ETX-90EC USER FEEDBACK - AUGUST 1999
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90EC. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to both the original ETX model, the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC are posted on other pages as appropriate. 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.
Weasner Experiences the ETX-90EC!
Polar Alignment Technique (3/10/99)
Sky & Telescope ETX-90EC review (4/30/99)
ETX-90EC Press Release (1/28/99)
ETX-90EC Accessories (1/28/99)
Subject: ATTENTION DALLAS FT WORTH AREA Sent: Sunday, August 29, 1999 18:26:04 From: Dschmit@us.ibm.com (Daniel Schmitz) REWARD!! REWARD!!,,Well it looks like the portability of the 90EC comes back to bite me!! Taken in a burglery of my home on 8/12,,,my baby!! 90EC in a Doskill extra-large case, sun filter 26mm and 9.7mm eyepieces. 2x barlow, camera adapter and t-ring for pentax, autostar, 45 degree eyepiece ,,90 degree viewfinder. Most important the accesories shelf which is posted in the tech tips area,, makes it obvious who's scope this is. Would love to hand the insurance company back thier check as I had this little guy fine tuned. Oh well,,,at least they left the heavy duty Bogen tripod behind,,guess I'll wait for the 125ec to settle out or maybe even that new Nexstar 5,,,NAW, I want my baby back! I realize this is a needle in the haystack but be advised kids,, the portability we've all come to enjoy can backfire on us,,,clear skys,,,time to dry my eyes,,,,Danno
Subject: power supply for ETX 90EC Sent: Sunday, August 22, 1999 03:27:23 From: email@example.com (lehuron (Alain Gliksman)) I do not fully understand the articles on the list. As the ETX takes 8 x 1,5 batteries, it seems obvious taht the external voltage must be 12 v ? Any moto battery should do the job, with the usual cylindric connector. But the main question remains : WHAT IS THE POLARITY ? Thanks in advance -- Le Huron (Alain Gliksman) L'ternit c'est long, surtout vers la fin (X)
Subject: Re: looking for a used etx90ec Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 1999 18:45:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (wiz) Could you please post another message that I am looking for an ETX90EC pkg with autostart and deluxe tripod. Thanks Tom
Subject: 20% off Meade scopes Sent: Monday, August 16, 1999 04:54:16 From: email@example.com (Bill Kamon) Don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet but this is from MAPUG: Date: Mon, 09 Aug 1999 00:38:51 -0700 From: "Mike Schriber - Corporate Computer Centers, Inc."
Subject: [M]: ETX 90/EC on sale!!!! Grettings everyone. I just wanted to share that LearningSmith will have ALL telescopes on sale in September. You need to go into a store and ask for a coupon. It's three days only in September and the deal is 20% off! My local store needed a sale so the manager gave me 20% off today (ETX 90/EC and AutoStar for $595 plus tax). If you're in San Diego, please try and go to the LearningSmith in UTC. I owe them one. You can also get the Meade tripod and case for 20% off. This is probably the ONLY time and place you'll see this on sale. I wish they carried the LX-200! Mike firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.hotchip.com/astro
Subject: Power connector for ETX-90EC Sent: Friday, August 13, 1999 12:06:39 From: email@example.com (Peter Norman) As I found that AA batteries didn't last very long in the ETX-90EC, I decided to use mains power. It may be useful to your readers to know that a 2.5x5.5 female miniature power connector fits OK. UK readers can get these from Maplin; I'm using one supplied with their Regulated Variable 1200ma mains adaptor (order code VN10L) price 13.99. This is probably easily powerful enough, so a cheaper one would probably do; but I haven't measured the current required. It's comforting to see the voltage measured by the Autostar always 100%. Use a circuit breaker to guard against accidents! Many thanks for all your work. All the best Peter in Sunny Devon, England (but cloudy today) PS I must tell you I saw the total eclipse last Wednesday. Although it was cloudy it was awesome. Pitch dark at totality with a pink glow through the clouds. Close Encounters of the Third Kind paled compared with it!
Subject: Portable power supply Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 21:47:50 From: Tday4564@aol.com Just thought I'd share with you my setup for an external power supply. I purchased a portable car battery charger at Sam's Club for about $50. This unit is about 3 inches thick and roughly the size of a three ring binder. It has a handle and a pair of jumper cables about 18 inches long. It also has a socket to power accessories using a cigarette lighter adapter. I picked up a universal DC adapter at Radio Shack and have used this rechargeable unit a couple of times without recharging it yet. There is a meter on the unit that shows how much power is left. This works great for running my ETX-90/EC. At $50 its less than the cost of 8 lithium AA batteries. And takes less than an hour to recharge. The unit I have is made by Century Mfg. This unit works great, and if my car dies I can jump it myself!
Subject: ETX plastic parts Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 21:35:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sean) Have you heard any complaints about short lifetimes of some of the plastic parts in the ETX 90 ? SeanMike here: The only plastic part that was reported to have a problem in the ETX-90EC was the Right Tube Adapter (see my ETX-90EC report). Meade corrected the defect and haven't heard of any failures in the last few months.
Subject: Impressive performance from ETX90-EC... Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 11:55:31 From: email@example.com (John Logsdon) I'm a month long user of the ETX90-EC and am impressed with it's capabilities. Last night, using polar alignment mode, the Autostar slewed to M31 and M2, both in the 26mm eyepiece. Every target was in the eyepiece for the evening. This website helped me through the startup and setup of my system. It is much appreciated. Now if I may offer some comments about my setup that I think makes viewing easier. First, I live in rural Montana where you can see your boots by the starlight, so I have excellent seeing. 1/ The finder scope shipped with the ETX is really poor. I replaced it by making a mount bracket and adding an old Meade finder mount (small, about 1 1/2" rings). Then built a new finder from an old 50mm fast camera lens attached to a SuperCircuits PC-78 bullet camera. This 0.05 lux camera shows stars down to mag 5 or better on a small b&w TV I have sitting next to the telescope. With cross hairs drawn on the TV screen it makes for a lazy man's finder. 2/ I've done all the dec/RA tuning listed on this site. I think it's necessary. Now I'm tracking very well in polar mode and good in alt/az mode. Held M2 centered for about 10 minutes. (Probably would have stayed there alot longer but I decided to look at some other things.) 3/ Alignment is the key to success with this telescope (and any I've dealt with). I've set up a permanent mount bolted into concrete and get Polaris centered (when selected for alignment) when I mount the scope. This makes setup easy. Bolt it on, and it's aligned. 4/ I'm also using a PC-23 camera from SuperCircuits. This works well and it easily sees stars to mag 8. Again, lazy man's telescope tool. Great for planets and the moon. Deep sky objects are just too dim. Only problem is limited field of view with the long focal length of this scope. A focal reducer would be nice, but after all, this isn't an LX-200. 5/ I'm using Autostar version 1.2g with no problems. Download was successful the first shot. 6/ I'm going to try to shoot some pix using my 208-XT, but the field of view will be so small, I'm reluctant to even set it up. I'll e-mail you about my results if I break down and do it. Again, thanks for this site and comments from other users: John.
Subject: ETX 90EC problem number two! Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 22:37:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Valentino) Thanks for all the help with the Autostar problem! I was finally able to get 1.2G to work...The key was when you said they were having trouble with the Browser (Netscape) corrupting the files, so I used the Microsoft Browser, and it worked!! I have a question though about the Scope itself, It has quite a lot of play when the Dec is locked. I was told by the Dealer that I purchased it from, that this was normal, Mine will move up and down about 1 mark on the Dec Dial, seems like to much looseness to me, and if you touch it, a star goes completely out of the field of view. I would think that this much movement would affect the tracking. Should I send the scope back for adjustment, or is this "play" normal, and nothing to worry about? The scope is only 1 month old! Thanks Dan ValentinoMike here: That is a lot of play but apparently isn't that abnormal for the ETX-90EC. If you use the controller to move in DEC, it should not be a problem.
Subject: Report Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 17:19:02 From: email@example.com (Robert Savitzky) I used my ETX last night at a local state park/beach. It was a clear, dark night for this area, which is only about 50 miles from New York City. I was using my ETX with my Autostar restored at 1.2c, which worked very well on deep sky objects, putting most of them well within the eyepiece f.o.v. Positioning for Jupiter and Saturn was off, but still in the finderscope, and easily centered. I had a very satisfying evening using the ETX/Autostar combo, in which I easily saw about 16 objects, including Jupiter and Saturn. I really appreciated having the Autostar back in operation after being out of commission for one observing session. When it works properly, the ETX is a super instrument. I was able to compare my ETX to another observer who was using a Televue 101 on a Losmandy Mount, a very impressive instrument. On Jupiter and Saturn, it had much better detail and resolution. On deep sky objects, it had a much wider field of view, but a MUCH lighter background. I would describe it as grey, compared to the ETX which looked much closer to black. I'm guessing it has something to do with the f number: the ETX is f/13 while the Televue is f/5 or f/6. Because of the darker background in the ETX, it was possible to observe about as much detail as the larger aperture Televue on deepsky objects such as the Lagoon Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and open and globular clusters. I also had an opportunity to try his 9mm Televue eyepiece on my ETX. The Televue seemed to give a sharper, more detailed view of Saturn and Jupiter than my Meade 9.7mm Super Plossel. The Televue eyepiece also had a much wider field of view, and much more eye relief. It is quite large and heavy, however, and I wonder if it could put a strain on the ETX's drive system. Regarding the question of whether to enlarge the scope of your website to include similar offerings from other companies, I can well understand your concerns about limitations of time and resources. You may want to spin off these other scopes, such as the NexStar, to another enthusiast who owns one, and try to coordinate when it comes to comparative issues. You may, however want to consider redefining your website to cover the "genre" of small, ultraportable, Schmidt Cassegranian or Maksutov Cassegranian scopes, with or without automation. That is, the focus is on how you achieve your observational satisfaction, rather than one particular instrument. When you first bought the ETX, it was because you thought it would fulfill your observational expectations and needs. As time goes on, there may be newer instruments which better fulfill those needs. You may want to make that the focus of your website, instead of just the ETX. Just something to consider.
Subject: A beautiful night and an unconfirmed rumor Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 00:05:14 From: Stantastic@aol.com First: As to the unconfirmed rumor -- I made a quick visit to Fry's in Anaheim this last Saturday to see a $20,000 Meade telescope accompanied by a Meade rep. Turned out that they accidentally shipped that model to another location for a show-and-tell, so they had to bring a $14,000 model instead. Too bad! I didn't pay much attention to it, to tell the truth (it was a 7" refractor aimed at the Goodyear Blimp floating somewhere over Edison field) -- it was just a tad over my budget!! But I did talk to Meade's Vice-President who was there just about the ETX in general and a few items in particular. Seems he knows you Mike, quite well he said. I asked if he knew when the Macintosh software might be appearing on Meade's website for updating the Autostar, and he said "maybe two weeks." Since I've seen the "Coming soon" notice there for months, I'm NOT going to keep my fingers crossed. But, I can wish and hope -- only two weeks will tell!! ("Two weeks" always seems to be a standard answer from most companies about anything!!) But I must admit, he seemed to be concerned about everything they are hearing, good and bad, from users about the ETX. Second, in regard to a beautiful night. My wife and I drove out to Anza Borrego Desert this last weekend late in the afternoon. Turned out to be just a bit windy, but nothing major, although it did bring the temp down quite a bit at night. I set up my ETX-90EC around 7:30 pm and we observed almost all the major stellar objects that could be seen. I think you mentioned somewhere about Meade suggesting that the "best" way to supply power to the scope would be an AC-adaptor at home and a DC-cigarette lighter adaptor when in the field, with batteries being the "last" choice. Well, let me attest to the fact that running off the car battery from 7:30 until around midnight was a dream (heck, it was only 4 and a half hours!). No drain on the battery at all and I could slew all over the place without worrying. Also, and most important, I managed to hit every single object (almost 30 Messier objects and doubles) that I selected in the Autostar -- a very few were a bit off-center, but all landed easily within the FOV of my 26mm eyepiece. I was really impressed. I think the fact that a strong steady current was kept supplied to the ETX helped in maintaining such excellent alignment. Seeing in the dark skies of the desert is such an incredible experience over viewing from my back yard in Yorba Linda (so much city light pollution it's a downright shame). We decided to forgo sleeping in our tent and in our truck and just plunked our bags down on a groundcloth and Therma Rests -- and while my wife gradually dozed off to sleep, I laid there for another two hours just staring up at the sky! BTW, the Perseides have started -- I saw a few. Hope everyone could have as clear a sky as we did the other night. Stan Glaser Yorba Linda, CA firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: We do have friends at Meade who want to make our ETX experiences the best possible.
Subject: Re: ETX/EC-90 Stuff Sent: Sunday, August 8, 1999 07:18:45 From: email@example.com (Phil Wheeler) I just read your latest (7/31) note on the Autostar (downloaded a few days ago, but I had to get a new cartridge for my printer). So now I know about the "Enter/Scrolldown" bit; that might have saved me Thurs night. However, I had tried v. 1.2c and still not gotten good GOTO results. So likely it is good I took the thing to Meade on Friday (plus the slop in Alt was excessive). Sure good to know about that little trick for the future, though! Phil
Subject: ETX/EC-90 Stuff Sent: Saturday, August 7, 1999 10:30:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil Wheeler) I, too, have visited Meade .. yesterday when I took 'scope and Autostar in for a "fix". 45 minute drive by freeway, so not so bad; Friday afternoon, so could have been better. Basic problem is that I had a Win95 crash while updating the Autostar: Cleaned it out, it appears! More significant is that GOTO has never been up to snuff (even with 1.2 updates), so I wanted them to check out the telescope. Plus (and maybe unrelated) the elevation "slop" was too high compared to other units I've played with; Meade guy agreed. I am hoping for better results. I can star hop OK, but that does take longer and (with a Dob) things don't stay around long enuff for 10 or so in a (non astro) group to view them. ETX/EC-90 will be a good tool for astro demos .. once I've got it working right. Thanks again for the web site; VERY helpful. I will report my experiences with Meade customer support. Phil p.s. .. your visit to Meade suggests you might be is SoCal: Are you? I live in light-polluted, coastal-fogged Torrance (1.5 mi from ocean) .. which is why the "go anywhere" ETX-90 is so attractive (I really must go *somewhere* for observing!).Mike here: I used to live in Torrance but a couple of years ago we moved up on the Hill. I'm now at 1190' elevation with fairly dark skies.
Subject: etx90ec and manual operation Sent: Wednesday, August 4, 1999 19:53:01 From: email@example.com (GW) I am looking toward acquiring the etx 90 with autostar . I understand the goto operation, but what about manual operation? For instance, will I be able to manually locate an object, and then engage the clock drive to keep the object insight (assuming I have it polar aligned, of course). There may be times I wish to sight objects by hand for the sport of it, but still have some use of the electronics such as clock drive, or manual controller for adjustments. Any experiences in this area are greatly appreciated. Geoff
Subject: ETX Power supply Sent: Wednesday, August 4, 1999 10:18:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) Hi - in response to Andrew's question ala power supply, I've used the 90EC with Scopetronix's mobile rechargable power supply (something like that) - it cost $70, but i think Jordan put it on sale for $60) - it's not very bulky, has a handle, and has not run down in power in about 20 hours of use (i've recharged it before necessary). It also seems to be capable of powering portable computers, etc. - I like the idea of saving the etx's batteries for when they are needed, i.e. i'm going to travel "light" or if the power supply plug pulls out (hasn't happened yet, don't know if the "glitch" would freeze the autostar requiring a re-start, or if it would be invisible. The mobile power supply feels a little cheaply made (just my impression) but I like it and recommend it. I may install a master on/off switch by the covered fuse area to prevent accidental power ups - I can see where the sliding on/off switches could be activated in my car's trunk. Happy Seeing!
Subject: Power supply and batteries Sent: Tuesday, August 3, 1999 05:23:42 From: email@example.com (Andrew Jackson) I was wondering if anyone had any experience with using a mains power supply/adapter while still having batteries installed. Is it safe or would the ETX fry?. Thanks Andrew firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: I've used the ETX-90EC with the Meade AC Adapter. The batteries are switched out of the circuit when the Meade Adapter is used.
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