Last updated: 31 May 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:	Report on faulty tripod leg locks
Sent:	Thursday, May 31, 2001 19:42:34
From:	clthacker@ameritech.net (Chris Thacker)
Someone posted something about faulty 882 leg locks, well I had the same
experience when I attempted to buy my tripod from the store of knowledge
in Orland Park IL. Well what they told me was that it was a faulty batch
and I got my money back form the purchase. I waited until the store of
knowledge (another location) was going out of buisness, and bought an
excellent one for $60.00. 

Just thought I'd share that.


Subject:	The Autostar and ETX-60
Sent:	Thursday, May 31, 2001 19:32:35
From:	clthacker@ameritech.net (Chris Thacker)
First of all let me just say you have a great site for the ETX user, I
find it very useful. I haven't been at this site for a while because
I've been busy moving and really haven't been on the internet that much.
I was able to finally figure out the autostar. I enjoy using the 2 star
alignment, and find this pretty much lines up the ETX. I'm also using a
compass when aligning, since I've found out that if I can determine
where true north is it helps align it further. Lately around Chicago the
best a person can see is the moon. Well the skies are pretty dark around
here, but it has been cloudy alot with rain. Mike, what would you
suggest for the ETX 60 that would make it a little more powerful?, as
far as seeing the planets goes, because I have a few eyepieces of
various strength but found out that this dramaticly reduces my field of
vision!. Are there any mods that I could do to my ETX to make it more
powerful, without getting another eyepiece?. 
Thanks, Chris
Mike here: Adding a 2X Barlow Lens may make some sense but keep in mind that the ETX-60AT is really limited to about 120X (twice the aperture in millimeters) under good seeing. And being a short focal length telescope (350mm) trying to increase the magnification will be a challenge. You might want to read my report on the ETX-70AT on the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page. One other note: True North is different from Magnetic North in some locations; this difference is called "Magnetic Variation". I haven't checked the variation for Chicago so don't know how much a difference it makes.

Subject:	Meade ETX-60/70 AT PDF Manual On-Line
Sent:	Thursday, May 31, 2001 16:44:55
From:	taylor-lance@home.com (Lance Taylor)
If anyone else you know needs a copy of it they can simply click here to
download it!


My thanks to someone else out there who answered my own pleas for the
manual and just fwded this to me today.  I'm more than glad to offer up
the bandwidth to host this 800K file. Complete manual.. cover to cover!
Now I've got some reading to do!

Lance Taylor
Edmonton, AB

Subject:	ETX-60/70 AT Manual
Sent:	Wednesday, May 30, 2001 18:56:20
From:	taylor-lance@home.com (Lance Taylor)
I just had to write and thank you again for your great resource!

As you may recall I recently bought an ETX-60 AT, however it was missing
the manual. In searching through your "Mighty" archives I came across
mention of a phone number for Meade Customer Service.

> Phone: (949) 451-1450
> Fax: (949) 451-1460

Seeing as I couldn't find what I needed on Meade's website, or the Net I
broke down and contacted someone there just last Wednesday and explained
my predicament. They said no problem and would ship a manual out ASAP.

Well, guess what came in the mail today! Delivery in under a week from
US to Canada. Yup,  I'm "Mighty" impressed with Meade! They should also
be happy to know that this is the fourth Meade scope I own now too.

Anyways, I thought I'd pass this info along as I've received e-mails
from a number of other owners asking where they might find a copy of an
ETX-60/70 AT manual too.

Dark Skies,

Lance Taylor
Edmonton, Alberta

Subject:	ETX page
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 16:31:54
From:	RoyMottram@aol.com
love your ETX page, Mike

I bought a ETX-70 last summer, and just last week put up my own web
site. Your web visitors may be interested in my comments on the AutoStar
double star list, which I spent many hours digging out.

My web page is at:

Mike here: I see in your comments at the end of the page that you would like to use astronomy charting software to point and click to see objects but you want to do that without adding an Autostar. The Autostar contains the brains and is required to control the ETX from a computer.

Subject:	ETX-70 dec lock problem?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 29, 2001 12:38:21
From:	darrel.maddy@ncl.ac.uk
I have just purchased an ETX-70 here in the UK for use on holiday (I own
an LX-10 but this is hardly portable!). Although bad skies have kept me
from testing this baby I am a little alarmed at the amount of vertical
movement the scope exhibits once the dec lock is engaged. My question is
therefore: Is this normal? I still have problems with the dec circles on
my LX-10 (i.e. they never agree) and hence I am perhaps a little over
worried by this problem.

Help would be appreciated

Dr Darrel Maddy
Department of Geography
University of Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Mike here: Some play is normal. Afterall, you probably won't be grabbing the tube to point at objects; you will be using the handcontroller to slew to objects. There is some pause as you reverse direction however. That is known as "backlash" and the Autostar tries to compensate for it based upon the TRAINing you do.


Many thanks for your quick response. I was probably just being paranoid,
the Autostar seems to work fine.

I think your site is excellent and I have spent many hours enjoying
reading the archives. Many thanks for your excellent work it is


Subject:	Owner's Manual for the ETX-60
Sent:	Monday, May 28, 2001 19:54:15
From:	jodyg@missvalley.com (Jody Gibler)
I just recently purchased a used ETX-60 and didn't come with an owner's
manual. This is my first telescope and am looking forward to using it
but don't know much about getting started. I'm getting familiar with the
keypad but there is obviously a lot of things I still don't know. If
there are any ETX-60 owners out there who know their telescope like the
back of their hand and wouldn't care to part with their owner's manual
or maybe even send a copy( I would be glad to reimburse you) I would
greatly appreciate it. I've searched the web for an owner's manual and
can't seem to find one. If anyone out there can help me, please let me
know. I'm anxious to use my telescope! Thanks!

Jody Gibler

Subject:	re: Barlow Performance
Sent:	Sunday, May 27, 2001 7:46:58
From:	RMOLLISE@aol.com
Bob Minnick noted in his email further down this page:
  "Did we luck out and get crappy barlows or is this typical behavior of
  a barlow lens? And if thats the case, then I guess the barlows would
  be best reserved for especially bright objects like the moon, and

And Mike responded: 
  "Using a Barlow Lens on an extended object like the North American
  nebula is not going to be a fruitful exercise. Faint objects will be
  made even harder to see as you spread out the faint image over a
  larger area in the eyepiece. This is true whether you use a Barlow or
  a shorter focal length eyepiece. The ETX-60AT makes a fine wide-field
  telescope but its small aperture and short focal length mean you won't
  be able to push the magnification except on brighter objects like some
  planets and the Moon."

I'll second that. In a 26mm eyepiece, the North America Nebula, NGC
7000, pretty much fills the field of the ETX 60. Yes, folks, it's that
big! BTW, I had an _excellent_ view of this legendary nebula from the
recent Texas Star Party with the 60. With the addiiton of an OIII
filter, this is one of the few time I've been able to describe the NAN
as "bright"! It's really amazing what dark skies can do. From Prude
Ranch, the 60 _easily_ delivered those "hard" Messiers...M101, M109,
M108, M97 (even without a filter), etc.! As for Barlows, I think your
correspondents will probably be much happier with a 2x model, one of the
"Shorty" styles--Meade, Orion, whatever.

Rod Mollise,
Moderator, sct-user, The mailing list for CAT fanciers
(MCT, SCT, and MNT fanatics!)

Subject:	ETX-70AT Power Supply
Sent:	Saturday, May 26, 2001 20:11:51
From:	n_armstrong@altavista.com
I have found a reliable 9V power supply from your car's cigarette
lighter plug. It's a Radio Shack video game adapter. Up here in Canada
it goes for 30 bucks. It works great and the performance of the Autostar
is way better. I cut off the original connector on the adapter and
soldered on a regular 9V pad. If you do it, be sure the polarity is
I was using Nickel Metal Hydride "AA" type batteries but they only produce 1.2V each. 6 "AA" at 1.2V each equals 7.2V. The ETX-70AT was made to use 9V. No wonder the performance increased. The slewing is faster, the satellite calculations are way faster.

Subject:	Barlow Performance
Sent:	Tuesday, May 22, 2001 00:07:54
From:	northweb-info@northernwebs.com (Bob Minnick)
I'm writing to ask a question concerning barlows. We purchased both the
#124 and #128 (2x & 3x) barlows for our etx60at. Needless to say we were
anxious to try them out and mother nature decided to cooperate by giving
us some of north Idaho's famous strange weather.

So it was nearly a month from the date the barlows arrived until we were
able to try them.  Almost from the outset the barlows turned out to be a
big disappointment. The were nearly impossible to focus, the objects in
the field of view weren't just dim, they were nearly non-existant!

In desperation I took the scope out on a sunny day, sited on a tree
about 300yds away and proceeded to test the barlows. To our surprise we
found that the barlows worked ok. They were hard to focus with, and the
jitter was considerably more noticeable. This was expected.

Last night we had a nearly perfect seeing nite.  So out we went again
for some deep sky viewing (we were after the North American Nebula).
After multiple attempts to use both the 3x and the 2x barlows I gave up
and packed them away. My wife who seems to have better luck with
focusing than I do, gave them a shot and complained that it seemed like
someone had thrown a pair of sunglasses on. Thats how dim things
appeared in a barlow

I understood that the barlows would trade off brightness for
magnification, but I didn't realize that the barlow would result in a
trade off that would be at least an order of magnitude dimmer (or more).
I imagined it would have been more like 20-25% dimmer. But I'd swear it
was more like 200%.

Did we luck out and get crappy barlows or is this typical behavior of a
barlow lens? And if thats the case, then I guess the barlows would be
best reserved for especially bright objects like the moon, and planets.

    Bob Minnick, Northern Webs
Mike here: Using a Barlow Lens on an extended object like the North American nebula is not going to be a fruitful exercise. Faint objects will be made even harder to see as you spread out the faint image over a larger area in the eyepiece. This is true whether you use a Barlow or a shorter focal length eyepiece. The ETX-60AT makes a fine wide-field telescope but its small aperture and short focal length mean you won't be able to push the magnification except on brighter objects like some planets and the Moon.

Subject:	Comments/Questions on new ETX-70
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 23:16:16
From:	debl@theworld.com (David Lees)
Just unpacked my new ETX-70 purchased mailorder with the Meade tripod
promotion (free #882 tripod).

First new telescope in 40 years.  Very impressed with the overall
design.  Cloudy night, so I have only tried it indoors.  Setup and
alignment certainly seems easy.

Bought 6 fresh AA batteries to try unit. The 'Statistics' section says
the version is '10E1'


Unit seems noisy.  I know that is subjective, but it is a moderately
loud continuous whine that does have some low frequency (may 1 hz)

Unit seems to remember date and my name, but loses time when I turn
power off and then back on.  The time seems to come up as 8PM.

The display scrolling seems to have speeded up dramatically, to the
point where it is hard to read.  Perhaps I accidentally changed the
scroll speed, but I do not see where to change it back if that is the

Is there a power down procedure or can I just flip the power switch to
off while it is slewing?  I tried the 'park' command in the utilities
menu and am wondering if that should always be used?

I am suspicious that I received a unit that someone else may have
returned.  The main tube  has a cosmetic scratch about 2 inches long.
Did not seem to be much protective padding.  Scope may have been able to
rattle around inside box.

Wondering if I should return the unit.  No error message seem to flash,
but I have no easy way to tell how well it is tracking.

The only optical test I have done is to focus on the walls at a distance
of about 25 feet.  The images with both the 9 mm and 25 mm eyepieces
look OK.  I can focus to a reasonably sharp image.  Is there some other
test I should do to check for damage?

Thanks in advance.

David Lees
Mike here: The Autostar version you have is the same as I noted in my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page). Seems to be the most current for the #494 Autostar. Tracking drive noise is probably the right volume level. When you power off you do have to re-input the current date and time; the time always defaults to 8pm (or 2000 in 24 hour mode). There is a way to change the text scrolling speed; since I'm not on travel I can't check it but try the arrow keys (try both the slewing ones and the up/down ones). Using the Park command works for remembering the alignment for that session. It shouldn't be used for general shutdown when you plan to bring the scope back inside. As to the scratch, I think I would return it to the dealer for an exchange. Afterall, nice looks count too. If images appear sharp there is probably no optical damage but do check the condition of the optical surfaces; they should be unmarred and clean.


Thank you kindly for the informative reply.  I called Meade and they
told me how to control the scroll speed.  You just push the up or down
keys on the controller while it is scrolling (well hold them down
actually).  They also told me to just flip the power switch off to power
it down.

Optical surfaces look OK to me.  My concern is possible hidden
mechanical damage, so when it stops raining here in Boston, I will take
it out and try doing the alignment.  I assume it will hold track for a
few hours.  Any idea how long a fresh battery pack will keep the thing
tracking?  Also, Can I just use a cruddy 9V DC supply when I am near the
house and plugs or does it need to have fairly low ripple?

Please feel free to post anything I am sending you on your site.  In
fact if I should be sending directly to the site at another address Let
me know.

Thanks again.

David Lees
Mike here: Glad you got that working. I thought it was one of the arrow key sets. I'm still on the same batteries as when I originally began testing the ETX-70AT. The usage has accounted for several nights of use. Don't know exactly how many hours that is. But you should get several hours/nights of use, depending upon how much slewing you do. As to power supplies, not just any one will work well. See the various power supply comments on my site.

And more:

Thanks for pointer to your site.  I see the Meade announcement about the
$20 power supply coming out about now.

Did a quickee indoor resolution test, using the bar code on some mail as
a target.  When I dig up a resolution chart I will do it more carefully.
Anyway, with the 9 mm eyepiece, I get a ballpark of 3 times the
diffraction limit.  All back of the envelope calculations and estimated
bar width and no attempt at contrast measurement i.e. sloppy.

I looked at the fold mirror and surprised how bad the surface looks.
Either there was a lot of spitting when they coated or a fair amount of
dust got in during assembly (or maybe the previous owner :)).  I suspect
dust, because what looked like a short surface scratch, disappeared when
I gently blew.  Any suggestions on safely cleaning the mirror.  I am
reluctant to use my computer canned air, because I am not sure what
propellant they use.

My eyeball test says distortion is pretty low, but I am not so sure
about contrast.  Can't wait to get this baby out doors to look at stars.

Anyway, I am probably being a bit critical for an instrument that only
cost $287 including tripod and tracker.  Frankly, compared with the
el-cheapo refractor my parents gave me in 1960, this appears decent.

David Lees
Mike here: You didn't say how you checked the physical condition of the optics and mirror. Using a flashlight or other bright directly pointed light is not the right way; in many cases that makes users think they need to clean them when it is not really necessary. In fact, cleaning should only be done when it is really obvious that the surfaces are covered AND when the image has deteriorated.

Subject:	The ETX-60AT and astrophotography
Sent:	Monday, May 21, 2001 10:24:33
From:	Donald_T_Spencer@sd.fisc.navy.mil
I bought my son (6) an EXT-60AT about a month ago. This past Saturday
night was the first time we were able to take it to a dark sky site.
What a wonderful little scope. After some practice, my son was able to
pick off many Messier objects throughout the night. Most impressive was
his view of M81 & M82, which showed both in his FOV. He was also able to
see some detail in the Omega cluster. I had thought that this scope was
useless (I could not find anything from my light polluted back yard) and
was going to sell it until now. I would now like to hang an SLR off the
back of it next time we go, but I am concerned about balance. I have an
Minolta XG-SE camera with auto winder that I use for piggyback on my SCT
and know it is a little heavy. Any suggestions on how to counter balance
the scope so I don't burn up the motors would be greatly appreciated.
                Don Spencer
Mike here: Scopetronix has a piggyback adapter that doubles as a counterweight. I'm not certain if they have it for the ETX-60AT yet but you might want to check (www.scopetronix.com). Or you can make your own but just attaching sufficient weight on the end of the tube opposite the camera.

Subject:	 AC adapters and milliamps
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 11:48:28
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net
I saw your note on Mike's site.

I use a 500ma RadioShack lump for my ETX90.
The ETX90 is nominally a 12v 'scope.
Like all unregulated supplies the RS lump rises to about 15v with
 no load, and stays above 12v during slews.  I -can- see fluctuations
in the Autostar's display brightness, but operation has been very 

Someone else measured an ETX90 (and reported the results to Mike back
in 1999), and he saw 200ma as a round number. (and 20ma idle, if
memory serves)
Slewing two axes at once -will- increase draw, but at most that'll
just lower the effective voltage.
If you're using a 494 Autostar or Starfinder, i don't think you've got
Battery Level available in your hold-mode status display, but if you
do, just watch it when holding down two slew keys.

And, above all, please report back to Mike what happens!

good luck
Subject:	 Re: ETX-70AT Power Supply
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 12:50:32
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
Last night I finally got an opportunity to check out my homemade power
supply here in Michigan. I set up my deluxe tripod, got it leveled,
mounted my telescope plugged in the power supply around 9:30. When it
was dark enough to see the first bright stars I preformed my easy
alignment. With the alignment completed, with minor adjustments, I began
with the Tours section of the Autostar. I chose Tonight's Best and went
through everything that was not obstructed by the house or surrounding
trees. On to the next tour and so forth until I had gone through all of
the tours. Point of interest, even with the 9mm EP some of the objects
were extremely hard, if not impossible, to see. Anyway I spent
approximately six hours (10pm - 4am) moving all over the sky looking at
everything I could find. The power supply appeared to function as
desired. There is one concern that I am not sure would relate to the
power supply. I did notice that while observing if the object was of
center in the scope and I made Alt/Az adjustments with the key pad of
the Autostar the scope would slew to another position. On the whole I
believe that the power supply did it's job. I am going to rig up
something that I can connect my DVM to to measure current usage in
different aspects of telescope movement. Any suggestions on that?

Thanks for the site!

Mike here: It sounds like you may be experiencing the "rubberbanding" reported with some Autostar versions prior to the current one (2.2Eh). You might want to grab 2.2Ef, Eg, or Eh and try that.


I checked Meade's site for one of the Autostar versions you recommended
for my scope w/#494 Autostar, but the only file;

 Autostar Update Client Application for Windows (3,601,078 bytes). This
 includes both the Autostar Update tool (version A2.4), and Autostar
 #497 firmware (version 21Ek).You MUST use this version to upload your
 Autostar with version 21Ek or above firmware. Older versions of the
 Autostar Update Utility will NOT correctly install your Asteroids,
 Comets, Satellites and Tours into the Autostar. This applies to the
 #497, #495, and #494 Autostar handboxes. Download and double-click
 Auto.exe to install the software. Use this update tool for the #497,
 #495 and the #494 Autostar model. This will fix the #494 database bug.

I see is the one I have already downloaded. Any suggestions?

Mike here: I guess we'll have to wait for a newer release that supports the #494.

Subject:	 Words of wisdom
Sent:	Sunday, May 20, 2001 11:16:54
From:	taylor-lance@home.com (Lance Taylor)
For those attempting to mount the ETX-60 AT to any kind of tri-pod (like
to an LX-50 tri-pod as I have done) I came across the following words of
wisdom from another user of this scope.

"26 Nov 00: Humph. I managed to wreck my ETX tonight. On the bottom of
the base are two inserts for mounting bolts. Make sure that any bolts
you put into these are NO LONGER THAN 3/4 INCH!!!!! If they stick up
into the base too far, they WILL cause damage, and you will lose azimuth
slewing! My little scope is on it's way back to Meade for repairs. Oh
well, live and learn."

scott@starjourney.net. --

Sigh, since it's still cloudy out up here (par for about a week after
you buy any sort of new optics).. about all I can do to bide my time for
now is to see what everyone else is doing with their ETX-60 AT.

BTW, I made the following plea to any users out there for a manual.


If I could lay my hands on an ETX-60 and 70 AT manual, I'd be more than
happy to scan them in and host an ETX-60 website to share for all the
ETX community. If anyone is interested in helping out send me an e-mail.

Meade, why won't you post this information to your website!

Lance Taylor

Subject:	etx 70 is it the right choice
Sent:	Saturday, May 19, 2001 13:34:09
From:	bookgrey@totcon.com (cleve booker)
Just found your page and found it to be a wealth of information.  I am
considering the purchase of an etx 70 for first time star gazing and
also to look at the teton mountains approximately 10 miles away.  Is
this the right choice of a starter telescope that also will be used as a
terrestrial spotting scope?  Also it seems that several people have had
problems setting the scope up as beginners and I did look at your links
to problems and solutions, should I be concerned?  I had hoped it was as
simple as taking out of the box and placing on a tripod.  Want to make
sure I get the right piece of equipment.  Will continue to check out
your page for info.  Thanks Cleve Booker
Mike here: For terrestrial usage it is a fine telescope if you don't expect to need too much magnification. For celestial use it has its purpose but may be limiting for some users given its short focal. The addition of the Autostar makes locating objects in the sky easy if you follow the proper setups. See my report on the ETX-70AT on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	Observers Journal
Sent:	Friday, May 18, 2001 16:09:14
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
I've been all over the Mighty ETX site and have not been able to find
what I thought I would find. I namely was looking for a document
template for Microsoft Word or an Excel workbook that would allow a
person to enter observational data. An Observer's Journal. I have
learned much from reading the postings on your web site and I greatly
appreciate your work and devotion to it.

I believe this ETX-70AT will be a great starter scope, but I can see
myself advancing up the Meade line in the future. I was wondering if you
have something on the site that compares the 90EC and the 125EC sort of
side by side to get a line by line comparison. Also would you recommend
the 125EC as worth the $400 price difference?


Mike here: Check out David Green's Astronomy Software (link in the Software section on the Astronomy Links page). He has a database program for keeping track of observations. Looks pretty nice. There is not a "line by line" comparison of the various model scopes. But my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page) do address some of the differences. And the larger aperture is useful.

Subject:	EXT-70AT Power Supply
Sent:	Thursday, May 17, 2001 7:23:02
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
While making my daily to your wonderful site and searching for
information to make my beginning experiences with my ETC-70AT an
enjoyable one I have not been able to find information about an AC/DC
power supply. Perhaps it was overlooked but I decided to make one.

A trip to my local Radio Shack got me a 300mA 9V Power Adapter
(#273-1767), a 5 pack of 9V battery clips (#270-0325) for $10.00 and
some change. The power supply comes with a six foot cord and all that
was needed was to remove the 2-prong female connector on the and of the
cord and solder one of the 9V battery clips to it. I covered both wired
with shrink tube that I already had, but can also be purchased at Radio
Shack. The setup seems to work fine even though it is .6V low of the
power requirement. We had spoken earlier about my scope running from a
battery pack that had dropped to 7.6 volts even though the batteries
were only about a week old. I believe my new power supply setup will
help with my first few nights of learning how to utilize all of the
features of my telescope.

I am concerned about the milliamp requirements of the telescope (which
is why I chose a low one). Radio Shack sells the power supply in a
number of different milliamp sizes. Do you think the 300mA is sufficient
for the EXT-70AT?

Again, I love your site! Thanks

Mike here: Not being an electrical engineer I can't say whether the power is sufficient; I'll leave that to the others. I know that Meade is coming out with an AC adapter for the ETX-60AT and -70AT.

Subject:	Standard Meade Field Tripod #882
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 23:38:33
From:	mciccone02@snet.net (Michel Ciccone)
Great site - Just a wealth of information!

I am new to this hobby, starting just after receiving an ETX-60AT as a
gift a number of months ago.  Just a week ago, I upgraded slightly to an
ETX-70AT.  Both scopes have performed exceptionally well, (within the
limits of their small apertures), but I have had one problem I'd like
your opinion on.  Regarding your experiences with the ETX-60/70AT Meade
supplied Standard Field Tripod #882, (that now comes as part of the
Meade ETX-60/70 package), have you experienced any problems, or heard of
any problems, with the leg "latching" levers?   Both of my scopes came
with this tripod as an added "free" accessory.

My first Tripod performed without problems until just a week ago when
one of the leg "latches" broke off in my hand when I attempted to
unlatch and retract the leg.  I had assumed that repetitive induced
fatigue and/or a manufacturing defect was to blame, and I wasn't
particularly upset since I still had a brand new one that I hadn't yet
used.  Well, this evening, after my first use of this "brand new"
tripod, the identical failure occurred when I attempted to unlatch and
retract one of the legs.  This now appears to be a common mode failure
and not an isolated instance.

Have you had any reports of these tripod leg latches breaking off?  Is
this just a coincidence that I have had two break, or could I be doing
something wrong?  This is certainly not a complicated mechanism and I
did not apply anywhere near what could be considered excessive force. 
These Tripods are listed to sell individually for $99 and I have a
difficult time believing that they could be constructed so cheaply.  Any
advice?  In the interim, I plan to disassemble them and make one good
one from these two, however, I am concerned now that further latch
failure is only a matter of time.

Can you shed any light on this problem??

Mike Ciccone
Mike here: I seem to recall seeing another message about a similar problem with the tripod. I think they got an exchange from Meade.


Thanks for your quick reply.  With all the email traffic you get I'm
surprised and impressed you could respond so quickly.

Regarding my problem with the Meade #882 Field tripod.  I received an
email from Jordan Blessing of Scopetronix on the same subject informing
me that this is a known problem.  He suggested I contact Meade and, when
I did, they acknowledged that there is a "bad" batch of these out there
and they will be sending me replacement leg assemblies for "both" of my
#882 tripods free of charge.  I thought I'd pass this along if anyone
else out there writes you with a similar problem.  All they have to do
is contact Meade's customer service and they will promptly send a
replacement assembly.

Thanks again for your outstanding site!
Mike Ciccone

Subject:	Fw: Look Pah... No Hands!
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 22:22:43
From:	taylor-lance@home.com (Lance Taylor)
Hey thanks for the quick reply Michael. FYI, I've been playing around
with the scope a bit more tonight, and it's pretty neat. The downside to
this "Autostar" scope is that it makes me want an ETX-125 real bad now!


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Lance Taylor 
Hey, I just figured out a way to mount my camera to the ETX-60AT with an
obscure tele-compressor part, and a counter balance from the 4"

I couldn't achieve a fine focus though, but mind you I was looking
through plate glass too. Drat! When will these clouds go away!

Anyways, the motor seemed to handle the load when balanaced. Worth
trying a few shots some night anyway to see how good the tracking really

camera camera

Subject:	a little help with etx70 and rs232
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 21:44:12
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	mcleod@ao.net
I saw your note on Mike's site... which controller -do- you have?
(numeric keypad, or not?)  You mention that you don't have "the
expensive one", but that doesn't say if you've got a numeric-keypad
495, or a no-numbers 494/Starfinder.

If the latter, then you *must* buy (either) a #506 cable/converter,
or (almost as cheap on Ebay) a 495 or 497 Autostar.

In either case, the 494 understands 99% of the LX200 commands that
the 497 Autostar does.  It's just much, much slower in the bytes-per-
second arena.

Programs like Brent's SatTrack work with the ETX70 and Starfinder,
as well as the rest of the DS, ETX and LX crowd.

The 497/495 Autostar *will* work with your scope.
It's even on the list of choices when you power up.

good luck
And more:
> i think it is just a 494.
sounds like it...

> so, i can't run a serial cable directly from the scope to the rs232
> port of a pc.
You -can- run a cable.. but it has to be the #506 cable/converter,
 which plugs into the AUX port and has an active converter
 (IIC bus to rs232, with buffering) as a lump in the middle.
About $20 to $50 depending upon vendor, and whether it comes with
 Meade's planetarium program.

>  i have to buy the better controller first.  right?  
No, see above.,  A better controller is merely another possiblilty.
IF you can find a Natural Wonders (or Store of Knowledge) store,
 which is going out of business, they're selling them for $18 to $33.
You would then have to buy/build a #505 cable, which is merely wires.

> is their documentation describing the protocol to the scope itself
> without having to have the autostar middle man?

The scope has no brains.  All rs232 operations require an Autostar
(of any flavor) to interpret.  The Autostar/Starfinder then generates
sequences of IIC bus protocol commands to actually direct the motors
to move, and the Autostar handles receiving IIC-bussed encoder 
feedback to keep tabs on what's what.

Some other folks have built IIC-bus adapters for their PC's parallel
port, and are trying to perform the "autostar" function directly...
to the best of my knowledge, they haven't succeeded in useful control
yet.  (Meade doesn't -exxactly- follow IIC bus protocol... they cheat).

The rs232 commands listed as "LX200" commands are all fairly high
level (well, there are a few "move left"-level things), but most
are on the order of "here are target RA/Dec...Go!"
and "are you there yet?"  and "where are you?"
All of which require smarts at the scope/autostar end of the string.

have fun

Subject:	"Honey, I shrunk the Scope!"
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 20:03:46
From:	taylor-lance@home.com (Lance Taylor)
Hi there Michael, first off I just wanted to say that I enjoy your site
and visit it often. You provide a great resource for the ETX community.
Cudos, and keep up the excellent work!

Now, I just wanted to share with you and other readers that I was able
to mount my newly aquired ETX-60AT (for use as a portable camping scope)
onto my LX-50 tri-pod very simply by using a few extra supplied Meade
Wedge Bolts.

The scope is light enough that one bolt will secure it, but the other
safeguards it from slipping off. In time I will probably devise a bar to
fit underneath to secure it better. I suspect it would work with the
other ETX's also. It only made sense seeing as I had the tri-pod and
wedge already.

Here are some pictures of it mounted up:




Now, I have a question to for you. Do you know where I can secure an
on-line manual for the ETX-60AT?

The one I bought didn't come with one and it was a blowout from the now
defunct http://www.etoys.com. I got mine locally from a company up here
(http://www.liquidationworld.com) that had secured some stock.

At just $199 CDN the price was a steal, and I couldn't resist owning a
little computerized scope. My 8" LX-50 is still the workshorse, but when
I don't wanna work to haul it out to peek at the moon this will do
nicely. I'm also looking forward to having some fun with it to see how
far I can push the Astrophoto envelope with it and a connected QuickCam.
You've got some great tips on your site, and perhaps I may be able to
contribute some more photos in the future.

Dark Skies!

Lance Taylor

"The Urban Astronomer"
Edmonton, Alberta

Subject:	a little help with an etx70, please
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 18:44:22
From:	mcleod@ao.net
ok, i'd like to be able to use my PC to control this model of telescope.
i noticed you have information for the LX200 and the etx 90s.  as best
i can tell the command set and/or the data interface are different.  i
don't know for sure yet.  so, if you could point me in the right
direction for the command port pinouts on the etx70 body and the command
set, i'd be quite gratefull.  what i've found so far are pinouts for the
better model of autostar (which i don't have and from what i can tell
won't work on the etx70 anyway).

Mike here: There isn't a lot of info available on the #494 Autostar.


thanks for the reply and for posting the message.  there may not be info
on the 494 controller, but is there info on the scope's communication
Mike here: The Autostar understands many of the LX200 commands. See the Autostar Information page for more on these.

Subject:	update to ETX70 on a Spring night in England
Sent:	Wednesday, May 16, 2001 8:52:59
From:	dave.mccracken@bt.com
I had the replacement ETX out a couple of nights last week. The original
kept showing "Motor Error" messages.  The new one also went daft on the
mains power pack but was fine on the NiHM batteries. I get about three
or four hours per set. Seems  to need more current than the normal 9v
battery replacement pack can supply.

The ETX 70s x3 Barlow and the flexible focus shaft arrived on the same
day as the replacement scope. The flexi drive is great, Meade should
have fitted similar as standard.

The x3 works ok in the Celestar 8", a bit on the dim side in the ETX, as
expected. I used the ETX to help me get the C8 in the right region of
sky and was able to add a few more 'M' objects to my list.

I have the ETX with me this week on an away trip ( and a spare set of
AA's ! ) so I'll see how good it is on a darker site, weather
permitting. I did go for a trial run last night in a field near the
caravan I am in but by the time I had set up it was cloudy again. At
least I know I can easily carry the whole set-up across a field easily
in one go !

Dave McCracken
Mike here: I'm still running on the original Energizer Bunny batteries I put into the ETX-70AT. No problems.

Subject:	T-Mount and Pentax M42 Mount Differences.
Sent:	Saturday, May 12, 2001 04:49:42
From:	jimhottes@home.com (Jim Hottes)
This is regarding my earlier comments on the ETX-60/70AT T-Adapter I had
bought. After doing a little research on the web, I've discovered that
the adapter I have for my Canon SLR is not a T-mount adapter but instead
is a M42 adapter for Pentax screw mount lenses. They're very similar- I
believe the T-mount is 42mm x 0.75mm while the M42 mount is 42mm x 1mm.
I guess I'm a little naive about camera mounts and made an assumption
(that dripping sound is from the egg on my face). I should have known
better- my SLR adapter is stamped "M42-Canon" (that other sound you hear
is the sound that a clue makes...).

I'll still probably use the Meade T-adapter for what I mentioned before-
as a nut to hold a plastic box onto the back of my 60AT for my CCD board

Subject:	Help!
Sent:	Wednesday, May 9, 2001 13:41:40
From:	ortenzi@altpress.com (Robert Ortenzi)
Yesterday I bought the ETX-70AT and after seeing your review of it, I
have my doubts now. Its not that you gave it a bad review-it seems like
you liked it-but when you showed the pics of the moon in regards to the
125, 90 & 70, I think I want to return the 70 and pay up to the 90. Im
new to this, but I feel if I dont have the best that I can afford more
or less, I might get discouraged. I got the 70 at the Nature Co. and it
came w/a tripod, which the 90 does not, but thats not too big a deal for
me-Im just concerned about the telescope. Should I get the 90? Thanks
and sorry to bother you.
Mike here: As I noted in my comments, the short focal length has its limitations for some users. If a telescope doesn't meet your requirements AND expectations then you may have the wrong telescope. Whether the ETX-90 or even the -125 will meet your requirements and expectations, only you can determine that. So, decide what you want to do and what you expect, then get a scope that meets (or comes close to meeting) that without breaking the budget. Remember, you WILL want to add on accessories sooner or later so factor their cost into your budget planning.

Subject:	Love your site
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 12:46:02
From:	Sonyman026@aol.com
Just wanted to drop you a note praising you on your site. It is
definitely the most informative site on the Internet. Your site was the
primary reason for choosing a meade etx-70at scope.

But I did want to inform you of the problems with the 70. It is a great
scope except for the fact that it suffers from the same problem with the
overgreased fork gear problem of the etx 90. The only problem is there
is no repair kit for it. They don't plan on making on either. I was
forced to rig it so it would work. I am not too happy with meade. I plan
to buy bigger scopes in the future and was thinking about the ext-125,
but now am afraid to buy anything from meade.

I did get one of the black etx-70 scopes that was packaged with a 20mm
super plössel eye pieces, #126 2X barlow lenses, and a 495 controller.
The 495 was in fact a 497 without the "ETX AUTOSTAR" windows on it. It
had two rom chips and I successfully upgraded it with the 497 22ef rom.
It worked fine and really improved performance. I made a 505 cable out
of a phone handset cord and a serial plug from radioshack for about
$6.00 total cost. I then hooked it up to my laptop and use the demo
version of skycharts 3. really neat if the scope would not have broken.

I also use my Sony dsc-s50 2.1 mega pixel digi cam to snap shots of
Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and the moon. I have included a picture of the
moon that was taken with the broken scope last night. Like you say" The
optics are top notch". In conclusion Great Site!! But for people looking
into the meade ETX-70AT, I cannot recommend it because of the POOR
customer service, the absence of a repair kit. And no plans to ever make
one. And just so you know I really don't like talking bad about a
company you seem to like so much, but I think this is the worst
experience I have ever had with a company that a put so much trust into
on buying they're scope over other brand name scopes.

Mike here: People's experiences do vary; sorry to hear that you have had some problems. As to a repair kit, I don't recall hearing about ANY repair kits for this type of problem from any manufacturer. There are some tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page for this problem (on the Performance Enhancement pages) or you can avail yourself of Clay Sherrod's Tune-up Service (also on the Telescope Tech Tips page).

Subject:	64ST camera adapter for ETX-60AT
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2001 05:12:36
From:	jimhottes@home.com (Jim Hottes)
You have a great site, and I have some questions and comments that you
may post in your message board if you like:

I've enjoyed following this site, and I was wondering if anyone has
encountered the same problem I did. I bought an ETX-60AT about a month
ago, and I also purchased the 64ST T-Adapter for the 60AT last week.
From what I understood, once I attach the T-adapter to the telescope
then I should be able to attach any standard T-mount to the adapter.
When it arrived, I tried to attach it to my T-mount for my Canon AE-1
SLR, but I discovered while the adapter was the right diameter, the
thread on the adapter was much smaller than the thread on my T-mount; as
a result, the T-adapter was unusable with my T-mount. I've checked my
Canon T-mount against other T-mount lenses and adapters and it seems to
be the standard thread.

Was I mistaken in believing that Meade's 64ST T-adapter would work with
any T-mount, but instead only works with Meade's model-specific camera
adapters? Or instead what I tend to suspect, that the T-adapter shipped
to me (a single black metal ring that fits on the thread on the rear of
my 60AT with another thread on the outside) has been misdesigned with
the wrong thread size. I believe that with a product as new as the
60/70AT line that it's possible that some of the accessories shipped
could be the wrong spec. I double-checked, the box I recieved it in said
"64 ST". I plan to contact Meade's customer support and see if they have
any answers, but I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't way off base

I was planning on attaching a color CCD video camera to the 60AT and
using it as a remote-controlled terrestrial telescope (perhaps even
controlled from my web site as a web cam), as well as an astronomical
telescope. I've already used the scope with my BW CCD video board camera
(prime focus, attached as an eyepiece) to follow the moon with good
results. Even if the 64ST T-adapter I bought isn't usable with my film
camera I still may use it as a nut to attach my ccd camera to the scope.

Here are my other experiences with this camera so far:

When I tried to extend the autostar hand controller from the telescope
using a 25' RJ-45 extension cable, I get a "fail self test" message on
the controller. So either I miswired the cable or the extra cable
resistance is enough to convince the controller that something's wrong.

So far, I've drained two sets of batteries, most likely by leaving the
telescope on all night (twice). I'm wondering how much extra power drain
the #506 PC connection cable (with it's added electronics) adds. I've
noticed that Meade doesn't seem to have an AC adapter for the 60/70AT
yet; The telescope doesn't even have a plug for one, just an open notch
in the battery cover that might let a wire come in and connect with the
existing 9-volt style connector. I'm thinking of rigging one up myself,
though I'm concerned that some users who have done something similar for
the 90EC have found that their scopes were finicky about what kind of
power is hooked up to them. I have one of the battery chargers that
claim to be able to recharge standard alkaline batteries (Clear Concepts
Corp), and I've used it with mixed results. I've been able to put more
"juice" into batteries that are still in pretty good shape and thus
extend their life, however if the batteries are seriously depleted then
there's little the charger can do for them. If I put the batteries in
the charger after every heavy telescope session then I might be able to
extend their life (the charger manufacturer claims up to ten times the
life). We'll see.

This site was the only place I've found so far that has valid
information on what LX200 style commands the 60AT understands. I'm
trying to write a simple control application using Visual Basic to move
the scope. I found that the control software that came with my #506
seemed to have serious problems, although I think a disclaimer that came
with the software claimed that some problems may be because of firmware
problems in the ETX (and maybe the 60/70AT controller).

Thanks for such a great site!
Mike here: I didn't have any problems with the other Meade camera adapters that use T-mounts. But hard to say which piece has the problem without trying other rings.

Subject:	etx60at and 2.2ef
Sent:	Saturday, May 5, 2001 21:19:50
From:	krugagc@hotmail.com (william weatherford)
Love your site.

I have recently aquired the #506 software and cable connector package
from Meade for my ETX60AT. I however recieved no instruction on how to
use it or what updates I can use. As everyone has seen the Meade website
unavailable for no apparent reason other than everyone wants the new
version 2.2ef. Which brings me to my question...Is this something that
can be used in the 494 autostar? If so how do I proceed?

Thanks in advance
Bill Weatherford, Omaha,Ne.      clear skies all
Mike here: I believe you can use the Autostar Updater 2.4 and the new 2.2Ef ROMs to update your #494 Autostar. These are available on the Autostar Software Archive page (linked from the Autostar Information page).

Subject:	Dec circle
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 21:49:48
From:	ptrainor@westelcom.com (phil trainor)
New to astronomy and just purchased an EXT-70AT. Perhaps you can offer
some advice on the following:  It's indicated in the instructions that
the Alt/Az home position is a level optical tube with the Dec setting
circle set at 0 degrees. When I level the optical tube by eye The Dec
setting circle indicates about 20 degrees beyond zero and when the
pointer is set on 0 degrees it's obvious that the optical tube is
elevated about the same # of degrees. Is there a way to correct this by
adjusting the setting circle or do I have to live with it?  Thanks for
any info you can give.  PT
Mike here: See the 3rd question (currently) on the FAQ page.


Thank you very much. We neophytes are slow to learn.  pt
Mike here: Glad to have been able to help out. You'll will find lots of useful tips and things on my ETX site. Feel to browse it and try out the search page.

Subject:	Re : ETX-70 unable to focus....
Sent:	Friday, May 4, 2001 18:53:15
From:	vergot@adelphia.net (Adrian Vergot)
In reply to the individual who is having problems focusing his ETX-70, I
think I know where his problem is.  The key word he used was that he was
"slowly" turning the focus knob.  I own a Celestron 5" Cas, and simply
breathing on the focus knob sends the unit way out of focus (we are
talking fractions of a millimeter when the CCD is attached).  In
contrast, when the CCD is connected to the ETX-70, it takes several
revolutions of the focus knob to throw it out an equivalent amount. 
Solution to his problem.... keep turning the knob, but "faster" -grin-. 
Actually, I like the fact that the ETX has less play, since it makes it
far easier to fine-tune focus.  I would suggest first focusing the
ETX-70 on a nearby object (like a mailbox) during the day.  Then go to
focus on something a bit farther away (like a distant telephone pole or
tree top).  Take note of the direction you are turning the knob.  Then,
at night, aim toward a large object (moon, venus, jupiter, etc), and
continue to turn the knob in the same direction.  Use only the low power
lens at first.  Hope this helps out.


Subject:	Hello! Introductory Questions
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 13:30:38
From:	jhmidler@unc.edu (Jonathan Herz-Midler)
My name is Jonathan Herz-Midler, and first of all thank you so much for
all of your time and effort put into your wonderful website on the ETX
telescopes. My wife and I are looking to buy a telescope, but aside from
an intro course in college, neither of us has any experience at all with
astronomy. We are poised to buy an ETX-70AT, but I just wanted to ask
you if there are any accessories that I should be sure to buy right off
the bat without spending a fortune. From what you and others have said
on your sight, I plan to purchase a 2x Barlow adapter and also a
'flexible focuser' that was offered on shutan. Just when we're starting
out and getting our feet wet, are there any other accessories that would
really help to improve our experience?

Also, we own a Casio-8000SX Digital Camera, which has a 43mm threaded
lens. I am confused as to how many accessories I have to purchase in
order to hook my camera (or my wife's 35mm Minolta, if the Digital
Camera won't work well) to the 70AT.

The only other thing that I am wondering is whether you feel an
investment in Meade's starfinder software is worth making right away, or
perhaps later down the road.

Again, I know that you are very busy, so I completely understand if I
don't hear back from you right away. At any rate, thanks for the
wonderful site, and I look forward to reading much more of it in the

Take Care,

  Jonathan Herz-Midler
Mike here: Certainly the Barlow can increase the magnifications you'll have available so it is not a bad investment. But I would hold off on purchasing ANY accessories until you see if the ETX-70AT provides the type of views you expect to see. Remember, it is a short focal length telescope so you won't be able to get high usable magnifications from it. As to the cameras, yes, digital cameras and 35mm cameras can require different adapters. Meade has some special ones for 35mm film cameras (info in the literature that comes with the ETX-70AT). Scopetronic (www.scopetronix.com) has some digital camera adapters you might want to investigate (one is reviewed on the Accessories - Astrophotography page). Sky charting software is useful; there are some free ones listed in the software section on the Astronomy Links page on my site. But if you want to control the scope from the computer you will need the appropriate cable. Some Windows software is included with the ETX-70AT (but no cable).

Subject:	ETX-70 AT - Unable to get a good focus
Sent:	Thursday, May 3, 2001 05:30:34
From:	dforth@tehayes.com (David W. Forth)
Thank you for your web site.  Your knowledge and willingness to share it
are certainly impressive, and have helped me both in making my purchase
of the ETX-70 AT as well as trying to learn to use it.  I've spent three
nights trying to get a good focus on easily observable objects such as
the moon, to no avail.  I've been able to get the scope roughly aligned,
but see only fuzzy objects.  Upon removing the 9x or 25x eyepieces, the
image is clear reflecting off of the rear mirror, but fuzzy if either
eyepiece is inserted.  I've patiently, slowly turned the focus knob, but
nothing seems to happen.  Please help!  I think my wife is starting to
disbelieve all of the information that I passed along to her from your
web site at the time I was making this purchase.  Thanks for your help
and again for your web site.
Mike here: When you turn the focus knob does the large ring at the end of the tube (where the objective lens is housed) move forward or backward along the length of the tube? An easy way to determine if it moves is to put a finger on the tube at the rear edge of the ring; you'll feel the ring come closer to your finger or move away from it. If it is moving, albeit, by small amounts as you turn the focus knob, then the focus knob is doing what it is supposed to do. If is not moving, return it to the dealer since it is a new scope.


Thanks.  I'll try it tonight.  If it is moving, what would be your
suggestion as to why the image is unresolvably fuzzy when viewing
through both 25x and 9x eyepieces?
Mike here: It may be that the eyepieces are bad or they are not going in sufficiently far enough.

Subject:	Make the ETX-70 eyepieces parfocal
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 22:18:45
From:	soehnk@cableregina.com (Keith Soehn)
I've only had one chance to get out and finally! try my ETX-70 here in
Regina on April 26.  As the sun was setting, I spied the moon, jupiter
and when darker skies came, tried Vega and the double stars, chased down
several satellites but no luck with M51.  Could of been too much light
pollution.  Overall though, the first light experience was pretty good.
Alignment went really good.  Looking forward to do some stargazing under
really dark skies.

Anyways, its all clouds tonite so I started to mess around with my 4
eyepieces and tried to figure out a way to get them parfocal.  What I
discovered was this:  I unscrewed the chrome extensions of both the
MA25mm and the MA9mm and switched them with the longer one on the MA25mm
and the shorter one on the MA9mm.  Next I slid about 5 thin (1/16" wide)
1 inch diameter elastic bands on the chrome extension of the MA25 to the
edge where the black tube starts (see attachment) and voila! both are
now parfocal!  And the eyepiece still fits in the threaded poly bottle. 
My next goal is to make the rest of my various eyepieces all parfocal.

Clear skies,


Subject:	Re: Constellation guides
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 00:37:54
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Ken
Thank you and would not forget the ETX 60 and 70 for the world.  I think
the -70 is one of the neatest scopes there is and absolutely great for
wide field views.  The way you are learning the sky will last forever
and sure is a good step forward as to when you "graduate" to the ETX 125
or larger scope.  But for now, simply enjoy - there is a lifetime of
pleasure and discovery right there at your fingertips!

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken
>I was studying your newest constellation guides on the ETX site, and
>reviewing all the others. Thanks very much for including what you can
>see with the ETX 60 and 70 telescopes. I have the ETX 70, so this really
>gives me a great reference point of what to expect. Someday I'll have a
>125, but for now I really appreciate you remembering the "little guys"

Subject:	question
Sent:	Wednesday, May 2, 2001 02:54:42
From:	calissie@ctcweb.net (Jerry)
I want to buy a scope, but don't know whay kind. I'm new at this and
don't want to spend over $500.oo.  I see in a catalog that there is a
Meade scope ext-70 ec.  Would that be suitable  do you think?

Thank You
Mike here: Depends upon what you plan to do with it and what your expectations are. See the comments linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-7AT Feedback" page as well as those for the ETX-60AT on the User Observations page

Subject:	ETX70 on a Spring night in England
Sent:	Tuesday, May 1, 2001 04:21:36
From:	dave.mccracken@bt.com
I bought the ETX70 as a portable 2nd 'scope and decided to give it a try
last week on a  typically English April night i.e. approx 4 deg C -
that's almost summer night temp. here ;>)

I had set it up fine with new Duracell batteries, straight out of the
box earlier at 21:00, before it got chilly and tracked the Moon and so
on fine. After approx 2 hours of use, it suddenly developed a mind of
it's own, spinning to the west, hunting up / down etc. Then came up with
"Motor Fault" on the display. Tried to set up again - no way. Could not
get past the "centre object" prompt as the arrow keys did not work as it
slowly spun itself into a hole in the ground !

At this point I took it inside and carried on with the Celestron C8
without any problems.

After I packed up I tried , inside' to do a 'dummy' set up - worked fine
this time.

I decided to send it back to the dealers. So the next day I tried a
set-up again, before I boxed it. Yet again it went into "erratic dance"

I then re-read the S&T review and found the bit about battery failure
gives strange symptoms - ah penny drops.

Spoke to the dealers the next day (BC&F - London, UK ) and they
confirmed the S&T report but were surprised I got so little out of a new
set of batteries.

So the next plan is to try a 9v mains power unit - defeats the
portability - the whole point of getting the thing !  So, is there a
suitable external 9v battery pack available ?

Any other users having this sort of grief ?

Dave McCracken
Mike here: I'm still running on the original batteries in the ETX-70AT I have. It has a few hours on them. But low batteries can cause all manner of oddities.

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Copyright © 2001 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
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