Last updated: 30 November 2000

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	ETX info
Sent:	Wednesday, November 29, 2000 20:06:29
From:	BBRAUNSKI@aol.com
Hi: I dropped you a line the other day and you helped me out with some
info. I just thought I'd pass along some info to you. Service
Merchendise has a sale going on now until 12/9 on their telescopes. The
EXT-60AT and the DS-114EC along with some smaller units are $50 off the
standard price. You can buy on-line or at the store. I picked up the ETX
for my children.
Thanks again for your help.

Subject:	 Solar Filters
Sent:	Tuesday, November 28, 2000 18:45:01
From:	bob@shutan.com (Bob Shutan)
A surfer asked you about solar filters for 60AT... 

I've got glass solar filters (made by JMB) in stock for 60/70's that
were rated highly by S&T and have a yellow-orange image that is lacking
in mylar types.


Subject:	 Question about ETX 60AT
Sent:	Monday, November 27, 2000 21:46:38
From:	clthacker@ameritech.net (Chris Thacker)
Hello, I just just wanted to say how pleased I was when I stumbled onto
your site through AltaVista. I am very new to astronomy and I recently
put on layawy, and finally got a Meade ETX 60AT. I really haven't used
it much in the form of serious night observation as the skies around
where I live (Chicago), are pretty much light polluted. I am currently
looking on joining an astronomy club, and would like to go to a star
party some time. As far as I've really used the ETX it has so far just
been for terrestial viewing. I went to get a tripod for it from the WTTW
store in one of our local malls around here, and was very disappointed
with it. The 882 tripod I got had broken locks on the tripods legs. I
promptly returned it and told them this, and they said they would look
and see if they had another one in stock. They did but unfortunately
that one had the same problems as the one prior to it. I've been pretty
much going on Ebay and bidding on stuff for it online, but still I'd
like to know what groups actually support the ETX 60at?,and how much
exactly of the sky will I be able to see with this 60mm?. Well anyway I
thought I'd let you know, and am very interested in astronomy. I just
need a little help getting started.

Signed, Chris Thacker
Click here for my TimeForce Website
Mike here: The ETX-60AT will let you see the brighter and larger objects in the sky as well as be useful for terrestrial viewing. As to tripods, check out the Accessories - Tripods for some information (most of which pre-dates the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT models); a sturdy tripod is all you need so a good photographic one should do.

Subject:	EXT-60AT vs. EXT-70at vs. ?
Sent:	Sunday, November 26, 2000 20:47:29
From:	BBRAUNSKI@aol.com
Hi: Another first time shopper here. I want to get an all around scope
to get my kids interested in astronomy as well as myself. The EXT-60AT
and 70AT are in my price range and appear to be what I am looking for.
In doing my research I have obviously found a variety of opinions. For
your dollar is this the way to go considering: ease of use, portability,
quality of contruction and overall capabilities? I want my teenager to
be able to use it on her own. Does it have everything I need as it
comes...or are there hidden expenses for "must haves" that I will find
out about after I have bought it?
Bob  ( BBRAUNSKI@aol.com )
Mike here: All hobbies have "hidden expenses". However, you can use the ETX models right out of the box. But you will likely want to add accessories over time. Things like additional eyepieces, Barlow Lens, filters, tripod, finderscope, camera adapter, etc. The ETX-60AT and -70AT models make fine telescopes for beginners but if you get somewhat more serious, they will quickly lose their appeal and you'll want more aperture. A lot depends upon the user's expectations.

Added later

Thanks for your prompt reply. It is likely that I am going to purchase
the EXT-60AT or 70AT. As you said in your reply there will be lenses and
other accessories I will need. That is fine because as I can, as you
said, use it out of the box. The next step for me is to find the best
price. Do you know of any on line or mail order companies that offer
some good deals. I am in New York if that matters. Thanks again for your
help. I enjoyed your very informative sight. I see there is a lot to
learn about astronomy and I have book marked those sights, such as
yours, that I know will be a good resource as I delve into this hobby.
I'll be in touch.
Mike here: Glad to have been able to help. As to discounts, typically the ETX line has been so popular that discounting outside of sales does not occur. Pick a reputable Meade dealer and you'll be fine.

Subject:	 ETX70-AT
Sent:	Sunday, November 26, 2000 15:56:32
From:	mikeross@cableinet.co.uk (Mike R)
I don't know if I am expecting too much from my new ETX70 but I don't
seem to be able to get clean pinpoints on any star. Always seems to have
a bit of yellow or orange flare around it (especially as my head is not
in a vice holding me steady and the slight movement of my eye on the
eyepiece aggravates the image). Is this normal or is it because of the
atmosphere here in the UK?

This is my first scope and I feel a bit disappointed in it so far
because of this. Maybe it is the weather and if so roll on better


Mike R
Mike here: What you are likely seeing is "chromatic aberration", typical of most low-end refractors.

Subject:	 Solar Filter for ETX 60-AT
Sent:	Saturday, November 25, 2000 19:59:09
From:	marsmariano@home.com (Mars @ Home Comcast)
Do you know of any Solar Filters for the ETX 60AT? 

Mike here: Check the Thousand Oaks web site: http://www.thousandoaksoptical.com/

Subject:	help
Sent:	Friday, November 24, 2000 09:48:44
From:	CHAV4107@aol.com
Like I am sure you heard a million times already I am new to this.  I
have always loved the  night sky and wanted to look deeper.  I have done
alot of reseach and found many conflicting stories.  I have been looking
into the ETX 70 AT.  I like it for the same reason as everyone else
does.  But I have been turned off by it from others who have reviewed
the model.  I am also discouraged to find that the scope does not come
with a mount.  I mean you pay $350 and then you have to spend atleaset
$100 more on a mount.    Its my understanding that you need one for this
model.  So the scope doesn't cost $350 it cost $450.  I don't know what
to believe anymore.  Bottom line.. I want something that can be easily
transported and the best scope I can buy for that amount of money.  I
can see you enjoy the product.  But is it really worth it?  Please help!
Mike here: Well, you really DON'T need a tripod although having one is certainly worthwhile. With the ETX-70AT (and other Autostar-capable ETX models) you can just place the ETX base on a table or other sturdy flat surface; some have even used a car hood) and use the telescope and it's GOTO modes very effectively. This is called Altitude/Azimuth mode and it is much simpler than polar aligning in equatorial mode. By the way, over time the cost of purchasing a telescope will probably increase, whether you add a tripod, more eyepieces, filters, etc. You can start with the basic telescope and add more to its functionality as your experience and interest grows (and as your bank account allows).

Added later:

Thanks for your time and help.  I really appreciate it.

Joe C.

Subject:	 ETX-70AT mounting removal instructions?
Sent:	Thursday, November 23, 2000 05:57:31
From:	i885572@thegrid.net (Larry Guevara)
I want to lend my thanks, in addition to the many others, for your site
and service. I appreciate your asking the Meade representative about
removing the ETX-70AT from the mounting arms in response to my question.

I own and enjoy both a ETX-90AT and an ETX-70AT. The 90 has mounting
bolts on the bottom of the scope, but I don't think I would ever remove
the 90 to put on a regular tripod due to its longer focal length and
magnification. The Autostar works fine for me. I enjoy the 70 for lower
power views, and it's easier to manual find celestial objects. It's
smaller and lighter, and I was thinking of putting it in a backpack for
short trips, if I could remove it from the mounting arms. I've already
made a wooden mount to attach the 70 OTA to a tripod.

I'm still interested in finding out if it's possible to remove the 70
from the mounting arms. If it's impossible, we can note that on the

I am visiting Halekala with my family during Christmas. Is the summit
available all night, and what's the climate like? I won't be taking my
telescopes, but I will take large binoculars.

If you are ever passing through Visalia, CA, 5 miles east of Highway 99
on Highway 198 (I teach high school business classes at Lemoore, CA),
and need a place to stop and visit, please drop me a note.

Larry Guevara
Mike here: We'll see if anyone has come up with a way to remove the OTA from the mount. As to Haleakala, there is a visitors center at the summit but I'm sure it closes at night. To get onto the observatory grounds you'll need a reason to be there. See my Hawaii Observatories visit report on the "Just for Fun" page.

Mike here: One question that has come up here is whether the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT can be removed from the mounting fork for use as a spotting scope. While attending the Oceanside Photo & Telescope I asked the Meade rep about this. He pointed out that there is no tripod mounting hole "pad" on the bottom of the -60 and -70 Optical Tube Assembly (OTA). Hence the scope is not designed to be used unmounted from the fork.

Subject:	 NO! NO! NO!  (505 cable vs 506 cable)
Sent:	Tuesday, November 21, 2000 08:31:37
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	pmk@juno.com
You asked on Mike's site:
> Was wondering if I should get the AstroFinder software with cable
> (506) or is it possible to make one ? Also is it the same as the
>  #505 cable ?
>Making them is not a problem as I am a low power (QRP) amateur radio
>operator and have built all of my radio gear.

and Mike opined that they were the same..

They're NOT!!  

The 506 (for the etx60) contains active PIC electronics to convert
rs232 ascii to i2c bus protocol address/data transactions.
They are **not** the same.

The etx60's sole connector is the AUX jack... which is just like the
AUX jack on and ETX90 and ETX125... for controlling intelligent
The AUX port has ground, +12v (or +9 on an etx60), a clock and a data
line.  The clock and data lines run at TTL (+5v *maximum*) levels.
The Autostar 495 and 497's rs232 port has three wires:
ground, transmitted data and received data.
They go plus -and minus- (at least) 5 volts.
Plugging an AUX cable into your PC's rs232 jack can do things like
dump +/- 5 volts (the PC's rs232 signal) into places where a negative
voltage will fry the etx60's internal electronics... and the Autostar.

Meade moved the parts and cost of an rs232 interface out into the
#506 cable set.  Doing so lowered the price of the ETX60, but made
it impossible to easily home-build an rs232 cable set.

That said, it -is- within the zone of feasibility to make a AUX-to-
PC-parallel cable, and then program your PC's parallel port to 
provide i2c bus signalling characteristics.
Unfortunately, that leads us to wondering what to -say- thru that port,
and that is still a dark secret (until Meade posts an Update for the
494 Autostar... :-)

So, in this case, you've gotta buy one.  Sorry 'bout that.

have fun

Subject:	Meade ETX 60
Sent:	Monday, November 20, 2000 20:29:16
From:	JJDuffer@aol.com
I am brand new to the world of telescopes and stumbled across your site
while researching what to buy or not to buy - Against the recommendation
of another site,  I have just purchased a Meade ETX 60AT - The other
site said do not buy a telescope from a department store which is what I
went out and did (purchased my scope at Service Merchandise) - I was
looking for something simple enough for the whole family to use - From
what I've read on your site, it looks like I made a fairly good choice -
Reading the differing opinions about telescopes can be a bit
disconcerting for a novice like - Thanks for creating this site - It has
some good info ...........
Jay S. Yelverton
Beginnner in Houston
Mike here: Depending upon your expectations and how you plan to use your telescope, the ETX-60AT can be a wonderful telescope. Enjoy it.

Subject:	 ETX-70 AutoStar Cable ?
Sent:	Sunday, November 19, 2000 00:21:16
From:	pmk@juno.com (Patrick M Kvitkauskas)
A friend just got a ETX-70 for his kids for Christmas and asked if I
could get it ironed out for them before Christmas day. It has been a lot
of fun after I figured out how to operate it. I am a very avid
astronomer as someone gave me a broken Sans & Striffe 612 with a 10 mm
eye piece. That's about all I have done with a telescope as I have had
it about 5 years and use it about 4 times a year.

Was wondering if I should get the AstroFinder software with cable (506)
or is it possible to make one ? Also is it the same as the #505 cable ?
Making them is not a problem as I am a low power (QRP) amateur radio
operator and have built all of my radio gear.

Haven't seen much on software and updates like the Autostar's offered
for the ETX-90 and ETX-125.

Having great fun


send replies to
http://www.qsl.net/kd4obq    (QRP site)
http://homestead.juno.com/pmk/FILES/INDEX.HTM  (RC Soaring site)
Mike here: I believe it is the same cable so you could make or buy one. Instructions for making one are on the Autostar Information page. Controlling the ETX via a laptop or desktop computer should work through the Autostar. As to Autostar updates, I asked the Meade rep at OPT's Meade Day about that and he didn't have an answer.

Subject:	 ETX-70 mounting removal instructions?
Sent:	Saturday, November 18, 2000 07:56:43
From:	i885572@thegrid.net (Larry Guevara)
Is it possible to remove the ETX-70 from the mounting arms? I've seen
the instructions to remove the ETX-90, but the hex bolts on the ETX-70
are blocked by the mounting arms.

Larry Guevara

Subject:	 SYNC in an ETX-60
Sent:	Friday, November 17, 2000 21:08:22
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	star_journey@yahoo.com
Yes, as far as i can tell, all Autostars support SYNC.

> is it worth the effort?

It's not much effort...
and you don't *have* to use it.

I use it on my ETX90 when i notice that i'm arriving at targets
far enough off-center that a dim (or unfamiliar) target might be
missed entirely.  
So i SYNC once, and that's usually enough for any quadrant of the sky.

SYNC is done by simply: [goto] a target, 
wait for the beep (and any after-beep motion).
press-and-hold [enter] for more than 2 seconds.
it'll beep and ask for you to Center the object.
slew to do so.
press [enter] again.  It'll beep and be SYNCed.
That's it.

Meade didn't intend for SYNCing to be done frequently,
only if the user noticed aiming errors.

There are some nights i don't SYNC at all,
others when i notice that one quarter of the sky is perhaps less
well aimed then the rest of the sky.... then i need to SYNC when
over there, and (effectively) unSYNC when i'm not.

have fun

Subject:	 ETX-60AT sync function?
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 15:33:12
From:	star_journey@yahoo.com (Scott Horne)
Hello there.  Does the ETX-60AT autostar have the sync function found in
the 495 and 497 autostars?  And if it does, is it worth the effort?

Thanks for a great site.  It has been one of my best resources for any
and all information I've needed...

Scott Horne
21:20:49.150N  157:54:18.374W

Subject:	 ETX-60AT
Sent:	Wednesday, November 15, 2000 13:12:57
From:	theresa.cotter@gm.com
I just wanted to tell you that you have a great site and it is extremely
informative.  Thanks for giving novices a place to go for good info.

Here is my question.  I own a ETX-90EC which I love and has been very
fun to use.  My sister would like to purchase a scope for her nine year
old son and because we camp alot I mentioned the ETX-60AT because of its
portability and its status as a good starting telescope.  I checked at a
local hobby store and they informed me that the autostar that it comes
with is not really an autostar because it does not have a keypad.  But
in all of the literature that I have been able to find, as well as
Meade's web site, it states that it is indeed a GOTO telescope.  Well,
now I am very confused and was hoping you could tell me the truth about
this. Does the ETX-60AT have autostar?

I also have another question.  She found a Meade telescope at our local
warehouse store.  It is a 4.5" reflecting scope with motor drive,
autostar and tripod for $250.  But it has the .965" eyepieces, which I
told her I understand that these eyepieces are inferior to the 1.25",
but I could not tell her why.  I wasn't sure if the bigger 4.5" aperture
was a fair trade for the 1.25" eyepieces you get with the ETX-60AT. 
Which scope do you think would be better for him? He would have to
upgrade to a better scope if he wants to get deeper into this hobby
anyway, wouldn't he?   The ETX-60AT would cost about $100 more because
it doesn't come with a tripod, which he would need to be able to polar
align the telescope to be able to use the autostar.

I appreciate your help on this.

Thank you,

Theresa Cotter
Mike here: The ETX-60AT (and -70AT) does come with an Autostar. It has a smaller database (appropriate since these models can "see" less). There is no keypad but you can still select objects to view. With the Autostar there is no need to Polar align the telescope as the Autostar will GOTO and track in Alt/Az mode. So you could set the scope on a picnic table if you wanted to. Finally, 0.965" eyepieces are not necessarily inferior to 1.25" eyepieces. Certainly, the market for the smaller eyepieces is more consumer oriented and so lower quality is always possible. There are converters to allow eyepieces of either size to be used with any telescope.

Subject:	 ETX-70AT and Astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, November 9, 2000 09:27:47
From:	michaelryan@onebox.com (Michael Ryan)
Question for you and all of your visitors:

It is possible to take afocal photography with the ETX-70AT?

I have been searching numerous sites and found what I think are
different answers...Hoping that you could help.

I have taken a look at the Astrophotography page...

My setup:
            41mm               43mm
Olympus 2020z <---CLA-1 adap ---> ???? ETX-70AT 

I was thinking that a (43mm to 37mm adap) to a (37mm to T-thread)
attached to Meade basic camera adap and WA eyepiece would work...

However I had been advised that with the short focal length (350mm f/5)
of the 70AT, Astrophotography couldn't work...

I would really like to be the first to submit ETX-70AT photo to your
guest gallery.  Since the Olympus 2020Z can be manually focused, has
numerous f-stop setting, can have up to 16 sec exposure times and up to
a 105mm (3x) zoom...I really hope that this can work!

I really don't want to go out and get all of these parts and then find
out that it can't work.  Any help would be great!  Thanks in advance.

Michael D. Ryan
michaelryan@onebox.com - email
(212) 699-3827 x2450 - voicemail/fax
Mike here: Well, yes you can take digital photos of SOME objects in the sky. Specifically, the brighter ones like the Moon, the Sun (with proper protection), Venus, Jupiter, and possibly Saturn. I would think that the best adapter would likely be the Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter (described on the Accessories - Astrophotography page). But faint objects are beyond the reach of the ETX-70AT for astrophotography.

Subject:	 ETX-70AT Feedback (Tripod)
Sent:	Thursday, November 9, 2000 06:09:15
From:	michaelryan@onebox.com (Michael Ryan)
Wanted to send an email to everyone that has a ETX-70AT and has or has
been thinking of getting the Meade Standard Field Tripod for it...

I picked up one from my local Meade Dealer...I did after a second visit.
At the first visit, I was informed that all of the tripods were
recalled due to the plastic clips that hold the leg extentions were
breaking off.  Like I said, now I have one and all is sort of well. 
Here is the second part:

I was putting the seperate, but included eyepiece/autostar holder (it
clips to anyone of the tripod legs) on and noticed that the molded
plastic piece were the Autostar get held, SEEMS to be upside down.

Example: the Autostar display is is a "U" shape, with the "U" going from
wide to narrow.  On the plastic eyepiece tray the "U" goes from narrow
to wide.  The Autostar will hang from it to server its purpose, but if
it were inverted, the Autostar would fit there "like a glove".  I
thought that maybe, Meade would have a recall or at least know about it,
so I called.

The Rep that I spoke to, Andrew, went and found a eyepiece tray and was
looking at while on the phone...he said that "yep" it SEEMS to be
inverted, but nothing had been passed down yet, and that he would report
it back up the chain.  I guess that I will call in a few weeks to see if
Meade will have a recall on that also.  If you shell out $100, I would
hope that Meade Eng. could get a piece of plastic correct...I guess they
are too hard working on mirrors.  8|

Thanks Mike, and here is to clear, dark, winter nights.

Michael D. Ryan
michaelryan@onebox.com - email
(212) 699-3827 x2450 - voicemail/fax

Subject:	 ETX-60AT
Sent:	Wednesday, November 8, 2000 12:19:38
From:	Robert.Tepper@warnerchappell.com (Tepper, Robert)
I have an Odyssey Compact at home. I think it is a 10". I find it weighs
a lot and I do not take it out much. I am looking for something that is
portable. Is this an option or will I be grossly disappointed? I just
saw it selling in a local Walmart for $268. My daughter is 3 1/2 years
old and she shows a lot of interest in the stars and planets. In fact,
since she was 2 years old she knows what galaxy we are in, the Belt of
Orion, most of the planets and even the fact that craters on the moon
were caused by meteorites! I want to continue her education in
astronomy. What do you suggest as far as a portable scope that will
satisfy both of us? Please e-mail at ROBTEP@AOL.COM. Thanks.
Mike here: The ETX-60AT is a fine portable instrument according to most reports. However, it does not have the magnification reach that the ETX-90EC has, nor the expandability. Whether it will meet your expectations demands on just what those expectations are. Certainly the Moon and brighter/larger planets will appear pretty (although I found Saturn somewhat disappointing when viewed through an ETX-70AT). Be certain you read through all the ETX-60AT Feedback pages on my ETX site.

Subject:	 ETX60 and deep sky
Sent:	Wednesday, November 1, 2000 20:12:11
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	jenkins@netins.net

I saw your note on Mike's site, and thought i'd toss in a
comment or two:
(a quit-claim: i've never looked thru the 60 or 70, i own a 90,
and have used a variety of telescopes of all qualities)

> My question is what can I expect to see with this scope?
Many things, but it's really hard to judge your expectations.
From the tone of yoour questions, i think you've got a good
idea of what's really going to happen.

>  I know that the literature says that you can observe deep
> sky objects.  Is this realistic? 
Well... a "deep sky object" is anything that isn't a star.
And the nebula in Orion's sword is a good example.
Or the Andromeda galaxy (M31)... both of there can be "observed"
by the naked eye.  Binoculars reveal more detail in Orion, but
have little effect upon Andromeda.  The ETX60 is a bit better
than 25x50 binoculars. (the ETX has FAR better optics, 
but not much more light gathering)

Some star clusters and such will resolve into dozens/hundreds of
stars, others will remain "faint fuzzies".
Most distant dim things remain "faint fuzzies" in the ETX90
and 125, too... they're just too small for really faint objects.

But they're all still tons of fun, if you're content with what
they produc.  I use my ETX90 a -lot- more than a classic
8" Celestron i used to own.. the ETX90 takes little effort to
drag out and set up and -use-, whereas the Celestron was always
a production effort.

> It seems a little to good to be true.  I would like to start
> with moon and planets, but would like to also have the
> capability to view deep sky objects after I get more familiar.
The Moon it'll do nicely.  Jupiter will be handsome with its
4 Galilean moons in their nightly dance (over the course of
a half-hour you can -see- them change positions.)

Saturn will be dinky. (think 1/4-inch circle at 6 feet).

You can improve upon the "dinkyness" with more eyepieces and
or a Barlow, but the ETX60 will soon run out of oomph.
The lens is less than 10 times larger (in diameter, hence 100x
the light gathering) than your naked eye.
The 90 is 15x larger, or 225x more light. (less some due to
design).  So an object will be twice as bright in a 90,
or can be magnified 1.5x more before it becomes as dim.

and that's the trade-off.  The -cost- of the ETX60 may mean
that you can afford one, where an ETX90 would be out of the
question...and i'm a fan of "any telescope is better than none".

it's NOT an easy answer
IF you can locate a local astronomy club with star parties, 
go visit and play with the telescopes they've got.
They'll all be more than happy to have an interested visitor,
that's a lot of what they're there for.

have fun

Subject:	 Meade ETX-70AT or ETX-70EC
Sent:	Wednesday, November 1, 2000 16:38:43
From:	GLJohnson@att.net (Guy Johnson)
Became interested in a telescope when I saw an ad in National
Geographic. Found your site today and read for a couple of hours! Great
info. Called my local Natural Wonders and they have an "EC" in stock but
a lot of what I read is on the "AT." Could you please tell me the
difference between the two?

Mike here: The EC only comes with the standard controller whereas the AT comes with the Autostar. You can add the Autostar later if you buy the EC model.

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Copyright © 1999-2000 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals Copyright © 1999-2000 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/70atNov00.html