Last updated: 1 January 2001

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:	 ETX-125EC, cold temp, motor whine...
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 22:13:47
From:	questor7@va.prestige.net (questor7)
New to this group and my ETX-125, have a slight problem; which I may
have isolated the problem. Just got my "125" 2 weeks ago and love the
hell out of it;comapred to my Newtonian 4.5" MD-114. Anyways, on my
second try looking to a beautiful night sky, I heard a faint whining
coming from my right-left motors (RA ?) . I couldn't keep my scope still
on any object. The temperature at the time was 19 F. After taking the
scope inside to warm up the whining disappeared. On my 3rd try, New
Years Morn, I again heard the same whining and inability to keep a
steady sight on anything. I disconnected the controller (don't have a
AutoStar yet) and replugged it back in,while still on. The whining was
gone and the scope was fully functional. Tested this 4 times to verify.
I believe the problem to be in the controller, possibly the screws which
control the ALT/AZ and Polar...Do not want to ship the scope back for
this. Does MEADE have any other way of contact other than their Cust
Serv Number??? Can't believe a company this famous does have a Customer
Service Email...


A ETX Newbie who loves his scope...

Ron Krenzel
Mike here: I assume you wanted it to track objects in the sky and so having the RA drive running would have been normal. You can set the default (startup) setting by removing the appropriate screw on the back of the standard handcontroller (see the manual). You can also set the mode for the current session from the handcontroller buttons (again, see the manual). Now, with that out of the way, since the drive was probably tracking as it should have been, if objects were drifting out the eyepiece field-of-view, that could have been due to having either the scope not mounted equatorially (the RA axis tilted to match your latitude) or not having the RA axis pointed towards TRUE NORTH or both. See the manual for more details on this.

Subject:	 eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 15:58:26
From:	gtonks@skyjackeurope.co.uk (Gary Tonks)
Firstly, I would like to say that your ETX site is a wealth of info and
just the help I need; only taking up this interest 12 months ago.

My name is Gary and I live in cloudy/damp old England [get the picture].

I was wondering if you could give me any info regarding a future
eyepiece purchase I wish to make. I currently have 26 and 9.7  4000
plossls for my 125 ETX and I am now looking for a eyepiece around 12mm.
It's prime task would be planetary viewing.

Is the 4000 series the best to stick with ? Or are there similar priced
eyepieces better suited to my needs. If you could give me some
independent advise it would be appreciated.

Kind regards

Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessories - Eyepieces page for info on eyepieces. You might want to consider a good quality 2X Barlow Lens. With the 26mm eyepiece that would effectively provide the equivalent of a 13mm eyepiece, close to your desire for a 12mm. And then with the 9.7mm you'd have the equivalent of a 4.8mm. Of course, adding a Barlow Lens can degrade the image quality somewhat over that of a high quality standalone eyepiece. But still work considering.

Subject:	Trouble installing the Meade #1247 electric focuser
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 17:14:46
From:	Sgauger@aol.com
Help!  I got a #1247 focuser for Christmas from my lovely bride.  I got
to step two in the instructions and found the set screw for the stock
focus knob so tight that I went through 2 allen wrenches and have
throughly "rounded out" the set screw hexagonal hole.  What size of tap
or easy-out will work on this tiny screw?  It is not budging even with a
dab of penetrating oil.  Anyone had this problem with their 125?


Subject:	 ETX-125 and Herschel-400
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 13:43:54
From:	edutton@bouldernews.infi.net (Ells Dutton)
Thought you might be interested that having completed the Messier list,
I've been using my ETX-125 to work my way through the Herschel-400 list
(Norwegian version, www.messier45.com).  The ETX is the largest scope I
have ever owned or used.  Have found about 175 Herschel objects so far,
going in approx. order of R.A. and have only failed on three objects in
my 5.8-5.9 mag limiting skies.  Quite satisfying.  However, in many
cases detection has been marginal with averted vision and some motion.
For the dimmest objects I am just barely able to tell that something is
there and without any detail, but then again, these are galaxies with
surface brightness to 14 mag.  I expect that within a year I will
complete the list but may have to travel to some darker skies for the
most troublesome.  Having computerized star charts to 14 mag have been
invaluable in this effort.  The Autostar GOTO (with its flaws) is quite
convenient in this pursuit but must, of course, be coupled with charts
which show EXACTLY where to look in the e.p. star field.  Most
observations have been made with the 26 mm e.p., sometimes using higher
magnification to advantage.

I'm waiting to hear anything positive about  Ver. 2.1 for the Autostar.
I'm not touching the upgrade until I hear more.


Subject:	 New ETX-125 Owner Experiences
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2000 20:22:53
From:	michaelwong@mac.com (Michael Wong)
I was lusting after an ETX-90 and got the 125 as an X-mas gift. Woo hoo!
After looking for the eyepiece, I found it rolling around the box. Then
I noticed the eyepiece thumbscrew was missing. Extensive search and that
was found in the RA lock. Whew.

So far, I've seen Jupiter and Saturn and am waiting the moon and warmer
weather to polar align this to start looking for Messier objects.

I'm bummed that the focus on the remote doesn't work. What attachments
would allow for remote focusing. Also, I'm using a very old and heavy
photo tripod am wondering what advantages a Meade or other telescope
tripod might offer?


Michael Wong
Mike here: To use the remote focusing feature you need to add the Meade electronic focuser. JMI also offers one. See the Accessories - Miscellaneous page for more on these. See the Accessories Tripods page for comments on various tripods and why users like them.

Added later:

Thanks for the help. I'm still going through your site and waiting for
clean skies to go look at the moon and figure out when I should buy more
stuff! ;-)

Subject:	 Autoguiding
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2000 13:15:41
From:	phil.mummah@intel.com (Mummah, Phil)
Is it possible to connect an autoguide (ST4 or equivalent) to an ETX

thanks phil
Mike here: Connect: possibly, with some add-ons. Use for accurate autoguiding: doubtful.

Added later:

PS. Great web site.

Subject:	 ETC-125 and Televue Nagler-4 12mm
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 14:09:10
From:	atti@abag.ca.gov (Atti Williams)
I just got a 125 and love it.  Your site has been simply invaluable! I
know you must be busy, but I hope you or others can help me out.

Q: Has anyone had experience using this eyepiece on the 125?

Q: Having both 2" & 1.25" barrles, does it fit or will I need an

Thanks again Mike, and take care.

Mike here: I don't have a Nagler but if it has a 1.25" tube it should work. The question might be whether it will focus.

Subject:	 Newbie ETX ?
Sent:	Sunday, December 24, 2000 17:23:19
From:	jddias@email.msn.com (jddias)
I'm sure you get a lot of dumb newbie questions, but here is another
one.-- I just bought an ETX-125EC and I noticed that the right ascension
lock seems to only move about half way and then becomes tight. Is this
normal? Thanks for the help.I may call Meade and ask them.
John Dias
Mike here: As long as it tightens the axis, you're OK.

Subject:	 ETX-125 and the Coolpix 990
Sent:	Saturday, December 23, 2000 15:26:03
From:	larry@kruzan.com (Larry Kruzan)
Today I got the last piece needed for direct connection of the Coolpix
990 to the ETX-125 T adapter.  After assembly I attached the camera,
28mm to 37mm adapter, 37mm to T adapter, and T adapter to the rear port
of the ETX-125.  Upon turning on the 990 I was treated to a beautiful
view of the center lens mirror and the screen of the storm window I was
looking through.  I have not been able to focus on anything else as of
yet.  The next plan is to spend the evening in the 990 manual to see if
I missed something.  I tried manual focus and most of the manual
controls.  The port works great with a 35mm camera body attached but not
with a digital camera.  Any Ideas?

Larry Kruzan
Mike here: When using the camera lens you need to have an eyepiece inserted. This is known as "afocal photography". If you can remove the lens then no eyepiece ("prime focus photography") is needed but you can use one ("eyepiece projection").

Subject:	 ETX-125EC & ETX-90EC
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2000 19:16:48
From:	mclemons@ipa.net (Mike Clemons)
Hello, again :    I `am curious, What can I expect to see with the 125
verses the 90? Will there be a obvious difference, for instance lets say
I want to view Saturn or Mars. I don`t want to expect somthing that I
can`t see that would be a big let down for the difference in price
between the two.

Thanks for you support,  keep looking up.   Mike
Mike here: Have you read my comparison reports linked from the top of the current ETX-125EC Feedback page?

Added later:

Thank you, I`am going with the 125.  Keep looking up.  Mike

Subject:	 tripod dealers
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2000 08:45:58
From:	u1029424@warwick.net (David J. Kellish)
Mike, please direct me to WHERE you were talking within your web site
where I can find dealers of that ETX 125 #887 advanced field tripod. 
Thank You
D&T, Vernon
Mike here: Look at the site home page. You should see three columns of links; look in the right column under "Other" and you will see a link called "Astronomy Links". Click that link. When that page comes up you'll see it has two columns. In the righthand column, about halfway down, is the "Dealers" section. Meade dealers are noted by the dealer's name.

Subject:	 Hi, need a little help
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 16:09:30
From:	petrb2@home.com (Petr Bastar)
I need a little help. Just got my OTA yesteday (finaly). The instruction
pictures supplied with the ETX-125EC on how to mount it are not very
helpful and the text seems to be wrong.  When the scope is mounted on
the Meade deluxe tripod in polar mode should the RA index be on the
upper or lower side of the mount.  I live at 47N so it does not tilt too
much but I am confused.  The instructions say to mount it so that the
two leg plugs are on the other side of the North tripod leg (the South
Side) this does nt seem right.  If you can clarify you have my thanks.
Otherwise the system seems fine.

-- Petr B.
Mike here: The instructions and photos are wrong (backwards). The N leg goes on the North side and the ETX tilts towards Polaris (in the Northern Hemisphere). The control panel on the ETX-125EC goes on the West side.

Added later:

I thought so. Many thanks.

Subject:	 Re:  Altitude (Dec.) axis problems, Part 2
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 07:22:26
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I noticed others on your web site are experiencing the same looseness in
the altitude (Dec.) axis of their ETX 125's.  John Hanover's (and your)
advice to do the "Scopetronics Tune-UP" off your web site was a point
WELL TAKEN!  I took the scope apart (a shame at this price!) and cleaned
off about two ounces of grease (note:  the Scopetronics tune-up also has
a wonderful remedy and explanation for Dec. Lock deficiencies), cleaned
the gearworks, adjusted the worm to preload the Dec. drive unit and,
WA-LA:  the scope is as tight as can be.

However, something that your web surfers might need to know; a lotof the
declination wobble, once clamped, is due -NOT to the gear works or
clamping looseness - but to the inability of the OTA support arm to
prevent "rocking" of the tube once it is nestled into the support arms
(particularly the RIGHT, or clamping/drive arm).  If the scope is
clamped firmly in DEC., attempt to rock the OTA using the eyepiece end
while watching the FRONT of the extended plastic OTA support arm; if you
will notice, there is no attachment - other than pressure-fitting - of
the scope to the arm at this extended end.  The mass of the OTA causes
slight separation of the OTA from the arm at the front while rocking.

I solved this problem very effectively, and eliminated about 1/2 degree
of Altitude "slop" by creating a rubber bushing by doing the following: 
1) removed the tube assembly from the support arms (it is not necessary
to remove the support arms from the fork for this);  2) hold and trace
against a piece of BICYCLE INNER TUBE repair rubber (very thin, like a
layer of skin - you can buy in the Cycle Section of Wal Mart for $0.75)
the curved outline of the front edge of the support arm;  3) cut out a
thin ARC from the rubber pad to match this curve;  4) attach to the
curved from end of the support arm with RUBBER CEMENT (nothing stronger
- by the way it comes with the repair kit!)  );  5) allow to dry for one
hour;  6) reattach the OTA to the support arms and tighten four (4) hex
nuts  Do not overtighten.  If done properly and carefully, the rubber
bushing will not show at all and it very much firms up any play on this
supported end.  Makes all the difference in the world while observing,
particularly when windy.

Subtitled:  "You really CAN set your scope on the tripod in the Dark!"

Thanks!  Clay Sherrod        Conway, Arkansas

Subject:	 EXT-125 Question
Sent:	Wednesday, December 20, 2000 18:38:29
From:	110641.1527@compuserve.com (Bob Thompson)
Tonight was the first use of the scope.  Enjoyed it immensely. Question:
With the scope in Alt Azimuth, and using the standard controller,
oftentimes there will be a high-pitched whine from one of the drive
motors even though no arrow keys are depressed.  By setting the
controller to a slow slew speed & "joggling" it a bit, I can usually get
it to go away, but sometimes it returns.   I would assume that this is
the sound that would be made if the controller were in Polar mode, but
both screws are installed in the controller & I have not selected Polar
through the mode keys.
Is this normal?   
Mike here: When in Polar mode the RA drive will run constantly. So if you are hearing it intermittantly then it is something else. And since you didn't say that the scope was slewing whenever there was a high-pitched sound it doesn't sound like it is one of the drive motors (unless you just didn't happen to have that axis locked). Possibly a high frequency sound from the electronics? (although this should not happen either)

Subject:	 etx 125
Sent:	Wednesday, December 20, 2000 03:39:30
From:	dkellish@warwick.net (D Kellish)
We have just purchased an ETX 125 with the 883 deluxe field tripod.  I
have been told that Meade offers a heavy duty tripod that is steadier. 
Do you have any information on this.  Where can I purchase one online.
Mike here: There is an Advanced Field Tripod (#887) from Meade. Any of the Meade dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page should be able to help you.


Thank you for the Quick reply.  some family members don't even respond
that fast !!!!!   Happy Holidays !!

Subject:	 Re: Thanks!
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 10:06:04
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
John - Thanks for the information regarding he looseness in the ETX Dec.
axis; I have already downloaded the "tune-up site" and plan to initiate
as the problem worsens.  It is a shame that the scopes cannot come
tested and adjusted from the factory; it seems like everybody buring the
ETX's are experiencing factory-related problems!

These are too nice of scopes for people to be having this kind of
trouble! My optics are SUPER, but tracking seems to leave a little bit
to be desired. Have your tried Autostar in the POLAR alignment setting
and position? Someone indicated the motors track much more smoothly than
in the Alt-Az position.  (MIKE?)

Thanks again!  Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: John Hanover
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000 11:31 AM

>Dear Clay,
>I noticed your posting on Mike's ETX site.  I have had my ETX 125 for about
>a year and a half.  I returned the first scope because of the image shift
>problem and when I received the second it had the looseness in the Dec axis
>you describe.  I used the scopetronix site "tuneup page" to tighten a bolt
>in the Dec axis that did the trick.  This is an easy fix and something you
>should probably learn to do anyway.  If you need help let me know.
Mike here: Some people like Polar and some like Alt/Az. Tracking could be smoother in Polar since only one axis needs to move.

Subject:	 Please provide info on Autostar polarity
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 05:15:48
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Thanks for your recent help on my ETX 125;  I want to use an AC adapter
instead of batteries, but with so many available for about $12.00 in
local stores, I really hate to spend $40 for the name brand if others
will do.  However, Meade does not specify the POLARITY of the unit to
match with the commerical converters available.  Can you let me know
what the polarity of the Autostar/ETX 12V input is? (+ or -).
Thanks!    Clay Sherrod        Conway, Arkansas
Mike here: I did a search on "polarity" and noted that in a previous email reply I stated: "According to reports, the center is positive."


Meade has confirmed that the polarity of the ETX/Astrostar unit is,
indeed, positive at the center pole; therefore any unit that can take
330 mA or above (a 1,000 mA unit is probably the most readily found
commercially, or a 600 mA if you can find one), with the female plug
adapter provided (most have multiple plugs you can choose from to match
INSTRUCTIONS WITH THE AC CONVERTER!) will run all applications of the
ETX 125 EC, including electric focuser while both motors are running.

Thanks for your input on this matter as well as the operation of the
scope in Polar vs. Alt.-Az. mode.

Clay Sherrod, Conway, Arkansas

Subject:	 ETX-125
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 05:03:48
From:	Robert.Thompson@FALCONJET.COM
I got the ETX-125 & Autostar Friday night.  First problem was that two
of the thumb screws necessary for attaching the right-angle finder scope
were missing.  I called Meade customer support 5 minutes after they
closed on Friday & left a recorded message.  Ten minutes later a very
nice guy called me at home & is sending a set of thumb screws via UPS. 
Very impressive. There was a small break in the clouds, so I took the
scope out front & set it up on a small work table.  First lesson: 
without a finder scope it's almost impossible to find anything smaller
than a barn.  Second lesson: if the table isn't really firm, it's going
to move around a lot.  (Megapod is on backorder)  I did finally zero-in
on Jupiter through the mist, and it was gorgeous, then the clouds
rolled-in and have stayed.  I found a couple of brass 4-40 machine
screws to hold the viewing scope until the thumb screws get here & have
it aligned.  The good news is that since I've been forced to play with
it in the house, I've actually taken the time to read the instructions
for scope & Autostar. Question:  When I tighten the vertical hold knob
on the right support arm it does not seem to lock the scope very well. 
With the knob firmly tightened, should it be possible to move the scope
with light pressure?  How firmly should it hold?

One more question:  There is a pretty loose gap between the shaft of the
stock eyepiece receptacle on the scope.  When you tighten the locking
screw it cants the eyepiece a degree or two to one side.  Is this

Thanks again for a great website.
Mike here: Some play in DEC is normal. Don't try to overtighten the DEC lock. And some space in the eyepiece holder is normal.

Subject:	 Fine views through my news ETX 125
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 03:41:36
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
I thought I would let you know that I finally had a chance to take
outdoors on a very steady (and cold....+7 degree) sky that was not deep
clear but a bit hazy.  the declination slack and clamping problems
persist, but motor training and polar alignment was a SNAP and I was
accurately pointing and observing within 10 minutes tops.  Of course
Saturn and Jupiter were the main course for the evening. I have observed
through scopes up to 40" both of these objects.  Never had I seen so
clean and crisp an image as last night!  Saturn showed the Crepe ring
clearly, as it did Cassini's and Encke's divisions.  The shadow of the
rings on the globe made for a truly 3-D sight.  My impression was that
this image of both planets - including TRUE COLORS with NO FALSE COLOR
or abberations present - was equal to (if not better) than my 6" Unitron
refractor.  The GO TO function is something I thought I would never
appreciate nor use.....I WAS WRONG.  It is the nicest and simplest (not
to mention impressive to the neighbors) telescope innovation in
many,many years.

After a little fine tuning to my scope and some questions that I need
answered from Meade "Tech Support" (good luck to me) I think I will have
the most satisfying telescope I have every had the priviledge to
operate!  I'll keep you informed.  Other viewers out there who are "on
the edge..." about upgrading to the 5" ETX....don't wait!  This is a
spectacular 'scope!

Clay Sherrod            794 Drake Drive
Conway, Arkansas        72032

Subject:	 New ETX 125 declination problems
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 03:06:53
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Hi there -
I hope that Mike or someone out there can help me.  I have 35 years of
astronomy and telescope experience but this is my first experience with
a GO TO telescope, the Meade ETX 125. I have had the ETX 90 RA for years
and it has been more than perfect....no problems.  However, I have two
major concerns about my new ETX 125 which I hope someone can either:  1)
tell me this is normal and the scope will work fine over time; or, 2)
how to fix these two problems.

The "Technical Service" line at Meade has been both uniformed and
uncooperative about my concerns.  I think Mike's contributors do a heck
of a better job doing what Meade should be doing for its thousands of

Anyway, I have two major concerns about my ETX 125 which DO NOT OCCUR
with the Meade 90 RA.  1)  I have tremedous backlash (slack) in the
declination, once it is clamped.  The OTA is front heavy, which I
understand is what you want; however, when clamped as tight as I dare by
hand, I am experiencing about 1-2 degrees of "play" in the declination
(azimuth) movement.  I must add that this is without the motors engaged;
I have yet to see when motors are tracking.  Is there a way to adjust
something to take out this backlash, or is it normal for GO TO
telescopes (i.e., the ETX 90 as well)?

This brings up major problem #2:  The declination (azimuth) clamp does
not completely tighten that axis; it is very easy to move by hand and
override the clamp.  It seems that it needs to be tighter for such
applications as a camera, etc., as well as for simply windy conditions!

In addition, being a new scope I suppose, I am having trouble getting
the RA (Azimuth) motors to turn the telescope unless I clamp the
horizontal clamp very, very tight...I feel like I am over-tightening. 
Has anyone experienced this?  The motors run, trying to move the
telescope, but until I get it very tight - I mean tight -they do not
move the fork arms.

SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!  I just invested more money than I had on this
scope and Meade "Tech Service" says all this is "....just normal."  With
over 20 'scopes I have had in every brand and type, this is not normal
to me.  I really look forward to so constructive advise, as this is my
Christmas present to myself!

Thanks to everybody, and - Mike - your web sit is SUPER!

P. Clay Sherrod        e-mail:  sherrodc@ipa.net 
794 Drake Drive        Conway, Arkansas  72032        501-327-2341
Added later:
I have had the opportunity since my last inquiry (regarding problems
with a very loose declination after clamping my ETX 125) to check out
both an ETX 90 EC and and ETX 70, both of which firmly clamped into
position in declination.  There was absolutely no play, nor was there
any looseness through which I could move the OTS by hand once clamped.

Is this problem JUST common to the ETX 125 or do I have a bad one.  Once
again, the tech support at Meade has been of no help in answering this
question; their response was "...I wouldn't be worried unless it moves
something like five (5!) degrees."  FIVE DEGREES?  Someone please
respond to this problem so I'll know what I am dealing with.  Thanks!
Mike here: Some play is normal. However, that doesn't mean you can't make the DEC axis grip better when locked. See the "ETX/EC Tuneup" tip (linked from the Tech Tips page. While the tip is for the -90EC model, it probably applies to the -125 as well. On the RA axis, you do have to get it tight; if you feel that you are overtightening because you move the left all the way, you can reposition the lever on the shaft. To do this, lock the axis, loosen the setscrew on the side of the lever, lift the lever off the shaft and reposition it so that you'll have more room to tighten it further, the tighten the setscrew. However, do NOT overtighten either axis lock.

And a response:

Thanks for the quick reply and insight on my declination problem(s); I
will assume, based on your comments that my play in the Dec. axis is
normal for now; tonight will be the first chance for me to use it
outdoors and actually train the motors; perhaps once the telescope is in
the tracking mode, the play will reduce, as it feels that it is in the
gear train and not the lock.

The info about the RA axis is good news to me; I thought that might be
the case.  If you gather any more info regarding the play in the
Altitude (Dec.) axis on the ETX 125, please pass it on or post it on
your terrific web site!

Thanks again!

Subject:	 EP and rear ports
Sent:	Saturday, December 16, 2000 20:33:04
From:	LotusSteve@worldnet.att.net (Steve Brightman)
Just saw the note from John Swann about different "alignments" at the
two ports. I believe he meant focus, which I have found to vary quite a
bit and I believe is "normal".

BTW, supposedly my repaired 125 shipped from Meade on Monday so I should
have it next week.
Mike here: I think he was referring to optical alignment. He compared the alignments to his finderscope.

Subject:	 Great site but I have a question
Sent:	Friday, December 15, 2000 17:14:11
From:	pbtad@wizards.net (Petr Bastar)
I love your site and it answers a lot of my questions (also raises many
fears and concerns).  I just bought a ETX-125EC from Amazon.com and it
should arrive on 12/19/00.  I can't wait to get it.  My basic question
is this.  All of the stuuf I keep finding on the web sites and FAQs deal
with the ETX-90EC, can I safely apply the same information to an
ETX-125EC?  I plan to call Meade next week (they do not have an e-mail
at their site, darn it)  but thought that asking you might be faster.
Also are there any great caveats I should look for when I get the scope?
This is my first optical instrument of this type and my wife and I
selected it to maximize apperature while maintaining portbility (we have
a compact car). Any advice will be greatly apreciated.  We are both
technical people with degrees in mathematics, astrophysics and computer
science so we should be able to handle any technical stuff you send us.
Again thanks.

-- Petr Bastar
Mike here: Fear is a common ailment when purchasing many things. Of course, it is nothing like the fear that you should feel when purchasing a car (they can kill you and others!). But with the proper usage, a telescope is less dangerous. Much of the info on the site applies to any model telescope, with only specifics about the EC models and Autostars being unique to those. So read through the appropriate Feedback pages as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page for a quick (or maybe not so quick...) course in ETX usage. With your background in astrophysics (like me) and computer science, you'll do fine.

Subject:	 Re: Wife bought Wal-Mart
Sent:	Friday, December 15, 2000 16:27:53
From:	dreaux@cajunnet.com (dreaux)
I appreciate the advice you gave me, I have decided to upgrade to a
EXT-125EC. I ordered it today for $900.00, I am looking forward to
spending time with my eleven year old son searching the night sky.

Dreaux  "Louisiana Cajun Man"

Subject:	 ETX rear port
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 13:54:34
From:	jpswann54@netscapeonline.co.uk (jpswann54)
Saw yr response about using the rear port as well as the normal one. I
have an ETX 125 and also try to do this, mainly with a SAC IV on the
rear port with a wide field adapter. The only problem I have is that the
alignment seems to be different for the two ports (i.e. if one is
aligned with the viewfinder, the other is not). This makes life very
difficult. Anyone else with the same problem??

John Swann
Chichester, UK
Mike here: I've not noticed this problem but then I've not compared things that precisely.

Subject:	 Pictor 416XTE / ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 11:21:55
From:	stecaro@emirates.net.ae (Stephan CASTRIQUE)
I am the owner of a Meade LX200 10" f/6.3 and a ETX-125EC telescope.
Now, I am interesting in buying a Meade Pictor 416XTE CCD Camera and I
wonder if it is fully compatible with the ETX.

I would like to know if the Pictor 416XTE would be able to guide the ETX
(by one of the RS232 AUX port?) or should I use the #520 Electronic
Relay and how to connect it to the Pictor and to the ETX?

Thank you for your answer and congratulation for your site.

Mike here: You could probably drive the ETX but the gears are not that precise so I'd expect some tracking errors. You'll have better results with the LX200.

Subject:	 Cold night in the east
Sent:	Tuesday, December 12, 2000 22:30:12
From:	teb1013@hotmail.com (Thomas Brown)
After having miserable weather, clouds or rain here in PA for a couple
of weeks, I finally braved insanely cold temperatures and a good deal of
wind to at least get a brief look at the sky tonight.

This was my first night out with the Shutan Easy Mount, which I got with
the "Weasner discount" [$49.95 rather than $59.95, a pretty good deal!].
This plate finally replaces the hated mounting plate for the ETX 125
and allows one to mount the scope pretty much without looking.  Feels
much more sturdy than mounting the scope with the Meade plate.  The only
problem, a minor one, is if you have eyepieces in the three holes, the
Scopetronix Flexifocus tends to bounce over the eyepieces at high
elevations.  Also the N leg of the Meade tripod no longer can be pointed
north, because the mounting rotates the scope a bit.  Otherwise I'm
pleased with the purchase.

Had an interesting experience with aligning.  The Autostar selected
Sirius, as the first star and then Rigel as the second, even though they
are in the same part of the sky.  Although I centered both, the Autostar
announced "Alignment Failed!" The next time, I skipped over Rigel as the
second star, and the next choice was Bellatrix, with the same result. 
After a couple more tries, I finally skipped any suggested star until I
got all the way to Dhube in Ursa Major, clear accross the sky from
Sirius.  The align worked with no problem.  Due to not tightening the
Dec lock sufficiently, I had to re-align and, once again the
Sirius-Dhube combination worked fine.  Ever have this problem?

After all of the messing around with aligning,  I was sad to see that
the wind was causing the images of Jupiter and Saturn to jump all over
the place, so I had trouble with any details.  I got a few riviting
views of the moon, but, the image was jumping too much for anything but
low power viewing.  Completely frozen, I came in shortly thereafter,
after a brief glimpse of M 42 and M 41 [one couldn't do too much deep
sky viewing with the almost full moon conditions.  Still it was nice to
get out!

Tom Brown
Mike here: Thanks for the report on the Plate. As to the align failed message, that sounds like it might have resulted from the two stars being too close to each other. The best alignments have stars about 90 degrees apart.

Subject:	 ETX-125 update!
Sent:	Tuesday, December 12, 2000 19:44:01
From:	rlonn@home.com (Robert Lonn)
I wanted to thank Mike and everyone who has contributed to this page
over the last year! Many of you have sent me emails asking for further
clarification on several of my contributions. Some comments come on
items I added during the summer. That tells me that our valued readers
are looking far and deep to get answers to many questions they might
have. Looking at Jupiter and Saturn from the San Diego east county area
has been very rewarding. My ETX-125 has been flawless with no reports of
any problems since the "I" version software was loaded several months
ago. A recent visit to the local astronomy store indicates that sales of
telescopes continue to be STRONG! That means a lot of folks will be
scanning the web for valuable site on Meade Products after Christmas.
They will most likely land here and read all our comments. Mike has done
a fabulous job this year and I commend him publicly for his valiant
effort in keeping this site going! I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year. Good Viewing from Southern California. As I write this
email on Tuesday at 7:30 PM I think we now have a new President Of The
United States. I wonder if he realize that the biggest challenge he will
face will be dealing with all the Amateur Astronomers :>)!! Take care

Subject:	Self-made Mounting Plate (update)
Sent:	Sunday, December 10, 2000 18:47:14
From:	ardjan@besse.at (Ardjan Besse)
Hi There!

I have made a (small) update on my website about the Mounting plate I'm

See http://www.besse.at/etx/  The update is somewhere at the bottom, after
the date.


Subject:	 A bad experience
Sent:	Friday, December 8, 2000 13:16:14
From:	Steve.Brightman@dalsemi.com (Steve Brightman)
I never did send you my comments on my table stand or carrying case for
the 125. Reason is I don't have the 'scope at the moment!

Never could get the GOTO function to put an object in view of the EP no
matter how many times I trained the drives or re-did the alignment.
Eventually in frustration I took it back to the local dealer where I
purchased it. Now the scope is back at Meade being repaired (and has
been there since Thanksgiving).

You know one of the reasons I bought the 125 locally, at full retail
price, was to support the local store and so I had recourse if a problem
like this happened. Since the problem has been there since day one I
hoped to simply receive a replacement unit. Well he didn't have one so
perhaps understandable it had to go back for repair - or perhaps Meade
could have sent a replacement? Anyway I have been told that I am going
to be charged to have the unit sent back to Meade for the repair,
although they will cover repair costs and return postage. Does this
sound reasonable to you? I'm pretty sure if I'd bought it from the local
Discovery Store I'd have a new replacement unit in my hands by now (yes
they have them in stock!).

Anyway I'm disgruntled by the whole experience, to pay so much and to
receive such poor service. Bottom line is from now on everything will
come via mail order.


P.S. When I get it back I'll send pictures of the table and carrying
case I found.
Mike here: Sorry about the problem. Policies are likely to vary from dealer to dealer.

Subject:	 ETX125 stuff
Sent:	Thursday, December 7, 2000 23:23:00
From:	plloukota@juno.com
I'm a electrical engineer about ready to retire (4 more years)  and have
gotten interested (again) in astronomy.  I just purchased as ETX125-EC
and being an engineer "I just can't leave it alone".   It seemed as this
Meade product was the one to start with.  I am impressed with the
optics but a bit disapointed on the mechanics.  However I do understand
why. Cost fo market and all that stuff. By the time i'm finished
tinkering around' I bet I rebuild all of the plastic... but thats
another project. It looks as though most of the technical hints and
tricks apply to the 90 instead of the 125.  Is ther a place that 'talks
125'?  If not , how 'bout one.

One thing that I havn't been able to find is the exact messaging syntax
to talk to the Autostar.  Do you know where I can obtain a listing of
the commands?  Secondlly I purchased the 'TheSky ' for my Compaq Pocket
PC. Seems it doesn't talk to the Astrostar the way it should.  I have
Astrostar  Ver 2.0i and I suspect that Mead has made some changes.  The
':' no longer is needed in the command syntax.  Do you know of anyone
that can help me on this.  Do you know where I can obtain a set of
commands for the Autostar for the ETX?


Doug Loukota

P.S. Your web site is a bright spot in the tons of garbage on the web.
Keep it up, im a frequent visitior.

Mike here: Yep, most of the technical stuff is about the -90 models because they've been available the longest. Technical goodies on the ETX-125EC are, of course, welcome from anyone who wants to write up some. (hint, hint) As to the Autostar commands, all that is known (publicly) is available on the Autostar Information page. Keep watching that page for more details as they become known.

Subject:	 re: object shifting (drifting) out of view
Sent:	Wednesday, December 6, 2000 21:45:05
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	covanbuuren@nvs-verzekeringen.nl
I saw your question on Mike's site, and thought i'd add one
more likely candidate: what we users call "creep after beep".
(assuming you have an Autostar).

It is a known bug in the Autostar.

The quick way to "fix" it is to slew the telescope about 1.5 
times the drift in the other direction.  It will drift back,
but with luck, will stop within view.

The other way is to apply the creep-after-beep patch available
starting at 

read that entire page... the end of it has links to a
(nearly) automatic patch program.

good luck

Subject:	 Looking for help please
Sent:	Tuesday, December 5, 2000 14:43:42
From:	gcuff@candw.ky (Geoffrey Cuff)
My son is 12 and has developed a keen interest in astronomy.  He
currently uses a Meade Polaris 114EQ-SD 4.5" Equatorial Reflecting
telescope that I purchased through J C Penney several years ago.

I wish to upgrade him for Christmas but am confused by the vast number
of scopes available.  I found your excellent WEB site and have learnt a
great deal about Meade ETX scopes and accessories.  I am thinking about
purchasing him the ETX-125EC, Autostar controller, tripod and a couple
of viewfinders. Am I going in the right direction?  I really do not want
to spend $2,500 for an LX as he might discover girls in a few months and
it will gather dust!!!!

Personally, I would like to take photos.  Would you recommend attaching
my Minolta Maxxum directly to a scope using a T-adapter or use a digital

I hope you don't mind me picking your brains but I really do want some
help and I believe you will offer more objective opinions than some
commissioned based salesperson.

Thank you very much.

Geoffrey Cuff
Cayman Islands
Mike here: The -125 will make a nice system. As long as you understand the limitations of any consumer 5" telescope, you'll be OK. As to astrophotography, you can use either type of camera, again as long as you understand the limitations and challenges involved.

Added later:

Thanks for quick reply.  I sense that you are saying I should be looking
for something bigger.  Should I be looking for a deal on an 8".  If so
do you have any recommendations?  What are your opinions on the Nexstar
Mike here: Size vs portability is also a consideration. You need to know what size telescope, the whole thing, not just the aperture, you will actually use. Having a nice 8, 10, or 12" telescope is really nice, until you realize that it nevers gets outside because it is too inconvenient to move it outside.

Subject:	 ETX 125EC Shifting problem
Sent:	Tuesday, December 5, 2000 13:00:08
From:	covanbuuren@nvs-verzekeringen.nl (co)
I own a ETX125EC and I am just a beginner at astronomy. (1 year)

When I look at objects there is a shifting problem. When I centre the
object (e.g. Jupiter) it shifts to te left. After 30-60 seconds it is
out of view! Can anyone tell me what's the problem? Is it a known
(I use a Deluxe Field Tripod)

Thanks in advance,

Co van Buuren
The Netherlands
Mike here: There are many possibilities. There is one set of possibilities if you don't have an Autostar and another if you do. No Autostar: imprecise polar alignment, including latitude adjustment, base not level, wrong hemisphere selected, weak batteries. Autostar: date/time/location wrong, very bad base leveling, old Autostar version, wrong alignment stars selected.

Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 15:00:18
From:	roktman@concentric.net (.steve)
Ive had a etx-90 for 2 years now and am interested in possibly upgrading
to the etx-125 and would like to hear from people that started with the
90 and now have the 125 model.. Is there really a noticable difference
in viewing with this model . Would welcome any feed back..Thanks!! Steve

e mail address roktman@concentric.Net
Mike here: You can see my ETX-125EC reports on the my ETX site (linked from the top of the current ETX-125EC Feedback page). I've had an ETX-90RA for over four years and have now used both scopes for several months.

Subject:	 Re: Re: ETX 125 TRIPOD
Sent:	Friday, December 1, 2000 06:59:52
From:	millensted@msn.com (Avril Millensted)
Thank you for posting my message.  I received responses that were
helpful. I talked to Jim from JMI yesterday, and feel confident that the
MEGAPOD is a good choice.  Thanks again.


Subject:	 re: bolt sizes for ETX (in England)
Sent:	Thursday, November 30, 2000 22:06:19
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	Iknowittoo@aol.com
the "1/4 20"   means 0.25 inch diameter bolt stock, with 20 threads per
inch.  The thread grade also carries the "coarse" descriptor,
contrasting with a "fine" threaded bolt which would have more threads
per inch (28, i think).

It's a standard photographic tripod size (all cameras have it at the

Automotive parts stores may carry the size. I do not believe there is a
close-enough metric size to avoid damaging the ETX's threads.

You could try using a Nylon bolt, which would be the sacrificial lamb in
such an attempt.

English cars used to use Whitworth threading, which is inch-based, but i
do not know if there is a "1/4-20" member of that series. If memory
serves, the cross-sectional shape of the Whitworth threads are different
from the US shape, too.

In the non-metric US, most decent hardware stores carry metric bolts. I
would suggest asking at older hardware stores (they may have some left
in odd corners), automotive supply stores and camera repair stores.

good luck

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