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ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 29 May 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:	 Run Away Autostar ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, May 28, 2000 21:43:37
From:	phcpa@yahoo.com (J Hill)
I am using a ETX 125 and Autostar 2.0I.  I have encountered runaway on
the DEC of about 10 degrees after 10 to 40 minutes of operation using
both ac power and battery.  One feedback comment referred this problem
to a high voltage and that a adjustable power supply solved the problem.
Is that the answer?  I have contacted Meade and have not gotten an
answer even after sending the ETX and the Autostar in for repair.
Mike here: I am not convinced that using an adjustable power supply is the cure. I've had the problem only once with the ETX-125EC and Meade AC Adapter. I suspect there is more going on here that either affects the drive encoders or their electronics. I don't know whether it is a shielding problem, a noise filtering problem, a spiking problem, a low/high line voltage problem, or one (or more) of several other possibilities that might not even be power related.

Subject:	 Love your solar site...
Sent:	Sunday, May 28, 2000 19:35:08
From:	Doug@BeachTech.Com (Doug Sellner)
I'm looking to do the same thing - want to take a series of
pictures/make movie....

I'm looking for a solar filter for the etx125, and thinking about a
quickcam...

Your thoughts?

*****************************************************
Doug Sellner - dsellner@beachtech.com
Beach Tech
EFORM Automated EMAIL data collection, Web Publishing
(612) 924-9193 x 521
(800) 323-0434 x 521
(612) 926-1145 Fax
http://www.beachtech.com
Mike here: Several dealers sell solar filters from Thousand Oaks and others. Scopetronix has some listed on their site. Search the site for "QuickCam" and you'll find lots of references.

Subject:	 Etx 125EC site
Sent:	Friday, May 26, 2000 23:34:39
From:	tdadarwala1@home.comic.net (Tushar N. Dadarwala)
I would like to thank you for creating such a helpful sight.  I have
been looking into purchasing a telescope (small as the ETX 125ec
is)...and has sufficient power and the ability to capture such detail
and a reasonably low price.

I wsa wondering one thing.....are all the pictures (photographs) taken
from the ETX 125?

I have a Canon Elan IIE with a 300mm lense....would that be sufficient
(with some testing and patience-of course) to take astrophotographsa of
deep space objects such as Neb's, and star clusters...ect.

Thank you in advance, and good luck watching the sky.

Sincerely,
Tushar N. Dadarwala
maya318@hotmail.com
Mike here: Glad you like the site. Since the ETX-125EC was only introduced about a year, obviously not all the photographs on my three and half year old site were not done with the -125. Most photographs that have been done with the -125 state that in the blurb by the photo. But what can be done with the -90 model can be done with the -125 model. As long as your camera has a "B" shutter setting so that you can keep the shutter open for minutes (or hours), it can be used for long duration astrophotography of faint objects. Since you mentioned a 300mm telephoto lens I assume you plan on doing mounting the camera piggyback on the ETX and using the ETX for tracking/guiding. There are many photos on my site where that was done. Works great!

Subject:	 NEW etx 125ec
Sent:	Friday, May 26, 2000 10:18:57
From:	syd-t@webtv.net (sydney turnbull)
Hi, i am still  wondering about this telescope, at present  it is  the
Intes Mk 67 or the etx 125ec, have been talking to a few meade dealers
and they tell me that the 125 ec has now been "re-engineered" and a  new
and much more robust tripod is now available, are you aware of these
facts? and do you know if this is true?
thanks for your time.
S.turnbull
Mike here: There is a new tripod available from Meade. It is essentially the same heavy duty tripod for the LX series. It is called the "Advanced Field Tripod for the ETX-125EC", model #887, $349.95. A review has just been posted on the Accessories - Tripods page. As to a "re-engineered" ETX-125EC, like most companies, I'm sure Meade continues to improve their products.

Subject:	 getting started, best place to purchase
Sent:	Friday, May 26, 2000 07:10:32
From:	dandickey@hotmail.com (Dan Dickey)
I've found your web site very interesting.  Can you suggest a good place
to purchase an ETX-125EC?  Any discount stores available?

For accessories, aside from lenses, the Autostar, Astro software,
T-adapter camera mount have caught my attention.  My intent is photo
work.  Seem like a reasonable place to start?

thanks for the advice,
Dan
Mike here: Typically, the ETX is not discounted. Sometimes you can find it on sale at some places. If you have a local The Nature Company or Discovery Store, those are good places to shop. Lacking that, there are several dealers listed in the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page on my site. Finally, Meade has a dealer list on their web site. As to astrophotography, be certain your expectations are inline with what the ETX can do. As seen on my site you can do a lot with the ETX but there are some limitations.

Subject:	 NEW ETX-125EC, Tripod, and AutoStar -- Where Do I Begin ???
Sent:	Wednesday, May 24, 2000 08:59:41
From:	BVackner@exchange.ml.com (Vackner, Bill (SOM400A))
I just received a new ETX-125EC, with a Deluxe Field Tripod and the
Autostar.  Needless to say, I am excited about getting started with it -
but am confused as to where to begin to set it up. Do I align the
Telescope first?  Do I put it on the Tripod first?  Do I follow the
Telescope manual for alignment?  Do I use the Autostar with easy align
or 1 star alignment? I guess I am not sure exactly where to begin...I
just read the manuals, and I am still confused...
Thanks
Bill Vackner
BVACKNER@EXCHANGE.ML.COM
or
billvack@enter.net
Mike here: Mount the ETX on the tripod. I'd recommend NOT extending the tripod legs. Before you use the Autostar, get used to the telescope using the standard controller. If you mount in Alt/Az mode (which I recommend since Polar mode is likely to be unstable with the ETX-125EC on that tripod), you won't have accurate object tracking from the drive but that is initially OK (just a pain since you'll have to use the controller to keep objects centered, but that's good practice with the scope). Once you feel comfortable using the telescope, then you can begin to use the Autostar. Follow its manual instructions. Also, look at the alignment procedures on the Autostar Information page. Be certain you train the drives. For best results, I'd recommend using a two-star alignment.

Subject:	 Electric Focuser (part #1247) for the ETX-125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, May 23, 2000 00:14:01
From:	arlan@webzone.net (Scott A. Johnson)
I purchased the #1247 electric focuser for the 125 as I really have
liked the #1244 electric focuser for my 90.  The #1247 installed just as
quick and easy as the #1244 did...and that's were the similarity ended. 
First of all, the finest focus speed as set by the 125's standard
handbox didn't work.  The three higher speeds worked, so I thought I
would just work around it.  Shortly after that compromise was made, a
rather unpleasant "gears slipping, gears grinding" noise started.  I
removed the unit and looked at the components that could be seen
(meaning, w/o disassembling it).  Even off the scope, the finest focus
speed would not turn the focus gear.  I could feel something pushing on
the top of the casing (near the seam joining the case pieces) from the
inside when I reversed focus on the higher speeds.  This
"pushfromtheinside" feel was usually accompanied by the sounds mentioned
earlier.

I returned the focuser, came to your site, read the reviews on this
item, and decided to try the ScopeTronix flexible focus cable.  I will
wait for the fix to be made on "ol' 1247" and try again.

Thanks for your site, Mike.  It has been a great help.

Clear skies.

Scott

Subject:	 AUTOSTAR & ETX 125 NEWBIES
Sent:	Monday, May 22, 2000 22:59:48
From:	polulach@mixcom.com (Linda & John Polulach)
I borrowed a friend's telescope for a few weeks last summer and became
hooked.  I ordered an ETX 125 in September and it arrived a few days
ago...so far, my viewing has been limited to tree tops and cars in a
distant parking lot...but I am learning!  I'm hoping for clear skies
over the Memorial Day weekend for some real viewing.

I also purchased an Autostar.  I suggest all new users use the Autostar
instructions available at Meade's website.  They provide more details and
illustrations than the instruction booklet that comes with the unit. 
Once I learned how to navigate around the menus it became pretty simple.

Just one question...when I turn on Autostar (V. 2.0g) the display is
bright and easy to read.  Then, when I come to the "Setup: Align"
screen, the display always goes to a very low brightness level and stays
at that level.  When I power the unit down and turn it back on, the
display returns to normal brightness at startup...then "auto-dim" when I
reach "setup: Align".  Has anyone else experienced this.

Thanks Mike, for all your effort on this site.

John 
Milwaukee
Mike here: The Autostar display does dim as that is supposed to be the "night" mode.

Added later:

Thanks Mike for the info...now I won't need to bug my dealer about a
"defective" Autostar!...I read the instructions very carefully and don't
recall an "auto-nite mode" mentioned; Meade should include this feature
in instructions.  Anyway, I'll post my newbie experiences with ETX 125-
Deluxe Field Tripod - Autostar after a few nights of observing.  So far
I'm finding the technology of Meade's geewiz gizmos as interesting as
the info I'm reading about the heavens!

Subject:	Etx 125 Deep Sky
Sent:	Monday, May 22, 2000 12:34:35
From:	Astro1807@aol.com
The ETX 125 performs much better on deep sky objects than i expected. 
On the first clear moonless night, i tested it out and was very pleased.
With the autostar, in about an hour, i observed eight very interesting
deep sky objects:M3, M53, M64, M13, M104, M65, M66, M92.  All were more
than faint fuzzy objects.  Instead, details like shape could easily be
distinguished.  Also, stars were resolvable on all the globular
clusters.

clear skies
chris 

Subject:	eyepieces
Sent:	Sunday, May 21, 2000 07:46:24
From:	MRNevitt@aol.com
In response to the question about eyepieces from Baldwin.  With my ETX
90 I have found that really only one extra eyepiece and a 2x barlow are
needed.  I have Meade's 18mm SWA and the #126 barlow.  This set up gives
me 26mm, 18mm, 13mm, and 9mm.  With the ETX 125 this would get you, 73x,
105.5x, 146x, and 211x.

Mark Nevitt  

Subject:	 etx125
Sent:	Saturday, May 20, 2000 06:22:59
From:	Pelican_Divetech@dsnd.com (Pelican Divetech)
Could you please tell me the (accurate please)outside dia of the etx125,
i want to make a shroud for a solar filter from flexi solar filter sheet
that i bought?

Problem is that i am onboard a ship at the moment with limited internet
access and i have only owned the scope for 2 days before coming
offshore. (not yet had chance to even use the scope as cloudy skies for
the 2 days). I dont have the scope to hand to take measurements from.

I have also bought the del tripod and autostar.

i have just turned on lathe last night new base plate from 1/2 inch
plate for tripod after seeing tip on your web site to make more sturdy i
used the original plate as template.(which i brought with me but i
forgot screws)

I also need to now the The thread sizes of the 2 thumb screws are they
unc? etc. so i can make new thumb screws proper length.

Also the 3 counter sunk screws on bottom casing of etx125 (around batt
compartment) what thread are they??,  would it be better to also use
longer screws there to make even more sturdy? So in all i would have 5
screws attaching the scope to new 1/2 inch plate to tripod. (or would
this be overkill?)

Can anyone reply to sat_diver@hotmail.com and suggestions for any other
things worth making whilst i have access to lathe would be appreciated?

regards Ray   (great site)
Mike here: I have no good way to measure the threads on the bolts so I'll leave that to some one else. Using longer bolts for holding the base plate would likely not matter and could cause problems if you get them too long. As to the outside diameter of the OTA, it is 148mm (as accurately as I could measure it).

Subject:	 ETX 125 eyepieces.
Sent:	Thursday, May 18, 2000 09:07:50
From:	Baldwin_Linay@prenhall.com
I have finally decided to buy the ETX 125 inspite of small quirks. I
need guidance though because I am still a beginner and I was hoping you
could help me out answer some questions:

1. The 125 comes with one eyepice already but I plan to buy some more
for variety. I have settled in selecting from Meade eyepieces. Could you
suggest sizes that I can buy ? I will use perhaps a Barlow 2x with the
eyepieces; for planetary and deep space.

2. Is there a message/discussion board on your web site that I can ask
the others as well regarding Meade accessories ? new groups ?

Thanks in advance,
Baldwin
Mike here: Read through the Accessories - Eyepieces page and also check out the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on eyepieces. As to discussion groups, the ETX Mailing List is a popular resource for ETX owners. Info on various discussion groups and newsgroups is also on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, May 17, 2000 17:43:48
From:	rharris@micron.net (Rick)
I am interested in purchasing a ETX125-EC soon.  I am not sure what
tripod to get for it. I have read the tripod links on your page.  I
don't think I am interested in getting the field tripod from Meade
because it seems rickety at best (checked one out at the local Discovery
store).  I am into photography am I am leaning towards getting a tripod
that with do double duty.  I have looked into the Bogen (Manfrotto)
tripods.  Specifically model 3221.  The problem is how will the scope be
mounted to the tripod?  What is your personal recommendation?  Any
advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

Rick
Mike here: Scopetronix and Shutan Camera and Video both have products that connect tripods to the ETX-125EC. Or you could look into the JMI Megapod. Some reviews on the Accessories - Tripods page.

Subject:	Mike, I'm looking into a NexStar5 or 125EC...
Sent:	Monday, May 15, 2000 21:50:22
From:	VassenS4@aol.com
I have been looking into a NexStar5 and the 125EC, and was curious afer
reading one of your reports.  Did you ever solve the Autostar
navigational problem?  How have your other experiences been witht the
Meade?  So far, most of the research I've gathered seems to indicate
better optics on the Meade,  but better functionality out of the
NexStar.  Any clues you can add would be helpful.  I appreciate your
website.
J. Nelson.
Mike here: As I and others have noted, both telescopes have their pluses and minuses. Yes, there have been some random glitches with something in the ETX/Autostar combination. So far I would categorize it as a nuisance. Certainly not as severe a problem as a crash on your computer, resulting in your losing your work. Both scopes have the same functionality, depending upon how you want to define it. Pick the scope you'll be comfortable with.

Subject:	 Re:  Re:  Size of Orion Softcase
Sent:	Friday, May 12, 2000 13:29:14
From:	ardjan@besse.at (Ardjan Besse)
> The ETX-125EC measurements in the normal position for packing are:

> Length = 49 cm
> Width  = 27 cm
> Depth  = 23 cm

Thanx. Still a bit too big for the 'official' carry-on luggage. On
http://www.aua.com/question/FAQ/b5.htm it says 55x40x20, so it won't fit
by as much as 3cm... Considering that, the Best will also be a good
aluminium case at 25cm thickness. Ok, of to the photocase producers....

Thanx a lot! Appearently next monday or tuesday is the shipment coming
in....

Ardjan

Subject:	 ETX125 vs Nexstar
Sent:	Thursday, May 11, 2000 01:43:00
From:	keith_moseley@monmouth.monm.sch.uk (Keith Moseley)
I read the comparison between Nexstar 5 and the ETX125 with interest
(and slight concern) as we have just ordered an ETX125! However, here in
Britain, the Nexstar is over 300 ($500) dearer and adding the computer
to the ETX would cost under 150 ($250). As budget was a consideration at
this school we have stuck with the ETX.

When we get some pictures we will email them to you.


Keith Moseley

-
Dr. Keith Moseley
Head of Physics
Monmouth School
Monmouth
NP25 3XP
01600 713143 ext 224
01600 772701 fax
home email: monphys@aol.com
Mike here: Both scopes have had some growing pains. I've only occasionally checked the NexStar discussions on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup but I have seen some concerns and problems mentioned, along with positive comments. I haven't done an exhaustive analysis to see whether the pro/con percentage of one scope is higher than the other. Let me know your experiences once you get the ETX-125EC.

Subject:	 Size of Orion Softcase
Sent:	Wednesday, May 10, 2000 14:52:42
From:	ardjan@besse.at (Ardjan Besse)
I read the review of the Orion Softcase #15142 for the ETX125. However,
it didn't state the size of the bag. Since I'm planning to take the
scope with me on holidays, the travelling case should be defenitely
carry-on-size. I won't take the risk for an 'I believe'. I don't want to
put the scope in the cargo bay, since I've seen a rigid aluminium bottle
(Danska Wodka..  8-) get a good bumb.....

Since the Meade case is somewhat too big, my third alternative is a
aluminium case from a local photo-accessoires dealer. For that case, can
you give me the outher measures of the ETX-125 in 'park'-mode?

When you don't know the answer (yet), can you relay this mail to John
Hanover, since he wrote the review about the softcase?

Thanx in advance,
Ardjan
Mike here: Regarding the measurements of the ETX-125EC, did I miss something? You have one, correct?

Added later:

Not yet. 8-(  The local dealer (the single one in Austria) is waiting
for a shipment to arrive. I hope it will get the call soon.
Mike here: The ETX-125EC measurements in the normal position for packing are:

Length = 49 cm
Width = 27 cm
Depth = 23 cm


Subject:	Etx 125 first light
Sent:	Wednesday, May 10, 2000 10:49:37
From:	Astro1807@aol.com
After just recieving an ETX 125, specially delivered from a relative who
conveniently lives near a Natures Wonder, I was excited about trying it
out.  That day I got familiarized with the basic functions of the scope:
Autostar, motor drives, exc.  When I put it out in my backyard, I placed
it on a heavy card table.  I had the AC adapter cable coming through a
window, and the Autostar and eyepieces on the table.  My first look at
the crescent moon showed great optics, but the table was very shaky,
making careful observation impossible.  At first I hadn't installed the
viewfinder, because that practacally voided Natural Wonder's return
pollicy.  But after unsuccessfully slewing around looking for a bright
guide star, I changed my mind.  In the dark, I had a hard time finding
the threads to screw the viewfinder together, but it worked out.  Then,
even though I thought I was finding the right stars, the Autostar didn't
get alligned properly.  After looking over the manual again, I realized
I was doing several things wrong.  Finally, I looked at two deep sky
objects: M65 and M66.  With the moon and brightly lit skies, they were
faint but visible.  The bright nucleus of M66 made it easier to detect
than M65.  I am very happy and excited about this scope.  Both the
optics and motor drives seem great, and the mount is sturdier than I
thought it would be!

Subject:	ETX 125 mounting plate for tripod
Sent:	Monday, May 8, 2000 17:05:20
From:	RLibby@aol.com
Here is a tid-bit that may be of some value to those who are struggling
with the 125 mounting plate while trying to mount it on the tripod.

1. To keep the plate from flopping about when installing the assembly, I
drilled out the 3 holes that correspond to the holes in the ETX, that
keep the bottom plate in place, and bolted the whole "intermediate"
plate to the ETX with knob screws..This will let you get at the
batteries without dropping a lot of stuff on the ground. Paint the knobs
white, so you can find them in the dark

2. To aid in centering the ETX assembly on the tripod, get a 1" ID
washer, and 3  #8 x1/4 flat head screws. Center the washer on the
underside of the intermediate plate, and drill and tap to install the 3
screws holding in place.

When putting the telescope on the mount, the washer on the plate will
set into the recess on the tripod, and center it. This is a lot nicer
than having a plate flop around and dropping the various pieces.

Ralph Libby


Subject:	etx 125 purchase
Sent:	Thursday, May 4, 2000 18:58:53
From:	Astro1807@aol.com
after a long time of research and decision i finally purchased an etx
125,  it should arrive soon and ill be glad to report on all positives
and negatives once i get it.

clear skies,
chris

Subject:	 EDVICE
Sent:	Tuesday, May 2, 2000 14:47:28
From:	mvgasy@c2i.net (CHRISTIAN  HAUGERUD)
I have been thinking about buying an etx-125ec. Then I found your site
and noticed all the complaints folks had about a "random slewing"
problem they have with their etx-125ec's(and lots of  other problems).
Im getting pretty worried her now. Im a complete idiot with R.A and dec,
so i need the autostar controller or else im lost! Does anybody have
anything good to say about the ETX125EC? If so , tell me - i need to
know. Im a intermediare-level observer , so im looking for a better
telescope than my old saturn 114eq-but as i said , me , R.A and
Dec=disaster (most times) I dont want too throw away money on something
i cant use. Do you have any other telescope`s you can recommend (WITH
"go to" , and more or less same price), maybe a dobsonian with magellan
computer systems(I dont realy know how magellan works on the
dobsonian...)? Please help me. I dont want anything over an 8"

Christian 20
Mike here: Don't let the negative comments necessarily scare you off. There are many positive comments as well on the ETX-125EC Feedback pages. Yes, there is the random slewing problem that occasionally strikes (and usually at the worse possible time, like during a demo). For alternatives, check out the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup.

Subject:	 Autostar
Sent:	Tuesday, May 2, 2000 10:23:16
From:	jpswann54@netscapeonline.co.uk (jpswann54)
Just thought you would like to know that after five months of slewing
problems with my 125, I think that my problems are at an end. Meade
finally admitted to their distributor here in UK that it was a hardware
problem with the Autostar. I now have a new Autostar and am running ver.
2.0h. Three nights perfect viewing on both mains and battery.

--
John Swann, Rosemary Cottage, Mill Pond Lane,
West Ashling, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 8DY, UK
Tel/Fax: +44 1243 575611
Mobile:  +44 411 005364

Subject:	 more info Re: ETX 125 focusing problems
Sent:	Monday, May 1, 2000 12:20:13
From:	jlearned@hawaii.edu
You might want to pass the following along to interested ETX folks:  I
just talked to Meade Service and had hardly begun my tale when the
technician started telling me that they know there is a deisgn problem
with the #1247 Electric Focuser for the ETX-125.  He admitted there is
design defficiency and suggested that I return the unit and await a new
model.  Apparently some units have been shipped with some sort of tape
inside in an attempt to secure the motor better in the rather flimsy
plastic housing, but even this Mickey Mouse (sorry Mickey) does not
suffice. I pointed out that it appeared that mine had also assembly
problems, and he acknowledged trouble with the manufacture as well.  Oh
boy, that is not encouraging, but at least reassuring that they
acknowledge and aim to make good.

Still, he offered to send me a hopefully better version, so we are
trying that.  If that does not work I will just return and await a new
model.  I presume that other manufacturer's electric focuser units will
not have a compatible RS-232 interface, so one would require a new hand
held controller, which is a nuisance.  Anyway, I am not sure one really
needs this device in the first place, finger work fine for me though I
suppose in some delicate situations it might be nice.  Also I think for
birding it will be a useful device.

Secondly, our scope does have some uneveness in the focus shaft rotation
(a little grinding feeling in one direction and increasing force when
going way out).  The Meade technician says, after consultation, this is
not unusual and not to worry about.  He says it will run in with use.
OK, I hope so.

Thanks Mike for running this web site.  Ciao,

John Learned

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