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ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 29 February 2000

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


Subject:	 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
golczewski@rdaconsultants.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.

Added later:

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:	dcgrafix@island.net (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:	dcgrafix@island.net (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 Dan
Mike 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,

Linda
Mike 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:	constons@kaisere.com (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.htm
Mike 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:	ourbabe2usa@netscape.net (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:	fgoldner@worldnet.att.net (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:	rseymour@wolfenet.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:	ourbabe2usa@netscape.net (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
golczewski@rdaconsultants.com
Mike 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.

Added later:

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.

And:

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:	jussi.myllyluoma@dd.se (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.

Added later:

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:	saandman@email.msn.com (Franck)
this is franck again, i forgot to ask.  which would you suggest, the
ext90 or the 125
Mike 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:	mwaltz@execpc.com (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:	isochronos@yahoo.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.

Added later:

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:	m_konrad@net-art.de (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: kar-ma@gmx.net


   +................. 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:	gary-davis@juno.com (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:	tompilot@zbzoom.net (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 You
Mike 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:	ghonis@epix.net (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
ghonis@epix.net
http://members.tripod.com/~ghonis/

Subject:	 ETX-125 Baffle
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 23:05:59
From:	fritz.strube@sympatico.ca (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.
  fritz.strube@sympatico.ca
Mike here: I have my doubts that would work.

Subject:	 Re: ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 15:43:26
From:	relgert@datanet.ab.ca (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:	rbrrobledo@hotmail.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:	fgoldner@worldnet.att.net (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:	jah@helix.nih.gov (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 roy_abitbol@mindspring.com.  Thanks again!

Clear skies,

Roy
Mike 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.

Thanks
Mike 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:	relgert@datanet.ab.ca (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
Mike 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:	relgert@datanet.ab.ca (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:	jacota@earthlink.net (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,
Glenn
And 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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