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ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 1 January 2001

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 60 Autostar location problem
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 14:19:25
From:	candgbrown@earthlink.net (Gregory Brown)
Happy New Year to you! I received the ETX 60 with Autostar for
Christmas. I followed Meade's quick setup guide to view the planets here
in Houston on a rare clear evening. It works fine, except by blowing
past the initial setup for location, now I cannot reset the location. It
is stuck on Kabul Afganistan. Being a new user,  I could use some help,
if you have any suggestions. Your site is wonderful, I hope to grow my
interest in observational astronomy. Thanks!
Greg Brown
Mike here: Have you checked the "Setting/Resetting Any Autostar Model" on the Autostar Information page? Does the info there not help?

Subject:	 ETX-60/70AT "aux" port and Autostar #494 confusion
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 12:16:28
From:	witr@rwwa.com (Robert Withrow)
Earlier questions/answers about the ETX-60/70AT "aux" port seem to be
unclear (at least to me).  Here is what I think I know:

1) This "aux" port is identical to that on the ETX-90 and ETX-125. This
is described as using "i2c" and not any standard RS232 or RS495
signaling.  (BTW, is this the standard i(squared)c bus as described at
?)

2) There is no 4-pin (RJ22) port on the #494 Autostar.

3) Meade sells the #506 software and cable kit for $50 list.  That's a
lot of money for a cable and software I don't need, since the
ETX-60/70AT scopes come with software that will control the scope (but
lacks a cable).

Questions: 

  - Can I hand-concoct a cable that will work for updating the
    Autostar and controlling the scope via the "aux" port?  
    Will this take me more than a significant portion of an
    hour? (time = money afterall ;-)

  - The manual points me to the Meade website for firmware upgrades for
    the Autostar, but the website only talks about the #497.  Are the
    #494 and the #497 compatible at the firmware level?

  - Can the telescope be powered via the "aux" port?  There is no external
    power connector on this scope.

Thanks!

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Robert Withrow, R.W. Withrow Associates, Swampscott MA, witr@rwwa.COM

Subject:	 ETX60AT & Focusing
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 10:37:29
From:	corderkc@swbell.net (Anderson Corder)
Like many others, I received the etx60 for christmas.  Weather hasn't
cooperated for much but terrestial viewing though.  It seems like it
take a long time to focus using the standard 25mm lens.  But when
focused, clarity is fine.  Then when switching to the supplied 9mm lens,
it is way out of focus.  I've tried turning the adjusting knob MANY
times in both directions, but can't focus it at all.

Is it possible I have a bad lens?  Or maybe because I've been trying to
focus on far off terrestial objects?  If I'm going to have to spend 10+
minutes trying to focus with little to no success, I'd rather pick up a
different model.

I've seen several comments in general about focusing, but didn't really
see anyone else with this problem.  (I try not to duplicate questions!)
I figured there was somewhere online I could find my answer, and
appreciate you site!!!!!

Please feel free to edit, or direct email any response!

Thanks!
Andy
Corderkc@swbell.net
Mike here: According to reports, the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT models may take a lot of turning of the focus knob when changing eyepieces. This is due to the various eyepieces not being "parfocal". I don't know if this applies to the -60 and -70 models but it does to the -90 and -125 models but if the focus knob reaches the metal of the telescope before reaching a focus with some eyepieces it may be necessary to loosen the knob and slide it a little further out on the shaft. Use caution and don't let the shaft slip inside (which can happen with the ETX-90 and -125 models).

Subject:	 ETX-60AT New user question
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 09:33:25
From:	zooropa@megsinet.com (JC)
I got my ETX-60AT for Christmas and was only able to use it today due to
the snow in the midwest.

My question is about accessories.  What would the best eyepiece for
viewing far away object (ie Saturn and the other planets.)  It seems
that to get great magnification of the moon's craters, I will need to
upgrade the eyepiece or purchase an add-on in order to boost overall
viewing.  I want to do this the right way as opposed to spending money
on something that will ultimately not work.  I have heard of add-ons
that will increase the magnification of the 9mm lens; would this be more
appropriate than buying a 4mm...  This is the jist of what I'm asking.

I apologize for the lack of clarity in this question; I am so new to
this that I'm not sure how to phrase what I want to know...

Thank you,

James
Mike here: Keep in mind that the theoretical maximum magnification is double the telescope aperture in millimeters. So, for the ETX-60AT that would be 120x. To determine what focal length eyepiece would yield that magnification, you can use the formula:
eyepiece focal length = telescope focal length / max magnification

Subject:	 Leveling the ETX-60-AT
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 08:30:27
From:	colcocom@swbell.net (Colorado County Computers)
After months of admiring the ETX-60-AT on the store shelves, Santa gave
my son one. But, I have a problem, that may be very easy to solve. When
using Alt/Az Alignment, should lining up the 0 degrees on the Dec
setting circle level the optical tube? Mine appears to be 20 degrees off
from level. And since I am not familiar enough with the nigh sky, this
is a problem. The unit came with an allen wrench, but what do you use it
for? Should I make adjustments? Thanks for any help you can give.

Theresa
Mike here: In Alt/Az mounting mode (the one you are most likely using), the DEC setting should read zero when the telescope tube (known as the "OTA" or "optical tube assembly") is horizontal. If not, you should be able to adjust it (the DEC lock knob on the larger ETX models can be loosen to allow the setting circle disk to be rotated). However, unless you plan on using the setting circles, you can just eyeball the tube to make it horizontal to start the Autostar alignment process. As to the allen wrench, since I don't have this model I really can't say what it is used for. On the other models, the wrench can be used to loosen and reposition the focus knob (if that ever becomes necessary).

Subject:	 Meade ETX-70AT
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 20:22:52
From:	ChrisWhaley17@clemsontigers.com (chris whaley)
hey, i have some questions about mt ETX 70AT.... what exactly should i
expect from my scope?  i've seen Jupiter, and venus, and they both don't
look like they do in the advertised pictures.. all i can see are a
"bright star" looking object. am i doing something wrong? i use the 9mm
eye piece.. if i can't see the planets any better than that, i doubt i
can see deep space objects too.  should i invest in getting stronger eye
peices and /or the Barlow lens? thanks for the help

Chris
Mike here: If you read this "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page you'll see some information on what to expect with the ETX-70AT telescope. I have also updated the "What to Expect..." page in the Buyer/New User Tips section.

Subject:	 ETX-70 comments
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 14:06:10
From:	brainvue@msn.com (Richard  Harner)
I have had a Celestron C-8 for 6 years and recently bought an ETX-70. 
The ETX-70 turns out to be a terrific complement to the larger scope,
particularly for general amateur astronomy in a city (moderately
light-polluted) backyard environment.  I think the combination of (1)
portability, (2) easy alignment, (3) accurate finding, (4) wide field
almost 5 degrees at 9x with a 40 mm Plossl) and good optics is nearly
the perfect bridge between binoculars and either deep sky "light
buckets" or high-powered planetary scopes.  It's hard for me to imagine
a better scope for a beginner that the ETX-70.

So saying, there are a couple of things I have learned that enhance the
ETX-70's utility and that respond to some of the comments that have been
submitted up to Dec. 30, 2000.

BATTERIES:  The 9V battery pack simply doesn't last long enough and is
too expensive.  This is the main problem with this scope.  Here are some
solutions.  First, go to Radio Shack and get a battery holder for 8
(eight!) AA batteries for $1.99.  The ETX (mine at least) is not
bothered by the "overvoltage".  In fact, the batteries last longer and
work better in the cold.  The 8-pack fits right into the battery
compartment, protruding only .5 inch, not enought to limit movement of
the OTA.

Second, also at Radio Shack, buy a 500 mA, 9V DC supply (about $17) that
will plug into your home 110V AC wall socket.  Anything less will not
supply enough current to power Autostar slewing and tracking.  You will
need to have or make an adaptor from the power supply to the 9V
connector of the ETX.  You could also  use the 12V output from you car
cigarette lighter. In all cases make sure the + output of the power
supply is connected to the + input of the ETC.  If you are not sure how
to do this with a volt meter, ask a friend or the Radio Shack people to
help.

Third, and maybe best of all, buy 8 nickle-metal hydride AA batteries
(about $30) and a charger (about $7).  These have a nominal voltage of
1.2V, longer life and no "memory effect".

NO TRIPOD:  Since there is no need for equatorial alignment when using
Autostar tracking and slewing, no wedge is required and thus no tripod. 
One can take maximum advantage of the one-hand portability of the ETX by
using any stable, flat, preferably level surface for support of the
scope.  One of the best is a wooden kitchen stool which has good damping
characteristics and can be leveled by forcing one or more of the legs
into the grass of your backyard if necessary.

ALIGNMENT:  Here again, simple is sometimes best.  Usually it is best to
avoid "EASY alignment" unless you know your stars very well AND most of
the sky is unobstructed by trees or buildings.  Otherwise you end up
have the ETX pointing at stars you don't recognize or can't see! 
Instead, for many purposes use "ONE STAR"  alignment. Begin by getting
the scope mounting surface approximately level in all directions.  This
can be done well enough by eye (or with a spirit level if you are
fussy).  Then level the OTA.  If the mounting surface is level this is
equivalent to setting  the altitude setting circle (on the left fork) to
zero.  But the most important thing is that the OTA should be level.  I
do this all by eye, which can be good enough and takes less than 1min. 
Rotate the ETX so that the OTA points in the director of the north star.
 Do the best you can, this is not too crucial, as you will see.Then find
the brightest star you know and select it from the Autostar directory
that comes up after ALT-AZ polar alignment has been completed.  Vega and
Aldebaran are good winter choices, Arcturus in the summer.  Press enter
and the OTA will rotate to the predicted star location. (You should be
using (or buying) a 25-40 mm eyepiece to have the largest possible field
of view.)  If the target star is seen in the eyepiece, good. If not,
sight along the OTA to see if the left-right (azimuth) placement is
good.  If not, manually move the ETX base until the alignment is correct
and recheck the  eyepiece.  Moving the ETX manually just corrects for
any original inaccuracy in pointing the OTA at the north star.  In the
eypiece make major left-right corrections manually, since the original
errors in left-right location were also manual.  Up-down errors are
related to non-level mounting surface and/or inital non-level OTA, but
now can be fine-tuned with autostar.  Actually, if initial leveling and
alignment are done well, the Autostar location can be accepted without
correction for some purposes, such as rough alignment for tracking a
planet, the moon or the sun.

TWO-STAR alignment is much less dependent on initial alignment and
leveling and can be extremely accurate, particularly if the selected
target stars are in quadrants of the sky different from each other and
from polaris.

EYEPIECES AND OPTICS:  The ETX optics are quite good for the price, size
and focal length and type of objective.  With the supplied 9mm EP you
should be able to see circular difraction rings inside and outside focus
on a bright star (e.g., Vega).  These rings should be the same, with the
exception of more color in one or the other.  If you get a 40mm EP (with
a 5 degree field of view) you don't really need a finderscope, again a
simplifying approach.

With a objective focal length of only 350mm, a Barlow lens is essential
for magnification and good eye relief.  While most Barlows will work in
the ETX-70, the long ones are not appropriate for the small size of this
scope. Some Barlows, such as the Celestron Ultima 2x, will not fit all
th way into the EP  holder of the ETX because of a retaining ring meant
to prevent long tubes from entering too far and damaging the mirror. 
The ring can be ground off (I did it, but it's messy) but a better
solution is the Meade 124 (2x) or 128(3x) Barlow designed for this
scope.

Using the 3x Barlow and the original 9mm and 25mm Plossls a useful range
of magnifications can be obtained.  The purchase of a 5mm Plossl would
extend the magnification near the limit for certain bright objects.

I bought a ScopeTronix 7.4-22mm zoom to fill the gaps and I think it's
great for the money.  The field, contrast and sharpness compare well
with that of a 7 mm Televue Nagler when looking at M36,37,38, 42 or
Jupiter or the moon. Plus the small size and weight of this 3-element
zoom is fitting for the ETX

Regarding some comments on parafocalling EPs, exchanging the tubes for
the 9mm and the 25mm certainly helps.  In addition, some daytime work
focusing on a distant building can help. Using some masking tape you can
limit the length of tube that enters the EP holder.  Instead of focus
OTA, slide the EP out to point of focus and place tape on the EP tube to
maintain that distance.  Do this with each of your eyepieces and, voila,
approximate parfocality requiring only minimal addidtional OTA focusing
touchup.  The worst offenders of parfocality are the 40mm EPs.  You may
need to constuct a tube extension (or buy one from Shutan for $10) to
achieve parity with the shorter FL EPs.

SOLAR FILTER:  Celestron makes one with the Baeder material that
ScopeTronix sell for about $25 that fits perfectly on the ETX

VALUE:  Just an opinion, but I think the ETX-70 is the best value of the
ETX series.  If one wants more light, more resolution, more
magnification the get an 8 inch or bigger scope and play with the big
boys. But if you want learn the sky and its contents broadly and from
your backyard the ETX-70 is great.

Subject:	 Answers to some ETX-60 Autostar questions
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 09:21:41
From:	mdr@HONet.com (Michael Rathbun)
I now have an ETX-60 that I am restoring (the previous owner, uh...
voided the warranty) and have had a chance to play with the Autostar. 
In general, other than the lack of number keys, range of 'scopes it will
control, and the size of the database, the menu setup and other behavior
appears to be identical to that of the latest firmware load for the 497.
So, things like setup location, train drive and reset are right where
you would expect them to be.

This telescope exhibits frequent "Motor Unit Fault" messages at power
on, frequent runaways and other forms of total nonresponsiveness to
arrow keys. I think I have traced the problem to a bad crimp on the
connector from the Autostar handbox.  Hard to tell without recrimping
it, because it is a captive cable and there is no obvious
non-destructive way to open the handbox unit. The wiring and solder
joints in the telescope itself appear to be sound.

As a side effect of the investigation, I am now quite expert at
disassembling the ETX-60, which is different in a number of ways from
the 90 and 125.  There is no azimuth stop because there is no wiring in
the base to get wound up. The azimuth gear is quite large, and in seems
to have considerably smaller backlash compared to the 125 (which one
would expect, given the surprisingly small gear in that model).

Subject:	 Re: ETX 70AT Problems
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 03:16:06
From:	cwren1@home.com (Charles E. Wren)
Thank you for your answer.  The DST answer really helps.  I do have some
charts, I'll work it some more.  Quick question though.  If I have a
star, whose name I know, and it's the only star visible to the naked eye
in that location of the sky, shouldn't it be MUCH brighter in the
telescope?  That may be part of my problem.  I'm looking for a really
bright star in a certain area because it sticks out to the naked eye.

I spent about an hour last night working with this, but the cold got the
best of me when I couldn't feel my fingers.  :)

Charles Wren
Mike here: Stars may or may not appear much brighter when viewed through a telescope. Depends upon magnification and the aperture.

Added later:

Thanks.  I was using the 25mm eyepiece that came with the telescope last
night.  Today I picked up the viewfinder for the scope.  Maybe that will
help tonight.

Subject:	 ETX 70AT Problems
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2000 19:24:15
From:	cwren1@home.com (Charles E. Wren)
Hi.  Just ran across your site.  It's really nice!

I got an ETX70AT for christmas, and due to an ice storm that started
x-mas day, I was just tonight able to get it out and use it.  First off,
it's about 20 degrees outside.  I saw a reference to cold problems, so
I'm stating that up front.

I'm having a big problem getting the autostar alignment to work.  I have
used both Polaris and a pocket compass to set the home position. 
Autostar chooses the first star and slews.  But I can't find an
alignment star.  I'll either see a few dim stars or 2 or three bright
stars, but nothing with an obvious alignment star.  Slewing around
doesn't seem to help.  Finally, I'll choose a star and go for the second
one.  Same story.  The 60 second alignment ends up taking about 5
minutes because I can't decide on which one is the alignment star. 
Anyway, once I align it, I'll try to go somewhere like Jupiter or
Saturn.  The telescope ends up 5 or 10 degrees away from the object.  I
then have to search for it.

Does anyone have any idea what's going on?  Also, one more quick
question.  When it asks whether or not to use Daylight Savings Time, is
it wondering if my site USES it at all?  Or is it wanting to know if I'm
CURRENTLY in DST?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Charles Wren
Mike here: If you can't tell which star nearest the position of the telescope is the brightest, you might want to get a simple star chart or book that will help you identify objects in the night sky. Many astronomy web sites have this information as do astronomy software programs for your computer. As to the Daylight Time setting, the question it needs answering is whether the location you are currently at is observing Daylight Time or not. So, users in many places around the USA have to change this setting twice a year.

Subject:	ETX70
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2000 14:16:46
From:	BGraham45@aol.com
I have a new etx70 we got for Christmas and have a couple questions.
First using the easy two star setup I don't seem to be able to find the
brightest star. They all kind of look the same to me. Secondly when
using Autostar does it auto focus or do you still need to use the focus
knob. The manual isn't clear on the focus knob and when to use. Thanks
for your help.
Mike here: If you can't tell which star nearest the position of the telescope is the brightest, you might want to get a simple star chart or book that will help you identify objects in the night sky. Many astronomy web sites have this information as do astronomy software programs for your computer. As to autofocusing, this is an optional add-on.

Added later:

I notice people taking about getting their drives trained but I have no
idea what that means. I idin't see anything in the manual about training
your drives.
Mike here again: The ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC models require training the drives so that the Autostar knows how to adjust for the drive mechanisms. If this is not mentioned in the ETX-70AT manual, then it is probably not required.

Subject:	 Question about Barlow lens
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 18:41:46
From:	keldred@fresnobee.com (Kris Eldred)
First, my sincere thanks for your site. It helped cement my decision to
get an ETX-70AT today. (The free field tripod from Meade didn't hurt,
either!)

My problem is with the 2x Barlow lens the dealer sold me: It's a Meade
#140 Series 4000 2x apochromatic Barlow lens (1.25"), retail $79.95 (he
discounted it 10%). I noticed when I got home and unpacked my scope that
the Meade price list flier has a #124 2x Barlow lens (1.25") for the 60
and 70, retail $39.95.

Did the dealer sell me too much of a Barlow lens, or was the higher
price worth it?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Mike here: You could have done with the other Barlow Lens. But the #140 is a higher quality one (I think) so when you upgrade to a larger scope you'll be all set.

Subject:	 Double image from ETX-70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 16:08:06
From:	tonyr@tsoft.co.uk (Tony Rogers)
Hi. I just bought an ETX-70AT and to be honest I'm pretty disappointed.
Initially I thought the scope was difficult to focus but today I
realised that actually what I was seeing was a double image! When
viewing Saturn with the 9mm eyepiece, I see a second image immediately
above the first. Both are in focus and just touch each other. Surely
this must be a major fault? Does anyone know if this is what I should
expect from the ETX-70?

I also find fairly major colour (Brit!) fringing with both eyepieces -
is this normal?

To top it all off, today while viewing at about freezing point, my
Autostar decided to become uncontrollable. When slewing to a target, the
motors just keep right on running and the controller is inoperable. I
saw John Sosville's comments below so I guess this problem is well
known?

I am now thinking about what to do next. I think this ETX-70 has to go
back to the store. But should I try another 70 or maybe think about
upgrading to the ETX-90. I would be VERY disappointed if I spent the
extra money on the 90 and then found I was getting similar results to
the 70. Has anyone ever experienced similar problems with either the 70
or the 90?

I would appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks.

Tony Rogers
Mike here: I definitely suggest exchanging the scope as there is a problem with it if you see double images infocus. As to color surrounding objects, this is normal is many refractors. Reflecting telescopes do not exhibit this. And yes, the Autostar does not like cold temperatures. As to whether you would like the ETX-90EC better than the ETX-70AT, generally the answer is "yes". But as I've noted many times on my ETX site, you need to consider what your expectations are in a telescope. You may be expecting to see more than a small telescope can deliver. In that case you'll be disappointed with any small telescope and may need to either adjust your expectations or get a larger telescope.

Subject:	 ETX60 Accessories
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 12:08:48
From:	j.shirley@wcom.com (John Shirley)
I bought an ETX60AT for my son for Christmas.  Unfortunately, he wasn't
all that excited about it.  The good news is that I've planned for that!
 (Hey, dads can have fun, too.)

I'd like to pass along a few thoughts/observations:

The ETX60AT, in some markets, comes with Starry Night BUNDLE edition and
the Astronomer's Control Panel software.  The BUNDLE means that some of
the features are missing.  No big deal; this is still great "free"
software. Both software packages, by the way, work fairly well with
Windows 2000 Pro.

Don't plan on using the Astronomer's Control Panel unless you have the
cable to connect your ETX to your workstation or notebook.

Did I say, "cable?"  EXT60 (and 70?) owners can purchase the optional
#506 AstroFinder software at Natural Wonders retail stores; or special
order from The Discovery Store, Wolf Camera, or The Store of Knowledge;
for around US$50.00.  The only useful part of this package is the cable,
which plugs into the ETX's AUX port; and a serial adapter, to which the
other end of the cable attaches (obviously), and then connects to your
workstation.  There is a large load of some kind in the middle of the
cable, but I'm not sure, at the moment, what it does.  The CD-ROM that
ships with AstroFinder is EXACTLY the same thing included with the
ETX60AT scope.

Someday, I'll try to reverse engineer this cable and post my findings
somewhere.  If you already have the Starry Night CD with the telescope,
all you'll need is the cable - Maybe that'll save some users a few bucks
and keep them from being as shocked as I was.

Alignment, although extremely easy with the right conditions, can be
somewhat difficult from time to time.  Light pollution in a large city
and obstructions make alignment a challenge.

Recommendation 1:  Use Starry Night to find a few good stars, then find
them with the naked eye.  Once you know what you're looking at, you can
use the Two Star alignment method on your ETX.

Recommendation 2:  Another alignment tip for those in the Northern
Hemisphere:  With the power off, release both locks on the ETX, manually
get Polaris into view, then lock the Azimuth (that's the one on the
BASE, for the uninitiated).  Manually lower the scope to 0 deg. (use the
scale on the left fork), and lock the altitude (again, for the
uninitiated, that would be the large knurled knob on the RIGHT fork). 
Turn on the ETX, and dive right into a Two Star alignment, ignoring the
cryptic instructions on the AutoStar which tell you to "...level the
tube...move the WHOLE telescope..."

On the issue of optics:  I can't find any good solar filters for the
ETX60 - So I improvised.  Optical quality sheets of Mylar (available at
most of the 'better' photo stores for about $18/sq ft--and SPECIFICALLY
intended for solar use) and a rubber-band are all it takes.  Have fun,
and don't vaporize your eyeballs.

John

Subject:	 Question on Initializing
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 09:58:03
From:	jnl96@hcnews.com (james hyde)
We have the EXT-60 and have tried to go through the "initializing"
process. We get as far as 'setup time'; we put in the time as indicated
and the next prompt is NOT for the country as instructed but EASY
ALIGNMENT.  What gives?  Can you help.  Looking forward to hearing from
you SOON.   Thanks, Linda and Jim.
Mike here: It sounds like someone else had input the country. Once your location (right or wrong) is entered, you only input the date and time into the Autostar. You should be able to reset the Autostar or otherwise reselect the location from a menu item.

Added later:

Got your previous message and went in to Setup .... made changes but
doesn't seem to be accepting iput.  We are NOT computer-literate so
maybe we are doing something basically wrong.  Can you provide a ph # to
guide us through this?  Or you can call us at [deleted].   We really
don't want to return the product.  And  can't seem to get through to the
Customer Service Dept.  Thanks for your help. Linda
Mike here again: As I indicated before, the problem is that the country has already been entered. If it was entered correctly, you can still use the Autostar. I don't have this model so I would be of no direct help to you. I'm sure Meade is busy with all the Christmas sales and resulting questions like yours. If there is nothing in the manual about how to reset it or re-enter your location then Meade needs to know that by your phone call to them.

Subject:	 auto star
Sent:	Monday, December 25, 2000 16:14:30
From:	mikecunn@mail.avsia.com (James M. Cunningham)
Just purchased a ext60   it worked fine for about 30 minutes. Now when I
turn it on, I get the autostar logo and 1.0 in brackets for about 2
seconds then it says  proc.  track 2      none of the controls will do
anything.I've turned it on and off and unplugged the cable and nothin
changes. what has happened?  Mike C.  not too merry of a xmas.
Mike here: If turning it off and on doesn't help, then it sounds like the software has become corrupted somehow. Suggest returning it to the dealer for exchange. (I presume the batteries were inserted correctly into the telescope.)

Added later:

Thanks I have returned it, Mike C.

Subject:	 ETX-60 focusing knob
Sent:	Sunday, December 24, 2000 06:50:09
From:	bcohen@wt.net (Bruce J. Cohen)
I've read many comments about the difficulty using the focusing knob on
the ETX-60 and ETX-70. I initially had the same problems until I
realized that the focusing knob should be used as a thumb wheel. When
used in this manner, I find focusing the scope is much quicker.

By the way, Hugh Adamson's suggestion about switching the chrome tubes
works great.

Regards,
Bruce Cohen

Subject:	 MY GOD! IT'S FULL OF STARS!!
Sent:	Sunday, December 24, 2000 03:36:51
From:	aaargoxx@mindspring.com (Randall Flagg)
Well, I survived the mob at the shop and exchanged the original (With
the scratched mirror) for another one. I just got back from observing on
this cold December night and I'm completely freaked about what I saw.
Saturn and her rings, Jupiter and the four major moons, the ISS, and
some of the sweetest views of the night sky I could have ever imagined!
OK, I'll admit it: I'm hooked
After the bills get paid, I'm gonna shop around for accessories (Camera
mount, dew cover, more eyepieces, etc..)
Again, thanks for the help. I'll probably write again.
Have a great Christmas!
Added later:
I have yet another question.. Is there the capability of hooking up a
digital camera, the AUX cable and software and the telescope together to
enable finding, tracking and viewing the sky from my PC? I read in the
Meade website about a connector that allows a PC to do this, but I don't
know too much about camera mountings for the scope. What would you
suggest?
Mike here: Well, I suppose it could be done. You'd have better luck with a CCD however rather than a digital camera. I don't know of any software that works with a digital camera to do this. Some CCDs come with software to do autoguiding. If you just want to just view, you'd have to disable the power-off of the camera, and use astronomy software that can drive the ETX. See the Software Reviews page for some user comments about software that can do this.

Subject:	 Possible Mirror Scratches??
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2000 03:36:28
From:	aaargoxx@mindspring.com (Randall Flagg)
My wife REALLY can't keep a secret!
The day she got my Christmas present, she practically forced me to open
it then and there. It was a Meade ETX-60AT. On the second night of my
using it, I noticed that light sources seemed to blur more and more at
higher magnification after purchasing a Barlow lens and two more
eyepieces earlier thin the day. I know all about distortion being the
norm for high mag viewing, but this distortion was different. Here is
what it should look like: 
homepages.go.com/~randallflaggkingofnowhere/Normal.jpg
Here's a rough look at what it actually looks like: 
homepages.go.com/~randallflaggkingofnowhere/Actual.jpg
I thought that the distortions were awfully coherent and regular, so I
began looking into the guts of the machine. I shined a flashlight at an
angle and found scratches in the mirror in almost straight, parallel
lines. Would this cause the effect I described and would it be a problem
to get it taken care of?
BTW, Great site. Can I place a link for yours onto my site? 
Mike here: Using a flashlight to look at optical surfaces is not a reliable test for optical quality. You can see a lot of what look like flaws but that are reality not flaws. I don't know if this is what you are seeing looking at the 90 degree mirror at the eyepiece end of the telescope. I suspect you are exceeding the maximum useful magnification for the 60mm aperture. The theoretical max is twice the aperture in millimeters; so for the 60mm scope the max is 120X. Are you exceeding that? Yes, you can exceed the max on bright, extended objects like the Moon and the brighter planets. On faint objects you will see fuzziness or images that are broken up.

And more:

Did you get the .jpg pics I sent? Any magnification I use shows the
same, paralell lines on every star or other light source I see through
the eyepiece.
Mike here: Yes, I saw the drawings on your web site. I guess I was misinterpreting them. Are you saying those lines on either side of the central star always appear, regardless of which eyepiece you use? If so, then something is definitely wrong, either the optics (somewhere in the light path) are very dirty or there are blemishes that need to be dealt with.

Added later:

Yep, but not only the central star, but on every light source in the
field of view. The paralell lines get larger and smaller in respect with
the magnification on all the lights at the same time. Thanks for the
quick response. I'm exchanging the scope for another one tomorrow. I'll
let ya know if I survive the before-Christmas mob at the stores..

Subject:	 ETX60-AT Gear Alignment question
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 15:18:00
From:	gmehojah@mindspring.com
I just received the ETX60AT for a present, and I love it so far. 
Suitable for an entry level hack like myself!  I read most of the
information on your site (which is great BTW), and am curious about two
things:

1.  The 60AT has no stops, like the ETX 90 series, so is it not
necessary to align it in the same manner (i.e. move counter clockwise,
then back?)  The computer control panel is on the part of the base that
rotates, so its not possible to align the fork over that portion,
because it already is, and moves with it.

2.  Whats the purpose of aligning gears, and where do I learn how to do
that?  The instructions have no reference to that procedure, but I did
notice its an option in the Autostar menus.

Thanks!

Greg

Subject:	 ETX 60-AT and DS114-- questions
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 01:15:35
From:	jbasler@tampabay.rr.com (jason)
First off I would like to say you have a great site. I hope I am
addressing these questions to the proper place. Ok here it goes. I
recently received a ETX 60-AT as a early Christmas gift. I had seen many
adds and info on the ETX scopes all over the net and it various
magazines giving them fairly good praise. So the girlfriend affraid she
would get the wrong thing just told me to get it at the local Walmart
one day last week. I know I know Walmart!! But I figured this was
alittle different being it was one of the ETX scopes plus it was only
199.99 well as soon as I get home I dive head first into viewing what I
could of a partly cloudy Florida sky and a hobbie that has been dormant
for years. It had been 16 years since the last time I had looked at the
sky via a scope and then it was basicly a toy that could only make out
craters on the moon.  Well the first thing I wanted to see was Jupiter.
I knew that it and Saturn were in good view this time of the year due to
the Sky and Telescope mag. I picked up for the month of December. What I
saw was to no ones surprise I am sure, was Jupiter and its 4 largest
moons. But I wasn't to jazzed ....dont get me wrong I didnt expect
pictures like the hubble telescope would take. But I did expect it just
a bit larger. All I could really see was a small ball about the size of
a pin head and 4 dots around it. After much examination of this pin head
I think I could see one of the larger color bands. To make sure I viewed
Jupiter a few nights in a row most very clear and cold nights and the
same result not much definition. So I started thinking "I wonder if the
DS114 -AT that Wallmart is offering for 348.99 be a step up"

From what I can tell the ETX 60-AT is a much better quality scope. And
some of the reviews I have read on the DS-114 all but bury the scope
saying it sux totaly. But the Meade catalog that came with my ETX
suggest that the DS-114 is a more powerful scope. So what should I
really expect ?? And will the view be any better in the DS-114? Some of
the sites out there talk about the DS-114-EC. What is the difference in
the EC and the AT? is it just the controller? cause I noticed the AT has
a full number pad on its starfinder controller. I know the DS-114-AT has
the .96 eye piece most seem to hate that. Please help I need some
advice. I figure I could return the ETX 60-AT and pick up the DS-114AT
with a little more cash. And to me the .96 eye piece but not a huge
loss. I kinda like the idea of a scope that I can do a bit of an upgrade
to and see what kind of results I get. I think I would learn more. If
the DS-114 turns out to be the better choice what would be the better
option getting a 1.2 adapter for larger eye pieces? or could I get say
for instance a whole new 2.0 inch focuser?? For now all I want to do is
get a good look at some of the planets and see if I want to invest in a
larger scope down the line. In other words what is gonna be the better
scope for me the ETX or the DS?? Any help would be great thanx and keep
up the great work on your site.
Mike here: The ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT make fine telescopes, if you understand and can live with the limited aperture and focal length. Since your expectations were not met I suspect you would want a larger telescope of some sort. The DS-114 is a nice scope from most reports but it also has its limitations. You might want to consider an ETX-90RA (used or new), an ETX-90EC, or perhaps an ETX-125EC. Yes, the price goes up as you move the line but they will come closer to meeting your expectations.

Subject:	 ETX-90 vs. ETX-70
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 05:59:23
From:	i885572@thegrid.net (Larry Guevara)
Recent messages on the ETX-70 feedback area have asked for comparisons
between the ETX-90 and the ETX-70. I own both an ETX-70 and a ETX-90,
and like them both. Here are some differences.

The ETX-70 will be great for viewing wildlife and terrestial use, and
also for low power astronomy for dim objects. The ETX-90, with it's
longer focal length, will give you much better views of planets and high
magnification for moon and land use. The ETX-70 has an Autostar which is
an extra expense for the ETX-90. The decision of which telescope to buy
will depend on what you will be viewing. I would say that the optics in
the ETX-90 are of higher quality for high magnification use.

The focusing on both telescopes is very different. My ETX-90 focuses
quickly when changing between different eyepieces. The ETX-70 takes a
very long time to change focus, and a FlexiFocus (focusing knob on long,
flexible cable) is almost required. I use a FlexiFocus on both scopes. I
wouldn't give either scope up because they are for different purposes. I
use the ETX-70 for viewing the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, other low
power objects and terrestial viewing. The ETX-90 is used for planets,
high power moon shots, and deep-sky objects.

The erect image attachments are different for each scope. The 932 erect
image lens for the ETX-90 is a 45 degree mirror. The 933 lens for the
ETX-70 has a 2X barlow and you can't exchange the 933 and the 932
between the two scopes.

I sent a message earlier to the Weasner ETX-70 area earlier asking if
anybody had instructions to remove the telescope from the mounting arms.
You can remove the ETX-90 from the arms, and there is a mounting screw
on the ETX-90 that you could attach to a regular tripod. There seems to
be no easy way to remove the ETX-70 from the mounting arms.

Hope this helps, and happy holidays.

Subject:	 RE: Cold temperatures
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 15:52:23
From:	trixie@theriver.com (sharon)
Quick query, I have a ETX70AT that has exhibited a strange behavior in
cold weather. After aligning my ETX on the usual guide stars, I
experienced a motor fault message. I replaced my batteries with a new
pack, realigned the telescope and proceeded to point to Sirius. The
telescope slewed towards Sirius, slowed down, then sped up passing
Sirius, making a grinding sound and would not respond to the directional
controls. The temperature had dropped about 30 degrees to about 40F in a
short time. I could not make the ETX respond properly, so I gave up for
the night. This morning, I tried again in my house at warm temperatures
and had no problem with the unit.
Are you aware of any problems with the ETX 70ATs during cold weather?
Sincerely,

John Sosville
Mike here: All the ETX Autostar models seem to dislike low temperatures.

Subject:	 Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT Astro Telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, December 16, 2000 11:52:43
From:	shaukat@moonsighting.com (Khalid Shaukat)
Does any one know, if the (Meade ETX-60AT or ETX-70AT Astro ) telescope
is good for observing crescent moon soon after New Moon?
Mike here: Even binoculars can view a thin crescent Moon. So yes, the ETX-60AT and -70AT models will be able to view a visible crescent Moon.

And:

Would this telescope be able to see a thin crescent that is not visible
with binoculars and naked eye?
Mike here again: Depending upon the conditions, yes or no. If you know where to look or you scan the sky, and if there is sufficient illumination and the sky conditions are proper, yes.

Subject:	 Meade ETX-70 v. 90
Sent:	Friday, December 15, 2000 13:24:47
From:	rsparrock@excite.com (Robert Sparrock)
I read your comparison (http://www.weasner.com/etx/etx-nexstar.html) of
the NexStar5 and the ETX-125EC,  I am a beginner and was looking at the
Meade ETX-60 or 70.  You make a small reference to the 70 and recomend
the 90.  As a beginner should I save for the 90 or purchase the 70 and
possibly "upgrade" in the future? ETX-90 $600 ETX-70 $350 ETX-60 $299. 
Any insight would be helpful

Rob
Mike here: See further down this "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page for some answers. I've been asked about this a lot lately.

Subject:	 Binding Problem
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 21:03:22
From:	glennrhoades@home.com (Glenn Rhoades)
Just a heads up...if you get a scoptronix ETX deluxe tripod adaptor
observation plate for a 60 or a 70 it will bind up after the initial
slewing UNLESS you use the SMALLER SCREWS provided by scoptronix.  They
included longer screws which do not provide enough internal clearance. 
After I swaped out for the shorter screws it worked fine.

Glenn Rhoades owner of a 70. 

Subject:	HI Mike
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 16:17:00
From:	Misterjingle@aol.com
Wow I'm glad I found you..... Ok,  how much different is the ETX 70 from
the ETX 90 ?    I've have the ETX 70 on the way, and I was wondering if
I should of waited and purchased the EXT90.   What do you think?   the
other question is, Will the EXT 70 or EXT 90 always work well for
viewing wildlife from a far?

Thanks,

Craig
Mike here: The ETX-70AT makes a fine beginner telescope for the price. The only question will be will you outgrow it sooner rather than later due to its small aperture and short focal length. That applies for terrestrial as well as celestial viewing.

Subject:	 ETX-60
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 15:52:31
From:	MAZAR@mn.rr.com (Michele Azar)
Greetings:  Just bought an ETX-60 at Wal-Mart for $199 -$70 price drop. 
Still trying to figure out if I should buy a 90 at Sams for $399 and
return the 60.  The 90 is not the EC model.  Thoughts? $200 bucks won't
kill me, but I am a hack who wants to show some stars to my 4 year old
and nieces and nephews.  The Autostar is a plus.

Miguel
Mike here: The ETX-60AT makes a fine beginner telescope for the price. The only question will be will your viewers outgrow it sooner rather than later due to its small aperture and short focal length. The original ETX made a fine instrument when it was introduced in 1996; it is still a fine instrument.

Subject:	 Wife bought Wal-Mart
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 07:23:40
From:	dreaux@cajunnet.com (dreaux)
My wife just bought a Meade EXT 60 AT telescope for our eleven year old
son for Christmas,She paid only $199.00 for it. Is this a good beginner
telescope? Is it easy to set-up? I think he will be happy just to get a
good look at the moon. What can we expect to see with it? Will we need a
tripod?

Thanks for any information you can provide

Dreaux  "Louisiana Cajun Man"
Mike here: The ETX-60AT makes a fine beginner telescope for the price. The only question will be will your son outgrow it sooner rather than later due to its small aperture and short focal length. You may or may not need a tripod, depending upon how you want to use it. If you have a stable flat surface on which you'll be setting it up, you'll be OK without a tripod.

Subject:	 Start Lenses for an ETX 70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, December 12, 2000 16:41:10
From:	gausseres@yahoo.com (Richard Gausseres)
I will received an ETX 70AT scope in a couple days.  I have added the
view finder (in case I do not use the auto star).

What is a good set up of 1 or 2 additional lenses for the 70 AT?  Should
I get a barlow (2x or 3x) with a PL (4, 5 or 6 mm)?

The main idea right now would be to get as good definition adn as big on
planets!

Other question the 70 AT states that the maximum practical visual power
is 270X.  Does that mean that if i get a 3x barlow and a PL 4mm with a
magnifying power of 263X (lower than 270x), I still get a clear view?
Mike here: The more optics you add into the light path, the more the image will deteriorate. So, adding a 3X Barlow and a short focal length eyepiece may be overkill on the ETX-70AT. A good rule of thumb for maximum magnification is double the aperture in millimeters (or 140x for the ETX-70AT). Yes, with good optics (all of them) you can significantly exceed this number on many telescopes but usually only on brighter objects. Fainter objects will be dim and fuzzy at higher magnifications.

Added later:

Thanks so much for your quick response,  Stores have a hard time to
explain that.  Does that mean you would advice a 2x barlow and a Pl 5mm
for a magnification of a 140 times for the 70 AT?  Do Barlows loose
resolution more than the plossl?  Is a Pl 5 mm better than a barlow 2x
with a Ma 9mm (both about 80x)?
Mike here: The less optics the better. But a good quality 2X Barlow Lens is very useful; it effectively doubles the number of eyepieces you have. For the second eyepiece, assuming you get a 2X Barlow, don't get a size too close to half the focal length of your first eyepiece. So, getting a 9mm with 2X Barlow is probably OK.

Subject:	 ETX60-AT/70-AT Focussing
Sent:	Monday, December 11, 2000 06:47:56
From:	hugh@johnford.co.uk (Hugh)
Congratulations on a great site.  I have recently become the proud owner
of an ETX70-AT and find your site full of useful information and
comments.

I noticed several postings referring to the large number of turns of the
focus control needed when swapping between the supplied 9mm and 25mm
eyepieces.  I have found that if you unscrew the chrome plated tubes and
swap them between the eyepieces the difference in focussing is reduced
to about 4 turns of the focus knob.

This modification doesn't seem to have any adverse effects and makes the
telescope a lot easier to use.

Regards

Hugh Adamson

Subject:	 re: ETX-60
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 21:51:55
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	azummo@ita.flashnet.it
Alessandro,

You asked (on Mike Weasner's site):

>  - the ETX-60 has AutoStar capabilities
  YES!
>  - It has an AUX port too
  YES!
>  - That AUX port is not the same as other ETX
  NO! 
  It -is- the same as the AUX port on the ETX90 and ETX125.
  However, that means that it can accept the electric focuser.
>  - Is not RS232
  YES!  (the 495 and 497 Autostar have the RS232 port -in- the
   Autostar.  You can put a 497 Autostar on an ETX-60 and use the
   Autostar's rs232 port.)
>  - The 506 kit is needed to connect it to the computer
  MAYBE! If you use the ETX-60's 494 Autostar, then you need the
   506 kit to get an rs232 port.  The 506 kit includes a plaentarium
   program (on Crom) and the cable set, which includes an active PIC
   unit which converts the rs232 to i2c bus signals.
   
>     (I was unable to get any info on the 506 from the meade website).
  I think it is us$49 in US shops. (i have seen one in a store)
  (www.buytelescopes.com ... Anacortes Telescope)
>  - The protocol is quite well documented.
  YES/NO/MAYBE... the LX-200  protocol which commands the Autostar
 is documented on Mike's site.
  The i2c Protocol (addresses and data transferred) is not documented
  anywhere.  I have disassembled the 497's firmware, and the i2c 
  commands and responses are still a moderate mystery.  And, since
  the 497 is not the 494, i have **no** idea what commands or 
  addresses are used by the 494 to talk to the 506 cable set PIC unit.
  The 497 does not have code to control the 506.
>Now some questions:
>Are those statements correct? :-)
 ...see above...

> With the 506 kit, the ETX-60 has the same comm. capabilities of the
> others?
The ETX-60's 494 Autostar has less memory than the 497. It may have
the same memory as the 495.  I believe it should accept the same
LX-200 commands that the other Autostars do. But i have not played
with one, so that is only a guess.

>There's any info about the I2C protocol the ETX-60 uses? About the AUX
>port pin-out?
No.. Meade does not publish what the i2c signals are.
The AUX port has 4 wires. The outer two are ground and +12v (9v on
the ETX-60), the inner two wires are clock and data, but i do not
know which is which.  On the ETX90, you cannot control the ETX from
the AUX port... the wires in the AUX port are one pair of three pairs
coming from the 497 Autostar.  A 497 Autostar can control an ETX-60,
but the 9volts used by the ETX-60 are very close to the low voltage
cut-out of the 497 Autostar (which was designed for 12 volts, and which
starts to get forgetful below 8 volts).

>I could be able to program a pic to do the conversion if i know the
>protocol. Anyway, reverse engineering it should not be too difficult...
If the focuser is any guide, it could be very difficult (without a 506).
 
>Another fine thing would be to connect the ETX to a Palm handheld...
>there are a lot of astronomic proggies for the Palm and it should not 
>be too difficult to ask their authors to add the support for it.
If the program supports an LX-200, it could support the ETX.
The ETX does not have all of the LX-200's functions, so the Palm
program would have to either not ask/expect -everything-, or it
should be a bit forgiving.

good luck
--dick

Subject:	 Hello
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 21:34:16
From:	2001as@bellsouth.net (Tony DeLuca)
I have become interested in astronomy as a hobby. A few years back I
had, now don't laugh a 60mm Tasco Telescope. To say the least it had a
pretty bad image. I can't afford a lot for a scope but the Discovery
shop is running a deal on the 60mm Meade ETX scope with a free Meade
tripod for $299. Now I know the Objective lens is the same but this
scope should have vastly better optics than the Tasco. Will I get a
sharper looking image? I know going to the 70 or 90mm would be best, but
they are out of my league. Would I be wasting my money or do you think I
would be satisfied. I also have Redshift which is great astronomy
software for my computer. By trade I am a 3d animator.

Point your browser to http://www.digitalcanvas3d.com. Press the "WOW"
button. There you will find modeling from Kubrick's 2001.

I have just finished my first job for NASA and thought you might like to
take a look. I modeled the 2003 Mars lander for Dr. Geoffrey Landis, a
senior scientist at the John Glenn Research Center. I also detailed his
experiment the MIP unit in the inset.

-- 
All good wishes,
Tony De Luca    
Digital Canvas
http://www.digitalcanvas3d.com
Mike here: Hey, those are beautiful graphics. I especially like the 2001 ones (I would, since it is one of my all-time favorite movies). As to whether the ETX-60AT would keep you satisfied, that depends upon your expectations and how you will use it. Certainly it can't see as much as a larger telescope, even the ETX-90EC. Even though it has an Autostar, you may quickly feel that you didn't really upgrade from your 60mm Tasco (although you likely will have). If you keep the limitations of its smaller aperture size and focal length in mind, and if it meets your needs, you could be happy.

Added later:

Thanks for your time in answering my questions. Also, thanks for looking
at my graphic work. I will probably be looking more at the solar system
than anything else. My Tasco has a terrible mount and I believe horrible
optics. All I'm hoping is to get better resolved or sharper and steadier
images. I will be visiting your site regularly.

Subject:	 ETX-60
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 15:24:59
From:	azummo@ita.flashnet.it (Alessandro Zummo)
i've a few questions for you. A friend of mine just saw the ETX-60 and
it's interesting price and he was thinking to buy one. He was also
worried about it's interfacing capabilities.

So he asked me to do some research about it... i discovered your site
quite easily, using altavista.... by reading it i've collected the
following statements:

  - the ETX-60 has AutoStar capabilities
  - It has an AUX port too
  - That AUX port is not the same as other ETX
  - Is not RS232
  - The 506 kit is needed to connect it to the computer
     (I was unable to get any info on the 506 from the meade website).
  - The protocol is quite well documented.

Now some questions:

Are those statements correct? :-)

With the 506 kit, the ETX-60 has the same comm. capabilities of the
others?

There's any info about the I2C protocol the ETX-60 uses? About the AUX
port pin-out?

I could be able to program a pic to do the conversion if i know the
protocol. Anyway, reverse engineering it should not be too difficult...

Another fine thing would be to connect the ETX to a Palm handheld...
there are a lot of astronomic proggies for the Palm and it should not be
too difficult to ask their authors to add the support for it.

Thanks in advance.
-- 
  - alex.

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