Last updated: 30 June 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.

Subject:	 Electric Focuser
Sent:	Tuesday, June 29, 1999 13:57:59
From:	dkretzer@inreach.com (Dale N. Kretzer)
I was going to treat myself to the Meade #1244 Electric Focuser for my
new ETX-90/EC, but find Meade has yet to release them to the retail
outlets. Most report expecting them later in July. As an option, I
checked with JMI on their MotoFocus device usable on the ETX. They
kindly informed me it works fine, but cannot work by plugging the cable
into the base and using buttons on the AutoStar handbox. They report
Meade evidently has not activated a chip in the circuitry of the
AutoStar to send control voltages to the focuser motor. The end result
is you have to use the separate MotoFocus hand controller, which makes
things start to sound too much like all the remote controls in my living
room right now! We'll let you know when we have success in obtaining the
little Meade drive.

Subject:	 Dec slop and slewing on the ETX90/EC
Sent:	Thursday, June 24, 1999 10:38:58
From:	dginn@att.com (Doug Ginn)
Thanks for your site, missed it while it was down. I broke down and got
the 90 instead of waiting on the 125. The dollars just pushed the 125
out of my range and based on conversations here, I did not think it
would be that big a difference. I have about 90 days to change my mind
and return it to the Learning Center.

Question, what is tolerable slop on the Dec axis. I saw the question
from Steve about 1.5 degrees of play and mine has closer to 3 to 5,
however it does not seem to cause much problem. RA seems pretty tight.

Also, I get some vibration in RA while tracking in polar mode (no
Autostar yet) that slightly shows during viewing with the 26mm eyepiece
and delux tripod in time with the motor .  I haven't received my barlow
and I am wondering what it will be like on high powers. I went to the
Tune Up page and saw the tripod tip with the velcro and am going to try

Also, when I slew on the Dec axis (vertical) it starts moving and then
jumps a little like it sticks making centering a challenge. Slewing in
RA has a lot of delay when changing directions (making centering even
more of a challange), is this normal? Optically it is a great scope (my
first so I have nothing to compare it to, but sure does view well).

Based on all the information of problems with the scopes, I am wondering
if mine is of "normal" quality or not and if I should return it for
another, tune it up (don't want to invalidate warrenty) or get something
else. This is my first scope (and probably the last) and I want it to be
a good one.

You have one of the best web sites I have seen. Good layout and

Doug Ginn
Mike here: Any vibration during tracking is obviously unacceptable. But it might not be an ETX problem, but the mounting. Once you get the Autostar, you can try tracking in Alt/Az with the ETX-90EC on a sturdy flat surface. As to over/under-shooting when slewing, obviously this is more difficult at the higher speeds; what happens at the slowest speed? When changing directions in RA, there is some delay while the drive catches up for tracking.

Subject:	 Did you know?
Sent:	Wednesday, June 23, 1999 20:15:23
From:	mikedebr@digizen.net (Mike & Debra)
That Meade has shipped a number of new defective ETX's out to the
dealers...there is a problem with the vertical lock on the right side of
the fork.  When you lock it down manually, it doesn't lock down, the
tube still moves up and down...Meade has admitted the defect and is
taking defective units back from the dealers, so if anyone got one in
the last month, they need to check it out and take it back immediately.

Also, I just got in a LX-200 10" f/6.3 1600mm telescope, retailing
$3800.  If anyone wants to see it, they should come by, as a lot of
places do not have the LX-200s on display.  It's getting a lot of
attention, and I've had about a dozen people say they want it...but it's
not sold yet.  John Deriso played with it in my store, and boy was it
impressive...I want it, but I don't have the extra buckaroonies right
now, but if anyone does want this scope, it's usually a special order
item that takes 4-6 weeks to get from Meade.  It's the only one in our

I hope your site comes up later today...I love reading through it when I
have the time (when I am not living at my store).

Debra L. Mills
Natural Wonders
Fair Oaks Mall, Virginia

Subject:	 ETX-90EC Help! Vertical motor axis broken!
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 1999 13:28:54
From:	matten.neumann@t-online.de (mathias neumann)
Hopefully there is somebody out there in the universe to help solving my
big problem.

I am from Germany (Weinheim, a little village near Heidelberg), where
Meade dealers told me the 90EC model will not be available before end of
this year. So I took the advantage and bought one while I was on
business trip to Palo Alto, CA. Using the instrument two or three times
at home, everything went well. Setting the scope up for the next time I
could not lock the vertical axis. When digging into this problem I found
the dec. drive axis broken: a weak plastic part! Obviously caused by a
materials/manufacturing defect: the axis seems to be not fully moulded.

On August 11th we will have a total sun eclipse in the south of Germany
and I want to have a fixed instrument for viewing and photography.

How can I solve my problem? Meade dealers in Germany wont assist me.
Shall I contact directly Meade Instr. Corp.? Is there a realistic chance
to get a spare part right in time? Is this defect frequently reported?
Are there any hints for self-fixing (with special glue)?

Another issue when using the Autostar device: Every time when switching
the power on the dec. motor starts and does not stop. Stopping can only
be achieved by turning the power off. Several trials are needed to get a
normal initializing. Is there a tricky operation required or seems this
part also to be defective?

Oh, I am really frustrated!

Thanks in advance for your help!


P.S. I would appreciate getting e-mails to my both adresses:

Mike here: There have been some reports of the initial shipping ETX-90EC telescopes to have the DEC lock fail. You can see the problem in my review of the ETX-90EC. The replacement is simple once you get the part from Meade. I would think they could send one. Wouldn't hurt to call them. As to the DEC motor coming on and not stopping, that is a new one.

Subject:	ETX90EC + pictor 201 autoguider
Sent:	Sunday, June 20, 1999 15:14:11
From:	FjhDAVID@aol.com
Do you try to autoguide the ETX90EC with the pictor 201?

Do you connect the pictor directly in one of the two AUX slot of the
scope (or do you need the relay adapter)?


Subject:	 Loudness of ETX-EC90?
Sent:	Monday, June 14, 1999 20:44:48
From:	cptnsulu@ix.netcom.com (Cary N.)
To those who own an ETX-90EC, I was wondering how loud it is when 1)  it
is slewing its motors when searching for an object and also 2) when it
is slewing at its fastest speed by using the hand controller?

I am guessing that the ETX-125EC (which is what I want to purchase) is
going to be similiar and I want to know ahead of time if it is going to
be a loud telescope.

I want silence when observing the heavens.


Mike here: It is louder than my electric shaver when slewing at high speeds. I'm surprised the neighbors haven't asked about it. At tracking or slow speeds it is pretty quiet.

Subject:	 Microstar
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 1999 20:48:13
From:	drisaza@epm.net.co (Daniel Isaza)
I saw your photos on the Deep Sky section, they're incredible,
congratulations!! As you wrote on the page, they were guided using the
Microstar Dual Axis Drive Corrector. How is the guiding with the hand
controller that comes with the ETX 90 / EC. compared to the Microstar?

Again Great Page!!!

Mike here: Haven't tried the ETX-90EC for piggyback astrophotography yet.

Subject:	 ETX90EC Horizontal lock Prob
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 1999 8:59:43
From:	tjcase@wa.freei.net (T. Case)
I was so impressed with you web site and the ETX a year ago that I
started saving my mad money for a ETX, well as you know in the mean time
they came out with the ETX 90 EC, which I bought yesterday.

I have one problem, it appears as if I cannot unlock the
Horizontal/Right Ascension lock. If you were to veiw the lock arm from
the Photo Port side of the scope, it travels only 1/4 the distance to
the left or lock position. I suspect that the lock arm was mounted
incorrectly at the factory and now will not allow me to unlock it. I see
a small set screw on the arm and I'm thinking all I should have to do is
remove the arm and rotate it to the left and reset it.

Have you heard of this problem before, and do you think this would would
fix my problem. Thanks for any help that you might be able to provide.

   Toxie G. Case
   Pacific. Wa
Mike here: I don't recall any such problems being reported on my site. You could remove and reposition the lever arm. Assuming you didn't overtighten the lock arm in the first place, you should be able to move the arm to the left with sufficient pressure. But don't over do it or you could break something if it is really jammed.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC
Sent:	Thursday, June 10, 1999 5:57:58
From:	steve_southern@uk.ibm.com
I am now on my third ETX-90EC and have managed to use it with the
autostar version 1.1m. I went out at the weekend with it, we had a very
clear night, but it doesn't go very dark in Northern England this time
of year. It found m13, m57, Mars, alberio, mizar and a couple other
brighter objects. So it seems to be working ok now and is certainly an
improvement because I couldn't find anything before. With the 26m
eyepiece it managed to get the objects in view or in view then slew
slightly off view but I need to do a more prolonged test before I can
state I am happy with it. I may try training the drives more accurately
for the next session to see if that eliminates the slewing off problem.

I understand the importer into the UK (BC&F) is now stripping the
telescope mechanism down and de-greasing the dec clutch (I have one of
the de-greased models!). They seem to be implying that is the only
problem with them. What about the sloppy and loose gearing that seems to
contribute to the inaccuracy of the positioning? The one I have is still
sloppy, I have about one to one-and-a-half degress of 'slop' measured at
the dec setting circle when I move the tube up and down with minimum
force. Do you have any views on what is acceptable drive slop and what
pointing accuracy I should expect to get from the ETX-90EC??

Steve Southern
Mike here: There is some slop in the axes. The unit Meade sent me has more than yours has. The price of low cost. Interesting about degreasing.

Subject:	 Re: Josh Mallett's Comments
Sent:	Wednesday, June 9, 1999 8:38:08
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
With regard to Josh Mallett's comment on the amount of negative
feedback, there are some small points to remember. This is a very
specialised discussion by people who have already decided to buy the
90EC. Most comments are about problems because

a) We already know what works!  (and it IS a great scope).
b) We get a better idea of how/if a problem can be fixed
c) Quite simply, people complain more than they praise.

When was the last time you bought something at a store and told your
friends about the 'slightly ABOVE average service'? If it's not
exceptional, peole say nothing. But if it fails at all, even the
smallest amount...

Clear skies all,


Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.


Subject:	 ETX/EC review
Sent:	Tuesday, June 8, 1999 17:17:16
From:	jgoins@cedex.com (Joe Goins)
I liked your review of the EC.  I think I'll wait a while before I jump
on the EC bandwagon.  That way others can debug the programming for me
:^) .  Just curious, do you have to return the demo EC?

Joe Goins
Mike here: The new Autostar software seems to correct the problems reported by others and myself. I'm still waiting for a clear night when I can get out and try out the new s/w for myself. As to returning the evaluation unit, yes, at some point.

Subject:	 Autostar computers at Ritz camera
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 16:35:07
From:	jjpotts@usol.com (John J. Potts)
Ritz's camera has the autostar for $99.95 .  Check it out!


Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 1999 19:37:43
From:	ILVBASKETB@aol.com
I am thinking about buying an ETX-90EC. Your ETX-90EC is full of
negative comments and bad reports. I was wondering, if you were new to
astronomy and were considering buying an ETX-90EC as your first
telescope, would you buy one after reading all the bad reviews on sites
like yours? I was certain a week ago I was going to buy one, but now I'm
not sure if it is worth it.

Josh Mallett
Mike here: The bulk of my negative experiences, like other users, had to do with the Autostar 1.0 software. As I noted at the end of my review of just the ETX-90EC, it is an excellent telescope. I've not changed my mind about that. Now that I have the Autostar upgraded to 1.1m, I'm just waiting for a clear night to try it out and verify that, as others have reported, the new software eliminates the frustrations experienced with the original software.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC RA Motor Vibration
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 1999 12:03:23
From:	JDipaolo@bti.calkinsnewspapers.com (Joe DiPaolo)
Love your site and visit it just about every day. I have noticed, when
tracking objects with moderate to high magnification, the image is
blurred by the action of the RA motor in time with the pulsating sound
it makes. I have resorted to turning off the RA motor and just
re-centering the object with the slew function. Any thoughts? Thanks
again for an interesting and useful place to visit.
Joe DiPaolo-New Jersey
Mike here: How do you have the ETX mounted? Polar, Alt/Az? And on what type of mounting or surface? Can you detect any stiffness or binding when rotating the ETX by hand in either axis? If so, you might want to visit the Scopetronix web site for the ETX Tuneup Tips.

Added later:

Thanks Mike for the quick reply. I am using the ETX on the Meade ETX
tripod in Polar orientation. The movement in RA, by hand, is a bit stiff
even with the lock completely off. I will visit the Scopetronix site for
info. Also, on another small GE mount I have, I've noticed that the
drive motor is mechanically placed on rubber grommets, possibly to
minimize vibration transmitted through the mount to the OTA. I may
eventually try this if the condition persists.

Subject:	 Got New Autostar, Still Screwed-up
Sent:	Wednesday, June 2, 1999 15:43:15
From:	cdugger@freeway.net (Chris Dugger)
Finally got the latest Autostar from the new batch released to
Astronomics. Ver 1.1.  I'm now on my second ETX, first one with a loose
dec axis, second one with bad optics, and my second Autostar. 
Astronomics swapped the OTA from #1 into the mount from #2.  There is
still some combination of dec and/or Autostar logic problems.  I trained
motors, and was doing easy aligns indoors just to check function.
Sometimes the unit will not raise the OTA more than one or two degrees,
despite the fact that the align stars are well above that level.

Later, in using the arrow keys to try and manually raise the dec axis,
the damn thing went into an RA runaway.  It has happened twice.

I am frankly sick of screwing around with this thing.  It's great that
Meade can build these at such a low price point, but if they are so
cheap that they won't work reliably, what is the point.  I would never
spend really serious money with Meade, they just don't understand that
this stuff needs to work, not just occasionallly, but every time.

Color me pissed off...............

Chris Dugger

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