ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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: Meade ETX 70AT Sent: Friday, July 28, 2000 16:10:42 From: DowlingGary@aol.com Great site. Am looking at the ETX 70AT with the bundled Autostar. Was interested in the 90, but the deals on the 70AT make it an attractive first telescope. Would the 70 be a good place to start, or would it be best to go to the 90? I am a beginner and will likely be a casual user. Any thoughts on the 70 would be greatly appreciated. Regards, GaryMike here: You will see slightly more, slightly better, with the ETX-90EC. The Autostar is handy but not a requirement. Afterall, astronomers have been successfully finding objects without computers for a few centuries...
Subject: ETX-60AT Information Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2000 00:24:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Neil McNeight) Greetings. Yesterday, I traded in my old 60mm Discovery Channel special for a new ETX-60AT plus some cash. (The Discovery Store, by the way, is truly cool. They honored the "buy a telescope and trade up later" promise that The Nature Company had made 3 years prior when I purchased my first telescope). It was so new, that I even got it complete with the cardboard box that Meade shipped it to the store in. I haven't had the opportunity to field test it (cloudy nights so far), but to clear up a few things mentioned on your site: * The manual I have is for both the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Judging from some of the responses of your site, not everyone who bought the ETX-70AT got this manual. It's Meade part number is 14-6896-01 05/00 in case someone wants to call Meade and ask for it by name. * The manual states that the Autostar model number is #494. The unit does not have a numberic keypad, like other models I have seen. Selecting letters and numbers requires scrolling through a list of characters. Firmware is v1.0 and covers items of interest that the telescope is able to pick up. It will work using either Alt/Az or Polar mounting. * In the manual under "Optional Accessories", it lists both the new #882 Standard Field Tripod (Alt/Az only) and the #883 Deluxe Field Tripod (Alt/Az & Polar) as compatible with this telescope. The salesman in the Discovery Store also said that they had mounted their ETX-60AT on the deluxe tripod in the store. If you want more technical information, I can pull it all out of the manual for you. Great site! Keep up the good work! -Neil
Subject: ETX 70AT vs. ETX 90 Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 10:41:30 From: Jason.Myers@ing-barings.com (Myers, Jason) Can you please tell me how significant the difference is between the new 70 model and the 90 that is so well regarded? I'm interested in buying one of these, and the jump in price from the 70 ($349 with Autostar) to the 90 ($595 plus $149 for Autostar) is significant. I realize the 70 is a refractor and the 90 is catadioptric, but in terms of resolving power, maximum magnification, etc, what for example would be the difference in viewing Jupiter or Saturn? Is the 70 capable of tracking for a long enough time to take time exposures with a 35mm camera mounted via T-adapter, or is the 90 much more capable for this use? Thanks, Jason L. Myers email@example.comMike here: Since the theoretical max magnification is a function of the telescope's aperture, yes the ETX-70 is more limited than the -90 model. Without some manual guiding assistance, long duration astrophotography with most consumer telescopes is limited to a few seconds. And without a sturdy mount, you'll have to use the "hat trick" method for exposures to avoid vibrations from camera mirror and/or shutter movement.
Subject: EXT Question Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 18:19:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Todd DeBusk) We are looking at the ETX-70EC compact 70mm refracting telescope by Meade. I cannot find any info about it. How does it compare to the ETX 90 EC? Is the 70EC an inferior Meade product. It is not even mentioned on the Meade web site. Please advise. Thank you Charlene & Todd DeBuskMike here: There are comments about it here on this "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page.
Subject: RE: ETX 70AT: focus knob Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 13:53:59 From: email@example.com (Jordan Blessing) The ETX 60/70 does have a set screw in the focus knob, but the mechanism is not the same as on the ETX90/125. Loosening the set screw and pulling the knob out slightly will only introduce slop into the focuser, it will not allow more focus travel as on the ETX90/125. The poster was right in that it can take many turns to reach focus after changing eyepieces, many more than the ETX90/125 does. This is aggravated by the fact that the focus knob is even smaller and harder to turn than on the ETX90/125. Though I haven't yet posted it on the website we do have a Flexi-Focus available for these scopes that can really be a big help. I have also posted a webpage on the difference in these scopes at : home.att.net/~nexstar/etx70.htm to help relieve some of the confusion associated with the different models. -- Jordan Blessing ScopeTronix Astronomy Products www.scopetronix.com
Subject: ETX 70AT: focus knob Sent: Friday, July 21, 2000 01:14:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Marty Carungay) Hi Mike. You posted that comment on the ETX 70AT forum. I have seen you say this a few times before, but Im not exactly sure what "setscrew" you are referring to. I look at the layout of the focus knob on the ETX 70AT, and there is no real "screw" on the metallic knob itself that I can see. There are a few phillips-sized screws embedded on the black tube chassis itself and located adjacent to the focus knob. These large screws look like they could disassemble the entire tube body! So I dont dare unscrew them unless I know better. Just to be clear, I have been able to focus on objects using both eyepieces. So perhaps this "loosening the setscrew" procedure should not apply to me. A minor annoyance is that it takes many many many rotations of the focus knob to refocus on an object when I change eyepieces. Is this a known issue for ETX? Thanks in advance. MartyMike here: Having to refocus when changing eyepieces is a common occurrence on many telescopes. The only way to avoid it is to use eyepieces that are "parfocal". If you aren't having any problem reaching a focus with your eyepieces, then your ETX focus knob position does not need adjusting. However, the setscrew I'm referring to is embedded inside the side of the silver focus knob. You use an Allen Wrench (or hex key) to loosen it.
Subject: ETX-60AT Vs. ETX-70AT Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 18:55:43 From: email@example.com (Joseph D. Browne) I've been thinking about purchasing a Meade ETX-60AT but notice that most of the discussion on this site is about the ETX-70AT. Does the additional $50 in cost for the ETX-70AT provide additional capabilities worthwhile to a novice who will be using the telescope only occasionally (partly due to weather conditions)? Thanks.Mike here: Well, more aperture is always desireable. Even if only 10mm worth. Whether that is worth the extra money to you depends upon how you plan to use the telescope and what your expectations are.
Subject: ETX-60 or 70 Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 13:58:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (DWB,Jr.) Lucky me, I am getting an ETX-60 as a birthday present. What can I truly expect to be able to see? The literature makes it sound like anything I could ever want. Unless of course I get a 70, or 90, or 125. Can anyone with experience with the 60 or 70 comment on what type of definition you have gotten, and with what eyepieces. Is it still clear at higher magnification or does it get fuzzy or dark? ThanksMike here: As to the max magnification you can expect, rule of thumb is double the aperature (so 60mm becomes 120x) or 50-60x per inch of aperture (118-142x). This is a theoretical value and depends upon the equipment used and the object you are viewing. Brighter objects (like the moon or Jupiter) will not go fuzzy as quickly as fainter objects (like Uranus).
Subject: Aligning the scope Sent: Monday, July 17, 2000 20:35:59 From: email@example.com (Brian VandeBogart) This is my first scope an ETX-70AT, and I don't know a whole lot but I am learning. I am looking for a tripod. I don't have allot of money to spend and Meade has a tripod for the 70AT but it doesn't angle for polar alignment. In the alt/az mode will I still be able to use the Autostar to it's fullest abilities.I have read the manual and it sounds like it does. Do you know for sure? I have not had the opportunity to try yet, but will soon. It was a birthday gift from my wife and I want to get the most out of the scope. Thanks for any help you can give me. Brian VandeBogartMike here: Unless you plan to do piggyback astrophotography or other long duration astrophotography, sticking with Alt/Az mode and the Autostar works fine.
Subject: etx 70at Sent: Monday, July 17, 2000 19:54:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joseph Gillman) GREAT GREAT site! Long time reader, first time poster. Well, after all this reading about good and bad experiences and months of mouthwatering at the thought of an etx-90 or 125, I finally decided to try the autostar system with a new etx 70at. (FYI it is exactly the same as the old 70EC but it comes with 2 eyepieces, barlow, AND and autostar for just $349 at natural wonders!!!Meade was lazy about changing the manuals and battery covers.) My first night tonight is cloudy, so I was only able to view the Fleetbank building of hartford, CT at 17.5x.I wasnt able to use the supplied MA 9mm eyepiece because it wouldnt focus (it seemed someone else also posted about this problem). Apparently the bottom of the barrel hits the flip mirror because it is too long (i guess). Also a more generic autostar question: are the cable connctions to the autostar controller and control panel meant to be so darned tight???? I would need to use force to get them out so i could put the scope back in the box. I really dont want to break it before I really get any use out of it. Not my first night anyway. Thanks very much and keep up the great work!!!! JoeMike here: Loosen the setscrew on the focus knob and slide it a little further out on the shaft, then retighten it. That should solve the focus problem. As to the connectors, you can "sand" them down a little bit if too tight.
Subject: ETX-70 Sent: Monday, July 17, 2000 18:30:46 From: email@example.com (Don Hartsaw) I purchased an ETX-70 a few weeks ago from natural wonders. I have done allot of searching for everything that they say can be seen with it. I am wanting to see some of the planets with it, such as the rings of Saturn and such. All I have right now are the two eyepieces and the 2X barlow lens. I was wondering if anyone else has been able to see the rings or the red pot on Jupiter. So far I have enjoyed my new telescope.Mike here: You will be able to see the Rings around Saturn but don't expect them to appear very large. You might be able to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter but it is currently pretty faint and doesn't stand out too well against the clouds.
I still have a few purchases for it, but I'm very pleased with it so far. Do you know where I could purchase or obtain the software that is used to update the handheld computer? I have looked at several dealers, and none have any idea what I was talking about. They had the cables for it but no software? Also could you recommend a good somewhat inexpensive 35mm camera to use on the ETX-70? Thanks for your time Mike.Mike here: Meade's web site has the s/w to update the Autostar. It is linked from the Autostar Information page on my ETX site. As to a 35mm camera, check out your local camera store for a used one. All you need for astrophotography (through the telescope) is the camera body without a lens. Get one that can lock the shutter open. Also, try for one that you flip the mirror up without taking a picture; to reduce the mirror movement vibration. Of course, you will need the appropriate adapter to connect the camera to the telescope.
Subject: ETX-70 AT eyepiece Sent: Saturday, July 8, 2000 08:10:10 From: CousinsL@capslock.net (cousinsl) I'm a rank beginner in star gazing. I just purchased a Meade ETX-70 AT. The only problem that I have run into is that the 9mm eyepiece cannot be focused. It gives a 38X magnification. Is that too much magnification for normal atmospherics? The 17.5X eyepiece works fine. (Although I have the same problem when I use it in conjunction with a 2X Barlow.) Thanks for any help you can give me on this subject. Lauren CousinsMike here: That should not be too much magnification for the 70AT. Since I don't have the 70AT, I can't answer your focusing question other than to suggest loosening the focus knob and slide it a little further out on the shaft and retighten the setscrew. That works for the ETX-90 models.
Thanks Mike. Your suggestion was right on. My 9mm eyepiece now works fine. I was suprisred, though, how much I had to turn the focus knob to get the object into focus. It took a minute or more of turning before the 9mm object came into focus after viewing it with the 20 mm eyepiece. Just what is turning the focus knob doing inside the telescope?Mike here: Glad you got the focus working. In the -90 Mak-Cass model, turning the focus knob actually moves the mirror at the rear of the scope. I'm not certain what is moving on the -70AT model.
Subject: ETX-70AT Sent: Friday, July 7, 2000 06:58:45 From: RSawyer61@mail.Socket.net (Randall Sawyer) I don't know if this explains anything, but I just purchased a ETX-70AT at Natural Wonders in St. Louis, MO. Paid $349.00 and it seems complete with Astrostar controller, MA 9mm and SP 20mm eyepieces, and 2X Barlow lens. All the documentation on outside box stated, "ETX-70AT". The instruction manual was for the ETX-70EC but included an Instruction Manual Addendum which read, "ETX-70AT Instruction Manual Addendum for the ETX-70AT Astro Telescope with #495 Autostar Computer Controller The Meade ETX-70AT telescope includes an extremely versatile, compact 70mm refractive optical system that, with advanced features similar to larger or more specialized telescopes, can be used by casual observers and serious astronomers alike. The ETX-70AT is the choice of observers seeking bright wide-field images of star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae, as well as panoramic terrestrial scenes. With two eyepieces, a 2X Barlow lens, Autostar Computer Controller for location and tracking of celestial objects, and razor-sharp imaging, the ETX-70AT may be all the telescope ever required to see birds at 100 yards or stars at 100 light-years. The #495 Autostar Computer Controller replaces the Electronic Controller as the primary method of operating the ETX-70AT. Included with Autostar is an instruction manual that details its functions and capabilities. When the telescope instruction manual mentions the Electronic Controller (Electronic Controller Functions, page 6: Observing with the Electronic Controller, page 7; THE ELECTRONIC CONTROLLER, page 10; and TRACKING MOTOR SPEED, page 19), refer to the Autostar instruction manual. All telescope functions remain the same. With Autostar you can do a quick telescope alignment and you're ready to observe any object in Autostar's 1,500-object database. Any of Autostar's database objects can be called up and entered on the hand controller in seconds. You then simply press GO TO and watch as the telescope automatically slews to the object and places it in the field of view. The effect of Autostar is to bring objects that were unreachable for all but the most dedicated amateur astronomers easily within reach."Mike here: I have now received similar reports indicating the EC model comes (or came) standard with the Electronic Controller (hence, "EC") and the AT model comes standard with the Autostar (hence, "AT").
Subject: Confusion on ETX 70AT and 70EC Sent: Wednesday, July 5, 2000 16:20:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Marty Carungay) Seems like there is too much confusion in your web site about what the ETX 70AT is. Here is the simple explanation, as told to me by a Meade customer service agent: there used to be an ETX 70EC telescope a little while back, it is no longer sold under that designation. The ETX 70AT is really similar to an ETX 70EC except that the 70AT comes with the Autostar controller bundled. That is really the only major difference. I am not sure if anything else has changed like optics or any other features, I doubt it. ETX 70AT = ETX 70EC + Autostar (inside the box) + affordable price Yes, a quick glance of the packing contents will reveal that the manuals and users guide will still make reference to the ETX 70EC. This shouldn't be too surprising. Maybe it just tells you that Meade was a little lazy to update the manuals to make references to their newer models. That's my theory. Marty P.S. - as an amateur/beginner scope, the 70AT is awesome for the price! I'm enjoying my scope.
Subject: 70AT Sent: Wednesday, July 5, 2000 12:01:25 From: email@example.com (Paschalides) I love your site and it gave me lots of useful information before I bought my wonderful 125ETX. On the 125's box it says EC for electronic controller and I suppose AT would mean Autostar. Also, the models on the Meade website are different from the one showed at the bottom of yours because the other ones have the computer control ON the fork arm instead of the base. Is this one of the "vast improvements" mentioned by Meade recently? I have searched for information about the 70 EC and there is none on Meade's website, it must just be an error with packaging and the individuals in question should ask Meade for information, or at least I would. Once again, thanks for a great website.
Subject: ETX-70AT(?) magnification limitations? Sent: Sunday, July 2, 2000 12:07:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kyle Barger) I'm very appreciative of all the alignment suggestions folks have provided. The first night I took my scope out I became very frustrated at not finding much. Last night however, armed with hints from here, I found everything landing in the field of my 20mm Televue Plossl! I think now I just need a tripod to overcome the slope of my property. Now, I am wondering, what have people discovered as the highest usable magnification for the ETX-70? The manual that came with it suggested that it was 110x, but the Meade web page (www.meade.com/catalog/etx60-70/index3.html) suggested 240x! I was thinking 140 was probably a more reasonable number, which would be reached nicely with a 5mm eyepiece + 2x barlow. Does anybody have experience to share?Mike here: Magnifications are usually around 50-60x per inch of aperture. That would mean about 150x for a 70mm telescope. However, on some objects (notably brighter ones like Jupiter or the Moon) under good-to-excellent seeing conditions you should be able to exceed this.
Yeah I have seen that, or 2x the aperture in mm..... and I now noticed that they give 175x on the spec list on the outside of the ETX-70AT box! Seems odd that they are giving three different numbers for the same scope.
Subject: MEADE ETX-70AT Telescope Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2000 13:59:34 From: email@example.com (John Maas) Im new to your site and Astronomy. I just purchased a Meade ETX-70AT with an Autostar Computer Controller at Natural Wonders for $349. It's seems like a great deal since Ive been holding off on a ETX-90 because of the price. Here is my question. I set it up put batteries in and connected all the cables and turned the unit on. I get a message "Use ETX Autostar with this model" They say on the box the controller is an #495 Autostar Controller. I've read on your site the #495 is NOT compatible with ETX models. Did I do something wrong or are they shipping the wrong controllers with this model?...Any help appreciated...
Subject: ETX-70AT or is it EC Sent: Friday, June 30, 2000 21:17:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (bdecorso) I talked to Meade today, and at first the individual doubted I actually had an ETX-70, because according to him, "that's a new product that hasn't been shipped yet". I won't offer a commentary on the quality of their customer support/technical assistance line. Anyway, he claims that there will be to models ETX-70EC (for Electronic Controller) and the 70AT for the Autostar. I went back to Natural Wonders and he says they are the first ones to get them with an introductory price of $349. Other dealers will get them around August-September. Meade didn't provide the detailed and knowledgeable response, but I'm happy with the scope. I may have a different feeling if they're release in mass in a couple of months with better specs and/or lower price.
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