ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
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: Update on ETX return from Natural Wonders Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 20:24:13 From: GOLCZEWSKI@rdaconsultants.com (Mark Golczewski) Just wanted to follow up with you on my returned scope to Natural Wonders. I returned the scope on the 18th and they said it would be two weeks. I received it today (just shy of the two weeks) and it seems fine. I did the drive training and also tested the motors hitting the stops. No problems. I performed the Easy Alignment, and it seemed to have gotten into trouble during the alignment procedure (could have also been pilot error <g>). I did another alignment and this time it went well. As far as finding objects, it was a bit off, but for the most part, in the FOV of the finder scope. I suspect I need to get a little better at putting the scope in the Home position and aligning it. I also suspect Polar mode (when I get a tripod) will make a bigger difference. Got my first real view of Orion and Saturn. Not too shabby!! I did a bit of browsing and could have stayed out all night. So far, I'm a happy camper. BTW, I upgraded my Autostar to v1.3 from v1.2. It seems to be the minimum version that supports the 125 directly and fixes most of the earlier bugs in the firmware. Do you think v2.0 is worth the upgrade? Also, I created a custom site for my home location with lat/long/time zone. I used the etak geocode website to get my point on the globe coordinates. Which coordinates does the Autostar accept? I assumed the decimal vs. Deg:Min:Sec as it allows for a (+/-) sign on the Longitude measurements. Sorry for the rambling, but my hands are still warming up from being outside and my adrenaline is still pumping. Thanks for the help earlier and thanks for providing a great site! Mark Golczewski email@example.com Managing Director - Philadelphia RDA Consultants Limited (http://www.rdaconsultants.com)Mike here: Thanks for the update. I've not yet worked with Autostar 2.0 (nights have been cloudy/rainy since I got the ETX-125EC). Some have had problems with the update; some haven't.
Thanks. I'll probably wait as I just reviewed your site for some of the problem. Any advice on the lat/long question?Mike here: I believe entry is in decimal but would have to do one to check.
Subject: ETX 125 Sent: Friday, February 25, 2000 22:09:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Cullen) I am thinking of upgrading to the ETX 125 and am wondering how I can tell if the scope I get will be the seconded revision the one that has had the problems of Image vibration from the motors that I have read about fixed. How will I know?? See Quotes bellow. "Epsilon Lyrae (the Double Double) which Sky and Telescope reported as a problem with their ETX-125EC. S&T said that drive vibrations prevented them from seeing the secondary stars; the repaired ETX-125EC we were using had no such vibrations and the secondary stars were easily seen." And from the S&T Test Report "Update to This Review " As mentioned in our first-look review of the Meade ETX-125EC telescope, Meade engineers identified a source of image vibration in the original design of the telescope we tested. We have now examined a new telescope supplied by Meade and also one that we purchased anonymously. Image vibration induced by the ETX-125's drive motors has been reduced to negligible levels. With the telescope operating in altazimuth mode and the azimuth and altitude motors running at tracking speed, no image vibration is apparent. The well-known multiple star Epsilon Lyrae, the Double-Double, was easily split into its four components at magnifications of 142x, 212x, and 340x. "Mike here: I've not heard or seen any obvious identifier that would help. However, currently shipping products have the fix. If you see the extra foam packing as shown in my current report on the ETX-125EC (linked from the top of the current ETX-125EC Feedback page), then you probably have a current model.
Subject: ETX 125 specs Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 21:43:50 From: email@example.com (Dan Cullen) Hi I have been coming to your site ever since I found it for valuable information and will do so as long as your site remain, hopefully forever. You are doing a fabulous job and typed words can't describe the appreciation I have for such a site. Now for my beef, I am about to upgrade from the ETX 90 to the ETX 125 and thought I would go look around Meade's web site for specs on the ETX 125. Funny there is none nothing at all can you believe that?? I some times wonder where Meade would be with out you and your page. I thought I had seem some specs on a web page most likely yours but cant find it now can you or some one point me to specs on the ETX 125. Thanks DanMike here: Glad you like the site. The spec sheet is linked from the top of the current ETX-125EC Feedback page.
Subject: ETX 125EC Focus Knob Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 18:24:17 From: Lindapat@erols.com (Linda Pattison) I've looked through your site for information regarding this and found a few things. However, my husband has a question. How loose should the focus knob on the 125 be? It seems on his first observing session, the knob seemed to bind when turned CCW. He turned it slightly CW and there was a pop. After this, the knob turns fine. However it is shaft feels loose. We had no trouble focusing on Jupiter, Saturn, M43 and M45. So, the question is - is this a big deal or do we not worry. I mean nothing is rattling inside. We know nothing broke off. What do you think? Other than the focus knob, we had a wonderful first experience with the 125. The autostar that we got from JCPenney (on sale for $99.00 at the website) was version 2.0. Performed like a champ. (Note that we used two fairly close alignment stars as well--Aldeberan and Betelgeuse.) Clear skies to you, LindaMike here: The knob should turn freely, which, from your description, it now seems to do. Perhaps there was some sealant or paint touching the shaft that has now been cleared.
Subject: RA clutch slip in cold weather Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 13:19:48 From: Roy.Clymer@NA.AMEDD.ARMY.MIL (Clymer, Roy E WRAMC-Wash DC) I've noticed, particularly in very cold weather (less than zero F), that I really have to crank down hard on the RA lock to prevent slippage. It doesn't really feel like it is grabbing until it is practically as far as I can push it. Is this normal? If not -- how can I fix it without shipping my beloved scope off into the netherworld of next day delivery services? When I first got my ETX125, I had all kinds of problems until I noticed that every time I changed direction in the RA direction, the clutch backed off just the slightest little bit. Over a session, it would end up slipping and thinks that worked at first stopped working. Very frustrating. Afterwards, I learned I could use the Allen wrench Meade supplied to take the RA clutch lever off (after tightening it as much as possible), move the lever back towards the unlocked position and then tighten the lever again. Then I could crank down on the RA clutch enough to stop the play. But since I didn't trust it anymore, I cut a piece of a Popsicle stick that fit in the cutout for the clutch lever and I jam it in there to hold the clutch lever in place. Mark Waltz and others might try that too. I'm convinced that some of the troubles with alignment, etc, are a result of this slipping clutch. Roy Clymer
Subject: ETX 125 comments Sent: Monday, February 21, 2000 07:55:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Conston) I think that you mean the control panel should be on the East side (see your photo). If the panel is on the West side, the AutoStar alignment may fail because the motor stops can be reached before the alignment is completed. I discovered the problem with the addendum for mounting the ETX-125 on the field tripod last November when I purchased my scope and called Meade about it. Follow the instructions in the Field Tripod Manual since that one is correct. The two plugs for the table mount legs should be on the side of the tripod with an "N" on the leg. This leg "points" north but is not the leg "to the north" Incidentally, I bought one of the "new" ETX-125s built after the original problems were discovered. The optics are crystal clear, well collimated, with no noticable focus shift. I added the AutoStar and electric focuser and am extremely pleased with the results. I am working on a project to adapt the Field Tripod head to an old Edmund Scientific steel pedestal mount I bought years ago. When I am done I'll send some photos and let you know how it worked out. Thanks for the great site. It is an important resource for all astronomers, beginners and experienced alike. Steve Conston P.S. Try this site for some really good (and free) astronomy software ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/han_kleijn/software.htmMike here: The control panel DOES belong on the West side. The photo on my report where the ETX-125EC is mounted on the tripod has the North leg on the right (the tripod tilt head would tilt the scope down to the right or clockwise) and the control panel is on the far side which would be West. Anxious to hear how the Edmund Scientific steel pedestal mount works out.
Subject: ETX-125 Report Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2000 19:07:53 From: email@example.com (Larry Reidnour) I finally got a chance to test drive my 125 after I just got it back from Meade. I am happy to report that it did just fine. The collamination was ok and it hit most of the goto's in the 26mm eyepiece. I was forced to use the 2 star allignment using Sirus and Rigel because of cloud cover that obsured the entire Northern part of the sky. Being relatively close together, I was not expecting the accuracy I ended up getting. I did use precise location though verified by my GPS. I was able to secure The Orion Nebula, M41, Andromeda Galaxy, Jupiter, Saturn, Rigel, and Sirus. Best of all, no sudden slewing! I have have eaten my words before, but will just keep my fingers crossed. The scope worked just fine tonight for the short time I was out.
Subject: ETX-125 Balance Tip and good treatment from Meade on returned product Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2000 15:48:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank Goldner) Recently I obtained a Scopetronix piggyback camera mount which includes a set of weights to be attached to the photo tripod adapter block on the bottom of the optical tube to compensate for the added weight of a mounted camera. I was pleased to note that the four weight blocks in my set, weighing about 320 grams, almost perfectly balance the optical tube (without the piggyback mount being attached). As this near optical tube balance should help in reducing the require turning force (i.e torque) of the declination motor (assuming inertia and friction not significantly affected), I intend to leave the weights on permanently. Although the exact amount of weight needed for tube balance depends on the weight of the eyepiece used, small magnets can be used for weight trimming. Frank Goldner, Bethesda Md P.S. Mike, I just received my replacement/refurbished ETX from Meade, about four weeks after my return, and am very pleased with the responsive service and apparent improvements -- loss of excessive focus shift, vibration etc. One change I think I noticed was a smaller secondary baffel with a reduced diametrial blockage. I guestimate the reduction is from the 40% noted in the S&T article to the low thirty percent level. Could you check this out with your Meade contact. If true, this is a pleasant improvement as it should yield at least a 10% increase in gathered light and some associated planetary contrast enhancement? Best regards.Mike here: As to the baffle, I'd be surprised if it was changed, and if it was, by that much. But I'll see if I can learn anything.
Subject: racheting sounds (of doom?) Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 22:09:44 From: email@example.com (Dick Seymour) As an interested bystander, it "sounds" like Mark Golczewski's problem might be that the worm gear isn't retaining the worm. That would explain the one-way motion and racheting noise. Spin it one way, it happily drives the pinion gear. Spin it the -other- way, and the worm walks -out- of the pinion gear and clacks the end of its screw on the last-touched-tooth. I vaguely remember a posting (check the archives? or is it the "tune up" site?) which discusses the wimpy mechanism used to retain the worm gear itself. That site/posting also described how to improve/fix it. I'd certainly try for a replacement, but brave folks could also (at the risk of their warranty) try a self-repair... --dick [the above suggestion has not been reviewed by any lawyers prior to posting. If those lawyers wish to modify their scopes, it's their responsibility]And from Mark:
Dick, Thanks for the insight. I've been following the 125 for some time now and had a sense it had to do with the drive gears. I returned it on Friday and they promised a replacement in two weeks. Being new to the hobby/science of astronomy, and given the amount of money my wife paid for the scope (a Christmas present), I'd rather wait the two weeks than to take a chance on forfeiting my warranty. In the future, when the warranty runs out, I may get a little braver with fixing my own scope. Mark G.
Subject: Got my scope back! Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 18:11:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Larry Reidnour) Well, my ETX 125 just came back from Meade, finally, since sending it off for "the fix". Just a note to those interested, I sent it in on January 7th and got it back on the 15th of this month. 5 weeks. I had called them about 2 weeks into it after I had read all the horror stories in loading 2.0 and asked them that while they have it to please load 2.0. I actually left this on their answering machine. To my surprise, which I reported here before, I got a phone call back saying they had received my message and would certainly load 2.0 on there for me. I have been out of town all week and finally got a chance to unpack it and mount it, plug in the Autostar and reprogram. As soon as I turned it on there is 1.3 staring at me. After screaming at my wife about how in the world could they have let that happen, I went back to your site to check out the latest since I haven't checked in for about a week and a half now. All I am reading is how everybody wishes they had 1.3 back! Now I am really wondering if this wasn't done purposely???????? From what I have been reading, there seems to be a "drifting" problem with this new 2.0 version, let alone the upload problems. That sounds a little too much like "sudden slew" to me which is what I sent it back to Meade for in the first place and the reason for a number of my previous e-mails. Mike, I know it has been awhile since you have heard from me, but I need some honest advice from you here man. Should I hold off on loading 2.0 assuming that Meade can't be that inept since it had "load 2.0 onto Autostar" on the packing slip that came with my returned scope? It sat in quality control for a week and I can't believe that was overlooked. I haven't had a chance to use it due to the weather, so I am interested with 1.3 if they "fixed" the sudden slewing problem. Please advise!Mike here: Glad you got the scope back. I really can't personally address the Autostar 1.3 vs 2.0 question. I just got a new Autostar with the ETX-125EC but it has been cloudy/rainy ever since (and supposed to stay that way for several more days). I believe the Autostar has 2.0 (something) in it.
Subject: New ETX125 owner Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 19:49:36 From: GOLCZEWSKI@rdaconsultants.com (Mark Golczewski) Thanks for a great site Mike. I just picked up my ETX and Autostar tonight from Natural Wonders and got it home, carefully unpacked it, went through the process of training the motors, etc. I fooled around with the standard hand box for a while just to get the viewfinder set up and everything seemed fine. I then attached the Autostar, put the scope in it's home position, and did an Easy Align. As it was slewing to the first star, it hit it's vertical stops and started making a terrible ratcheting noise. I turned off the unit, loosened the vertical hold and put the scope in it's home position again. This time, all movement down, had the same ratcheting noise and performance seemed to degrade until nothing seemed to work in the up or down movement with the Autostar or hand box unit. I'm guessing this means something broke when it hit its hard stop but I wanted to get your advice first before going through the process of returning the scope and/or getting it serviced. Any advice here? Mark Golczewski email@example.comMike here: Natural Wonders will probably exchange the scope for you. But nothing should break when the hard stops are reached. Can you drive the scope horizontally and vertically using the standard hand controller? Does the scope move freely in all directions when the horizontal and vertical locks are disengaged? Finally, you didn't mention it but when you attached the Autostar did you go through the drive training process? That is required.
I can drive it horizontally, but neither the Autostar or the stand hand controller work in the down vertical. Both cause the ratcheting sound and no movement. The up vertical works most of the time though it sometimes ratchets but picks up again. Yes it also moves freely in both directions with the locks disengaged. I did train the drives when I attached the Autostar. It was after training and hitting that hard stop in alignment that things went down hill.Mike here: Does sound like something is wrong. Try returning it.
Thanks, that's what I thought. I've been waiting since December to get one, and I'm hoping they'll just swap it out and I won't have to wait.And finally:
I took it back for exchange and they're looking for a replacement. The word is that they're not allowed to keep stock of 125's at the stores and can only get them special order. Not sure if that's a result of Meade production or their unwillingness to keep stock on expensive items. I'll let you know when I get the replacement.
Subject: ETX-125EC and transport issues Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 01:09:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jussi Myllyluoma) Thank you for a most excellent site! I have been "lurking" on it for several months now, and it has been immensely useful in helping me decide to wait for the 125 to reach the Swedish market. I got one of the fery first to arrive here (in December; the "rev.2" model), and have been happily using it to and fro for a couple of months. I can report no problems with it whatsoever to date, except that the Autostar came with the v.1.2 software, and I have yet been unable to update it. My supplier has promised to help me with that (as I myself only use Macs, I lack the capability to do it myself - the only drawback to the platform) as soon as he gets the cable sets. The tripod issue also remains unsolved - I refuse to use the ETX Field Tripod, and Meade's own heavier tripods cost up towards $900.00 here in Sweden, so they're not an alternative either. I am presently looking into getting myself a Manfrotto tripod instead. Now for the real problem: I recently got the focusing motor and the hard carry case, and here's the rub: the telescope came with two hard foam plugs that you're supposed to jam between the telescope and the base every time you store or transport the unit, so as not to invite any of the transport-related problems that so plagued the 'scope during the first months. So far, so good. But with the focusing motor in place, one of the plugs will, of course, not fit. What to do? One alternative would be to use only one plug, but this would effectively halve the support they provide, plus make the support asymmetrical, which doesn't seem very good either. Another alternative would be to remove the focus motor every time, but besides being a terrible chore, I can't see that as being especially healthy for the mechanism, either. I am begining to lean towards cutting out a portion of the plug to accommodate the motor. In doing so, I assume one would need to take care that the remaining bit doesn't exert too much force on the motor assembly, since that force would apparently also apply to the focus mechanism and the main mirror. This in turn would mean that the questions of reduced support and asymmetry again become a factor, albeit not at all to the same degree as if one were to remove the offending plug entirely. However, I thought that before I put my blade to it, I'd ask you and the other visitors to this site if anyone knows of a more practical solution. So, does anyone? I'd be grateful for any ideas. All the best, Jussi M.Mike here: I think I would just cut out the appropriate area in the foam packing. Try to keep as much pressure as possible but as you note, not too much.
Well, that's the real trick, isn't it? (to quote Han Solo) It's a pity that Meade, who obviously thought up the foam plugs in the first place -- with the message that keeping them in place will be imperative in order to avoid damaging the 'scope during transportation -- didn't plan far enough to provide a properly dimensioned replacement plug with the focus motor, or, in fact, any other advice on the matter. They obviously want you to buy the focus motor... but you're not really allowed to use it, 'cause then you'll damage the 'scope... Or else, you can't transport your portable 'scope, for fear of damaging it... It all makes for a really neat little Catch 22, doesn't it? You seem to have contacts inside Meade. They must have some idea of how this is supposed to be solved, mustn't they?
Subject: 90 vs 125 Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 00:09:46 From: email@example.com (Franck) this is franck again, i forgot to ask. which would you suggest, the ext90 or the 125Mike here: Depends on your requirements. If you want absolute portability, get the 90. If you want larger aperture, get the 125. Of course, you probably have additional requirements as well.
Subject: RA Clutch slip in cold weather. Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 23:05:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Waltz) First, the obligatory choice between slamming or praising my 125EC. I love it. And, to no great surprise of anyone who has visited this site at least once before, I've found that getting the scope to thermal equalibrium is the most vital task to a rewarding session. Now on to business. I've noticed, particulary in very cold weather (less than zero F), that I really have to crank down hard on the RA lock to prevent slippage. It doesn't really feel like it is grabbing until it is practically as far as I can push it. Is this normal? If not -- how can I fix it without shipping my beloved scope off into the netherworld of next day delivery services? Lastly, I'd like to pick up a good wide-field eyepiece with low magnification (40mm or more). I don't want to pay more for the eyepiece than the scope, but I'd like a good one. Any suggestions? Thanks! P.S. I picked up the piggyback mount and solar filters from Orion. Work great.Mike here: I'll leave responding to low temp problems to others in cooler climates than Southern California. As to wide angle eyepieces, check the Accessories - Eyepieces page. You can also search the site for "wide" or "eyepieces".
Subject: Focal Reducer on ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 09:06:44 From: email@example.com (Eric Jacobsen) If I get a Schmidt-Cassagrain adapter and mount a Schmidt-Cassagrain focal reducer on the ETX 125 will this work properly with the ETX Maksutov Optics? Thanks, Eric Jacobsen
Subject: ETX90EC vs ETX125EC Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 17:22:50 From: Richard.Woodward@unilever.com (Richard.Woodward) I wonder if you will be able to assist me directly. Having read reports on both the Meade models noted above I have now managed to confuse myself to a point where I can no longer make up my mind on which to purchase. The cost of these items is not the issue as I am visiting the US and prices are favorable to those in the UK. I would really appreciate your opinion. Presently I feel that the 125 will give me the most room to "grow" as my interest develops but believe that the 90 will provide me with fewer problems and more opportunities for use. My real worry is regarding the robustness of the units and their ongoing ability to perform correctly. I will have to take my purchase home as hand luggage so you will understand my concern. I have seen neither of these scopes in the flesh and wonder whether I will have problems getting them stored in the flight cabin whilst travelling - there is also of course the possibility of "knocks". Regarding the long term use of these telescopes, I have a concern over maintenance as I read in many instances customers returning 125's for repair or adjustment. As you will realise this will not be as easy to accomplish in the UK as I believe Meade refuse to ship direct outside of the US. I guess my main fear is getting my purchase back to the UK and finding I get very little usage from it due to technical difficulties. I currently own a Small Bushnell Refractor so either of these units would provide a great improvement over what I can currently "reach" Do I go all out for the 125 or would the more sensible to purchase the 90. I would really appreciate your opinion as I return to the UK at the end of the month and hope I can take advantage of the favourable pricing and exchange rate whilst I am in the US. Kind Regards Richard.Mike here: The first problem you need to consider is that the ETX-125EC shipping box will not be considered as "carry-on". You may be able to get it on by telling the airline what it is but they may still refuse, in which case it will be subject to all sorts of possible abuse. The same applies but to a lesser extent to the ETX-90EC. And if you remove it from the box and put into a small carrying case you'll be OK. If you try that with the ETX-125EC you may still have a problem due to the larger size of the cases. Now the next thing to consider is exactly HOW you'll want to use the scope. The 90 is more portable than the 125 but not that much more. On the other hand, the 125 has greater light gathering power and can tolerate higher magnifications than the 90, but again, not that much more. And then you have the export issue, as you noted. If you do have to ship the scope back to the States, the 125 will have higher shipping costs than the 90, but not that much more. I know this is a tough decision. Hope this helps some. Only you can make the decision.
Thank you for your swift reply - you have definitely helped. I've decided to opt for the ETX-90EC this time around - it feels that I can probably better live with this model. The extra dollars may be better spent on some additional eyepieces, soft carry case etc. Thanks again - and thankyou for your webpage - it has been really useful over the past few weeks. I will continue to visit.
Subject: hobby astronomer and carpenter needs some measures Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2000 07:29:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Markus Konrad) Hello astronomers, I am a hobby astronomer from Germany and I am an apprentice carpenter. In Germany the apprentice carpenters have to build a furniture after a training period of 3 years. I am going to build a chest for the Meade ETX-125 EC. I still do not have the Meade ETX-125 EC. Therefore I need some measures. I would be very grateful when someone could help me with that. I need the following measures: 1. diameter of tube: 2. maximun length of tube: 3. height from ground to the axis: 4a. max height when tube stands horizontal: 4b. max height when tube stands vertical: 5. diameter of ground plate: 6. thickness of the mount/fork: 7. distance between the mount: 8. distance between the mount includ. 2x thickness of the mount: 9. rear tube to the axis: 10. axis to the front of the tube: I send you a txt-file. It contains a ascii-picture of a telescope with the measures I need. Maybe you can post it so someone can help me. Thanks a lot. -------------------- Markus Konrad from Frankfurt/Germany email: email@example.com +................. 2 ...................+ +......... 7 .........+ +... 9 ....+............. 10 ...........+ +...... 8 ......+ +---------------------------------------+ + + +-+ /-\ +-+ l /---\ l . . l l / \ l l l / \ l . . l l / \ l l l / \ l . +--l l / \ l-l--+ l l * l + l 1 . l l ll ll l l l \ / . l . +--l l \ / l-l--+ l \ / . l . . l l \ / l l l l---l . l . l l \ / l l +--------l l------------.-------------+ + 4a/b l l \-/ l l l l . l l l l l l 3 . +6+.....7.....+ l l l . . l l l l +------l---l------+ . . +-------------------+ l l . . l Computer Control l l l . . l l l l . . l AUX HBX on/off l +-----------------+ + + +-------------------+ +....... 5 .......+
Subject: Autostar version 1.3c Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 16:26:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Davis) I noticed a lot of your readers are having trouble with version 2.0 and regret not having made a backup of their older version. I have been reading your site for quite some time and would like to just say that I am a very happy owner of both an ETX90ec and an ETX125ec and have no complaints at all. I've been into astronomy for about thirty five years and for the money these are the best telescopes I have ever seen. Of course you can't please everyone, that's why I've not written before. Everyone has an opinion and unfortunately is more than willing to try to convince you that they are right! I would Just like to help if I can. Thanks for such a GREAT site, Gary-Davis@Juno.com
Subject: The LX-10 Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 16:07:54 From: email@example.com (Tom Surgalski) As an original ETX owner, I really appreciate every minute you spend on this site. I wanted the ETX for it's optics and portability and have loved every minute looking through it.. My question is, considering how expensive the125 and the NextStar are, why not just buy the LX-10? Let's face it, it sounds like the 125 and Nexstar are not meant to have the same portability as the 90. What would be the difference in the view between the LX-10 and the 125 or the Nextstar? I don't know, but am curious as to which one is the most bang for the buck. Thanks again for the great site. Tom Surgalski
Subject: power cord Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 16:37:52 From: RSDKIRK2@aol.com First thing I want to say is great site and thanks for all of the information and hard work. I do have a question. I recently purchased a 12 volt power cord for my 125etx and it has a polarity switch on it that switches from positive to negative. Do you know what the setting should be on that. Any help that you can give me on helping not to fry my scope would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Sincerely, R. Scott Davis May the Force be With YouMike here: Check the "Drive Alternative Power Source" on the Tech Tips page.
Subject: My Meade ETX-125 Experience Sent: Wednesday, February 9, 2000 15:27:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Honis) I have been a Meade telescope owner for 14 years. I presently own a 10 inch LX200. I have owned the Meade 16 Starfinder and the ETX-90EC. I have made testimonials for Meade products; see the Meade Catalog. I continue to have a problem in obtaining a working Meade ETX-125. I ordered the Meade ETX-125 in May of 1999. I received it in December 1999. On arrival I found the RA motor to be bad and the scope out of collimation. I returned the scope to Meade and was told that it was an early unit that was known to have problems and that I would be sent a new scope when I returned it. I received the replacement scope today. It is the same scope that I returned, but now the RA motor did not work at all. The scope could not even move in RA manually. I am returning the scope for repair again. I asked the service representative if the collimation had ben fixed and he said that he has no way of knowing. I asked that the the scope's collimation be checked before it is returned to me and he said that that was not possible. He said I would have to star test the scope and find a problem in order for Meade to check the collimation. Now I have to set up the scope on a lazy suzan to do a star test and hope for clear skies. My advice to anyone considering the purchase of a Meade ETX-125 is to avoid it until Meade resolves problems that have continued since its introduction. Mike, thanks for the great service you are providing. Gary J. Honis Sugarloaf, PA email@example.com http://members.tripod.com/~ghonis/
Subject: ETX-125 Baffle Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 23:05:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fritz Strube) Since I sold my first telescope 30 years ago I've regretted it, so when the 125-ec came out I eagerly picked one up. I have had only several occasions to use it and each one was as thrilling as I could imagine. Although it isn't the best scope for it, my next goal is astrophotography. The only problem I have had so far is that the baffle fell off and into OTA. This was easy to fix and presented an oppertunity for improvement in performance. Given that the baffle obstructs some of the available light from reaching the focal point and reducing contrast on planetary views, and given that it blocks stray or scattered light from the reflective surfaces; would anyone think it a good idea to remove the baffle and use a sufficiently long dew shield (flat black interior surface)? Thanks for the most useful on the internet Fritz Strube Toronto Ontario CAN. email@example.comMike here: I have my doubts that would work.
Subject: Re: ETX125 Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 15:43:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob\Karen Elgert) I see my letters got some reactions. Excellent. Of 4 letter that refer to mine, 2 of them (John Hanover and Frank Goldner) go on to describe problems with the ETX125. One of the other letters admits he has not had it long. I gotta say that these letters do not provide a particularly strong edorsement for this scope. The optics are good. Provided they have reached thermal equalibrium. I am not going to go thru my complaints again (as there is not point). My goal was not to bash Meade but to make new astronomers and potential buyers of the ETX125 aware of its shortcomings. I still maintain that this scope will not encourage these "newbies" but rather drive many away because of the frustration factor. I want this scope to work. I would give anything to be able to purchase an ETX125 that worked and that I believed would last. I still maintain that this is a great idea. It is however a poor design. The ETX125 could easily be compared to the scopes of Questar quality and legend if Meade would make some small improvements. Untill Meade makes some changes, I will not budge on my position and I definitly will continue to warn people who ask me about the quality of the ETX125. Clear Skies (Thanx again Mike) - Rob BTW - I am still getting the occassional e-mail from disappointed ETX125 owners wishing they had heeded the warnings.Mike here: I still hear from people who wished they had taken my suggestion to buy Macs instead of PCs and to buy Apple stock. Oh well, all we can do is make recommendations based upon our experiences
Subject: in support of ETX-125EC Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 12:36:02 From: email@example.com (Roberto Botero) I would also like to write some good comments about the performance of my ETX-125EC. There is no doubt that bad news cause much more impact than good ones, unfortunately, that is why I had to write about my good experiences with this portable, versatile and cheap scope. As I told you in a message before, I decided to collimate the ETX myself as I couldn't send it back to Meade living too far from CA. I found the process not so difficult, but demanding great care and patience. I will definitely recommend to anyone having problems with collimation to send it back to Meade if they can. This past nights the weather has been good to me here in Colombia. The nights have been just splendorous. From the top of my apartment building I have spent the last two nights looking for multiple stars trying to test how I did on "recollimation". Everything is great. Last night only, with the help of my girlfriend and the excellent SkyAtlas 2000.0 by Tirion and Sinnott we found 20 or so in a lapse of only 3 hours. My girlfriend ordered the 7-24 (1.25) zoom eyepiece from Orion last december as a Xmas gift for me, but they haven't delivered it yet (???!!!!) so we are still using the 26 eyepiece from Meade. But let me tell you that the ETX did great!. We could split close doubles as close as 7 arcsec (and magnitudes down to 9!!), and that with an optical power of only 73X. So I am waiting to see what can be done with that zoom. We also "discovered" many new NGC objects (mainly open star clusters) as small as 15' in diameter. All from the roof of my flat in the middle of a city of 8 million inhabitants!! The sky is full of light but I live near the mountains that border the city to the east so I have a bit less light polution (but anyway the limiting visual magnitude never exceeds 3 or 4...) The most amazing thing is that we could see the first "small" galaxy we see apart from M31, M33 and M77 in Leo. It was M96. As by this time of the year the great amount of galaxies is still to come (Virgo and Canes Venatici's clusters are only visible at decent hours in late March or April in this latitude) we felt very pleased to see M96. Planetary and lunar observations are great and impressing. We could also find Mercury (that is rising in the west by this time...). So I only have good comments about the "poor" 125. The only problems I have experienced are with the Autostar upgrades, but as I told you before that is understandable. Meade makes telescopes not cheap (free!!) software (ask Mr. Gates....). Perhaps the other shortcoming of the 125 is the plastic mounts, as the wind sometimes shakes it quite a bit. They will never be as though as metallic ones, but they serve me well and for the price you have to pay for other telescopes I stick to my little 125. Although those LX-200 capabilities Meade anounces when you buy your Autostar are not that true, you pay more or less the fourth part you would have to, if buying one of the LX or CG series. Hope this will encourage people not necesarly to buy a ETX-125EC but perhaps to know that there are satisfied owners and that this community you have formed around your site can support them. Thank you very much again for all your help and for your fabulous site. Sincerely, Roberto Botero
Subject: MEAD ETX-125-EC Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 08:39:49 From: STOPSTOPIT@aol.com NATURAL WONDERS STORE NUMBER (205) HAS THREE ETX-125 IN THE STORES STOCK WAITING FOR CUSTOMERS TO CONTACT THEM AT (336)-852-3877... THIS WILL NOT LONG DUE TO DEMAND, SO CALL A.S.A.P. HOWEVER, IF ANYONE NEEDS THE 125 THIS IS THE PLACE TO GET IT. CONTACT: DEAN FORD OR JERRY SUMMERS FOR ANY HELP REQUIRED... THIS STORE WILL DELIVER TO ANYWHERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CALL TODAY 2/8/00 !!! OR A.S.A.P. ...THEY WILL SHIP IT TO YOU... CONTACT NUMBER : (336) 852-3877...
Subject: ETX 125 optics Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 11:08:46 From: Dave.Hodny@lawson.com After reading Rob Elgert's comments I just had to reply. I short while ago I might have agreed with his remarks. But After spending some careful time recollimating my 125's optics it's producing the most superb images I've seen in any catadioptic scope. The other night the air was very calm and I pushed it to 600X. Star images could not have been more textbook perfect. I have looked through several Celestron and Meade Schmidt Cassegrains and have never seen star images near as good. This superior ability of Maksutov Cassegrain optics is why I selected the ETX125 over the Nexstar 5. I won't try support Meade for the 125's mount quality. I don't think anyone could claim its a nice solid mount with no opportunity for improvement. Meade can deserve criticism for the mount. But let's give criticism where it's due and credit where it's due. The Meade ETX125 does indeed have superior, superb optics, just as does its little brother the ETX90.
Subject: Response to recent Critism of the ETX-125 Sent: Monday, February 7, 2000 04:02:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank Goldner) Since Rob Elgert, in two recent notes, appears bent on scaring readers -- especially new ones -- in addition to venting his frustration, I felt a supportive note was necessary. I have had an ETX-125 since last summer and, with all its shortcomings noted on this site, have had a wonderful experience with this product. A good part of my positive experience has been the information on this web site; one doesn't feel alone. A great example is the recent comments on the focuser: one posting noted a disturbing squeal, and a quick response noted how to deal with it. These two notes show the tremendous value such a site has -- if it is viewed positively. Because of these two notes, I feel more comfortable that I will be able to deal with the focuser when I get it. As for the telescope's shortcoming, there are some, but the joy of seeing what the scope can do well is immense, including: - quick use, once one is familiar with setting-up the scope. It took me several months to get to this point, including the finding and use of a reliable tripod from JMI; - ease of use in a polluted city suburb, permitting me to find objects I never dreamed I could; - great optics for visual observation and moon photography; on my office wall I have an 18 inch blowup of the moon whose resolution is so good (I used 100ASA color print film at prime focus) I have received many complements on what is possible with the ETX. - and most important, when I'm set up, its a great pleasure to find objects and simply look for decent times without constant tracking adjustments -- especially the moon, wow!. Regarding the last point, about a year ago I had a tumor operation in my head (non-malignant acoustic neuroma) and needed many months to recover significantly. Even though it was painful to use the ETX when I got it in July (without a tripod I had to bend a lot to align the scope) the pleasure of using it, even for brief periods, was highly therapeutic. Also, I became befriended with another purchaser in my area who, in addition to those using this site positively, also aided to my great pleasure of working with this product. So, to all who read criticisms, and may be nervous as to what to do, I say don't be afraid, just be informed and find, or make, a support group, such as is possible with this great site. With the proper attitude, you can have much pleasure with the ETX-125. My scope is back to Meade for upgrading or exchange; I don't know when I'll get it back. But who cares. I know when I get it back, I plan to enjoy it in spite of its shortcoming. Like in a marriage, pleasurable anticipation can do wonders. Best regards, and thanks, to this site and all who take the time to express the experiences -- both good and bad. Frank Goldner, Bethesda, Md. Fgoldner@worldnet.att.net
Subject: 2nd ETX Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 19:46:33 From: Crazycrut@aol.com First, thanks for all of your work in starting and maintaining this site. For the past 2 years I have had an excellent time with my old ETX-90RA. Got lots of info and ideas from your site and the many other users. This year I decided to take the next upgrade into a better scope. I looked at the TeleVue Pronto/Ranger....good optics, smaller aperture, no computer, no mount, just not right! Looked at the 6 in. Russian Intes/Orion MakNewt....looks excellent but no computer, expensive mount....figured it might be the next upgrade when and if they get a computer and a reasonable priced mount for it. Looked at Meade's LX10 and LX50 but by the time I had what I wanted it was double or triple what I wanted to spend this time around. Looked at the NextStar....optics not as good as Mak, short battery life, computer not as user friendly, a close second though. I considered some of the negative comments in the reviews about the newer ETX's but remembered the same types of reviews against the old ETX-90RA that were in the old feedback files ... but you know, the only problem I had was a broken fork arm from shipping and Meade customer service let me keep the old one in after I explained to them that I had glued the broken one together and wanted to keep the scope for an upcoming trip into the Canadian Canoe Boundary Waters (What a fantastic place to observe the sky from!). I wanted to use it until a replacement arrived and didn't want to send the whole scope back. Fork arm was received before I returned from the trip, was replaced by me (easy fix) and the ETX has performed admirably since then. In addition, Meade customer service called me and made sure that I had successfully replaced the broken one and was happy. Well, last week I got my new ETX 125EC. I stopped into a Natural Wonders store on a Saturday in one of the malls and put my name on their list. Figured I would end up waiting quite a while. Surprise, got a call the next Monday stating that if I prepaid for the ETX that Meade would send one out immediately. Plopped my money down and got a call on Friday that it was in. Whew.....fast. Rushed home after work and opened the box. WOW! is it bigger than my old ETX-90RA. 7 lbs. vs 17 lbs. Can't just pick it up with one hand and walk to the hilltop...have to cradle it in my arms like a new baby. No crying so far from the new baby however.....collimation was correct, no shipping damage, no random skewing, AutoStar v.1.3 works smarter than I ever did on my own....all-in-all I am happy again. For mounting I have 2 methods. I have a very heavy duty Bogen 3058 tripod with a custom made (Ax-Man Surplus and True Value Hardware) wedge. I use this for portable viewing locations. I also put in a 6" x 6" treated post this last summer through the floor of my lower deck. The post is not attached to the deck so that vibration transfer isn't a problem and because the "pier" is permanent I don't have to reset my polar alignment each night. I just wanted to add a positive review to assure others that all is not lost. For the price the ETX line is still an excellent value and we need to remember not to ask too much for our $1050. My ETX experiences are getting me more involved and interested in astronomy and that is the goal I started out for 2 1/2 years ago. Thanks Mike and Meade!
Subject: ETX-125 Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 08:39:56 From: email@example.com (John Hanover) I have read with interest Rob Elgert's reports on the ETX125. No telescope is perfect and the 125 is far from it. However,I think your readers should also hear from some of us in the "silent majority" (or minority). I have been an amateur astronomer for about 35 years and have owned numerous scopes including catadioptics, refractors and reflectors. I have owned the ETX-125 since July 1999. I returned the original scope for the "upgrade" although I was really having no problems with it. In fact, the scope greatly exceeded my expectations. The returned scope has excellent optics and only occassionally exhibits the random slewing problem. This really isn't a problem since it is very sporadic and is easily remedied by a few taps on the autostar to recenter. The autostar is very accurate if used with a wide eyepiece like the Televue 40. This produces a 1 degree field and makes the scope roughly equivalent to the ETX 90EC or the Nexstar with a 26 Plossl. The fork arms are not as robust as those I have used on a Celestar, or Meade LX series. They are also apparently not as stable as the one-armed wonder on the C5 and Nextstar. However, with the Scopetronix flexifocus installed (my first purchased accessory) the fork arms are adequate for visual work up to 300X. The standard knob is fine for low power deep sky objects at low power 50-70X. Astrophotography is easy for the planets, moon and sun at prime focus. I assume the piggyback mounts available would allow decent widefield shots although I do not own this accessory. As the Sky and Telescope review pointed out, telescopes are tools to look through; any design involves compromises. He stated that the ETX-125 might be the compromise for you. I agree with this assessment. A few additional points: 1. The ETX-125 is not completely dependent upon a computer to drive it. Thus, power utlization can be minimized on the ETX-125. In fact, I would suggest that beginners hold off on adding the Autostar as an accessory right away. I used the telescope for several months without it. The hand controller that comes with the unit is great! With the tabletop legs you have a very portable unit that uses very little power. I also like the bearings (clutches) allowing one to use the telescope as a small dobsonian should the batteries give out. 2. The ETX-125 has reasonably accurate setting circles. I my humble opinion, this makes the scope superior to the Nexstar for beginners. Many generations of amateurs (including me) have learned the night sky in this way. I often use the scope with the setting circes and with an accuracy close to that of the autostar. 3. The ETX-125 is very portable. With tabletop legs and all, I fit mine into an Orion soft case which easily qualifies as a carry-on bag. With this setup, you can get the thing quickly polar aligned or use it in alt-azimuth mode on that ubiquitous camp-site picnic table. I love it! In my opinion, the 5" is a perfect size. 4. The optics are excellent. Like all cats, for critical planetary viewing, you need to allow thermal equibration. But for most other objects, I think this is great quick look scope. Both of my scopes were well collimated. In my opinion the central obstruction issue has been overblown. Although contrast is certainly not as good as on a quality 4" refractor, many planetary details are seen. Perhaps I have been lucky, but I am pleased with the optical design of the ETX-125. The long focal length allows better views of the planets at the expense of field. However, no 5" scope is going to be great for faint deep sky objects in any case. Thank you, Mike for providing this resource. John John Hanover jah@Helix.nih.gov
Subject: Eyepieces, portability and Autostar Sent: Friday, February 4, 2000 14:21:14 From: Roy_Abitbol@nas.adp.com Like so many others, I'd like to thank you for the informative website...it's probably saved me no end of frustration. I have miscellaneous questions regarding the ETX 125EC: 1. I currently own the 26mm Plossl (supplied) and a 126 Barlow. I've played around with a TeleVue Panoptic loaned to me by my brother, and am looking for advice/reviews on the Meade SWA or UWA line of eyepieces. I'd rather spend the $$ on good wide-angle eyepiece, as it really seems to enhance the viewing experience...any suggestions? 2. Basic question on portability: I've got my ETX 125 mounted on the Meade field tripod, after a good deal of trouble (could they make it any harder to mount?). I'm not taking that beast off of the tripod until every last amp has been drained out of the batteries. My question: I'd like to take the scope and tripod (mounted) along with me in the back seat (properly padded, of course). What should I watch out for besides the obvious (potholes, speed bumps, other cars, etc.)? I'd hate to throw the optics out of alignment after reading the nightmare stories of people trying to collimate these scopes. 3. My Autostar is subject to what I guess is called "runaway slewing", i.e., when I try to align on Sirius the scope elevates to the right altitude, then slews along the azimuth until it hits the hard stop and sits there whining pathetically until I shut Autostar off. My Autostar version out of the box is 1.2. I'm going to try updating the version this weekend to 2.0e with the A20 installer available from their website. Any suggestions? You can respond to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again! Clear skies, RoyMike here: On the random slewing problem, you should call Meade. They may play "20 questions" with you to determine the symptoms and likely culprit. Then they will tell you whether it is the ETX, the Autostar, or both that needs to be returned to Meade, OR neither (just update the Autostar).
Subject: ETX-125 Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 21:45:05 From: KRDomingue@aol.com I have ordered the 125 through Natural Wonders and should be getting it in about 2 weeks. I am really looking forward to it. I am now trying to decide on purchasing the tripod. I am a little concerned with what I have been reading about the standard recommended field tripod. It sounds as it my not be stable enough for a scope of this size. Has anybody tried the tripod for the Meade LX-10? Will this work? Are there any issues with using this tripod with the ETX-125? I have looked in your tripod section, but I see no mention of this tripod. I really enjoyed reading everything on your sight. It has been real helpful. For those interested, I read that Meade has a fix for the vibration problem in the ETX-125 and will repair/upgrade (for free) any 125 manufactured before August 1999. ThanksMike here: The ETX-125EC can now be mounted on a more heavy duty tripod from Meade. Contact Meade or your dealer for more details.
Subject: Re: ETX125 Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 11:28:19 From: email@example.com (Rob\Karen Elgert) Hey Mike: I just had to write back regarding my letter of January 29 that you posted on February 1. By the morning of February 2 (the next day) I had 17 responses on the letter. To my surprise, not one of them had a favorable thing to say about the ETX125 or Meade for that matter. I realize that people who have trouble generally complain louder but you gotta wonder if 100% of the letters I received were negative. Some of these people have wisely pointed out that Meades seems to have traded in its image of a company that care about its customers, to a company that cares only about the bottom line. I realize that the ETX125 is very popular but it is a beginner scope. Many novices will purchase it and not comprehend the inadequacies untill they have owned the scope for a little while. Then they are stuck with them and a bad taste in their mouths for both astronomy, and Meade. Many of the people who wrote me said they would never purchase another Meade product again and that they would never recommend this scope or Meade products to someone else. 17 responses in one night Mike! This is alot bigger than you (or Meade) thinks. If Meade is not careful, this is going to turn into the DeLorean event of the amateur astronomy community. And we all know what happened to John DeLorean. This is still a great site - keep up the great work! Rob ElgertMike here: Did anyone comment on your statement "The optics are mediocre (according to the Sky and Telescope review)."? I'd still like to know where that is. I searched their web version and couldn't find the word "mediocre". I'm just trying for accuracy.
A final note: Rob and I have had an extensive side discussion. The S&T review does not describe the optics as "mediocre". In fact, the review on their web site site states "Careful testing showed that both 125ECs featured excellent optics." Some users (like Rob) disagree with this assessment.
Subject: Re: ETX125 Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 11:28:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob\Karen Elgert) Hey Mike: I just had to write back regarding my letter of January 29 that you posted on February 1. By the morning of February 2 (the next day) I had 17 responses on the letter. To my surprise, not one of them had a favorable thing to say about the ETX125 or Meade for that matter. I realize that people who have trouble generally complain louder but you gotta wonder if 100% of the letters I received were negative. Some of these people have wisely pointed out that Meades seems to have traded in its image of a company that care about its customers, to a company that cares only about the bottom line. I realize that the ETX125 is very popular but it is a beginner scope. Many novices will purchase it and not comprehend the inadequacies untill they have owned the scope for a little while. Then they are stuck with them and a bad taste in their mouths for both astronomy, and Meade. Many of the people who wrote me said they would never purchase another Meade product again and that they would never recommend this scope or Meade products to someone else. 17 responses in one night Mike! This is alot bigger than you (or Meade) thinks. If Meade is not careful, this is going to turn into the DeLorean event of the amateur astronomy community. And we all know what happened to John DeLorean. This is still a great site - keep up the great work! Rob Elgert
Subject: Re: electric focuser Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 07:08:15 From: email@example.com (Joe Cota) Well, the noise on the electric focuser came to an end last nite after about an hour of use. I think it self destructed. It no longer grinds, just a fast whirling sound, and the main drive gear no longer spins. The drive mechanism within the unit must have been defective, so I'll have to return it, but I might try opening it up anyhow tonight, since it is already broken anyhow. ----- Original Message ----- Subject: electric focuser > Hi Joe, > I have an electric focuser on anETX 90 and it's so quiet that I can't > hear it run. > > Forrest > Big Bear, CA.And some info:
From: Glenn_Dunlap@lotus.com (Glenn Dunlap/CAM/Lotus) I saw Joe Cota's post about his electric focuser squealing and think I know the reason and the solution. The electric focuser is attached to the scope by means of 1 bolt. Tightening this bolt down too hard can apparently cause the focuser to become ever so slightly 'canted' resulting in the gears not meshing quite right and thus the squealing sound. I know because I had the exact same thing happen to me. I backed the screw off until it was just barely snug and the squealing disappeared. The instructions do say to be careful not to overtighten the bolt, but what it really should say it just barely snug it up. Hope this helps, GlennAnd one more:
From: billcrow@HiWaay.net (Bill Crow) Great site, I received my ETX-125 about 3 months ago and your site has been a wealth of information. Just wanted to start off by saying that I like my ETX very much. I have had no problems at all with the Telescope itself and believe it was an excellent choice for a beginner like myself. Meade has a long way to go with their software though, some of the worse code I have ever used. The main reason for my message was to respond to Joe Cota's squealing auto focuser message. I also had a problem with the unit squealing. I found that if I loosened the screws the noise went away. I solved the problem by taking the focuser apart and placing four plastic washers between the two pieces of the auto focuser case (one at each screw). It took a little bit of a magic act to keep them in place until the screws were back in place, but my focuser works now with no squeals. Thanks again for the site Bill
Subject: ETX-125 Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 06:15:56 From: Neutron_Jockey@usa.net (Art Stithem) I have been following your site for about 6 months now, shortly after I ordered my ETX-125. After many months of patient waiting, and bugging the Discovery store only a few times, I finally received it in late November. In the mean time, based on all the discussion on your web site, I was able to obtain the additional items necessary to ensure that I would have the best experience with the 125 (tripod leg locks, electric focuser, etc.), and I was aware that I needed to update the Autostar to the latest BIOS. The information shared on your web site has been invaluable. I haven't been able to use the scope much since I received it, but so far it is perfect. The collimation is flawless, and the electric focuser does indeed eliminate hand induced vibrations. Contrary to a lot of opinions I've seen of the last six months, the plastic support arms are sufficiently rigid to support the scope with no problems. Plastic may not appeal to the senses, but it is up to the job. The only complaint I have is that, as Joe Cota said, the electric focuser squeals. This apparently seems to be normal, but it is a little disconcerting at first. Otherwise, the scope is wonderful and I have no complaints. Jupiter and Saturn are especially impressive. When I get the time, I'm going to build a peltier cooled CCD camera for it (see www.gti.net/pryczek). I have all the parts, just not the opportunity. Art Stithem
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