ETX-60, ETX-70, & ETX-80 USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 April 2007

This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT, ETX-80AT-TC, and ETX-80BB. Additional information is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. 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:	Helped Needed to Align an ETX-60AT
Sent:	Friday, April 27, 2007 11:30:19
From:	Steven S. Greene (sgreene978@gmail.com)
First, thanks for a very helpful site. I can imagine the work it takes
to create it and maintain it and as an individual coming back to
Astronomy, thank you for all your efforts.

Now here's the problem: Here's my current situation: I purchased a used,
Meade ETX-60AT, with a tripod, 25mm and 9 mm lenses. Yesterday, my
Barlow 2X lens arrived. When I received the scope, I reset all settings
to "factory" and then entered my personal data and location. I also
"trained the drives" using a streetlight, during the late afternoon. In
trying to set up the scope for viewing, first I use a small level to
make sure the tripod is balanced level. Then, following the advice of a
Meade support tech, I rotate the scope counterclockwise 3 times.
Unfortunately, no matter how many times I do it, it does not reach a
"stop" point. So I do it 3 times and then one-quarter revolution
clockwise. Next I assure that DEC is set to 0o and using a good compass,
set the lens to point north. As I understand it, I'm now in the "home"
position. I lock both the alt/dec (finger firm) and the azimuth (base
lock).

I turn on the controller, input the correct date and time and select
"Align: Easy." Most evenings, the alignment sets in the first time. At
this point I should be set. But there's hardly been a night where the
Autostar® even finds the moon by itself. I've tested Autostar®
for sunrise, sunset, etc. and it matches perfectly to the published
times in my area (Greater Fort Lauderdale). I've tried the "GoTo Saturn"
several times to negative results. I can get to the Moon manually, and
I'm very comfortable using the Autostar®. But I'm just not there
yet. Any ideas, advice or suggestions?
 
Thanks for any assistance offered.
 
SteveG
Mike here: Being on a Mac really eases the workload of maintaining the Site. There is no need to do the clockwise/counterclockwise rotations with the ETX-60 (and -70 and -80) model as there are no "hard stops" that prevent internal "cord wrap". Just set it up with the control panel on the west side and point the telescope tube towards True North (not Magnetic North, which can be up to about 20 degrees different, depending on location; but it is only about 5 degrees for your location so probably not a significant factor). Also, be certain you have properly set the Daylight Saving setting. By the way, besides the TRAIN DRIVES, you should do a CALIBRATE MOTOR once (and then whenever you change batteries or power source or the batteries get really low). Let me know if these tips help resolve the problem.

And:

Thank you for the email reply and your advice. As I've been waiting for
various replies, I read through the manual again and saw the "calibrate
motor," and decided I should give that a shot as well, which I'll do
tonight. I'll also lose the compass and take a shot for Polaris, except
as I just wrote to someone else, she seems a lot dimmer from here in
south Florida than it was up in suburban Boston when I was a kid and I
could always point it out. (Uh-oh, maybe it's just my eyes are going as
I get old!) But I'll use that too and will let you know how it all comes
out.
Again, many thanks.
Steve Greene

And:

Equipment: Meade ETX-60AT; 25mm, 9mm, 2x Barlow, tripod
 
I hope I'm not being a PIA, but I just came in from a fairly uneventful
gazing session, did a little more reading and now even more confused.

A few people are insisting that the only way they were able to
successfully auto-align was that before performing it, the
on-off/plug-in plate had to be facing west.  But with my 60AT, if I
place it in the "home" position, 0o and as close to -5.7 west of North,
my plate would then be facing south/southeast. So does this mean that
the "face-west" alignment doesn't apply to the 60AT?

I'm trying to follow every forum on the 60AT that I can find and of
course, due to the passage of time, most ETX folks are discussing the
70's and the 80's and I know they have a much different configuration
than my 60. So I'm open to any suggestions at this point.
 
Have a great rest-of-the-weekend.
 
Thanks,
 
Steve Greene
Coral Springs FL
Mike here: Well, with the ETX-60 (and -70 and -80) you don't really have to worry about the location of the control panel since there are no internal hard stops in the base. Having the control panel on the West side really only applies to the ETX-90, -105, and -125 models, which do have hard stops. Can you see the "North Star" Polaris from your observing location? If so, use that for your True North reference; just draw an imaginary line straight down from it to the horizon and then point the telescope towards that point on the horizon.

And:

Looks like you were up real late last night. Thanks for getting back to
me about the control panel. It was my similar conclusion, but being a
neophyte at this, I thought it best to check it out with a more
experienced authority.

Checking last night, I wasn't able to make out the Big Dipper until
close to 9:30 here. Finally got it and followed to what I believe was
Polaris and set the scope there. Tried the easy align, but had to go
through the entire database of Autostar for me to be able to actually
see the target star in my scope, center it and press . Then I
tried the Guided Tour. First was Saturn which I couldn't see at all;
actually I could see nothing in the scope on that target and then it
took me to the moon, which was great, and then even better when I
switched to the 9mm lens. But that was it for my tour. Venus looked like
a blob of light, even with the 9mm and stars seemed no different than as
if I was using a magnifying glass.

So I've come to the conclusion that this week, I'm going to try and find
a dealer in the Ft. Lauderdale area, who I can review the scope with and
hopefully, next Saturday night, my wife and I will go to the S. Florida
Amateur Astronomy Associations "open house" at their observatory, as my
membership entitles me to help and instruction on my scope.

Again, many thanks for your patience and advice.

Steve Greene

p.s. Is your book still in print/available?
Mike here: If you start out with a "perfect" HOME position you can always just assume that the alignment stars (one or both) are centered. Sometimes you can get away with that even though you can't see the stars. As to magnifying stars, that is a common misunderstanding. Stars are so far away that they will always appear as a pinpoint of light, regardless of the magnification you use. And right now, Venus appears in a gibbous phase and is very bright. Also, if you want until it is low in the sky, atmosheric distortion will cause it to appear blurry. As to the book, yes, people are still able to get it. OPT probably has some in stock.
Subject:	Re: ETX-70 set-up 
Sent:	Tuesday, April 24, 2007 03:07:05
From:	Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com (Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com)
Hi Greg, Mike, Clay,

you find me a little bit confused in your discussion and I would like to
help you avoid misunderstandings.

As far as I know (my model) the ETX-70 does not have any hardstops in
the azimuth axis at all (you can turn around as often as you like) so
there is no need to do the ccw turning to hardstop, etc. (Dr. Sherrod
probably had the ETX-90/105/125 in mind advising you to do so)

On the other hand - reading your postings - I suspect you have the
ETX-70 on the standard base WITHOUT a polar wedge, so it is in Alt/Az.
mode and you are doing wrong '...pointing it towards the north star...'.
 You should point towards real north with the scope levelled (0 degrees
altitude)

And a third tipp: avoid fixing the clamps too firmly; this may lead to
erroneous movements.

gl, cs,
Dieter (Munich, Germany)

Subject:	ETX 70 Dec Lock broken
Sent:	Sunday, April 22, 2007 10:32:43
From:	Jack Fox (jackfox@mindspring.com)
The Dec lock knob on my ETX 70 sheared off the fork arm (see photos). 
How do I replace or repair it? Can Meade send me the parts or do I have
to send the scope back to Meade for repair? Do you have a page on your
site that shows how to remove the OTA from the fork arm?

Jack Fox

photo photo

Mike here: For such serious damage I recommend contacting Meade for a repair. They will not send you the parts.

And:

Thank you.  I will weigh the expence of shipping and repair cost with
just buying another from eBay or Astromart.
Mike here: A typical repair runs about $75 (and up). Contact Meade for the estimate.

And:

Meade is sending me the part to replace the dec lock knob.  All I have
to do is remove the broken piece of the threaded shaft of the knob from
the fork arm and screw in the new Dec lock knob and she's fixed. No
charge for the part.
Mike here: Good for Meade!
Subject:	re: questions about autostar and the etx-60at
Sent:	Tuesday, April 17, 2007 23:47:17
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
For -full- control, you would need to buy a 497 Autostar.
For partial, but still quite a lot of automated control,
you could get by with buying a Meade 506 cable/converter,
which -does- plug into the AUX port in the base and which
provides an rs232 connection for the 494 Autostar.

You'd still need a USB-to-Serial adapter if your PC does
not have a 9-pin COM port

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX 80 BB Focus Knob Removal
Sent:	Tuesday, April 17, 2007 22:45:53
From:	spot (mushroomin@yahoo.com)
Just found your site and it is a great resource, thanks for the effort
you put into it.

I have been using an ETX80BB for about a year and a half now and would
like to change the focus knob for an extended flexible one.  Even though
the stick knob is pointed in a more convenient direction than other ETX
models, it is still too short and of course vibrations can be an issue. 
The issue I have run into is that the focus knob on the EXT80 does not
attach via a set screw and I am unsure how it should be removed without
damaging the shaft.
 
Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the help.  Now that I have found the site I will be visiting
often.

Thanks,
Kevin H.

Subject:	Re:EXT-70 set-up
Sent:	Tuesday, April 17, 2007 21:25:30
From:	Greg Haff (m19speeder@sbcglobal.net)
Dr. Clay: I have a used EXT-70 scope. When I follow the set-up
instructions things don't act right. After doing the time/ day stuff,
leveling the scope and pointing it towards the north-star, I select 2
star alignment. The scope takes off and ends up pointing South- East and
starts looking for a star at about 45 degrees. After a few minutes it
starts to rotate towards the North and that's when it turn it off. Most
of the time I just go pass this function and just use the arrow bottons
to move the scope around.

I also picked up a flex cable to make adjusting easy. While a allen
wrench came with the flex cable it didn't fit the one on the old knob,
any ideal what size wrench I will need to use to remove the orginal hand
knob.
 
Thank you
Greg 
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? That normally solves such oddities. As to the size, I don't have a way to accurately measure that.
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
It sounds like you may have the telescope set up in azimuth improperly
regarding the stops; you must put the control panel on the WEST side
exactly and rotate the base until you can spin the scope with the
azimuth clamp undone CCW (looking from above) until it hits the hard
stop.  When the scope is properly oriented, this is less than one-half
turn.  Once you reach that stop, you rotate it back CW until the barrel
is once again pointing north.  That is correct orientation and home
position.

As for the knob, the tiny set screw is 0.05" Allen; when putting the new
one on, use care to not strip it out, which happens quite often.

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

Subject:	questions about autostar and the etx-60at
Sent:	Tuesday, April 17, 2007 17:24:59
From:	Jarrett S (jarrettsde3@yahoo.com)
Hi I sent have an etx-60at and I have a dsi.  Do I need to purchase a
different cotroller in order to use the software to control the
telescope?  The tech support people at meade tell me to plug the 6 to 4
pin cable into the aux port on the base of the telescope. This did not
seem to work.  Am I doing something wrong or were they wrong?  computers
can be such fun:) thanx for any info you might have.

Jarrett
Mike here: The AutoStar Suite requires the #497 AutoStar (has number keys on the keypad). Your ETX-60 probably has the #494 AutoStar (no number keys). You will need to get a #497. The #505 cable (included with the DSI) connects from a RS-232 serial port on your computer to the RJ11 jack in the #497 AutoStar handbox. If your computer doesn't have a RS-232 port you will need to get a USB-serial adapter but note that not all work reliably with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	Re: Trying to make a pc-telescope connection wire!
Sent:	Thursday, April 12, 2007 06:18:45
From:	Fernando Guerra (fernando_guerraguerra@hotmail.com)
Sorry Mike, because my mother-toncge is spanish I wasn't able to explain
myself ok, I was meaning to make a a PC-telescope cable, I have no
Autostar that's reason I want to connect my pc to my telescope using its
AUX entrance. that's reason I'm looking for a cable to get it.
thanks for help
FER
Mike here: There is no (easy) way to control the ETX without the AutoStar.
Subject:	Trying to make a pc-telescope connection wire!
Sent:	Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:37:00
From:	Fernando Guerra (fernando_guerraguerra@hotmail.com)
I live at  Peru, and recently bought 2nd hand MEADE ETX-70, bur some
parts missing, I'm trying to make a computer-telescope cable connection,
is there any draft about it? or website to get help?
Thanks
FER
Mike here: You can easily make a #505 serial cable (see the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page for more info). HOWEVER, to use a #505 cable with the ETX-70 you will need to have an AutoStar #497 (has number keys on the keypad); the #494 (no number keys) will NOT work with the #505 cable. The #494 requires a #506 cable which is not easily made since it has some "active electronics" in the cable. Also, if your computer has only USB you will need a serial to USB adapter (and software) but not all adapters work well with the AutoStar; see the article "AutoStar and USB" on the AutoStar Info page.
Subject:	ETX-70 Gear Grinding Problem
Sent:	Monday, April 9, 2007 12:51:12
From:	Jeff Goldstein (jeffgold1@cox.net)
In the Alt-Az mode on the tripod, my ETX-70 will "grind gears" in
several spots around the 360 degree azimuth circle.  I believe this is
bad.

Is there an easy fix?  Perhaps I can do the fix with replacement parts
that you can point me to?

May I presume that this is a common problem?
 
Sincerely,
 
Jeff Goldstein
NAR #81619 L2
http://www.jeffgold.net
Mike here: First off, lets try a couple of simple "cures" before dealing with the fact that there are no user installable replacements from Meade (or anyone else for that matter). Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? You could also try redistributing the lubrication. Do this by unlocking the axis lock and slowly moving the telescope by hand several times in one direction for two or more full rotations and then back the other way for several full rotations.

And:

Haven't tried these, but it really sounds like grinding plastic gears in
several places, and the scope pauses in these places.  Once it trains to
a particular part of the gear, it grinds a little then continues,
normally.

I have a warranty from "Square Deal", but it does not go into effect for
another two weeks.  Rather than open it up and inspect, I'll just try
these folks, although I suspect that this is a scam to get my 29
dollars.  If they claim they can't fix it, I'll try opening it up and
redistributing the lube.

Or perhaps there's an adjustment from the pinion gear??? Inside the
housing is there a ring gear on the outside and a pinion that drives
this?  If so, I suspect the ring gear is the culprit, here.  What are
your thoughts?

If the Square Deal is a hoax, I'll let you know, also.

Please advise what I have to work with, inside the housing.

Thank you so much,

Jeff G.
Mike here: Well, there are more serious possible culprits. Could be a gear mount has come lose. Could be a wire catching in the gears. Could be a gear with a broken tooth. As to redistributing the lubrication, you do NOT have to open up the mount (normally) if you follow my instructions. If the problem is mechanical I suggest getting it taken care of under the warranty.

And:

Excellent recommendations and advice.

Thank you so much,

Jeff G.

Subject:	etx 70
Sent:	Tuesday, April 3, 2007 17:02:33
From:	bomartin (bomartin4@cox.net)
thanks to your site, and a used etx 70 that i got at a garage sale, i
have been able to enjoy the moon, stars, but most of all after 57 years,
i was able to see Saturn, i had never see that before, thanks for your
web site, wishing you luck in the future.

bomartin4@cox.net, pensacola florida

Subject:	Re: ETX70 and slipping RA - Follow-up
Sent:	Tuesday, April 3, 2007 15:55:39
From:	P. Clay Sherrod (drclay@tcworks.net)
Actually you can tighten the nut as firmly as you want....the tighter it
is however, the more difficult it is to move by hand.  But with it
locked, the entire assembly moves as a unit, so it cannot damage
anything to have it over-tightened.

Glad you got everything working well....

Enjoy!

Dr. Clay
-------------
Arkansas Sky Observatories
Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway)
Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South)
http://www.arksky.org/

----- Original Message -----
To: 
Dr. Clay,

Just a follow up with you on my ETX70's slipping in the polar mount
mode. I got brave and disassembled the base and took the whole thing
apart. I cleaned it with denatured alcohol that I had on hand. I relubed
the drive gears and put it back together. It does appear to have
improved the performance. One small item that puzzles me and I have not
been able to get any firm info online to answer this question. Just how
tight is too tight in reassembling the base? When do you stop tightening
the nut in the base? Is there a rule of thumb to use in determing how
tight? Thanks for your help!

Regards,

Keith 

Subject:	etx70 setup
Sent:	Monday, April 2, 2007 07:03:49
From:	Tony (tbardsley@newyork.com)
I purchased a etx70 in December 2005, and got so frustrated in trying to
set it up and use the GOTO that I put it in storage until recently.
However, after discovering your wonderful website I decided to give it
another go. I have done the following numerous times. Enter
time/date/daylight saving/lat-long. level the scope and turn it to as
near north I can get, use the two-star align etc. all to no real effect.
However, I've come across a few postings that suggest  (not in the
manual) that I rotating the OTA anticlockwise until I 'feel' an internal
stop (or the like), and then rotate it clockwise. My problem is that I
feel no such stop and the OTA rotates freely in either direction when
turned, either with or without the RA  horizontal lever locked. Does
this mean the motor unit is damaged? How important is the concept of
rotating the scope clockwise/anticlockwise, and its associated stop.
 
I'm at my wit's end here, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Many thanks,
 
Tony
Mike here: The ETX-70 (and ETX-60 and ETX-80) does not have hard stops. So with the ETX mounted in Altitude/Azimuth mode just point the telescope towards True North (not Magnetic North as read on a Magnetic Compass). Use the "North Star" Polaris as a guide to where True North is located on your horizon. Then just go through the normal Easy Align process. If you have further problems, let me know what you are doing and what the telescope is doing; we should be able to get you going.

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