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ETX-90EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 30 August 2000

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90EC. 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:	 RA drive lock
Sent:	Sunday, August 27, 2000 19:48:51
From:	kahunadad@earthlink.net (Brian)
Hi...Great site..I too have an ETX 90EC and love it...I am having a
problem and did not see it addressed on you site.  Any help would be
appreciated.  Bottom line the Horizontal lock lever will not stay
locked...after I slew a few times it loosens up enough to make the
motors slip..any ideas?  Thanks for your time....
Mike here: Check the Tech Tips page for the "ETX/EC Tune-up". The RA drive fix may be what you need.

Added later:

Looks like it will do it for me...Thanks Mike

Subject:	 Important=> Info for Ordering "Right Tube Adapter" for ETX-90/EC
Sent:	Wednesday, August 23, 2000 20:13:44
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
(Please see link below to place your order now.)

I just wanted to bring the list up to date on this project:

For those of you who may have missed it we are making a small production
run of machined aluminum "Right Tube Adapters" to replace the trouble
prone plastic part on the ETX-90/EC. This part is for the ETX-90/EC only
and will not work with any other ETX. Cost is $65.

We have decided on a run of 50 pieces (of which most are already
reserved). The side plates have already been machined, drilled,
deburred, etc and are going to the paint shop tomorrow for a durable
black textured powder coat finish. This process takes about a week. In
the mean time we will be machining the round threaded portion with the
keyway. Once the side plates are back from the paint shop the adapters
will be assembled, boxed, packed with the necessary hardware,
instructions, and allen keys needed for assembly. Time to shipment
should be about 2 weeks from now. At this point we have about 20 still
available but they are going fast. This may be all that are ever
produced so if you want one now may be your last chance ; )

IMPORTANT ORDERING INFORMATION:
To place your order (even if you already emailed us to reserve one) you
must go to the following page and actually place the order.
home.att.net/~etx/rta.htm

--
Jordan Blessing

       ScopeTronix Astronomy Products
              www.scopetronix.com

Subject:	 New Standard Eyepiece?
Sent:	Tuesday, August 22, 2000 21:10:25
From:	bibjonez@yahoo.com (Eric B)
I had to return my etx-90ec to Meade for a replacement after one of the
motors stopped working.  When I got the new scope I noticed that the
standard eyepiece was slightly different.  One obvious difference is the
plastic bolt container.  The new container retains the same style, but
the plastic is thinner and just looks cheaper.  The eyepiece looks
exactly the same but is labeled differently.  My original eyepiece reads
"Meade Super Plossl 26mm LP Multi-coated."  The new eyepiece reads
"Meade Super Plossl LP 26mm Multi-coated."  I found this strange.  If
this is the exact same eyepiece why would Meade simply change the
position of the "LP" on its label.  I also noticed that the table legs
are not included (what a rip off). I hope this is not a different
cheaper eyepiece included to save a little money.  What do you think?
Mike here: I suspect the eyepiece is the same; possibly a different batch. The supplier of the bolt containers probably changed or changed the container. The legs were made optional with the ETX-90EC since it could be used (with the Autostar) in Alt/Az mode.

Subject:	 Re: ETX Dec Lock Bites Again! *Last Chance*=> A Permanent Fix!
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2000 09:57:51
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
I just wanted to make it clear that the Right Tube Adapter (aluminum
replacement part for the failure prone plastic unit) we are considering
making available is for the ETX 90-EC. It will not fit any other ETX
model. I will consider one for the ETX125 in the future if it proves to
be as troublesome as the part on the ETX90. At this point it looks like
we will probably go ahead and start on the project this week as soon as
some other commitments are finished. While we will probably make a few
spares I'm sure they will go quickly. If you are interested in one and
have not yet replied I suggest you do so now as there may never be a
second run ; ) Please see below if you missed the original post.
--
Jordan Blessing


       ScopeTronix Astronomy Products
              www.scopetronix.com

> After breaking 2 myself I went ahead and machined a prototype right tube
> adapter for the ETX90EC.
>
> If interested you can see a picture of it at:
> home.att.net/~jblessin/rta.gif
>
> I was tossing around the idea of making this a commercial product but I
> don't know how many people would shell out good money for it when Meade
will
> send them a new plastic one for free. Since it is rather labor intensive
and
> my machinist doesn't work for peanuts I figured the cheapest I could
produce
> them would be about $65. If there were enough interest I would go ahead
and
> make a run of them. If any of you are serious enough to order one at $65
let
> me know. If 10-15 people reply and order I will go ahead and make a small
> production run. It would take about 2 weeks for delivery.Construction is
all
> aluminum and the black part would be powder coated in a durable black
> textured finish.
>
> If seriously interested email jblessing@scopetronix.com

Subject:	 ETX-90 "gotcha"
Sent:	Saturday, August 19, 2000 10:20:14
From:	badlight@earthlink.net (Badlight)
Thought I'd pass this along to the new ETX-90 owners.

I recently got an ETX-90EC and while trying to align the viewfinder, I
noticed that I had all kinds of wierd alignment screw issues. One screw
was all the way to the stop while I had to remove another one completely
to get any alignment at all. Being new, this was a bit disconcerting!
and I had no idea why these wierd screw positions would be needed to
align the viewfinder. It all seemed so "unnatural". Turns out that the
viewfinder mounting base has a little "foot" on it and that "foot" is
suppose to fit in a "tunnel" on the OTA mounting tube. My viewfinder's
"foot" had ridden up and over the "tunnel" during assembly and was no
longer paralell to the OTA. Hense the wierd scerw positions. It's almost
impossible to see this conditions. So if you're are having a problem
aligning the viewfinder on a new scope, you should check the mount
first. Verify/Correct the mount instalation and then try to align the
viewfinder. This may seem very basic to you "old heads" but I'm a newbie
and unfamiliar with the equipment, so I thought I'd pass it on to the
other "newbiees"

Thanks Mike - *BEST SITE IN THE WORLD FOR ETX OWNERS!*

                                                  -John

Subject:	 Polar Alignment Nightmare
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2000 21:11:42
From:	dpersyk@worldnet.att.net (Dennis Persyk)
I got my ETX 90 EC for Christmas and for eight months I have enjoyed
star gazing in alt-az mode.  I've seen 60 Messier objects. The dimmest
one is M57 with magnitude 8.8  limiting magnitude at my site is about
4.2.  I have learned to set up the scope with two-star alignment and I'm
always within the FOV of the 26 mm Ploessl eyepiece on a GOTO.

Tonight I wanted to take some piggyback time exposures so I  set up the
scope in polar alignment.  I centered Polaris in the Rigel Quik Finder
with the adjusting knobs and did a two-star polar alignment on Arcturus
and Altair.  I did a GOTO M103 and then M24.  Viewing M24 the elevation
(obtained from depressing MODE for a few seconds and cursoring to alt-az
coordinates) was 29 degrees above the southern horizon but the OTA was
within an inch of touching the scope base  I was a little worried.

I next did a GOTO Albireo and it was very brilliant tonight.  I then did
a GOTO Polaris and something very strange occurred!  The scope went to
Polaris (I think) but the EYEPIECE WAS UPSIDE-DOWN!  I tried to rotate
the scope rightside-up with the controller, but the RA axis seemed to be
slipping.

I went back to Albireo and then did a PARK SCOPE, which put things back,
right-side up.  I went back to alt-az mode and was much more
comfortable.

What did I do wrong?  HELP!

Dennis Persyk   Hampshire, IL
Mike here: Exactly centering on Polaris at the start was likely the culprit. Polaris is not exactly at 90 degrees DEC. So after you aligned and then went back to Polaris, the Autostar was likely confused about the orientation of the world. Use the real Polar Home Position of 90 degrees DEC and don't believe the DEC scale unless you have calibrated it.

Added later:

Thanks for the speedy reply!  I was going to offset Polaris by 0.8
degrees but figured that centering was OK.
I'm not sure what you mean by "real Polar Home" position.
I did the following:
1) DEC locked to 90
2) Tripod level, wedge to  about 42.5 degrees, OTA north to within 5
degrees per compass.
3) Adjust knobs on field tripod (azimuth and elevation) to center
Polaris in Rigel -- lock knobs
4) Two-star easy align

Which of the above steps was wrong?
Mike here: Don't exactly center Polaris. Leave the DEC at 90 degrees. Leave the tripod level. You can point "roughly" at Polaris to get things pointed North. You can use a compass if you correct for the magnetic variation at your location.

Subject:	ETX Dec Lock Failure ==> A Permanent Fix!
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2000 15:33:50
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
After breaking 2 myself I went ahead and machined a prototype right tube
adapter for the ETX90EC.

If interested you can see a picture of it at:
home.att.net/~jblessin/rta.gif

I was tossing around the idea of making this a commercial product but I
don't know how many people would shell out good money for it when Meade
will send them a new plastic one for free. Since it is rather labor
intensive and my machinist doesn't work for peanuts I figured the
cheapest I could produce them would be about $65. If there were enough
interest I would go ahead and make a run of them. If any of you are
serious enough to order one at $65 let me know. If 10-15 people reply
and order I will go ahead and make a small production run. It would take
about 2 weeks for delivery.Construction is all aluminum and the black
part would be powder coated in a durable black textured finish.

If seriously interested email jblessing@scopetronix.com
--
Jordan Blessing

       ScopeTronix Astronomy Products
              www.scopetronix.com

Subject:	 photographying deep sky with ETX90-EC
Sent:	Friday, August 18, 2000 09:50:03
From:	denisjoye@hotmail.com (Denis JOYE)
I am owner of a Starlight XPress camera and a ETX90-EC with Autostar and
I intend to purchase a JMI piggy back support for ETX.

Do you think that guiding my ETX with the Autostar, would make it
possible to take long exposure pictures of the deep sky with my CCD
camera?

What is your opinion about the accuracy of the Autostar guiding ?

Best regards
Denis JOYE (France)
4850,91'N   214,23'E  alt 54m
http://perso.libertysurf.fr/djoye
Mike here: The ETX is not designed for long duration astrophotography. However, CCDs will capture more information in a shorter period of time. So, for some objects you may be able to get usable images. However, remember that the Autostar tracking in Alt/Az mode is somewhat erratic in that it runs both drives in a start/stop/start mode. Also, you'll get some field rotation in longer exposures that could be a problem. So, you'd want to do as precise a Polar setup as possible for the best possible results.

Subject:	 Polar vs. Alt Az Alignment for astrophotography
Sent:	Monday, August 14, 2000 08:38:22
From:	GSkoubis@ussco.com (Skoubis, George)
I had a question on alignment for astrophotography with the ETX90EC and
Autostar. Do you recommend switching to POLAR MOUNT and then "Polar
alignment" rather than the default "Alt Az: Easy Alignment".  Can you
use the drift method of correction (adjusting the tripod legs until the
star is tracked best) in either alignment?
Thanks-George
Mike here: There are two types of astrophotography: short duration and long duration. For short duration where the exposure is short enough that trailing of the object due to the Earth's rotation will not occur, you can use either mounting mode. This depends upon the magnification of the image onto the film. For long duration where trailing will be become a concern, you should use polar mode. You can do long duration exposures in Alt/Az mode but field rotation may become a problem. When using the Autostar, making any adjustments in the tripod position after the alignment is complete should be avoided. So, no, don't use the drift method with the Autostar.

Added later:

Thanks for the info Mike.  Will do.

Subject:	 HORIZONTAL LOCK
Sent:	Wednesday, August 9, 2000 18:23:38
From:	EDZUG@worldnet.att.net (EDWARD ZUGIBE)
Love the site. I recently purchased a ext-90ec with autostar i am a
little confused about the proper amount of pressure that should be put
on the horizontal lock switch the manual does not seem to say anything
about it. I have seen other posts that say just enough pressure until
firm but i was wondering if you train the scope at one firm pressure and
then use the scope with a different amount of pressure is this going to
throw the alignment off. Thanks for any info.

ED
Mike here: Good question about differences in a firm lock for training and a firm lock for actual use. In general I found that moving the lever until it would not EASILY move more was the right position. Yes, it is a little vague and the lever is certainly not an ON/OFF switch. Overtightening is to be avoided so if the lever wants to stop moving, best to agree with it!

Subject:	 ETX-90EC/AUTOSTAR
Sent:	Friday, August 4, 2000 14:16:42
From:	clint.russum@eds.com (Russum, Clint)
Hey Mike, Thanks for taking the initiative of starting this site for
Meade ETX users.

I received my ETX-90EC in March of this year as wedding gift from my
newly wed wife. I had jokingly pointed to the advertisement in Discover
magazine and said like a little kid  "I want this!" I now have my
favorite new toy!!! I've been reading other users feedback and
experiences with their ETX's, most of which are somewhat familiar. I've
been fortunate enough to not have anything break, although my time may
come. I would like to reiterate to readers some of the things you have
said in your replies. Know what your looking for and what to expect when
purchasing a scope.  It takes a very little bit of time and patience to
sit down and read the ETX-90EC and AutoStar manuals. Then, work with the
telescope and become familiar with it's ticks. If you can't resolve or
live with some of them, then happy pointing and calculating. Believe me,
I was ready to return my ETX-90EC after the second day because it
appeared that the RA drive wasn't working. I was persistent and finally
found that the RA lock was very stiff out of the box. When I thought the
RA lock was fully engaged, it was in fact only half way. I was afraid it
would break if I pulled it any further than half way. With use it has
loosened and works quite well now. I would venture to bet that a lot of 
ETX's have been returned because the RA lock was not fully engaged. As
far as the noise goes  blah blah blah! Being a guy, I enjoy hearing the
motors work. My neighbor's won't hear them either if their windows are
shut!!! Is the ETX-90 an engineering marvel??? NO!!! I think where the
payoffs of the ETX lie are its very good optics and it's ability to 
'show-and-tell'. It's the best Astronomy teacher I've ever had.

Some quirks I've experienced: When using the synchronize function,
sometimes the scope slews the image right back out of the sight after I
hit ENTER to synchronize. The manual says to 1) Hold ENTER for 2 sec. 2)
Center the image 3) hit ENTER to synchronize. I think if a target is
missed you can go ahead and center it first, then synchronize. It works
just as well.

When going to a star in the vicinity that the scope is already pointing,
it takes off towards the opposite horizon and sometimes beyond the
rotational limit. Yikes!!! TURN OFF!!! START OVER!!!

In Guided Tour Mode it may tell me an object is Below Horizon (Then why
does it want to list it on the tour?) It's not really below horizon. If
you find the same object in the database  it goes right to it. The
software is not perfect yet, but manageable.

I have good nights with my ETX and I have bad nights, but I'm really
enjoying it! If I have to do anything, it's very little to ask.

Clear Skies,
Clint Russum
Dallas, TX 

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