Last updated: 30 April 2007
This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback 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: Performance enhancement Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 16:00:40 From: R Gray (email@example.com) I purchased an ETX-125 PE in late December. It was my X-mas present. I have CALIBRATED THE MOTOR, TRAINED THE DRIVES and CALIBRATED THE SENSOR. When I use AUTO ALIGN the GOTO works fairly well at first and then gets farther and farther off with each GOTO. Is it still a good idea to do the "performance enhancement" tune-up on the newer scopes? Has Meade made any changes you are aware of based on what Dr. Clay Sherrod has found? I don't mind doing it, just don't want to take it apart and find out that the newer scopes don't benefit as much as the older ones. Any help is appreciated. Great site! Robert GrayMike here: Some of the tips could still be applicable but the gain may not be worth the pain as the PE models are much improved over the original models. First I think we should try to determine just what is really going on with the decliningly accurate GOTOS. One such culprit can be not precisely centering the alignment stars. Are you using the supplied 26mm eyepiece or a higher magnification eyepiece? The greater the magnification used for the final centering the better the alignment will be. While the AutoStar can correct for a considerable out of horizontal HOME position, the more accurate the leveling of the base the better. Also, is your location correct in the AutoStar or is many miles different? Again, it shouldn't dramatically affect the GOTOs but it can compound other affects. These are just a few quick thoughts.
Thank You for the quick answer! I have checked my location and am using my zip code to set it. I also tried using the nearest large city Wichita, Kansas. About 12 miles north of me. No noticeable difference. I use the 40 mm eyepiece to get near center and then switch to a 6.7mm before hitting the "enter" key. I will check for leveling. I generally set up on a wooden deck. It has all 2x6 decking but the scope does shake a little when people walk too close. Other than that it should be level. Its going to be cloudy here all week. I will do a complete reset and start from scratch at the next opportunity and will write everything down as I go. If you don't mind I'll send it to you. Maybe you or someone that frequents your site can give me a few tips. Thanks again....!Mike here: I have found that using City Name seems to work better than when using a ZIPCODE, even for the same location. Strange but true.
Subject: Hi Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2007 01:05:21 From: Frederick Littler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi there and greetings from the UK. I have recently purchased a Mead ETX125PE and am desperately trying to purchase an Electric focuser mod. For the scope as I wish to operate the scope from about 20ft away. It would appear in the UK that this item is not available but I see many adverts in the USA for an electric focuser but am prevented from purchasing from the USA by restrictions imposed by the manufacturers. I was wondering if you could help and advise me on how and where I could purchase one from. The reason I wish to operate from a distance in the conservatory is due to my age (83) and my old bones feel the cold very quickly. I have done all the required cabling for the handset and DSI but it is a pain having to dash outside and adjust the focus. Your help and advice will be most appreciated. Kind regards and all the best. Fred LittlerMike here: Just found your message; it had been BOUNCED and DELETED UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line. As noted on the ETX Home Page in red letters, please read the Email Etiquette on the ETX Home Page to avoid this happening in the future. Thanks for understanding.
Subject: ETX-125 Automatic Alignment Problems Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 21:46:38 From: Brad Gillette (email@example.com) I recently purchased a Meade AC power supply and now when I attempt an automatic alignment the scope slews into the hard stop in azimuth while finding the second alignment star. I can hear the motor turning but the scope is not. I quickly shut the scope off to prevent internal damage. I have the control panel facing west and put the scope in the full CCW position before starting the alignment. It is probably just a coincidence with the AC power vs. the battery power I used previously but I have no idea. I just got the scope back from Dr. Clay and used it once on batteries post supercharge before the AC adapter arrived. I have moved from back yard (where the alignment worked fine) to the front yard when the problems started. Again maybe coincidence? I have tried CALIBRATE SENSORS and CALIBRATE MOTORS with no luck. I am a newbie at this and completely lost now. Thanks, BradMike here: Have you tried on batteries again? If not, do that; don't forget to CALIBRATE MOTORS after switching the power source. If the problem goes away when using batteries then switch back the AC, CALIBRATE MOTORS, and try an Easy Align. Is there a problem there? Try the Auto Align again. Let me know the results.
All were successful in my living room during the day. I will try again at night. Do I need to CALIBRATE MOTORS each time I plug in the scope or just when I change power sources? Thanks for the help. BradMike here: CALIBRATE MOTORS measures the output of the optical encoders and that output can change when changing power sources (batteries to external DC or external AC or back). So it is best to do it whenever changing power sources OR when battery power gets low and you don't have additional batteries or another power source available. No need to do it everytime you power on the telescope.
OK, I auto aligned the scope which seem to go fine. It asked me to center on Arcturus for the first star which I guessed at since I had two bright stars between where the scope stopped after it slew'd over. It used Capella for the second star and was about 30-45 degrees north and east of Cepella's actual position. After it was sucessfully aligned I had the scope GOTO the moon which it did no problem (relatively south in the night sky). I then had it GOTO Saturn which I knew was further right approx. high southwest in the sky. The scope started slewing right and hit the hard stop seconds later as the motor continued to run trying to slew to Saturn??!!?? I tried a CALIBRATE SENSORS and the scope hit the hard stop while turning CW as well. I am completely at a loss. I even tried using the other bright star during the auto alignment as Arcturus and once the alignment showed sucessful I tried to GOTO Saturn and it hit the hard stop again as it slewed CW through South/Southwest. -BradMike here: OK, lets back up a step. With the ETX control panel on the west side, when you rotate fully CCW is the telescope pointed approximately southwest? If so, try an Easy Align (remember, you have to rotate CW back to True North). How do GOTOs work out?
It tried the Easy Align in my living room this morning. When the scope is in the home position, the tube points almost due South vs. Southwest. When I did the Easy align it slewed to the first star OK and then hit the stop slewing CW to the second star. I just turned it off at that point instead of risking internal damage.Mike here: So it went around almost twice CW slewing to the 2nd alignment star?
If I remember right it turned CCW maybe 30-40 degrees on the first star and then turned CW approx 200 degrees an hit the stop but the motor kept running. I just tried it again. The first star is Sirius which it turns approx 135 degrees CW from N to SE. The second star is Riegel which it slews CW but hits the stop as the motor tries to continue turning another 5-6 seconds then stops. Again all of this was in my living room. Just to double check the control panel should be pointing West. In easy align the tube should be level and the forks aligned with the control panel turning CW from the stop (ie, the tube points North). Thanks for your time, BradMike here: You've got the HOME position correct for Easy Align. But lets confirm something: does the ETX rotate nearly twice (but not quite) from hard stop to hard stop? It sounds like it isn't. By the way, if it is way less, don't force it. There could be some obstruction like a wire.
No it does not. Once I put it in the easy align home position it turns aprox 180 degrees then hits the stopMike here: That is not good. Most likely an obstruction. If a wire, it could be cut during slewing or if moved by hand. You might want to open up the base and have a look but if you are uncomfortable doing this (or if the telescope is still under warranty) you should contact Meade (or your dealer).
how far should it move on its own before it hits a stop? I just had it supercharged about 3 weeks ago.Mike here: Under AutoStar automatic slewing it should NEVER hit a hard stop. But since you indicate it is way less than almost twice around hard stop to hard stop there is something wrong. I suggest you contact Dr. Clay Sherrod since he last worked on it.
Subject: fibre optics smartfinder Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 01:29:02 From: henrik.van.holthoon (firstname.lastname@example.org) I broke by accident the smart glass from the LNT finder in order to remove the broken part I had to remove the LNT cover. Unfortunately the fibre optic wire came lose from the small plastic tube holding and guiding the wire. The cause, the wire holder tube was not well glued to the housing. I put the wire in again carefully and this time glued the fibre wire holder firmly to the housing. The red dot works again. As I talking about the LNT from a LX90GPS I do not understand why they placed a 2032 battery in the LNT because time amongst other things is set by the GPS, I understood this battery is only keeping time in the case of a ETX PE by example, it is not important of course just wondering. Well anyway the glass I will try to fix as getting a new glass in Europe might be a problem. It not a real problem as the LX90 has 8 x 50 viewfinder, which I find easier to use anyway, I can live without the smartfinder glass. I wrote to you because it can happen to anybody who owns a scope with a LNT device and wants to replace the 2032 battery. Regards Henrik
Subject: Alignment Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 17:58:23 From: Al Schepis (email@example.com) I could sure use some help on this: I'm a beginner and my EXT 125PE is new to me. As suggested, I've trained drives and calibrated motors. Whenever using Automatic Alignment, I follow instructions and begin in the Automatic Alignment home position, turning the scope fully counter clockwise until the hard stop. In spite of all this, the scope always slews very far away from the brightest stars it is telling me to center. Although I center these stars and complete the procedure the GOTO never works. Last night I did a One Star Alignment putting the scope in the alternative Home Position facing the tube North and using a home position one quarter of a turn from the counter clockwise stop. Doing that the GOTO works like a charm! Any ideas as to why? Thanks; Al SchepisMike here: Couple of thoughts: where is the control panel on the ETX base located for the Auto Align? It needs to be on the west side so that the telescope is pointed Southwest when at the hard stop. It could be that you need to do a CALIBRATE SENSOR to help the LNT know where True North is at in relation to Magnetic North. You might also want to look through some of the LNT troubleshooting articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Re: smart finder (broken wire) Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 09:15:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) I can't tell for sure from your description, but you may be looking at the optical fiber that projects the dot onto the Smartfinder lens. If it's broken, you can't fix it. You will have to replace the whole LNT module. Mike Hogan
Subject: Re:ETX-90 PE (wobbly mount) Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 09:05:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) "The LNT module is mounted on relatively flimsy plastic and has a fair amount of wobble on it. I tightened the hex nut as much as I dared but it's still wobbly." Make sure the small tab on the right side of the mount is inserted into the small notch on the right side of the OTA bracket. If not, it's a simple fix. Remove the screw, tilt the mount up to right, insert the tab and replace. This problem has been reported before and is apparently just sloppy workmanship at the factory. Regards, Mike Hogan
Subject: smart finder Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 15:46:20 From: Robert Black (firstname.lastname@example.org) I recently took apart my smart finder to see why it didn't woek. I believe I found the problem but don't know how to fix it. at the very back under the cover is a piece of wire about 1 1/2in long On the rear of the underside of the cover is a wire that looks like a hair. I believe these should be joined. If I am right, how do I join them, sincerely,bob. Of course by now you have figured out I am a newbie.smile.Mike here: There are some LNT tips on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page that might (or might not) be of benefit. I haven't disassembled my LNT to answer directly.
Subject: ETX-90 PE Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 19:57:19 From: Avtar Roopra (email@example.com) How are you? I wrote to you once a few years ago regarding the ALT drive on my ETX90. Your advise (send the scope to be 'Turbo Charged') was perfect! I now own a ETX-90PE and I wonder what you think of these scopes? The LNT module is mounted on relatively flimsy plastic and has a fair amount of wobble on it. I tightened the hex nut as much as I dared but it's still wobbly. Why did Meade skimp out and use such poor craftsmanship? The optics are second to none, the idea is brilliant but the execution is below par. I would love to hear your opinion. I hope you are well and keep up the good work. your mate AvtarMike here: You can read my initial comments about the ETX-105PE on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. As to the LNT mounting, the original model did have the mounting as you describe but the latest model seems to have improved it.
Subject: OTA turning wrong way during cal. sensors Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 04:24:06 From: henrik.van.holthoon (firstname.lastname@example.org) At last a good visible Polaris so I did the test you asked me to do. I realise now that for no systematic reason I had always put the OTA more or less in the North -East position when OTA at CCW hard stop. As nothing is mentioned as you correctly mentioned I though it did not matter. I placed the control panel aprox. East-West position OTA is then aprox. West, when against CCW hard stop. Did the calibration sensor and you are right no naughty ETX anymore flawless calibration procedure as I was at Polaris I did also the train drive, the ETX was rather accurate after all this correcting work even at the alignment procedure. Maybe the fact that the CCW hard stop is close to north is causing the error. Dick mentioned something about magnetic declination this for me lat 44 d 6 m (44.1) N and long 1d 7m (1.12) W 1d 39m West. And indeed the ETX OTA turns a little to West finding true North. Strange enough the LX90 turns a little to the East and this instrument is less accurate then the ETX I expected it be more accurate then the ETX. I did calibration stuff also for the LX90 by the way. I hope that the encoders are clean if the instrument continuing the poor accuracy behaviour I may have to check this. Thanks for your input. Henrik
Subject: Re: ETX-125 PE Auto alignment...it's off Sent: Monday, April 9, 2007 10:14:35 From: Mark Bennett (email@example.com) I've calibrated the motor and trained the drives. I was able to get it to goto correctly by moving the scope over to the brighest star..in my viewfinder...and centering on that. Those stars weren't in my eyepeice though...does this sound correct? Thanks Mike. MarkMike here: As part of the alignment process you should initially center the alignment stars in the Smartfinder and then in the eyepiece AND THEN press ENTER to confirm you have centered the stars. Depending on how well the Smartfinder (or any finderscope) is aligned, you may or may not have to reposition the telescope to center the alignment stars.
Yeah, I have it now I think...I was expecting the star to be in the eyepeice....so what I was doing was just centering the brighest star in the eyepiece...which was pretty dim and obviously the wrong star. I think I have it now. Hey, one more quick question...the ETX series is obviously not great at deep space stuff...the only thing beyond the planets I can really see is the Orion Nebula...any suggestions on additional equipment or eyepieces that I can modify my scope with to make it better at seeing DS objects? thanks bud. markMike here: Actually, as you can read from many of the reports on the Helpful Information: User Observations page, the ETX-125 (and -105 and -90) can let you view DSOs. Of course, the small aperture limits how well you can see objects but a 5" telescope is still pretty good. Keep in mind that a lower magnification eyepiece is actually better for many extended objects. What it will take is some practice at using "averted vision" (don't look DIRECTLY at the object). And it may require that your expectations are lowered somewhat. OR it may be that "aperture fever" has struck and you need a larger telescope!
Yeah...my wife's already told me to stop buying telescope stuff until our baby is born...maybe I'll pop for a Dobsonian next summer...but I'd definately like something bigger. Hey, thank you so much for you help...you have an awesome website. I'm sure I'll have more questions :). Mark
Subject: re: 105-PE battery reading wrong Sent: Monday, April 9, 2007 08:51:44 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) You wrote: > In the manual it says to calibrate sensors after changing > the battery. I tried to do this, but at the end of the process > it wanted me to align on Polaris What they really wanted was for you to do a Calibrate MOTORS, not a Calibrate Sensors. It's another choice in the Setup/Telescope menu tree. It takes only 5 seconds. have fun --dick
From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Battery Status displayed by the Autostar is for the ETX main power source, not the LNT battery. The LNT battery is a standard lithium coin type battery, CR2032 or equivalent with a life of up to five years. Note the "up to" qualification, your mileage may vary. It provides continuous power for the LNT clock and nothing more. It's basically a digital watch and there is no monitor for the power. Mike Hogan
From: Bob Shutan (email@example.com) Re: Battery meter in Autostar-- It only is checking the AA's in drive base. That feature is not testing the small battery in LNT unit which is the battery that maintains the time. Bob Shutan Shutan Camera & Video www.shutan.com/meade
From: Eric Rosenzweig (firstname.lastname@example.org) That's what I thought, but obviously this one didn't last a year. My only thinking is that when Meade had it they replaced the battery with an old one. I'll definitely keep an eye on it going forward. Thanks.
Subject: Re: OTA turning wrong way during cal. sensors Sent: Friday, April 6, 2007 19:38:57 From: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was able to duplicate this problem by orienting the base so the OTA was pointed North, or a few degrees East of North, when at the CCW stop. Auto align worked OK, but when I tried to do a Cal Sensors immediately after the alignment completed, it ran CCW into the stop. The ETX PE manual does not specify a position for the base but, as I mention in my Setup Troubleshooting & Advice article, the base should be oriented so the OTA is pointed West or Southwest when the OTA is at the CCW stop. Orienting the Power Panel to the West should meet this requirement and is an easy visual check. Please insure your scope base is correctly positioned and re-try the procedure. Let me know the results. Mike Hogan
From: richard seymour (email@example.com) This may be especially important if your local "magnetic north" is -west- of true north (here in Seattle it's 19 degrees east of true north). thanks for checking... --dick
Subject: 105-PE battery reading wrong Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2007 21:01:24 From: Eric Rosenzweig (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just wanted to pass this along. I got my scope back from Meade back in December (they were fixing jerking when tracking). Over the last couple of months or so I've noticed that the scope just wasn't keeping time well, but every time I checked the battery using the Autostar it showed 100%. Finally, when I was setting the time/date, time stood still. If I set the clock for 10pm, it stayed at 10pm for days, but the Autostar still showed battery life at 100%. Finally, I pulled the battery and the battery had .4 volts, barely alive. I replaced the battery and all is good now. Any ideas on how long a battery should last? I think Meade gave me a bum battery as I never had any problems over the past year with the battery in the LNT. So, when in doubt, even though it's a pain, take the battery out of the LNT and check the voltage manually. One other question. In the manual it says to calibrate sensors after changing the battery. I tried to do this, but at the end of the process it wanted me to align on Polaris which I couldn't do because of clouds. The manual doesn't mention anything about aligning on Polaris. I'll have to do it another time. Is there anything else I should do after changing the battery? As always, thanks in advance, EricMike here: It doesn't surprise me that the battery drains during periods of non-use. The Electronic Focuser does the same thing. As to using Polaris during CALIBRATE SENSOR, it is used to locate True North and then your location is used to adjust for your local Magnetic Variation.
Subject: ETX-125 PE Auto alignment...it's off Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2007 15:49:31 From: Mark Bennett (email@example.com) I am having a problem with my new ETX-125PE's auto alignment. I turn the tube counterclockwise until is stops then let it do it's thing. It then asks me to center the brightest star in my FOV and press enter...it does this twice. Before the auto alignment is doing it thing...finding north, leveling...ect... After the 2nd "centering" test I do...I always goto something recognizable...Saturn or the Moon. What I'm going to is never in my FOV (I'm using my highest mm lense with my biggest FOV), it's almost always up and to the left...once I center it it doesn't track correctly...so I can't use my Barlow and higher mag lenses. What am I doing wrong? Thanks. MarkMike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Is the AutoStar getting the correct time from the LNT?
I haven't done either of those.....I will do that and check the time and let you know. Thanks Mike. Mark
Subject: re: OTA turning wrong way during cal. sensors Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2007 17:26:55 From: richard seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) ?? I think it should turn clockwise when doing Cal Sensors. (i am not at home, so i cannot test this for myself). If you have a -PE scope with an LNT module, you are supposed to start near the fully anti-clockwise hard stop (roughly pointed southwest, if the power panel is on the west side of the base). From there the telescope should turn first north, then east , then south... and that is a clockwise direction if viewed from above. But if it -sometimes- turns one way, and -sometimes- the other, that is definitely a problem... if you are always starting from the same point. Which model of telescope is it? (and the version is 43Ed, not "4Ed") thanks for the report, i'll try to duplicate it (although i have -not- seen it happen to my ETX-90 with added LNT) Ah! Do you have a -new- LNT, or an -old- LNT? (i do not know how to describe the differences) have fun --dick
From: henrik.van.holthoon (email@example.com) Concerning the OTA turning the wrong way let me again report on this; I did exactly what the handbook said turned the OTA completely anti-clockwise until hard stop after that the calibration starts automatic levelling OTA turning to Polaris sometime it works as it should do that is only turning only clockwise ending at Polaris for you to centre Polaris in the middle of the ocular. I understand this process I do not believe I doing something wrong. Sometime however the OTA starts during the calibration sensor process to turns anti-clockwise and keeps on doing this until it bumps into the hardstop you have to switch of the scope immediately. My scope is an ETX105 PE with the old style LNT glass on the side not on the top of the OTA. I loaded sometime ago 43Ed this error did not happen with 43Ea. And yes you are right my mistake, it was of course 43Ed not 4Ed I missed out on that. This error happens only during calibration sensors not at the alignment procedure. I have also a LX90GPS also with software 43Ed but there it does not matter of course as there are no hardstop also no home position, as the process is automatic and control panel in fork not in the base, the LX90 can turn where is the shortest angle turning left or right. It seems that there is a bug in 43Ed and the ETX forgets its type and takes from time a different scope i.e. LX90 or whatever similar scope. Apparently I am not the only one with this problem somebody else had the same problem. My conclusion is be alert all people who have a PE type ETX and software 43Ed that this can happen and I do not thing the type of LNT makes any difference. Have fun, Henrik
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) The Cal Sensors procedure peforms the same Level, North and Tilt sequence as the Auto Alignment process but it then slews to Polaris (in the Northern Hemisphere) instead of an alignment star. Then it saves any centering corrections you make in a permanent part of the Autostar memory as fine corrections for future alignments. If you are still having problems with finding North during Auto Align, the Cal Sensors will not work correctly either. The latest version of Autostar software is 4.3Ed, released 12/18/06. I haven't updated to this yet but will do so today and see if there are any problems with it. If other people are having a problem, I would suspect the software, if it's just one scope it's probably a defective LNT module with an intermittent problem. Mike Hogan
1) At least one other person reported this error. 2) In the alignment procedure my ETX105 PE works as it should do and not turning anti-clockwise as with the calibration sensor procedure and points close to the alignment stars. It levels turns CW to magnetic north, levels, real north correction and turning again (90deg) CW to measure plane and tilt and of course goto the first alignment star can not remember in which direction but in no case running into hardstop. 3) Only at the sensor calibration procedure this happens but not always and I do not think that the LNT modul has anything to do with it which way the OTA turns that is determined by the Autostar I think, the LNT is only measuring is it not. The sensor calibration starts ok but during levelling or turning to Polaris it turns the wrong way anti-clockwise and in my case running into the hardstop and the RA motor keeps running you have to switch the scope off to stop this. After switching the scope off I did calibration sensor again and it worked as it should do however the battery of the LNT modul was empty, I replaced the battery and did the calibration sensor procedure again and bingo ACW the same problem. But now I was alert and switched the scope before it arrived at the hardstop. Did the procedure again and no problem strange that it happens not always an error is an error although with software you never know. 4) It did not happen with version 4.3Ea at least not in my case. O yes, I put of course always the ETX in the LNT home position completely CCW agains hard stop to start with, alignment or calibration. Greeting from France Henrik
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