ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK - JULY 1999
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the original ETX model, ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC are posted on other pages as appropriate. 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.
Mike here: Several of the following messages talk about the Celestron NexStar5 versus the Meade ETX-125EC. Some buyers report that they have cancelled their orders for the ETX-125EC and placed orders for the NexStar5. That is their choice and I hope they will be happy with their decision. Since this site is for ETX support and not for general small telescope support, I encourage anyone wanting to share their decisions and experiences with non-ETX telescopes to post them on more appropriate sites and/or newsgroups. Thanks.
Subject: 125 collimation problems fixed Sent: Saturday, July 31, 1999 17:41:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank Delle) From what I have been reading about the 125 there seems to be two main problems: 1) Ihe focuser internal mechanism is exactly the same as in the 90, hence the tolerances have increased with the size of the materials. I took the darn thing apart and I believe the entire problem could be taken care of with a tiny grommet that would tighten the tolerances of the rod moving the backplate of the primary mirror. The tiny notch in the plate where the rod moves the plate up and down is a bit too large allowing the primary mirror mechanism rock back and forth with every change of direction. The thread through the OTA backplane is actually well machined and doesn't indicate any tolerances. 2) While I was at it taking the unit apart, I looked at the laquer sealed screws on the back plate. These seem to be the adjustment screws that control the collimation alignment. I have confirmed that the center of the test diffraction rings are slightly skewed off towards 5 o'clock in regular viewing mode through the exit mirror. When observing bright stars I noticed a slight flare or shimmer around the edge of the star on the opposite side (11 o'clock) to where I found the center of the diffraction rings. This may have beed the result of the misalignment. Nothing's worse to me than having doubts about scope alignments. So I decided to take matters in my own hands and instead of shipping the scope back to Meade, I opted to make my own adjustments: There are 3 pairs of laquer sealed screws on the ETX backplate, one of each pair appears to be an adjustment screw, the other holding one the plate in place. When looking through the scope through a visual back and eyepiece, the misalignment appeared close to 11 o'clock. That's almost exactly where the top alignment screws are positioned. On that alignment screw I started out with a 1/4 turn in reverse direction guessing that the alignment was too tight and immediately noticed improvement. Adding another 1/4 reverse turn did the trick. Each time I slid the OTA in and out of it's housing and back in to check the effect with a test star. Doing this trial and error adjustment I ended up with 100% perfectly centered diffraction rings and no flares on perfectly focused stars. You need steady hands for this procedure ! Granted, this method is a bit unscientific, but I tend to think that you would only have to perform a slight adjustment to the factory setting which in my case it was worth the effort. No return shipment needed any I guess I'll treat myself to a decent collimation tool next ! What kind of hobby would astronomy be without having to tweak or tinker with the equipment ? Meade ETX equipment seems perfectly suited for this. I'll tackle the focuser next .... Good luck with your 125's. -frankMike here: Be aware that doing what Frank describes would likely violate the warranty.
Subject: ETX-125/EC vs NexStar5 Sent: Saturday, July 31, 1999 15:13:45 From: email@example.com (William Cornett) I wanted a 125 sooooo bad. But several messages on your site and few others ran off from even thinking about this unit. Then I found out about the NexStar5 and learned about it. I cancelled my order for the 125 and placed one for the NexStar5. I posted the quoted message to the Meade ETX discussion forum and several people told me to post it here. It is hard but factual and not flamatory or biased. "I ordered my 125 with accessories a month ago from Pocono West Optics. I cancelled my order last week when I read almost a half dozen messages from owners who had just received their 125 who had ordered in March. It would seem that they all suffered focus problems which led one to believe that collimation was out of whack. But what was really scarry was that on all accounts, there appeared to major colour aberations not only in the purple range but hints of orange as well. Not to mention some vignetting at the edges....THIS IS INCORRECTLY FIGURED OPTICS!!! there is no fixing this on optics this small. I also heard mention of the OTA being to heavy for the ABS fork so much that images had the jitters that could not be controlled. The NexStar5 on the other hand does indeed use a "venerable" OTA.....FANTASTIC!!! This is the EXACT OTA that is used on the C-5, G-5 and + series except for the titanium finish. This OTA has LOOOOOOOOONG since had its little tweeks ironed out. The "5" seires of Celestron scopes have been selling like hot cakes and people have been loving them tender and loving them true. The only thing the "5" series had lacked until now was bells and whistles....and here it is... The reason that Maks tend to be so awesome is basically due to a side effect of their design. Their design is so radical that three criteria must be met for them to function. 1. the absolute best materials must be used. 2. the best precision must be used in the construction of their parts and figuring of their optics. 3. assembly of the OTA must occur with OUT incident. The error tolerance for the Mak design is so low that if any of these three criteria fail to be met at any time, the value of the OTA is worth little more then the current going scrap value for aluminum and pyrex. Meade overreached their production capability and messed up. These first 125's are a complete DISASTER. When they get them fixed; the 125 OTA will be on an even par with Intes Mirco OTA's of equal size but they will allways be crippled by a mounts that was blessed by some of the most ingenious functions and ideas to date, but MURDERED by the worst engineers currently employed to make anything but department store telescopes. I recently ordered a NexStar5 for $1199 U.S. It comes WITH an GOTO controller with 16,000 object database AND an RS-232 pport for software upgrading of the rom software ($150 option for ETX and only 12,000 objects.) An AC and DC adapter ($29.95 option for ETX, DC only.) A software cable for the Rs-232 port with software (a $49.95 option for ETX WHEN Meade decides to release it, only cable currently available at $29.99) An All aluminum fork and mount system that does not get in the way of the OTA at a meager 35 Lat. like BOTH ETX's do. (Not optiional on ETX at any price) All options included with the NexStar5 bring the cost of the ETX-125 to a round figure of $1080. That puts the NexStar5 at $120 above the ETX-125. Count in the the 4,000+ extra entries ont eh database and an actual FULL size 2" adapter for accessories on the back of the OTA AND ALL aluminum construction and I believe that the Extra $120 paid for the device brings it in the vicinity of a "Criminal" steal!!!"
Subject: Only 20 ETX-125 shipped so far? Sent: Friday, July 30, 1999 15:23:35 From: Jim.Howard.-ND@disney.com (Howard, Jim -ND) You and your web site fans will probably be interested in this tidbit of information. I've been having an e-mail chat with Astronomics with regard to my order of an ETX-125/EC (I'm number 73 on a list of 430 orders). They said that as of 07/19/99 they had received 10 of the 20 total scopes that Meade has shipped. Twenty total scopes have shipped! If this is true, I think we've all got a long wait ahead of us - and I hope the delay is to improve the quality of the scopes in production. Jim Howard Imaging & Effects Walt Disney Imagineering
Subject: ETX-125 dealer allocations Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 22:47:51 From: LHSudduth@worldnet.att.net (Lawrence Sudduth) I will second the comments posted today re the allocation of units to dealers. I talked with Astronomics this afternoon and they implied that their first shipment (received on the 19th) was only 10 telescopes, and they had received none since then. They said that they do expect to start receiving scopes about once a week, maybe a few more than 10 a week but not much more for a few month. Also, I am moving up on the waiting list, indicating to me that a number of people are having second thoughts after hearing reports about QC problems with early deliveries and are canceling their orders. And, again, thanks for a great site Mike.
Subject: Meade ETX-125EC vs Celestron NexStar 5 Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 20:22:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (H. Willy Chu) The recents posts regarding concerns about poor quality control at Meade prompted me to check out the Celestron website to learn about their new "go to" scope--the NexStar 5--a Schmidt-Casssegrain with a 5" aperature. Physically the two scopes are remarkably similar. The Celestron is 1.2 lbs lighter and the optical tube is 3" shorter. The Celestron "go to" hand control seems to be modelled after the Autostar, with two star alignment in altazimuth mode. Reviews of the original C5 report a near silent motor. For viewing, is there really a difference between a 5" Maksutov and a 5" Schmidt? Of course, I've read that the smaller central obstruction of the EXT-125 Mak (9.6 vs 16%) gives a higher contrast view, but theory and practice are not always the same. I would think that other factors, such as the quality of the internal baffling mentioned by Clive Gibbons (7/23/99), would be more important. Any real-life, non-theoretical opinions out there? For astrophotography, the Celestron may have the advantage--it's faster (f/10), has a shorter focal length for a wider view, and accepts a reducer/corrector making it an f/6.3. Any standard SCT photo accessories could be used. Your thoughts? I would also think that for someone upgrading from an EXT-90, the NexStar would be more logical. It has the same 1250mm focal length, so your eyepieces would work in the same manner, just twice the aperture. Any advice to help me decide which scope to buy would be most appreciated! By the way, did the EXT-90 have such quality problems when it was first released? You would think that Meade would take extra care in manufacturing and adjusting their first few hundred scopes as these will be the ones tested by everyone. -- Willy email@example.com
Subject: Fresh from the Box Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 18:10:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Ramsey) Got a call this afternoon from the Natural Wonders store in Belden Village Mall, Canton, Ohio asking me if I wanted one of the two ETX125s they had received. I answered YES! Also bought the Autostar and computer cable. Have just unpacked the scope. I agree with some of the other comments on the finish being great. Controls have a nice feel, focus does not seem stiff on mine. The finder does have cross "bars", not cross hairs like my 6" f/8. (Dean: Would like to know what Meade says about yours.) Couldn't tell you if it is noisy or not, having nothing to compare with. Tonight will not be a good viewing night due to full moon, high humidity and light pollution at my home. I also need to read up on the Autostar. When I can get to a dark sight, I will send in a report on what I find. Thanks for the great web site and the great information. Bill
Subject: 125 ETX order cancelled Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 14:29:45 From: email@example.com (Jim Duke) I decided after reading the early negatives to cancell my 125 ETX order with Astronomics. I was about 160 on their list, so maybe the "bugs" would have been worked out by the time I got mine, but I decided not to take the chance that mine would be a lemon. I decided to go with the 7" Mak LX50, since this scope seems to be a consistent excellent performer according to several independent sources. I am also assembling a 4" APO scope for traveling, since the 125 turned out to be just a tad too big to be a carry-on for flying. I hope Meade understands that when they release a much hyped product such as the ETX, they better have their act together because word spreads fast these days if they don't. Jim Duke
Subject: ETX-125EC Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 21:12:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Gatschet) I talked to Oceanside (i.e.OPT) today. Told me Meade is allocating to them in shipments of 10 scopes a week. But it's been two weeks since their first shipment. So it looks like distributors are going to receive shipments in increments of 10 every week or two. I don't know if this is what they are doing with all their distributors or not. So it looks like a while if you're down on the list like me. Has anyone else heard or any other vendors receiving scopes? Hopefully by the time I receive mine Meade will have worked out some of the quality problems they seem to be having when I get mine in a month or two. I'm 50 something on OPT's list. I don't know why I'm in a hurry. Since I placed my order a couple of months ago there have only been a couple of clear nights in Colorado. Monsoon weather pattern has been bringing lots of clouds and rain. But snow is only three months away, so I'd like to get some warm viewing nights in before cold set in.
Subject: ETX 125 Collimation Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 06:25:01 From: Aq2000m@aol.com Just wanted to let everyone know that I sent my ETX 125 back to Meade to be collimated - I will let you know the results when I get it back. Other than this problem the scope seems fine - I am very interested in seeing a properly collimated ETX 125 scope. Chris
Subject: image shift Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 19:24:34 From: Dean@cwdi.com (Dean) I have had my etx-125 for a week or so but have only had one evening to use it. The gears sound great compared to the 90 and it seems much smoother in all movements. I have the field tripod but it allows for way too much vibration so I may make my own. The angled view finder had to be sent back because the cross hairs looked like they were drawn with a marker, very thick and unusable. The meade tech said he would have to look at it since he has not even seen a 125 yet! After my first night viewing I noticed the image shift during focusing by about 1/2 the field of view. I probably know what meade will say, "send it back for inspection." I don't feel like waiting a few weeks. I remember reading that someone else had this problem and am interested if this is a fix that I can do myself. I loaded the new version for autostar and it seems to work very well. At least what I could tell in a couple of hours. Thanks for the great web site, Dean.
Subject: Meade 125 ETX and Celestron Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 11:10:00 From: email@example.com (Craig Zerbe) I see Celestron has just announced (see WWW.astronomics.com ) that they are coming out with a new goto mount for their C5. As Celestron has been manufacturing the C5 OTA for many years it is likely to have a more consistent quality than the new Meade 125 of the same size. Meade on the other hand has had more experience/success with goto logic. The Celestron also is compatible with all standard SCT accessories, and have a much larger maximum field of view. Using an optional 6.3 reducer photography is much more practical as well. In any event, the competition should keep Meade and Celestron on their toes.
Subject: etx 125 testing Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 23:30:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (tony costanzo) Thanks for posting my first report. I conducted more tests on the unit this week, mechanical as well as optical, these are the results. After building a wedge I found that most of the vibration in the unit comes from the fork mount itself. Meade needs to reinforce the arms of the fork. I was able to gain a little more rigidity by tightening up the screws on the arms just a bit. The drives, tracking and hand controller work great, no problems. Optics: Better than I first tested, no chromatic aberration in my unit, I checked for coloration on a full moon, my Genesis has more color, this had none. Also, I checked the baffling because I noticed a slight fringe on the outer energy ring when I first star tested the unit. It appears that this fringe is caused by fine hair like residue on the outside of the central baffle, probably left over anti reflective material Meade used to coat the baffle. This does not affect the overall quality of the image. Star testing Vega at 250x yielded beautiful defraction rings, even though this unit is slightly out of collimation. The image shift is the only other negative problem I have to report, but, I have seen worse. I'm sure Meade will have a fix for this. Comparing this unit alongside a 6 inch Mak, I felt the image was just as good. Clear Skies Tony C. ATMOB
Subject: ETX125 competition - Celestron NexStar 5 Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 18:05:20 From: email@example.com (rick8172) I just found out that Celestron has introduced their new C5-based 5" computerized goto to the trade - they call it the NexStar 5. Astronomics just started taking orders today. Based on the many comments here and elsewhere on Meade's questionable quality control, poor mechanical construction and autostar bugs, I cancelled my ETX125 order and switched to the Celestron. Although it's $150 more for the scope and computer system, the NexStar appears to be a better execution - the OTA is well regarded, and the base and arm uses all aluminum construction. They expect first shipment in 3 to 4 weeks. Thanks for all the information you and your site have provided. If you like, I will report on the NexStar 5 when received. Rick
Subject: More on the ETX125... Sent: Sunday, July 25, 1999 13:25:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Romine) Up until now I have been blaming my less than optimal views through my ETX125 on bad skys. Well, I finally got a good sky to check the optics. I very quickly learned that the collimation was off. Both the star test and a subsequent "daylight test" showed the dark spot shifted considerably toward 5 o'clock. Hence, I think this more than the sky explains why there was not a hint of an Airy disk when focused. I guess I was a bit in denial blaming all this on turbulent skys. On the up side, I was impressed with the performance given how far the optics are out. I think if meade can manage to get things lined up, this will be a hell of a scope. Just as the other poster mentioned, it does have quite a bit of image shift on the focus--although still not enough for me to send it back for this alone. The shift seems worse in certain orientations than others. There was no chromatic aberration. I am taking it back this week and am going to allow it to be sent back to meade for realignment. I am also going to ask that the image shift be either eliminated or reduced to more reasonable levels. This should be a good test to see of meade can get the ETX125 to work right. If it comes back with the same problems, I am going to trade it for something else. Perhaps I'll downshift to the good ol' ETX90. I hope I won't need to do that though. Mike Romine
Subject: ETX 125 delivered Sent: Saturday, July 24, 1999 17:34:31 From: email@example.com (Frank Delle) Hello, I just wanted to let you know that my 125ETX arrived yesterday from Shutan Camera. I had ordered the scope 3 month ago with a deposit and must have been one of the first in line. Anyway, the portable aspect is a bit diminished due to it's massive size compared to my older 90mm, but otherwise the scope looks great ! The tiny focuser knob on the 90mm is replaced with a larger one, although I did notice an image shift when focusing in and out, as another reader remarked as well. The motors operates smooth with the noted lag when reversing direction. How that will effect the scope's handling performance in the long run, remains to be seen. I really don't have any other motorized scopes to compare with, but my guess is that most gears will have some kind of slack in scopes in the amateur class. Hopefully I don't have the same collimation problems that two other writers mentioned and I'll have to wait until the San Francisco summer fog clears the skies to find out. One other note. The Star controller and custom tripod bracket is on backorder. Since my sturdy Bogen tripod head doesn't fit the proprietary thread arrangment on the bottom of the scope (thanks Meade !), I thought I had no way of mounting it. However, I remembered that I had an older type JMI Wedgepod for the ETX 90, which I hadn't used in while. I quickly decided to modify the wedge for use with the 125. The JMI supplied mounting screws are just barely long enough to hold scope + adapter plate onto the wedge. I drilled another hole into the wedge somewhere in the center of the plane and voila, now the wedge holds the 125 with both thumbscrews in place. The wedge is mounted onto the Bogen head in horizontal position with the declination now set on the wedge. In the long run and for standalone use a larger wedge is needed for extra stability, but until all the after market products surface I am fine with what I have. Now the difficulty is to decide what to do with the ETX 90...I like to portability and the fact that I managed to see a bunch rare objects (compared to my S.F. backyard perspective !) on a recent trip to Yosemite: American Nebula, Veil Nebula, NGC 6940, 7039, M39, M29 with makes me wonder if you can get 7 + magnitude objects on clear nights with the 90mm.. The American and Veil appeared as a faint shimmer, but could be clearly identified even by an accompanied non-astro-amateur person. Hope you'll all get yours soon too. -frank
Subject: Meade distributor (Natural Wonders) Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 15:23:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (noon) This is Nuno and I am a manager at natural wonders and we are a meade distributor, we carry the EC-90 and soon The EC 125, so tell some of your guests that. Natural Wonders, Rockaway Mall, (973)366-8030
Subject: ETX 125 Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 08:45:30 From: Dave.Ward@valmet.com FYI I just talked to Natural wonders in Tacoma WA. and they also have a short wait list for to the 125. Probably because we only get to see the sky about 60 nights a year out here. We have to go across the moutains into Eastern WA for any serious viewing. They said they expect to have a shipment by mid August but cautioned that wasn't firm. Also expect the price to be around $900+. Regards Dave Ward
Subject: Preliminary ETX-125 report (with a brief comparison to G-5) Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 08:34:05 From: email@example.com.McMaster.CA (Clive Gibbons) Here's a copy of the posting I sent to sci.astro.amateur today. If you'd like to add it to your "ETX-125 user feedback", please feel free. Cheers and keep up the good work! Clive. >Hi folks. > >Yesterday, my local Meade dealer called to say that the new ETX-125/EC had >arrived in his shop. I stopped by after work to have a quick look. >First impression: This is a sexy looking scope! Yup, it's larger than the >ETX-90 (big surprise, huh?
), but it looks so much like a 90, your eyes >think they're playing tricks. Very nice finish. Sweet deep-purple coatings >on the corrector. When you go to look into the eyepiece, you immediately >notice how the finder eyepiece wants to bop you in the nose. >Not a problem for observers who view with their left eye, though. >The electric slo-motions work as advertised. They do seem quieter than >those on the 90. Larger gears and a less aggressive ratio, perhaps? >We find a bright point reflection about 300 yards away. Focusing in and >out reveals some image shift... tough to judge how much, but it's >noticeable at low power (using 26mm ocular). The bright reflection is >virtually stellar, so we can check the collimation. It's off. The shadow >of the central obstruction is skewed a bit towards the 4-o'clock position >of the out-of-focus donut. Hmmmmmmm, there also seems to be some chromatic >aberration visible on either side of focus. The bright donut is fringed >with an weak orangy rim outside of focus and a faint bluish edge inside >of focus. This is rather subtle, but visible at all powers. >Later in the evening, the scope is brought out to the local club >observatory, for some casual testing under the night sky. Performing any >kind of "star test" is pretty much out of the question because of the >collimation problem. In focus, at about 200x, Altair isn't a pretty sight. >There's a hint of an Airy disk, but it's accompanied by a sizable flare of >diffraction to one side. Adjusting the focus reveals approx. 2.5 arc. >minutes of image shift. We checked to make sure the diagonal mirror seated >properly, when flipped down. No problem there. Next target was the >gibbous Moon. It looks sharp with a 24.5 mm SWA. However, there's quite a >bit of veiling glare present when the Moon isn't centred in the field. >Removing the ocular and looking down the baffle tube reveals the reason... >the interior of the main baffle tube is painted flat black, but it still >reflects a fair amount of stray light to the eyepiece. >Later that evening, a Celestron G-5 owner arrived and set up his scope >nearby the ETX-125. We compared the view of the Moon. The G-5 delivered a >sharper, contrastier view at similar magnifications. The light baffling of >the G-5 is markedly superior. Also, the G-5 showed none of the spurious >colour seen with the ETX-125. We examined a 3rd mag. star image with the >G-5, at approx 150x. It was nice, with an Airy disk visible along with a >few slightly "hashy looking" diffraction rings-- typical of a good SCT >with a 39% obstruction. The G-5 exhibited virtually zero image shift (a >few arc. seconds, at most) and the focus action was light and silky >smooth. The ETX-125's action was smooth, but somewhat stiff. It made >achieveing accurate focus difficult, with the scope perched atop the Meade >tripod. > >The summary? > >Thumbs up: The 125's beautiful appearance, high "fun factor" electric slow >motions, reasonable price. > >Thumbs down: Poor collimation, much image shift, slight chromatic >aberration and less-than-optimal supression of stray light. Also, the >system was a bit jiggly, even when used in alt-az mode on the Meade tripod >(with the included adapter plate). > >I hope to have another look through a properly collimated unit, in the >near future. Will report back, then... > >Cheers, > > >-- > Clive Gibbons > Technician, McMaster University, > School of Geography and Geology.
Subject: Good news - Natural Wonders and the 125 Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 06:02:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) Hi again - I wanted to thank the poster who mentioned Natural Wonders in Menlo Park, NJ was taking a waiting list - I called my local NW (Staten Island) and now i'm the first on the waiting list, with a unit expected in 1 to 2 weeks - now, that doesn't mean it will really arrive in that time, but NW did have the autostars while many dealers were out. I can't wait to see their faces in the store when i come in for my new scope with the 90EC under my arm - thing never worked right anyway!
Subject: Megapod Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 04:32:27 From: email@example.com (Bill MacKenzie) Great site! I've been a silent peruser of your site for over a month now. Most informative! JMI has come out with a version of their Wedgepod for the 125EC called the Megapod. I'm not sure of the availability, but you can check out their site for more info. Thanks Bill MacKenzie
Subject: 125EC availability, pricing Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 01:34:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Vasey) I stand corrected re Canadian prices! Thanks to Gavin Wong. I've had another look at Canadian (in Toronto) web site prices and sure enough, they stand up well against US prices. I've a sneaky feeling that the web site I used the last time stated prices were US $ instead of Canadian, but it was a few weeks ago and I can't be sure. Or perhaps there were extras included but not listed. So maybe when I'm there in October .... Even so, there's still the warranty problem. Peter.
Subject: etx 125 Sent: Thursday, July 22, 1999 04:03:14 From: email@example.com (tony costanzo) Just received my etx 125 weds 7/21 and ran some tests on the unit that night. Meade sends an adapter plate with the etx 125 for use with their Deluxe field tripod, but no thumb screws to attach the unit.I was able to borrow my friends tripod and screws run the tests. Although the tripod will hold the unit, the stability is wiggly at best, do not purchase this tripod for use on the 125. The drives have a more professional feel to them, smoother and quieter than the 90 unit. Fast and slow slewing on an object produced very little backlash and seemed easier to work than the 90 unit much more like their LX50 mount. The finder scope is much improved, It has a clear wide field of view, built in focus and allows the user to easily see objects such as M13 with little difficulty. It is also much easier to align with the tube assembly because it has two sets of alignment screws. The optics: In and out of focus tests on Vega shows identical energy pattern. I was able to easily split epsilon Lyrae however, the collimation seems slightly off as the energy pattern within the defraction rings was more concentrated to one side. Resolving objects: Clusters, nebulae are bigger and brighter than they appear in the 90 as expected. All and all, I would rate the optics as good not exceptional, however in fairness I plan to conduct further tests this weekend against another etx90 and Orions 6 inch mak.. Will post results. Clear skies to all. Tony C ATMOB
Subject: 125EC availability, pricing, RA version Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 08:34:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gavin H. Wong) Peter Vasey mentioned that scope prices in Canada are almost as high as those in the U.K. I called a local dealer here in Vancouver, BC, and, surprise of surprises, got a price of CDN $1400 for the 125EC. This works out to about US $950, pretty good when you factor in shipping and customs brokerage. Of course I have to pay taxes on top of that $1400. The same dealer said that there was a 6-month waiting list for the scope, and mentioned rumours of a non-all-EC version of the ETX 125 in the works. Is there weight to this rumour? This web site is one good resource. Gavin W
Subject: 125EC Availability Natural Wonders Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 23:31:10 From: AmigoX@aol.com Good News! The Natural Wonders at Menlo Park Mall is now accepting names for there waiting list for the first arrivals of 125EC's. At this writing, there is only one name on the waiting list. The manager promises to ship anywhere in the contiguous United States. The phone number there is 732-494-5355. Thought you'd like to know. Keep up the great work on the best ETX site on the net. Jed Levinson
Subject: ETX first impressions Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 19:15:39 From: email@example.com (Michael Romine) Since I posted the first message to this sight concerning actually getting my hands on an ETX125 I have been flooded with emails from people interested in how well it works. Here is what I can tell you so far: I took the scope to the mountains outside San Diego last Saturday night to an astro-photographer friend of mine's place (www.artistsloft.com/sky/) to try it out. Neither of us had yet used the Autostar, hence we spent a good deal of time trying to set it up and dial it in. Given the reviews I have seen of the autostar on this sight, I would say its performance with the ETX125 is on par with what others get with it on the ETX90. The motor noise is apparently much quieter than on the ETX90 though. Once we got the autostar set and started viewing we discovered that the sky was far too junky to test the limits of the scope that night. We did test on several deep sky objects at up to about 325X. They looked good given the conditions. We tried one nebula at 650X. The good news it we could still see something at that magnification, but it was obviously horribly out of focus. My friend said that it does look like it will handle meade's claim of 500x on a good night. Since then there has not been a good night to really test its limits optically. If things look good this weekend, I might try to do a run down the desert. If so, I will attempt some of the standard "sky tests" I have read and heard about and report the results back here. Hopefully other people are receiving theirs and will start to report their ETX125's performance as well. Mike Romine
Subject: 125EC availability and warranty abroad Sent: Monday, July 19, 1999 06:00:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Vasey) An interesting point from Ian Mackey. I wish I made the occasional trip to America (from the U.K.) - it would have saved me a lot of money on my new 'scope. But the only trip I've got lined up in the near future is to Canada, where prices are almost as high as in the U.K., and there's still the warranty question.... Dlauriano's point about the first production run is also interesting if somewhat cynical! But since it's unlikely that any ETX 125's will be exported until the home market has been adequately serviced, I don't think any first run 'scopes will make it across the water. With all the actual and expected delays, I decided not to wait, dug deeper into my pocket and part exchanged my on approval 8" Newtonian (with its shaky mount) for a Celestar 8 de Luxe. OK it's not as portable as the ETX and isn't computerised, but it's got four tracking rates, Fastar ready, it works wonderfully and I've got it NOW! And I don't have any deep sky misgivings! I'm still fascinated by the ETX concept, so maybe next year (or the year after when I've saved up some more pennies) if I'm looking for something really portable, ...... Keep up the good work with this web site - I'll be following it with great interest! Peter Vasey
Subject: 125EC availability Sent: Friday, July 16, 1999 21:43:39 From: email@example.com (Bob Shutan) Dear Mike, As you know, I read your site often. The following comment is to your readers regarding the 125/EC delivery: It seems as though many comments regarding 125 deliveries always make claims such as "this dealer said...", so-and-so received...", etc. Just as most, if not all of you know not to be impressed by department-store telescopes claiming 500x magnification with a 60mm refractor... you should also not be impressed when dealers tell you they have 100, or 200, or 400 on order. Don't be impressed if they tell you they are the first dealer to order and/or receive 125/EC's. Call it boasting, bragging, truth, or lies. But don't give it too much thought. Meade is allocating 125's to ALL their dealers in what they believe to be a fair process. If you were lucky enough to find out about the 125 early on-- you'll probably be one of the first to get one. The 125's will be in VERY short supply into year 2000. Also, as of 7-16-99 Meade has confirmed to me that the 125 SPOTTING SCOPE version (optical tube only) will NOT be available for a long time and they have cancelled all backorders so that the production department can put all their efforts into the 125/EC. Sincerely, Bob Shutan firstname.lastname@example.org PS: I thought I read a while back that you or a reader mentioned our ETX Astro trade-in program was not being offered anymore. Well, at this time the program for trading or outright purchasing is being offered and has been for quite some time.
Subject: ETX125 and warranty abroad Sent: Friday, July 16, 1999 03:50:09 From: IMackey@svg.com (Ian Mackey) First of all, I'd like to say that your site is great! I'm hoping to get a 125 as soon as possible and find the tips and information invaluable, as this would be my first telescope. In the UK the 125 is being advertised at between $1300 and $1400 for the basic unit! I was hoping to buy one in the US as for the same amount of money, I can obviously get a lot more equipment (Autostar, tripod, additional eyepieces, etc). However, I am concerned by the number of problems reported on your site, particularly with the Autostar. It's making me think twice about getting this 'scope at all, as I'm reluctant to get ripped off over here, or get stuck with problems and no warranty. Maybe by the time I'm ready to buy a 125, all the bugs will have been corrected (what with the waiting lists as well!). Thanks again for a great site. Ian
Subject: Natural Wonders Sent: Thursday, July 15, 1999 19:45:57 From: email@example.com (Alan Osborne) Just a small hint on ETX 125 availability. Natural Wonders is also getting the first shipments, and most of their locations have very small waiting lists. The location in Nashville, TN only has 4 people on the list.
Subject: ETX 125 Sent: Thursday, July 15, 1999 19:24:49 From: Dlauriano@aol.com Great Web Site !!!!! Just wanted to let Mccoy firstname.lastname@example.org know that I was one of the lucky first 10!!!! Got the call from Oceanside today that with my AMEX number I'd have it overnight. I thought for 30 seconds then declined. I'm a techno-weenie so I know that 3rd to 5th production runs yield the best average results. So I passed.....Anyone want my spot?????
Subject: First ETX 125's Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 19:26:06 From: Mccoy2302@aol.com Like many others who visit this portion of your excellent site, I have had a 125 on order since late May. I spoke with Meade's pitiful customer service rep a few days ago, who knew almost nothing and said it may be a couple more months before they're shipped. Today, though, Oceanside received "the first ten 125's on the planet." Not mine yet, but there's hope! Oceanside has no idea how much further behind the rest of their 110-quantity order is. I must say that, as nice as its products are, Meade as a company definitely does not have its act together. It seems to have almost no regard for the satisfaction of the customer, from the hideous telephone answering system to poorly informed personnel to its poorly-maintained web site to the way it handled the intro of the EC's. Very frustrating! From a business perspective, those things, if not corrected, will impact its business future more than the the features of its products. But enough griping - I want my 125!!
Subject: News Flash ..... ETX-125EC has been released Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 18:14:51 From: email@example.com (Wayne Gatschet) Thought you folk would like to know the 125 has been released by Meade. Oceanside just received the first shipment of 10. Unfortunatly I am 54 on their list. they expect the next shipment in about a week. They don't know if they will get one big shipment or if the will trickle in a few at a time. Some luck people will be gazing at the heavens tonight with their new ETX-125EC. God speed Meade.
Subject: I received my ETX-125 Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 17:10:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Romine) I was searching under "ETX" and happened on your web page. I thought some of you might be interested that I today picked up my ETX125 from OPT. They received 10 from meade. I was #7 on a waiting list of 70, hence I got one. I work about 2 miles from OPT, so I drove over to their shop and grabbed it after lunch. According to them I am the first person in North America to receive one. Looks very nice. I will take a trip to the desert this weekend to try it out. Mike Romine
Subject: ETX-125 Field Scope :) Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 09:56:31 From: email@example.com (Wm. G. Thilgen Jr.) Everyone seems to be real interested in the new ETX-125EC. Do you or anyone else happen to know more about the ETX-125 field scope? I plan to mount it on an Orion EQ tripod as I did with my old ETX 90 Astro. I removed the scope from the fork mount and base and attached it to an EQ tripod it was considerably more stable. The big difference was the price. I could have saved a $100.00 had I only bought the ETX 90 field scope. I understand that the new ETX-125EC is going to weigh about 19 or 20 lbs. In addition to the where and when can I find the field version and how much will it cost, I am mostly interested in the weight of it. Thanks for providing your excellent site. I bought my first scope pretty much based on the information I obtained here. Clear skies always. Wm. G. Thilgen Jr. ps. I am also the web master for my astronomy club in Minneapolis Minnesota. The name of our club is The Minnesota Astronomical Society. It is pretty much for the young or new astronomer. If you get the time, please check it out. If you feel the desire to include the link somewhere on your site, feel free to do so. The link is as follows... http://www.mnastro.orgMike here: Meade does plan to release a Spotting Scope version of the ETX-125 but I don't know the availability or price at this time.
Subject: ETX Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 05:47:01 From: jklare@MPIfR-Bonn.MPG.de (Jens Klare) I am very impressed of your ETX Site. I wondered about the very beautifull pictures, made with the ETX. I have no ETX yet, but I would like to buy one. My dealer showed me only the ETX 90 (without EC) and I never heard about the ETX 125 before I looked on you site. Do you have any idea where I can buy a ETX-125EC? My problem is that I am from germany and I think it will take a long time until I can buy this telescope in germany. At 11 August we have a total solar eclipse in germany and I hoped to have a telescope until then. Do you think that it is realistic that I can buy a ETX-125EC until this date? I would like so much to have this new telescope very soon. In addition, today was the first time that I heard anything about the ETX-90 from my dealer. Therefore your ETX Site is very helpfull for me. Congratulation for this site! Many thanks in advance and sorry for my bad english. Have a nice day! Kind regards! JensMike here: Dealers in the United States should be receiving them any day now. But I'm sure it could be awhile before overseas dealers get them in quantity. I doubt that you'd be able to get one before the Solar Eclipse.
Subject: Reply to Tom Skinner 7/10 posting on ETX125 Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 1999 19:06:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Russbag) Thanks for your site, it is a labor of love and of the highest quality. Tom, I saw your post on Mike Weasner's site and this is my experience: I bought an ETX90 in 12/98. It is unbelievably small and easy to handle and gives awesome views of the Moon and Planets. Since I never used it outside of my backyard in central NJ (lots of light pollution) I didn't really try to find deep space objects but the few Messier numbers I did try to look for I never found because it was so much work to Polar align the thing and I just didn't put the time into it (I have since learned a less frustrating but still time consuming approach - it can take the spontenaity out of it). After kicking myself over my bad timing when the ETX90EC came out 3 months after I bought mine, I resigned myself to plunking down the money to upgrade. Luckily, I waited long enough for the 125 to come out. So, now I am scopeless, having sent my ETX90 back to Astronomics for a $300 credit towards a 125 with computer (net $780). Part of what pushed me to trade in my 90 was one coworker who said it seems like everyone has a computer controlled scope now at star parties - it makes the skies much more accessible. Another coworker commented that the ETX125 will have twice the light gathering ability of the 90. And two admitted that they never get out thier scopes anymore (one had an 8" Celestron and the other a 10" Meade) because they are so heavy and awkward to move around. So... I'm betting my $780 that the 5" computer controlled ETX125, sight unseen, is in the sweetspot of all these factors. You are tuned into the right site to find out how we early adopters make out. My impression is that no other scope manufacturer tries to compete with Meade so, in this ultra portable class, the ETXs are it. Russ
Subject: ETX125 Arrival Sent: Monday, July 12, 1999 16:52:41 From: email@example.com (rick8172) Great site, I've been reading it for weeks as I await my first scope - the ETX125. I'm on the waiting list at astronomics (number 130 or so), and after my last call (3 weeks ago) they expected to start shipping end of June/early July with receipt of 60 scopes per week. Today I called for an update and they say they expect the first shipment of only 25 scopes in 2 more weeks. Is this typical of a new scope launch, or could it be they are having quality problems? RickMike here: I'm sure Meade has its reasons for wanting to not ship before its time.
Subject: ETX 125EC Sent: Monday, July 12, 1999 16:35:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Okubo) I E-mailed you about one week ago in regards to the ETX release date. We did not receive the 125's as planned but we did get the DS 114EC, DS70EC and the DS70. I spoke to dealer support today and they said that the 125's will not hit the market for approximately 3-4 more weeks. Thanks for a great Website. Michael Okubo
Subject: OP Sent: Saturday, July 10, 1999 12:08:08 From: email@example.com (Tom &/or Elizabeth Skinner) I have been agonizing over "what to buy" for some time now. I really like the ETX, and will probably purchase a 125 when the dust settles. I love the phrase "observing power" mentioned by Rafael Barber in a recent post to your site. Perhaps we can figure out a way to quantify OP to assist newbees like me in a first scope. I know I need something good to encourage me to use it, but I also know that if it ain't easy to set up, I won't use it. The folks at Astronomics are very nice, but say I will be disappointed with the 125 on DSO. Perhaps, but if the OP of a 125 is enough greater than, say, a 8-10" LX series scope, then it may well be better to be somewhat "disappointed" in a DSO that I find myself actually looking at through an ETX than to be "pleased" with the observation I "might" have if I lug the LX out and set it up. Keep up the site, it provides a wealth of info on something of interest. Tom SkinnerMike here: Size only matters when you use it. But bigger isn't always better.
Subject: ETX-125EC ship date, comments, etc. Sent: Friday, July 2, 1999 23:48:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne gatschet) I live in colorado, but i'm ordering from oceanside opt in cal. They told me on the july 1st that they are expecting to revieve their first shipment in about a week, but don't know how many they will get. Could just be talk to sooth a customer, we'll see. They also told me the drive is better built than the 90. Good news. I'm fairly new to all this, suffered from trash scope frustration as a teenager. The autostar is the ticket for me, sorry purists. I did a lot of research, and choose the 125 because it looks more solid, hopfully a lot of the problems the 90 had are fixed.... And its the only thing with quality optics and easy of use, portability, that fits the budget............
Subject: tripod for ETX-125EC Sent: Friday, July 2, 1999 10:54:02 From: email@example.com (Thomas Replogle) I just got off the phone with Jim's Mobile Inc. (JMI). I called to ask them if they thought their Wedgepod could support the 125 when it comes out. They emphatically said "no way". They were, however, fast to point out they will be introducing a new wedge/tripod for the ETX-125EC shortly. It should be advertised in "Astronomy", "Sky & Telescope" magazines, and on their web page www.jimsmobile.com soon. I wasn't able to get specs or prices yet. Thanks for the great web page. The reviews and feedback have been a great resource for me. -------------- Tom Replogle
Subject: ETX -125 vs. -90 comparisons Sent: Thursday, July 1, 1999 10:20:08 From: JDeriso@Alphaind.com (Deriso, John) I see some folks commenting on the increased brightness and (nearly) same field of view when both 'scopes are at the same magnification, say 48X. This assumes comparisons made with similar eyepiece construction, e.g. Meade 4000 series. Also consider the significant difference in eye relief between the 26mm and 40mm ep's (for 48X). I use the Scopetronix 40mm, reviewed on your site, and I like it, but it does take getting used to. Seems that achieving the "increased brightness" might also require moving your head farther back, for the same magnification. I don't think eye relief can be calculated from apertures, apparent fields, and focal lengths... it's a function of eyepiece design. Gotta try it to see if you like it. The June 8 table post "True Field" figures for 40mm eyepiece should be 1.42 and 0.92 degrees for the -90 and -125, respectively.
Subject: First 'scope Sent: Thursday, July 1, 1999 0:02:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rafael_Barber) Thanks for your superb site!. I want to answer to a message from Peter Vasey, but I sending it to you also, because I belive it could be interesting for your readers. As you can see, my english is not very good, so if you want make editions to my response, don't worry, I'll be happy with you at the role of Editor ;-). Saludos, Rafael Barber +---------------------+---------------------------+------------------------- +----------+ Hello Peter, I see your post on Mike Weasner page about size and resolution. You argue against big apertures because the resolving power only increase from 0.91 to 0.57 arcsec when you go from 5" to 8". Well, I'd make you some comments. The Dawes limit it's a semiempirical rule based on the size of the Airy disk and the physiological behaviour of our eyes+brain. It's only 'adecuate' for calculating the resolving power (RP) with binary stars when the magnitudes are 'the same' and bright enough to our eyes. The last point is the important one. The RP of our eyes is proportional to the amount of light. With full ilumination (a.k.a. solar ilumination), this RP is about one arcminute. This impose the useful maximum magnification limit of 50x ~ 60x inch of aperture. With this magnification, the aparent size of the Airy disc it's about one arcminute, so you are matching your eye RP with the minimum size of the Airy disc that can reach it (so, yo get the better balance between RP and light spread). But when the object you are looking dims, your eyes RP decrease!. It can reach 30 arcmin, so with dimer objects you see less and less detail. This explain the fact that when you begin to increase aperture (you get more light), you begin to see more deatail in deep space objects and this increase in RP surpase the increase extracted from Dawes rule. The answer is not the increase in RP of the telescope, it's that the gain in light gathering increase the RP of your eyes!. This explain also why when you look through a telescope visualy to a DSO and then you see a photograph of the same object with the same 'scope, you are seeing very diferent things!, the RP of the photographics system is unaffected by the low level of ilumination, as your eye+brain it's. So don't be fooled with telescope only comparations, you and the atmosfera form part of the ecuation, and in the full ecuation more aperture brings you more light and this is the only thing you need. By the other way, bigger aperture supose a bigger 'beam' of light coming to your telescope, so you crosse a bigger region of our atmosfera. The turbulent nature of the atmosfera is evident to anybody, but perhaps you don't know that the 'cell size' of this turbulence is about 15cm to 20cm. What this mean?, well a little aperture, for example 125mm is smaller that a convention cell in our atmosfere, so the efects of this turbulence show as image wander in the field of view. On bigger apertures, for ecample in a 8" telescope and up, you are looking throught a couple of convention cells, this smear the image and you see a soft image. This impose the 1 to 3 arcsec of "seeing resolution". So in bad atmospheric stability (the most time ;-), you get better average resolving power with a 5" that with a 8". I saying AVERAGE, because in moments of steady atmosphere, the 8" beats clearly. So what is the conclusion? Aperture wins, but aperture weight!. If you want a portable scope, don't think in an 8". It's heavier and BIGGER that a ETX125. I have an 8" dob and a 12" dob, but I'm waiting my ETX125EC ;-). With it I'll get more "observing power", because I can set up it in less time that I set up the dobs, and I can follow objects in the sky. I'll forget this push-pull-focus-push-pull-etc property of the dobs ;-). Surely, for DSO I'll prefer the dobs, but as anglers say: "the best lure is the one that is more time wet", so for your first scope GoTo (;-) a portable one, you'll be using it more time and see more things that with a bigget, weighter one. Saludos, Rafael Barber
Subject: Etx 125 Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 22:21:10 From: email@example.com (Michael Okubo) Hi my name is Michael Okubo and I stumbled upon your web site while surfing the web. I think that you have a great web site for people that are dedicated to the ETX telescopes. I became interested in astronomy two years ago and started with the ETX 90 Astro. I have since purchased a LX 50 8in and have enjoyed many hours of viewing. I know first hand that there is alot of anticipation being created by the new ETX 125 EC because I work for Natural Wonders which is a Meade dealer. I receive at least ten inquires per day about the release date. The last delivery date that I receive was targeted for 07/08/99. At this time I am expecting 20 to 30 units with a retail price of $895.00. I do not know if you would like to post this information on your web site, but if I can help anyone who is in search of one I can be contacted at (516) 248-0642.
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