ETX-90/EC USER FEEDBACK - APRIL 1999
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-90/EC. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to both the original ETX model, the ETX-90/EC, and the ETX-125/EC 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.
Sky & Telescope ETX-90/EC review (4/30/99)
Meade #497 Autostar Supplementary Software Downloads (4/16/99)
Polar Alignment Technique (3/10/99)
|ETX-90/EC Press Release (1/28/99)
ETX-90/EC Accessories (1/28/99)
Subject: Help please Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 4:34:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org NEW MEADE ETX-90EC Am I glad I've found your website. The 'all new singing and dancing' ETX-90EC has finally hit the stores of the UK. I bought one about 3 weeks ago. The store sold my old ETX 2 days later. I was very happy with the old ETX and the thought of having one with a goto thrilled me. Oh despair!! The first ETX-90EC I bought failed to function properly in Altitude direction. The Alt-drive operated like a ratchet! In Alt/Az mode, it didn't find a thing, it didn't track and it was obvious there was something wrong with the alt drive. It was also obvious with the hand controller in place of the autostar. No problems, the store replaced the ETX for another one. I checked the motors in daylight and they looked better. Ready and eager I waited for a clear night (a rarity in Northern England!). We had one last night. So I set it up, going through the calibration, drive training and alignment. My colleague assisted me. We used his 12mm reticule eyepiece to train the drives very precisely then aligned using the 2 star method on Vega and Arcturus. The ETX was mounted on the ETX tripod and leveled using the bubble level. Time was very accurately entered. The only thing slightly out was the location as I used Liverpool as my location and I am 18 miles from the city. Imagine my disappointment when I slewed to Capella only to find it barely in the finder. I centere it and sync'd it. Then tried for a few other bright stars, none of which went near the standard eyepiece and were usually about 3 to 4 degrees out. Just visible in the finder. At one point I went from Capella to M36. Part of M36 was just visible in the telescope eyepiece so it couldn't even move a few degrees correctly. Am I expecting too much to get the object in the eyepiece? Am I doing something wrong? Shall I replace the ETX yet again? Help!! I have used LX200's and vixen driven reflectors in the past, both being very accuarate. Any help or suggestions would be very appreciated Regards, Steve Southern England internet id email@example.comMike here: There are a lot of possibilities here. I suggest you read through all the ETX-90/EC Feedback pages (don't forget the Feedback Archives). You may find some useful info. Also, the new Autostar version 1.1 does appear to have corrected a number of similar problems.
Subject: Piggyback astrophotography Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 19:00:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Summit Kundaria) I was wondering if piggyback astrophotography is possible with the ETX-90/EC and a 300mm lens. I know this is a pretty powerful zoom, and was wondering what the necessary equipment (guiding eyepiece magnification, etc.) would be needed for carrying it out. Also, I was wondering how the JMI counterbalance that comes with the piggyback adapter works, as I would like to attemp to make my own piggyback bracket and counterweight also. Thank you for the help. Sincerely, Summit Kundaria email@example.comMike here: I can't speak for piggyback astrophotography with the ETX-90/EC and a long telephoto lens but I have done this with my ETX (original model), the Microstar dual axis controller, and a 230mm lens. Using a reticle eyepiece helps a LOT. I would expect that the ETX-90/EC would perform similarly. You'll still want a reticle eyepiece to assist with the guiding. You can see some examples on the Astrophotography - Sky and Deep Sky pages.
I was meaning to ask whether, at high magnification, the slowest slewing speed was slow enough to keep the guide star in the box, or if it was too fast and would lead to overcorrection. 300mm is my goal, and I am not familiar with tracking tolerances, so I was wondering what kind of guiding eyepiece I would need and what the tolerance would be like. I know it would not be very much for the 300mm lens, but it would help me get an idea at the equipment I need.Mike here: Slow or fast, it doesn't matter. Both will lead to trailing. Exactly right-on is what will avoid trailing. In general, I would expect you should be able to correct DEC or RA in small increments without showing trailing on 35mm film with a 300mm lens.
Subject: ETX 90/EC dec. and r.a. slop Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 18:33:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (scott johnson) this is a follow-up to an earlier message i sent you. scrap the earlier one. several posts have asked how to deal with r.a. and dec. slop in the 90/ec. jordan blessing has posted his etx90/ec tune up page, with detailed pictures and instructions for curing backlash and similar problems. go to http://web.archive.org/web/20100105230338/http://home.att.net/%7Ejblessin/etx.htm and look for the tune-up page link. as both jordan and mike often warn, however, most of what jordan advises there voids meade warranty. try at your own risk. -- Scott Johnson
Subject: ETX-90/EC Quality Control problems Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 15:49:05 From: email@example.com (Matthew Newby) I've got a couple quality control questions for you all. First Question/Background info: At this point, I'm on my third ETX from the local Nature Company. The first one broke as soon as I got it home, and it got returned/replaced the same day. The second one broke about two weeks later--returned and replaced last Saturday. The problem has been the altitude tension knob--specifically the plastic thingy it screws into on the other side of the metal disk. When turning the knob to set the tension--going very gingerly, mind you--the center plastic piece shears in half right behind the brass screw insert. On the first one, I had tightened it to moderate tightness when it broke. On the second one, I was simply applying enough torque to keep the OTA from flopping around. Talking to the sales rep at the Nature Company, he assured me that they'd take back any equipment that's broken due to manufacturer defect for the life of the scope. I think I'm gonna laminate my original sales receipt... Anyone else having problems with quality control on this piece? I'm hoping it was a bad run through the injection molder, and that I've got one that won't break. Second question: has anyone found any work-arounds for some of the bugs in the 1.0c version of the Autostar? I'm on my second one of these... I ordered the #505 cable set from the Nature Company, but they are back-ordered 4-8 weeks (didn't anticipate the demand--I guess they didn't anticipate Meade would release buggy software that REQUIRES a new s/w image to use it, eh?). In the interim, I'd like to be able to GOTO different objects, but it doesn't seem to hit them after a successful align. I'm using the scope in Alt-Az mode. I got a Bogen 3230 tripod with the 3030 head, and manufactured a mounting plate from a 6" long piece of 2"x1/4" metal bar. I drilled holes for the ETX mounting screws and drilled and tapped a 1/4-20 hole in the middle for the tripod mounting shoe. When I took the tripod to the Nature Company to show the sales rep, he could't believe how solid it was--especially in comparison to the Field Tripod from Meade right beside it... Let's just say there's NO wobble in my setup, so any alignment problems are due to the Autostar. I've gone through the steps outlined in the new Autostar user's manual available on Meade's website, I've calibrated and trained both drives, created a location with my exact latitude and longitude and GMT offset (all the built-in longitudes and GMT offsets had the wrong sign in the database), and I still can't get it to work. Does anybody know what version of the Autostar software the reviewer in Sky & Telescope was using on his little baby? I'm beginning to think it ain't the same as mine. At least this Autostar doesn't say "BELOW HORIZION" for all the Guided Tour objects. Thanks for your feedback. -matt p.s. Mike, you've got a great site, and as a new ETX owner I'd like to thank you for your efforts. I don't know if I would have bought one of these if I didn't know there is a large community of smart folks our there who can support each other! p.p.s. If I return the ETX and the Autostar, I'm about $50 bucks short of getting a TeleView! :-) I really do want to see this thing work though! +-------------------------------------+ | Matthew Newby | | WebMaster, Noble Technologies, Inc. | | firstname.lastname@example.org | | http://www.nobletec.com/~newby/ | +-------------------------------------+ | But the noble man makes noble plans,| | and by noble deeds he stands. | | Isa 32:8 | +-------------------------------------+
Subject: Busy Day & Night for my ETX-90/EC Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 19:07:04 From: email@example.com (Michael Wrobel) Yesterday I was able to make full use of my ETX-90/EC The night before after looking at Mars, I removed the ETX tube assembly from the base and mounted it to my new lightweight, quick release camera tripod. I spent the whole day on the Lake Metroparks bird watching trip to Maumee Bay / Magee marsh / Ottowa National Wildlife refuge. I was able to use the ETX to look at Ruddy, Gadwall, & Wood ducks a Maumee Bay. I got a great close-up (25 feet away) of a Screech Owl peeping out at me from its "Owl" house. Most of my other observing was done with binoculars but it was great to have the ETX spotter along for these great high magnification views. Everybody along on the trip got a look see. I received many complements on the clarity of image produced by the ETX as compared to other spotter scopes in use. When we got home from the bird watching trip, I was able to get the ETX transformed back into 'astronomy' mode within 15 minutes (including a rough polar alignment without an Autostar). I set up for the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society's Sping Starfest put on in conjunction with the Lake Metroparks. I mainly had the ETX trained on the Moon, Mars & Venus as this was what most of the public was interested in looking at. This freed up the larger aperture scopes (Dobsonians, Smidtt Cass's, and a 6" Refractor) to show off the deep sky "Faint Fuzzies". I got a lot of interest in the ETX from the kids as they seem to take a liking to a scope that is more like their size. I even got more interest than I expected from the adults. Many of them where already familiar with what it looked like since we have a Natural Wonders store at out local mall. Several where keen to take a look through it as they themselves expressed an interest in buying an ETX. When the crowds died down, the members of the club had a great time just star gazing & looking through each others scopes. When I got home late that night, I almost decided to convert my ETX back into 'bird spotter' mode in preparation for today's early morning (7:30 A.M.) birdwalk. I figured that if I could manage to get up at 6:00 A.M. I would convert it then. As it turned out, I had so much fun on Saturday, I slepted like the dead until 10:00 A.M. & missed the Sunday bird walk. I must be slowing down in my old age. Clear Skys to All Mike Wrobel
Subject: ETX quality ? Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 20:17:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel) First of all, thanks for a great site ! I have just purchased my first telescope, the ETX/90. Unfortunately I couldn't get the Autostar directly, as they are on back order here in Sweden. (Will get one in May) Anyway, I did have some problems with the scope. The first unit I recieved had an extreme ammount of play in the gears. At the slowest speed it would take _1 minute_ to reverse directions. When I complained the dealer first replied that it was normal, but I resisted that thought. After a comparison with his demo scope, he unpacked another scope. It too had the same problem. After some discussions I went home with the demo scope which was his last piece (by now the dealer was pretty miserable, he had three scopes and 1 worked...). My guess regarding the reluctance from his part to admit the fault is that he either didn't know better or was trying to cheat me into taking a second class scope. Either way I didn't have an alternative, we only have 1 Meade dealer in Stockholm... :-/ My current scope appears to be in perfect shape (no play whatsoever in the drive), I really can't judge the optical quality (haven't had a clear sky yet, but the terrestial views have been sharp). Also, I'm pretty much a newbie so I don't know how to judge it more than if the view "looks good". :-) But, after my problems I am a bit curious. Exactly how prone to trouble is the ETX/90 ? Anyone else with a similar experience ? Best Regards and clear skies to you ! /Daniel Forslund, Stockholm, Sweden ------------------------------------------------------------------ d a n i e l f o r s l u n d v i s u a l i s e r i n g - animation and special effects - http://www.dfv.se ------------------------------------------------------------------ Personal Page: http://www.dfv.se/daniel.htmlMike here: There have been reports related to quality issues on both current models of the ETX. It is hard to say where the problem is. Damage in shipment (especially overseas)? Damage by users who then return the item to the dealer who puts it back in stock to sell? Or something that slipped by Meade's Quality Assurance Program (I'm assuming they have one)? Fortunately, Meade's policies with its dealers seems to be generous on exchanges.
Subject: Not Quite There Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 6:02:12 From: email@example.com (Chris Dugger) I need some advice from the group. First night with the EC, and I had mixed GOTO results. Aligned per instructions and after reviewing posts here, and found that on Easy Align, the scope moved with pretty good accuracy in AZ, but was consistenly low, I mean not even close in ALT. I went ahead and centered the alignment stars and sync'd, and the unit said it was a successful alignment. When I began using GOTO, I had fairly good results when working near the Pole, e.g. M81, M82, but went after Mars and the scope was again very low in ALT. I realigned several times with more of less similar results. Does this sound like anything obvious? I have a Bogen tripod, with the bubble level, and even checked the level on the OTA with a spirit level. Time is exact, placed Polaris in the red-dot to get home position. The only area where I may have a problem is with my location. I am not near any database site, so I entered my coordinates using a GPS. Did I read somwhere that the LAT/LON is not degrees and minutes, but degrees and a decimal equivalent? If so that could be my problem. Any help would be appreciated, it seems that its always something. Thanks, Chris DuggerMike here: If you haven't downloaded the Autostar 1.1 update, you should do that. Of course, you'll need Windows (right now) and a cable.
I have the latest version. I think that I am sorting it out. I had the lat/lon key'd in wrong, not a lot, but enough that it made a difference I'm sure. Then I started messing with the time zone. I live in northwestern michigan, actually west of a number of places that are in the central time zone. We are however in the eastern time zone. I thought that that might be the problem, so I entered +5.8 in the time zone setup. I was even worse off with that adjustment, so I think that I need to just enter +5, since the unit should know exactly where it is geographically. I also realized that while I was close to the home position, I was loosening the Az lock and rotating the OTA slightly to get a polar alignment, rather than keeping the dec knob over the power plug, and rotating the tripod. I'll figure it out. Since I haven't heard hundreds of users complaining that the ETX isn't pointing accurately, if must be driver error. Thanks for your response and for the support of the web page, Chris
Subject: AutoStar software upgrade question Sent: Friday, April 23, 1999 23:25:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bloch) Are you familiar enough with serial ports to tell me how to get the AutoStar 1.1 upgrade from my P.C. to the telescope. I got the software downloaded and the cable just came in from Scopetronics, but I am a total novice at hooking up anything to a serial/COM port, and my comp manuals do not help. Any help you can be is appreciated. Thanks, Robert Bloch email@example.comMike here: Basically, you connect the cable to the serial port on your PC. Depending upon how old your PC is, you may have different types of serial port connectors. Start by looking for a port that matches the connector on the cable you received from Scopetronix. If you found a match (connect to that port). If you don't find a match you may need to purchase an adapter from your local computer store. Since I don't use PCs (or DOS/Windows) when I don't have to, I don't have one at home to look at. Once you get connected, just run the installer that you downloaded from Meade's web site. Don't forget to connect the other end of the cable to the Autostar.
Subject: ETX Power Sent: Friday, April 23, 1999 7:18:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Andrew Jackson) I would like to thank (Don Barbee) email@example.com for his comments and suggestions. Don thanks for tips, I did try searching a few of the archives for 'power' before I posted the question about an alternative supply. As Mike says "There is a discussion of an Drive Alternative Power Source on the Tech Tips page. But that is for the original model and since there are more batteries in the ETX-90/EC I assume that the power requirements are slightly different." On your advice I also searched the March archive for Radio Shack, I could not find the post you refer to. There was a reference to batteries and to a power supply but nothing specific. For future reference do Radio Shack ship abroad, I live in Hong Kong? Any way with your information I think I can pick something up here. In hindsight your comments are too diplomatic "As for how much current you can put through an ETX, well that's not a proper question.", it was a proper question, just a stupid one. :) Many thanks for your advice. Andrew firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A few ETX questions :) Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 9:40:10 From: email@example.com (Briar Richard) I recently bought the ETX-90/EC, and thus far I've found it to be a remarkable scope. It's resolution has to be the most impressive feature. I guess its portability comes in a close second, but I'd lug a heavy scope around if its images were as clear. Get my drift? Last night I noticed that a new Meade ETX-125 had entered the market. Do you know its retail cost and compatability with the 90/EC's accessories? I still have my receipt, and if the price tag is $ 1000 or less, I might swap them for the difference. Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your time. Briar Richard
Subject: ETX-90EC power plug Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 8:31:57 From: Watkins.Reece@bis.bls.com (Reece Watkins) Just thought I'd add another story to the ETX saga. After playing around with the Radio Shack 12v supply recommended by other users here, I noticed that my ETX would no longer work off of the batteries! It turns out that none of the four Adapta-Plugs that come with that power supply are the correct fit for the ETX. The plug should be 5.5mm O.D. and 2.5mm I.D., or Radio Shack's Adapta-Plug "N" (white ring, USD$1.99). Returning my ETX to the Nature Company (100 miles round trip last night), they had one left. When I got that one home, the Azimuth motor was burned out. But using the "N" plug on it (nothing else to lose, I guess) did not wreck the power board. I believe that the green and tan plugs supplied with that power supply might have somehow shorted out the AC jack and disengaged the battery pack, but I'm not that electronic-savvy. All I'm saying to prospective purchasers of the 12v/1A power pack is to get the "N" Adapta-Plug while they are in the store to save themselves a potential hassle. Another nod to the Nature Company for agreeing to swap out my ETX again at another of their stores. These guys really are good to do business with. Hopefully, their merger with the Discovery Channel stores will continue the excellent service. On a non-related note, the SkyMap Pro Demo v5 will NOT work with Autostar ROM version 1.1m! Apparently, the LX-200 subset changed slightly from 1.0c and doesn't play nice with others any more. Chris Marriott, the author, posted on s.a.a. that he is aware of the problem and is asking for volunteers to test out a fix. Clear, dark skies, Reece Watkins
Subject: Yet More 90 EC useless info Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 6:38:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) I wish I had something as earth shattering to post as that 125 photo, but this will have to do for now... I returned my first baby to Natural Wonders and exchanged for a new one in the shipping box from meade (my first also came that way) - they gave me no hassles at all, and apologized that i had a problem! in addition, i returned my soft bag (useless) and 9.7 mm lens (overpaid at $89, and I like my lanathium zoom better) - they gave me no hassles, and a prompt refund. I told them rather than a refund, I'd be happy to apply credit and have them special order the 1244 focuser, and right angle view finder, but they mentioned Natural Wonders can not special order at this point - so anyway, kudos to Natural Wonders. Part 2 - I played with my new baby last night (indoors, as most of your readers seem to do) and I noticed the motors seemed stiffer than my first baby - perhaps less slop? my old baby lost it's goto after a few objects... Anyway, playing around with 1.1m on the autostar, and having performed a reset, calibrate motors, BUT NOT TESTING, in the alt-az mode i held down the mode button for about 2 seconds (per the brief quip in the manual) and i got the screen which you can scroll around for battery strength in percent, ra, alt az, and a couple of other things. Anyway, as I did not polar align, instead of RA and Dec, it indicated Alt Enc= and the next line was AZ Enc = - the altimuth had a small number (i didn't really raise the tube much) but the AZ really caught my attention - it seems to be zero when you have the scope in the home position, then scrolling around i could see what the "encoders saw" - by going at slow speeds, the AZ increased very slightly, then if i stopped it actually jumped back quite a bit - i guess tension was relieved on the encoder. it was interesting. As i rotated the scope 360, it zeroed at the home position, with the highest number being approximately 1,260,000 - i wonder what multiple of 2 raised to the X that is! anyway, for the Alt, it would yield a negative number, but I don't believe the AZ ever did - so from a hardware standpoint, the scope can not tell if it just rotated 360 degrees - a software flag could of course be set. It was also interesting that as i hit a stop, the numbers kept changing - in other words, the encoders spin while the scope is stationary - which lets me believe that hitting a stop will kill your alignment, and you have to easy align after hitting a stop. I tried this in polar mode (indoors) and sure enough, the RA continued to increase after the scope hit a stop. But wait, there's more! The other night, someone gave me coordinates to find a star named after them - i tried in Alt-Az mode - was nearly impossible to match the RA-Dec in Alt-Az mode as both sets of numbers move - polar mode would have been a cinch...anyway, last night i found that holding the mode, scrolling to polar, then holding the goto and releasing, mixed with a bit of the mode button allows a mediocre method of punching in the coordinates - i tried it a couple of times, was difficult to get right, and if you make a mistake there's no provision to backspace - anyway, the instructions can use a bit of work. Finally, after holding down that mode button for a couple of seconds (sounds like i was on a crusade!) there is a bar that appears in the top right of the screen, which corresponds to the motor speed - nice touch! Anyway, happy slewing, and now it's time for me to return the scope and wait for the 125! (actually, from the photo, it looks a bit bigger, bigger base, etc. - wonder if the tripod will work, weight, and of course, time for a bigger doskocil case, unless someone gets new foam blanks (about $18) and stores the scope diagonally - wish meade wasn't so tight lipped! Gary
Subject: Meade scope mount Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 21:21:04 From: email@example.com (Jim Ullom) Since you seem to be the guru on Meade, do you happen to know a source for an adapter plate that fits the new ETX-90/EC scope? As you know, the scope base has a dual screw setup that doesn't properly fit a standard tripod. It either requires an adapter to fit properly, or you must use their tripod. I guess Meade wants you to spend $200.00 on their product. Thanks.. Jim mailto:firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Visit the Scopetronix web site. They have what you need.
Thanks, I was EXACTLY what I needed! I appreciate your assistance.
Subject: Lessening Dec Slop in ETX-90/EC Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 4:46:10 From: email@example.com (Wayne Powell) I too found slop in the Dec gears a problem with my second ETX-90/EC (the first one went back after the power board went). Once the Dec is locked, you can too easily wiggle the main OTA up or down a degree by hand (or by putting your eye on the eyepiece). Taking out the main OTA reveals that the slight free movement is true "slop". The worm gears are not tightly mated and there is play between them. Although I don't have a suggestion for creating a snugger union between these gears (if anyone does, please post it, it's probably a general concern for any worm gear driven axis), I was able to reduce the ability of the Main OTA from accidental movement by hand by using plumber's Teflon tape around the joints where the arms that hold the OTA fit into the Fork assemblies (I tightened both right and left arms). Since these joints are round, I simply wound on a couple turns of Teflon tape (which self sticks pretty well) to make them a bit tighter. IF the union is too tight it would interfere with the scope's ability to move the OTA in Dec. I can tell there is added tension on the drive motor as the pitch of the motor has changed slightly. This solution is probably a temporary fix as, after time and movement, I can see the Teflon tape working its way out of the joint. This is an experimental, do at your own risk, possibly voiding warranty, your mileage may vary, kind of fix. This fix doesn't take out the actual gear slop of the mechanism when reversing directions, however as the gears still need time to rotate that degree or two in order to mate again. Maybe the possible answers are more and stiffer grease in the gears? Or a winding of Teflon tape on the gears themselves? I think we'd all like to hear any working suggestions that have been tried on any worm gear driven mount with slop problems. Thanks. Wayne Powell firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: ETX RA and Dec Knob Adjustments Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 13:58:58 From: email@example.com (Kevin Berg) Since I purchsed my ETX-90/EC a couple of months ago, I have noticed that the RA and Dec knobs are becoming "loose with use", and wondered what I can do to tighten them up, so that I don't have as much play on either axis after I have performed a "firm feel" tighten. It seems I can totally remove the Dec knob, but haven't done so yet because I want to make sure this is ok to do before I screw up anything. Can anyone suggest what can be done to correct the above problem? The scope still operates well, but I think both knobs need a "tighten up". Thx, KMB
Subject: ETX and SKYMAP PRO UPDATE Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 11:21:03 From: ROGER_WORTLEY@compuserve.com (ROGER WORTLEY) Thanks for the note regarding posting my message and I thank you for all your efforts. I have some further information after today's test The DEC angle sent by the computer always ends up at 0 Degrees in the Autostar the RA is reasonably close but not accurate. I have noticed the following however when entering Alt/Az Co-ordinates in manual via the Autostar the telescope goes off half cock. The following test proves its inaccuracy: - Set up as normal and "GOTO" Saturn (say) Press and hold "MODE" to enter "Manual" mode In RA/Dec mode press "GOTO" then ENTER" and "ENTER" again. The telescope will hardly move. - This is correct as it is already at these co-ordinates. Now scroll down to Alt/Az press "GOTO" then ENTER" and "ENTER" again. My telescope shoots miles off even though it's at the correct co-ordinates. The Autostar then updated the display with the new co-ordinates when it stops Does anybody have this problem? I'm wondering if they are related. Many thanks & Keep up the good work Best Regards Roger Wortley Electrical Design Consultant. London. England.
Subject: Alignment for ETX90/EC Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 8:43:54 From: MeteorMik@aol.com Here's a way to trick the telescope into alignment if it is not hitting the objects you're aiming for dead center in the main eyepiece field of view. Assuming the alignment stars are showing up in the finder field which is a must before continuing, see where the star lays against the cross hairs. If it is below constantly in Dec but okay in Ra, then do another alinment procedure but this time instead of centering the alignment star in the eyepiece field, put it in the lower part of the field corresponding to approximately where it was in the finder. Then hit okay. Do the same with the next star. This should trick the scope into believing it is dead centering the stars. I did this and afterwards, every object I slewed to was in the eyepeice field on the first shot. You may have to play with this procedure a couple of times to see where the object is ending up but it basically works if you can't seem to get them to center in the eyepeice by normal alignment procedures. Of course, it is imperative that your finder scope be accurately aligned to the main eyepiece field of view. Do this on Polaris since you won't have to worry about drift while performing the procedure. Good Luck, Meteormik@aol.com/
Subject: ETX/EC Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 15:08:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don Barbee) I think if email@example.com will check your March archives for the ETX/EC he will find a catalog number for a radio shack power supply that will do the trick. As for how much current you can put through an ETX, well that's not a proper question. If you are supplying 12V DC to the ETX/EC it will use exactly what it needs an no more. So you aren't going to 'push' anything through it. The problem would be not having enough push. In the case that Andrew mentioned 12V and 400mA, would probably be marginal. I'm betting on 500mA up to maybe 1A being better. A marginal supply would cause erratic operation especially when slewing since the motors eat a lot of power. The worst that would happen is the Autostar might reset. You can figure out what comes after that.
Don B -- Don Barbee firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com attn: Don Barbee 972/396-8297 Home office and voice mail 972/751-4670 10am - 7pm
Subject: ETX 90 EC with Skymap Pro Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 11:59:20 From: ROGER_WORTLEY@compuserve.com (ROGER WORTLEY) I'm glad I found your great site. I have a problem with Skymap Pro 5 (Registered version) and an ETX 90/EC. Made the cable, new software downloaded to Autostar V1.1m all ok. ETX and Autostar seem to perform ok - one of the lucky ones. Controlling the telescope from the Autostar and Skymap Pro shows the crosshairs on the screen in the correct position after a "GOTO". Time down load etc work ok. Here's my problem: when slewing from Skymap's right click menu the telescope moves to the wrong position. It appears to be approximately the same amount out each time. Pressing GOTO on the Autostar the telescope does not move, indicating it is at the correct co-ordinates sent. Re-selecting the object in the Autostar and pressing "GOTO" will send the telescope to the correct point and the Skymap display will be accurate. It appears that Skymap is sending the wrong position (I doubt it) or the autostar is miss-reading the data. When the telescope is communicating with the computer the system tends to crawl to a point where a right click for the menu takes forever on a 233 Pentium 2 with 64MB of RAM. Interesting point Skymap 3.2 (Registered version) also seems to function in the same manner as the pro version but in this case the computer does not slow down. I have tried alternative computers with the same result. In testing the cable out on Skymap with the old version of software V1.0c it seemed to function OK, but I can't remember if I used the "Slew" function in the test. I would be grateful for feed back from anyone who is having the same problems, or information on the software version that works for them. I need to try and determine whether the problem is with bugged software or a faulty Autostar. Many thanks Roger Wortley Electrical Design Consultant. London. England.
Subject: ETX-EC Slewing Problem Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 5:59:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Moenter) I have a new EC with just the standard controller. It won't slew continuously in RA/Azimuth. I hold the button down and it with slew 10-15 degrees and stop. I need to release and repress the button and it will slew another 10-15 degrees and stop. THis is true in either direction with either button so its not a button problem. It slews fine in Dec/Altitude. Sounds like it might have a bug in the controller software. Any suggestions. How does Meade handle warranty problems? I haven't contacted them yet. I'm waiting to get the Autostar till they get the bugs out Tom MoenterMike here: I've heard of others with this same "problem". It may be just the way the controller works.
Subject: Power supply for ETX 90 EC Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 6:31:08 From: email@example.com (Andrew Jackson) Thanks again for such a wonderful site I was wondering if you knew the power details of the ETX 90 EC. I know it is 12V but want to know how many amps it is safe to put through it. In my neck of the woods the mains voltage is 220, 50 hertz. I have an old mobile phone power supply that is multi voltage input and 12V 400ma out put, does anyone know if it is safe. Andrew firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: There is a discussion of an Drive Alternative Power Source on the Tech Tips page. But that is for the original model and since there are more batteries in the ETX-90/EC I assume that the power requirements are slightly different.
Subject: Re: Whine of the day... Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 5:41:04 From: email@example.com (Gary) as usual, thanks for the tip mike - i saw this e-mail this a.m. - i had skimmed jordan's site, and noticed that there is a new meade buggy autostar download as of april 13 - the old one wouldn't work on my notebook (my preferred "Meade" computer) - i was getting ready to re-install windows 95, as the software APPEARED to work on my other computers, while the notebook said missing files, illegal calls, etc.). Well, sure enough, I installed the new Autostar program, and it opened the dialogue box and appeared to run on the notebook - only one problem, it couldn't find the autostar! after much head scratching, i took apart my cable, and doh! I wired it backwards, despite being careful not to - previously i was using a multitester whose leads were too thick for the phone connection, so per your site, i bought the radio shack light bulb with leads for all of about $1.19 which showed me my leads were backwards...a little while later (ok, hour or so - definatly not as little as 15 minutes!) i had a working autostar cable, and 45 minutes later i had autostar 1.1m - will let you know how it works out when the rain stops around here. Here's a quick tip - to strip the impossibly small wires on the phone cord, i simply used my gas range at home to burn the insulation off - i imagine a match or lighter would work as well - does a much better job than stripping and cutting those little wires to pieces! I know, as usual I rambled, feel free to cute and paste any amount of this letter which you feel may be beneficial to others! Incidentally, I just got my first issue of sky and telescope (May), with a quasar on the cover - it reviews the ETX/EC and Autostar, and has nothing but praise - I'm almost ready to go out and buy an additional one, except I know they don't all work out of the box as claimed - talk about an optomisitic report! Finally, the ET from ETX stands for "Everyone's Telescope" - you probably knew that, but maybe not... Happy Seeing, Gary
Subject: AutoStar Win95 download utility program updated Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 19:24:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Herron) In case anyone else hasn't reported in, Meade has already posted an update to the AutoStar windows software for downloading the ROM. It's up to version 1.1 and the web page indicates it's been available since 4/13. I'm quite satisfied with my current setup since 1.1M installed but curiosity about whether the update for the AutoStar Automagic update included a newer (than 1.1M) rom image prompted me to download the package anyway. Meade's SETUP program creates an ephemerides subdirectory which contains the ROM images and celestial data that goes into the autostar. I did a quick binary file compare of all 9 files found there and it verifes that the AutoStar software itself is still 1.1M only the update program itself was tweaked.
Subject: Play in Dec Axis Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 15:31:54 From: email@example.com (Chris Dugger) I am curious about the play in the dec axis that was described in another previous post. I have a similar amount of play, 3 clicks on the setting circle dial, with the dec knob tight, and a very small amount of play in the RA. I have only gotten out one evening to try its pointing accuracy, and for reasons that I don't need to bore everyone with, I know that my easy alignment was not perfect, so I did not give it a fair test. I am hoping that this play is not really material, but one thing that I have discovered is that if you unscrew the dec tightening knob as loose as possible, and then retighten it snug, the "slop" goes away. Modest pressure can recreate it, but I suspect that normal operations, i.e, changing eyepieces, if you are careful, will allow for the dec to stay "locked" and not creep outside of its aligned accuracy. Obviously, we would wish that the unit had no slop at all, but having gotten a good optical instrument, one is reticent to enter the great product return lottery. Feedback please, should I send it back until satisfied, or is this kind of play to be expected. Thanks, Chris
Subject: Whine of the day... Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 10:21:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) I haven't written in with stupid questions in quite a while...well, until this one...actually, I've pretty much given up getting my still new and shiny 90 EC with Autostar to do what the box claims...I think I'm on the right track in that the scope will try to slew 370 degrees, but i can forget about go to pointing accurately at anything. I've read the posts, called meade, walked the walk (kinda), reset, recalibrated, retrained, re-retrained, took more trains, etc. For training, I've used 8 mm lenses, or barlowed 9.7 - i don't know how to possibly get more accuracy. I tried setting the lat/longitude accurately (tough - most of the sites are decimal, but i finally found a conversion). Anyway, I know you don't have one of these BAD boys, but I'm posting in case anyone has any ideas - my lat long and time are in the ball park or it wouldn't semi-accurately auto align for the 2 guide stars. I've been using Alt-Az with the old software. At this point, I'm thinking of bringing the whole shebang back to Natural Wonders for a replacement, or maybe a refund and I'll wait for the 125 to come out - anyone have any advise - maybe they can figure what I'm doing wrong - At times it will goto the general area, where the star MIGHT appear in the locater scope, but NEVER in the field scope. Oh, as an aside, last night I met someone while I was setting up - he used to star gaze, and between him guiding me with my Nightwatch and book, and me starhopping, I was able to see more last night than I ever did - Orion Nebula, pleiades, and the creme de la creme - the beehive nebula - i tried for m81/2, but couldn't find it - ok, thanks for listening, and any input greatly appreciated. I'm trying Staten Island, NY with Lat 40 31, Long 75 15, time zone + 5, daylight savings - thanks again!Mike here: Have you downloaded the new version from Meade's web site? Reports are that it helps tremendously.
Subject: Mini Marathon Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 1:47:35 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) Well, last night (April 13/14) I left work early...at 1 AM (I work nightshift) and took the ETX90EC/Autostar out to near Bowman's Tower in Bucks County, PA, about 20 miles north of Philadelphia. Temps around 38, low humidity, no dew. To the south/southwest, Philadelphia's dome of light pollution made it useless to work on anything less than about 40 degrees above the horizon. That still left plenty of zenith, north, east, west, northeast, northwest, and southeast skies useful. I have a dark spot to observe from, but by no means consider it free of light pollution. I could nearly read plain dark text on white background via the skyglow. Nonetheless, it is a major improvement over being IN Philadelphia, and is only about 25 minutes' drive for me. The summer Milky Way is BARELY visible. Anyway, sticking with M objects, I started with the Coma Virgo Cluster. Hit 104, 49, 60, 59, 58, 89, 90, 87, 86, 84, 88, 99, 98, 100, 85, 64. Many of these objects were at the edge of visibility from the light pollution/skyglow, especially the ones approaching mag 10 or with low surface brightness, while all that were [listed] brighter than mag 9 were fairly easy and showed some hint of structure. Missed 61. Next I moved on to the UMa area. Some objects were also just on the edge. Hit up 108, 106, 94, 63, 51, and the previously discussed 'elusive' M101. It was large and VERY dim...though mag listed as very bright, it is extended and has a very low surface brightness, but it WAS visible. Also did M97, the Owl, which is listed as mag 11 to 12, one of the two or three dimmest M objects. Guess what! It was WAY easier to see than the majority of mag 9 and dimmer galaxies, with even a hint of the 'owl' face visible. Missed 109. From there I swung over to some summer objects, clusters M52, 39, 29, 71, then M27, the Dumbbell (VERY nice, but that is expected), 56, then 57, the Ring, also very nice (seems planetaries, even 'dim' ones, are good subjects for the ETX from less than great skies), and then M11..beautiful. Tried Mars next, but there was too much turbulence. It was approaching 4:30 am, and at that point I figured I had a good night! Logged several...quite a few actually...M objects I never bothered star hopping to with my 6" Newt, saw a few ol' faves, and even saw a moving object (satellite, meteor, ??) in the eyepiece at one point. In each major area, I used the Synch function, and the Autostar was nearly dead-on for every object in the 26mm eyepiece, and even close with a 12.7mm Ke on a couple. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: New version of Autostar Upload available! Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 7:07:28 From: Watkins.Reece@bis.bls.com (Reece Watkins) I know you'll get a lot of email about this, but Meade has a new version of the Autostar Uploader on their site. It is dated 4-13-99, and the opening box displays version 1.1 of the uploader instead of version 1.0. I peeked into the ROM files, and it's the same 1.1M version as in last week's release. The new Uploader will not execute if it doesn't find the ETX on a serial port, though, so the trick I posted about compiling the ROMs for comets, asteroids, and satellites won't work. Haven't tried it much yet, but will when I get home today. Hopefully, it will download the Sat/Com/Ast ROMs as well this time. Clear (and dark) skies, Reece Watkins
Subject: ETX / EC Alignment Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 23:25:59 From: email@example.com The feature of slewing to the alignment stars during 'easy alignment' provides a means to perfectly align your telescope without needing to know which direction is which. In fact this is the quickest and easiest way to align an EC. First, assuming you've trained your telescope drive, make sure your site, date and time are set correctly. Level the telescope as best you can without getting carried away. Set home position and orient the whole scope so that the tube roughly points north (you should have 'some' idea of which direction your facing). Again, don't get carried away with accuracy at this stage. Now, do an easy alignment. You can use the unique feature that the EC provides in slewing to your alignment stars to fine tune your alignment. The autostar assumes that you've accurately aligned your telescope, and as such assumes that the first alignment star will be centred. So instead of using your arrow keys to centre the star, move the whole telescope to centre the star. If you're using one of the fancier wedges / tripods use the fine tune azimuth and altitude controls. Once the star is centred you now have a telescope which is facing north, and levelled ! Simply proceed with the second alignment star and the process is complete. You can also use this method for polar alignment, and it's particularly good for southern users who don't have a 'Polaris' (although - photography aside - why you would want to bother with polar alignment with the EC is beyond me). This method is unique to ETX as it is the only telescope that I know of that actually slews to your alignment stars. The accuracy of that first alignment star being centred is dependant on how well the scope was oriented - so why not use it to orient the telescope ? Note, it's never worth getting to carried away with alignment, because inaccuracies in the mount / motor combination of this inexpensive telescope will always introduce some error. For example, your second alignment star should theoretically be perfectly centred, but it probably won't be. The moral of the story ? Leave your compass and spirit level inside and use the ETX to align your mount. Clear skies, Paul (Perth, Western Australia)
Subj: The ETX 90/EC saga, Episode IV: The Scope Returns Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 18:39:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I am a bit overdue to report back on my adventures in Meade Service World. In earlier episodes we learned that my beloved ETX wobbled on its base and got sent back. We learned that it came home unfixed. We learned that it went back again amidst much wailing and gnashing of teeth. We learned that the first Autostar just got returned outright for credit cause it would not come within a couple of finder fields of doing what it is claimed to do. Well, Meade made a decent job of it the second time around. Mounted my optical tube in a new base and returned it to me 2nd day air. After three months I have an ETX that functions as it should have in the first place, and the optical tube is truly fine, if not superb. Inspired by my good fortune the second time around I ran right down to a local store to buy another Autostar. Just happened that four were in stock. What luck. The keypad did not illuminate on the one I bought, and when I took it back there were no others to choose from. I did notice one other returned Autostar sitting on the counter behind the clerk, but did not have the heart to ask what brought it back in. So now I have bought a Rigel Quickfinder and will spend some time learning to starhop. (see photo on left below) Notice the extremely high tech focusing device. Thanks for the clothespin tip. One of the simplest and best solutions. Yes that is a Scopetronix knob. It helps, but the clothespin is the ultimate solution. I might mention a couple of eyepieces that I am quite impressed with for this scope. (see photo on the right below) One comes from Paul Rini. It is a 35 mm marked MER. I suspect that stands for modified erfle. Who knows? Nevertheless, it is quite fine for the price of under 30 bucks. Little chip at one edge, but fairly sharp across a wide field that is claimed to be near 60 degrees. I don't know if that is technically possible in a 1 1/4 in eyepiece, but I do know that I use it more than my 40 mm TV plossl that I bought about the same time. In fact I will probably trade off or sell the 40, as the eye relief is a bit too much for my taste. Here is a photo of the Rini eyepiece next to left of the Meade 26 that we all have. I added the eyecup from Orion. The other eyepiece, on the right, is a lot more expensive (by about 200 bucks), but is probably worth it. The TV Panoptic 19 mm is as good as all the reviews that I have read says it is. It makes the 26 that comes with the scope a little redundant as the Panoptic field of view is almost as great at the Meade stock eyepiece. The TV is very crisp, with good contrast and if I could own only one eyepiece this would probably be it. That is the same conclusion that Todd Gross came to in his piece on the ETX (http://www.weatherman.com/wxastrob.htm) so I am not breaking any new ground here. Well I am rambling on now. Thanks for the opportunity to learn from fellow ETX owners and from yourself. PS: By the way the photos are with a Fuji MX700. Incredible little camera. My first digital, and it does work as advertised right out of the box.
Subject: How much play should the mount have? Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 8:24:16 From: email@example.com (Scott Cameron) I've been having fun with my ETX-90/EC, but I'm concerned with the amount of play (back-and-forth "wiggle room") there seems to be in both the vertical and horizontal directions. With the vertical and horizontal locks tightened "to a firm feel," as the manual says (whatever that means...), I still have about 1/4" of play in either direction. When the locks are tight, I can move the optical tube or fork mount by that much. This obviously makes the mount less steady and easily susceptible to vibration. Is this amount of play normal? Can I eliminate it? Scott Cameron
Subject: ETX Hand Controller Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 7:49:48 From: rwlange@PioneerPlanet.infi.net (Roger W. Lange) Hi There ETXers; Does anyone who has upgraded their ETX-90/EC to the Autostar have an original equipment hand controller they would be interested in selling? I'd like to do a little experimental upgrading of my old ETX. Please drop me a note with your asking price. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks, Roger (and thank you, Mike, for the site)
Subject: Autostar update report Sent: Saturday, April 10, 1999 20:23:27 From: email@example.com (Jim Herron) BIG TIME thanks to you and all the contributors to this site for making and keeping it the outstanding resource that it is. Without your site's info coupled with Jordan Blessing's clarification on AutoStar update software (thank JB!) I'd still be frustrated with 1.0c instead of optimistically expecting satisfaction with 1.1M. Building my cable from this site's specs was not that hard but certainly took me much more than 15 minutes. ScopeTronix suggests downloading SkyMap Pro 5 demo to prove their cables are functional, this was great for my sanity as I suspected my homebrew cable was causing the AutoStar Update software problems, SMP5 proved my cable was fine (the multi-meter was right). I did have some com port configuration issues I had fiddled with, so maybe that was causing the problem with the Meade's Win95 AutoStar Update software not finding the AutoStar. Or just maybe SkyMap initialized the port and THEN Meade's Win95 software was successful. Who knows, I'm very happy to report 1.1m is now installed so others finding themselves tangled in this procedure should not give up, if I worked for me it should work for most. And yes it did take close to 40 minutes to download. After some brief mid-afternoon experimenting with SkyMap controlling the scope (indoors) slewing it, updating it's time to the computers time, then slewing the scope via the AutoStar and watching SkyMap's display sync I'd say it seems compatible. I like SkyMap's interface, very nicely done. So.. FINALLY it appears GoTo will actually go to. It's raining tonight but double checking slewing destinations via the setting circles seem to indicate smooth sailing ahead. I won't know if I can thank the 1.1M update , the umpteenth reset/re-train or the new 12V converter to eliminate battery weakness from the equation (Radio Shack Cat No 273-1653B), but I hope to report in some positive results with the next clear night.Added later:
The optimism was well founded, tonight the skys cleared, not really free tonight but had to take a quick trip out back and at least try a few GoTo commands. Happy to say this combo (1.1M and stable 12V converter versus 8 AA batteries) knows it's sky! Two Star align on Alioth & Sirius, quick GoTo Rigel.. centered in the eyepiece, goto Betelguese centered, goto Venus.. aw nuts it's taking the long way around.. so I step around the west side as the scope slews South to East. Unfortunately somehow I disconnected 12volt cable from from the ETX base. Apparently it instantly switched down to batteries (65% was the reported strength 2 days ago when I opted for the converter). It dropped slewing speed and the pitch went way down.. perhaps the posts I read on battery strength sensitivity are on point? What to do.. it's still slewing.. maybe if I just plug in the converter it'll make its way around and find Venus I really don't have time to realign. Insert the converter plug and uh oh... the 2 line display goes dark but the LED light is still on bright... Arrrgh moment of silence.. swith off & on. It went through Initializing and displayed the Sun warning. Good enough for now.. I'm being missed inside.. appears no damage but I'll never plug the converter in while it's operating on batteries again! I'll always shut down, then plug in and finally power up and realign.
Subject: Autostar serial cable Sent: Saturday, April 10, 1999 16:58:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Nakata) Since the Autostar firmware update is out, I decided to build my own serial cable using Cameron Brennan's pinout on your Tech Tips page. I went to Radio Shack and found a nice 4-pin modular phone plug (P/N 279-298) that fits perfectly into the Autostar's serial port. The neat thing about this plug is that it allows you to insert the wires from a cable into a hole in the back, set the appropriate wires into appropriate slots, and screw on the cover. The pressure from the cover smashes the wires against some sharp contacts to make the connections - no stripping or soldering required! I bought that plug and a 6' DB9 serial cable from a computer store. The cable had a male and female end, so I cut off the male end, cut off about 1/2" of the outer jacket, stuck this into the Radio Shack plug, arranged the three wires appropriately, and screwed the cover on. I checked for the correct connections according to Cameron's diagram with an ohmmeter, and plugged the whole shebang into my computer and Autostar. After playing the games that Jordan Blessing supplied on his website with the Autostar software, the update downloaded the first time! The Radio Shack piece is $4.99 while the serial cable I bought was a ripoff at $9 making my financial investment in this $14. If you're not mechanically inclined, I highly recommend buying the cables from ScopeTronix - Jordan is en extremely nice guy and values his customers. Food for thought for those DIY (Do It Yourself) people out there! Brian
Subject: Another Autostar Software caveat... Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 8:51:55 From: Watkins.Reece@bis.bls.com (Reece Watkins) You may wish to post that the Autostar 1.1m software update program doesn't send the Asteroid, Satellite, or Comet ROMs to the Autostar, even though there is a facility for creating the ROMs out of specially-formatted text files. To create these ROMs, start the Autostar Upload program without having the serial cable connected to the computer. The options for selecting comet, asteroid, and satellite files will then be enabled. Pick the appropriate files, then press the "Process All Files" button. The ROMs will then be generated from the text files. Granted, this isn't much use as of now, since these files don't get sent, but for the terminally curious, well...there you are. By the way, I've written a small (410KB) Windows program called SatSnagger that will grab the latest TLE (two-line element) files from NASA's OIG server and let you save them for conversion to Autostar ROMs using the above process. Again, this is just a small convenience program, as anyone with a browser could get the files themselves, it just automates the download a bit. If there's someone who has some FTP space who'd want to post this, I'll make it available as unsupported freeware. Clear skies, and slopless drives, Reece Watkins
Subject: Serial cable Sent: Thursday, April 8, 1999 3:49:55 From: email@example.com (Paul Luckas) Just to let you know, I made up a serial cable as per Cameron Brennan's posting in the tech tips section and it worked fine.
Subject: New Autostar software Sent: Thursday, April 8, 1999 1:27:02 From: Grizz2@prodigy.net (Craig) Well I downloaded the new auto update software frome Meade and after visiting Jordan's site and configuring it correctly I uploaded the new ver. to my Autostar. It does take quite awhile to upload a good 45 min. I now am running Ver 1.1M and you do have to start from scratch after you upload. Re train drive..configure new site....just like out of the box. I have very clear skies now so tonight should be great for a little observing session. I'll try in polar mode and see what happens! now to figure out how to upload the asteroid and comet data. Clear skies Craig Added: I was out tonight and tried out the updated software. Well worked great! Even in polar mode. No more "Below the Horizon" messages.Viewed M35,36,37,42,45,44,NGC 869-886,Venus,Moon,M3 split Mizar (not hard) but nice. and Castor. The update so far works. Again Great site Mike and keep up the good work I'm sure all readers and posters appreciate your dedication to the ETX. Craig
Subject: Alignment stars Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 10:47:06 From: Robunos@aol.com As one of those whiney ETX Classic owners, I'm looking to upgrade to the ec90. My query is as follows. My regular observing site has a partially restricted horizon. When using EZalign, I'm worried that some of the chosen alignment stars will not be visible from my particular site. How difficult is a manual,choose my own stars alignment? TIA, Robin.Mike here: According to the manual on Meade's web site, you can just select another star using the controller.
Subject: Autostar Update Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 10:23:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jordan Blessing) I am trying to get the word out on using the new Autostar software update that has recently been posted to Meade's website. The software is very poorly documented and somewhat buggy. It took me an hour to figure out why it wasn't working and I'm trying to head off a barrage of calls from owners of our cable thinking it is defective. For those of you having problems getting the Autostar to connect using this software please the (04/07/99) Newsletter at my ETX site (http://web.archive.org/web/20100105230338/http://home.att.net/%7Ejblessin/etx.htm) I have posted instructions on getting this software setup. Once succesfully run your Autostar will be updated to Version 1.1m. Thanks! -- Jordan Blessing ScopeTronix Astronomy Products http://www.scopetronix.com
Subject: Moon Tracking Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 10:11:56 From: email@example.com (Jeff Shy) I had the exact same problem tracking the moon as suggested by a previous post.
Subject: AutoStar Feedback Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 23:08:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Thorpe) Yes the new AutoStar interface is available ... quick rundown: 1 The down load will re-set your AutoStar so you will loose any custom info. Such as Lat. Lon. 2 Motors will need to be re-trained, select state and city and ...... just like new setup 3 The Windows install folder also contains version 1.1m of the software! 4 The interface is very buggy but it will get the job done 5 It will take at least 20 min for the whole download 6 It automatically found my com port, nice touch 7 Now you can select from a 70 90 or 125 ETX ... oh the mystery of it all! 8 Have not had a chance to test it in the field yet (will polar mode work?!) 9 The read me file actually has an e-mail address to send bugs and comments to the engineers. 10 The help button does not work (it can't find the help file) Ten is enough for now. All Best Wishes and Clear Skies, Peter
Subject: New Autostar Software Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 14:09:32 From: email@example.com (Jonathan Day) You've probably gotten a million emails about it already, but just in case you haven't, Meade put up new Windows software for adding and editing information in the Autostar today. http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html -Jon
Subject: ETX bug fix Sent: Monday, April 5, 1999 7:47:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Gushue) I have seen several posts concerning the ETX scope with an Autostar slewing more than 300 degrees to an object that is only a few degrees away from the scopes point of aim. I stumbled onto the fix for this problem. Once the scope is obviously going to take the long way around press the SCROLL key. I use the down button. This causes the scope to stop moving. Then press the GOTO key again and it should take the shorter route to the desired object. BTW for those keeping statistics, my scope is missing one verticle stop but the viewfinder stops the scope instead... After this happens, I have to realign the viewfinder. Obviously, I don't want this to happen. Maybe I should send the scope back, but I watch it real carefully now. Cheers and Happy Slewing, Steve email@example.com www.buoy.com/~gushue
Subject: Deepsky99 Support for ETX! Sent: Friday, April 2, 1999 21:32:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Wyatt) I just checked out the Deepsky2000 astrosoftware now supports ETX. It sounds as if it includes a slide show function that lets you cycle through objects that were previously set up in a planner using your hand controller from outside even if the computer is inside. The site is definately worth checking out. They released the latest release of the program on March 30th. I'm not affiliated in any way, I just made my interface cable and was checking out the software... Here's the homepage URL http://www.deepsky2000.com/ Regards, ---------------------------------------------------- Mike Wyatt http://www.pclink.com/mwyatt email@example.com "Save a star, kill a light" ----------------------------------------------------
Subject: Meade Web Page Sent: Friday, April 2, 1999 8:22:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (jhaley3rd) First of all, thanks for your site. Have learned from some of the postings. I am having some trouble with my scope. I see I am not the only one to have the EC slew 350 degrees to get to an object 10 degrees away. Also having trouble with lunar rate. When it is in sidereal, with the moon in focus, and I change to lunar rate to track, the d---- thing takes off on me. The moon goes out of sight. If I return to sidereal rate, it recovers the moon and keeps tracking. What am I doing wrong, or is it the scope? I have tried to get on the Meade site last night and this moring, but could not make a connection. Anyone else having this problem? Joseph Haley TAS (Tallahassee Astronomical Soc.) email@example.com
Subject: etx initialization Sent: Thursday, April 1, 1999 6:25:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (renefigueroa) hi mike i am new to this site and the "etx" scope. i just purchased one from astronomics. so far very pleased with it. Barbara at astronomics was very friendly and helpful in helping me choose accessories for it and actually steered me away from a couple. the weather here in north carolina is supposed to improve and i began to prepare to initialize the autostar last night when i came upon the section asking for the nearest city. i live in new bern, nc, far from all these great cities mentioned in the software. is there a way for me to manually input my position to the computer? any help here will be greatly appreciated. thank you rene figueroa email@example.comMike here: According the Autostar manual (on Meade's web site), you can enter your own site under the Utilities --> Site menu.
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