ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS 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: ETX125 "funny crack sound" Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 05:55:50 From: Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM (Michael Lang) I set up my new ETX 125 the other night, but just decided to use the EC instead of the Autostar. I let it cool down a couple hours then star tested it and was quite pleased with the results. Took a look at Mars, but it was so low, and the atmosphere so churned up, it wasn't great. But for brief periods I could see some dark areas. This scope has potential ! HOWEVER, last night, since it was raining, I dug into the Autostar manual (off the web), performed a "daylight alignment", then pretended to GOTO and track various objects. Since Pluto and Mars were the only objects above the horizon, I slewed to them. After tracking Mars for about 15 minutes (Alt-Az), the scope made a fairly loud "crack !" sound, kinda like a binding plastic on plastic strain that's builds up, and then crack !, it releases. So I shut down power, unlocked the Dec & RA (one at a time) and carefully tried to moved the OTA to check for binding. There was none. So I re-aligned to HOME position, applied power & aligned, then repeated the steps that had resulted in the crack sound. Same thing, 15 minutes or so, and a crack sound, but this time, I got a "motor fail" message, and text that suggested check batteries, check for obstructions, etc..... It also said "when you press MODE after this message, the scope will reinitialize, and you must realign it". I also think it said something about motor recalibration, but it was late and I was beginning to panic, so I shut down for the night, went to bed and had nightmares. This morning I connected the AC power supply to the scope, and operated it with the EC - I just "slewed it around" (avoiding the hard stop at 7PM on the RA) to limber it up, and perhaps, help break it in, as your test report suggested the drives were very tight and would require some break in. After 15 minutes or so of that, I went back to the Autostar and repeated last nights adventure. Seems to be "better". Although It made 2 or 3 semi-loud crack sounds over 35 minutes, none resulted in a motor-fail message. So what do you think ? thanks ! Michael Lang LANG.MICHAEL@ORBITAL.COMMike here: By any chance were you looking through the scope when the crack occurred? Did you notice any "jerk" in the object position or other movement in the OTA when the crack occurred?
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Michael - I know exactly what it is....I have seen about six such scopes in the past two months with identical symptoms; you have either (or both) the RA or DEC worm driver gear very tight and that is causing a temporary load on the reducer gears and the motor; eventually you will see that this should go away. The system is very tight right now and will loosen with time very well. For now, I would set up the scope indoors and slew both axes generously back and forth to allow the gears to "seat" adequately. I ran the scope for about 40 minutes hard on the night it was tested and did not get any of the "cracking sound" and certainly not a motor unit fault (those are common and usually because of power too low - what kind of power source are you hooked up to?). If you are using internal batteries I would suggest that you forget that and invest in either the Meade 541 AC converter (great at 15.2 volts) or a good portable DC power station like you can buy at Wal Mart or similar....Michael can probably suggest a good one. I think you are fine, just need to work the scope just a bit. The ETX 125 is "famous" for making the most horrible noises. But first off, I would get a reliable power source that puts out at LEAST 14v, as the "12V" is not adequate for the ETX 125. Let me know if I can help! Clay SherrodAnd:
From: Michael Lang (Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM) Thanks Clay ! In fact, at the time of the motor fault crack sound incident, I was powering the scope with 8 NiMh cells (only around 10 volts). Afterwards I went to a Lab Bench Supply, but limited it's output to only 12.0 volts. So that seems to explain the reduced cracking sounds and no fault motor operation. (and Mike W: I was indoors at the time of the crack and wasn't observing, so I don't know if there was any position jump) I'll crank up my power supply to 15.2 volts tonite and slew the scope around for more break-in. Must I re-train or re-calibrate the motors as a result of this incident ? Is there any risk or value in using the manual EC at the highest slew rate, versus the Autostar set to slew from one object to another ? Also, do you know what the max voltage input limit for the scope is ? I was thinking of assembling a 16 volt pack using some small 5 amp-hour UPS lead-acid gel cells. If critical, I could assemble a simple voltage regulator circuit for precisely 15.2 volts. thanks ! Michael p.s. Maybe I missed this in your notes on Mike's site, but I think a useful message to all ETX newbies would be to utilize your "Daylight Use" instructions and setup/operate a new ETX in the comfort of your own living room. It was so easy to get the hang of the Autostar by flipping thru every page of the on-line manual, and playing around with all the A.S. menu's and functions, all without the pressure of wanting to rush to observe.And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) I think you will find tremendously greater response and much less trouble with the higher voltage. 1) Never use more than 15.7 volts max. 2) It would be a good idea to "recalibrate...." but not need to retrain the motors. 3) Slew with whichever method you choose, there is no advantage nor disadvantage to either. 4) Your idea for the DC power source is excellent; just keep it below 15.7 volts 5) You should see noticably less "cracking" and unpredictable behavior with increase voltage....I doubt that you were actually even receiving a true 10V off the batteries, probably more like 9.2V is customary, which is way too low. 6) Keep working the scope but do so conservatively....it is ready to go and should be working very well for you with some proper voltage! Enjoy! Clay Sherrod
Subject: Re: ETX 125 Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 12:24:58 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: David OPTICS: if you are getting a uniform Airy disk around a medium-bright star then your optics are great; turn it a bit out of focus and look at the "donut" shape....if the dark center is centered against the bright Airy pattern, then your collimation is excellent. Be sure and use a night of very steady air and high power; the star should be nearly overhead for your test; MECHANICS: put the scope on Arcturus right now and center at medium high power; go off and let it track for about 15 minutes and look at the drift. If the RA is tracking well, you should see some minor drift east-west, but not much. If it drifts North-South, then your alignment is off and has nothing to do with the scope's motors. A little eastward drift is normal. TRIPOD: The #883 tripod is NOT adequate for the ETX 125; a lot of problems in vibration prevent you from enjoying the perfect optics of these scopes. You can stabilize a bit by adding some weight (about 10 pounds) right in the center where the eyepiece "table" is located. This will add much stability, but you will still get vibrations. I suggest saving your $$ and working toward the wonderful #887 tripod and adapter kit from Meade. Best investment you will ever make! Good luck and thanks for writing! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- Dear Clay, I enjoyed your review and field test of the 125 on Weasner's site. I have had my 125 for @ 18 months but am unsure whether my scope is running perfectly. I don't have the Autostar since I want to be a purest but it can get very trying, especially when a cool evening decreases patience. I can make out the "Airy" disc around stars before perfect focus so I assume it's collimated decently. However, I do have the 883, and also think it falls short. My questions are: 1) Could you offer any test tips which I can perform to see if my scope is running, focusing,... adequately? 2) Do you have any tips as to how I could add stability to my 883 tripod? (I did put rubber feet on each leg) Any info or advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Clay, and keep looking up. DavidMike here: I would add that NOT extending the tripod leg extensions at all helps a LOT with stability with the ETX-125EC.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Mike - I totally agree and it also affords - as you have said so many times in the past - a most comfortable height for sitting while observing as well; in my opinion the #883 tripod is risky at best on the ETX 125, but extending the legs is really dangling that 17-pound jewel on the end of a thin chain. Clay Sherrod
Subject: re: problem with new ETX125 Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 21:38:24 To: email@example.com I saw your note on Mike's site, and remember from the dim and dusty archives that there have been a (very) few reports of Meade having assembled the telescope with the internal battery wiring -backwards- (plus to minus and vice-versa). You may have that case. IF your dealer was local, i'd scurry over and try an in-store swap. Otherwise, it's off to Meade... (well, there is the "open and look" or "try an AC adapter instead of battery" test sequence we could wander through... but who knows what (if backwards wiring is the case) got fried? Some folks -have- successfully resurrected their scopes (one by simply inserting the batteries backwards... NOT recommended without other testing to demonstrate that such is indeed the problem.) good luck --dick
Subject: Re: Problem with a New ETX-125 Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 19:42:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Blevins) Nope, the light does not come on. And nothing appears on the Controller. No power at all. I am going to return it for Warranty Service tomorrow if I can't get it working. I already have my RGA# number. Joe ----- Original Message ----- > In article <8iFL6.10457$Pp1.email@example.com>, > "Joe Blevins"
wrote: > > > Help, > > > > I just opened my new ETX-125. I know NOTHING about telescopes so please > > forgive me if I say something stupid. > > > > I opened it up and put the batteries in. But i can't get it to power on. I > > am using new batteries and yes I did put them in right. I locked the > > telescope like the instructions said. > > > > Does anyone have any ideas? > > > > Joe > > Does the LED on the base come on when you flip the switch on? Do you > have the Autostar? Does its display come on? > > Mike Weasner
Subject: Introduction Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 10:51:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Denis, Ronald J (Ronald)** CTR **) I have just discovered your site on the web and was excited to see a place for discussing the ETX 125. I purchased the ETX 125 yesterday. This is my first telescope (been wanting one since I was a child). I was wondering if you could suggest any web sites, news groups, etc. where complete novices could go to begin to learn about astronomy in general and using the ETX 125 specifically? Ron Denis E-mail : email@example.com Consultant Lucent Technologies Inc.Mike here: There are many general astronomy sites on the web. Many are linked from the Astronomy Links page on my ETX site. And of course, don't forget your local library as a source of good books on astronomy. As to using your ETX, you've found the best place to begin ONCE you've read and understood the manual and then have practiced using your new telescope.
Subject: ETX 125 Tuneup by Clay Sherrod Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 9:14:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charles A. Suscheck) I just had my ETX125 tuned up by Clay Sherrod. I wouldn't have known what to do. I'm really glad I sent it to him. The RA was in poor shape even though it was a new scope. The worm gears were binding against each other and the whole unit was swimming in grease. Clay did a fine job of fixing the problems and now the scope is pretty darn good. I'd recommend his service to anyone who gets and ETX125. No one should perform open heart surgery on oneself nor should anyone dig into the 125 without being very familiar with it. Dr. Charles Suscheck, Ph.D.
Subject: Re: ETX Blast Off Sent: Wednesday, May 2, 2001 02:44:32 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: Murray Just came in from a full night of less-than-ideal observing, but good nonetheless. Gathering some "field looks" for my upcoming constellation Guide for Lyra! Did a nice sketch of M-57, the Ring Nebula. I will go out on a limb and suggest that you go ahead and download the v2.2ed firmware from Meade and upgrade. With the ETX scopes (I am getting ready to do another complete upload to my LX 90) including my own ETX 125, the new version really appears to be VERY good....no problems with the ETX like I, and many others, have reported with the LX 90. Regarding your "rubber banding," this new v2.2ed seems to pretty much eliminate it....and make your GO TO's a LOT more accurate. If I were you I would go ahead and do it....can't hurt, as you a can always reload v2.1ek if you need to! Remember to go back and edit in your tours, comets, asteroids, satellites, etc. Dick Seymour has suggested that....if you simply leave the scope and upload alone long enough....it will completely load all the ephemerides and perhaps even your user data as well. I am fixing to find out if that does work. Great that you are having such success with the scope. By the way, the 26mm + barlow is giving you about 152x with your ETX 125. Great for the moon and double stars, but a "bit" too much maybe for deep sky. Keep us posted! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Murray Clay, I finally got everything working tonight for a quick look at the stars. Mechanics on the scope were just great--no slop in either DEC or RA. Minimum clamping required. Setting circle went right from "0" to my lat. at Polaris with only one degree (32 degrees vs 31) slippage. Tracked Castor for about 25 minutes (time to make and drink a cup of coffee inside with the wife) with 26mm and a 2X shorty barlow, and though not centered, was well inside the EP FOV when I looked back. Very satisfactory especially since I used the ALT/AZ mode tonight. The optics were just fantastic. Resolved Castor [I never knew she was a binary--checked in my atlas on Starry Night Backyard and sure enough] Worked on the Moon for a couple of hours and really enjoyed the contrast and the sharpness [ same EP setup- don't know the mag just yet] not to mention the landscape itself. Felt like I could see the American flag is I just knew were to look! Almost anyway. The GO-TO was a little less than satisfactory considering the reset and retrain off of Polaris I did just before the Easy alignment --No Kochab Clock tonight--in Alt/AZ mode also but the scope only put the object/star in the Finder Scope's FOV and not the 26mm on the Scope (no Barlow). LOTS of rubber banding in the DEC and some overrun in the Slew in the RA. The DEC was really a lot worse as the night wore on. Difficult to use the Barlow and keep the Star in the FOV. Read your comments on the 2.2ed "upgrade" and will just wait until you have time to review before I do anything. I have 2.1ek you remember--you helped me download the silly thing. Clay, since I don't intend to use anything but polar mode it's no big deal for me on the rubber banding but I would like to know if anyone comes up with a "fix", but Mead's 2.2ed doesn't sound like the one I'm looking for. Mead's electric focuser leaves a little to be desired. Fast and faster is right and no manual if it quits. JMI has a new "better" focuser out, but like a refrigerator that's working you usually keep what you have until it quits. The nite's results were very rewarding for me and the help I got, from you mostly, and the others made it possible. I have really enjoyed tuning the little scope and with a little work on the autostar it will be "the perfect ETX". I agree wholeheartedly with you on the optics of this little scope. I attended 5 monthly star parties here and did a lot of research on all type of scopes and I firmly believe the ETX is the best scope out there for even double the money. P.S. Downloaded your Constellations series and I will study all four articles. Three ring binder coming up--with indexes yet. No need for a reply--you must be really busy now that you are retired. I was just excited about the results and never had to experience the bad stuff thanks to your Maintenance Tips. Murray
Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the ETX-125EC Feedback pages.
Return to the top of this page.
Go to the ETX Home Page.