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ETX-90EC USER FEEDBACK - AUGUST 1999
Last updated: 7 September 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:	lehuron@club-internet.fr (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:	wizo@mediaone.net (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:	william_kamon@merck.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
schriber@hotchip.com
http://www.hotchip.com/astro

Subject:	 Power connector for ETX-90EC
Sent:	Friday, August 13, 1999 12:06:39
From:	pnorman@gn.apc.org (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:	sobrien@bbnow.net (Sean)
Have you heard any complaints about short lifetimes of some of the
plastic parts in the ETX 90 ?

Sean
Mike 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:	jandll@midrivers.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:	valen@flash.net (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 Valentino
Mike 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:	rsprecision@earthlink.net (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
stantastic@aol.com
Mike 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:	w7ox@mindspring.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:	w7ox@mindspring.com (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:	duch@cgo.wave.ca (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:	gbg@webspan.net (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:	andrewj@netvigator.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

andrewj@netvigator.com
Mike 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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