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ETX-90EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 31 December 1999

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:	 ETX-90EC Vibration While Tracking
Sent:	Friday, December 31, 1999 10:27:34
From:	atestani@ibm.net (Al Testani)
There was a short thread on this problem back in June/July.  I am seeing
the problem now (I'm finally getting the telescope and Autostar to
operate effectively and am beginning to actually look at stuff!).  The
vibration (and resulting blurriness) is sync'ed with the cyclic noise
the drive motors are making as the tracking is in process.  Question:
has there been any further understanding of this problem and a fix for
it?

Happy New Millenium!

__________________

Al Testani
atestani@ibm.net
__________________

Subject:	Strange noises, too!
Sent:	Wednesday, December 29, 1999 17:05:00
From:	TonyButts@aol.com
Just got an ETX90 for Christmas and so far have been very pleased with
it.  But, I think I may be having the same problem that Maxine posted
last week.  I hear the motor churning away - even though it is not
moving.  This was not happening for the first couple of days, but now
occurs constantly. Just wondering if this is normal, or do I have a
defective unit? Also, I do not own the Autostar controller.

Thanks for the help.
Tony
Mike here: With the standard controller, if the unit is set for Polar mode, the Right Ascension drive will run continuously whenever the ETX is on. While the drive is running in this mode, the scope will only turn in RA if the RA lock is engaged. You can change the mode to Alt/Az; see the manual. This will turn off the RA drive.

Added later:

Thanks so much for your quick response.  When reading through the manual
last night, I came to the same conclusion.  (It's amazing how
informative instruction booklets can be!)  I'm just relieved that
there's nothing wrong with the telescope - at least, so far.
Thanks again, and have a great new year.

Subject:	 Trubble ...
Sent:	Tuesday, December 28, 1999 11:28:26
From:	Paul@paulbarker-totalserve-co-uk.totalserve.co.uk (Paul Barker)
Sorry to bother you, but could you point me in the right direction?

My 3 month old ETX 90 has stopped going up and down, there is no grip in
the forks, it does not tighten. I bought it second hand and although I
can probably get it fixed, is there anything I can try myself?

Thanks ever so much

Paul
Mike here: Assuming it is the ETX-90EC model, it sounds like the Right Tube Adapter has failed. It is easy to replace but you need to contact Meade for a free replacement part. You can read more about this failure and some photos of the replacement process near the bottom of my first ETX-90EC comments page.

Subject:	 First Meade Purchase...
Sent:	Tuesday, December 21, 1999 11:03:00
From:	John.Matero@gecapital.com (Matero, John (CAP, ECG))
Well, here it is only a few days from Xmas and I'm ready to "make the
plunge" and go for the ETX-90 EC for my first telescope.  The decision
came last week when, while at a friend's Xmas party in Connecticut, a
group got together around a telescope and were speechless.  As I
approached, they simply said, "John look in here".  I did and there it
was... Jupiter and 3 moons.  Small, fuzzy, but very recognizable.  I
don't know what happened except to say it was almost a "religious"
experience because I just started crying like a baby.  There I was, a 31
year-old guy crying because he saw Jupiter.  Reflecting on it now, I
suppose it is was such a powerful experience because growing up, we are
taught about the planets but never actually SEE them, so I guess we rely
on "blind faith" that they are actually there... Very much like
religion, God, etc.  WELL that was enough for me!  I've pretty much
accepted the fact that I'm going to pay $595 for the ETX 90EC.  I guess
my question is, As a beginner, what "extras" should I get right away?  I
live in White Plains NY (urban area, but within 30 mins of the hills and
DARKNESS...like, BLACK darkness.  Is the table tripod going to be of any
use for me or should I go with the Full-size Meade tripod? Also, does
the soft case provide enough protection...the hard case is much more $$$
but seems "indestructible".  If I was going to get an additional lens
(in addition to a barlow (sp?) what magnification would you suggest?)

I look forward to any advice you could forward!!!  Please cc any
responses to my home address as well if that's not too much trouble.
(jmatero@mindspring.com)  Happy Holidays!!!!

Great website!!!!!  Oh, is the Nature company a good place to purchase?

jfm

John Matero
GE Equity Graphics
120 Long Ridge Rd.
Office 2A-36
Stamford, CT 06927
(203) 357-3118
john.matero@gecapital.com
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on accessories and eyepieces to purchase. Also, check the Accessories - Cases, - Eyepieces, and - Tripods pages for more info. If you have a large enough flat surface, you can use the table top tripod (if you need to polar align the scope) or just place the ETX-90EC base flat on a sturdy table or other surface for Alt/Az use (if you are also getting an Autostar). The Nature Company is a good dealer. I bought my original ETX from one.

Subject:	 strange noises!
Sent:	Thursday, December 16, 1999 08:41:59
From:	maxine@neily.fsnet.co.uk (Maxine Foxwell)
I have just got an ETX90 EC and so far it has proved excellent. However,
when it is turned on and not moving it still makes a noise as if it
were. Its only been doing this recently - is something wrong? Also, do
you know where I should send my registration for warrentry? As I
understand it, if you dont live in America (I live in the UK) it is not
covered by Meade in California. Any help would be appreciated.

             Cheers, 
                    Maxine
Mike here: You didn't indicate that you have an Autostar so it may be the Right Ascension tracking motor that you hear. See the manual for how to configure the default mounting mode (Alt/Az or Polar) using the standard controller. As to where you send the warranty card, I would have thought that information was in the box for telescopes sold outside the United States. If not, then I guess it goes to Irvine, California, USA.

Subject:	Meade ETX-90EC and Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, December 15, 1999 15:46:40
From:	Arycanda@aol.com
After many months of trying to get my Meade ETX-90EC to function as
advertised and after reading the literally hundreds of pages of your
website , I have sent my Autostar back to Meade for the third time (I
sent the scope itself the first time, but was told it was ok).  I  also 
recently sent a letter to Sky and Telescope regarding what I consider to
be  a deplorable state of affairs  at Meade that has allowed the
ETX-90EC mess to go on for such a long time.  I can only imagine what
the vast majority of purchasers  must be going through, since  I am sure
the majority are not computer literate  or aware of your website nor 
very knowledgable about astronomical viewing.  I am not aware that Meade
has made any effort to inform all purchasers by postal mail of problems
or how they can best seek assistance .

You have done a superb job at trying to fill the void that Meade has
left, but there is only so much you can do given the situation.  Do you
have an E-mail address where I can you send copies of my letters to
Meade and Sky and Telescope (I  forgot to "save" my  computer versions)?

The optics of the ETX-90EC are exceptional and coupled with the
remarkable little Astrovision video camera,  I have had a few glimpses
of what is  possible when  using the ETX-90EC for remote viewing  with 
a television  monitor or computer screen (Mac Powerbook G3) from inside
my house or car (I use a 100ft "extension " cord   between the ETX and
Autostar , with  the electric focuser), especially in regard to lunar,
solar and planetary observing. However,  the various problems that have
been experienced by so many of the writers to your website  have also
plagued me (with or without trying  remote viewing),  which has made
even direct  viewing problematical and remote viewing almost impossible
if the scope will not GOTO or track accurately.

Let's hope that Meade straightens out this mess soon or they may have
the "Yugo" of telescopes on their hands!

Again thanks for the herculean (and at times thankless, given some of
the off the wall comments you have received) efforts you are making to
further the cause of a great "hobby."

                                  Sincerely,

                                    Nick Anderson  
Mike here: Sorry to hear about your frustrations. Not everyone has experienced problems but it is definitely unfortunate that ANYONE has problems. There is no need to send me copies of your letters but thanks for the offer.

Subject:	 Proud Owner of ETX 90 EC and Autostar
Sent:	Monday, December 13, 1999 10:04:04
From:	ktnaing@siu.edu (Kyaw Naing)
Greetings!

After visiting numerous times to this web site, I decided to purchase
Meade ETX90 EC.  I actually got a tip from one of the reader from your
site about Learningsmith discounting ETX for 20% off actual price.  I
actually paid just $470 including the shipment.  My first two trips out
were not productive due to some problems with alignment.  I finally
visited Meade web site as recommended here and followed exactly the
directions provided in positioning the opitical tube by turning it only
180 degree (rather than turning counterclockwise until a resistance is
felt).  Since then I have no problem tracking stars.  My Autostar
version is 1.3 but I am very satisfied with it.  Thanks to autostar, I
am able to visit numerous sites in the sky in just a few hours, far more
than I have ever done before for past two years.   I really find visitng
your web site very useful for me. My next step is to purchase a digital
camera and take some pictures using ETX.

Thanks!

Kyaw Naing

Subject:	 ETX-90EC
Sent:	Thursday, December 9, 1999 23:15:04
From:	ifeldman@hotmail.com (Ira)
I first want to thank you for a wonderful site.  I read every article,
and the site has been very informative.

My particular problem is with my ETX-90EC and autostar combination.  I
do not get consistant goto's.  I've had my ETX for several months, and
only get objects in the eyepiece about 10% of the time.  Ive had my
scope into Meade several times, and even had the autostar replaced (not
the ETX).  I am very careful in my training and alignment (az/el).  I
make sure the tripod (the Meade Field tripod) is level, and the ETX is
level. I rotate the assembly counterclockwise until it hits the stops,
and clockwise until the fork with the declination scale is facing the
control panel.  I point the scope to Polaris, then level the tube. Meade
says I am doing the setup right.

The last few times I used the scope, Jupiter and Saturn is always off a
couple of degrees in elevation, and about a degree in azimuth. 
Neighboring stars are also off. Sometimes when I go back to the aligning
stars, one or both are off (sometimes at the edge of the eyepiece, and
sometimes outside, and I didnt do much slewing  When I slew the scope to
center Saturn or Jupiter, about one out of 10 times I can get Saturn or
Jupiter to stay in view of the eyepiece for more than a few minutes,
most of the time it goes out of view within 3 minutes.  I tried
realligning, retraining, and get the same results.  Its as if the
autostar is calculating something wrong.  I cant believe I had two bad
autostars. Andrometer seems to get inside the eyepiece ok.

Ive tried selecting a landmark, and after slewing the telescope around,
it gets the landmark back into the eyepiece (pretty centered if I
approach it from the right, and at the edge of the eyepiece if I
approach it from the left).  According to Meade, this indicates that the
telescope is working ok.

The location is correct, the telescope model is correct, the time is
correct.  Ive even tried another local city.  I keep thinking Im doing
something wrong, but not according to Meade. The last time I brought the
scope in, Meade tested the scope and autostar, and said it is performing
correclty.  But when I tested it, I got the inaccuracy as described
above. Meade says they will do whatever it takes to make me happy, such
as replacing the scope or autostar or both, but I dont want to
needlessly replace something if its not the problem.  I am really at a
loss here, and hope someone can give me a clue as to what is wrong. I
have the latest version of firmware installed, which Meade verified.

Ira
Mike here: This sounds a lot like the initial problems many users experienced (including me) with the early Autostar software. But since you indicate you are running the current AS version, we can rule that out. Battery level has also been known to affect accuracy; you might want to try batteries that you know are 100% fresh or get an AC Adapter. One test to try following the initial alignment. Do a GOTO Polaris and see how close you get to Polaris. If it is off, you may be getting a bad alignment star position. The next step would be to try other stars during the alignment.

Mike here: The Right Tube Adapter (RTA) on a loaner ETX-90EC failed again. This is the same ETX-90EC on which I previously repaired the RTA using the replacement part from Meade, as described on my ETX-90EC Comments page (near the bottom). Unlike the first failure, I suspect that this failure was caused by the weight of a 35mm camera that was mounted piggyback on the Optical Tube Assembly (OTA). Normally, this weight would not cause a problem but I left the camera mounted for about three weeks with the DEC Lock engaged. Apparently the stress was too much and the RTA failed. So, a word of caution to piggyback astrophotographers: don't leave the camera mounted for long periods of time with the DEC Lock engaged.


Subject:	 Meade ETX-90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, December 7, 1999 11:45:36
From:	tammy@itc-usa.com (Tammy Lahutsky)
Do you know of anywhere I can find a used ETX-90EC?

I'd like to buy one, but have no experience.  Is there a used sales
market somewhere for telescopes that you know of?
 
Thanks, 
Tammy Lahutsky
Mike here: Several readers have noted that eBay has some ETX models. Check www.ebay.com.

Subject:	Telescope Questions
Sent:	Sunday, December 5, 1999 8:34:35 PM
From:	WaggDR@aol.com
Enjoyed reading your page.  Appears that it was last updated several
months ago.  I am definately a "rookie" at space gazing, but hope to
improve with improved equipment.  As of Dec. 5, do you still feel
ETX-90EC is a good option, or are there better choices for the dollar? 
Portability is important, as I plan to take unit on the road with me
when camping.  You seem to be the expert on this.  Your advise would be
appreciated.  Also, are there used 90ECs available that may be a
consideration?  What version of the autostar should I say is "minimum".

Thanks for any information you can provide Mike.....David
Mike here: The whole site gets updated every 2-3 days normally so be certain to check the Feedback pages (see the menu for updated dates). The ETX-90EC remains the best choice in its category and price range. You'll likely want to get the Autostar #497 with the most recent software version (from Meade's web site). You'll also want the connector cable so that you can download the software into the Autostar.

Subject:	 Re: ETX90EC viewing near the equator
Sent:	Thursday, December 2, 1999 10:26:27
From:	tpspace@tpspace.com (Lee Wee Kiong)
Hi Serene,
Repling to your mail below:-

I too live in Singapore and should be able to assist you on this.

You can get a special tripod adapter made just for -22S to +22S to do
polar alignment in Singapore. Please contact tpspace@tpspace.com in
Singapore for more info.

Contact tpspace@tpspace.com again for the special low latitude field
tripod.

Meade product basically serves the higher latitute such as 22 degree or
more. Your should contact your local distributor for Meade accessories
custom made specially for your local condition. Planisphere for zero
degree latitude is available too.

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Copyright © 1999 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals are Copyright © 1999 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/90ecDec99.html