Last updated: 30 August 2000

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. 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:	 ETX-60AT or -70AT drive gear ratios
Sent:	Tuesday, August 29, 2000 18:16:19
From:	GMYERS2@carolina.rr.com ( RoadRunner)
I have a question for your |group"... does anyone know what the total
gear ratio is from the motor to the axes (both)? ALso what is the
encoder counts (number of holes through wheel) and are there 2 rings of
holes (quadrature)? The encoders are direct driven by the motor correct?

This is for the the new ETX60 or 70 (keep the cost down so I can rip out
the electronics)...

Gary K9RX

Subject:	 Piggyback of ETX -70AT?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 30, 2000 00:57:36
From:	postmaster@mail.shenkar.ac.il (Postmaster)
I wonder if the sliding front part of the ETX-70AT tube (serving the
focuser) still allows the attachment of a piggyback ring around the
lower part of the tube in order to use a camera? Or would it be set on
the sliding part? Do you know if any of the accessories manufacturers
intend to offer such a device?
Regards,  Emanuel

Subject:	 ETX-70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, August 29, 2000 08:51:33
From:	Richard.Jacobs@technicolor.com
I recently purchased one of these scopes (the black tube version). I
have only had the chance to use it once and found it enjoyable to use,
but two things frustrated me. One was the focusing. It takes an awful
lot of turns of the focuser to achieve focus. Since the supplied
eyepieces are not parfocal, I spent a lot of time turning the focus knob
when changing eyepieces. This was especially difficult when viewing
Epsilon Lyrae near the zenith. As an experiment I turned the focusing
knob all the way in and then counted the turns as I turned it out. I
stopped at 40 turns and gave up. Is this normal for this scope, or is
mine defective? The second problem was exessive slack or backlash when
reversing directions in azimuth. This made it difficult to center
objects. I could live with the backlash, but the focusing problem I
found almost intolerable. As far as the views and the autostar accuracy
and ease of use I was very pleased with the scope. Just one more thing.
Is it possible to exit a tour once it is started. I have not been able
to. Mode simple takes me to the next item.
Thank you,
RIchard Jacobs
Mike here: I don't have the -70 model so can't address the focusing. I'm sure it does turn a lot; allows support for many more eyepieces and other add-ons that way. As to the backlash, there is some in all the ETX drives (as well as telescopes too). Approaching the object from one direction or manually taking up the backlash (which is what I do) can help. I don't use the Tours so can't help. Hopefully one of our resident Autostar experts will help.

Subject:	etx70ec in black not new model
Sent:	Sunday, August 27, 2000 22:16:58
From:	Osaggee@aol.com
I  just got the etx70ec from fingerhut in the black with all ports and
adapter. It seems they have a large supply of  the 70  in the old black.
If it was in  storage  it  came in  great condition, except that the
lens in the 20mm came  loose and I put it back  together and seems to
have  no  distortion. I  just wanted an up grade from a poor quality
scope I had and even though  it was  high I am  enjoying it for its
portability and ease. I hope to get some higher lens maybe to 200x if
they  make it. I will come back here to see some more insights, this is
a site that meade  needs to direct inquires to.


Subject:	 etx-70at
Sent:	Sunday, August 20, 2000 14:40:59
From:	sduprey1@rochester.rr.com (Steve Duprey)
I am a complete novice to telescopes and astronomy but recently saw the
etx-70at in the wireless catalog.  I can't seem to find any info about
this telescope except that the diameter is 70mm and the focal length is
350mm (f/5).  I'm not sure what all that means but I know that those
numbers aren't as high as the ones I see on your site when you talk
about the etx.  What is the difference and how will it affect what I see
through this telescope.

thanks for your help!

Steve Duprey
Mike here: Read through the ETX-70AT Feedback pages (current and in the Feedback Archives). You'll find some information about it. Basically, the larger the aperture (the ETX-70AT is a 70mm aperture telescope), the higher magnification you can use and the more details you'll be able to see. However, size becomes a trade-off when it gets so large that you find the telescope cumbersome to use. So, decide upon how you want to use a telescope and what your expectations are. The ETX-70AT may be perfect for you or you may need a 12" telescope.

Subject:	 mount compatibility
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2000 13:49:18
From:	mel.stana@umusic.com (Stana, Mel)
Is the ETX 70AT mount compatible with old ETX 90?

Mike here: If you mean "tripod mount", then yes. If you mean fork mount, not without some mods.

Subject:	Computer Controlled ETX60 AT 
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2000 10:12:28
From:	Vandmari@aol.com
I just got an ETX60 AT scope and I want to be ableto control it from my
PC. The Meade astrofinder softwareand cable kit for it is still not
available. Does anyone have any idea on how I can write this
softwaremyself or if there is something available I could use? Does the
LX200 command set work for that?
Mike here: There is information on the Autostar Information page that may help you. Also, there are several commercial astronomy programs that can be used with the ETX/Autostar.

Added later:

I have tried all the info I found on your page to run my ETX60AT
(AutoStar 494) from my PC. I made the cable but I got no success
communicating. Usig hyperterminal (in Windows 98) I always get the
strange readings on the terminal (similar to 8888x880888:000). Do you
know if there is any diference in the cable for the #494 as compared to
the others showed in the weasner/ETX autostar page?

	Thank you very much,

Mike here: Sorry you're having problems. I would be surprised if there is a difference in the Autostar/computer cable. But there could be a difference in the way the ETX-60AT communicates.

Subject:	 Meade ETX-70AT Question
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2000 05:10:46
From:	michaelryan@onebox.com (Michael Ryan)
Wanted to let you know that your site is just great.  Very nice layout,
content and instructions!!!  Helpful to sky viewers of all experience.

My questions is like many others with a love of the night sky and have a
few bucks to invest in it...A lot of talk about the new ETX line from
Meade and I have found a great deal of info as to the pros/cons and
differences between the 60/70AT and 90.

As today is my birthday, I am going to put a deposit on a telescope.
Most likely will get the ETX-70AT when it comes in to my local Meade
Dealer (right now they only have been getting the 60mm).  In two weeks I
it should be in and by that time more reviews/comments should be in from
the Net.  I will be sure to put my $.02 in at that time.

Question: If you were to spend my $400 (350+ a few accessories). And
were able to take photos with a Olympus 340R 1.3 mega pixel camera of
the moon (Dec 21 1999; from Long Island) like these:


Using a "discovery telescope" gifted to me (around $100).

What would you do...I don't want to jump to fast to a larger scope that
I won't be able to use.

Do you have any photos of (Jupiter, Saturn, Moon, deep sky) that would
simulate what resolution viewing through a 70mm scope might look like?

Keep up the great web site.

Michael D. Ryan
michaelryan@onebox.com - email
(212) 699-3827 x2450 - voicemail/fax
Mike here: As to having some photos that "simulate" what you'll get from from the ETX-70AT, nope, don't have any. Each digital camera/telescope/eyepiece combination will return slighty (or greatly) different images. For the money, the ETX-70AT seems to be a good scope. Obviously, the greater aperture of the ETX-90EC will let you see more but it does cost more. You can purchase a different model telescope (Dobsonian, for example) and get a larger aperture for your money but you'll give up other features (e.g., the Autostar). As with many things in life, there are always trade-offs you have to make. Good luck with the decision.

Subject:	 ETX-70AT vs ETX-90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 22:18:33
From:	bald1@usa.net (Bob Allman)
I came across this on alt.astronomy.meade.  I think Mr. Nutkowitz (Thank
you Jeffrey!) provides an excellent synopsis of the salient differences
between the two scopes in question and worthy of inclusion in your
ETX-60/70 Forum:

> Hi
>  First, see www.weasner.com/etx for all kinds of feedback on ETX scopes.
>  Now, the 70AT and the 90EC are two totally different classes of scopes. One is a short focus,
>  wide field refractor, capable of giving bright, low power, expansive views...great for large star
>  clusters, panning around the Milky Way star fields, large nebulae, and the like, along with also
>  being able to view detail on the moon and bright planets at higher power, but with some minor
>  color fringing and possibly spherical aberration (it is hard to make an optically 'perfect' low cost,
>  short focus refractor). The other is a long focus, Maksutov Cassegrain type optic, which has
>  virtually no color fringing, capable of decent low power views of most any objects less than about
>  1 degree in actual arc of sky, and excellent high power views of moon, planets, double stars, etc,
>  WHEN the air is steady and the scope cooled down. There is plenty of crossover in terms of
>  subjects viewable, and the actual light transmission of both scopes is not going to be VERY
>  noticeably different, though the resolution of finer details will be a little better in the 90mm, but
>  they are really two different scopes with capabilities specific to each. There is no one scope that
>  can 'do it all.'
>  All that being said, I think that if you ARE interested in higher power viewing of the moon, planets,
>  and double stars, do not mind giving up the nice wide field views of the 70AT, and can handle the
>  extra expense of the 90EC, the 90EC is a technically more complex and optically superior scope
>  IN ITS SIZE CLASS ('small' scopes of 2" to 5" class), when compared to similar sized optics. The
>  views through the 90EC are probably closer in terms of brightness to an 80mm refractor than a
>  70mm, but you really won't see much of a difference in most subjects when viewed with either
>  scope AT THE SAME MAGNIFICATION. To get higher powers in your 70AT, you need to use
>  smaller eyepieces (with or without barlows) than with a longer focus scope such as the 90EC.
>  Smaller eps typically feature shorter eye relief, which is annoying at best, and aggravating to
>  ergonomically useless at worst.
>  In summation, you really will not be able to see MUCH 'more' in the 90 than the 70, but you will be
>  able to see 'more' of DIFFERENT subjects with EITHER scope. Neither scope is a large scope,
>  and to really see a distinct, noticeable difference  in views of the same subjects, and to see
>  others that small scopes will not really perform well on, you need to move into a medium class
>  scope ( about 5" to 10"). Decide if you want to keep the 70 for its wide field, low power views,
>  which do not require critically 'perfect' optics, or if you NEED something a bit more powerful if you
>  want to concentrate on planets, moon, and double star, etc. viewing, where every bit of optical
>  potential can make some difference, and the longer focal length of the 90EC will let you use more
>  comfortable eyepieces.
>  --
>  Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery
>  Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of
>  Place'
>  http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
>  "If you don't change the path you're on, you'll end up where you're
>  already going."
>  ____________________________________________________________________
>  donh  wrote in message
>  news:9iXd5.568$qe5.139769@nntp3.onemain.com...
>  > I have recently purchased a Meade ETX-70AT and am very happy with it but I
>  > want to be able to see more.  Does anyone know how much better the ETX-90 is
>  > than the ETX-70?
Optics aside, I personally feel the discontinued "black" 70 is superior
to the current "blue tube" model as the "black" had an aluminum OTA vice
plastic, better focusing design arrangement, #495 Autostar vice the #494
now offered, more complete accessories (MA9mm, SP20mm, and #206 2X
Barlow vice the "blue's"  MA9mm and MA25mm), and 2 aux and the 12V DC
port, now deleted, included in the interface area located on the non
revolving base, now relocated to a less optimal area.

I purchased a "black" ETX-70AT for many of the reasons Mr. Nutkowitz
outlines; the discounted pricing that was available didn't hurt either! 
No buyer's remorse here.  And should my middle aged flirtation with
amateur astronomy blossom, I figure an 8" plus Dob or Mak would be the
next step gaining aperture and sacrificing compact portability.

Bob Allman
Rapid City, SD

Subject:	 ETX-70AT compatible with Meade's camera adapters?
Sent:	Monday, August 14, 2000 11:01:19
From:	bald1@usa.net (Bob Allman)
I lucked out and managed to locate by phone what is probably the last of
the "black tube" 70's from a Natural Wonder store within 500 miles of my
home in Rapid City, SD this past Saturday (8-11-00).   Being a "newbie"
at 52, I figured this scope, especially in the "black" configuration,
would be a better starter for me than the ETX-90EC, price being a
significant factor.

In addition to the #126 2X Barlow, MA9mm and SP20mm eyepieces supplied,
I've ordered a #933 45 degree erecting prism, and from Scopetronix,
Jordan's  Flexi-Focus, Photo-tripod adapter, ST4mm, and 6mm eyepieces. 
I intend to use my Bogen 3021/3047 tripod/head with the ETX-70AT.

But more to the point of this post, I'm wondering if the Meade #7356
Basic or #7361 Variable Camera Adapters are compatible with the
ETX-70AT.  In the astrophotography area here, it was noted that the
Variable Camera Adapter exhibited difficulties focusing with the
ETX-90EC.  Would either of these adapters work with the ETX-70AT?

I own a Ricoh RDC-2 digital and Olympus OM-2N conventional camera.  I
noted Mike Weasner used a Tiffen adapter with his Casio digital camera
prior to acquiring a Scopetronix adapter.  I have one of those Tiffen
adapters for my Ricoh (for use with a 2X telephoto adapter lens) and
with the locatation of a suitable 37mm to T-Mount (42mm / 0.75mm pitch)
ring step adapter and an affirmative answer to camera adapter
compatibility query, I'd like to play a bit with astrophotography.  (I
have spotted one online from CKCPower but it's rather pricey at $28.
Anyone know of a cheaper source?)

Would appreciate any counsel, advice, or wisdom!

Bob Allman
Added later:
After posting my earlier message Airborne Express showed up with my
ETX-70AT.  Couple of problems from Natural Wonder:  first the photo port
dust cover was missing, second they sent me a #932 45 degree right angle
adapter instead of a #933.  The later has a built in 2.4X Barlow and is
specifically designed for the 60/70 series. The #932 is but a prism
assembly and as such is incompatible with these small scopes.

I verified the incompatibility with Mark (ext. 402) at Meade when
looking to acquire the missing dust cover that Natural Wonder doesn't
have.  (I bought their floor model mail order and they apparently lost
it when packing .)  Mark is sending me the dust cover gratis. And
what's even nicer is that a #933 will also be sent, upon receipt I'll
send them the new #932.  (Natural Wonder has no #933s in stock.)

I had a chance to inquire about the camera adapter compatibility issue. 
Mark indicated that those accessories hadn't been tested yet and advised
that I wait a few weeks and check back with Amy (ext. 400) who is their
astrophotography guru.   So, unless someone else has already sanity
checked a Meade #7356 or #7361 with an ETX-70AT, I'm in a holding
pattern !

BTW initial impressions of this scope are quite favorable.

Subject:	 Natural Wonders to no longer carry Meades! (BIG DISCOUNTS!!)
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2000 21:10:28
From:	FYI
Meade ETX Fans:

This is straight from Meade;  I have been in
contact with regarding the Meade ETX-70AT
with (2) different designs that are being
As some of you may know the CURRENT blue
colored ETX-ET60/70AT's are NOT the same as
the older black colored design based on the
ETX-70EC series.

Meade chose to change the design big time on
the CURRENT blue colored models ...I have
today at Natural Wonders seen the SAME model
with TWO entirely different designs?? ...the
newer models focus by having the upper part
of the barrel slide back and forth on the
rear smaller diameter section!  The unit has
a different Computer control panel missing
one of the AUX. ports and NO 12 volt input.
Autostar with NO numeric keypad.  There are
other changes as well.  What has bothered the
folks at Natural Wonders is Mead came out
with a NEW design with the SAME model number
which is confusing a lot of folks.  Natural
Wonders had MANY pre-paid orders for the
ETX-70AT's based on the OLD design (Black in
color) of which ALL of the Natural Wonders
stores have on display.

Needless to say some customers have not been
happy to get a scope that is NOT anything
like the store display models ..yes from a
distance they look the same ...but up close
they are NOT the same ...even the voltage to
run the motors is different? No mounting
holes in the side for the 3 pc screw in
tripod that some may use, etc! This is not to
say they are NOT quality products ...but a
CHEVY was on display,  and they got a FORD!

So today I went to our local Natural Wonder's
store and ALL Mead's are on a close out store
special ...I purchased an ETX-70AT with
Deluxe AutoStar controller with NUMERIC key
pad ...2 eyepieces and a Barlow lens ..for
~$300!   This unit looks just like the
ETX-70EC ..just bundled different. All
accessories are 20% off.  I noticed the LARGE
sign of the closeout was professionally done
..I figured something was going on because
our local Natural Wonders manager shared with
me they are concerend that Mead has TWO
designs with the  SAME model number that is
confusing,  to say the least. They will be
replacing the Meade line with Celestron's in
the next few months.

When I got home after making my BARGAIN
purchase,  I had a new e-mail ...

Meade issued a press release on Tuesday, August, 8th that said the

"Meade Instruments Corp. today announced that it has been advised by
Natural Wonders, Inc. that in connection with Natural Wonders' proposed
merger with World of Science, Inc., the merged entity will no longer
carry Meade's products in its stores after a yet-to-be determined
transition period."

So ETX fan's,  go to your local Natural Wonders store and get some GREAT
bargins on Meads!

Example   ETX-90ET's,  under $500!!

Happy Shopping!

Subject:	 ETX-60AT
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2000 12:18:21
From:	jp.fouquet@infonie.fr (jp.fouquet)
Que pensez vous du tlescope ETX 60 AT MEADE?
Mike here: For a small telescope, it is nice but you may prefer to go for more aperture. Sorry, my French classes were from WAY too many years ago.

Subject:	 DS vs ETX?
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2000 00:03:47
From:	mark.henderson@asu.edu (Mark Henderson)
I have a comment and a question. 

The comment confirms one of your other writers who had a problem that
the Guided Tour on the EC 497 controller lists objects that it won't
slew to because it says they are below the horizon, but will slew to if
addressed directly from the object database.

I noticed that my local Costco has the Meade 4.5 inch reflector (model
4504) for sale at $249 with tripod, EC (1000+ objects), two lenses, etc.
I just bought a ETX70-EC with EC497 3 weeks ago at $350 with no tripod.
I feel that the extra light gathering of the 4.5 inch 4504 may be a
much better deal.  I need to decide whether to get the ETX tripod at
$199 or instead, use the ETX70 on a table (or sell it) and spring for
the 4504 for just $50 more than the tripod.   Any insights?


Mark Henderson
Mike here: Certainly more aperture has a lot going for it but so does easy portability and small size. Decisions, decisions, decisions. No matter what you get, you'll always want more (and will probably spend more too).

Added later:

You sound like you know me pretty well. Thanks.
And, thanks for a great site.

Subject:	 Viewing with ETX-60 or ETX-70 scopes
Sent:	Thursday, August 10, 2000 22:31:40
From:	don.ragland@arizonarepublic.com
I am a total novice astronomer, having learned most of what I know about
the night sky from trips to the planetarium. Having just spent 15
minutes at your site, I have learned more about telescopes than in my
previous 40 years. Great job.

My question: With the design of Meade's ETX telescopes, how do you use
them if you don't have a tripod? Are you supposed to set them on a
picnic table? Your car hood? Your knee? (just kidding). Should I just
plan on spending the extra 200 bucks for a tripod? I was thinking of
getting my wife, also a novice, the ETX-60AT that I see advertised in
this month's Backpacker magazine, for her birthday, but from what I've
read here, maybe the 70AT is worth the extra $50.

Thanks very much for your insight.

Visit http://www.azcentral.com
Check out http://www.arizonarepublic.com
Mike here: If you are deciding between the ETX-60AT and the ETX-70AT, go for the -70. And yes, when using the Autostar you can just set the ETX base on any stable, level surface. Having a tripod is sometimes more convenient but you can get that later if you want.

Subject:	 leveling question(s)
Sent:	Wednesday, August 9, 2000 17:00:53
From:	lathrops@adelphia.net (The Lathrops)
I just bought an ETX 70AT and I also have the Meade field tripod. I am
trying to get the telescope in the home position. When I have the angle
of the tripod set at 90 and the correct fork over the control panel I
then go to set the tube "Level" using the dial and this is where I am
getting messed up. With vertical movement I turn the tube till the dial
says 0 but the tube is pointed straight up, not parallel to the floor.
If I turn the tube to what reads 60 it appears level. What has gone
wrong and how can I fix it!

Also, If I change the latitude angle of the tripod (to polar align) Do I
still put the tube level and the fork over the control panel? Or do I
just mount it on the Meade field tripod point the North leg North, find
an object, center it and then turn on the Auto Star and adjust from

Any help would be great,

Star Less in Maine

Gregg Lathrop
Map tech
DeLorme Mapping
Mike here: It sounds like the DEC (or Altitude) scale is out of adjustment. On the other ETX mounts you can loosen the large knob over the DEC scale and reposition the scale until it reads correctly (scope horizontal should be 0 degrees). For the Polar Home position, the telescope will be pointed towards Polaris (in the Northern Hemisphere) with the DEC scale showing 90 degrees.

Subject:	 new user Meade ETX 70
Sent:	Sunday, August 6, 2000 18:07:24
From:	resderm@bellsouth.net (Barry Resnik)
Just bought this for my kids and I. Paid $349 which included the star
computer attachment. I am sure you have answers to beginning questions
like How do I set it up, Did I get a good telescope, etc. If you like,
you can simply give me the links; if you don't mind answering again, I
would appreciate that too.

B Resnik, MD
Miami, FL
Mike here: Depending upon your expectations and how you intend to use the telescope, the ETX-70AT can be a fine first telescope. It does have its limitations since its aperture is small but many users like it. As to how to set it up, read the manual at least twice. Play with the telescope setup in your house. Play with the Autostar inside. Once you fully understand what the manual is telling you to do and you feel comfortable with using the telescope in the light, you can then begin to learn to use it in the dark! There are a lot of tips that are applicable to the ETX-70AT on the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as on the Autostar Information page. Of course, read through the feedback pages for more info. Enjoy!

Added later:

Thanks for your time.

Subject:	 ETX-60AT versus ETX-70AT 
Sent:	Wednesday, August 2, 2000 11:37:12
From:	lstaud@uswest.net (Lee)
Great web site ..Hat's of to Mike's ETX great web site!          

Been reading about the ETX-60AT versus ETX-70AT .. as mentioned the main
difference is the 70 AT has about 33% more light gathering than the 60
...so is it worth the $50 more?  For those of you folks that are not
familiar with the Natural Wonders stores they have a SPECIAL edition for
their store chain only, that offers the deluxe Autostar with the
(NUMERIC) keypad as well as other goodies.  So I feel it's worth the
extra $50 if you have it.(No scrolling!)  I am looking forward to the
ETX-70AT which will be at my local Natural Wonders store tomorrow ..so
will most like be asking question regarding it on this great web site.

Thanks for your Reply
Lee Staudacher (Retired Electrical

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