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ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 29 September 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:	 ETX125
Sent:	Friday, September 29, 2000 15:34:23
From:	gen_lam@ameritech.net (DON COOPER)
I have just found your site and am very happy I did. I am thinking of
buying an ETX125 spotter version. I made this choice because of all that
I have read regarding the electronics and drives in the astro version.
Seems to me that Meade may have to go back to the drawing board in order
to get the astro version up to snuff. Optics seem to be another story.
All that I have read seem to support this. My question is this. Is there
any difference in viewing from the top eyepiece port as opposed to the
rear cell port? Also, I understand that you can buy an adapter called an
LAR that will allow you use SCT acccessories off the back of the scope
at the rear cell. With this in mind, will all types of eyepieces focus?
Or do I have to be careful with what I buy. I am new to astronomy and
want to thank you for such an informative site. It's great and I am
learning. Thank you.
Don Cooper
Mike here: You can use either port with eyepieces (you do need an adapter for the rear port). Most eyepieces should focus but there may be some that won't. Also, you may have to adjust the focus knob position on the focus shaft for some eyepieces. But that is just a matter of loosening the setscrew in the side of the knob, slide the knob a little outward on the shaft, and retighten the screw.

Subject:	 ETX-125EC
Sent:	Friday, September 29, 2000 01:47:25
From:	mgloggia@hotmail.com (Michael Loggia)
Hi, my name is Michael Loggia and I am looking foward to buying an
ETX-125EC. I am 13 yrs old and this will be the first telescope I will
own. Do you think this telescope is a good choice for a beginner? Also
with an ETX-125EC would you be able to see nebulaes and galaxies in
detail and color. Also If you try to focus the telescope at uranus would
it be just a dot in the telescope? Right now how precise is the Autostar
and will it be exact at finding objects with the latest version? Do you
think buying the Deluxe field tripod for the ETX-125EC and Celestron
Suppresion Pads would be a good choice for the ETX-125EC. Thanks
Mike here: The ETX models make great first telescopes. However, don't expect to see galaxies and nebulae in great detail and color. Most appear to the eye as faint fuzzy patches using ANY telescope. Of course, there are some exceptions, like M42 in Orion. The smaller or more distant planets will appear as small disks. When properly aligned the Autostar does a good job. Many users have expressed unhappiness over the stability of the Deluxe Tripod. There are alternatives. See the Accessories - Tripods page.

Subject:	125 for sale-San Francisco Area
Sent:	Thursday, September 28, 2000 23:30:14
From:	JoyandVic@aol.com
I just bought a new Meade 125 with the tripod, extra lenses, "go to"
handset, etc.   Then, I get transferred to a high light area terrible
for viewing.   I have it in all the original boxes with a separate hard
carrying case and will sell it for any reasonable offer.  I paid $1,500
including taxes.   Can you toss me onto your message board/net and find
me a user.   telephone 650 210 1976 weekday, 209 932 0648 weekends.

thanks,    Vic Preisser

Subject:	 Backlash. ETX 125
Sent:	Thursday, September 28, 2000 05:21:26
From:	paulkesterton@kytecommunication.co.uk (Paul A. Kesterton)
Dear Mr Benedict,
I have just read with interest your article about the right ascension
drive problems with your ETX 125 on the ETX website. In particular I was
intrigued by your term backlash. I have been experiencing a problem and
was wondering if this is backlash.

When I use either hand controller (Autostar or the standard electronic
controller) the altitude drive moves the telescope immediately, so no
problem there. When either hand controller is used on the RA Drive the
motors start up but the telescope doesn't move for about two or three
seconds. This obviously makes fine positioning very difficult, which is
annoying when I have gone to a lot of trouble to permanently mount,
polar align and train the telescope.

If you have discovered a fix I would be grateful for any advice, even if
it is send it back.

P.S. Does Meade have an email address?

Yours faithfully
Paul A. Kesterton

--
Paul A. Kesterton
Institute House, Main Road, Newton Regis,
Tamworth, Staffordshire B79 0NE. Great Britain.
Tel:+44 (0)1827 830274. Fax:+44 (0)1827 68401. www.kytecommunication.co.uk
Mike here: Meade has an email address (engineer@meade.com) but is for reporting problems (like with Autostar updates). It is not a technical support email address. For that you have to call them or fax them.

Subject:	 Re: [Re:  Re: [re: ETX125 problems] Motor Failures]
Sent:	Tuesday, September 26, 2000 20:12:01
From:	Ibowski@netscape.net (Rainer Ibowski)
finally I got the Autostar exchanged. First "dry runs" in the basement
showed no errors any longer. Now I am waiting for clear skies and
sufficient free time to get the ETX125 running in my backyard. Thanks
again for your support.

Rainer
Oakville, Ontario

Subject:	 ETX 125 Backlash
Sent:	Sunday, September 24, 2000 19:51:58
From:	cbenedict@email.msn.com (Cecil)
I recently upgraded from the ETX 90 to the ETX 125.  I have had no
problems with the autostar and the ETX 90 as far as accuracy with the
goto.  I have found that the ETX 125 has been very poor with the
accuracy.  There is considerable backlash (about 3-5 seconds of no
movement) with both left and right.  Could the motors running before
there is any movement cause the goto to get "confused" as to where it
really is?  Is 3-5 seconds normal backlash for this scope.  My ETX 90
has minimal backlash and it only happens in one direction.  Thank you.

Cecil

ps - I did change the autostar to reflect the the 125 telescope
Mike here: I assume you retrained your Autostar when you switched. Even so, retraining couldn't hurt. 3-5 seconds is too much.

Subject:	 Meade ETX EC 125 Focus
Sent:	Tuesday, September 19, 2000 10:22:49
From:	tmort@pacbell.net (THOMAS E. MORTON)
When I first started using the 125 I found changing the focus moved the
image in the viewing area, sometimes out of the entire viewing area.  I
called Meade and was informed by a tech rep that I should turn the
focusing knob in completly and out completly several times.  I did that
but it did not seem to cure the problem.  Now that I have used it for
several sessions it is much better but the image still moves a bit
within the field of view.  Is this "normal" or should I sent to Meade
for adjustment?  I expect that the mirror movement will cause some shift
in the image but how much?  Thanks for your help and your prompt answer
to my prior email regarding the carrying case.
Tom Morton
Mike here: In the original ETX-125EC models there was some image shift that was corrected in newer models. Yes, there can still be some but should not be that objectionable.

Subject:	 Hard case for the 125
Sent:	Monday, September 18, 2000 16:27:31
From:	hike91@email.msn.com (Mary Hike)
After reading the note that gary sent in on the hard case by Pelican and
that he thought the 1650 might be a bit large, and that maybe the 1620
would be a good choice I bought the 1620 and the fit is good.  Just
enough room to put in some eye pieces and the auto star controller. 
Case is about the same size as meads and much better  quality.  I would
recommend it to anyone that wants a good case and is willing to spend a
little more to protect their investment.  The case coast $204 plus
shipping at almost any site you refer to on this site.  I got one at a
local camera store for the same price it would have coast for shipping
from the other places and got to see and take it home that day.

Subject:	 ETX-90 vs ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, September 13, 2000 11:00:14
From:	nhpanhpa@hotmail.com (Hugh Prentice)
Mike,  first I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent
site. I follow the comments weekly and they have been very helpful.

I have had my ETX-90ec for about a year now and have enjoyed it
tremendously.  I am currently considering upgrading it to a ETX-125 with
a trade-in.  My hope is to see deep sky objects with increased clarity
and brightness with the increase in aperture.  I know you have used both
scopes.  I am interested in your opinion whether you see a difference
between the two that you would consider significant.  Which one do you
enjoy more.  

Looking forward to your reply.  H.Pretin
Mike here: You will see more but whether you will see "sufficiently" more to matter to you depends upon your expectations and how you want to use the scope. Many people prefer the greater portability of the -90 over the -125. On the other hand, you will see fainter objects better with the -125 than with the -90. I tend to use my ETX-90RA more than the ETX-125EC because of its portability.

Subject:	 etx-125ec
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2000 10:04:42
From:	sat_diver@hotmail.com (sat diver)
do you know what the polarity is on the etx 125 ec for the 12 vdc
adapter. is the centre pin on 12v socket negative or positive?
Cheers
Ray
Mike here: I did a search on the site for "polarity" and three pages come up with the answer. (center=positive, according to reports)

Subject:	 Quick ETX Question
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2000 07:08:46
From:	SBond@RetroStudios.com (Steve Bond)
Hi! Love your site! It was a great resource for me leading up to buying
my ETX telescope, and I'm sure will continue to be for as long as I own
it.

I have a question about my scope, though, something I hadn't seen
mentioned on your site anywhere. I have an ETX-125EC. Slewing the scope
around with the controller isn't as smooth as I expected. That is, on
some speeds, the scope seems to 'grab' or 'stick', and then move a bit
more than I want. Say I'm trying to center perfectly on a crater on the
moon. Sometimes I can't pan smoothly over the object. The scope will
'pop' from the left side of the object to the right.

I'm nervous that I paid nearly $1,000.00 for a telescope that may not be
working properly. Does this sound like normal ETX behavior?

Thanks!

-Steve
Mike here: Perhaps it may be due to overtightening the locks. Or just some tightness from it being new?

Subject:	 Soft Case for the ETX-125EC
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 15:36:40
From:	evans@theedge.ca (John Evans)
First off, let me say a huge "Thank You" for the wonderful resource of
your ETX page.

I am the former owner of an ETX-90, and have recently moved up to the
ETX-125EC.

I read with interest a review on the Accessories -> Cases, about a soft
case from Orion Telescopes. John Hanover stated that he had purchased
the 15142 Soft Case for the ETX-125 (NEXSTAR 5) from Orion Telescope. I
am very much interested in finding a case, soft or hard for the ETX-125
that would be suitable for carry-on luggage. Mr. Hanover's review seemed
to fulfill that requirement. Unfortunately, when I called Orion and
asked about the bag, I was told that a new supplier was being used, and
the ETX-125 would not fit in the Nexstar 5 bag.

This brings me back to my original problem. Does anyone have any idea on
a suitable case, soft or hard, that can be used for the ETX-125, that is
an acceptable size for carry on baggage on an airline?

Also I see from Orions Web site, that they offer tripod cases. Have any
of your readers purchased one suitable for the Meade #883 Deluxe Field
Tripod? Any comments?

Thanks again for all your help.

John Evans

Subject:	 ETX-125EC
Sent:	Sunday, September 10, 2000 08:42:29
From:	johnr@harbornet.com (John Riegsecker)
BTW, I'm a fellow Hoosier.  I grew up in Northern Indiana (Middlebury).
I've always been interested in astronomy but scopes always seemed too
expensive and complicated and I've always been so busy.  When I saw an
add for the Meade 70 scope it got me to thinking of a scope again and I
decided on the ETX-125 in large part because of your site.  This is my
first scope (I bought it in August) so everything I see is a new
adventure.  I saw Jupiter and Saturn the other morning for the first
time and it was simply stunning.  That was rare clear morning however,
as we have been having generally cloudy weather, I've also enjoyed
looking at deep sky objects such as M57 and M13.

Thanks for keeping the site up.

Subject:	 Meade Series 4000 f/6.3 Focal Reducer 
Sent:	Wednesday, September 6, 2000 07:09:34
From:	mdjohnson@att.net
Wow! Cool site!

I just purchased an ETX-125EC and am enjoying the struggle to learn
stuff about it despite the less than comprehensive user manuals. Your
site has been very enlightening already.

Does anybody have any experience with trying to use a Meade Series 4000
f/6.3 Focal Reducer on an ETX?

I know it is intended for Schmidt-Cassegrains but I don't have enough
experience to know if that means it is completely unuseable with a
Maksutov-Cassegrain.

If the Focal Reducer CAN be used with the ETX, will it couple with the
T-64 or would I need to get a Basic or a Variable Projection Camera
Adapter as well?

Dave Johnson 
Mike here: I'm guessing here but I suspect you'll probably need the Shutan "SCT Accessory Adapter". You can some comments on this item on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.

Subject:	 Aperture
Sent:	Tuesday, September 5, 2000 19:50:12
From:	mcfarlnd@chem.nwu.edu (Adam D. McFarland)
I became the proud owner of a ETX90/EC about a year and three months
ago. I was fortunate enough to spend last summer glued to my scope
observing the wonderfully dark skies of western Ohio. However, last
September I moved to the Chicago area to attend graduate school, so
stargazing has become an event that must be planned well ahead of time
(in order to travel far enough from the horrible skyglow). I am still
very enthusiastic about astronomy and plan on it being a life-long
hobby. At this point I am considering purchasing an ETX125/EC.
Initially, I thought that the increased aperture would make deep-sky
observation more enjoyable. However, upon looking at the 125's spec's I
noticed that it is a f/15 scope (compared to the f/13.8 for the ETX90).
My understanding is that if the same eyepiece was used in both scopes,
the 125 would yield a higher magnification but a dimmer object. I
generally use my 26mm eyepiece to do deep-sky observation with my ETX90,
and I wouldn't want to try spotting objects much dimmer than what I get
with that configuration. Considering that I am on a graduate student's
income, I'm not thrilled about buying an additional eyepiece (such as a
32mm - $100) for a new ETX125. The Sky&Telescope review of the ETX125
also mentioned that the secondary mirror obstructs the scope's
light-gathering ability by a greater percentage than in the ETX90. The
bottom line is that I am more concerned about getting good object
brightness (especially in not-so-dark skies) than I am about
magnification. Therefore, I'm wondering if the ETX125 is worth the money
(and probably selling my ETX90 - What are good resale values for an
ETX90/EC in excellent shape?) if I primarily want to do deep-sky
observation with a 26mm eyepiece? or would I have to buy a longer focal
length eyepiece? OR should I just stick with my trusty ETX90/EC?!?

I really enjoy your site, and it has been a lifesaver since I've had my
telescope.

Adam D. McFarland

Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.  USA
mcfarlnd@chem.nwu.edu
Mike here: If you just want aperture at a low cost, consider a Dobsonian telescope. Most do not have drives or equatorial mounts (although these can be added) but they do come in large apertures. On the other hand, the ETX-125EC can see more and more easily than the -90. For example, the Ring Nebula is much nicer in the -125. So, it becomes a matter of tradeoffs; cost, convenience, size, etc.

Subject:	 etx 125ec-12volt gel battery
Sent:	Tuesday, September 5, 2000 04:54:33
From:	mikef@strobe.co.za (Mike Field)
Considering that one can power the ETX from a 12 volt car battery, can I
use a small 12 volt gel battery in the field?
Mike Field
South Africa

Subject:	 Hello Again
Sent:	Monday, September 4, 2000 08:01:57
From:	hlplesromantic@hotmail.com (Joe Neiheisel)
Hi, my name is Joe Neiheisel, I am an 18-year-old college student,
originally from Columbiana, Ohio (South of Youngstown & Cleveland), and
I am currently living at the Boyd School Dorm in Moon Township,
Pennsylvania while I attend classes at the Pittsburgh Technical
Institute in Oakland, Pennsylvania.  I wrote you a couple weeks ago
about finding the best price on a Meade ETX 125 telescope.  Last week I
bought one at a Discovery Channel Store location and I was now wondering
if you would be kind enough to answer me a few questions.  See, last
night I came home for Labor Day & was going to take it out for only the
first time since Iíve had cloudy skies all of the last week. Last night,
when I tried to do the Easy Align, I was a little confused by the
directions in the Autostar & Autostar instruction manual and Iím afraid
Iím going to make a mistake and damage the scope.  The Autostar &
Autostar instruction manual say to turn the telescope counterclockwise
until it stops and then turn it clockwise until the fork arm is directly
over the computer control panel.  Does this mean that I make almost a
complete 360-degree turn from where it stopped going counterclockwise
and that the arm w/the declination lock on it should be over the control
panel?  I wasnít exactly sure which arm was supposed to be over the
control panel & I was afraid I was going to damage the scope when it
started scrolling if I didnít have the correct arm over the panel. 
Also, I was wondering, how do I set the scope up for a Polar alignment? 
I canít seem to find how to in the Autostar menus.  Well Mr. Weasner,
thanks for your time & I may write back in the future w/more questions
from time to time.  Thanks also for such a great ETX website, I love it.

Sincerely,
Joe Neiheisel
Mike here: Check the Autostar Information page for some tips on Alt/Az and Polar alignments, including the Home position.

Subject:	 What a site!
Sent:	Thursday, August 31, 2000 17:03:03
From:	paul.loughman@ak.ngb.army.mil (Loughman, Paul Civ)
I've recently decided to purchase a Meade ETX-125EC telescope, and was
searching the Internet for sites other than Meade's, that had
information on this telescope.

I am 'really' impressed with your site! I have it bookmarked, and am
going through the vast amount of quality content you have gathered
together (and are maintaining). You have done a marvelous job!

Paul O. Loughman
Lead, Military Pay
PHONE: DSN 317-384-4127 COM 9070428-6127
FAX:   DSN 317-384-4199 COM 907-428-6199

"It takes less time to take the time to do it right the first time, than
it does to fix it the second time."

Subject:	 Cases for Meade ETX125
Sent:	Thursday, August 31, 2000 12:03:49
From:	tmort@pacbell.net (THOMAS E. MORTON)
I read with interest your page on carrying cases for the Meade ETX
series, but perhaps not carefully enough.  Bases on the high
recommendations of users I ordered the extra large Dococil.  I just
received it and find that it is too small for the ETX 125.  It should me
made clear by the writers which ETX they are referring to by simply
adding the size to the ETX.  I will have to return the case and try to
find a case that will hold the 125.
Tom Morton
Mike here: A lot of the older comments pre-date the ETX-125EC. Sorry about the confusion.

Subject:	 ETX 125 home position update
Sent:	Wednesday, August 30, 2000 19:52:52
From:	rlonn@home.com (Robert Lonn)
Gary Giddings comment about mounting the control panel on the EAST side
of the Tripod is interesting. Even more interesting is that fact that
MEADE has recommended doing this. AT last a new controversial subject to
talk about on your web site!! Mine has always been on the WEST side. I
am sure 99% of all your readers place it on the WEST side of the tripod
as well. My questions has to be, What is the advantage or does this fix
some defect that we are just now learning about??? My ETX-125 works
fine!! BTW Mike, I have received several favorable comments about my
recommendation to use a level and set the scope tube level in all 360
deg. of its rotation. One thing I can say from the email is that the
bubble in these tripods are not perfect. Many have reported very
favorable results on GO-TO accuracy.. Add ed some new Collins radios to
my collection so getting out of the Ham Radio room has been harder these
days. The Star party in east San Diego county last Saturday was
fantastic! About 150 people showed up. I had a chance to look through
some very nice scopes like an LX-200 12 inch and a 20" reflector.. On a
clear night you could see for ever!!
Mike here: East or West? I guess the best recommendation is "do what works". Maybe living east or west of Meade's Irvine location makes a difference... ;-)

Added later:

Interesting concept on Meade!! Not sure what is going on, but I hope
this will generate some email to the web site and a bit of interesting
discussions!!
And then we have this:
Subject:	 Re: Instruction Manual Addendum in ETX-125 box
Sent:	Thursday, August 31, 2000 10:54:55
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
In the firmware for v2.0h (and therefore v2.0i)(and earlier) the
Autostar assumes the hardstop is a bit over 90 degrees CCW of the "home"
position.  It make decisions about which way to spin based upon that (it
also assumes the CW hard stop is 450 degrees CW of Home...).

So... since the hardstop is a few degrees CCW of the control panel,
putting the control panel -EAST- of north will eventually mean (or
occasionally mean) you'll hit it.

Other than that, east or west doesn't affect operation.
--dick

The photos in the online manual for the ETX90 (and Autostar, i think)
are also confusing.

Subject:	 Motor fault ETX125ec
Sent:	Wednesday, August 30, 2000 12:22:00
From:	john.barker20@virgin.net (John Barker)
Having recently bought a 125ec I have to say that on the whole I am very
happy with it.... but..... on the last two observing sessions it has
suddenly stopped tracking and a motor fault message comes up on the
Autostar, saying things like it could be due to moving the autostar
between'scopes or low battery, and to press mode after which it will
test the motors and re alingnment will be necessary. Well the first time
the batteries may have been a bit low, so a new set went in then 45min
into last night's session the same happened. A check on status revealed
97% battery power,  and I had done no big slewing other than to align
with Mizar and Altair - the rest was hopping around Sagitarius messier
objects. Anyway I re aligned and everything was ok for another ten min
when the same happened again. Is this really a battery fault or
something more serious? Shoud I get the mains adapter and sod the
batteries? At the most the latest set had been used for 90 min.
Hoping you can help,
John Barker.
Mike here: Some things to try: retrain the drives when this occurs and update the Autostar to the current version from Meade's web site.

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Submittals Copyright © 2000 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/125ecSep00.html