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ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 March 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 70AT barlows
Sent:	Friday, March 30, 2001 22:49:27
From:	DoubleR117@aol.com
Hi, i'm thinking about buying either the Meade #124 or #126 barlow
lens.... actually what would be better to buy, a stronger eye-piece or a
barlow lens? I've heard good things about the #126 Barlow...  but i
would like to have your advice on which to buy to increase the power of
my ETX 70AT...also, do you know of anywhere on the internet i can buy it
from? thanks
Chris
Mike here: Further down this ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback page there are discussions on both Barlow Lenses. There are many excellent dealers on the Net. See the Astronomy Links page for some dealer pages.

Subject:	New ETX-70AT 
Sent:	Wednesday, March 28, 2001 18:25:46
From:	gregandsharon@hotmail.com (Greg Douglas)
I have finally received my ETX70AT, boy was I excited! I set this baby
up with no problems partly due to the helpful advise on your site, did a
two star alignment and was straight into it. The wide field vistas are
beautiful and the AUTO STAR worked straight away. All I can say to any
new users is to read the instruction carefully and take your time the
end result is worth it. Believe me , I spent two and a half hours
slewing the stars and I'll be back for more..
Thanks Mate!

Greg Douglas
Sydney Australia

Subject:	etx 60 to 70 upgrade
Sent:	Tuesday, March 27, 2001 21:01:44
From:	mffortuna@mediaone.net (Fortunas)
Other than the primary, I think these two scopes are identical. Do you
know if Meade sells the 70mm primary lense as a repair item?

Thanks,

Mike
Mike here: Real doubtful. They might have a spotting scope version however, although I don't recall seeing any mention of that.

Subject:	9 volt power supply for ETX-60
Sent:	Monday, March 26, 2001 16:26:36
From:	danmulhern1@home.com (Dan Mulhern)
Radio Shack has an 800 milliamp 9 volt power supply (#273-1770 for
$13.99) that is powerful enough to operate both drive motors of the
ETX-60 simultaneously at max speed with no significant voltage drop. You
need to replace the molded stock connector with a 9 volt battery
connector (#27-235 package of 5 for $1.39). Use a voltmeter to determine
positive and negative leads, mark them,  then cut the molded connector
off. Solder the battery connector to the adapter leads and insulate with
electrical tape. Tie an overhand knot in the adapter cord. Make sure the
knot is inside the battery cover after connecting to prevent pulling on
the soldered connection. Before snapping the adapter to the ETX-60
connector test the polarity of your new power supply against a 9 volt
battery. They must be the same!

Subject:	ext60-at slewing problems
Sent:	Monday, March 26, 2001 07:15:33
From:	jspence@grouptickets.com
I recently bought a 60-AT and when trying to get it setup (the two-star
alignment thing) I noticed that the scope never goes above 0 degrees.
And sometimes it pointed almost to the floor when trying to find a star.
While it is not pointing to the floor now, it still never goes above 0
and I cannot use the arrow keys to slew up. It can move in all other
directions but not up. Is this a problem with the motor, gears or
something of the like? I am going to call Meade today and see what they
say, but their phone line is only open like 9:30-1:30 PT. Not any time
at night to try to see if what they tell me works. Any help is
appreciated.

Jason Spence
Ticketing & Fulfillment
grouptickets.com
1-866-476-8789
Mike here: First off, is the altitude knob actually locking? That's the large knob on one of the fork arms. When it is locked can you still move the tube up and down by hand? It should only wiggle a little bit, not move through its whole range of motion. If the lock works, try retraining the drives (from the Autostar menus).

And:

I am not sure exactly which one that is. I have a Vertical or Horizontal
lock. The Vertical one tells me to only tighten to a "feel firm" I do
this and the scope will slew down but not up. When I slew it down then
try to slew it up I can see the knob kind of pull in when it tries to go
up. I tried to retrain the drive but the problem there is 2 fold. One,
first it tells me to initialize autostar (does this also include the
star alignment?) and the for training it tells me to center the object
using the arrow keys, then later to use the up key. So it still did not
work. I really don't know what to do besides call Meade, because being
the smart person I am I bought it at a store that is going out of
business and is not offering exchanges or refunds.
Mike here again: There is the horizontal (azimuth) lock on the base and the vertical (altitude) lock on a fork arm. It sounds like you are locking it OK. But when the tube won't go up electrically, can you move it easily upwards by hand?

And more:

Depends on your def. of easily, when it is locked as I have been doing
it, it can be moved just not as easily as when I loosen it completely.
Thanks for all your help, I am waiting to call Meade later, unless you
know of something else.
Mike here: Well, it sounds like it is locking, but maybe not completely. Let me know what Meade says.

And an update:

Well I just got off the phone with Meade, and they said they have had a
number of calls with similar problems and that I need to really tighten
the Vertical lock, not just to a feel firm thing. So I will try it
tonight or tomorrow and see if it works. Thanks again for you help and
responses.

Jason Spence

Subject:	ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Autostar Cable
Sent:	Saturday, March 24, 2001 10:06:29
From:	jblessing@scopetronix.com (Jordan Blessing)
In response to Grady Bradish's request for pinouts for the ETX60...
Be warned that unless you have the old original ETX60/70 with a black
tube (and a power jack on the panel) you CAN NOT use a home made cord.
Use ONLY the #506 Meade Cord. These newer "AT" scopes do not have all
the communication circuitry built into them. The #506 cord contains a
small box with the required circuitry to connect to a PC. Using a
straight connection or a cord designed for the EC models may cause
damage to both the telescope or the computer it is connected to (and in
any case will not work).
--
Jordan Blessing
www.scopetronix.com
ScopeTronix Astronomy Products

Subject:	re: rs232 cable for ETX70at
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2001 20:27:02
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	grady_bradish@globalcrossing.com
> I just bought my first telescope. ETX 60at.  Wife through out my
> pc cable with the trash. Do you know what the pin out is for the 9pin
> to Rj11.

er... time to teach your wife the value of clutter.  About $30.

Unless you have an Autostar with the numeric keypad (a 495 or 497),
you CANNOT use a simple 9-ping--to--rj11 connector.

You -have- to use a Meade 506 cable/converter set.
The 506 has active (intelligent) electronics to convert rs232
serial signals to IIC bus signals used by the ETX70at's AUX port.

The numeric-keypadded 497 and 495 Autostars have their rs232 
serial port built into the handbox... and -can- use a home-made
cable as described in Mike's site.

The Starfinder or 494 Autostar (no numeric keypad) controllers
do NOT have such a connector.  They require the 506 cable (it
has a lump in the middle) and power it via the AUX port on the
telescope's base.

Cleanliness is its own reward 
(visit http://staff.washington.edu/seymour/DikBench.html )

--dick

Subject:	Tripod Substitute
Sent:	Friday, March 23, 2001 01:58:06
From:	kbusa1@hotmail.com (kb)
if you want a CHEAP substitute, for the smaller ETX 70 or so... make a
tall table! that is what we did. a Flat table.  4 sturdy Metal legs
(know those L shape bars wtih pre drilled holes in them, they use for
making bookshelves ?) and add wood or plastic top. total cost to us :
less than 8 dollars.

to Adjust the height, we use phone books. ha. not Top grade, not pro.
but you cant beat the price. i fixed mine at 30 inches of height, and it
is VERY SOLID. added another "floor" on the near bottom, to keep eyepcs,
etc.  you cant beat the price again. of course, this height is fixed
after i measured the comfy chair i use with it. it all matches in
viewing height, from dec = 0  to zenith.  you must  design all this
according to YOUR height, angle, chair, etc. can be quite fun, and takes
an hour or less to make. the shop we bot the metal bars, they cut it for
you. you just screw it all together. easy.

kb

Subject:	Help with db9 pin outs for pc
Sent:	Thursday, March 22, 2001 13:27:24
From:	grady_bradish@globalcrossing.com (GRADY BRADISH)
Newbi here.
I just bought my first telescope. ETX 60at.  Wife through out my pc
cable with the trash. Do you know what the pin out is for the 9pin to
Rj11.
Mike here: See the Autostar Information page on my ETX site for some cable information.

Subject:	Re: ETX deluxe tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, March 21, 2001 20:46:57
From:	esthermofet@msn.com (John Shirley)
In reference to Venkataraman Moncompu's (moncov@hotmail.com) question
about the Deluxe Field Tripod for the ETX-60:  I'll confirm that, yes,
that tripod works for the 60.  I'm using one for my 60, works great. 
It's a little pricey, about US$200, but it provides a solid base that
will greatly improve the user's experience with the scope.

Subject:	4mm eyepiece
Sent:	Wednesday, March 21, 2001 09:03:54
From:	ss@dbx.com (z2)
this is kb again, and have finally recvd ETX 70 AT recently, and getting
used to it's autostar system. for the money, not easy to beat.

Just a simple warning. have tried (courtesy of the meade dealer here)
more than 4 new pcs of Meade PL 4mm eyepc with above scope. (changed
scopes too) my advice, DONT BUY THIS. compared to even the MA eyepcs
they give you , this PL 4mm (giving only 88x) is never really going to
achieve the same quality of focus and never give you details of the 2
other (free) eyepcs.

anyone else experience this ?

thanks,
kb

Subject:	Re:Subject:ETX deluxe tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, March 21, 2001 02:15:17
From:	np149@tir.com (Nick Petranovic)

>From:   moncov@hotmail.com (Venkataraman Moncompu)
>I have been using your site to get good advise on Meade ETX and I have
>bought a (small) 60 MM ETX, thought it might be good for starters and
>that too it was on sale !
>Would you know if the deluxe tripod that is advertised for Meade 90 MM
>ETXs would fit my 60 MM ETX telescope ?
>Thank you in advance.
>Venkat

Reference the above, the ETX 60/70 will fit this tripod. I have an ETX60
mounted on mine now. Works fine (with the addition of my straps!). Keep
up the good work.

Nick

Subject:	ETX deluxe tripod
Sent:	Monday, March 19, 2001 14:16:59
From:	moncov@hotmail.com (Venkataraman Moncompu)
I have been using your site to get good advise on Meade ETX and I have
bought a (small) 60 MM ETX, thought it might be good for starters and
that too it was on sale !
Would you know if the deluxe tripod that is advertised for Meade 90 MM 
ETXs would fit my 60 MM ETX telescope ?
Thank you in advance.
Venkat
Mike here: I believe the base is essentially the same dimensions so it should fit. But not having an ETX-60AT I can't say for certain.

Subject:	ETX 70 AT with QuickCam
Sent:	Thursday, March 15, 2001 22:19:21
From:	David Peters
just thought I would let you know that I have updated my website with
some details of how to modify a quickcam so that it fits into an ETX 70
AT. I also have few pictures taken with the quickcam.

The site is at:

www.electronf.com/space/index.html

and it includes all the information that I couldn't find when I was
planning to do it myself.

Subject:	ETX 70AT or ETX 90AT
Sent:	Wednesday, March 14, 2001 11:21:45
From:	jminette@csi.com (John Minette)
I have to decide if I should get a Meade EXT 70AT or a ETX 90AT. I was
wondering if the difference is worth paying for a beginner.

Thank you.
Zak Minette
Mike here: Whether the difference is worth or not depends upon your expectations and your wallet. The ETX-70AT has a 350mm focal length and the ETX-90EC 1250mm. The difference in aperture is not that significant between the 70mm and the 90mm but the focal length is a lot different. If you want to use higher magnifications to see more details you'll likely be disappointed with the -70AT. If you want small size and wide field views the -70AT makes an excellent telescope.

And:

Thank you for answering my question abou the ETX 70AT and the 90.  Could
you point me to a site where I could see the same images taken with the
70 and the 90 so I can compare them together.
Zak Minette
Mike here: There are lots of ETX-90 astrophotographs on my ETX site (see the Astrophotography Gallerie). I believe there are also some taken using the ETX-60 or -70 model. Keep in mind that the camera "sees" things differently than the eye.

Subject:	Thanks.
Sent:	Tuesday, March 13, 2001 14:47:40
From:	gregandsharon@hotmail.com (Greg Douglas)
Mike and Clay
Hi , my name is Greg Douglas I live just north of Sydney in Australia. I
would like to thank both of you for the way you encourage and help
amature astronomers. It is your enthusiasm that has influenced me to buy
a ETX 70 AT , (I know it's not the ETX 90 Mike...Ha ha! ) but it will be
perfect for the casual use my family will get from it. I love the stars
and planets as do my wife and children , the go to feature will be
great. Living just north of Sydney I get a great view of the sky as
light polution is low on the central coast.

Mike I love the web site and visit it almost every day, great job and
thanks.

Kind Regards
Greg Douglas

PS: we now hove an Aussie space walker : Dr Andy Thomas ( Aussie Aussie
Aussie Oi Oi Oi !!!)

Subject:	training
Sent:	Tuesday, March 13, 2001 10:03:32
From:	messageforproteus@compuserve.com (manuel robbins)
Good seeing.

Can someone tell me the anguar field of view of the ETX-60 using the
25mm eyepeice?

About "training," is it necessary for the ETX-60? Once trained, how long
is the training retained? Must it be repeated with each turn-on of the
system? How is th training retained in memory once the system is turned
off?  

Thanks. M.Robbins New Jersey
Mike here: Your Autostar can tell you this. Check the manual that came with your ETX-60AT for the steps. Training is also mentioned the manual but doesn't seem to be as important in the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT as in the -90EC and 125EC. Training info is retained in the Autostar's memory.

Subject:	Black ETX 70 AT (EC)
Sent:	Friday, March 9, 2001 06:50:55
From:	enrbb@email.msn.com (enrbb)
I purchased a Black ETX 70 AT in January. It and the Autostar 495 has
preformed as I would expect a scope of this size to do. Planets are
small but clear. It takes the 9mm and the 2X Barlow to make Saturn
viewable.

I have a question about the 12 volt connector on the ETX 70 base. I
would like to use a 12 volt battery pack that I have that has a lighter
socket, but I need to know if the center pin on the ETX is + 12 volts.
If it is a standard +12 volt tip then a cord from Radio Shack should
work fine. Radio Shack is a lot less expensive than Meade. I would also
like to know where I can get the PC software that does not come with the
506 cable. I purchased the 505 cable set but can not find the Astro
Software. The cables were sold without software and no one knows about
the ETX 70 with a 495 Autostar.

Thanks

Bob Bennett
Kennesaw, GA
Mike here: On the ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC the center pin is positive. Don't know if this applies to the ETX-70AT but I would suspect that it does. Don't know about the software.

Subject:	ETX-60AT
Sent:	Thursday, March 8, 2001 11:54:58
From:	rpl@ronleo.com (Ron Leo)
Just found your great website.  As a rookie, I just received and
ETX-60AT as a gift.  I'm wondering if I should upgrade now to a 90 or
125 for the minimal price difference.  I will never be more than a
casual amateur, but I's like to get the most bang for my buck now,
rather than to upgrade later. For another $300-$500 it seems the logical
thing to do.

Also regarding eyepieces for these scopes what brands do you recommend
in the $50-$75 range?

Thanks in advance for your response.

Ron Leo
rpl@ronleo.com
Mike here: Certainly you can do and see more with the larger telescope. But you'll have to make the call whether you should upgrade. As you can tell from the web site, the ETX-90 and ETX-125 are very capable and popular models. As to eyepieces, see the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some user comments on different brands/types/prices.

Subject:	Re: Using a Barlow lens - question
Sent:	Saturday, March 3, 2001 03:44:32
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	kjm96@attglobal.net
Ken - that is great to hear. I am glad you invested in the good barlow,
and I knew it would work well for you.  Sometimes you hate to "spend
other people's money" but it always seem a waste to advise someone into
something you feel they would not be happy with.  Seeing conditions (and
from what you describe, the conditions were really falling apart) have a
great deal to do with planet observing, so you were correct to wait
until really testing on Jupiter and Saturn.  See my Guide to Seeing and
Transparency on Mike Weasner's site, and you will note that your ETX 70
actually has some "advantages" in the "seeing department!"

Keep us posted!
Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Martin (kjm96@attglobal.net)
>Clay,
>
>You may remember giving me some advice about using a #126 Shorty 2x barlow on an
>ETX-70 (see your previous reply below). I received my #126 today, and although
>seeing conditions were not the greatest tonight, I was amazed at the performance
>of the 126 barlow with the standard MA 26 and 9 mm eyepieces. The barlow sure
>brought the craters of the moon "up close". Took a look at Jupiter and Saturn,
>but by then seeing conditions were poor with a lot of moisture in the air and
>some wispy clouds but it was interesting to see how much larger those planets
>are now with the barlow. I can't wait for better seeing conditions. Anyway, I
>just wanted to say thanks again for the advice and the reassurance that a #126
>barlow would be ok with an ETX-70.
>
>Ken Martin
>Eugene OR
>
>Clay Sherrod wrote:
>
>> Good afternoon Ken -
>> Yes, it is certainly okay to use the shorter barlow #126 (which I actually
>> prefer) in your ETX 70.  The Meade barlows (both the 124 and 126) are
>> excellent optical quality and will give pleasing results.
>>
>> The barlow is the best alternative to attaining higher powers as this
>> maintains your eye comfort (eye relief) and viewing comfort (positioning you
>> further from the end of the scope).
>>
>> I have tested many of the barlows on the market and have settled in on the
>> short #126 version as the best and most satisfying of all.  And, yes, you
>> can get one cheaper over the Internet, but make sure the price is the
>> cheapest.  Have you tried Michael Webb at www.sightandsoundship.com ? His
>> prices and service (in stock) are really the best I have personally found.
>> His direct e-mail (which I use for orders is:  mshwebb@hotmail.com. (phone
>> 931-484-1511).
>>
>> Wherever you get the barlow, you will be the most happy with the model #126
>> by far.
>>
>> Hope this helps....
>> Good skies
>> Clay Sherrod
And more:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Ken - glad to help.  There are a lot of very useful tips and tutorials
on the ETX site and you can always learn a great deal, or find a
solution to nearly every problem you may encounter with your ETX.  Keep
tuning in, and glad you are enjoying the telescope.
Please stay in touch!
Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Martin (kjm96@attglobal.net)
>Clay,
>Yes I've read your Guide to Seeing and Transparency, but I think I'll go
>back for a review. I've found the information you post Weasner's site
>quite useful and a great help to beginners like me. Thanks again!
>
>Ken Martin
>Eugene OR

Subject:	Report on ETX-70 AT malfunction
Sent:	Thursday, March 1, 2001 01:09:36
From:	rainer.nothdurft.rn@germany.agfa.com
yesterday (02/28/01) our forum, the german ETX pages, received a message
posted by slightly frustrated ETX-70 user. He tried to operate his brand
new scope using the Meade-supplied batteries.

The scope started to turn, turn, turn for quite a number of times,
producing a terrible noise, then as sudden crash and stop. One of the
batteries - as the user reported - "torn in pieces, spilling battery
liquid in the compartment"

After cleaning and inserting fresh batteries, everything worked fine
(sigh of relief)

Hope, this info is useful for othe users.

Rainer Nothdurft
http://www.stadtastronomie.de/etx_deutschland
Mike here: I'm surprised the telescope shipped with batteries.

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URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/70atMar01.html