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ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 July 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:	 Arbitrary Slewing Problem
Sent:	Sunday, July 30, 2000 17:18:33
From:	art50@mindspring.com (Art Freeman)
    The following is an Email I just sent to Meade Corp. concerning a
problem experienced at a club star party last night.  It appears the
problem may lie with the #497 Autostar Controller.  However, I am no
expert on this and have asked for assistance from Meade Engineering.

    Just thought you may like to post this Email or portion there of in
case others are having a similar problem.  Will do a follow-up just as
soon as Meade Engineering finds out what has caused this problem and
what they did to fix it.

    Love your ETX site!

Art Freeman

------------------------------------------

Meade Engineering,

    Was given your address as contact for problems I am experiencing
with my "NEW" Meade ETX-125EC telescope.

BACKGROUND:
    Purchased from the Sight & Sound Shop in Tennessee, via Internet
order on June 20, 2000.  Received order on June 28, 2000.  Michael Webb,
owner of the Sight & Sound Shop had to order the ETX-125EC from Meade as
he did not have this model in stock.   Therefore, it was new, right out
of your plant and not a display model.

Meade ETX-125EC Telescope, #497 Autostar Controller and several other
accessories.

    The problems listed below caused us to recalibrate in AltAz, two
star about 10 to 12 times to get through the night at a star partylast
night.

PROBLEMS WITH ETX-125EC OR AUTOSTAR:
1.    Initially, "GOTO" works just fine.  Finds the object my son and I
are requesting.  However, when the Autostar indicates it is through
slewing to the object, we have to wait an additional one to two minutes
before it actually finishes slewing and centers on the object, like M13,
M51 and so on.

2.    The "GOTO" function will only work for about the first three (3)
times of use or objects requested, then it cannot find a requested
object.  Could be as much as 3 to 4 degrees or more off from the object
requested.

3.    After about three (3) or four (4) GOTO's, and after observing an
object for up to 5 minutes, the scope's motors will speed up and will
drop the scope or slew the tube about five (5) degrees in altitude.
Once, after observing Saturn for about 10 minutes, it raised the scope
tube by about thirty (30) degrees in altitude, almost straight up to
Zenith in position.

    Needless to say, this is driving me crazy and having to recalibrate
in AltAz a dozen times in one night is not what I expected from a "BRAND
NEW TELESCOPE".  I suspect the problem may lie with the #497 Autostar
Controller.
    Your assistance in this matter would be "GREATLY APPRECIATED".

--
Art Freeman
mailto:art50@mindspring.com
Civil War Historical Sites, 14th MSM, Cavalry & 5th TN Reg.
http://art50.home.mindspring.com/14thMO.htm
http://art50.home.mindspring.com/5thTN.htm  {OR's Being Transcribed)
Mike here: This problem has been reported on my ETX site. Search for "random" and you'll find some discussions of it. Retraining the drives seem to be the best guidance when it occurs.

Added later:

Called Meade Customer Service today and got a gentleman who told me he
had never heard of the "random slewing" problem before.  "It must be
very rare".  UH!  Right!!!!!!!!

This started my explanation about others who have had their scopes
repaired or replaced as many as 5 or 6 times for this very same problem.
His answer was, "I never heard about that!  Let me check with someone
else."  He came back to the phone about 5 minutes later and said, "Yes,
John said we have the fix for this problem, you need to send your
telescope back for us to repair it."  UH!!!  ECHO!  ECHO!  I seem to
have heard this several times from others who have posted at your site. 
One such person is Gary Honis who has had his telescope replaced or
repaired five times and it is still randomly slewing.  Just spoke to him
via e-mail yesterday.  Then the Meadwe Rep. told me that there must only
be a handful of people with this problem as they sell thousands of this
model without having hardly any reported problems.

Well, it seems that I am getting the usual, "Send it in and we will fix
it" routine which has not worked for anyone else, or so it appears. Ok,
I will send it in "JUST ONCE", but if they do not fix this problem, I
will work on this problem myself as I believe I know what the problem is
that is causing this random slewing.  Just do not wish to void my
warrantee at this point as we only bought it on June 20, 2000.

Whsh me luck with Meade's repair service.  :(

Subject:	 125  vertical lock
Sent:	Wednesday, July 26, 2000 06:32:24
From:	GRhodes@IKON.com (Rhodes, Gary)
wonderful site, keep up the great work..... My vertical lock has gotten
loose... If I tighten it to lock on a planet or star, it drops down
several inches. This is also causing problems with alignment with auto
star.. what is the problem? and how do it fix it?

thanks ,

Gary
Mike here: A possible cause of your problem is that the Right Tube Adapter has failed. This can occur from overtightening of the DEC lock or from a flaw in the material of the RTA. I suggest you contact Meade; they will likely send you a free replacement part. If the replacement procedure is the same as with the ETX-90EC (described at the end of my initial ETX-90EC report), it is fairly simple.

Subject:	 tripods for ETX-12EC'c
Sent:	Friday, July 21, 2000 20:37:50
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
Quite a few questions about the new Meade #887 tripod and accompanying
#889 adapter. I have both of these,and the one article in
accessories-tripods doesn't do it justice. The tripod and wedge(#889
adapter) are stout, but the legs of the tripod are not adjustible in
height,unless you spread them out or tighten them up. This probably
serves 95% of all users,unless your over 6'10" tall. This arrangement
seems to be very satisfactory,and stable. Meade has no photos of this
setup as far as I know. Like I mentioned before, I ordered the #883
delux field tripod,and I waited 2 1/2 months until I received my tripod,
and lo and behold, it was this newby. I can't understand why someone
would have to wait until Aug. to get theirs, but I never expected to get
the new #887 in May either. Oh well.
            Clear dark skies to all
            Tony Bulat

Subject:	 overextending altitude
Sent:	Friday, July 21, 2000 10:45:04
From:	JasonL@tonic360.com (Jason Lakis)
First, I'd like to mention that your site has been a great help to me
with the use of my ETX125. Last night I was setting up using the
Autostar and it found the first star no problem. Then it went to find
Vega and instead of turning and finding, it kept extending the altitude
until the finder was bumping against the arm and then it finally
stopped. Now it seems to work fine but the altitude motor clicks at the
joint. Is this a problem or should I just deal with the clicking and
hope it doesn't happen again?
Thanks much,
Jason

Jason Lakis
Production Artist
TONIC 360
415-733-3323
415-733-0701(F)
Mike here: First, as others have noted, retraining the drives when any oddity occurs can cure said oddity. Give that a try.

Subject:	 Meade ETX-125EC
Sent:	Thursday, July 20, 2000 17:56:43
From:	denali@ptd.net (Judson C. McLester)
I've been interested in purchasing an ETX-125EC for some time and have a
few questions. This is all new to me and I'm not sure what else I'll
need as extras. With the standard equipment can you see the rings around
Saturn? What equipment will I need to take photographs? Can you
recommend a good book to read? I look forward to your response.
Thanks in advance!!
Jud
Mike here: Yes, you can see the Rings of Saturn with the supplied 26mm eyepiece. Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for other accessories to consider, also the various Accessories pages. Check the Book Reviews page for some book suggestions. Subscribing to Astronomy or Sky & Telescope magazine is also a good idea.

Subject:	Tripod?
Sent:	Wednesday, July 19, 2000 06:10:00
From:	EDewald101@aol.com
Can anyone tell me what tripod to use with the ETX-125.  I have not
purchased one yet do to the store personnel telling me that the #883 is
not stable.  Also they said that there is a newer version  of the #883
tripod do out in Aug.  Can anyone give me the scoops on that one.  I
also read somewhere that  you can use one of the tripods used on the LX
series scopes instead of the #883, if so has anyone used it and what is
the opinion of it?

Any guidance would be appreciated from users out in the field, I don't
feel the store personnel know exactly what is going on with the tripods
for the 125's .

Now I wait until I get a tripod to use my scope !!!!
Mike here: Have you read about the new tripod for the ETX-125EC on the Accessories - Tripods page? This is the same tripod as for the LX200 series.

Added later:

I could not find anything on the Meade site about an "Accessories
Tripods" page.  The only tripod it mentions for the 125 is the #883.
Mike here: As far as I know, it is only mentioned in their print ads. There is the review mentioned above.

Subject:	 Meade etx125
Sent:	Tuesday, July 18, 2000 02:29:01
From:	tommeehonda@webtv.net
Hi Mike, as you know I have the 90mm etx. I may be coming into some
money in the fairly new future, and considering buying another scope. I
am serously considering the etx125. The main thing I am wondering about
(and for some reason, it seems there is VERY LITTLE discussion about it
on your website). Is the optics, compared to the 90. I live around alot
of lights, so I mainly just look at the bright planets and the moon,
perhaps a star cluster now and then. I am very happy the way the 90
shows the bright planets and moon, exept perhaps for jupitar. for some
reason it  really doesnt that good of a job on jupitar. My 10inch dob is
much better on Jupitar. But I am wondering how much better does the 125
show saturn, jupitar, the moon, mars, Venus etc.(by the way, mars will
be closer to earth than it has been in 1500 years in 2003!!!! ) Im not
sure of the exact date . How much higher in power can you go, and remain
clear.  Also do you have any info as to how much better it might be for
daytime use? Any information you could provide would be greatly
appreciated.

                               Thanks,  Tom
Mike here: The optics on the -125 are of the same high quality as on the -90. You will have more light gathering power and can go to higher magnifications than with the -90. Obviously you can't go as high or see as faint as with a 10-inch Dob.

Subject:	 ETX 125 vs Nextstar 8
Sent:	Monday, July 17, 2000 08:45:43
From:	Rick.Grelewicz@kellogg.com (Rick Grelewicz)
Do you think the new Nextstar 8 scope is superior to the ETX 125. Some
people tell me the optics on the 125 are superior still but I would like
your opinion on which is the better choice.

Richard Grelewicz
Mike here: I have no experience with the NexStar8. The ETX-90 and -125 models have been noted for their optical quality.

Subject:	 ETX 125
Sent:	Monday, July 17, 2000 01:38:18
From:	hjost@atos-group.com (Jost Hubert)
I have bought an ETX 125 and I would like to know if it is possible to
install a H-ALPHA filter on the ETX-125 ?

I am looking forward for your answer.

Thanks and best regards.

Hubert JOST

Paris
FRANCE
Mike here: Yes, you can use an H-alpha on the ETX-125EC. But they cost a lot.

Subject:	 don't want to confuse your readers.
Sent:	Saturday, July 15, 2000 23:13:00
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
Nice to see your back online. I hope the vacation was everything you
wished for, and more!

A couple of weeks ago, I sent you an E-Mail about my new tripod and
attachment. I searched all over your web-site to see a picture of this
beast. There wasn't much to be found. I was trying to explain how to
phyically align this motha in a polar mode, which the company failed to
do, and I finally had to call and get directions.

Like I said earlier, the correct settup for the polar alighnment is on
page 13 of the ETX instructional for the ETX-125EC. It's confusing at
first, but once you get an idea of what they're talking about, it makes
sense.

The other thing that's interesting is I may be one of the first to have
the #887  advanced field tripod, and #889 adapter(wedge).  This thing
looks like emperial walker from "Star Wars", when it's all set up. But
I'll tell you one thing, it's as stable as a rock.  Somebody from Meade
was listening, the #883 tripod just didn't cut it.

Golly, I hope this makes sense to you and your readers. I searched all
over your website looking for info about my my new toys. I can't express
enough my feelings about the stability and concrete hard viewing I've
had with this new setup.  I would send you a picture, but I don't have a
digital camera to do it justice.
        
            Enuf for tonight,
            Welcome back,
            Tony Bulat
Mike here: Sorry you couldn't find what you were looking for. I know there is currently little about the new tripod from Meade.

Subject:	 Meade ETX125
Sent:	Friday, July 14, 2000 11:57:03
From:	covanbuuren@nvs-verzekeringen.nl (Co van Buuren)
For about a year I've been following the E-mail on your website. I
bought a Meade 4500 a year ago. I knew the ETX90 at that time but I was
(and am) just a beginner in astronomy. After a year I have seen Jupiter
and its moons and other planets. Saturn was so small with my M4500 that
I thought I needed spectacles and I wanted to take the scope outside. I
saw the ETX125 and it 'reviews' on your site. At first it brought me
disappointment (all the problems I read) and then I got enthousiastic
about it. I went to a store in The Netherlands (Europe) wher they charge
$ 1350 for just the Scope! I have learned on your site it costs about $
900 in America. Do you think if it's possible to buy it in the States?
Do you (or anyone) have an address?

Thanks for your attention and keep up the good work with your site.
(Maybe it is a good idea to launch a Dutch one?)

Co van Buuren
Mike here: Glad you like the site. Purchasing stuff outside of your country can create more problems than it might be worth. If you need warranty work you can end up spending more than the system would have cost you. Unfortunately we are a long ways from a Global Economy.

Subject:	 Gave up
Sent:	Friday, July 7, 2000 15:20:59
From:	dancin@flash.net (Dan Odom)
Mike, thanks for the great site on the ETX.  I have read the site for a
very long time and finally gave in and bought a ETX125EC.  When it
arrived I was disappointed to find that the light shield inside the
front lens was glued on crooked, or perhaps it slipped in transit.  I
sent the scope back, the second scope arrived and seemed to be in fine
condition, but I had trouble trying to get a good focus with the 10mm
eye piece I purchased.  I read about the star test and found that the
collimation of the scope was pretty far off.  I couldn't adjust that at
home so I sent it back again.  The third time it came back and the light
shield was completely off and rolling around inside the OTA!  That was
enough.  I sent it back and canceled the order.  I have since bought a
NexStar 5 inch which works just great.  I have to admit that I liked the
bells and whistles on the Autostar hand controller more than the
NexStar5 handcontroller, but it works just fine and the views are great.

I'll continue to visit your site, its much better than any of the
NexStar sites.

Subject:	Drive Slews on ETX-125EC
Sent:	Thursday, July 6, 2000 19:06:09
From:	VARGAMOM9@aol.com
I seem to be having a problem with my 125 similar to the problem
discribed by one of the other guys.  The problem is after I slew to a
star from the GOTO the scope hits the target perfectly, waits a few
seconds and then drives off in ALT for about 9 seconds and then begins
to track.  Meade said it was the Autostar, so I exchanged mine
(Discovery Store is excellent by the way) reloaded the V2.0h software
and the problem stays the same.  Any ideas? I hate to go through the
process of sending it back if the scope is not the problem.
                     Reg

Mike here: Some have "cured" the problem by retraining the drive (which you should do when you exchange the Autostar or update the software) whenever the random slew occurs. Others think the problem is battery or AC power related. There may in fact by different culprits at work here.

Subject:	 easier way to focus
Sent:	Thursday, July 6, 2000 14:40:40
From:	jerry@etv.net (Jerry Carolson)
how do I use A cloths line pin to focus the etx-125 thank you for your
help.
Mike here: You need a large size pin and then clamp it around the ETX focusing knob instead of clamping on a clothes line.

Subject:	EXT125
Sent:	Tuesday, July 4, 2000 23:16:04
From:	Piranha9d9@cs.com
im sorry for bothering you, its just im so exited.

I finnaly tested it out, awsome, tho i though i wantent as powerful as i
thought untill i figured that the 2 stars i was viewing where not the 2
i was meaning to, it was the north star and non-eye visible star not the
bright one north of it. Something like that. And i was using a 26mm
eyepeice. Stupid me. Its a great scope, easy to use. Just cant wait till
i start using my Autostar.

My point is, i want to be able to see things like cluster galexies ect..
but dont now which lens to buy.  I have 26mm and the 2x barlow lens. I
do now alot about telescopes, but i think its better to get answters
from a user of the scope reather then a company, you know how they alway
make thing 10 times better then what it seems.

Also, could you do me a small favor by recording the sound of the 4
different speed on the EXT125. Cause it sound odd on mine, or does it
spose to sound odd. Not the first 2 ,just the slowest and when its
stopped.

Thanks. Sorry to bother you.
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Comments and the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some comments on eyepieces. I have the 26mm, a 9.7mm, a 40mm, a 2X Barlow, and a wide-field-adapter. Those satisfy me for now. As to the sound from the drives, if by "odd" you mean some starting and stopping, this is normal when operating in Alt/Az mode. Each drive does not constantly run like the Right Ascension drive would when in Polar mode. They start and stop (or slow down, speed up) as necessary to compensate for the Earth's rotation. By the way, it is "ETX" not "EXT".

Subject:	EXT125
Sent:	Monday, July 3, 2000 10:47:55
From:	Piranha9d9@cs.com
how clear are galaxies thought the EXT125?

thanks

Piranha9d9@cs.com
Mike here: Galaxies are typically small faint objects although some are brighter than others. With really dark skies you can see some "detail" (shadings, dark areas, shapes) when viewing some of the brighter and larger galaxies. Just don't expect to see the same image with your eyes that you see in long duration astrophotographs. This is true when using almost any size telescope, even the ETX-125EC.

Added later:

so your saying galaxies if there bright youll be able to see the shape 
(no camera, just viewing it with your eye) if its dark enough.

I got alot of question because i decided to buy the EXT125 yesterday.
i know alot to buy it but i just wanted info from a person who owns it
for first hand info.
Thanks.
Mike here: "Shape" is a deceptive term when applied to galaxies and gaseous nebula. Sky conditions, the object's size and surface brightness, optics used, the degree of dark adaptation your eyes have reached, and your brain's interpretation of what your eye sees all play a factor in what you "see".

Subject:	 ETX125 Dec friction
Sent:	Monday, July 3, 2000 07:02:22
From:	andrewj@netvigator.com (Andrew Jackson)
I was looking at my ETX 125 and noticed that it was possible to position
the scope in the Dec axis and leave it in position without tightening
the Dec lock. My ETX 90  has no friction unless locked. My question
comes from some concern that the ETX 125 Dec motor may be under some
stress due to friction. Although pointing is usually excellent it has
slipped in the Dec axis on one occasion when pointing up (north).

I was wondering how other peoples ETX 125 Dec axis were friction free
with no lock or do they remain in position like mine.

Andrew
andrewj@netvigator.com
Mike here: Do you mean that if you completely loosen the DEC lock and move the OTA to a 45 degree altitude position it will stay at 45 degrees? If so I suspect there is something that is not releasing, causing the friction to not decrease or you just have a tight DEC lock that will loosen over time with use. I don't believe there would be any drive stress in this case.

Added later:

You are correct Mike. The OTA will just sit there at 45 degrees. The ETX
90 does not, it flops back down as expected.

Thanks for the re-assurances
And:
The next question is it broke should I fix it? or just leave it be?.
Perhaps I will wait and see if any of your other readers have the same
'problem'.
Mike here: I don't recall anyone reporting this type of problem with either the ETX-90EC or ETX-125EC.

Subject:	 etx125 eyepiece problem
Sent:	Sunday, July 2, 2000 17:10:15
From:	oliver.m@virgin.net (oly)
I have just purchased the Meade Series 4000 6.4 eyepiece for my ETX-125.
However, after giving it a test run last night, I found getting objects
in focus incredibly difficult. In fact, I don't think I saw anything as
clear as I should have. I have not yet purchased the Autostar so I don't
know exactly what I was looking at, but I was picking out a variety of
stars in the sky, none of which I could look at properly. It was a clear
and fairly cool night, but maybe atmospheric disturbance was to blame?
Could I possibly have a faulty eyepiece or is this a common problem?
Also, will the power this eyepiece gives me (x297) be ok to view
galaxies, planets etc. in detail?
Mike here: Perhaps the focus shaft is not moving as far as it needs to move to reach a focus with your eyepiece. You can loosen the setscrew on the side of the focus knob and slide the knob a little further out on the shaft. Retighten the screw. Use caution so that the shaft does not slip inside the tube; keep the telescope pointing upwards while making this adjustment. Let me know if this helps.

Subject:	125etx stability
Sent:	Sunday, July 2, 2000 01:13:20
From:	RSDKIRK2@aol.com
I was just writing to address the stability issues that some people are
writing about with their 125s. I too had these problems with my scope so
I did three things. The first thing that I did was I permanently mounted
my adapter plate to the tripod by drilling four holes through both the
plate and the mount and then bolting them together. This helped a great
deal, and it makes it a heck of a lot easier to mount the thing. The
second thing I did was to purchase the leg clamps from Scopetronix.
These clamps made a huge difference in the stability of my tripod. I
also purchased electric focuser that works extremely well for me.

Now when I get to take my scope out (which isn't too often because these
clouds will not go away!!!) I experience almost no vibrations. I hope
that these tips will help out.

Thanks for the sight Mike, it has helped out a lot.

Clear skies
R. Scott  Davis

Subject:	 General Pricing Question
Sent:	Saturday, July 1, 2000 09:44:27
From:	telgroup@ix.netcom.com (MAP)
I am thinking about purchasing a ETX 125EC and stumbled upon your site.
You've done a wonderful job and I appreciate the work you've put into
it.

I am curious to see what the average ETX 125EC should cost (basic
price).  There's one up on Ebay right now for $845 (or whatever the
auction ends up).  I haven't been able to find pricing other than this.

Many thanks,

Marty
Mike here: It lists for $895 (without the Autostar or tripod). Discounting on new scopes is rare except for sales.

Subject:	 couple of things that some folks may find interesting
Sent:	Friday, June 30, 2000 21:10:57
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
Mike,

I saw a couple of questions on your ETX-125EC feedback page I found
interesting and just maybe I could help someone. I do not profess to
have your knowledge, or anything close, but the questions hit close to
home, I offer my humble ideas.

One person wrote he was having trouble focusing his new ETX-125EC
telescope. I too had that problem initially. What I did was simply turn
the focus knob clockwise until it began to get tight(and I mean
lightly). Then, I began to rotate the knob counterclockwise very slowly,
and a lot further than I thought prudent, and viola, the perfect focus.
This worked perfectly on terrestial objects,as well as the moon with
26mm,20mm and 15mm eyepieces. In fact, the amount of change between
eyepieces was minimal, less than a quarter turn.

The second thing that comes right out blaring at you is the problems
folks are having with stability using the #883 Delux Field Tripod. Even
though this is what I orderd in March 2000, it was not what I recieved.
I had to wait for over 2 1/2 months for my tripod and it was the #887
Advanced Field Tripod with the corresponding #889 Tripod Adapter. This
combination is very sturdy,repeat,very sturdy. The new adapter is
essentialy a wedge and allows for fairly quick and easy polar
alighnment, in the physical sense. Its also fairly easy to remove and
change to the alt-az mode. It can be done by a single person, but two
people make it a cinch in less than 2 min. The really nice thing about
this set- up is 3 large knob screws,plus 1 big screw in the base break
the whole thing down for transport in less than 3 min.

Last but not least, how to get a fairly good polar alignment. Meade does
not do this subject justice. Setting the #887 adapter(wedge) to the
proper latitude is first. Mounting the scope and forks in the proper
orientation is 2nd. The instructional manual for the ETX has the proper
set-up on page 13(this shows a table mount). The key here is the forks,
and the scope point to the north star, the declination is set at 90
degrees, meaning the forks and the Optical Tube Assembly(OTA) are
pointed at the north star. The instructions tell you how you release the
Right Ascention(RA) lock, rotate counterclockwise unti it starts to
bind, and rotate clockwise until the fork is over the control ports and
lock it back down. Now you're ready for business. Use the easy alighn
process, but make sure you're in the Polar Mode(under mount)first.

This took me awhile to find out, and Meade wasn't exactly the best place
to go. I got the feeling I was pissing this guy off and wasting his
time. Hope they read this site, be cause this good company could become
great if they just listened more.

            Enufs Enuf,
            Clear skiies to all
            Tony Bulat

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