!!.  Question, is it
me, the scope, the eyepieces, or the atmospheric conditions that are
causing this problem? Any advice you can offer would greatly
appreciated.  Thanks Bill Gilbert, Corona Ca.  wgilb25896@aol.com
Mike here: I was viewing Jupiter and Saturn about a week ago from my home on the Palos Verdes Penisula; seeing was not that good. Both were fairly low in the sky. But whether that was the problem you were experiencing or something else, hard to say. Did you try any stars higher in the sky?

Added later:

Now that you mentioned it, I did, and the view was really just fine.  I
am starting to think that the upper atmosphere could be the culprit
here, but since I'm a novice I can't be sure.  By the way, what is your
opinion of the performance characteristics of these eyepieces I just
purchased?  According to the literature I have been reading these
eyepieces are among the best.  Also, I am using the 9MM nagler with the
Meade 45 degree erecting prism at the rear of the scope, could the loss
of light effect the ability to focus these planets?  Thanks for your
timely response, and I hope to speaking with you in the future.  Bill.
Mike here: Actually, it is the lower atmosphere causing the seeing problems. That is why professional observatories are on mountain tops. I have no personal experience with those eyepieces so I'll let others respond to that after I post your inquiry on the next site update. Adding any extra optics to the light path can cause some deterioration in the view but I doubt that the 45 degree erecting prism was the cause of the blurred view you saw on the planets.

Subject:	 Updates to your Section...
Sent:	Monday, August 28, 2000 10:22:00
From:	MFRiesco@directvgla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
Just curious -- are you planning to continue adding updates to the
section on your personal experiences with the ETX-125?  The last update
(where you had the Autostar problem) was back on 4/3/00, and there
hasn't been an update since -- I find your personal observations very
insightful, and so I'm wondering if you have any further
installments/updates planned...


Mike Riesco.
Mike here: Thanks for asking. I should do that; just been too busy. I finally updated the Autostar from a beta of 2.0 to 2.0h; update went OK. I'm hopeful that it will fix some not-so random slewing problems I started having on my last outing with the -125. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet.

Subject:	 Home position for ETX-125
Sent:	Sunday, August 27, 2000 14:39:14
From:	garyg@wwwsite.com (Gary Giddings)
At the end of your 
you describe the ETX-125 home position as is "described" in the ETX
manual and the tripod manual. This gives the (approx) 3/8 CCW turn of
the base before hitting the fully CCW hard stop, just as you describe.

However ...
I just got a new 125 and in the box is a one-page "Addendum" to the ETX
manual, for ETX-125 mounting to the (delux) tripod. It says, basically,
to mount the control panel on the EAST side, not the West. ... it
actually describes and shows the two table-leg screw-in hole plugs (side
of bottom case) to be oriented to the SOUTH, not to the NORTH. This then
gives approx 7/8 CCW turn of the base before hitting the fully CCW hard

Which is right?
Thanks, Gary
Gary Giddings, Ph.D.     or 
   Video Image Presentation Systems    
   Phone: (949) 951-9169    
Mike here: Some users have reported success with the control panel on the east side. I had it on the west side with both the ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC with good results. As to the tabletop tripod legs, if they are shown on the South side, that sounds like a Southern Hemisphere setup.

Subject:	 info on the etx-125
Sent:	Friday, August 25, 2000 22:24:45
From:	cmorgan@montana.com (Chad Morgan)
i am in the market for a used 125 but i cannot find any for sale on the
internet........can you help?  are here any sites that you know of that
may sell used ones (or new ones at a good price) other than ebay or

your help would be very apprectiated.......you seem to know quite a bit
about meade telescopes and i am an interested beginner.



please email me back at sirscott@selway.umt.edu
Mike here: Check the dealers shown on the Astronomy Links page.

Subject:	 discounting ETX-125
Sent:	Thursday, August 24, 2000 13:22:42
From:	Ian_Keith@hud.gov (Ian Keith)
Joe Neiheisel asked about discounts.  p. 123 of the October S&T has
Shutan discounting the ETX-125.  Don't know if there's a catch but it's
worth a phone call.


Subject:	 Etx 125 tracking problem
Sent:	Wednesday, August 23, 2000 15:15:54
From:	jdcjdr@skynet.be (Antivol)
I am really happy with my Etx125EC.  It performs better than what I
expected. Positionning is nearly perfect and tracking too but I still
have a small problem :

After it finds an object, the telescope slowly drifts to the left
leaving the object on the right side (seen in the eyepiece) and even
sometimes out of vue.  When I adjust it, the object stays in the middle
only for a few seconds and then, as if somebody was pulling it, the
telescope goes again the the left. ( at least it seems to) I have tried
again an again thinking about a motor warming time but without result.
Then, I tried to put the object on the extreme left. No results !
Finally after tests and tests and tests again, I have find a procedure
which works : I press the left arrow until the object is a bit left of
the center and then I press the right arrow to center it. After doing
this, the telescope tracks is just perfect. In other words, I must use
the right arrow last otherwise the Etx will present the problem
described above. I deduct from this there is a "dead zone" in the
left-right travel and this is probably the problem source. I think the
telescope is just a bit late on the earth movement probably due to the
time it takes to recover this "dead zone".

Do you ever read something about this ? Is it a way to suppress this
"dead zone" ? I have of course made all the motor trainings and so on...

Best regards,

Michel (Mons-Belgium)
Mike here: This sounds like gear "backlash" and is normal. Depending upon how the Autostar moves the ETX to approach the object you may have to remove the backlash yourself. If you don't have Autostar version 2.0i you might want to get it.

Subject:	 Using a digital camera with an ETX-125?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 23, 2000 10:17:54
From:	rmoore5@ix.netcom.com (Rob Moore)
I've enjoyed your site now that I've found it.  I just got my ETX-125
and I think it's working properly but I 'll do some more tests tonight
as I continue to get more familiar with it.

One question that I do have is regarding astrophotography with it using
an Olympus C2000X camera.  This camera has a fixed-in-place zoom lens
but does have 47mm threads (I think) for accessories.  What would be the
best way to adapt this camera to the ETX-125?  Is there any adapter that
allows you to use the t-mnount adapter with it?

Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Astrophotography page; certainly the Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter should work.

Subject:	 Q about the ETX
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2000 07:58:43
From:	hlplesromantic@hotmail.com (Joe Neiheisel)
I am looking into buying an ETX-125 and was wondering if you could tell
me the best place with the best prices to purchase/order mine from. 
Please email me any information you can.  Thanks.

Joe Neiheisel
Mike here: Discounting on the ETX line is rare (except for store sales). If you have a local dealer, use them. Otherwise, check out some of the dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page on my ETX site. Many are excellent.

Subject:	 ETX-125EC
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2000 07:30:37
From:	Charles
Would you recommend the Meade ETX-125 telescope?

I am in the market for my second scope. I have a 3'' refractor and
wanted to step up. After reading the comments and questions on your
site, I am not sure that this is the right instrument. I get the sense
that Meade has a high failure rate and that the Autostar computer leaves
a lot to be desired. Also it seems as if the parts are not of the best

Is this an accurate reflection of the opinions?


Mike here: Certainly there is a lot to like about the ETX line. Certainly there are some things we all wish were better. That is true of most anything in this world. Meade made some cost/design tradeoffs. There are more expensive and better solutions out there (the LX200 series for example). If the ETX line does not meet your requirements, then it is the wrong telescope for you. On the other hand, with its excellent optics, GOTO capability, and comparatively low price, an ETX is the perfect (or near perfect) solution for others. If you are nervous from what you read, three points: a) Users with negative comments will usually air those while users with positive comments tend to not air those. b) This web site provides insight into only a small portion of the ETX telescope user base worldwide. c) Check out alternatives; they may have their issues as well. Good luck with your decision.

Subject:	 ETX-125 Drive parts
Sent:	Sunday, August 20, 2000 08:17:06
From:	tomayo@netzero.net (Tom Mayo)
Hello, I recently purchased a Meade ETX-125 scope and somehow damaged
the drive mechanism. I may have tightened the Alt-Azimuth (up-down)
portion too tight. Anyway, after inspecting it, I discovered a small
Plastic Spur-Pinion gear was stripped inside (24 teeth and 8 teeth on
the pinion hub portion). Is there anywhere the I could obtain this small
gear from or possibly purchasing the motorized assembly portion that
houses the gears? Thank you for your assistance.
Tom Mayo  email: tomayo@netzero.net

Subject:	 RE: RE: ETX-125EC Foam Packing Blocks Question!!
Sent:	Thursday, August 17, 2000 06:44:44
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Rossi, Peter (Peter))

Thank you very much for your answers to my questions.  Thanks for taking
the time to help me.  It is nice to know that as I am in the process of
learning my new ETX-125EC - I am not out here alone.

Peter Rossi

Subject:	 ETX 125 problems
Sent:	Wednesday, August 16, 2000 21:46:21
From:	joseph@CollectItNow.com (Joseph)
I was surprised to find your site and truly enjoy all of the work that
you've put into it.  I am a new ETX 125 owner, but unfortunately having
problems setting up the scope.  In the hopes that you have any interest
or are willing to help, I enclose the following information.  Thanks
ahead of time for your kindness for any assistance.

I've been trying to use Polar alignment and have been trying to set up
the telescope using the manual and haven't had much luck.  I'm using the
Deluxe Field Tripod, and being in Los Angeles have it set to 34 degrees
inclination.  I've found the manual extremely confusing and I have
looked at your document on Polar alignment, but unfortunately I'm still
confused.  I've called Meade, but they said that they don't even use
Polar mode they only use Alt Az as that works as well and tracks as
accurately.  I was surprised to hear this as I thought the whole purpose
of Polar Alignment was to track via Sidereal which would give a much
more accurate tracking of objects in space.

Here's what I've tried to do to set up with Polar Alignment:

Using a trained drive with the eyepieces aligned, I

1)  Set the tripod leg marked North point North (compass and Polaris
used for North). 2)  Unlocked the horizontal lock mechanism and rotated
the scope counterclockwise till it hit the stop. 3)  Rotated the base of
the scope such that the side tube lines up with the electronic
controller. 4)  Rotated the scope upward such that Polaris was centered
in the viewfinder. 5)  Align the telescope with the Easy Polar alignment
process (2 star)

This part all seems to work and I get a successful alignment according
to the AutoStar.  Here's the problem: If I use the Guided Tour and
select any object (even the easily viewable moon) I am not aligned and
have to rotate the scope using the keypad to the object (about 30
degrees left and 15 degrees up).  The problem is that, yes the moon
looks fine after moving to it, but then any other object, especially a
small star is just as misaligned as the moon was, and thus you have no
idea of which star you are supposed to be seeing.  Sometimes I will even
choose an object and it will appear, according to the position of the
scope below horizon!

Anyway, this is all very frustrating and I'm wondering if I should
return the scope and call it a day which would be ashamed.  Thanks for
any insight and your time.

Mike here: First off, using Alt/Az mode with the Autostar will provide accurate tracking so unless you absolutely need to use Polar mode (for long duration astrophotography, for example) then I would recommend you use Alt/Az. Second, weight distribution is better when in Alt/Az mode, so the tripod will be more stable. Third, you didn't indicate which version of the Autostar software you are using. Version 2.0i is the current one on Meade's web site. Some other items that can affect the results: incorrect day, time, and location settings. Also, in Polar mode remember that Polaris is about a degree off of exactly 90 degrees. So, it is easy to be on the wrong side the sky when aligning on it. Hope this helps.

Added later:

Thank you very much for your information.  I've been using my ETX 125 in
Alt Az now and it still seems that I can't see too many objects,
especially planets and it doesn't seem particularly good on lining up on
objects.  I'm currently thinking about returning the scope and getting
an 8" LX 200, but I understand that Meade may soon be coming out with a
new model which is less expensive and even better than the 200.

Thanks for your time,

Subject:	 ETX-125EC Foam Packing Blocks Question!!
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 13:12:09
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Peter Rossi)
Your web site is FANTASTIC.  Keep up the great work you are doing!!!

The ETX-125EC comes packed in the original box with two white foam
packing blocks wedged between the base and the bottom of the optic tube.
Is it necessary to replace these foam wedges every time I store the
scope in the Meade hard case designed for the ETX-125EC??  How about
before transporting the scope in the car??

Once again, Thanks for your help:

Peter Rossi
Mike here: Meade recommends that you do place the foam blocks back in place when the telescope is to be carried (and possibly bounced around) in a case.

Added later:

Thanks for your very prompt response!!  Are there any other precautions
that should be taken before packing the ETX-125EC into the Meade Hard
Case??  I make sure the DEC and RA locks are released.  Is there
anything else that needs to be done??

Thanks again for your very helpful advice.
Mike here: Watch out for the finderscope or you may have to realign it. Also, be certain the eyepiece hole cover is inplace to avoid any debris inside the case (foam, plastic, whatever) getting inside the ETX OTA.

Subject:	 Focus Shaft Fix
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 10:37:56
From:	ronsilver@erols.com (Ron Silver)
Hi Kevin, and Mike:

I read with interest your article in Weasner's ETX Technical-Tips about
fixing the focus shaft, but I was a little confused about what problem
it actually fixes.  I assume that it is replacing the focus shaft back
into the mirror block because it had come completely disconnected!

Can this disconnect occur in normal usage? (How?)

Also, I am experiencing more backlash than I like in the focus shaft (I
have an ETX125) and would appreciate your thoughts about how to reduce
the focus-backlash.

Thanks to Kevin for the important info, and to Mike for the excellent

Mike here: The focus shaft can fall inside the OTA if you turn it so far so that it retracts all the way in. Obviously this is not something that can normally happen as long as the focus knob is properly attached.

Added later:

Thanks for the info Mike.

As for the focus 'play' on my ETX125,  I notice that with my scope aimed
upwards, there seems to be some play (histerysis).  With the scope aimed
horizontally, there seems to be NO play.  Could it be that the spring
that presses against the mirror assembly is fine in the horizontal
position, but does not exert enough pressure on the mirror in the
elevated position? Perhaps "stretching" the spring slightly can
reduce/eliminate the condition.

Ron Silver
Mike here: The focus shift as the ETX is moved from horizontal to vertical and back has been reported before. Sometimes I really have to look to notice it. If I focused with the telescope about 45 degrees, I usually don't even notice it needs refocusing. Different scopes seem to experience different amounts and maybe it does change over time or with other factors.


I've never noticed it visually but I have noticed it on my ETX90 when
used as a guide scope.

Subject:	 etx 125 ec
Sent:	Sunday, August 13, 2000 23:33:09
From:	zoltar@xsinet.co.za (Mike Field)
I wonder if you can help me, I recently acquired the above scope and
have yet to set it up being a little intimidated and confused. All that
I have read on the web, and my instruction booklet appears to be geared
for the northern hemisphere. I have the autostar and a field tripod and
reading the instructions for the tripod it refers to first switching to
the appropriate hemisphere on the etx-I can not find a switch on the etx
125 to switch over? Is that applicable perhaps only to the etx 90. As
you have probably guessed I am completely new to astronomy,I am in the
process of joining a club and hopefully will obtain assistance in
starting out. I apologise if I should not be addressing this to you but
to a chat forum but wasn't sure how to go about it.
Many tks
Mike Field
Cape Town 
South Africa.
Mike here: The ETX-125EC describes the procedure to set the hemisphere of operation under the Electronic Controller chapter. You remove the appropriate screw from the handcontroller. When using the Autostar, be certain to set your proper location.

Subject:	 Re: ETX125 problems (Motor Failures)
Sent:	Sunday, August 13, 2000 18:45:09
From:	Ibowski@netscape.net (Rainer Ibowski)
The new scope did not work either. I spent three hours together with the
dealer to test his ETX125 on stock. Result: All show the same failure if
controlled by my Autostar. Unfortunately, there was no new Autostar
available (backorder) to verify our conclusion that the Autostar is

Uploading the new software version 2.1 failed, too. Error messages
either [very old software version; update not possible] or [You need an
Autostar for upgrade].

I am out for vacation for the next two weeks. Hopefully, the new
Autostar is available when I am back. Keep you posted.

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Subject:	 etx photo-view reducer
Sent:	Saturday, August 12, 2000 07:49:16
From:	write@go.com (suliman rajhi)
Could I find photo-view reducer for my etx-125? If I could, please give
information.   Thanks.
Mike here: A similar item is the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter" (see the Accessories - Showcase Products page).

Subject:	 ? re: equipment / cases
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2000 19:13:42
From:	spowell@columbus.rr.com (Scott Powell)
saw a new posting on the Doskocil cases that people are using to
transport their ETXs in. Have two comments - first, when on the b&h site
(www.bhphotovideo.com), the easiest way to find the product is to do a
search (in the sites search engine) on this product code: DOCSTFXLB

Took me quite a while to find, this should speed things up. Also, could
you please post this question - is anyone using this for an ETX-125?
Also, is it a "legal" size to go on airplanes?


Subject:	 Focus Problems!!
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 08:08:16
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Peter Rossi)
I think your web site is great and is doing a fantastic job keeping all
of us ETX users informed.  Thank You for your efforts, they are

I purchased a new Meade ETX-125EC Telescope a couple of weeks ago.  I am
having a problem with the focus knob.  At times, it feels like the shaft
is turning but it is not doing anything.  I have to pull the knob back
and turn it to engage the threads again. I get the impression that the
normal operation of the focus is to have the shaft move in and out of
the scope when turned.  Is this correct??  Is the focus mechanism really
that delicate that I have to worry about it not working??

Does anyone out there have a diagram for the focus hardware on a

Thank You for listening!!!  Keep up the good work.
Mike here: See "Doc Greiner's ETX Info site" (linked from the Technical Tips page). The scope is a -90 but the mechanism is the same for the -125. The page shows photos of a disassembled ETX-90. The focus shaft does move a little bit (which is why some users have to reposition the knob to allow more travel with some eyepieces).

Added later:

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!!  You are most helpful.  I will check
out that site.

Subject:	 re: ETX125 problems
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2000 21:18:12
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ibowski@netscape.net

When you're trying to use the Autostar, do -both- axes move during
alignment?  If not, that is what the MOTOR FAULT message is trying to
tell you.

You can -avoid- the alignment steps by using the [mode] key to escape
from that part of the menu.

Then try using the Autostar's big arrows to move (slew) your ETX.  If
they cannot -all- move the scope, you have a problem and should visit
your dealer or contact Meade.

If the slew -does- work, then hold the [mode] key down for 3 seconds and
release.  If you do not have a focus unit, you should now be seeing the
RA/Dec display. Push the "scroll down" key (lower right corner of
autostar) once, and you should see the Alt/Az readout. Now try slewing
the ETX a few degrees in each direction. The Alt/Az display should
report your motions.

If it doesn't, then the read-back encoders may not be working. If so,
contact Meade.

These tests should be done in -Alt/Az- mounting, not Polar. (the Alt/Az
readout doesn't work correctly in Polar)

I wish you luck with this.
And a response:
Dick, I tried your suggestions. Nothing worked. So I took the ETX125
back to the dealer. He immediately exchanged the scope. So I got a new
one which I could not test up to now due to lack of time. The dealer
(Eftonscience in Toronto)mentioned that this is the second time this
year that he had to replace an ETX 125 with these failures.

Let me add a compliment. I was quite impressed how fast I got an answer
after I placed my e-mail on Sunday night. This is a service the
manufacturers should use as a benchmark. Thank you!

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Subject:	 Frequent Motor Unit Faults
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2000 16:57:32
From:	ibowski@netscape.net (Rainer Ibowski)
After getting accustomed to manual operation of my new ETX125 during the
last couple of weeks I recently started to operate the scope with the
Autostar. Unfortunately, I ran into serious problems. When aligning, the
unit stops after about ten degrees with the error message "motor unit
fault --- press mode or ? ". "?" does not work; "mode" asks for an
additional "enter". After "enter" the scope starts slewing again about
ten degrees, stops and produces the same error message, and so forth.

Needless to say that I tried all kind of measures: full reset, careful
training of the drives etc.

Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong? Any advice?

Mike here: Training the drives is important but you've done that. Are you putting the scope into the proper HOME position before doing the alignment? Is the RA and DEC axis locked? What version of the Autostar software are you using? The latest is 2.0i on Meade's web site.

Subject:	 RA Drive
Sent:	Tuesday, August 1, 2000 18:08:34
From:	rickieweiss@worldnet.att.net (Rick Weiss)
Love the site!  I had an ETX90EC for a month and then upgraded it to the
ETX125EC.  My question to you is this.  Has anyone complained about any
play in the RA drive motor on their 125?  It works well enough until you
change direction.  Once a direction change is made, it takes a moment or
two for the motor to get past the play and begin moving in the new
direction.  This problem gets worst at slower speeds probably because of
the amount of play that is being overcome.  Is this normal? Should I
consider returning the scope for a replacement?  I remember reading a
review detailing this problem, but it never addressed whether this was
normal or not.  My ETX90EC never experienced this sort of problem.

Mike here: The symptom you are describing is called "backlash" and is normal in the ETX models as the gears pickup the slack. If the last movement is eastward, you can remove the slack in the geartrain and tracking will begin immediately when you release the button.

Added later:

Thou a bit disappointed with the normal-ness of this problem I am very
pleased with my ETX125.  This evening I ordered a few accessories from
Scopetronix.  Thanks again for the assist and the terrific site for
myself and other ETX owners.

Subject:	 Re: Meade ETX-125EC Slewing Problem - Cont.
Sent:	Monday, July 31, 2000 22:20:04
From:	art50@mindspring.com (Art Freeman)
Earlier today, I faxed Meade Customer Service Rep., Mike Leigh a letter
and sales receipt for the Meade ETX-125EC to prove proof of purchase in
order to obtain an RMA number to return the scope for "REPAIR", on his

Later, I e-mailled Michael Webb, owner of the Sight & Sound shop in
Tennessee where I originally purchased the ETX-125EC and asked if he
would be willing to negotiate a replacement scope.  The following is his
reply, and I have taken him up on his offer to replace the telescope
with a newer one when his next shipment comes in and will forget Meade

In other words, I will be taking the cowards way out.
Mike here: Many dealers are willing to swap. Glad to hear yours is.


Subject:	 Re: Meade ETX-125EC Slewing Problem - Cont.
Sent:	Tuesday, August 1, 2000 08:27:24
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)

> In other words, I will be taking the cowards way out.
nah... you're still in the game... 

As I see it, you've got three (well, 4) options:
1) let your scope get turned around by Meade... at least (theoretically)
it'll get some particular care
    (after all, it's such a -rare- situation)   (we need an emoticon for
dripping sarcasm  :-P )
2) swap the scope with the vendor (roll-the-dice-again approach)
3) swap the scope for a Nexstar 5 (and join a different Email universe)
4) give up and take up model railroading (you still get to use optics to
look at tiny things)
(i'll stop here... there's #5: buy a Dobsonian... make that two, for the
price... or a used C5+)(or C8)

See? options 1 and 2 are still demonstrating bravery (or, um,
determination ignoring warning signs?)
3 and 4 are the coward's way...

Despite some folks' experience of getting to know their UPS driver
-very- well,
I'd probably elect #1 or #3... 
#1 on the theory that Meade has -some- corporate integrity, and that
(Eventually) they'll get it right.
#3 on the theory that it's a turkey, and that although the Nexstar will
have a different set of problems,
 at least they'll be ones you can live with (this avenue requires the
Due Diligence of reading all of the N5's
   back postings (visit http://www.nexstar5.co.uk/links.htm   for a
Mike-like links page).
 *i* have not done Due Diligence, so i'll remain with my ETX90 (waiting
for the fateful day when the Dec axis shears)

good luck with the next one!
keep us posted

p.s. the "last email" he referred to was a culling of the
postings of (by my count) 20 visitors to your site
who had also had the random slew (sometimes in your Search as "runaway")
and had been in contact with Meade.

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