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ETX-90EC USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 28 January 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:	 Electric focus installation
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2000 19:16:08
From:	scott.patten@eds.com (Patten, Scott D)
G'day Mike,
Just a quick couple of experiences

1/ I purchased the electric focus attachment from Meade as part of an
internet gadget frenzy. I inserted the hexagonal key into the "head" of
the hex screw bolt that secures the focus knob to the focussing shaft.
Applied pressure and what should happen is the bolt head
shears(internally)  and the hexagonal nut internals are now circular. I
tried a variety of methods to get the little screw out but eventually I
pulled out the Black and Decker to do some real damage. Put a 3/32"
drill bit in and slowly drilled out the little fella. Eventually the nut
was disintegrated and the knob removed without any damage to the shaft
etc. All was installed and now my fat thumbs wont have to tweek the
focus. Perhaps now I will have to contact Meade to buy a new focus knob
and screw. It never rains but pours.

2/ I don't know if anyone has mentioned this but the ETX 90EC comes with
a cardboard template in its packaging that is great if you should be
going to cut foam for a case etc. It is just part of the protective
packaging.

Clear Skies mate ( we have had rain for the past week, a real pain but
we need it)

Scott Patten
* mailto:scott.patten@ieee.org
Mike here: Check the Scopetronix web site for some possible knob replacements, should the day come when you need one. I'm also getting ready to review a knob from another source.

Subject:	 Vertical Locker problem
Sent:	Tuesday, January 25, 2000 12:39:21
From:	gcamps@cycnova.com.ar (Gustavo Camps)
I'am from Argentina, in my last travel to USA (September), I bought a
Meade ETX 90, and I have a problem, when I lock the vertical
(declination) locker, still I Can move the tube vertically with my hand,
Is It Normal?, I think that it can introduce tracking errors.

Thank you for you response

Gustavo Camps

Sorry for my English
Mike here: It sounds like your Right Tube Adapter has failed. It is an easy fix once you get the part from Meade (see the repair I did near the end of my ETX-90EC comments page). You can also search the site for "Right Tube Adapter"; you'll get some other hits.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC won't slew vertically
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2000 19:35:51
From:	cgutilla@loveamac.com (Charles Gutilla)
Suddenly, my ETX-90 that we received for Christmas only a month ago
won't slew vertically. It's only been used 3 or 4 times. It seems to
move ok hotizontally, although it has a little more "slop" than before.
But, when I attempt to move it up or down (with either controller)...
nothin, not even a sound. I thought it might be the batteries, so I just
put a fresh batch of Duracell's in. It didn't help. Here's one thing...
when I removed the cover to replace the first batch of batteries, it
looked like one had leaked. Could the discharge from the leaking Rayovac
have caused the problem? Do I need to send this thing back, or is there
something I can do to take care of this?
Mike here: Does the DEC lock actually lock the tube in Declination? I suspect it won't, meaning you have a failed Right Tube Adapter. It is an easy replacement (once you get the part from Meade). See my ETX-90EC comments page, near the bottom of the page, for photos on doing the replacement. You can also search the site for "Right Tube Adapter"; you'll find a couple of other references to this failure.

Added later:

Thanks for responding. Yes, the DEC lock does lock tube in declination.
I called Meade today and the tech said that the Alt Motor was bad and
that Meade would completely replace the mechanism. He said that somtimes
wires shake loose during shipping. I've got it packed up to send back.
I'm just hoping it wasn't those bad batteries that caused the damage.

Subject:	 Default Controller Mode on Start Up
Sent:	Friday, January 21, 2000 19:53:05
From:	Ibn24@ix.netcom.com (Jerry Callaghan)
Just got my ETX90EC from Penny's 30% off sale...  Been waiting a long
time to get this scope and very happy I did.  Just have one question...
without changing the default boot up screws, the scope defaults to
northern hemisphere polar alignment.  Turn it off and on once or twice
and it comes up fine in alt/az mode. Checked the screws and they seem to
be in place... This seems to happen every once in a while when I power
up.  I haven't even manually changed the modes.  Just seems to do it on
its own.  Is this a glitch with the controller or a known issue?  Not
too concerned yet, but want to know if I should swap the scope out w/
another while I have my 30 day window...

Thanks!

Jerry

Just wanted to say great page, I've been hitting it for a year now and
knew exactly what other things were a necessity when I decided to break
the bank... can't thank you enough!
Mike here: I don't recall hearing any reports of switching modes at random.

Subject:	 Horizontal (RA) lock
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2000 07:08:07
From:	MHOLMES@NETVA.COM (HOLMES, MARK T.)
Hi! Just purchased the EXT 90ec. One quick question - the manual doesn't
make it very clear as to how far to the left I should push the
horizontal lock - I push it halfway and it seems to resist quite a bit
at that point, so I stop.  How do I know if I've gone far enough? (By
trying to twist the telescope on it's base and if it won't move, I'm far
enough?).  Just curious - I sort of expected it to click into a
position, but obviously that's not the case.

Thanks,
Mark
Mike here: The lock is more a "tension" lock rather than a "click something into place" lock. So, how much is enough? Seriously, just enough. Do not overtighten it. If the scope rotates properly under drive control, then you have it right.

Subject:	ETX90EC Slop in the Az Mechanism
Sent:	Wednesday, January 19, 2000 10:31:47
From:	Kellybob1@aol.com
Just got a new ETX90EC. Looks nice, but noticed that the Az drive seems
to have much slop in the drive mechanism.  ( Symptom- When using the
included manual controller, it takes about 3 seconds of motor spinning
to start the scope moving in the opposite horizontal direction.  Tried
to tighten the lock a bit more, and the problem persists...) A call to
Meade confirmed this was not normal and I was asked to return the scope
for another.  Off to JC Penney I go... Thanks so much for the great
resource!

Subject:	 Fw: ETX - how smooth should the DEC movement be ?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2000 11:50:43
From:	Pierre.Henrotay@skynet.be (Pierre Henrotay)
Mike, any hint or idea ? The sky is clouded since days here and I could
not make any real test.

Pierre

----- Original Message -----
From: Pierre Henrotay (Pierre.Henrotay@skynet.be)
Newsgroups: alt.telescopes.meade
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 8:57 PM
Subject: ETX - how smooth should the DEC movement be ?

>
> After long hesitation, I decided to apply to my ETX/90-EC the tune-up tips
> provided on the Scopetronix site; the Dec lock did no longer lock very
well
> and some slippage in Dec was noticeable. The instructions are quite clear
> (thanks, Jordan) and I only cared for the Dec axis: I did the recommended
> degreasing but did not roughen the surfaces, then regreased  with Lithium
> type grease where suggested, then recalibrated and retrained the alt
drive.
> All went OK but I did not get a chance to try yet.
> Something puzzles me anyway right here: it seems to me that the alt motion
> is less smooth than before; when moved by hand, I feel a bit of friction
and
> can even hear some noise when rotating the tube...the noise seems to come
> from the left fork arm; this one I did not touch, of course ???
> Without locking the Dec, the tube now remains in its position: I was
> expecting the tube to rotate due to its own weight (as I believe it was
> doing before my tune-up).
> When using the Dec motor, the tube starts first with a high speed rotation
> for a fraction of second, then proceeds at a uniform rotation speed. I did
> not observe this before.
> I am a bit anxious on how the scope will work when observing...clouds
since
> two days...
> The little test that I made allows me to remain optimistic: define a
> landmark, rotate the tube, go to landmark again and the target is close to
> center.
> Any hint/advice/suggestion ? Did I miss something ?
>
> Pierre

Subject:	 ETX90EC Mounting Confusion
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2000 20:27:38
From:	GSkoubis@ussco.com (Skoubis, George)
Great job on the site. I'm writing because I am confused after reading
your mounting tips when using the Deluxe Field Tripod.  You mentioned to
have the field legs pointing toward the earth instead of skyward.  Is
this also true in the Home Position?  Would this mean that when you want
to place the ETX in the Home Position and you unlock the R.A. turning it
counter clockwise until it stops and then turning clockwise you want to
bypass the first fork arm (where the manual says stop) and go all the
way around to the second fork arm?  This is the only way I know how to
have the field leg screws pointing earthward. I am thoroughly confused
because even the picture shown in the online Autostar Manual on Meade's
page has the ETX (with no tripod though, just the base) pointed North
with the field legs screws pointing North (which would be skyward).

Help me I've fallen and I can't get up.
Skouby
Mike here: The table top legs can not be used when pointed skywards (obviously). So they must be pointed downward. The manual had the photo wrong. Since the base rotates (even though the legs are fixed) you can still get the proper orientation of the scope.

And:

Thanks for responding.
Does this effect Alt/Alz Home Position at all?
If I put it in Home Position according to the manual and place it on a
tripod the field leg screws are outward.  Will this bring on hard stops?
Since Polar Home Position is also first setup the same way as Alt/Alz
before aligning to Polaris, how do you define Home Position then for
both?

Home Position:
I unlock the R.A.
Turn counter-clockwise until it stops
Then do I turn clockwise until the Dec Numbers are over the panel? (this
would leave the field leg screws outward and if you polar align at this
point they will be skyward)
Or do you turn clockwise past the Dec Numbers (first fork) and go around
to the second fork (without the Dec Numbers) which would have the screws
pointing downward.

I just want to prevent damage or hard stops.
Mike here: The control panel position is on the west side in Alt/Az. The table top legs would be horizontal if they were attached. From your words for Polar mounting, it sounds like you are wanting to rotate the whole base (resulting in the table legs pointing skyward). This is incorrect. Leave the base with the control panel on the west side, do the rotation of just the forks and OTA per the manual and descriptions on my ETX site. But unless you absolutely need to use Polar, stick with Alt/Az until you get more experience. You'll get better results. As to the hard stops, you can't avoid them but don't worry about them.

Added later:

Thanks clearing up the confusion.
I'll stick to Alt/Az.

Subj: 	My Batteries Are Mixed Up [weird one]
Date: 	Saturday, January 15, 2000 07:52:04
From: 	Speclgrl@aol.com
Last week while surfing the web I came across your website and
immediately caught the astronomy bug. I had just bought the ETX70EC from
WALMART and decided after reading your site through, to return it and
proceed to the nearest Nature Co. to purchase the EXT90EC.

Well, much to my surprise they did not have any instock and I now have
to wait till this Tuesday for the new shipments to come in. After
several calls to other Nature Co. stores I found one 50 miles away [West
Palm Beach] so I had them hold their last one for me.

Yesterday night I brought it home and immediately unpacked it with the
hopes of catching up with Jupiter before it fell beyond the horizon.

I placed the 8 AA batteries into the unit and turned on the switch
[nothing], no momentary motor sounds nor did the LED light up. I turned
the telescope on it's side wondering if it was locked up from the
factory as a precaution for shipping. I did not see any locks but I did
see smoke [OMG]. I shut the unit off and removed the battery cover
thinking that I placed the batteries in upside down. Removing the
batteries I almost burnt my hand off [they were so hot].

Removing the batteries I noticed they were not upside down, they were in
correctly. When you have hot batteries that can only mean they were in
upside down, so I installed the batteries upside down and turned the
unit back on and it works great.

I cannot believe my eyes, have you ever heard of something so
ridiculous. I am not kidding you, when I tell you that my ETX90 has the
batteries in upside down and works fine. Place the batteries in right
side up and it smokes.

Now my question is, do I return it to the store 50 miles away or can I
return it to the store up the street. I am almost considering hanging on
to it and calling MEADE on Monday hoping they exchange it for an EXT125
to cover up their goof :)

What would you do at this point, I'm sure this telescope is one in a
million item, maybe a collectors piece, send me your reply, I'm rolling
on the floor laughing.

Thanks ever so much for publishing your web page, after spending close
to 10 hrs on the site, I have picked up so much info, I just can't thank
you enough.

Roberta Diamond Boca Raton FL

Ps: I checked with LEARNINGSMITH hoping to save a few dollars but the
store was closed up the street and boarded up in West Palm Beach, I
think they went bankruptcy.
Mike here: That is odd. Do you know WHAT was smoking? If just a coating on the batteries, no problem. But if it was the ETX circuit, BIG problem. If the latter, I think you should definitely return it. The Nature Company stores are great and you can probably exchange it at the local store. LEARNINGSMITH has gone out of business.

Subj: 	etx 90 ec
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 15:55:39
From: 	alhst@yahoo.co.uk
Have just bought a meade etx-90ec,and @ the moment im checking it
through to make sure its working ok ! the only thing im not sure about
is when using the standard electronic controller\& making a
movement,afterwards the drive motor continues to motor very slightly
basically sounds like its just ticking over!also have the autostar,which
does not suffer the same problem,will use the autostar obviously but
would like to know if standard conttroller is ok! I know everybody must
say it but thrilled to find a site dedicated to the (Meade)
                      yours 
                           Alon Wilkins
                           Plymouth SW UK   
Mike here: If the standard controller is set for polar mode, the noise you hear is the Right Ascension drive motor running to track the sky movement. This is normal.

Subj: 	ETX 90 Problem
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 02:49:45
From: 	johncon@ozemail.com.au
G'day :)

1st off, thanks for the web page, it is very helpful.

I have an ETX 90 and the autostar controller. It's about 3 months old,
all has been going well, no problems alignment or with it finding
objects. At least 95% of objects appear in the field of view of the 26mm
lens. About the only thing it has problems with are the moon and
sometimes jupiter and saturn.

Anyway now for my problem. The other night I was having a viewing
session with my daughter and as the scope was slewing to an object it
changed directions for no reason and finally came to a stop block and
just sat there moaning away. I thought the batteries might be going flat
so we just turned it off and came home. I changed batteries today and
found the scope will only move left and right, and won't move up and
down. I've tried plugging in the original hand controller which had the
same result and I've made sure the knobs are done up firmly.

I live in Australia but bought the scope while in America which may
cause a few warranty problems (but I hope not) so I was wondering is
there something I should look for before making enquiries about where I
can get warranty work done.

John Connors
Mike here: Does the OTA move in DEC even though the DEC lock is fully engaged? If so, you have a busted Right Tube Adapter. It is an easy fix (if you can get the part from Meade); see my ETX-90EC comments; repair report is near the end.

Added later:

Yes it does so that looks like the problem :(
It doesn't look too complicated. I'll be contacting meade shortly to see
what they recommend. Thankyou very much for your time it is greatly
appreciated.

Subj: 	ETX-90EC Questions
Date: 	Saturday, January 8, 2000 23:08:43
From: 	tricomp1@earthlink.net
First and foremost, thanks for a great site. Having administered BBs and
websites myself, I appreciate the level of effort involved. Great job
and THANKS!! (don't get enough of those).

Anyway, while waiting for delivery of a 10" LX200, I picked up a
etx-90ec for my kids. Started playing with it tonight and generated a
few questions. My set up is deluxe field tripod with mount in equatorial
mode. ETX-90ec with Autostar 497 controller. I set up the tripod as
instructed with N leg to the north, tripod balanced, and lat set for 34.

1st question: Autostar manual says that home position if with the
telescope "level (at 0) and pointed north." If the tube is parallel with
the forks, the dec reads 90, not 0 (0 would be perpendicular to the
forks and pointed down at the ground). Shouldn't the tube point at
Polaris?

2nd question: Autostar manual then says release the ETX horizontal lock
lever (RA lock in equatorial mode) and then "turn the telescope
counterclockwise until it stops". Is that ccw looking N or S? Shouldn't
the finder scope and scope eyepiece be on "top" of the tube when
aligned?

3rd question: Have I got a faulty RA setting circle? It's merely a band
of paper that is loose and can rotate independently of the base.
Shouldn't it be in a fixed position (i.e., 0/0 aligned with triangle at
top of ETX base (i.e., top of the mount)? Otherwise, how can you
determine what your actual RA is?

Thanks in advance.

Michael

OBTW: After using the "easy" alignment procedure for the Autostar, I
then did a "GOTO" for Polaris. Tube pointed pretty close to Polaris, but
the tube was "upside down" and the eyepiece was under the scope. Once
the goto is complete, can you release the horizontal lock, rotate the
tube barrel for ease of access to the eyepiece and then relock? How
would that affect the next goto?
Mike here: It sounds like you are using the Alt/Az HOME position instructions, not the Polar instructions. The RA band is supposed to move. If you elect to use it, you locate a known object and slide the band to its RA with the object centered in the eyepiece. With the RA clock drive running, you can use the band to locate other objects (approximately) by rotating the scope to show the proper RA and DEC. Regarding the upside-down OTA, your alignment was likely 180 degrees off. Easily done when using stars near the pole.

Added later:

Thanks for the come-back.

I've confirmed with my dealer that I'm correctly set up for Polar ("N"
tripod leg pointed at true north, tripod lat set at 33.4, forks aimed at
Polaris, tube at 90 pointed at Polaris, AutoStar set for polar, drive
"trained" and everything else according to the book. Still can't get a
good slew or alignment.

Ironically, I've tried twice to use the one-star method which starts
with a centering on Polaris. Since the AutoStar selects Polaris, it
automatically starts the scope slewing to Polaris. The dec stays at 90
but the scope rotates 180 clockwise so that the eyepiece winds up upside
down again. Twice! Dealer is knowledgeable but hasn't heard this one. He
had me set up one of his ETXs in the store and it did nothing...just
accepted that Polaris must already be centered. Tried again on my scope
and this time it only rotated on the RA axis by 90. Confusing!

One thing I didn't check with the dealer was the latest RAM version for
the AutoStar. Mine is 1.3b...guess I'll have to see if I can get Meade's
latest version number. If it's not that, maybe I've got a lemon. Any
other solutions?
Mike here: Have you tried Alt/Az? Many users have much better luck in that mode. Aligning on Polaris can be tricky. Easy to get off by 180 degrees.

Subj: 	Alternate power sources
Date: 	Friday, January 7, 2000 18:24:40
From: 	kenng@QNET.COM
One solution for an alternate, 115 VAC power source for the ETX is a
Radio Shack 12VDC, 1500 mA  filtered Power Adapter.  The part number for
the Power Adapter is 273-1779 and the selectable adapter plug is
273-1717 (color coded ring is white).  When attaching the adapter plug
to the Power Adapter, pay close attention to the polarity to ensure a
center pole positive connection. The 15 volt (unloaded) 1500 mA output
lines up well with your research into the Meade Power Adapter.  The
price is $19.95 and certainly makes a cost effective alternative to
batteries when using the ETX near a 115 VAC power source.

Ken

Subj: 	ETX90-EC Problem...I think!
Date: 	Friday, January 7, 2000 18:22:02
From: 	trevor_clopton@tekno.com
I just purchased an ETX90-EC with the Autostar. The first time I tried
to use it and wanted to do a polar align, the scope moved in both axises
without difficultly. I didn't get a chance to look through the scope or
finish the alignment. Now the scope won't move on the Horz Axis. It just
makes a grinding noise. Am I doing something wrong? The Horz. Lock is
engaged and it sometimes moves a little but then stops and grinds. Is it
time for a return?

Thanks for your help.

Trevor
Mike here: Have you tried retraining the drives? What happens?

Added later:

I did find the utility to train the gearmotors and it didn't help. I
have sent it back for a replacement.

Subj: 	More ETX-90EC Questions
Date: 	Friday, January 7, 2000 13:54:04
From: 	newmercies@mindspring.com
I wrote you briefly about a focusing problem just before Christmas. I've
spent most of this afternoon reading most of your website and have a
couple more questions.

1.  I take it that many users are having problems with some sort of
"lash" or "slop" (forgive me if I use the wrong terms.  I'm bright, but
some of the stuff on the Tech Tips page overwhelmed me) while slewing or
tracking?  When slewing horizontally, I get what I would term a "delay",
where the drive runs for two or three seconds without movement, and then
suddenly there is a "release" and it seems to overcompensate somewhat,
often going slightly past the object I am trying to view.  Is this
something I should send the scope into Meade for?  I get this both when
using the Electronic Controller (at any slew speed) and Autostar, and
not at all when slewing vertically.  I have correctly aligned the
viewfinder and properly trained the drives three times and the problem
persists.

2.  What does someone do who doesn't have the mechanical expertise or
equipment to make some of the modifications mentioned on the Tech page?
I, personally, would not want to do anything at this point that would
void my warrenty, however, the above problem is fairly annoying (enough
that I am bothering you about it!).

3.  Of the finderscopes listed on your site, which do you use?  I have
some neck and back problems that make the 90 degree conversion kits or
scopes attractive, but some of the rifle/shotgun scope folks sound
mighty happy with their choices as well.

4.  The Cambridge Star Atlas was mentioned.  Are you familiar with this
book and do you recommend it if so?

I think that is all for now.  I've enjoyed the site and its been most
helpful.  I still love my ETX even with the slewing problems.  Thanks
for your time!

Laurel
Mike here: Some "backlash" seems to be normal in these low-end consumer scopes (whether from Meade or Celestron). There may be things that a reasonably competent person could do to tighten up the gears but from your description, I don't think you want to try it. If you feel the backlash is too much, contact Meade. If indeed it is beyond specs (whatever they are) then they can adjust it. I use all the finders I have personally reviewed on the site: The Scopetronix LightSight, the Rigel QuikFinder, and the Shutan (Apogee) Right Angle Adapter mod. They each have their uses. As to the "Cambridge Star Atlas", I've heard of it but don't have one.

Added later:

Thank you for your help!  I'll be contacting Meade Monday AM.

Subj: 	New ETX90EC user questions
Date: 	Wednesday, January 5, 2000 08:27:55
From: 	SQU123@aol.com
Let me say this first off, this site is a huge help. I have never seen
so much information available to someone starting out green in a hobby. 
That aside,

I have received a new ETX90EC, Autostar controller and field tripod for
the holidays.  I have had several questions answered by your site
already, but some of the things I'm still confused about.

A.  Which mode should I use polar or alt/az?
B.  Do you have to switch between them with the set screws on the
origional hand controller and not via the Autostar controller?
C.  Also, what were the issues with the older versions of Autostar
software?
Mike here: With the Autostar, most times you can just use Alt/Az. About the only time you will really need to use Polar mode is if doing piggyback or other long duration astrophotography. Without an Autostar, you'll want to use Polar whenever you want objects in the sky to stay put in the eyepiece. When not using an Autostar, you can switch on startup. I forget the button presses but it is described in the basic ETX-90EC manual. Basically, there have been improvements in alignment setup and object tracking. You can read some info about older versions on the Autostar Information page on my site.

Subj: 	meade ETX90 question...
Date: 	Monday, January 3, 2000 18:51:15
From: 	Daniel_Casey@mail.jbhunt.com
Do you know if it's possible to attatch the newer ETX90EC base to the
older ETX90?  I've got the ETX90 with the motor drive base, but it
doesn't have the ability to use the autostar.  I wasn't sure if I could
just take off the existing base and attach a new one or not.

Thanks,

Daniel
Mike here: It is possible but there is no upgrade (or just the base) available from Meade.

Subj: 	ETX Tripod Mounting
Date: 	Monday, January 3, 2000 15:57:09
From: 	pvaughn@carolina.rr.com
As a new owner of an ETX-90EC w/Autostar, I really appreciate your
maintaining the ETX site.  It is a tremendous resource for an amazing
telescope.

Quick question - I have a Bogen 3221 photo tripod that I would like to
use with the telescope.  My ETX does not have a center hole, but rather
two holes across from each other each about an inch from the edge of the
base.  At the center of the base is the battery door.  What is the best
way to adapt my tripod to the ETX without spending a fortune?  Can you
suggest one or more products, and where I might find them for purchase
online?  Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Patrick Vaughn

pvaughn@carolina.rr.com
Mike here: Check the Tripods page. Shutan has an item that will work. So does Scopetronix (shown on their web site).

Subj: 	How level does level have to be?
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 21:53:07
From: 	jwm@firststep.net
I am becoming a lower magnum # because of you. Thanks for your dedication to this.

Like most of the posts recently, I also recieved the ETX90 as a gift. as
well as the autostar. It's cold in Michigan this time of year, but the
last few days have been in the upper 30's and lower 40's, so out I went
with my new "toy" just checking out bright stuff in the sky and
familiarizing myself with the stars and constelations. Brother and
sister and families over for party. Anyway, I landed on what I think was
Venus. I thought it was a star in the finderscope. But when I looked
through the eyepiece I jumped with joy. It was big and the other dots
around it were small, "Hey my first planet". Then I went just a little
East to this other bright star and looked through the eyepiece "Oh my
gosh, Saturn" I about wet my pants. I ran into the house screaming for
everyone to come out. I mean I didn't think that you could "really" see
the rings but we did (with a 26mm). So for about 15 minutes everyone had
a chance to goggle at the amazing Saturn. After they had all left I
stayed up until 1AM trying to setup the alignment. That's when I started
to get a little discouraged. In easy mode, it would go to a star that I
had never heard of and I scrambled through the book to find it. Well I
went back and forth guessing at which star was which, and then gave up
at 1. Tonight I just went out about 9:30 and thought I would be very
careful with the setup. I leveled the scope in the home position (back
lined up with the control panel, all facing North at 0') then with the
controler I panned 90' to the right and leveled the tripod again, then
rechecked the home positon. All pretty level. Then I decided to forget
about the easy setup and went to the two star setup. I used Sirius and
Bettlejuice :~) then searched for the Orion Nebula. The scope went there
and the nebula was dead center and tracked fine. Then I thought that I
would test it into the SW for Saturn again. It got close,(within the
finders edge) and I had to center manually since it wasn't in the
eyepiece view at all. Now the question. Does the tripod head/telescope
base have to be dead level? or does the software automatically figure
the whole thing regardles of level? Do you know of any perfect ways to
setup/align and should the two stars be 90' from one another for better
accuracy?
Thank you, John Marion
Mike here: First off, that was Jupiter, not Venus, and some of its brighter moons you saw west of Saturn. As to leveling the base, it doesn't have to be perfectly level but should be at least visually level. I suspect one problem you may have had was selecting alignment stars that were too close. The further apart (like 90 degrees) the better. And they really should be at different RA and DEC positions.

Subj: 	Greetings
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 15:14:44
From: 	s2192@mindspring.com
Knowing nothing about telescopes, with the direction of a sales clerk, I
purchased a Meade telescope for my husband for Xmas and went to the
Meade website to have a look around.  Found a photo of the ETX 90CE and
was totally amazed that such a thing exsisted!!!  Never even took the
original out of the box, took it back, got my money back and went to
Natural Wonders and bought the ETX 90CE!!!  It definately has opened up
a whole new world that we never knew exsisted.  Yes, I saw pictures of
Mars, Saturn, etc. but never with my own eyes!!! I stumbled upon your
website (a sign from God) and we have been reading nonstop trying to
educate ourselves about astronomy.  I just purchased Starry Night
Backyard Pro and am amazed.  I can't believe we lived this long and
never took the time to explore the stars.  Thanks so much for your
website and the hard work you must put into it to make it so great.
Sue & Mike DeBord
P.S.  We live in St. Petersburg, Fl.  and the biggest problem so far is
the condensation on the lens.  Time for another trip to the store for a
Dew Cap.  Clear Skies

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